Chris & Cherie’s Story – Perpetual Technomads since 2006
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 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.
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.
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 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 in Florida 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.
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. 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 work projects, 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
Winter Home: 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. But we’re no where near ready to give up RVing, and Zephyr will become our winter home as we embark on cruising in the warmer months.
The Great Loop by Motor Yacht
Summer Home: 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 calls us, the Great Loop called us even more at this stage of our lives. The Great Loop is a circumnavigation of the eastern half of North America – traveling via intracoastal waterways, canals, rivers and lakes.
After a several month boat-hunt, in March 2017 we purchased m/v Y-Not – a 1999 Bayliner 4788 motor yacht .
Y-Not will be our spring & summer home on water as we embark on slowly exploring the The Great Loop.
We’ll take several years to complete the Loop (3? 5?) enjoying a slow pace with monthly stays in cool city centers and exploring as many of the side trips as we can. When it gets too cold to boat as we head north, we’ll store the boat for winter and return to Zephyr somewhere in the warmth of the south.
We feel this is the perfect next adventure for us, as we’ll be boating in locations that RVers go too – allowing us to stay on top of our work and still being close to friends & family.
Speaking of which..
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 initially took our high tech careers on the road with us.. 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.
After years of fielding questions about how we keep online as we travel and work remotely, in 2013 wrote The Mobile Internet Handbook and soon after launched the Mobile Internet Resource Center. 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.
We also love the Escapee’s / Xscapers RV Club, and are currently instructors for their RVers Online University (‘Staying Connected on the Road’ course) and occasionally write for their magazine, speak at events and co-host webinars with them. We do it more for the love of helping our community than the income.
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 as other projects have taken our focus.
Despite confusion, 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 (and we do get some dribbles of income – we consider it more fun money than funding our lifestyle), 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.
We’ve also been known to take on short term intense projects:
- 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 content to working aged RVers.