What’s Next?

This is the question that we heard 100 times over the past few weeks in the U.S. Plenty of folks reminded us that it was supposed to be a one-year trip.

The answer? Well, it seemed to vary each time we were asked. Our general response was something along the lines of “we’re just going to keep going as long as we’re having fun.” That’s a plan, right?

Realistically, I think we could spend up to another year in South America. Zig-zagging through Patagonia and the Lakes District down to Ushuaia, and then driving up the Atlantic coast through Brazil. Suriname? Guyana? It’s a long way and there’s lots to see. And, I drive slow.

Of course, I’d love to drive all the way around the globe, too – that’s been an unofficial goal from the start, but we’re taking it one continent at a time.

Much of southern Africa seems doable, and it’s really not too far from Brazil. Loop up to Kenya, then ship to India, do a southeast Asia circuit and swing up to Japan before heading home via Alaska.

Europe would be expensive, but easy and fun. Drive every country in Europe – that would be a cool. Angela has always wanted to live in Italy. Then, figure out a way home across Asia.

Australia seems like it could be a bureaucratic mess with our bus, but who knows. I’ve always wanted to go. Despite all the worries in the rest of the world, some say Australia is the most dangerous (poisonous?) place on Earth.

Heck, I also have a Caribbean sailing adventure floating around somewhere in the back of my mind too. Hitting every island would be an interesting goal. I literally know nothing about boats. Angela has zero interest. Last week, I picked up a sailing magazine in the airport and was bored to tears. Still, the idea of lazily floating around in warm turquoise water has it’s appeal. The back of the mind is there for a reason.

In line with our normal planning, We’ve done very little research with any of these options. We’ll just wing it.

But, everything with us is a 3-body problem. It’s a bitch to solve. One thing we know for sure is that once one of us is done, we’re all done.  Ending a trip/lifestyle like this is a pretty permanent thing. Why stop unless you have to? Why think small?  Besides, there’s always the chance that I’ll end up in an office cubicle somewhere without any planning or dreaming at all. I don’t even want to think about that option.

Anyway, “living the dream” can’t last forever, can it? What’s it going to cost to do all that stuff above and how do we fund it? You can’t keep washing your clothes in a motel bathtub your whole life, right? Shouldn’t Bode go to school like all the other kids in the U.S.? Shouldn’t we be working hard and saving for our Golden Years? Lot’s to think about, if we wanted to think about it.

Regardless, a Random Tuesday could change our lives forever and render it all moot. It could all end tomorrow.

So, until we figure it out, we’ll just stick with our answer. We’ll keep going as long as we’re having fun.

So, why ramble on about not knowing what we’re doing? Well, it’s honest. That’s where we’re at.

I got an email from a reader a while back with lots of questions about our trip and I had a hard time answering some of them. Moreover, he indicated that we weren’t writing about the things that he was interested in hearing – and I see his point.

It’s pretty easy to write about what we did and where we went. There’s a big pelican on the rock in front of me – really – that’s pretty easy to write. Border crossing logistics – simple. Writing about our motivation to leave the comforts of home and how our trip has affected our lives takes a little more time and thought.

So anyway, we’ll try to include a little more insight into our clouded minds whenever we can. If you have any questions you need answered, just drop us line. If we can come up with a good answer – and even if we can’t – we’ll put it here for everyone else to read too.

39 thoughts on “What’s Next?

  • November 14, 2011 at 5:14 AM

    I think that y’all need to go as long as you can. You’re a long way from Santa Fe, my friend. These are the stories that you will write in your book and sell a million copies and make your retirement money. These are the stories Bode will tell his family as he plans his trip around the world. I am so happy and proud to know you. Take care and have fun!

  • November 14, 2011 at 5:16 AM

    We’ll mark you down for the first book! Only 999,999 more to go!

  • November 14, 2011 at 5:19 AM

    great post guys, keep it going!

  • November 14, 2011 at 5:26 AM

    I think people ask out of a mixture of envy (they can’t continue to torture me forever with their absolutely awesome mix of luck, skill, and moxie, can they?), missing you and wishing you were somewhere close enough to visit reasonably (if you’re like us), or just uptight and uncomfortable with the lack of structure and rigidity and meeting of expectation that you have going on in your lives. You are doing whatever you want to do, and owe nobody but each other an answer to those questions. It is always interesting to hear what you are learning about other cultures (and yourselves) while you go along, what you miss while you are away, and what you hope to never return to. But the pictures of where you are don’t suck either. 🙂 Love you guys.

  • November 14, 2011 at 5:52 AM

    Hi guys! I can’t believe this is the first time I’ve read your blog. I looked around a little and I’m worried about Angela being the voice of reason amongst the three of you. Miss you!

  • November 14, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    There’s nothing wrong with wandering aimlessly if you’re enjoying it and nobody’s being harmed by it. Goals can be great things, but they can also be a trap.

    I just read a book about a couple that sailed around the world, and now I know I don’t want to do that. Maybe you need to know what you DON’T want to do as much as – if not more than – you need to know what you do want.

    Enjoy the ride! I’m enjoying it.

  • November 14, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    hey guys trhanks for the stickers and the note on the back. too cool looks like you guys have been having fun. college football is getting crazy Va. tech hokies are #8 at present. HHope you guys are doing well remember Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I hope this finds you and finds you Bodewell 🙂 (andy dufresne shawshank recemtion) the fullmoon thanksgiven campout is this weekend, I cant believe it has been 2 years since you guys were here. laater and have fun mark dearing GO HOKIES

  • November 14, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    Hi TeamRehm . . . I have two very close friends in Africa. One in Tanzania (with kids Bode’s age) and one in Zimbabwe (they own a beautiful safari lodge). They both would welcome your visit.

    And who knows, maybe TeamGraham could join you in Africa. Seems far more likely than a Colorado or Texas meet-up.

    p.s. We LOVE our sticker.

  • November 14, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    Awesome! I may as well start collecting Africa connections – we just made a few others just recently. I guess we need to spread the word and see who else is out there!

    The other funny thing is that I think we still see some of our friends and family just as much as we did when we lived in California. It’s just a longer plane ride now. See you in Africa!?

  • November 14, 2011 at 9:55 AM

    Well if there is one thing you do have its a whole lot of dreams! Can’t wait to see which one you pick next!

  • November 14, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    If you had taken a new job or moved to a new place and said “It’s just for a year” and then ended up loving it and staying longer, noone would think anything of it. I think some people just don’t get it because they are used to thinking of success and security in terms of money rather than happiness.

    I’m sure plenty of people who have been (or had loved ones) involved in one of those “random Tuesdays” wished they had spend as much time together with their families enjoying life as you are right now rather than sitting in a skyscraper chasing dollars.

    As long as you are all happy, there is no reason to change. More power to you, and I hope to have the same thing as soon as I can.

  • November 14, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    Nick – Great points, and thanks!

  • November 14, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Hey you guys — this post stirred up a lot of feelings for me, because I can relate to how tough the choices and trade-offs are that you face. There’s definitely a value, in my view, to having a home and plugging into a community, for the sake of establishing traditions and routines, and for the kids to experience school. They loved roadschooling, but also welcomed the return to the classroom experience. If I had my choice and could make it work with our business, I’d be on the road three to six months of the year.
    If you do stay on the road with no end date, my only suggestion would be to swap New Zealand for Australia :-). We found Australia overpriced and overrated, and my hunch is it would seem pretty homogenous and boring to you after all the places you’ve been. New Zealand is so much more interesting, in my view.
    Good luck!

  • November 14, 2011 at 12:56 PM

    Considering most people keep doing stuff in spite of hating their lives for the sake of school, pension, etc. (and clearly what is the point?? there is more than one way to crack that egg) I think your approach is a brilliant one!! To keep doing what you are enjoying til it no longer works for one of you is a fantastic way to fill life with joy in living and the life lessons Bode is learning from you on delighting in every day and how to pursue one’s dreams and make them a reality – not to mention the love you all share – well it is really an inspiration! Wishing you all the best! N.

  • November 14, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    And Nick’s comment is a keeper – I am making note of it and the line I LOVE from your post “The back of the mind is there for a reason.” Until we meet again! N.

  • November 14, 2011 at 1:40 PM

    You guys are living the dream. Keep having fun! I’m going to think and plan to meet up with you guys somewhere in 2012.

    Safe travels!

  • November 14, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    When/if you guys make it up to Alaska, you know where you can stay. That’s if we are still here. There’s a Syncro Westy in the driveway right now under repair for the same endless-destinationless trip you are on. But we’d love to host if you make it up this way.

    If you need some VW friendly folks as contacts in Europe, especially Germany, let me know.


  • November 14, 2011 at 2:59 PM

    Keep doing what you are doing!You remain a real inspiration to us and i only. Hope you are still going when we set off overland in a few years!
    Enjoy x

  • November 14, 2011 at 3:00 PM

    Kirsty – don’t take off too soon – we need a place to crash in London!

  • November 14, 2011 at 3:31 PM

    I wouldn’t worry too much about plans! We always noticed that travelers with “schedule” were the ones to miss the most amazing human interactions, like invitations or fiestas in a particular town.
    One day you’ll feel ready to wind down the trip — and that’ll be the perfect time to do so (apart from all the logistics to achieve this, which will take some time, too).

    …to say it with R.Crumb: “Keep on tracking”

  • November 14, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    I know the bus is slow, but I think you can still follow the advice from Better Off Dead: Go that way, really fast. If something gets in your way, turn.

  • November 14, 2011 at 4:22 PM

    Do you know the street value of this mountain?

  • November 14, 2011 at 4:55 PM

    “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” (Mark Twain)

    Great post-take care & have fun!


  • November 14, 2011 at 6:56 PM

    Angela, your post to Bustache linked me to your blog, which I loved. I am somewhat ready to retire from education (counseling) and I am so proud to know there are such bright, inquisitive young people out there exploring what can be….. it’s a gift! Enjoy!!!!!
    My husband and I will begin our new exploration pretty soon and I hope to have just some of the great moments you have had with your family!

  • November 15, 2011 at 5:35 AM

    Without sounding presumptuous, I’d like to give you my two cents on this whole “when do you come home and stop traveling” thingy.

    This trip of your is nothing more than your life going on. What sets it apart is that you chose to make it public. The real question is when will you stop bloging/writing publicly about your life?

    You are very generous folks who have something to say. The reader who is not satisfied by the content of your blog is not reading it right. As a reader, I only need to look between the line to find out about the turmoils and dificulties and immense joys you don’t write about. I need to reflect on the words and emotions you so kindly share with us to take out what is said. Yours is a story of life. Of a family that chose what they wanted to do together, no matter where it brought them.

    When you do settle down, be it in San Fransisco, Austin, Bulawayo, Aukland, Kyoto or Fairbanks, it does not mean the trip will end. The trip will end when your life will end. All our trips will end when our tickers stop.

    Family and community are important. And this is the difference with you and the rest of us. Your community is virtual, harnessing the powers of this great, great instrument that Internet is. But then again, by definition, isn’t all communities virtual? Bound to imaginary, emotional and completely random events and sets of value.

    We have been back from our travels around North America for almost 2 years now. Yet, the trip keeps going on. We still don’t know where it will lead us. What we know is that when we come to a “Mountain”, we have to decide if we’re going over it or around it.

    A professional life, be it in a cubical or in a New York loft or on the road is not an end, its a mean. Real life is the ensemble… Work, sleep, home, travels, week-end outings, beers at the local pub, beers at a pub in Dublin, family (funny that I write it after beer…), community, schooling, arts, culture, esoteric adventures, pets, breakfast, etc. It all here. Where you are at the moment. We’re all in the middle of one big trip. The only difference is that some are where they want to be while others only dreams about wanting to be somewhere else.

    We all have to power to make our trip a good ride. The real and only (ok, maybe I am simplifying a little) difference between the Bodeswells and other people is still that your life is public and that you are where you are. If you continue bloging about your life when you’re home and working as an engineer and a professional marketing expert, you will still be the most interesting people on your block. That’s the kind of people you are.

    So long as you still “just keep going as long as you’re having fun.” And that is my wish for you and us all. The have the wisdom to follow that simple rule. Then, change course.

    As far as I understand life and family, your conundrum will continue for the rest of your family life: “everything with us is a 3-body problem. It’s a bitch to solve. One thing we know for sure is that once one of us is done, we’re all done.”

    Reading my long comment, I am realizing that something in reading your post and the comments that follow set me off. I am glad I got it off my chest.

    Happy road!

  • November 15, 2011 at 5:39 AM

    Auto-correcting sucks…

  • November 15, 2011 at 6:22 AM

    I concur with all the above comments.

    Ya gotta do whatcha gotta do watcha gotta do, so long as you’re happy where you are, while you’re doin it.

    aka VW Busman

  • November 15, 2011 at 1:26 PM

    I would absolutely agree with Sarah above…New Zealand is truly one of the most fascinating places on earth… great food, great scenery, great wine, friendly people, excellent adventure. Australia is overpriced and, quite honestly, in traveling to over 40 countries it is the one country where we met people who openly disliked Americans! It does have some sites worth seeing but see them and get out… it’s way overrated.
    loving that you’re continuing to just be happy and go with the flow rather than worry about the conventional thoughts of “having” to have a job & house. Keep up the good site!
    Cheers – Rhonda

  • November 15, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Great post Jason! I’m sure a lot of your questioning came from coming back to the U.S. – “we” (your typical U.S. citizens) just aren’t conditioned for a trip like yours. We are always taught to get the safe job, get our 401k’s for retirement, etc. And I think we lose a lot of our dreams in this society. And a lot of the questions you ask about the future are the same ones I always think of when dreaming about a trip like yours.
    “One thing we know for sure is that once one of us is done, we’re all done. Ending a trip/lifestyle like this is a pretty permanent thing. Why stop unless you have to? Why think small? Besides, there’s always the chance that I’ll end up in an office cubicle somewhere without any planning or dreaming at all. I don’t even want to think about that option.”
    Therein lies your answer. Why stop if all of you are still having fun? If you can still swing it financially and are still having fun, I say go for it. (as I sit in my office cubicle and dream of being on the road but am afraid of my finances…)

    I got the sticker BTW – thanks!!! Gus will wear it proudly.

  • November 15, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    I love the “Take It As It Comes” attitude and the new logo and new favicon. And the World as your Oyster imagery in this post couldn’t be more spot-on. You’ll know when you’re done. Better to go that 1 extra mile or town than wondering the rest of your life “but what if we…?”

    You guys are my heroes. Godspeed.

  • November 15, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    i wonder where this reader is sticking it?

    “I got an email from a reader a while back with lots of questions about our trip and I had a hard time answering some of them. Moreover, he indicated that we weren’t writing about the things that he was interested in hearing – and I see his point.”

  • November 15, 2011 at 9:30 PM

    “the back of the mind is there for a reason” Nice one.

  • November 16, 2011 at 10:33 AM

    Hi Team Rehm!

    I have been following your blog for a very long time! It inspired my boyfriend and I to take a similar trip. Just wanted to say best of luck with these tough decisions! And as long as you guys never stop dreaming or planning, I’ll be following along.

  • November 16, 2011 at 1:07 PM

    I love your blog and envy your lifestyle. It’s hard to remember that words are a way to make connections: that when people ask especially inane questions that back you into a corner in a way that no one does to them, it’s because they find you interesting and want to connect more with what you do and are doing.
    Your blog connects to many of us and we love joining in! Thank you so much for generosity in sharing!
    Keep on trucking – you’re living your life and following ‘the plan’ as much as any of us.
    thanks for sticker!! I love it. Great idea!

  • November 16, 2011 at 7:47 PM

    To Julie,

    I put my sticker on my cubicle wall so I can remember every day where I would rather be. I hope no one tells me where to …

    To Team Rehm,

    I think Mike and Maria’s quote says it all.

  • November 16, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    ‘Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans’

    Not sure who to credit for this one, but it has ceratinly applied to my own ‘life’ recently!

    Ditto to M&M’s quote, & also to your’s J, about the ‘back of the mind’ being there for a reason, like listening to your gut instinct – couldn’t be more true!

    Cheers, L

  • November 26, 2011 at 7:36 AM

    Hola Jason!

    I am of a like mind about the continued travel. I wish our Land Rover and wallet were up for it. The truck is going to need tons of work when we get home. Luckily, it happily plugs along as is. I am interested in one day doing a sailing circumnavigation, but Lorna also shows no interest. We should be in Pichilemu this evening. Hope to see you on your way south. We are heading to San Antonio next to try and arrange shipping home,then a little more exploring in Chile!

    Cheers Steve

  • January 28, 2012 at 5:34 PM

    It’s been 17 months since I left. I am on a 4 week travel hiatus visiting with my family and I am getting the same questions you are getting. How long are you going to do this? When will you run out of money? You need to go back to work! But I just don’t want to stop. I love the gypsy life. If you find a way to fund yours, let me know how you will do it and I will clue you in if I find a way.

    My answer to those questions is always, “My plan is to have no plans”

    Good luck and happy travels!


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