We’ve been toying with this idea for more than a year now. A Peace of My Mind’s work is out there. On the road. Everywhere. In 2019 we led programming in 20 states and on four continents. It’s good work. Mission-driven work. And more necessary every day.
But every good thing has a cost. Last year Karen and I were apart for 170 nights. That’s too much. We got married because we like each other and after almost 29 years of marriage (August 24) we still do. We are big people and can weather some separation, but we didn’t want to continue at that pace so we started exploring creative solutions (what other people might refer to as “crazy ideas”).
A Peace of My Mind was becoming sustainable, but we still had to make choices. You don’t do a thing like this because you plan to get rich. Karen had quit once before, but the cost of health insurance (and John’s pesky bladder cancer scare…which is fine now) sent her back to work so we could afford coverage. So, our creative solutions acknowledged that we could afford two of the three following things:
-a house payment
-a life together
We stared that list down time and again and there was no way around it. Those were fixed facts. In the end, Karen had the solution.
“Let’s sell the house and live in an RV,” she said.
“Really?” I asked?
“OK,” I said. “Let’s do it.”
It wasn’t a hard sell. I’m semi-nomadic anyway, and I’ve long believed that when it’s time to clean the toilet, that’s a good sign that it’s time to move on. We made a plan. We explored rigs. We would drive from job to job. We would follow A Peace of My Mind’s programming across the country and figure out the details as we went.
Then COVID hit. The jobs all went away. It was heartbreaking, but it was clear our plans would have to change. There was a world of hurt all across the country. All around the world. Dreams deferred. Plans changed. Lives altered. It was crushing, but in the big picture, ours was a small adjustment and we knew others had much bigger challenges.
But then the world kept changing. George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis. Because my workload had vanished, I had time to gather stories at his memorial site and I believe it was some of the most important work I have done so far.
People were listening. The world was shifting. A space was opening up for new conversations and new possibilities and I wanted A Peace of My Mind to be a part of it. There was an urgency to it all and we dared to float the idea again.
Maybe we could still hit the road together but instead of going from job to job, we will go from story to story. We will downsize our life. Karen can find a job she can do from the road. We’ll fit in programming as the world opens up again.
There are powerful stories waiting to be told so we will focus on gathering new content. Stories from the leading edge of movements to address challenges around race, immigration, indigenous rights, rural poverty, the environment and more. We will find the examples that work and amplify them, to use them as our road map going forward.
We launched a crowdfunding campaign called Cry Out: Voices calling for radical love and justice in a broken world. It’s scary to put out a bold vision like that, but y’all said yes. You voted with your resources. You’ve generously supported the idea and as we pass the halfway point of the campaign, we are 1/3 of the way to our ambitious goal.
So we’ll say yes as well. We are all in. We will sell the house, buy a trailer, hit the road and gather stories of hope, courage and transformation. You have set the wheels in motion and we will try to keep up. Things are moving fast, now.
We are busy fixing up the house and will have it on the market in 2 weeks. We have money down on a 28-foot trailer and it should arrive in 5 weeks. We are connecting with potential subjects and imagining potential schedules. There are a lot of moving parts swirling around, but here’s what we know.
Our dog Bailey is ready to roll, as long as we pack snacks.
Our grown kids are both encouraging us.
Our rig will be a pickup truck pulling a 28-foot trailer. (with a little scooter on the back if John gets his way.)
I never want to paint another wall or piece of trim in my lifetime.
Our first stop will be West Virginia in October.
We expect to work our way south during the cold months and back north as the tundra thaws.
There will be 1,000 details to sort out as we settle into a nomadic life.
Y’all have made this possible. There are stories to tell. By selling our house and hitting the road, we can find them. We can share them. And we can all learn along the way.
I believe that something better is possible. Let’s go there.