May 092009

With our time running out here in our old hometown of Show Low, Arizona, we are busy touching base with old friends, and trying to spend as much time with my daughter and her family as we can.

Yesterday we visited with a friend who was a major advertiser when I owned the weekly newspaper here. He owns a huge furniture store, and is one of the most successful businessmen in the region. He helped me make the decision to abandon my old workaholic ways to go fulltime, after I was injured in an accident (in which somebody called Terry to tell her that I had been killed), he said “Nick, you got your butt shot off in the Army when you were a kid, you had a heart attack when you were 39, and now this. How many times do you think you can roll the dice and come out ahead? Sooner or later, you’re going to lose. You can be the richest guy in the cemetery, but you’re still dead.”

Those words really sank in, and it was just a few weeks later that we decided to live our dreams now, not “someday” down the road. After ten years, we have never regretted that decision for one moment. My friend has told us many times how much he envies us and our lifestyle, and he would love to trade places. But his business places so many demands on his time that he finds it hard to get away even for a weekend. I reminded him of his own words to me yesterday.

Money and the trappings of success are fine, and I’ve had some measure of that in my life, but I’ve never been happier than I am right now. Yes, we’d love to have a newer RV, no, we’re far from rich, if you measure wealth solely in terms of dollar signs, but you cannot put a price tag on the happiness and contentment we have. The view out of our windshield is the same one the guy in the million dollar super coach parked next to us has.

Over the years, I cannot count the number of people I have talked to who have told me that they planned to hit the road someday, but a wife or husband got sick or died, or some other unforeseen disaster struck, and they never got to live their dream. Likewise, we have had many, many subscribers who did get to try fulltiming, but after a few months or a year or two, they lost their spouse, or health issues forced them off the road.

We can always buy more clothes, or another RV or house, or whatever. But the one commodity we cannot buy is time. Each of us has just so much time on this old rock, and we never know how long that is. Too many times, when people plan on “someday” they find that their list of things to do before that day arrives is longer than the time they have left. If you could look into the future and know that you had one year, or five years or whatever left to live, how many of those years would you be willing to waste not doing what will really make you happy?

Some people are hesitant to live their dreams because they worry about what others will think of them. I can tell you that many of our friends and family members were absolutely convinced that Terry and I had been smoking wacky tobaccy or something when we told them we were walking away from all we had built up over the years to run off and become gypsies. But these days when we visit, those same people tell us how much they wish they were us.

I’ve always believed that if you really want something bad enough, you can find a way to make it happen. It may not be the ideal way, it may not be exactly what you envisioned, but you can make it happen! But only if you are willing to step outside of your comfort zone, to take a risk and see what happens.

Thought For The Day – Does the calm before the storm seem calm at the time?

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  4 Responses to “Life Holds No Guarantees”

  1. Well said Nick. 15 years ago, co-workers of Sandy tried to talk her out of the idea that we could go full-time. Today, we have 15 years of wonderful memories and more on the way. See you at the Escapade! Gene

  2. I agree completely Nick. I’ve always had a dream of someday going to Alaska. Yesterday, after 23 days on the road and some equipment failure, that dream came true when we crossed the border from the Yukon into Alaska where we’ll spend the summer at Moose Pass on the Kenai. What an awesome trip. You can read all about it at

  3. How true! We are so blessed with the confidence to “make it happen!” I’ll always remember meeting the sweetest man in 1996 as he admitted his wife to the nursing home in which I worked. He’d just retired and they’d planned to see the world. She had a stroke and never recovered. He never did, either. That made a HUGE impression on me. We started working cruise ships just a couple years later. We worked them because we couldn’t afford to be passengers, but we still got many of the perks. And now we’re loving the RV life! Still working, and still getting the perks!

  4. True, true, true! We have a friend who is dying of cancer at 68 – it sounded old when I was twenty but now that I’m 60! It’s just around the corner. He has had a pretty full life but I’m sure there are a few more things he’d like to try.

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