Photo by Angie Gray
The Willard family bonds by leaving Hockessin for life on the road to travel across the United States in a 23-foot-plus RV.
What do you actually need to be happy? That was a question Glynn and Rose Willard found themselves repeating, almost like a mantra. Constantly working thanks to their successful Paradigm Fitness in Hockessin—which Glynn founded nearly 20 years earlier—the couple felt their attention pulled away from family and other things that mattered.
A dramatic change was in order, and the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity to put thoughts into action. With schools and gyms ordered to shut down last spring, the Willards were home with their two sons, Zach, 7, and Gavyn, 11, full time. Ideas about their future began to percolate.
But then restrictions eased and family time quickly evaporated. They decided to reclaim it. They would take life on the road, at least for a little while. “This is our reset. We need to redo things,” Rose kept saying.
“We were handcuffed to our business,” Glynn adds. However much they loved it, they knew it would always present an obstacle of not being “100 percent there with family.”
Glynn had traveled cross-country with his family in high school and wanted his kids to have a similar experience. “I want to show them the different demographics, the different cultures in this country, and geographically how different it is, too,” he says.
So they sold the gym and traded their home for 23-foot-plus RV, just big enough for the four of them and their bearded dragon, Max. They hitched the travel trailer to a Ford F250 diesel truck so they would able to tackle almost any terrain.
Embracing a new minimalist lifestyle, the Willards gave away many of their possessions, leaving the rest with Glynn’s parents in Dover.
The plan was straightforward, but it still came with trepidation and some delay. “Are we doing the right thing?” the couple questioned more than once. “You give up so many things when you think about living on the road,” Glynn says. “You realize that what we really need is just each other and a source of income.”
Finally, they departed between winter storms in February, and soon they had their answer: “Best decision ever,” he confirms.
Now, several months into their journey, the Willards have been to Florida and Mississippi, finding hospitality from other RVers along the way. Early on, they made rookie mistakes—like running out of water and draining batteries—but now they’re comfortable with their rig and navigating life on the road. “I’m really proud of us,” Rose says, “because this is the first time we just took each issue and figured it out.”
From kayaking in clear waters in the South and exploring national parks to steel drum lessons, every day brings a new adventure. Thanks to their rig, they’re able to socially distance.
Zach and Gavyn are home schooling, but the world is now their classroom—bringing those geography pages to life. Glynn continues to work with clients remotely. They’re also hoping a new blog about their adventure—titled “Reset Your Journey”— becomes a fulfilling new sources of income.
Texas, Arizona and Nevada are up next, then the Willards will head to Utah and Colorado, zigzagging through the country and eventually U-turning east towards Maine before swinging back down.
“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Rose, who estimates they’ll be gone a year or longer. Glynn adds: “What do you really need in life? Not much. Sometimes just a travel trailer and one another.”