Home Life on the Road

Serendipity Says: Light Speed Ahead (Imminent Homelessness)

Its no secret that we’ve been pondering “what’s next” for a while now, particularly since we’ve returned from the Virgin Islands.

Sailboat? Not yet.

International adventures? Yes, we want more extended jaunts to exotic places. But we want to keep some sort of (mobile) base in the US to return to, so that we can regularly spend time with friends and family here. And after an extended stretch in St. John, we are ready to be back on the mainland for a bit before heading out again.

More RV’ing? Well… We love our RV’ing lifestyle, but the thought of another cross-country trek in our Oliver was feeling a bit “been there, done that” and just not very exciting. We’ve mastered life in a 17′ fiberglass egg, and we’ve been craving something new, more space and new challenges.

Our Oliver (named “Orion”) is the one of the most well designed and engineered travel trailers ever built, and it was made custom for us – with every detail down to the tile on the floor, the gauge of the electrical wire, the solar panels on the roof, and the fabric on the seats carefully chosen. Before Oliver shut down their production indefinitely, less than 50 of them were made.

How could we give up something so uniquely ours?  The trailer has become iconic to us, and part of our identity.

The more we thought about it, the more we grew open to the idea that the time was right to move on, and we even started dropping hints that we might be open to selling later this year.

Meanwhile, we started thinking that a smaller motorhome would be a next step for us, and started to research suitable unique vehicles – including the awesome GMC Motorhome and more recently, smaller vintage buses like the Flxible (yes, inspired by our friend’s Ben & Karen and the bus they’re currently converting) and GMC 4104. We’re so thankful to have knowledgable bus-nut friends in Ben & Karen and Sean & Louise of Our Odyssey to keep reality in check during this research.

(We post daily to our Facebook Page if you want to keep up with what we’re currently researching or up to.)

The universe had other ideas

Just as soon as we had mentally made peace with the idea of moving on from the Oliver, literally within hours, the phone rang.

The conversation went something like this:

Him: “Hi, you may not remember me, but I’m the guy who asked about your Oliver at that campground on the Blue Ridge Parkway last year.”

Us: “Of course we remember you! Who could forget someone coming up to our campsite and asking if we were in Carlsbad, New Mexico a couple months before.. where you first saw our trailer in a parking lot.’

Him: “My retirement dream is owning an Oliver like yours, I’ve been calling the factory every couple months… and I detected you might be open to selling yours?  I know how unique they are and what they’re worth.”

Yeah, serendipity tends to work that way for us. And being serendipity’s minions and all, we listen.

We get to help make somebody’s dream come true, and we don’t have to spend time searching out a buyer? Sounds promising.

Oh, and it turns out he needs a tow vehicle too, and is interested in buying our matched Tundra. And he’s right – he really does know what an Oliver configured like ours is worth. His opening offer makes it well worth it for us to move quickly and not pursue a bidding war amongst our growing list of interested potential buyers. And he also wants to buy Cherie’s older laptop – which has the same custom graphical design on the case as on the side of our trailer?!?!

Could this be for real? Sell the matched set in one fell swoop?

That phone call came last Tuesday, less than a week ago. The non-refundable deposit check arrived yesterday.  It’s real. A perfect match delivered before we sought it out.

A week from now we’ll be in transit from Florida, making a beeline to Virginia to deliver our baby to its new loving home.

Yeah, our heads are spinning! We’re a mix of anxious and excited!

And in just over a week – we will be very literally homeless, without even a vehicle in our name. We opened the door to possibility, and serendipity swept in like a tidal wave, leaving us with a completely blank slate to paint our next adventure upon.

*blink*

We do have to solve some imminent logistical issues though, and are opening ourselves to a range of possibilities…

  • We are considering buying (or maybe renting) a cheap ($2k – $10K) older 23-35′ motorhome that we can move into temporarily while we head off in search of our ideal next home-on-wheels. Leads are appreciated on suitable RV’s for sale or folks open to renting theirs to us between Florida and Virginia.
  • Or… Maybe we’ll find a suitable vintage bus in move-in condition within the next week, and head towards it once we hand over the Oliver in a one-way rental U-haul or borrowed vehicle. If you know of any converted Flxible, GM, Wanderlodge, or other cool (35′ and under) buses for sale – let us know!
  • Or… Maybe we’ll decide to buy a less-than-ideal but very affordable and ready to live in “starter bus”, so that we can try out bus living for a few months before we invest more in a different rig and/or extensive upgrades. We have our eye on one promising starter bus in Salt Lake City, but that is a long way to travel for “promising”, so we’re likely not ready to jump on that right away.
  • Or… To buy ourselves a bit more time to find either a temporary or (semi)permanent new home on wheels, perhaps we will seek out a weekly or monthly rental of a place to live and a vehicle to drive – spending a few weeks in Virginia while shopping for what is next. If anyone has any leads on house sitting opportunities, garages to temporarily unload our stuff into, or short term condo or RV rental opportunities, or, or, or…. anywhere near Lynchburg, VA – let us know!

A lot is up in the air, and serendipity is busily reshaping our lives yet again.

It is exhilarating, exciting, and exhausting to even think about.

The next few weeks will be crazy.

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33 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. As the wife and I (at the ages of 55 and 58 respectively) will be moving on down the road in our 19′ Airstream in the next 12 months, I look forward to your next vehicle. FYI; we are looking at sailboats (40′ – 45′); cost is still reasonable. Still need the sailing lessons and certifications. Good luck.

    Ed

  2. I love the energy of your lives. So freeing… something to put in the mix– are either of you interested in backpacking? You’ll be in VA and could easily get to the Appalachian Trail. If you’re into that kind of thing, a few weeks (months?) on the trail could provide a beautiful time to consider your options, meet a new set of unconventional free spirits, be walking as much or as little as you want. Could be a new thing…
    I’ll be back there in late June, picking up the trail in NY to finish my hike I started last year. (This will be my 2nd completed hike; the first was in ’98.)
    Good luck with whatever you decide!

  3. Hi Cherie and Chris!

    How exciting for you guys…all these things coming together and falling into place!

    Can’t wait to see how this turns out…it’s almost like reading one of those serial novels and you can’t WAIT til the next one comes out!

    You guys continue to be an inspiration and a great source of information and knowledge…thanks for all you do:)

    Steph

  4. wow you two!!! this is awesome 🙂 gotta love serendipity. reminds me of the quote-“leap and the net will appear.” have a feeling this is just the beginning of an amazing about-to-unfold plan. all of your possibilities sound fab to me. congrats! 🙂

    • Thanks Lorna! It’s exciting for sure. I love that saying, and it’s variant ‘Leap and you’ll either discover you can fly, or a net will appear’. It’s always held true and we trust in it.

  5. Hey Chris and Cherie

    This is why I love reading your blog. You’re truly living life in a really awesome way. I can’t wait to see what you decide on.

    In past articles you talked about boondocking on public land. Would you have to forgo that with a bus? Or are you looking at smaller rigs?

    • Hi Eric – A lot of boondocking options on public lands are bus friendly, and we are looking at buses under 35′ with some ground clearance and would be outfitting it for off-grid living (solar, big enough tanks, energy efficient, etc.). For sure we’ll be giving up the flexibility to follow down forest roads and unmaintained roads in general. But we did that so rarely, it’s more a feeling of loosing the flexibility, than a reality of much lost.

  6. Best of luck! My husband and I have a beautiful 70’s FMC motorhome and we LOVE it. Older motorhomes are quirky but oh so special! Whatever you end up with will be really special, I’m sure!

  7. Have a look at the fleetwood quest. That’s what I ended up in. 24 ft sprinter chassis and motor. Great gas milage for a motor home, hovering around 14mpg. And if you can find a parking spot to back into where the rear end has room, it only takes up one parking spot. So you could forget the toad. I love it. But still working on the LIP part.

    • Sounds cool, and totally open to that coming into play for us as a temporary home on wheels. But for our longer term nomadic home on wheels, we really are leaning towards vintage buses and all the advantages they afford for allowing us to set up two workspaces and having a truly awesome and distinctive look & feel.

  8. I love serendipity!

    Our goal is now closer and we are looking at getting on the road in the next 6-12 months. Our options are the same as the first three possibilities that you are looking at, so I am looking forward to seeing what you decide on.

    I would love to know, what are your plans for internet connection as you leave your Oliver? Are you taking your satellite system with you?

    • Thanks Alex… we are keeping our satellite system for now, as we have no clue what we’re moving into next. But we currently have the service shut off on it, and have since August (we only use it when it’s the only option). Our primary internet connectivity will remain the same – cellular bandwidth. We have an iPhone with a tethering plan, and just activated a contractless Millinecom.com account on the Verizon footprint.

  9. Wow! It’s like winning the lotto, that’s so rad guys. When powerful coincidences happen like that, you have to go with it. Congrats!! Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  10. Barb Baur sent me your info. I have a 1998 Cruisemaster, Georgie Boy Motorhome. It is sitting in storage right now. It only has 55000 Miles on it and everything works. Runs great. I am asking 17,ooo for it but I want to sell it, not rent it. It is rigged to pull a vehicle and I could even throw in the towbar. I am in New Jersey. Even open to delivering it if need be.

  11. I’m so excited for you guys. Major life changes can be either really scary or really exhilarating, depending on how you think of it. For our kind, it’s totally exhilarating!

    Ben is keeping his eyes peeled in the bus nut world for vintage buses for sale. I cant wait to see what you end up with!

    • Thanks, Karen! We’re mostly really excited about this, and really looking forward to seeing what our next home on wheels is. And with Ben helping out, hopefully we’ll have something that looks super cute parked next to the Creative Cruiser 😀

  12. Sniff…I’ll miss seeing the Oliver at Burning Man. But you gotta listen to the universe when she comes calling. Can’t wait to see the new home!

    Why the wait on the sailboat?

    • We took a more serious look at full time sailboat living while in the USVI.. just not something we’re ready for right now. Lots of maintenance/work, likely money pit, huge ramp up in skills/challenges.. .and it just wasn’t sounding like fun. Not to mention we’re strongly drawn to catamarans, which are much more of an investment than we’re willing to make right now.

  13. Or stick the kittie in a crate under your seat and fly to Asia! Rent a homebase ($300/mo max) in Bangkok (where your cat can stay when you travel) and explore SE Asia.

    Then get a sailboat.

    🙂

    • We are *definitely* keeping that as a goal once we have our mobile US home settled a bit. Our intentions are to keep a suitable nomadic substrate in the US, and then park it for bits at a time and travel internationally.

      Right now isn’t that time.. for one, Kiki isn’t eligible to travel internationally for 5 more months after our time in the USVI (other countries doesn’t treat it like the US, complicating things).

      And.. we have some business related stuff that will need our attention and possibly being onsite in the next several months that will make being stateside advantageous.

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