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No Regrets

March 24, 2014

Rockport, Texas We’ve got a couple more days here in Rockport, then we’ll go over and spend a couple of days with family on Mustang Island before heading to Houston for good.

First, we should dispel the idea that the whole Fulltime RVing thing was a mistake. It wasn’t. Not by any means. I don’t think either of us would have changed a thing, except maybe to find a way sooner to live freely and travel at will. A few less years on bodies and joints would have been helpful.

This was something we talked about for years, and we were bold enough to follow a dream, something most people never get to do. Keep in mind, this is the same couple who, 22 years ago, in 1992, took to the arts & crafts show circuit after an oil company layoff, and ended up operating our own hole-in-the-wall art gallery in Ruidoso, New Mexico. Yes, we went broke and had to borrow money to start over, but the point is, we weren’t afraid to take the shot and we have no regrets. We are not strangers to adventure.

In the past two years, we have travelled as we never would have done otherwise. We have seen the original work of master painters, seen beautiful countryside and rocky seashores in places we’d never been. We’ve seen whales. We’ve met people who were only images on Facebook before, and others in stores and restaurants and shops and campgrounds. I got to paint with Dot Courson at a lake in Tupelo, Mississippi, Bill Guffey on a hillside at Burkesville, Kentucky, Craig Reynolds and Gina Brown at a pond near Gadsden, Alabama, and with John Wooldridge at Gettysburg National Battlefield. Our travels in the motorhome set the stage for us to reconnect and spend more time with some family members as well. It also allowed Nell to have more precious time with her mother than we would have ever spent otherwise. What an amazing experience it has been. And it’s not over.

This change will simply signal the transition to a new phase of the same adventure that has been our marriage for 24 years. Before, we did a lot of art-related things but never traveled, except to get to an occasional show, and a once yearly trip to Ohio to visit family.  More recently, we did a lot of traveling, but not much art stuff (with the exception of painting and drawing, of course). This new stage may find us enjoying the best of both worlds. While living in a sticks-and-bricks abode, we can more easily do shows and maybe even find some other art venues. But we can also load up and hit the road when the mood strikes us, traveling as experienced RVers, knowing we can take our time and smell the roses along the way.

We’ve established that, while living in the motorhome is a great way of life which many people continue well into their 80s, it’s probably not the right thing for the two of us as we get older. Only by living the experience for the past two and a half years could we know that.

We originally intended to live in the motorhome while we followed the show circuit around the country. I know there are people who do that, but we also wanted to see the country and enjoy the travel, and that really became the focus of our RV life. We did stumble onto an Art On The Square show in Bedord, PA and got a booth on short notice, and that was unique and fun. But, even as an artist, I found myself wanting to see more, record what we saw, and paint as much of it as possible. We were so busy enjoying the sights that trying to find and do shows became less of a priority. Now, as some of our friends have already said, maybe we can have the best of both worlds.

From an art viewpoint, settling in Houston has its advantages. Ironically, when we lived in the Dallas area, we found more show opportunities in Houston and Austin than in Dallas/Ft Worth. Even today, I believe there are far more venues year-round in the Houston/Gulf Coast area with reasonable booth fees.  And there are a lot of small shops and galleries that might take some of my work.

While we found that we could paint in a very small space, it will be nice to set up a studio that will allow both of us to work any time we want to. I am finding that the satisfaction gained from small work is limited after a while, and want to reconnect with the skills I was building with larger paintings and drawings. Nell wants to try some larger things as well, and I want that for her.

The idea of doing demonstrations and workshops continues to lurk in the back of my mind. Maybe a smaller rig will give us the flexibility to get around faster. We shall see.

The plan at the moment is to slow down and take our time making further decisions. We have a spot reserved at Advanced RV Park in Pearland, Texas, on the outskirts of Houston. We’ve stayed there before, and it’s a nice place. Then we’ll take our time looking for a place to live. Our initial search has shown that we need to be on the ground in Houston in order to do this properly.

Stay tuned. We’re not going away. We’re just making some changes in our adventure.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 24, 2014 6:14 pm

    Best wishes Ralph and good luck in your search and your future lifestyle.

  2. March 24, 2014 6:42 pm

    Well said!!! Most people never chase their dreams and is is better to have tried then to not have tried at all. When we had to come in off the “full time road” we said the same things you have said and we are dam proud to have chased out dreams and we certainly did grasp quite a few of them.. Had we not done it we would still be dreaming!! Good luck you guys – all will be fine!!

  3. Gordon Beck permalink
    March 24, 2014 8:22 pm

    Best wishes, Ralph…your adventure has been fun to follow. I’ve been inspired by your posts and have enjoyed all your commentary over the past few years. Hope to hear a lot more in the future, too!

    • March 24, 2014 8:46 pm

      Thanks, Gordon! There appear to be a few people who check in on us periodically, so I’ll keep posting.

  4. William R Moore permalink
    March 24, 2014 10:02 pm

    Well said, Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Wishing you the best for finding the balance you seek. Studio, maybe some larger works in oil. Hee Hee :0)

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