This is our story of how we met (our entire relationship has been while traveling together), our various forms of travel since 2006 and how we keep it funded.
‘T@bbed Browsing’ days
April 2006 – July 2008
Chris had just left behind his Silicon Valley career to start pursuing his dreams of full time nomadism (solo) in a tiny 16′ T@b Clamshell travel trailer on April 1, 2006.
He did this entirely by choice to leave behind corporate life for a bit, funded by savings & a sweet severance package – and live a fully mobile lifestyle.
His intentions were to travel a year by trailer while building up a tech consulting portfolio – using the Jeep he had traded his Prius for – and then switch to more international pursuits.
He was in part inspired by his good friend Steve Roberts‘ (who coined the word) pioneering technomadic adventures years before.
Meanwhile on the opposite coast in Florida, Cherie was running a custom software development business and was already working remotely as she engaged in personal & business travel. She also had a pop-up camper and enjoyed exploring Florida State Parks.
We first encountered each other in a Prius (yes, the hybrid car) forum shortly after Chris hit the road and discovered we had friends in common. Cherie had actually just purchased a new Prius and was intending to move to California later that year.
After months of correspondence, we finally met for the first time in October 2006 on an epic 27 hour first date. There was no doubt we were meant for each other, and started exploring the possibilities of how our lives might merge.
For our forth date, in May 2007 – we set off on a 7-month trial run together (in the teardrop) that took us nearly 13,000 miles around the USA and back.
We only had 45 sq ft of living space, no bath facilities, refridgerator or air conditioning – but we had solar power, cellular internet and an exciting new relationship. We learned, that’s all we *really* needed to be happy.
Read all our posts from this chapter (caution: we were very much just small time personal “friends & family” bloggers back then)
‘Going Oliver The Place’
July 2008 – May 2011
During our 7 month cross country adventure in the T@b, we decided:
- We make excellent life partners, and had a life commitment ceremony while at Burning Man and had all the proper legal documents drawn up to protect each other (with marriage equality now a reality, we also made it legal in 2017 – but we more strongly identify as partnered, not married).
- We wanted to continue traveling, so Cherie took a big financial loss on her house during the ‘Great Recession’ to get it sold.
- We needed a touch more space than the T@b offered, namely we wanted a dedicated bed & table area (a bathroom would be nice too).
We commissioned Oliver Travel Trailers to custom build us a 17′ fiberglass travel trailer with as much solar and battery capacity as we could squeeze into it to continue our love of boondocking.
We now had a luxurious 80 sq ft of living space, a bathroom, refrigerator and air conditioning! We happily traveled full-time in our Oliver from July 2008 – November 2010, enjoying such a variety of locations.
The Oliver could go places most other RVs simply couldn’t, and gave us everything we needed to live comfortably.
Our works lives fully merged too – Chris helping out in Cherie’s business, working on consulting projects together and we dipped our toes in mobile app development.
But the space started to feel limiting to us – no comfortable desk space for working long hours (dinettes SUCK for this), it was uncomfortable for extended stays in one spot and Kiki (our cat) had adopted us along the way.
We started exploring what our next chapter would be. Shopping for a sail boat and contemplating international travel were our top contenders.
Read all our posts from this chapter (again, we weren’t really public bloggers back then either)
Island life – The Virgin Islands
November 2010 – April 2011
And then popped up in our e-mail – a friend looking for someone to sublet her treehouse cottage on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands.
We thought we’d help get her in touch with some nomadic friends who could take advantage of the opportunity.. then thought, why not us??
We had never heard of St. John – but after confirming we could bring Kiki, there was internet and craft beer on island – it took us just a few hours to totally shift gears!
We did a rapid dash to Florida where we parked the Oliver for 5 months, and spent the winter in tropical paradise.
It was a prefect spot to focus deeply on some software development projects we had taken on – including launching our first major app Coverage?.
It also gave us the ability to check out the sailing lifestyle closer, still be in the US but get a bit of an international feel, enjoy lots of amazing hiking & snorkeling and contemplate life ahead.
Read all our posts from this chapter (again, we were more personal bloggers during this phase)
Full Time: June 2011 – March 2017
Part-Time: 2017 – ??
Our time in the USVI taught us:
- While boating called us strongly, we weren’t at the right time in our careers to make the leap. Still working 9-5 with intense internet needs just wouldn’t be compatible with our dreams of sailing quite yet.
- We did still want to be nomadic & travel – but having our lives focused on a cat could make that difficult without bringing our own home. RVing continued to make perfect sense as our US land home base.
- But it was time for more comfort and would need something larger.
- We wanted RVing to be our home base to launch off for other adventures – we love mixing it up.
We anticipated taking several months to search out our options (already tempted by vintage buses), but as soon as we mentally made the shift – we immediately we got an unsolicited offer to sell the Oliver at a price we couldn’t ignore.
We delivered our Oliver with about a week’s notice, borrowed a small motorhome from a friend on the way and then jumped on Amtrak with a month long rail pass to travel the country in search of a vintage bus.
It was hectic and crazy, we had no plan, didn’t know terribly much about buses and we trusted completely in serendipity that we would be lead to where we needed to be.
In late June 2011, in the 115+ degree desert heat of southern Arizona – we found Zephyr. A 1961 GM PD-4106, 35′ bus conversion that had sat still for many years.
She had already been converted to be a livable RV, and we made modifications over the years as we traveled to make her our ideal high tech decadent home on wheels.
From June 2011 to March 2017, Zephyr was our full time home on land – much longer than we ever anticipated before shaking it up again.
During this time we had transitioned away from custom software development after the passing of Cherie’s dad (her business partner) and consulted for some pretty major RV-related projects (helping found RVillage and Xscapers). We also had grown tired of answering so many questions for free about how we stayed connected to keep working remotely, so we launched the Mobile Internet Resource Center – which quickly became our professional focus.
We now split our travels in Zephyr (based on her own RV lot in Arizona) and our other forms of travel that we’ve since added.
Cruising by Motor Yacht: March 2017 – ??
While we’ve managed to get a month or two a year away from the RV for other adventures, it was time to get serious about pursing our boating dreams.
While sailing still called us, coastal cruising while still remaining accessible to friends & family called us more (and keeping a strong internet connection).
We selected the The Great Loop – a circumnavigation of the eastern portion of North America – traveling via intracoastal waterways, canals, rivers and lakes. A sailboat wasn’t ideal for this, so we dove into power boats.
After a several month boat-hunt, in March 2017 we purchased m/v Y-Not – a 1999 Bayliner 4788 motor yacht .
Y-Not was intended to be our spring & summer home on water as we embark on slowly exploring the The Great Loop. However, cruising in general has really suited us and we’re less focused on the ‘the Loop’ and more on enjoying a comfortable condo on the water that can move between awesome locations.
Van Life: May 2019 – ??
Cruising really spoke to us, and we realized we were ready for a much slower pace of nomadic life with stays measured in months instead of days. Especially as we discovered how affordable monthly marina stays are, often in walking distance to cool downtowns.
But we still wanted to split our time RVing. Our Mini Cooper that we had towed behind the bus was showing its age and was quite uncomfortable for cross country road trips between the bus and boat.
So we decided to try a van conversion as our shuttle craft in-between – to enjoy more leisurely cross country camping trips, and as our daily driver from both mobile home bases.
And we can take RV trips while in our boating season.
We’re not on vacation. We’re not taking a gap year(s). We’re not retired early (yet.. what’s retirement anyway? We love what we do!).
We consider ourselves more like part of a mobile middle class – choosing to live this lifestyle while still in our income generating years. Technology enabled us to hit the road during our career years.
We initially took our high tech careers on the road with us (tech consulting and software development).. and have morphed our careers over the years to adapting our skillsets to providing resources for our community.
Everything we’ve done together is under our business partnership – Two Steps Beyond.
Our projects have ranged from mobile app development, technology advising, market research, advising tech start-ups, technical writing & journalism and orchestrating unique product launch strategies.
It’s all community funded via our premium membership program (no advertising, sponsorships or selling ‘stuff’), so we can remain unbiased in providing content about the options for keeping connected as a nomad.
Running the resource center is now our primary professional focus.
Our travels have also inspired a line of incredibly useful travel apps (Coverage?, State Lines and US Public Lands) to solve challenges we encountered on the road. We initially developed the apps ourselves, but have shifted to partnering with a developer.
Despite common assumption – we don’t consider our sharing under the ‘Technomadia’ brand to be work – this is our side hobby.
While we know we could monetize the heck out of our content here as many content creators have successfully done we prefer not to. We just simply want to keep this fun, and never feel pressured to HAVE to share to keep fuel in our tanks. Yes, we do get some trickle of affiliate income, but nothing more than beer money.
We’ve also been known to take on short term intense projects over the years:
- Packing boxes at Amazon.com during the holiday rush
- Volunteering full time to run a presidential campaign field office in rural Nevada
- Orchestrating a guerilla marking launch of the iPhone travel app HearPlanet at Macword 2009 (involving organizing a week long party on a double decker bus)
- Volunteering as interpretive lighthouse hosts in Oregon
- Becoming ‘Launch Specialists‘ of a new social network for RVers called RVillage.
- Helping the Escapees RV Club return to their roots by launching the Xscapers club-within-a-club, to provide resources to working aged RVers.