Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

We are delighted to have Carol White with us today discussing her book, “Live Your Road Trip Dream.” According to Carol this detailed, step-by-step manual of real-life information on organizing the trip you've always wanted to take will have you on your adventure in no time.

Nourishing Relationships: Whatever made you and Phil believe that you could actually take off and travel for a year?

Carol: Phil and I believe that if we want something bad enough, we can make it happen - kind of the "dream it, do it" philosophy - with a generous dose of hard work thrown in! We had retired in our early 50s and had been banging around traveling, playing with the grandkids, reading, working out and just generally catching our breath from a lifetime of work. We started playing with the idea of taking a really long trip and seeing all those places in the US that we had always wanted to visit and before you know it - we were off.

N.R. So, what did you discover along the way?

Carol: We found so many amazing things, both about ourselves and about our country. We found that most people everywhere are really good people with generous hearts and an uplifting spirit - regardless of age, income, geography or occupation. Happiness is truly within - not from what you have or do. We found that every part of our great country has something interesting - we visited all 48 of the contiguous states and all 43 of our National Parks in those states and the vastness and variety is just amazing. We found that the children inside us began to creep out of us about the fourth week and we had such a great time just being kids - doing what we wanted when we wanted and exploring so much along the way. When was the last time you had that kind of freedom? We found that you really can be with your spouse 24/7 and still like each other. Phil claims that the secret to doing that is learning to say "yes, dear" in a genuine and caring way. Smart man, I say!

N.R. What is your #1 piece of advice for others who might want to do this?

Carol: We say, set your date to leave now and begin working towards it. Whether it is a year away or ten - you'll get there if you have a goal. Write it down, look at it everyday. It was unbelievable to us how quickly things started happening that moved us towards our goal every day. The hardest thing was getting the family to believe that we were really going to do this. My daughter said "You can't do that - parent's don't run away from home for a year!" We said, "just watch us..." Actually, one of the things that we spend a lot of pages on in the book, is helping people think through what their obstacles are going to be - we all have them - and then how they might accommodate taking care of Mom, volunteering at the school, - whatever it is for you - in order to make your dreams come true.

N.R. How did all of this lead to your book?

Carol: People all along the way kept saying, "Oh, we'd love to do what you are doing, but what did you do about...?" And their laundry list of questions would begin. After hearing the same issues over and over, and knowing that we too had faced, and solved, those issues, we decided that maybe we should write down what we had learned for others who might be interested. On the waning month of the trip, we began to reminisce about all we had done and all we had learned and just started jotting down ideas of what would be important for other people to know. When we returned and did some research, we found that there weren't any books that address the issues from A-Z, so we decided to write such a book. One problem. Neither of us were writers, nor did we know anything about publishing. After a couple of forays into the traditional publishing world, we ultimately decided to form our own company (hey, we weren't doing anything anyway, right?) and learn to publish and market it ourselves. After four years, four printings, and two editions, were have become road trip experts and our book has become the award-winning, best selling, ultimate guide to road trip planning.

N.R. So what's next in your lives?

Carol: We are still traveling, talking to people about road tripping, and we are National Spokespeople for the RV Industry (RVIA) who does the "Go RVing" campaign. Even though you don't have to have an RV to do a trip of this type, it is certainly worth considering as the type of vehicle for your trip. I will be speaking December 6-7 in Scottsdale AZ at the "Festival of the Wise" ( - a boomer gathering that is shaping up to be a lot of fun. We've also spoken at the National AARP convention, been a speaker for AAA here in Oregon, been quoted and featured in hundreds of newspapers and magazines, and been on lots of radio and TV - we are having a great time. What we are finding now is that I'm being asked to do writing for other websites and magazines professionally and I have developed a book marketing consulting practice based on the success that I have had with our book. No matter what the next opportunity is - we'll be there to embrace it. Retirement is the greatest time in life.

We want to thank Carol for a lively conversation and great ideas. Now, Sandwiched Boomers, take a moment out of your hectic life - It's your turn to dream about your next adventure.

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Blogger Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

Good morning! I'm looking forward to chatting with some folks today about our second half of life adventures. We are still road tripping. In the last couple of months, I've been to Spokane and Flathead Lake in Mt. and visited Preist Lake for the first time; I have visited my son in Joseph OR twice - he's getting ready to move - know anyone who wants to move to that lovely town? Look here: and finally, I just got back from another great spot - Lake Quinault in the Olympic rain forest in WA. We went salmon fishing on the river with an Indian guide - it is on their sovereign land.

Now with gas prices down 30% from their summer high - plan a road trip of your own - it really does nourish your relationships.


7:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love my husband but I can't imagine being together all the time. Did you ever feel like you needed some space? if so, how did you make it happen? Claire

8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With this financial mess who knows if we'll be able to stop working. In the meantime, what do you suggest if weekends away are all we can manage?

8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The idea is great but I can't imagine being away from my children and grandkids for a long time. Besides which, my daughter is a single mom and counts on me to help out.

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband has always wanted to go on a long RV trip but I have been hesitant. Would you suggest renting an RV and trying a short trip or does that not really give you the same feeling? Is it hard to learn how to drive an RV? Do you have to be handy to deal with all the water, electricity, sewage issues? As you can see, it seems a little overwhelming to me. What is the best way to start? Suzi

9:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carol, thanks for all your stimulating suggestions.
I think whenever you take the idea for a trip into your imagination and then begin to follow with details and plans, it takes the idea from a beginning state to fruition. Making dreams come true through travel, exploration, new beginnings and adventure just adds dimension to the psyche.Would you consider writing more about special places and what they offer and where to stay and what to do ? ie: Sante Fe, San Juan Islands, Four Corners.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey that Festival of the Wise sounded like a great event to go to. I checked out there site at

See you there Pat.

3:39 PM  
Blogger Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

Wow - Thanks for all the comments - I'll try to answer you all. I'll do separate asnwers for each one of you, OK?

Claire - Yours is our #1 most asked question. When we came home at the holidays mid-way through our trip, we figured we had been apart 9 hours in 6 months! And still liked each other! What we recommend is this: 1) Make sure each person has at least a small area in the vehicle that is there's alone, for their own things. It is amazing how just that one simple thing gives you mental space and a sense of control. 2) When you get on each others nerves, go do separate things for a day - send him to play golf and you take a walk, read and enjoy the sunshine or you go to a museum and send him to a ball game - you get the idea. You'll have more to talk about at the end of the day and will feel invigorated. 3) Exercise regularly, either together or apart - again it is that mental "clearing of the mind" that helps keep you up and positive. Walking, hiking, bicycling, yoga, are all easy to do without much equipment and many RV parks (or motels if you are in a car) have workout rooms.

It is amazing that when you are doing things of your own choosing every day, away from the "daily grind" of life, there is a lot less to be upset about and less to be on each others nerves about. It is truly like being a kid again.


5:00 PM  
Blogger Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

Hi "can't imagine" -

Yours is the most common refrain that we hear from Grandmas - and I am one with 9 and a 10th on the way. Here is part of what I say in the book:

This is just a short plea for sanity. The most common refrain we heard -- and still hear --was "I could never leave my grandchildren that long! How did you do it?" We also heard it in relation to children, dogs, neighbors, and parents -- but most often about those darling little humans that grow way too fast.

We also love our grandchildren to death. We now have eight and see some portion of them most every week. We wouldn't miss their growing up for anything and continue to arrange our lives to live close to them. But we also know that life is short and we never know when our time here will be over. We were good parents. We prepared our children well for life. We did our jobs and more. We willingly and gleefully gave of our time and our talents and continue to do so. We never took long vacations away from them, and we now take the grandchildren with us from time to time -- and will do more as they get older and easier.

But at some point in life, don't you just want to scream "But what about me?"

We decided our time had come. If we didn't grab it now, we may never get the chance. It was our turn to do something special for ourselves.

We know how important this factor is for many people, but we really plead with you to consider yourself first for a change. If extensive traveling is indeed of interest to you -- or, we assume you wouldn't be reading this book! -- then take a deep breath, kiss the grandchildren, and plunge ahead with this crazy idea!


Consider how lucky you are to live close to your daughter and grandchildren - that won't change and in the scope of things, taking a year or six months or two years out for something special just for yourself is something you deserve - just for you! With today's technology, staying in touch with those darling little kiddies is so easy - they will love it and so will you. If you really can't stand it - have them come spend some time with you - or you go home, like we did.


7:14 PM  
Blogger Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

Suzi -

We had never been in an RV before we went on our trip, much less driven one or gone in a trip in one! We had a friend "show us the ropes" and went on a couple of shakedown trips - and headed off into the wild blue yonder. There are a couple of charts in the back of my book that really lay it all out simply for you. It isn't rocket science - especially in the small ones like we had.

Don't be hesitant - go have the time of your life. Call me if you need more encouragement or have questions. I'm here for you and all hesitant road trippers. It was the absolute best thing we ever did for ourselves and our marriage.


7:18 PM  
Blogger Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

Hi Financial mess...

I say set your date for your getaway and work towards it - even if it is 10 years away. You won't believe how when you set that into motion how things will happen to fulfill your plan. I really believe in "self-fulfilling prophecies" or "the Secret" or whatever you want to call it, but if you don't have a goal, any road will get you "there." When you have a goal, and you make everything you do work towards that goal, then the likelihood of it happening is greater. The first paragraph in the book says it all:

It’s early January 2000. It’s raining out (what else in Oregon?), and I am sitting down with a cup of coffee to pay the bills. I come upon a renewal notice for Golf for Women, and mechanically begin to write out the check. WAIT! my subconscious says to me, why are you doing that? You won’t be here to read it! You’re going on a year long trip, remember? And so the serious decision making of preparing for The Trip begins. At first the tasks seemed almost overwhelming. So many things to think it’s enough to make you cancel the whole idea before you get started! But with that first small step of not renewing subscriptions, came a torrent of activities over the next 6 months.

In the meantime, start plotting your plan and take weekend outings to try out the concept of what you like to do together. Again, set a goal. Maybe it is "one weekend a month, we will go on an overnight road trip somewhere" then sit down and plot out those places you want to see within proximity to your home. Practice being a tourist in your own town - go places you are embarrassed to say you've never been within 100 miles of your house. We all have them! But most of all, set that date and work towards your goal - and have fun in the meantime.

Good Luck, Carol

7:41 PM  
Blogger Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

Hi Santa Fe, San Juan, etc.

The most important reason that Phil and I wrote our book was to encourage others to follow in our footsteps. We had the absolute best time on our year long vagabond and wanted others to do it to. We didn't want "lack of information" to be a reason not to do it.

Now that the book is kind of taking care of itself, I am doing more writing about special places and things we are exploring. I am kind of in a transition between promoting the book and just writing about what I love doing. So sign up for my newsletter here:
The subscribers will be the first ones to know about my new adventures and writing blogs. Right now I do write regularly for The Good Sam Club's Cyber-Sam (on technology), and for several of their features. But, I'm planning on breaking out into other avenues also.

If you are in the Phoenix area, I hope you'll attend the Festival of the Wise in early December and come hear me speak and enjoy this great conference.

As a final comment, the three places that you mentioned are all among my favorites - if you have specific questions about any of them, email me off line -



9:06 PM  
Blogger Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

Hi Pat -

I do quite a few of these and really enjoy talking to people and encouraging them to have this great experience for themselves. Look for the Roadtrek RV and for my talk - I'll be around during the whole conference. Please identify yourself to me - I'd love to meet you.

For those of you who think RVs have to be these huge behemoths - you'll love seeing the Roadtrek RV ( They drive like an SUV or Van and yet are luxury outfitted. The one Phil and I drove for our media tour for "Go RVing" last year had leather throughout, granite countertops in a wonderful little kitchen, a full bathroom, a king-sized bed, got 22 MPG diesel, and had a flat screen TV/DVD - all in 22 feet. You've got to see it to believe it.

Hope to see some of you at the show.


9:18 PM  
Blogger Carol White - The Road Trip Dreamer said...

OK, now I'm reading my own answers and have one more thing to say - besides the fact that I said "there's" when it should have been "theirs" to Claire - Geez - one to many glasses of wine, I guess.

I forgot to say that, according to Phil, the MOST IMPORTANT thing about getting along 24/7 is "learning to say 'yes dear' in a genuine and sincere manner." He's a smart man, don't you think?

I hope I have answered your questions and that you've all learned something from our discussion today. I'll check back every day for a few days to see what else might be on your minds - and give you my view of the world of retirement and reinventing yourself in retirement. I'm also available to answer individual questions via email.

I hope I'll also get to meet some of you. If you read back through my newsletters, you'll see that many of the people who have embarked on their Road Trip Dream and come to Oregon have been guests at our house for lunch - I'd love to fix lunch for you too and hear more about your story. Please feel free to stay in touch and tell me how your ideas for your Road Trip Dream are coming along.

Night, night for now.


9:31 PM  

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