By Meda Kessler
Photos courtesy of Monica and Jay Wesevich
A couple give up their jobs, home and material possessions for the ultimate vacation.
For most of us, a road trip means three days in the Hill Country. To Monica and Jay Wesevich, it means quitting your jobs (he was an anesthesiologist; she was an operating room nurse), selling your house, packing the tent in the Tesla and hitting the highway. It was a plan that started percolating nine years ago when the couple married. Monica moved into Jay’s Colleyville home, and they downsized five years later with a move to a rental in Fort Worth.
The purging of worldly goods began. They sold, gave away or donated everything they could. By the time they began their journey in March 2019, their most prized possessions (his guitar, artwork) were stashed away in a 5-by-10-foot storage unit. “Our plan was to do this for one year,” says Monica, 45 (Jay is 52). After five months, they were still on the road, having traveled from Texas to the West Coast, the Pacific Northwest and Canada. She flew back to Fort Worth in July to bring back unneeded clothes, see family and friends, get medical checkups and eat good Tex-Mex. Jay stayed out West. When we met for this interview, Monica was wearing a black tank top, khaki shorts and a nice tan. And she couldn’t stop smiling. “This is pretty much my outfit every day. My only real choice is footwear: whether to wear Chacos or Keens.”
The purpose of the trip was twofold. They wanted to explore picturesque parts of the country and maybe discover the town that would become their post-retirement home. “One of our goals is to find places with the perfect temperature, which is 72 degrees,” says Monica. “We also wanted to see as many waterfalls as possible and hike every day.”
Unlike the camper and RV crowd, the Weseviches are traveling in a car. Specifically, a Tesla. “We save a lot in fuel costs, but now we occasionally suffer from ‘range anxiety,’ ” says Monica. They need a cellphone signal to keep track of the closest charging station for the electric car. So far, they’ve had two flat tires. These were dealt with by Tesla roadside assistance, which can include delivery of a tire. “That gets the attention of your family campers,” says Monica. The car is roomy enough to hold all their gear (less than what they started with), which includes a six-man tent, memory-foam mattresses, camp chairs, a hammock, cooler and cooking gear. While they stay in an occasional Airbnb, Monica says she prefers camping, preferably near a cool little town with a brewpub. “We have a routine. Jay sets up camp, and I put stuff away.”
Other than rain, snow (a route to Yosemite was closed in May due to snow) and flat tires, they haven’t run into too many obstacles. They marvel at the kindness of strangers and are thankful for helpful park rangers. They’re now fast friends with fellow campers met during their journey.
Oh, and there are the family pets: Hershey, an 8-year-old pocket beagle, and 15-year-old Gigi, a cat. Monica struggled initially with taking Gigi along due to her advanced age, temperament and the fact that she rarely had left their home. But both cat and dog took to life on the road and tent camping as much as their owners. Social media posts show a very happy dog smiling with gorgeous scenery behind him. Sadly, Gigi disappeared at a campground in Washington, startled by a train’s horn. Her disappearance put a damper on the trip, but the couple still hold out hope that she may turn up.
As far as the couple’s constant togetherness, Monica admits she had no idea what it would be like to have Jay around 24/7. “I’m the extrovert; he’s the introvert. I like going into town and meeting people. Jay would be happy hanging out in the hammock or hiking all day. But we’re both creatures of routine, and we complement each other. We like to listen to podcasts and read. We also both adhere to the motto to do whatever feeds your soul. The freedom to do what we’re doing is priceless.”