In particular, pursuing a life of travel often comes with compromise. While living without a fixed address has many advantages, perpetually living on the road can be draining. For a taste of location independent freedom, you end up trading away the security of a fixed home, a known place to work, and more. Even the most hardcore traveler will eventually end up craving a night in his or her own bed.
But what if, despite the proverb.. you could take it with you?
For the past three years we have been doing exactly that. Our home has wheels.
We have found that living in an RV has enabled us to embrace a fully technomadic lifestyle without compromising the freedom that comes from mobility, and without giving up the comforts of home.
We are never dependent upon expensive hotels, the uncertainty of couches or hostels, the fear of overstaying as a guest, or the lock-in of long-term rentals.
In our small geeked out and solar powered travel trailer, we can come to town for a day, or for months. We can stay in a driveway, or in the deep wilderness. And when we visit friends, we are temporary neighbors, not guests.
A few more of the advantages that help make it sustainable:
- Never Needing To Pack. Having your entire closet always with you means that you never need to play guessing games trying to figure out how to pack for the weather. We travel with a well thought out wardrobe, stocked kitchen, bathroom, bed, office, all our technology and more – and we also have room to bring along an airplane (powered paraglider), bikes, rollerblades, an inflatable kayak and other fun things. Living in a small RV combines radical life simplification with still having everything you want within arm’s reach.
- Location Flexibility. We’re able to check out new cities and towns without having to make a commitment or sign a lease, and very often we can even stay places for free by camping on public lands or with friends and family. If we find we don’t like our neighborhood, we can literally hitch up and leave to find someplace better. And because we have solar power and sizable water and waste tanks, we are not even tied to the constraints of public utilities.
- Logistically Proven. Many of the logistical hurdles to living on the road full time in an RV have already been well pioneered by the sizable full time RVing retiree crowd. There are RV parks across the nation, mail forwarding services in many states, communities of other RV’ers, mobile volunteer opportunities, and even “workamping” jobs to help fund life on the road. (BTW – A great community of younger non-retiree RVers who are shaking the RVing template is NuRVers (link: http://www.nurvers.com).
- Variety of Experiences. We enjoy a life rich with variety – from urban stealth camping in the heart of major cities to scenic boondocking deep in a national forest. All the while we remain connected to friends, family, and clients via cellular internet.
- Incredibly Affordable. As long as you are willing to give up the cost of maintaining a “home base” somewhere, the RV’ing lifestyle can be incredibly affordable. In 2009, we spent less than $15,000 between the two of us for our 13,000 miles of travels across the country. This includes all of our fuel, camping fees, insurance, and cellular / internet service.
Of course, traveling by RV does have some limitations. The biggest constraint being where you can physically drive your rig. For right now, we have been focusing on exploring the vastness of North America. But if you want a more global experience, you can ship your RV overseas, or buy / rent one on your next continent. And you can always park your home for a few months, grab a backpack, and hit a country or two that way.
All and all, we’ve found RV’ing to be an incredibly sustainable foundation for long term truly mobile lifestyle. It meets our desires for wanderlust, community and affordability. After three years of full time travel with no other home base, we feel we’re just getting started in our nomadic explorations.
We consider nomading with your house as the best of all worlds – we get to travel without ever needing to leave home.
Indeed, you can take it with you after all.
Header panolloge image courtesy of Ben Willmore.