Seven years ago today, after several weeks of hectic preparations – Chris and I set off together as full time technomads. I consider May 10 to be my personal ‘Nomadiversary’.
He had already been on the road for a bit over a year solo, although we spent a lot of that at my Florida home together, and taking trial camping trips to see just how two people were going to share 45 sq ft of living space.
And more importantly, how two laptops were going to be powered by the solar and batteries his 16′ T@b trailer could carry!
In the past couple of months we’ve had the pleasure of meeting up with many new to the road RVers, and it’s been fun to tap into their energy a bit and remember what our first year was like.
That first year was intense – ricocheting around the country covering nearly 13,000 miles in 7 months with amenities like solar and mobile internet – but no bathroom, air conditioner, or refrigerator. In retrospect, I think that’s a journey that was definitely fueled by new relationship energy. I look back at myself from those days and appreciate the minimalist ways we were able to thrive, but I am definitely a much more comfortable in our abundant lifestyle with a flushable toilet, climate control, and a shower.
Over the years, our pace has slowed down considerably. Back then, a stop in one location of more than a couple nights was considered a long stay – now we cherish varying up the pace. We can only sustain moving every couple of days for so long before we just need to be plopped down for a week or two, at least.
And we’ve come to really enjoy 1-2 month stays a couple times a year. Sometimes, we just need to let the awesome catch up to us, instead of us always out trying to find it.
We’ve also found our routing is much more influenced by people & events than places now. Yes, exploring new areas and seeing roadside attractions is still fun – but they are no longer the journey for us. Left to our own devices, we’re perfectly content having always changing surroundings and views, and if we don’t check a touristy thing off the list – we’re a-ok with that.
Back then, we used to laugh about large motorhomes in campgrounds, while sleeping in our tight little 16′ trailer. Now, we live in a 35′ bus and love it. But we still giggle a little at bigger RVs with lots of slides. Nothing wrong with them, we just have to have something to giggle at.
Technologically speaking this lifestyle has just gotten easier and easier. We used to be thrilled if we could connect to the interwebs on a 1xRT ‘2G’ signal. It was a big departure in speed and reliability from the cable internet we left at home. Now we can get cellular data LTE connections that can be faster than many home cable setups, and we keep connected pretty reliably overall.
Keeping in touch with friends and family has gotten easier too. Back then, phone and e-mail were about the only ways we could consistently keep in touch. Now – Skype, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts has made video chat so incredibly easy. And our own parents have advanced in their technological skills, and regularly keep in touch on Facebook and text messaging.
Costs have steadily increased to stay on the road over the years. The cost per gallon of fuel has doubled, if not tripled at times. And of course, it doesn’t help that our own fuel economy has decreased as we’ve upgraded our mobile living spaces. But even so, fuel is considered a housing cost for us, and is something we view very differently as full timers.
And campground costs continue to go up and up. Whereas $25/night for a campground was ridiculously expensive back then, now we find it reasonable for a nightly rate. It seems more private campgrounds are starting their rates at $30-35, and even state parks have inched up to $20-30/night or more.
Even so, last year we were able to keep our average nightly rate at just $16/night – without taking extreme measures to save money. Once we add solar and more electrical independence to our bus (coming soon!), we’ll be able to cut that average down even more should we choose to.
Personally, we’ve also grown. I’ve found that RVing nicely matches my adventurous neophiliac ways – I love new experiences and variety. I love changing up my surroundings and my view. But I’m also a homebody and introverted. Being able to return to my bed every night, gives me more energy to be ‘out there’ exploring and meeting people. I’m less shy and I have less hesitation.
And after enduring many things that might have been considered ‘worst case scenarios’ on the road – break downs, loss of income sources, medical emergencies, and threats – I’ve gained confidence that we can handle what is tossed at us. I have noticed that my reaction to ‘crisis’ is much more calm and collected. We’ll get through it, just as we always have.
I’m also much less schedule oriented. Those first months on the road we had a plan, and we were sticking to it. I called ahead and made reservations for every stop. It didn’t take me long to get past that and embrace following serendipity instead.
And the biggest change has been community.
When we set off, we personally knew of no one else full time RVing before traditional retirement age.
They were out there of course, we’re not that unique. We just weren’t really seeking them out, and it wasn’t as easy as it is today to find each other.
But over the years, we’ve connected in with vibrant communities of younger minded RVers – through both our blogging and social media efforts, and groups like NuRVers evolving. Every day, there seems to be folks hitting the road and combining career with travel.. and not waiting until retirement. We have communities of friends who have become like family. So much so, we can hardly go a week without crossing paths with them. And we love that. Absolutely love that.
After all, we keep up this blog primarily to connect with like minded folks to meet up with in our travels!
Will this RVing journey last forever? Probably not. Nothing lasts forever, and we’ll for sure change it up in some way in the future. Boating? Backpacking? International short term rentals? Space Travel?
It’s all a possibility in the future.
But do we see an end in sight? Nope. We love this lifestyle of following serendipity in our home, enjoying new locations, being where it matters to us, and connecting with friends and making new ones.
I can honestly say that meeting Chris and hitting the road with him was the single best choice in my life.
And while we’ve seen many nomads start and get off the road in our time, it feels like we’re just getting started. That we’ve been doing this for now seven years together, is just surreal.
It seems like mere months.
Thank you for joining us in these adventures and reading along. Sharing them via this blog has been adventure in and of itself!
And we look forward to many more years of sharing these adventures with you.