So why are we doing this and what is our plan for the future? These are two questions we get a lot. Unlike some other full-time travelers we don’t actually have a plan or a timeline. Instead we “check in” with ourselves frequently to make sure it’s still the best path for all of us. Here are the things that keep us on the road indefinitely…
Memories – Did you know that one of the biggest indicators of resilience are the memories you make and looking back at those memories? We are proof this works and it’s a big reason we keep going. While I love to share our lives on Instagram I also post once a day in real time so I can look back at my posts frequently. I swear it gets me out of any anxiety and makes me happier and ready to tackle what lies ahead.
Health is Short- At some point in your life something happens and you realize that both life and health are short lived. I know some (most) people think they’d rather travel when they retire and are comfortable financially. Honestly I’m not sure I want to be on the road a bunch when I’m getting up there in age. I’m thinking my 70s might be better spent near wellness centers and community. And if needed, qualified doctors and hospitals. That said, I hope I’m ripping singletrack well into my 70s.
Mindful Parenting – We are not a peaceful bunch into spiritual practices and deep conversations. Raising boys around here involves a lot of rough housing, yelling and various emotional outbursts from everyone on a daily basis. By mindful I’m talking about paying full attention to whatever we’re doing in the moment. Staying present is much easier for us on the road.
Customized Schooling – We are also not model homeschool, worldschool, unschool parents. You normally don’t find us posting our best tips, see pictures of our son reading quietly in a corner or hear about our structured day/year. But we are lucky enough to live in a country that allows parents to teach their kids and we love taking full advantage of that.
We are not good Homeowners – We’ve owned homes since our 20s and they have never brought us joy. Spending time and money at Home Depot, yard work, maintenance etc…are not things we enjoy and it brings us lots of stress. While we might still purchase a home in the future it’s definitely more of a chore/investment than a must have for a fulfilled life.
Living like a Billionaire – Currently we are camping for free in Sun Valley on Forest Service land. We can hear the river flowing and our view to the west is of Bald Mountain (the ski resort). 2 miles down the road a home is selling for $7 million and it doesn’t have the river or a view. Chances are the person who buys that home will spend less than 16 days in it (16 days is the max. time we can camp in this one spot legally before we have to leave for a bit). So we get to stay for free yet enjoy all the same amenities of billionaires like good restaurants, markets, trails and a sense of a healthy and safe community.
Living like a Hobo – On the other end of the spectrum I realize we have more in common with homeless people than middle class suburbanites. Most of the year we have to figure out how to get water, where to take our trash, and where it’s legal to sleep for the night (or at least where we will not get caught). This part is a challenge both physically and mentally. Mentally, I sometimes let self-doubt come in and question what we are doing. Often in online forums when people say they are living in RVs because they have no money I get very uncomfortable…I live in an RV and maybe that will be me soon. But being uncomfortable physically and mentally is a good thing. After all, one of the most powerful hacks for happiness, is giving up some of the comforts in your life.
We are not Wealthy (with money) – I’ve spent my adult life living in mountain towns and now 5 years into this nomadic way of life I can tell you that yes most people are wealthy that do these things. Thankfully in the past few years more people are taking the plunge to travel full-time while working so the nomad demographics are changing. As for the mountain towns, I don’t think they are seeing an influx of the middle class. Anyway, we are not rich and we love to travel. If we had the home that someone with our income could afford, 2 newish vehicles, insurance, furniture, homeowner bills etc…we could not travel very much. It’s a trade off and we choose the experiences over the home related stuff.
Slow Living – Lately Lars and I snuggle on the bed until 8am. There’s no school to rush off to, chores to do, or need to get ready for work because work is two steps away to my computer. Many people think that building resilience is being tough, staying up late working, rising early to work, attending events you don’t want to be at…that’s total BS. If you really want to build resilience you need to say no (a lot) and leave time for recovery. For us, being on the road free of most schedules and societal demands allows space for that recovery period.
Of course there are things that we miss about not having a home and they are mostly related to friends and community. We left a special town with great people to travel full-time. We have also found welcoming people and community in places we visit. Our winter time in SoCal is filled with activities and friends for Kalden, and a great cycling community. We are often a bit sad when we have to leave knowing what we will miss while gone. Again, it’s a trade off and it’s possible that one day the lack of consistent community will be more of an issue.