The New Year is Here: what 2020 will mean for the Wandering Dolphin

As I look across the snowy mounds, the dogs frolicking in the yard, I see our motorhome peeking out from the woods. Covered in snow, it looks dark and uninhabited (which it is), but there is a feeling of home that comes with it.


2019 was an interesting year for the Wandering Dolphin crew. Like every year, it was filled with ups and downs.

Andy started his own business, Handy Andy McLaughlin.

I escaped from one terrible work situation and changed jobs. And then I began the work change yet again later in the year.

I started Wandering with Wildlife.

We traveled to Mexico, Northern Minnesota, California, and Yellowstone.

We saw wolves, bears, and a moose in the wild for the very first time.

I won three San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism awards.

We bought a new kayak and went kayaking whenever we could.

We had a pretty darn good year.

We’ve questioned our next steps quite frequently. Do we move? When? Where? Where is our next adventure? What will make us happiest? When do we take the motorhome out again? What do we do with it?

Though we’ve settled into our place on the lake pretty nicely, I feel as though our lack of decision has prevented us from truly calling this place home.

We returned to Minnesota 1 year and 7 months ago. We officially moved out of the motorhome and into our place just over a year ago. And we’ve made ourselves comfortable.

But during the past year, we looked at buying a home in the woods; we discussed packing up and moving last fall (obviously did not happen); we talked about leaving this coming spring; we’ve talked about staying for a couple more years.

I can’t tell you the number of scenarios we’ve gone through in the past year. And this indecision has kept us from really settling in.

The other night, we decided to change that.

We have a lot of travel plans in the coming year. We hope to go to California, Arizona, Mexico, and on a gigantic adventure for our anniversary, since October 2020 marks our 10-year wedding anniversary. (Fun fact: Did you know we got married in this very house? This place is very special to us.)


And because we hope to make all of these things happen, we’ve decided to lay down roots here for at least the next year and a half (to be renegotiated at a later point).

Obviously, if an opportunity arises, we will take advantage of it. The Wandering Dolphin is meant to wander, after all.

But we also hope to use this time to make our motorhome a bit cozier for our future. When I walk through the door, it still feels like home. I remember the long days spent on the road; the challenge of figuring out how to park it in a camping spot and how to maneuver around tight spaces; getting stuck in snowstorms and making soup all day to keep ourselves cozy; and breaking down on the side of the road in the middle of the desert.

I remember decorating for the holidays, having friends stay with us at our spot in California. I can still smell the saltwater when we camped near the beach and a tornado came through the campground. I remember being in awe of how large the redwoods were, how they towered over us and made our motorhome feel tiny.

You don’t go through all that without it becoming your home. And it still feels that way to us.

So, this summer, we have decided to make some changes to it that we’ve been talking about since we purchased it. We’re going to do a remodel, and I am excited to share that journey with everyone!

It will be a year of travel, of writing, of kayaking, of hiking, of scouting for nature, and of remodeling our home. We are excited to enjoy every moment, from the quiet ones to the thrilling ones. Welcome to 2020!


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