Cruising to an American Dream

 The Colborns' RV which was used by the couple to visit 49 states in four years (Photo courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

The Colborns' RV which was used by the couple to visit 49 states in four years (Photo courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

I was born with a fascination for America. But it was only when I retired from my career and my three daughters were grown that I finally made the move. And it was no longer to make a fortune. I wanted the time to cook a little, teach a little, travel a little, write a little and, first of all, love a little. The Philippines did not seem like the place where the last one could happen. All the good ones were taken!

Taking care of grandkids first in Calgary then in Seattle, I learned how to cook. Soon I was teaching at a technical college, a community college and a university. Then I met HIM through a medium many still frown upon, the Net. Although a biracial marriage is getting to be common in the US, it is still laden with opportunities for conflict. At our age when everything is cast in stone, it was a big dare for both of us.

At 8 p.m. on August 8, 2008 Bill, 64, and I, nearly 60, married on Champagne Lady on Lake Union, with the Seattle skyline as a backdrop. Our dream wedding was a cruising to a life of cruising together. Six months later, he sold his business. After his first trip to the Philippines, we bought a 24-ft. motor home and left Seattle to show it to our other kids in Boise, Denver, Calgary and Anchorage. That was the beginning of a four-year cruise of 49 American states, nine Canadian provinces, and six Mexican states.

From Anchorage, the mysterious Yukon beckoned, and we could not resist the bragging rights to the Arctic Circle. We drove through difficult Dempster Highway amid the spectacle of fall. By Thanksgiving, after a drive down the West Coast, including stops at Yosemite and Sequoia, we were at the Tropic of Capricorn in Mexico, touring Mazatlan, Mexico City and the Pyramids in Teotihuacan.

 The Colborns reaching the Arctic Circle through Yukon territory (Photo courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

The Colborns reaching the Arctic Circle through Yukon territory (Photo courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

We went back to the US through Texas, crossed the Gulf States and spent our first winter without family-- a no-no in the Philippines--in Florida. We even invested further in the lifestyle, upgraded to a 37-foot Class A motor home with a slide and bought a Thousand Trails membership with free access to 88 RV resorts in the continent. When springtime came, we started our trek up the East Coast.

 The Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas (Photo courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

The Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas (Photo courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

 The Colborns at Bryce National Park, Utah (Photo coutesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

The Colborns at Bryce National Park, Utah (Photo coutesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

While driving the Blue Ridge Parkway, I discovered that I had missed the fingerprinting appointment for my US citizenship application because we did not receive our forwarded mail on time. We had to appeal my case. Still able to make brief stops at Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone National Parks and other places on our fourth cross-country run, we arrived in Seattle in September of 2010.

On Valentines’ Day 2011, I took my oath as a US citizen and took Bill on his second three-month visit to the Philippines. When we came back, with no more unfinished business, we took all of six months to cross America once again and spend another six months in Florida. Although this was the most leisurely of our drives, ironically, it was also the time we faced two major challenges to our dream. We soon realized, as health risks turned into issues, that we should have built healthcare into our schedule.  Also, the lifestyle, though rife with activities, is socially isolating for the Filipino in me. I longed for outings with my BFFs!

When spring arrived, we persisted and began our trek up the East Coast where I got four massive doses of American history, first in Washington, DC, second in Philly, third in Boston, and fourth in Concord, Massachusetts. I was changed forever. I finally became more than a US citizen. I became an American. By summer we were on a tour of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario in beautiful Eastern Canada.

 Camping in national parks across the country (Photo courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

Camping in national parks across the country (Photo courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

We came back to the US through Michigan and passed through Bill’s Kansas hometown for his 50th High School reunion. Then we decided it was indeed time to rest as we could no longer ignore the physical and emotional disadvantages of the lifestyle. After looking for a base in Arizona and Southern California, we decided on Phoenix. In October 2013, after taking my oath as a Filipino-American at the Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles, we began our six-month trial at Viewpoint RV and Golf Resort.   

At the outset I had defined cruising as an “aimless (meaning no big aims), effortless (meaning no big efforts), timeless (meaning no big dictates on time), deeply personal enjoyable drive through life, preferably with a loved one. Whereas the driven lifestyle is accompanied by big goals like building a home, bringing up kids, or getting an MBA, cruising is characterized by little ones like baking a pie, spotting a deer, or taking photos. Whereas the driven lifestyle needs major energy to sustain, cruising works with whatever energy one may have. It actually took me all of five years to embrace this.

By the end of our journey, my fascination and my three other goals had become reality. I had become not just a traveler, but a cruising wanderer, not just a blogger but a writer, and not just a wife but a partner. So my contact card no longer bears letters like CEO and GM or MBA and DPA. It now reads Carolina Esguerra Colborn. Wanderer. Writer. Wife.

As Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” By the time the book, Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream, will be on the shelves, I will have cruised twelve countries in Europe and have a new global outlook. After all, cruising is not about a mode of transportation. It is a pace of travel. It is not about age or wealth, it’s a lifestyle.  

 Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream (Image courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)

Carolina: Cruising to an American Dream (Image courtesy of Carolina Esguerra Colborn)


10 Commandments of RV Cruising

  1. Follow the Sun.
  2. Become a member of a network.
  3. Choose based on most basic needs.
  4. Always travel light.
  5. Stay connected to friends and family.
  6. Plan and document your trips well.
  7. Build healthcare into your itinerary.
  8. Use the best mailing/forwarding service.
  9. Buy nationwide/local as appropriate.
  10. Don’t trade your home for an RV.

 Carolina Esguerra Colborn

Carolina Esguerra Colborn

Former CEO of Philippine IT pioneers, Carol Esguerra Colborn immigrated to the US in 2004. In 2008 she married Bill and they cruised North America in an RV for five years. Some posts of her travel blog have been published in Newsbytes.ph and EastLit.com. Carol has a BS, MBA, and DPA abd (all but dissertation) from the University of the Philippines.