Paradise 2 Pavement | Screw it, I’m out…
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Screw it, I’m out…

With not much else going on in my life besides my killer dog and building my van, you can probably guess that the majority of my conversations are about just that. The most common questions about my journey are how and why… Well the how is easy. Ever since I was little, my parents instilled saving money into my life. I remember buying my first car with a couple thousand in payments and realizing that it was bullshit; constantly paying for something you already have as it depreciates. That novelty of a new toy wore off fast after the first couple payments. It was then that I realized I’m paying cash for everything and saving as much as possible. Opening a Roth IRA at 18 and having somewhat of a conscious of every dollar going through my possession.

It was no different when I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime. A job overseas; tax-free, room and board, benefits, the works…   I took full advantage of the opportunity and worked through a bachelors and a masters from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University courtesy of my company. The on-base lifestyle allowed me to contribute a decent amount into a 401k and still save for a house back in Florida (which is what I had planned).

It was all laid out. Go overseas for a few years, bank everything, move back to Florida and get a house. Well life doesn’t always go as planned. Which is how I come to the why. The space industry continued to plummet and my hometown continued to decline. On top of that I had a few friends pass away that were all way too young, which was a huge wakeup call. I began to start thinking about the rat race and why I’m even busting my ass 40+ hours a week and banking every extra penny for my retirement at 65. As I laid in bed after a long day of pulling cable thinking about how thirsty I am, but I’m too sore to get a glass of water, I wondered what my physical condition would even be like at 65.


I began to think about what makes me the happiest in life. Seeing new places, catching up with friends, and surfing. So I took everything I had saved for a house in Florida and put it towards this van. The plan is to go on the road for a few years. I have enough money to get on the road; the rest I’ll figure out along the way. I won’t lie it wasn’t cheap at all. Every cent I have is going to this trip. But if you want something bad enough, you’ll find a way to make it happen.

As cliché as it is, you only live once. I’d rather start over my career at 33 with a huge smile on my face, than retire at 65 with a bunch of money and no physical ability to use it. I took in consideration everything I wanted to do, that I probably wouldn’t be able to do as an old man and integrated it into the van plan some how.   Everything from music to booze, surfing to dirt bikes, hanging with my dog to watching movies under the stars, I wanted it all. So that’s it. Not much to it other than all the stars aligned with my base closing down at the right time and I was just lying in bed one night contemplating life and said, Screw it, I’m out…

  • Mom

    The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams. Have the adventure of your life!

    August 26, 2015 at 12:00 pm
  • Tanya Gill

    Awesome Derek! Keep us posted on your Epic journey dude, wishing you happy travels, love the (new) Gills xx…ps, we are currently playing your one of your wedding presents on the Ps4!!

    August 26, 2015 at 1:47 pm
  • Awesome! Keep at it. 🙂

    February 8, 2016 at 12:38 pm

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