18 Months Living the Nomad Life and Here’s What We’ve Learned

We can hardly believe we’ve been on the road for a year and half now. Time has certainly flown by. At least for us it has. We understand it may not feel that way for some of our family and friends we left behind when we hit the open road. Ultimately, everyone chooses the life they live, and we don’t want to leave anything on the table.

Let’s face it, 2020 was hard on everyone. Being hit with a pandemic and forced to stay home has not been easy. Despite our DIFTI (Did It For The Instagram) life, we certainly had our challenges and limitations, however, we were fortunate to have listened to our gut and took a chance on the RV life just in time for a pandemic. And in spite of it, in the last 18 months we have been able to travel through 24 states, 19 of which we lived in temporarily, visited 10 National Parks, and too-many-to-count National Forests and State Parks. What a journey it has been!

For those of you wondering – We are not retired (dammit). We both have full time jobs and maintain a regular Monday through Friday work week. Because of this, we stay a minimum of one week wherever we land, and we never travel on work days. We’ve discovered it’s super important to find your rhythm when working and traveling. It tooks us a few months of establishing a steady work routine to realize this. And when we’re tired, we stop and stay longer. In time we have learned our pace. We have found that moving every Sunday gets old when you hit the third or fourth Sunday in a row. So, now, we map out our travel schedule to allot for a 2-week stay every few weeks, give or take. The two week stay allows us just enough reprieve to recharge our batteries and catch up on chores.

Another realization: this life is not for the weary. It’s not all scenic views and waterfalls. If you don’t like change, or can’t easily adapt to it, then you’re probably not going to like this life. Moving your home on a continual basis takes patience, understanding, and flexibility. Things come up often where you’ll need to rearrange your life to accommodate. In our experience it’s not easy but manageable, when you have the right attitude.

Case in point. We’ve had a good amount of truck and trailer issues that have popped up in the last 18 months where we had to adjust our route and campground reservations because of needed repairs. At least 7 times I can recall. Does it suck when it happens? Yes, but it is totally manageable. So if you are easily frustrated when things break, or do not have patience to troubleshoot when things do break, then this life may not be in your best interest. There are stressful moments for sure.

Totally suck, it did.

Discovery is the name of the game. In the last 18 months we’ve uncovered gifts within ourselves, like resiliency and how to be social chameleons. Traveling during a time of global pandemic, as well as a tumultuous election year where people are so polarized, you quickly pick up on social queues and adapt. It’s actually a fascinating social experiment that we didn’t even know we were participating in until about 9 months of being on the road. We still find ourselves blending seamlessly into our environment as it changes. It has become a skill we didn’t realize we were naturally flexing.

While we’ve met some pretty interesting people along the way, I think we’d both agree that this can be a lonely lifestyle. You are a long ways away from family and friends, and even though we have each other, there were many times we’ve said how much we miss being near and seeing the ones we love. JC even penned a song he hopes to work on, with friends, once we settle down again.

Vagabond

I’m begging for the suns embrace
feel the rays on my face
while I stare…at the deserts…haze

can’t lie, feel like a vagabond
don’t cry wont be gone that long
I spied a beautiful sunset
wish your eyes could of seen it

pullin’ round my Chateau
staring at all the plateaus
never know …where I’ll be, come next week

follow me vagabonds
pick up the stakes, roll on
don’t pay no mind…. it’s time…to be gone

can’t lie, feel like a vagabond
don’t cry wont be gone that long
I spied a beautiful sunset
wish your eyes could of seen it

We try to pepper in visits to places where relatives and friends live to help shake the loneliness. Heck, there have been a couple times we just pulled our rig into our family and friends’ front yard. It was so redneck but also awesome! (Odd factoid: both times we did this we had to use the four wheel drive on BBJ due to soft soil.) There’s nothing sweeter than a house guest that brings their own house, right?!

Holidays at @Honeydo Studios ♥️

As a couple living in 350 square feet we’ve also learned how to save our marriage from the limitations of our space by taking some time away from each other. JC loves his lone grocery store excursions when he can rage to some metal without Erin turning down the volume, just as much as Erin enjoys the exclusive hikes in nature without JC asking when they are going to turn around. It took a bit to figure out the give and take, but in time we’ve managed to not kill each other.

By the way, we lied. It is all about the scenic views and waterfalls. It’s what makes the crappy part of the lifestyle worth it. It really is the best part of being on the road. For us, it’s the most amazing experience of our lives. We have seen such raw, natural beauty that it literally moves us, emotionally. At times we just look at each other in awe and shake our heads as if to deny what our eyes observe.

Here’s our top natural places from 2020.

Recently in Utah, we walked with dinosaurs. I mean, we literally walked the same path as the dinosaurs when we visited the Dinosaur Track National Heritage site. And last year we lucked up when an old friend introduced us to a family member who took us sailing on Lake Erie.

Or standing on the shore of the Great Salt Lake, watching thousands of brine flies take off in unison, one cannot fully experience such natural phenomenon unless you set foot there. It’s moments like this that make this an unforgettable life experience.

Will we stay on the road for forever? No, most likely not. In the first year we discovered the importance of roots. Having a landing spot would be nice to break up the constant travel, so we bought land to do just that.

Here’s to the next adventure!

Some nomads just stop and stay in a campground for months at a time. We’ve certainly tried this approach as we spent a good amount of time in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and Utah, chilling out from the go-go-go of it all. I think for us it comes down to space. While we and the bulldog all live comfortably in our rig, there are certain creature comforts that are disrupted by living on the road. Having the comforts of a home is something we’ve realized is important to us.

Will we continue to travel and use the RV once we’ve built our home? Yes, absolutely. We’ve got to scratch off the rest of those states!

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, or a full time adventurer, getting out there is the point. If you’ve been thinking about the camping life, we can unequivocally say that it’s worth giving it a shot. You’ll discover your pace and what you ultimately want. You’ll learn how to deal with the ups and downs, and find what works best for you, just as we’ve done. So if you’ve been asking yourself if you should, in the words of Gwen, “What you waiting for?”.

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