DAN & LISA BROWN
“The coasts we’ve seen, now traveling between” – Always On Liberty
Restlessness, adventure and wanderlust tugged at these nomadic Coast Guard Veterans hearts and souls after hanging up their military uniforms.
BACKGROUND/BIO: We were a military family with 40 years combined service in the Coast Guard and accustomed to relocating often. Lisa hung up her Coast Guard uniform after nine years to raise our family in 1990, and Dan retired in 2010 with 30+ years.
Shortly after retiring from the military, Dan went to work a couple jobs but never found satisfaction, drive or discipline in them. A year and a half later, he was hired to serve in the Law Enforcement Department with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife processing and storing criminal evidence. Though he loved his job, seemingly Dan was asking for unpaid time off so we could go on motorcycle trips. We each had Harley Davidson Softails sitting in the garage. The trips started getting longer and more frequent. They were our getaway excuse to travel and to see America. We loved seeing parts of the country we’ve never been to but as soon as those trips began, they quickly ended leaving us wondering what was beyond those mountains or over the river when it was time to head back home. Our nomadic souls remained incomplete.
Then we sat one evening in late 2013, in our newly renovated five bedroom, three bathroom Kentucky home positioned perfectly in a manicured neighborhood community that people typically see on HGTV. We looked around at our newly painted walls, freshly-laid hand-scraped wood floors, customized kitchen complete with mahogany cabinets with seed glass doors and huge granite countertops. It was beautiful; a place where our families should gather for celebrations, Thanksgiving and Christmas. But that never happened. It was the typical “American Dream” but it wasn’t “our” dream. Though amazingly beautiful and putting countless hours in all the DIY’s to make it our dream home, it just wasn’t. To us, it was just a house. We’re not complaining but there wasn’t anything compelling for us to stay. There was something lacking. It seemed we were always busting our collective hind-ends to keep up with ‘everything house’; cleaning, vacuuming, weeding gardens, mowing, etc. that left us so tired or very little money to do anything else. It repeated itself like the movie Groundhog Day.
Before pulling the plug on the so-called “American Dream”, we phoned our son asking him, ‘in the event that we were to leave this earth, what would you do with our Kentucky home?’ You could guess we looking for validation or permission. His reply was quick, being an outdoors guy with his own nomadic military background, “you have a beautiful home but it’s not ‘my’ home. I’d sell it. It’s not where I grew up, graduated or have friends or family”. Those are the words we thought we’d hear and being totally honest with ourselves, were the words we longed to hear. His words took us to the edge of our nest to look beyond.
Now, our XGen son left the military life to settle down with his wife and lives in Minnesota. With our new life, we can go see them anytime we want and literally take our house with us. To us, it doesn’t get any better than that.