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Eight Years as a Full Time RVer – A Letter Back to Myself Then

I woke up eight years ago this morning, bright eyed and ready to hit the road.

A new romance for two nomads.

I had spent the prior six weeks going through everything I owned, got rid of most of it and packed everything I thought I’d need for an extended road trip into a small box.

It never started out as an un-ending adventure for me.

I just wanted to shake life up a little and see if a romance with this dude I picked up on a Prius forum had any legs.

On an RVing group I frequent, someone asked what you’d go back and tell yourself before setting off. Seemed like an appropriate topic for today’s post commemorating my nomadiversary.

So here goes, if I could back in time this is the letter I’d write:

Dear Cherie of 2007:

You’re about to set off on an amazing adventure. You may have some preconceived notions of what it’ll be like. To make it a little easier for you, here’s some tips from the future.

1) Community on the road is different than community in one place. Not better/worse.. just a different approach. 

A Burning Man camp we started for nomads.. a nexus of many friendships made.

The toughest and longest adjustment for you will be adapting your sense of community.

You have friends you can TXT and have an instant pizza & movie night planned, or people to take off for a road trip to sci-fi conventions. You can continue conversations from last week, without always starting the story from scratch. 

You have continuity of friendships. You will miss that.

Now on the road, you will be constantly in new cities – somewhere you may not know anyone. Any new connections made will become quick distant memories as your paths diverge.  Your introverted self will become reluctant to invest the energy sometimes.

Your blog won’t generate a lot of new connections right off the bat, you know – because only mom is reading it anyway. Facebook and Twitter are infants, but will play a stronger role in time. NuRVers will soon be born and introduce you to a network of like minds. And this thing called RVillage will become a twinkle in your eyes. You’ll find resource like the Escapees.

It gets better. It becomes super easy to make new friends and keep in touch with them. You will adapt. And you will become overwhelmed with the sense of community that is possible.

Another nomadic meetup!

Another nomadic meetup!

Friendships will go in waves – deep and nourishing while you’re physically together, and more distant as the miles grow. But when next you meet, those connections are just as strong and powerful. Cherish every connection you make, you just never know which ones will become invaluable to you.

You now have a constant ebb and flow of community. People you visit along the way who become nomadic ports and fellow nomads to travel with for extended periods of time. You’re constantly meeting new people to add to the mix.

 

2) Following the weather is easier said than done.

You'll eventually do it - spring all year round!

You’ll eventually do it – spring all year round!

When your house has wheels, you have choice in where you’re living at any given point. Following the weather seems like a logical goal to have. Flip flop and shorts weather year round. 

In the summer, you’ll be tempted to go north or up a mountain to cooler climates. In the winter, you head south to where it stays warmer. 

But you’ll quickly find there are so many factors that make this easier said than done.

  • Your friends and family still live in fixed locations, and if you want to be there for major parts of their life, you may have to move ‘good weather’ down the priority list.
  • You’ll spend a winter in a deep freeze and a summer back in Florida, and you’ll be thankful for it. 
  • Life will take you in directions you don’t expect or that don’t pay attention to where the best weather is. You’ll spend a summer in the 120+ degree heat of southern Arizona. You may go a bit delirious as your brain gets cooked, but it’ll make a great story to tell.
  • Weather patterns will change and pop-up, despite your best intentions. Keep an eye on the weather, make the best decisions you can and adapt as needed. You’ll get through it.

It’ll take you 8 years on the road to finally navigate through spring-like weather conditions for a year. It’ll be wonderful having the windows open so much and constant flowers blooming.

3) You can’t possibly see & do it all – it’s not an extended vacation.

Mix it up.. do fun things. But you can't do it all.

Mix it up.. do fun things. But you can’t do it all.

In your first year on the road, you’ll have intentions to set off to Alaska and Baja, and everywhere in between.

You’ll ricochet around the country covering over 13,000 miles in seven months, and nearly exhaust yourself. And you don’t even come close to seeing the whole country, never mind crossing any international borders. 

And you don’t regret it one moment.

Life will be full of unending new adventures that keep you plenty busy. By year eight, you still won’t get to all 50 states. You haven’t even made a list of all the National Parks, never mind seen them all. There are major regions of the country you haven’t even crossed wheels into.

And nope, you’ve still not RVed to Alaska or Mexico.

There will be no shortage of things to do and people to spend time with. After a while, historical landmarks all start to look the same. Another walking city tour is just another walking city tour. Another garden is just another collection of pretty flowers. 

Keep it mixed up, don’t get into ruts and don’t even try to experience everything a location has to offer. You have to balance life in there too. Work hours, laundry, chill time and worshipping the cat (yes, you don’t have to give up having a cat.. the right one will come to you!)

4) Travel days take more effort than you think.

For your first years on the road, you’ll rarely stop anywhere more than a few nights at a time. It’ll allow you to see a lot of places and visit a lot of people. 

Don't forget to stop every so often and just be.

Don’t forget to stop every so often and just be.

But that pace will not be sustainable long term. You’ll quickly find that you can’t make miles, plan routing and stops, find the next great parking location AND have a life.

Don’t try to mix in productive work days with driving days, you’ll stress yourself out.

Adopt the 2-2-2 rule as quickly as possible.  Drive no more than 2 hours, stay no less than 2 nights and be in to your next spot by 2pm.

And know when to exempt yourself from the rule. Especially integrating in more stays measured in weeks and months. 

5) Embrace your new time zone – NST (Nomadic Standard Time).

When you first hit the road, you’ll want to stick to your micromanaging scheduling ways. You’ll want to keep pace, call ahead and make reservations days in advance. You’ll set up appointments for when you expect to land at your next destination.

A lot can happen on the road..

A lot can happen on the road..

It won’t take you long to realize, this is just bringing your old ways into a new lifestyle that just doesn’t fit anymore.

There’s too many variables on the road.

Bad weather, traffic, mechanical problems and amazing distractions that you might not be ready to move on from yet.

Leave room for that. Sure, set intentions.. but be open to reality not always lining up.

The less you plan, the less stress you’ll have in your life. The less reservations you’ll have to cancel. You’ll have far more joy by allowing serendipity to do the planning.

You’ll learn things always work themselves out.

You’ll never go a night without a safe place to park and you’ll never go hungry.

No one will ever be upset with you as long as you set their expectations that you’re now living on NST (Nomadic Standard Time).

Instead of saying – ‘We’ll be there by 5pm on Monday in time for dinner’ set the expectations to ‘We’re aiming for early weekish. We’ll update you as we get closer, let us know if you have anything on your schedule.’

A nomad, like a wizard – always arrives precisely when they are meant to.

Predicting the arrival of a nomad is kinda like predicting a hurricane. Further out, the future is kinda broad. As they get closer, the details start to materialize where you can narrow down the date and location better. Maybe.

 

Younger Cherie – enjoy every moment of the adventure – amazing things are about to manifest in your life. Chill out more, relax and don’t fret. Enjoy the journey, not just the destinations along the way.

And that dude you picked up on the Prius forum?  Yeah, he’s your soul mate and partner in life.

 Love,
– Cherie of 2015

Eight Years Later – And No End in Sight

It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years since I pulled out of my driveway in Florida with this dude in a tiny travel trailer. We’ve experienced, we’ve endured, we’ve had many adventure and challenges along the way.

We’ve grown as individuals, and as a partnership. We’ve accomplished great things together.

We’ve been blessed to be invited onto your screen and hopefully provided a couple useful tips and inspiration. Thank you for joining us and being a part of this all.

Missouri Botantical Gardens last week with our Moms

Missouri Botantical Gardens last week with our Moms.

We don’t know where we’re going long term, or what the future holds. But whatever it is, it’ll be amazing.

And to our mom’s who have both supported us in this crazy lifestyle while raising a few eyebrows, thank you.

We love you both.. and Happy Mother’s Day!

Read Last Year’s Reflections:

Reflections from Seven Years on the Road

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61 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. You guys are too cool. We never full timed it, but go for months at a time instead. The worst is finding space when school is out! Once I read your 2,2,2 rule, we implemented something similar for ourselves. 2 day stay was a minimum. Found out that we loved visiting little towns and getting into a routine even if only for 2 or three days. Thanks for all your tips! (I was able to travel and work my IT job in 2014 because of you and MIA)

  2. Traveling full time is in my future. I’ve been planning for a year (not full time). This is the best advice I’ve read so far. I am a fly by the seat of my pants person….so it fits right in with my ‘schedule’. Love you guys <3 Thanks~

  3. I just wanted to leave a quick note to thank you for your blog. My bf and I are about to start our full-time life (it’s been almost 2 years of planning!) and your posts (and internet handbook) have been so valuable for us as we’ve prepped for the big transition. Excited to say we purchased our rig 2 weeks ago and will hit the road in a month!

  4. Wonderful advice to your past self and for those of us which have recently (July 2015) embarked on this new life style of full time RVing! One of my favorite peices of advice was your 2-2-2 rule! Thank you for sharing!

  5. This was a great post, thank you! We are entering into our second year of full time travel with our kids in tow and so many of your points I was nodding along with already. Love the 2-2-2 rule!

  6. Thanks Cherie, this was great to read. I’ve been travelling about on road trips, camping for years. It’s going to get into much longer travels soon and your sharing your experience is invaluable to me.

  7. We liked your advise to yourself (especially the change in community/relationships and the 2-2-2) and may adapt a few to our own transition from part timers to full timers.

  8. How about 15,000 in five months. Started my new life in a new truck and camper in Jan. 2015. Still burnin’ diesel and enjoying every minute. Maybe slow down, but not anytime soon. Was made for this. Just started reading and enjoying your website. Freethinker marveling at the results of wind, floods, volcanic activity, and glaciers. Wind, water, fire, ice, and time. On the road forever.
    Lone Outdoorsman.
    2015 Ford 350 DRW 4X6 Diesel, Arctic Fox 990

  9. i have a 34ft holday rambler class a 1989 i live in jonesville nci real like your veido i seen on the innet iam 65 years old iam been want to do this for 40 years i need some encourgmemt look ove my splling plese help me get to florida sine gary

  10. I have been watching u tube for a couple of years and have check you guys out i think what you do is great and i have learned. I am going to start out camping in a 29′ travel trailer but want to get a motor home. I am 65 but still working full time till wife who is 60 can get on medicare and then i will retire full time. just want to say thank you for sharing your life with us. Thanks

  11. An excellent summary of what to expect when full-timing and so timely for my spouse and I as we prepare to join the nomadic lifestyle within the month. As avid readers of your blog, we’ve learned so much from you and are grateful for your sharing.

  12. Very beautiful, Cherie! We are a family of 5 rounding up our journey around the US on (or around) July 1 – and what a journey it’s been. We’ve had a crazy pace the past 7 months knowing that this trip has a finite ending, but my husband and I are counting the days to when we can be truly nomads – when the kids are out of the nest 🙂 We look forward to spending a month or more in one place and love your 2-2-2 rule. Thank you so much for your blog and sharing your thoughts and experiences with us. We love it!

  13. Beautifully written! Hubby and I are planning to full time in a few years. Working on selling all our stuff now. Have learned so much from your posts. Thank you for giving so much of yourselves to others.
    Happy Nomadiversary and to many many more!

  14. Thank you Cherie for sharing!! I believe you were leaving all you knew about a year before I departed from my conventional life!!! What a RIDE!! I could see myself in your letter and as I was reading it, I thought of the letter I too would write to my younger self!! I daydreamed about it a lot before diving in…but there are many things that happen and I wonder to myself, “Where was I when I was daydreaming about THIS????” But I’ve had many chances to do a “Do-Over” and have never chosen to park my RV for the last time!!

  15. Cherie,
    Great reading…brings back good memories.
    Whats great about your lifestyle is that you found it at such a young age instead of after you retired. Denise and I started our relationship in a converted bus back in the early 70’s and maybe someday will again return to a full time lifestyle on wheels. But for now 6 months at a time is just right.
    See you soon, T+D

  16. My husband and I just bought our first RV, and we are hoping and praying to retire to full-time RV living in the near future. We love watching your videos and learning from all the information you have posted on Technomadia.com. I am so impressed at your bravery of stepping out in the first place. Milton and I have talked about doing this our whole life, but we never really thought we would be able to do it. Now here we are actually getting started. 🙂 You all rock!! Hope to see you some day in the near future!

  17. It was wise not to tell your younger self what an important role you and your dude will play in the lives of other nomads in the future. That younger introvert would likely not have believed you, and would probably have been a bit intimidated 🙂 This was a most excellent post, clearly from the heart, and for those of us just hitting the road with our partner a very timely one! The reality of following the weather most struck home for me – I have to remember that life happens while making other plans.

  18. What a great post! Happy Nomadiversary. We feel so lucky to have had our paths cross so early in our adventure. You guys were the very first nomads/bloggers we ever met once we hit the road and we’ve cherished that fact over the past 2 years. Looking forward to seeing you again this summer. <3

  19. What a beautifully written post. All of it spoke to me, but especially the part about adjusting to a new sense of community. This aspect of RVing is a constant struggle for me, and I’m always having to remind myself what I’ve gained by giving up the easy, close friendships I used to enjoy. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not alone in making this adjustment. Happy to hear that it gets better 🙂

    Wishing you a very happy eight year anniversary, and thanks for sharing your adventures, insights, struggles, and wisdom with all of us.

    • You are definitely not alone in the adjustment to community. It took me years to get comfortable with it. And there are still times I struggle – especially when most our dearest friends are far away and we want to be everywhere.

      Hope our paths cross one day!

  20. It’s clear you both are having a great life and belong together. I’m sure you’ll have many more years to see the country and enjoy yourselves and Kiki.

  21. I’d love to say something profound and romantic here, but the only couples who come to mind are crazed — George & Martha, Scott & Zelda, Anthony & Cleopatra, Helen & Paris [and we know how well THAT one worked out!] — yet, I realize that, after preparing an authentic German dinner and ingesting LOTS of red wine, there is nothing and no one to whom to compare you: You ARE Chris & Cherie… That’s all the rest of us need to know!

    Here’s wishing you more miles, more adventures [sans engine rebuilds!] and MANY more years together in front of you!

  22. One of your best posts ever, Cherie! Great words of wisdom to your former self and to others contemplating a similar lifestyle.

    We’re so happy to have been one of your many nomadic ports along the way, and for a lasting friendship with you and your Prius dude. 🙂

    Here’s to another however many years you feel like, in whatever transportation mode that appeals to you.

    And Kiki, you have an awesome Mom!

    • Best post ever? Wow. thanks 🙂 I’ll have to wake up and just typing more often. Thrilled our paths have crossed yours, and will continue to. And cheers to your own new life transition!

  23. WOW, what a great post guys! It really helped me to see into my future and what I will learn along the way if I haven’t already through you. Great insight, creative format, a fun read. I’m sure it’s all true, but of course I’ll have to experience it for myself to really learn it. Thanks guys! Looking forward to more of your posts and adventures!

  24. What a totally cool way to write a story, and to send best regards to your two Moms. A great post indeed, and lots of useful advice for many of us.
    Thanks for doing that.

  25. What an outstanding post! Love it!! Many of these things I wished I’d known myself back in the day, and I think almost every fulltime RVers can agree with what you’ve written here. And of course, you’re darn cute…you and your Prius dude 🙂

    Nina

  26. I love the concept of setting intentions rather than making plans. I shall incorporate it into my thinking. Nomadic Standard Time is great too….now if I can just give up my watch, I won’t be measuring myself to standards I cac never meet.

  27. A beautiful, heartfelt post, and one that should now be required reading for anyone ever contemplating this lifestyle. Happy Nomadiversary, Cherie! Here’s to many more years of adventure and serendipity!

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