<— Read Chapter 10: Nomadic Money – Banking, Finances & TaxesRead Chapter 12: Healthcare and Staying Healthly —>
You have dozens of blogs bookmarked that you’re following – each tempting you with scenic beautiful pictures and stories from the road. Your wanderlust is in overdrive but you’re feeling frustrated that you have so far to go to get there. You’ve downloaded a few books about getting your life in order, and you have several tabs open in your browser with research ranging from how you’ll keep connected to the internet, maintaining RV water tanks to storage systems for small spaces.
You start to tackle purging ‘stuff’ from your home, and find yourself hitting walls of analysis paralysis, because you have no clue what you’ll continue to need before you hit the road, and what you’ll actually need later.
All of the details are daunting and seem to create an endless to-do list – with no clear place to start. There are so many questions to answer, and plans to execute. Where do you start?
- Do you start transitioning your career now and try to build up enough income working remotely?
- Do you try to sell your house or rent it out?
- Do you get rid of all your possessions or store them in case you want something later?
- When do you start telling friends and family?
- When do you start shopping for your mobile home base?
- When do you switch your state of domicile?
- How do you get your kids and/or pets acclimated to life on the road?
- What bank do you choose, and how will you get paid from afar?
Your dreams of hitting the road are intersecting with all the logistics that have to come together – so you keep putting it off. The overwhelm is frightening and it’s just easier to go watch some TV.
Any of this sound familiar? Yup, we’ve been there too.
Sorry to disappoint, but.. there are no straight up answers anyone can give you to these questions, there’s no set formula. Every scenario is so unique that only you can find the right answer.
But you’ll never find those answers without taking the first big step…
Where to Start? Set the date!
So many folks we’ve talked to approaching these sorts of transitions tell us that they’re waiting for all of the pieces to come together before they actually set a date to close the door behind them. They may have a general goal of ‘in about 2 years’, but it’s a nebulous vision of the future in which little action is taken to actually get there.
They’re waiting for their debts to be paid off, or their career to reach a clear transition point, or the housing market to get better, or the right RV to magically appear in their driveway, or their bank account to reach a certain balance, or their loved ones to approve of their decision, or their new online business to take off, or their perfect soulmate to manifest, or mobile internet options to get better, or their health to improve.. or.. or.. or.
And you know what that leads to? Never making the leap and keeping nomadic travels as a someday dream.
The single biggest step you can take to hitting the road is setting the date you’ll walk out the door.
If you’re like most folks – at no point will all of the pieces just magically line up. There is never an absolutely perfect time and perfect conditions. There will always be obstacles, it’s just a matter of which ones are excuses you can navigate through, and which ones present actual authentic reasons you can’t hit the road yet (and yes, there are legitimate reasons!)
Sure, there will be times that are better than others. And life will present some convenient transition points. But by and large, you have to throw a dart at the calendar and create the perfect time.
Today is yesterday’s someday, and tomorrow is quickly approaching.
Setting up all of the details, getting rid of all of your stuff, earning a mobile income – they’re not going to get done without motivation. And motivation is not going to happen unless you make it real to yourself. Really real.
If you don’t have a deadline set, you will find ways to keep putting off the endless to-do list and difficult work of making your dreams happen.
There’s a lot of tough stuff that has to come together to get fully prepared. The seasonal purges you’re used to are not the kind of purging of stuff you’ll need to do.. it’s grueling, emotional and has to be done consistently day after day after day. Generating enough mobile income is likely not going to be accomplished by starting a blog and putting Google Adsense on the sidebar (sorry to dash your business plan). Looking at endless Craigslist ads, blogs (even this one) and RV sites may have you dreaming about the possibilities of what you might like in your mobile substrate – but unless you’ve given notice on your current life path, you’ll keep dreaming instead of acting.
If going mobile is what you really and truly want in the foreseeable future – the most efficient way to make it a priority is to give your stationary life an eviction notice.
Pick a reasonable but ambitious date for your situation, take a deep breathe and circle it on the calendar. Announce it to your friends & family, let your landlord know or contact a realtor. Let your boss or clients know. Start a blog to document the journey. Schedule a House Cooling Party. The more you make it real, the less opportunities you have to back out later.
From this point forward, every decision and action you make is about being ready for that day to arrive. Your priorities have shifted. It’s amazing how the swirl of overwhelming tasks start to materialize into actionable items that you start ticking off.
Everything changes now.
Take Steps If You Need To
Nothing says you have to do everything in one big leap. When setting your date, it doesn’t have to be a single date for having everything handled. Sometimes it just makes more sense to come up with sensible steps that represent major milestones. Such as buying the RV and moving into it, but yet staying in your hometown for a bit to keep your routines and jobs.
By taking things in manageable bite size stages, you can reduce the overwhelm of trying to tackle everything at once. Your steps will likely look different than anyone else, because your situation is going to be unique. Find what works for you, and don’t hold up anyone else as a model you have to strive to match.
The critical part remains though – with each stage, set a deadline to keep you on track and motivated.
We do suggest some caution to not give yourself too many milestones and opportunities to back out. We’ve certainly encountered enough folks who created so many safety nets, that they got too comfortable at points in their progression and never fully reached the road.
Sometimes, you just need to fully leap to learn you have wings to fly.
Kicking it into gear
It’s amazing what happens when you switch from this being a someday dream to being what you’re actively doing. It’s a mental shift that just can’t be achieved otherwise, and it’s the shift that is necessary to actually get stuff done.
Now the fun begins!
That to-do list that once seemed endless? It now has an end date and can’t be endless – there are things on that list that absolutely must get done, and others that really actually aren’t important at all. It may remind you a bit of being back in school and putting that big assignment off to the last minute, but yet totally rocking it. Deadlines can really push you sometimes.
From here, it’s probably best to institute some sort of project management system. If you’re already using a Getting Things Done system such as OmniFocus or Things, set up projects within those to track all of the details that you’re going to be tackling. If you’re not already using a system, now is probably not the time to research and set one up (unless your deadline is far out enough) – as that can become a massive project all of its own.
Otherwise, a simple to-do list system will work – digital or tangible. Keeping a series of documents and notes also works, or even a public blog that you share your process with the world.
And do keep notes of your steps along the way – you will be tackling a lot of projects and encounter information overload. Later on down the literal road, you’ll probably need to refer back to logistics you set up during this time period – such as banking or insurance details.
Be sure to break your tasks up into manageable and actionable items that you can complete in one session. The less overwhelming each is individually, the more likely they are to get done. Routinely make time in your schedule to focus on the tasks at hand, and reward yourself as you complete them. Keep the big picture in focus, and try to remember how much you’ve accomplished as well as how much more you have left to go.
In Chris’ case, he was fortuitously laid off from his Silicon Valley job (which had been too good to leave), removing his biggest excuse keeping him from pursuing his long deferred technomadic dreams.
After a few months of making only slow progress on his plans to hit the road, he took drastic action and gave his landlord irrevocable notice that he would be out his apartment on April 1st, forcing him to need to get ALL the details together within the remaining two months.
He went from no decisions made (not even having picked a tow vehicle or trailer!) to being purged and out the door in that time frame.
Chris thrives on tackling big overwhelming projects all at once, but not all of us do.
In my case, I went in stages. We at first decided to hit the road together for a trial run in Chris’ existing tiny travel trailer, but I found myself mentally running in circles and making little progress towards the goal. That’s when we decided it might be wise to set a target date – and wow, what a difference that made.
I was able to make those tough decisions about what to keep and what to purge so much easier. Inside of about 6 weeks, I purged a good deal of my stuff and got my business affairs in order to be fully mobile, but I didn’t focus on getting my house sold. When we returned from our 7 month trial run together, we then set another date to take care of finally purging my house and the rest of my belongings – and together we sought out our next ideal home on wheels for two.
For those joint exodus projects, we set up a series of Google Docs where we kept shared notes on all of the projects ahead of us. We had notes for the purging process, maintenance to be done on the trailer, purchase lists, trip planning, social engagements and logistics to handle (such as insurance, banking, mail forwarding, etc). Thinking through each project allowed us to write down individual tasks that had to happen to complete the overall project. And then each individual task became a manageable and achievable item that was much easier to approach in an afternoon. Instead of having a goal of ‘get rid of everything you’re not taking with you’, I could approach different areas of my house as mini-projects each evening- such as my closet, bathroom, kitchen, etc. Being able to check off completed items was empowering, and kept the momentum going.
We put aside time every few days to go over each of the projects together and make sure we were both caught up on what the other was doing, and what other tasks would come up. We divided up the tasks and made sure we each knew who was responsible for what, and which had a higher priority for getting done sooner versus later.
We’d put even the small stuff in our system to keep the motivation up by feeling we were making progress, and we made sure to schedule date time with each other so we would also have some time that was intentionally not related to the projects at hand.
We’d also celebrate each time we completed a major project, helping keep the enthusiasm going.
If I had it to do over again with today’s technology, we’d probably use other systems that we use today – like OmniFocus, Evernotes and Apple Reminders.
The system worked. When each of our circles dates approached, we were ready and rolled off into the sunset right on time.
<— Read Chapter 10: Nomadic Money – Banking, Finances & TaxesRead Chapter 12: Healthcare and Staying Healthly —>
What happened to the eBook version of this series?
We used to offer an eBook version of this content on a ‘Pay as you Wish’ basis. That book got so out of date and we have no time to keep it updated – so we took it down.
We do our best to upkeep the segments in this blog series, but realistically can’t see republishing the book edition.
In November 2018, RV Love released their brand new (professionally published) book – Living the RV Life. It goes over a lot of similar content to this series (and more) on RVing. We highly recommend picking up a copy!
You’re of course welcome to browse the No Excuses: Go Nomadic series online for more of our tips & tricks on the logistics of nomadic travel.
If you do appreciate this series or the content on our blog, we always LOVE hearing your appreciation – leave a comment, leave a tip (link at bottom of every page) and/or share this post. Thank you!