Hello, I’m Trail (AKA Anne). I’m a Web Dev freelancer with a loving husband and two adorable cats. Hitch (AKA Sigfried), my husband, is a talented Software Engineer. And this is a blog about our adventure. I felt that I should make that introduction since if you’re reading this page you might be thinking about living in an RV full-time.
We often are asked, “How did you start living as a nomad? ” In other words, how do you prepare for those first steps of changing your daily habits toward living in a small space while moving from one place to the next?
In general, I started to look at the lifestyle we had originally. I thought about how to downsize and how to maintain a minimalist lifestyle. Before we even considered traveling in an RV, first looked at tiny homes as a means to simplify life and get out of debt. Eventually, we found started thinking about trailers and RVs. Then one day Hitch surprisingly pointed out, “Why not travel and see national parks if we’re going to live in an RV.” It took us about a month of talking and thinking, and suddenly the thought of selling our home buying an Airstream and truck started to look very appealing and very do-able.
Before all that happens – before we hit the road – we decided that there were several “must-do” items:
1. Reduce the Amount of Stuff We Owned
Did you know that 75% of Americans can’t fit their car in the garage because of too much stuff? We have room for a car, but we still have a ton or two of stuff. Before, most of the junk we owned, we collected over decades. We reduced the number of items such that it would fit into a 30-foot trailer. This also means not accumulating new and unnecessary items while getting rid of older stuff. For the month before we sold our home we had to purge. So we looked at nearly every item and asked “Do we need it? Do we want it? Do we have room for it?” If any answer is “no,” then we would either sell, donate, gift, or dump it.
2. Sell the House
Fulltime nomads don’t really need a fixed home. And having a mortgage would have been another worry we didn’t want. It’s hard to let go a home especially when you’ve put a lot of work into it. But for us, it was the right thing to do. This means to repair and replace parts of the house so that its appealing to buyers. I did a good job maintaining our old house but there are some parts that are in neglect. Our list wasn’t too long for ourselves, but when we hired a real estate agent the list got longer. I honestly suggest listening to your agent on things that need to be done before the sale of your house. We did and the house sold pretty quickly and with competing offers. Much of the money from the sale we got went into our new nomadic life.
3. Find Ways of Making Money While on the Road
Hitch and I are pretty tech savvy with skills in software engineering, web dev, graphics design and writing. This means we can work remotely as need be. I’ve scanned websites like Up work, Total, Elance, Freelancer, Guru, and Freelance Writing Gigs. Today we mostly write and publish. Hitch even has a book out: Batman: Arkham Underworld Unofficial Strategy Guide. We even did some work-camping, where we worked for the RV park in exchange for the cost of staying there.
4. Learning to Live Frugal
We are living on the road as nomads, not taking a vacation. This means keeping budgets tight and getting imaginative on limited resources. We left over-consumerism behind when we hit the road. Today, we buy what we need in terms of food and supplies. We also buy to replace items. For myself, I adopted a minimalist lifestyle.
5. Get Rid of Debt
If you can pay off your debt before you go, then do it. We also paid for our Airstream and truck in full. We soon discovered that without debt, our monthly cost of living went down. Now, all we have to worry about is food, supplies, a place to stay, and the occasional maintenance costs.
6. Make a List
I don’t think we could have done any of it and done in time without writing it down. We simply had a list of all the things we needed to do before hand. I understand that its different for everyone, but we mostly used it as a tool to help us organize and coordinate. Having it as a list that we could both read and refer to also made it easier for Hitch and me to work together.