From football to freedom, former NFL player trades in cleats for road trip

Joe Hawley spent eight years in the NFL, and ended his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When he decided to retire after the 2017 season, he wanted to do something where there were no schedules and no boundaries.

"I've been on the road five months now and I'm enjoying the heck out of it," Joe Hawley told FOX 13 News. "The one thing I tell myself is, 'What a time to be alive.'"

Hawley swapped out his Mercedes for a Ford Cargo van, adopted a dog and started a blog appropriately named "ManVanDogBlog" where he could be found on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

"Seeing how diverse and how beautiful this country is insane and people don't realize that we have all this great stuff right in our backyard," he explained, "so, showing them through their Instagram and Youtube page and and Facebook -- it creates this community and communicate with people and inspire people to go see these things for themselves has been awesome."

Hawley, his van and "Freedom," the boxer mix, have been to a handful of national parks, baseball parks -- really any type of park as long as there is adventure involved.

Hawley said he hopes his journey will motivate others.

" I feel like in our society, people feel like they need more stuff, a nicer car," he said. "It's nice to have goals and dreams and stuff that you want're never gonna be fulfilled. Take a step back from that, maybe save some money, not buy that nice car and save that money and spend it on experiences. Those things fulfill your soul,  help you grow, get you out of your comfort zone and thats what life is all about." 

To follow his journey, click over to his blog here.