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Valley forum: A 110-day road trip across America – Why?

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(Editor’s note: This is the first of a random series of blog reports from Bill and Lori Hutchinson, a well-known Sonoma couple embarked on 110-day, cross country, blue-highway odyssey. We thought their insightful observations about America on-the-road would interest local readers.)

By Bill Hutchinson

Two reasons. First, we both love adventure, seeing new places, meeting new people and discovering the essence of America or anywhere else we travel to in this inspiring world.

We know we love this kind of adventure from past experience, which made our decision to depart from our Sonoma driveway easier. Thirty-three years ago we pulled away in our Dodge Aspen station wagon from our then-Sausalito home with our active toddler daughter.
Kate was not even 2-years-old, and if we were going to go on an adventure with her, why wait until she was in school and had friends she would not want to leave? Life is short and we wanted to have even more time with her.

On New Year’s Eve, 1980, we made the decision to live on a Greek Island with Kate, and be away for at least one year.
After completing what felt like unending to-do lists, we departed for our 14-month adventure. Our monthly stipend was $400. We drove and car-camped from California to Oregon to Vancouver, across Canada, south to Iowa, and onward to the East Coast. We had selected Skiathos as our home-to-be in the Northern Sporades islands because it possessed our three requirements: beaches, green and an airport, in case of an emergency.

Two months after dozens of car camping experiences and mooching off friends and relatives, we arrived by ferry on Skiathos. We enjoyed almost every aspect of being in a new place, making memories. The day-to-day challenge of living in a foreign country stretched and taught us and provided many life lessons. We grew up individually and as partners. We made some of the best friends of our lives there. Living on Skiathos was so different from the life we had gotten used to in California, it was no surprise that this adventure was a life-changing experience.

Second reason for the current odyssey – we both needed to reinvent our lives again. Our consulting business of 20 years is based on many relationships formed by face-to-face contact and phone calls one at a time. An idea busted out as a solution. What if we drove across the United States, seeing clients who had become friends, and rented our home in Sonoma? What if we could combine our business and personal reasons into one? We could visit clients of Hutchinson Consulting while having a lot of fun, too. We could check off every state we had never been to (except Alaska), renew our day-to-day relationship and exercise and meditate daily.

We are doing it! Sixteen days in and we are still married, talking to one another and loving the ride.

We’ll keep you posted.

  • Kathy

    bill and lori — blessings on your trip. I spent some time on Skiathos as a college student, and we are planning a few month trip to Greece next year, now that I am retired. Taking off for a month of undetermined exploration in a few weeks, hope we can compare notes soon! bon voyage!