As we approach our one-year nomadiversary, we have been discussing what we’ve learned this year, what we would do differently, what we want to change right away. Lots to talk about, right?
We both agree that we love the nomadic lifestyle and can’t imagine living another way. We’ve embraced our own kind of American Dream that doesn’t include a three thousand square foot rancher on an acre lot in a cul-de-sac, two late model cars complete with car payments, and all the things that go along.
Our American Dream looks a lot like country roads, small town diners, national forests, public land, national parks, dirt, gravel, and less. And, y’all, less is so very much more.
To kind of boil down what we’ve learned over the past year we asked ourselves four questions:
- What is one thing about RV life that was totally unexpected?
- What is one thing about RV life that is the opposite or very different than what you expected?
- What is your least favorite part of RV life?
- What is your favorite part of RV life?
Daniel answered as follows:
- Didn’t expect to like other places as much
Really liked Ormond Beach, Florida
Loved the area around Batesville, Indiana
2. Setting up and tearing down is a lot harder than anticipated
Takes a long time
Lots of room for error
3. Leaving an area he really likes
4. Spending all our time together
- Didn’t expect to really embrace minimalism
Learning that stuff is very unimportant to me
2. Our RV is way too big. Expected it to be too small.
We are currently downsizing to a much smaller and more simple camping set up
3. Breaking camp sucks
I hate, truly, breaking camp. We have to throw everything on the bed. It takes two hours most of the time. It’s just way too complicated.
4. Spending all our time together
We landed on pretty much the same page. Love it when it works out that way, don’t you? So, we both want to be smaller, more mobile, and mobile more quickly. Towing sucks. Breaking camp sucks with a travel trailer. Backing into a camp site in a small, packed, busy campground really sucks. I’m being a little extreme, maybe. But those are things we don’t like. Some people love those things.
When we decided on this particular travel trailer last year, we just wanted to get on the road as easily as possible. This seemed the logical choice. But we’ve learned that the way we want to camp, and travel does not involve RV parks, but public land such as National Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, various state land management camping areas. Most of these are more remote, off of dirt roads, in out of the way places. Places where a truck and travel trailer can’t get to.
RV parks can be loud, crowded, and just not relaxing or fun. Although there have been a couple we liked and would return to. Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Lebanon, Tennessee and Raccoon Valley in Heiskell, Tennessee come to mind. And, we have met some interesting people in RV parks. But mostly we prefer to be in the woods, not super close to other campers, in out of the way places.
All of this has led us to where we are now in our nomad journey. Going smaller. Becoming more mobile. Beginning to embrace minimalism.
We’ve decided to get rid of a lot more of our stuff, sell our travel trailer, and build out our truck. We have a 2012 Ford F-250 Lariat crew cab 4×4 that we love. By build out, we intend to add a Decked system to the bed, a bed cap, and a roof top tent. This will become our new full time nomad rig. With this set up, we can chase the weather we love much more easily. We can get into some places that we just aren’t comfortable going into towing a travel trailer. We can be quickly mobile if needed. We can travel the back roads, the dirt roads, the roads that our RV could never travel.
If you had told either of us a year ago we’d be planning this type of rig and embracing downsizing and minimalism we both would seriously have cringed at the thought. We’ve responded to the nomad life in ways neither of us expected. For us, this change is freeing, exciting, and exhilarating.
Before I make it sound like all rainbows and sunshine, we fully know there will be challenges. There will be times when we’ll wonder if we’ve lost our minds. But we also know we will make memories we would never have been able to make any other way.