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Reflections from Seven Years on the Road

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’.

Ahh... new romance... it can make up for a lot of things.

Ahh… new romance… it can make up for a lot of things.

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.

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Home sweet home in 16′.

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.

Our living space in the T@b.

Our living space in the T@b.

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.

Our living space.. now.

Our living space.. now. We’ve come a long way!

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.

Comfortably at home.. these days.

Comfortably at home.. these days.

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.

We've come a long way!

We’ve come a long way!

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.

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40 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. Assume blog! It bring tears of happiness to my eyes to hear how you two are loving this life style. My wife and I can’t wait to start the next chapter in our own lives, when we hit the road next month! Hope to meet you someday! 🙂

  2. Congratulations on seven years. Thank you for sharing it with us. It truly has helped keep my dream alive to one day hit the road. Our youngest just graduated college, so the dream is now only years away instead of decades.

    Keep on keeping on.

  3. Hi Cherie and Chris

    Thanks for this excellent article. Really enjoyed it. Especially learning about your evolution and how you do things differently now.

    We celebrate three months on the road this Friday – yep, we’re newbies – and yours was one of the blogs we followed and learned from in the lead up of 7 months while we did our research and built up our confidence to pull the trigger.

    Thanks again for a great article and for all you do and contribute to this community. Hope to connect with you somewhere on the road one day.

    Cheers from Julie and Marc Bennett
    Full timers, originally from Colorado, now living everywhere but presently in Washington state 🙂

  4. Hi Cherie,

    Thanks so much for this insightful post! You’re affirmed my intuition about how living on the road could help me change for the better. While I’m pretty resourceful and creative at problem-solving (once the emotional dust has settled), I’m not as flexible, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants, or unflappable as I’ve always longed to be. Am so looking forward to the journey.

  5. Congratulations on your anniversary !! You guys are really special people ! I love reading your articles, the videos you post of other full timers, all of it. Great work !
    I own an MC9 that I converted with help from my friends. Although I’m not a full timer, I still love taking my little trips. Never too far from my home base of NYC… I work in a few nightclubs here in the city. If you guys ever come to NYC please look me up and I will show you a good time, as best as I can. I’m also tight with the Burner community here and I figure you probably know some of them. I wish you many more happy, healthy and safe trips ! Thank You for being so cool and sharing all your wonderful adventures with all of us !!

  6. […] So with this new tip in mind, I’m going through everything one more time and really only keeping things that fit and things I love. The rest is going and I will detract and add as I feel a need to. Another great tip is nothing new comes in without something old going out.  You can read Cherie’s entire post here Reflections-from-seven-years-on-the-road. […]

  7. Thanks for sharing your insights, knowledge and adventures. Following your blog has been one of the inspirations to keep us motivated to go full-time nomadic…which will finally be happening this year. Congratulations on 7 years on the move!

  8. Congratulations on 7 years…we celebrated 12 years this past December….we ale changed how we did it during those years…adjusting all the time…the biggest change I have seen is the technology and how people connect and stay in touch……to me it is just amazing…the whole lifestyle is…perhaps someday our paths will cross…

  9. Loved your story~ My hubby and I (60ish years old) are looking forward to trying traveling. Our dream is to get a small trailer or RV. We are just looking into it. Our history is tent camping and cabin renting over the years. As retirement comes into focus, we are both dreaming of doing some traveling. In the mean time, it is fun traveling with you and others on You Tube! So thanks a lot! I loved your little trailer!!! I never did like a lot of responsibility, and the RV looks like too much responsibility to me.~ LOL You both are Pioneers in this movement~ hugs~

  10. We are just two weeks into a one year trip on the road. I appreciated your retrospective. We have already cancelled two scheduled stops/experiences so that we don’t have to criss-cross along state. We find the driving part is our least favorite and hope and expect to get more comfortable with that. Thanks for being out there and helping others with their experience.

  11. Love your journey. Hope to share mine with you sometime down the road. On the road fulltime now 3 years at age 70 with so much life to share.

  12. Yesterday I celebrated my one month anniversary of being on the road. Obviously I have a long way to go before I come to your current anniversary, but I very much look forward to the people, places and adventures that await me. Congrats and here is to another 7 years!

  13. Congrats. Jean and I have been Rving more than 45 years. Not fulltiming, however. Look forward to meeting you in Goshen.

  14. Happy Nomadiversary, Cherie! We’ve so loved learning more about these past seven years of life together for you and Chris. If not for your version of nomadism, our version of nomadism probably never would have met up with you. We cherish our friendship with you guys, even if we do travel a bit differently. 🙂

  15. Great post! Thank you both so much for being such an inspiration to us. Don’t know if you recall, but we met you both at a concert in the park at during your 2013 visit to STL. We recognized you because we were avid followers of your excellent blog. Since then, we’ve bought an RV (you would giggle at it) and are weekend warriors. Thanks to blogs like yours, we are preparing ourselves for full time nomadic life in the not-too-distant future. And, also thanks to you guys, we were one of the first few hundred to sign up on RVillage where we are known as “Kevin and Jennifer”.
    Thank you for spending so much time and energy on your blog, apps, books, etc. They are all very helpful and very much appreciated. Happy travels…

    Jennifer and Kevin in STL

  16. Loved reading your story and hearing how you, your rig, and your lifestyle have evolved over the years. We’re coming up on our one-year anniversary as full-timers (put in a lot years of part-timing previously) and can’t imagine stopping anytime soon! Wishing you many more years of glorious travels!

  17. Great post! I can’t wait to hit the road and start making my own memories. My trailer should be arriving in the next week or so and my launch date is June 1! I’ve never camped before and never towed anything this big and I’m bringing along my 4 greyhounds. It’s sure to be an adventure and I’m excited for it to begin. It was nice to see how you’ve grown and changed since being on the road and you haven’t killed each other yet.

    Safe travels!

  18. Loved reading this Cherie. We are only approaching the 3-year mark later this summer and I found myself wondering if we would still be on the road at 7 years. What I do know is that this lifestyle has definitely grown on me and we have evolved in the 3 short years on the road. When we began I was hell-bent on seeing every state and as quickly as possible. Now I look at the map I have colored in and think it’s ok if we don’t cover them all. A slower pace and meeting like-minded interesting people along the way seems more important to me now. Glad to have met you and Chris earlier this year. Safe travels and many more grand adventures ahead for all of us.

  19. Just started following you recently…as a result of joining RVillage. Love hearing your story and want to thank you for RVillage and US Public Lands!

  20. Always love reading your story. Also really enjoy hearing about how your travel pace and priorities have changed over the years. I sure get it. We never figured ourselves for big Class A types, nor did we think staying in one spot for a few days was too short. How things have changed! Miss you guys!
    Nina

  21. What an awesome post on your reflections of the first 7 years of this amazing lifestyle. Thanks for sharing it.
    Oh how the times do keep a-changing, I recall those tech standards from back then as compared to what we have available to us now, wow!

      • I can’t help but feel those techno improvements have to. E playing a roll in making the lifestyle more appealing to an ever larger audience of RVers. Good stuff indeed.

  22. As always enjoy reading your blog, I live in rural Montana love reading your adventures and you write so well about them. Cheers, Michael

  23. What a lovely, sweet post! Even though our experiences are very different, some of the lessons learned are pretty similar. Love that first picture of the two of you!

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