Julie And Chris Trade Old Hill For New Adventure

Seven years ago, Julie Tran and her husband Chris Ziccardi built a home in Old Hill.

She loves her “Mr. Rogers neighborhood,” and the rest of town. When their 2 foster sons were ready to be reunified with their biological parents in November, Julie and Chris were overwhelmed by support from friends, the YMCA youth program, and Kings Highway Elementary School teachers like Roseann Caruso.

But in a couple of weeks — the day their house sale closes — the couple will leave Westport.

With a 27-foot Airstream Globetrotter hitched to their Ford F-350, they’ll head to … well, they’re not exactly sure.

But Julie and Chris are ready for the next chapter in their lives.

Julie Tran and Chris Ziccardi.

The seeds for their decision took root in the pandemic. Julie is a life coach. Chris is a property technology executive.

As they realized the ease of working remotely, they reassessed their values.

“We thought about our lifestyle, our environment — everything,” Julie recalls.

“We had no idea how long COVID would last. But we knew we wanted sun, warmth, and a lot of land. We want to adopt or foster again in a place conducive to that. We envision a ranch with lots of room, sustainable, a place with solar or geothermal, where we can grow our own food.”

Those places exist. But the only way to find them is to hit the road.

“We’ve been cooped up for a year. We’ve got the travel bug,” Julie says.

Julie and Chris started by examining the “why.” They talked about their core values, and came up with 4: freedom, courage, adventure and love.

Julie and Chris are leaving the Old Hill home they built …

Then came the “what.” What does that look like? How would they do it? The safest way to travel now, they realized, is by RV.

There were a few snags. The couple did not own an RV. Julie had not been camping since she was 10. They’d never camped together.

“It’s a crazy idea,” she admits.

Then again, these are crazy times.

“We don’t know how to do what we’re doing,” admits Julie. “But we know we can figure it out.”

… for the RV they bought.

They spent months watching YouTube videos and joining Facebook groups. They researched and crowdsourced things like what kind of trailer they’d need — and how to back it up.

They learned the difference between campgrounds with electric and water hookups, and “boondocking” in more remote areas.

They’ll “start out strong,” with a bit of luxury and sense of community, Julie says. But they look forward to being alone, under the stars, too.

The adventure starts in earnest this week. They’re driving to Georgia in their truck. They’ll hitch the Airstream to it, and head north again for a couple of weeks.

When they leave Westport for good, it’s on a route with few anchors. Julie and Chris will stop in New Jersey, Florida and Texas to see family. Their only set time and destination is April 1: They must be in California then, for her sister’s wedding.

After that? They have no idea.

They hope to find a place to call home. It may be in Austin. Or Tennessee, Florida or Arizona.

Julie and Chris’ Airstream.

As Julie prepares to leave the town she loves — where their foster children thrived, and she found friends and activities — she has one message for those she’s leaving.

“So many people say they’ll live vicariously through us. But I hope it won’t be just vicarious.

“If you’re inspired by our story but think you can’t do it, imagine yourself on your deathbed. Ask yourself, if you had a do-over for your life, would you do anything differently?”

35 responses to “Julie And Chris Trade Old Hill For New Adventure

  1. Hmmmm; just like any other young couple with a million dollar house and the funds to buy a multi thousand dollar mobile home and travel, unemployed….must be nice, indeed.

    • Not unemployed — they’ll be working remotely.

    • Hi Dan, thank you for your comment. We are entirely self made and and yes will work on road. But regardless, if we don’t,, it’s our choice and everyone has the freedom to make choices that work for them, without having to “earn” it. It really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I wholeheartedly beleive we are ALL creators of our own life. We are resilient enough to rise above our circumstances and design the life that we want. I believe EVERYONE is capable of that, by doing the work to have a healthy mind, body, and soul. That’s why I became a life coach. I wish you all the best Dan. If I can suport you, please feel free to reach out ❤️ Jtz1125@gmail.com

      • Thanks for responding…I am totally in support of your venture and the “philosophy” behind it….my comment was directed only to the reality that when you suggested others might follow your exciting decision, it is the very few who have the means to leave a commodious home, buy a smaller mobile one and “leave it all behind.” For them that have that financial capacity and mental metal, it’s a fine way to go, and I wish you both nothing but the best of ventures.
        Be well,
        Dan

        • I hear you. Not everyone is able to do this today. Also, not everyone has dreams of “leaving it all behind”. Whatever their dreams are though, I hope I’ve inspired them to keep their dream alive. If you can dream it, you’ve created a possibility for it to happen.

          With love,

          Julie

  2. Debbie O'Malley

    Thank you Julie and Chris for your giving hearts. I admire and am a bit envious of your bravery as you head out into the exciting unknown. Wishing you luck and lots of fun as you make memories on this new adventure!

  3. I hope Julie and Chris will keep a journal and write a book of their adventure
    for those who admire and are envious of their bravery and sense of adventure. Best wishes.

  4. Hey man have fun! A great idea and you won’t regret it. On the off chance you do, then you will go onto something else and fun. Great way to look at life! Travel safely…

  5. Tell them to check out Fort Bend County,Texas. Just west of Houston. Very diverse population and lots of open land. Hot and humid but about 70 miles from the beach. Dallas, Austin and Houston are all very unique and different from each other.

    • Thank you Mary! I will research it

      • schmerker@msn.com

        If you want you can ask Dan to share my info with you. We do have a relative who is in RealEstate in the Dallas area but that is not my main reason for contacting you. Fostering is one and the other is you sound a lot like our son and his wife…true adventurers.

  6. Elizabeth A. Ballard

    Good luck Julie and Chris! You earned this. You made it happen. You’re living the American Dream!

  7. Traveling is great for the soul, especially with your significant other. RVing keeps things simple and allows you to focus on the experience. With no RV knowledge, my wife and I flew to Alaska and explored “the last frontier” for a month in a RV. There is so much to see and appreciate across our great country. It’s fabulous they can adopt this nomadic lifestyle as they contemplate their next move.

    • Rhys that sounds incredible! I’m not a huge fan of cold weather but I think for Alaska (and Iceland) I’d make an exception

  8. Julie is right. You have only one life to live, therefore, figure out what you really want to do. Then work towards it and DO IT. that philosophy guided us to quit our jobs and take our 30ft sailboat and spend 4years sailing around the world. When we got back we were totally out of money. I got a job right away and the year after that we bought a house and started a family. When the kids were 9&11 we bout a 40ft sailboat and took off on another 4 year circumnavigation. I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I look at each other and say, “What a great life we have had.”

    • Scott you and your wife are incredible! I see your creativity, resilience, and commitment to making this lifetime count. Much respect to you both, and the role models you are to your children.

  9. Not only is the story about Julie and Chris a great one, but they must also be really good people since they served as foster parents and would do it again.
    That being said, the existence of clearly miserable people, like Dan Katz must be, serves to further illustrate and highlight the existence of really nice people who deserve good things in their lives. Julie and Chris are creating a unique life for themselves and nobody should ever consider taking shots at them for that……nobody.
    Travel safe, explore……..and enjoy!

    • Hi Peter! Being foster parents was greatest honor and privilege of our lives. We are normal people who have good hearts and make plenty of mistakes – every single day! Thanks so much for your kind words 💛

  10. So cool. Awesome young people. I hope they decide to post a blog. If so, Dan will you provide the link?

  11. Julie & Chris,

    Several years ago friends of mine (Frank “Skip” Yetter) and his wife (Gabrielle “Gabi” Yetter) embarked on a very similar adventure – sold the house, drove across the country, moved to Cambodia for a number of years, then toured the whole world in earnest, house sitting and writing books along the way.

    The first few years of their adventures are captured on their website – the Meanderthals (https://www.themeanderthals.com/). Their motto? “All who may wander may not be lost, be we are working on it.”

    More recently, they have settled in Sussex, UK and continued to write books. Gabi has started a popular and uplifting group on FaceBook called “The Good in Us” ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/1102963146705949).

    Skip and Gabi are the kind of people who want to meet, and to help, anyone and everyone. I would encourage you both to reach out to them (tell them I sent you). They’d be absolutely delighted to share tips, lessons learned, crazy ideas and more.

    Think of them as kindred, intrepid spirits.

    Enjoy your adventure!

    Sam Levenson

  12. P.S. Skip Yetter wrote a book on the subject…

    Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a World of Adventure

    https://www.themeanderthals.com/justgo/

  13. Thank you Sam! They seem incredible. I just joined their FB Group 🙂

  14. Beautiful!!!
    Hope to meet you on the road one day.
    Enjoy every moment.

  15. Lots of good tips on Airstream Addicts FB. I have owned a 25ft International for three years, and have stayed in it for a couple of weeks at a time year round next to my grand kids with water and electricity. I’ve made several mistakes, many adjustments, learned tons of things about operating the airstream systems. Worked on boon docking setup with a generator. Overtime it’s become more and more comfortable living in the airstream. I just retired and we will be living in the airstream a couple of months at a time, with lots of boon docking. Victory through perseverance is my adopted moto! Good luck and travels

  16. This home on wheels is no less luxurious. Incredible!

  17. I love this story! We ordered an RV from airstream and it’s not coming until July! I may not be ready for a full time RV yet but maybe someday! Good luck and happy adventures!!

  18. Jennifer Zorek-Pressman

    what is your you tube channel? Have fun- something I have always wanted to do.

  19. Remarkable story Julie , and I agree with you 100 % , we are all in control of how we want our lives to look and what is important to us in the short time we spend here on Earth. Life is an adventure, meant to be experienced and too often we allow fear of the unknown to dictate the path we so often travel . I have worked and commuted to Wall Street for 33 years prior to this pandemic, and glad to say , I will never ride that LIRR again unless its for my pleasure . My wife Donna and I have been married for 29 years and have been blessed financially enough to be able to adopt 3 girls all from the same orphanage in Medellin, Colombia . Our daughters are now 21,20 and 16 and not always easy , buy we are all changed by making the commitment to change our lives as well as theirs. May God bless you and your husband in your travels. PS , My wifes dream is to become a life coach , any tips ,advice send to donnamariedriscoll@icloud.com . Very sincerely, Eddie Driscoll

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