Gerri Almand believed she was happily retired, while living in Tampa, Florida and tending to her flower garden until her husband, Michael Hamlin, persuaded her to take some short vacations in an RV. She went from being a reluctant RV wife to selling their Tampa home and completely embracing the full-time RV life. The couple loved this new lifestyle until health concerns convinced them to find a home that wasn't on wheels. After considering some of the many towns they had visited, they concluded that Eugene, Oregon was the place for them. Gerri believes Eugene is the friendliest town in America. Find out more about Gerri and Michael’s RVing adventure on Episode 119 of Retire There with Gil & Gene.
Gerri Almand’s three memoirs about RVing are: The Reluctant RV Wife; Home is Where the RV Is; and Running from COVID in Our RV Cocoon.
More information can be found on Gerri Almand’s website.
Gerri Almand was born and raised in the Deep South. She spent forty years serving families and children as a social worker and never tired of having a “front row seat on the human condition.”
Retiring in 2010, Gerri’s world changed dramatically in 2015 when her younger husband, Michael, retired and wanted to buy an RV. The angst of leaving 200+ orchids and a manicured suburban yard, in Tampa, Florida, for long road trips led to Gerri’s first book, The Reluctant RV Wife, released in 2019. Great title. A second book soon followed, Home Is Where the RV Is (2020).
Gerri grew to love minimalism and nomadism. In early 2020, she and her husband left Tampa, and six weeks later, the pandemic erupted. During that first year of full-time RVing, Gerri wrote her third book, Running from Covid in our RV Cocoon (April 2021)Between 2015 and 2020, Gerri and Michael drove over 50,000 miles as they traveled to 49 of the 50 states and 5 Canadian provinces in their 26-ft. Class C motorhome. Exhilarated by the freedom that minimalism offered, they sold their Tampa, Florida home in 2020 and became full time nomads.
For several reasons, by 2022, Gerri and Michael realized they needed a home base. The economy, climate change, Covid, the increasing number of RVers and resulting difficulty getting reservations, mid-seventy ages, increasing health concerns, and a growing sense of social isolation.
Michael Hamlin was born and raised in Connecticut. He began his medical career working on an ambulance and became infused with the excitement about critical care medicine. He became a respiratory therapist and worked his way up to manager of a 30-bed critical care unit at a regional hospital in Maine. After a couple of decades, he found his way into medical sales, focusing on specialty care respiratory products in critical care, emergency room, and anesthesiology departments.
During his 45-year career, Michael traveled extensively. It should not have surprised his “homebody” wife when he retired in 2015 and realized how accustomed he was to being on the road. He finished his goal of visiting every major league baseball park in the United States in 2017 and established a new goal: To spend at least one night in every state in the country in an RV.