“Should it not be our great privilege to live the lives we’ve imagined? To be who we want to be? To go on our own great journeys and share our experiences with others?”
Ken Ilgunas – Walden on Wheels
We’re Eric and Nancy, and we’re working and traveling the U.S. full-time in our 31ft travel trailer along with our dog, Parker. In May of 2017 we left our jobs, sold our houses and minimized our belongings. In June, we married in the vines of a winery in Wisconsin. In July we set off on our adventure!
An Idea Born in Alaska
Planning for the Wheelhouse Journey took nearly a year, and was first conceived from our inspirational conversations with locals and other adventurers while in Alaska. After returning to our home in Minnesota, we evaluated where we were at in our lives, and reflected on what we felt was most valuable to us. Having parents that didn’t get to enjoy their retirement, we knew what we wanted to do: take a year off from our careers and travel.
Break from the Norm
We were still young in terms of our careers, but we needed a change. The thought of hiking beautiful trails, watching stunning sunsets, driving through majestic mountains and spending this time with each other at this moment of our lives was something we needed to do. So we decided to sell our homes, minimize our belongings and made a choice to start this new adventure of experiencing a lifestyle on the road.
What This Blog is About
My passion for exploring the country, interest in a healthy, active lifestyle and focus on living simply and authentically have come together on our journey. I love actively exploring especially being an “rv runner” – running in new places and connecting with the running community across the country. I’m also becoming an avid hiker and especially enjoy our family desert, mountain, and waterfall hikes. I also get excited about exploring through food – finding (mostly) healthy local delicacies, terrific wineries, and dog-friendly breweries. My nickname is “Fancy Nancy” given my preference for wearing heels and dresses – which are still a key part of my small RV closet! Career-wise, I spent 20 years in the Consumer Packaged Foods industry specializing in Sales, Category Management, and Consumer Insights. I now enjoy doing freelance work in these areas and working with companies whose products I’m passionate about. Most importantly, I’m so grateful to travel through life with my love, my amazing husband Eric.
I feel so fortunate to be able to experience this journey every day with my wife. I started my career as a software engineer in the aerospace industry developing safety critical software. After 17 years I decided to move into the medical industry where I was on a team developing mobile applications. Away from work I developed my photography skills and grew my love for traveling and visiting National Parks. In 2013 I started my photography business, Eric Rach Photography. I sold my work through art fairs and exhibitions, but now sell prints online and take family portraits. Although I no longer work an office job, I enjoy working remotely as a photographer and freelancer helping clients with spreadsheet and website development. I love being outdoors; hiking, biking and exploring the country! I’m still amazed every day by the beauty of the United States and hope to continue this wild experience for years to come!
Our favorite thing about Parker is the joy that he approaches every day and everyone – from his excitement waking up in the morning to the following he draws wherever we park our RV. Parker is a wonderful traveler and loves a good road trip. He’s also a strong trekker – after being born in Phoenix, he’s honed his hiking skills with us in the mountains and desert of Arizona. Parker also enjoys catching his tennis ball, chewing socks, jumping off rocks, visiting breweries and a good cuddle.
Our amazing dog, Denali, started this journey with us on July 1, 2017 in Minneapolis, MN and passed away on September 30, 2017 in Berkeley, CA – exactly 3 months on the road and 3 months from his 14th birthday. We will never forget the amazing time we had with him, and how fortunate we were. He was a driving force for us to live a different lifestyle and take him on our journey. We love you buddy! Read Eric’s tribute here.