In 2009, the couple decided to pack it all in and live out the rest of their lives on an adventure. They sold their New Jersey Home and all of their possessions to embark on the journey of a lifetime. They left the “rat race” behind and spent four years touring the country, staying only at inexpensive motels and military bases. Chuck’s status as a vet earned them that privilege. They nicknamed themselves as the “Happily Homeless.”
While on a stop in southern California on March 27, 2013, the couple learned that Chuck’s cancer, which he had been treated for back 2011, had returned. Chuck died from it just four weeks later.
Alison told her “Handsome Husband” before he died that she would honor his life by continuing their travels. He asked her to revisit some of the spots they had loved most and to scatter his ashes there. He also asked her not to wear the official mourning color of black. “It isn’t your color,” he’d said. Instead he asked her to wear pink. She agreed and promised to paint her car pink so he could always find her on the road. He promised he’d be watching for her.
She and two of her children drove to Arizona where she got a new car and had it painted pink. She drove it across country to New Jersey for Chuck’s memorial service. Along the way, the car did what Alison had hoped. It drew people to her, people who talked to her and kept her from feeling isolated.
She couldn’t face traveling the way they had in the past, it was too painful a reminder of his loss. Instead, she bought a camper to tow behind her car and had it painted a matching shade of pink. It had been Chuck’s dream to travel in an RV but Alison had vetoed the idea. Now she felt she owed it to him and she set out on her journey, “The Pink Magic Odyssey of scattering her “Handsome Husband’s” cremains in our favorite spots around the country.”
She set out on December 1, accompanied for the first leg of the trip by her fireman son, Nick. In Key West, her first stop, she and Nick carried out a small ritual on a secluded stretch of beach. Each of the couple’s children will be accompanying her on different parts of the trip.
As the 1-year anniversary of Chuck’s death loomed, Alison continued to blog on “Happily Homeless” about her new existence without the man she loved. A touching celebration will take place on an Arizona mountain top on April 21, the anniversary of Chuck’s passing.