James living the Airstream RV life.

Don’t Die Waiting for Retirement to Travel the Open Road

The purpose of this site is to show possibilities for alternative lifestyles. I have talked a bit before about how I left the typical corporate workforce to start traditional businesses, then transitioned that into a mobile lifestyle which allows me to work wherever I have an internet connection.

One of the lifestyles that has always fascinated me is RV travel. I’ve always known people whose dream it was to see the U.S. at their own pace in their RV once they retired. My grandparents were such an example. He was a business owner in a small town in California. Kind of a big fish in a little pond sort of thing where they still have a street named after him though he died 30 years ago.

Some of my earliest memories were of camping out of my parents’s VW bus they bought brand new when I was on the way. My grandpa had an in-bed camper truck that we used to take short weekend trips in when I could barely talk. My sister & I loved camping in their backyard where they kept that camper truck parked. We were even more excited when he got a newer Class-C RV where we used to almost exclusively “camp” in the yard whenever we stayed there during the summer.

It represented waking up in a new place every day while exploring this vast country of ours, and beyond. All of the things my grandpa always told me about. One of my many dreams is to restore an old Airstream. The classic look just brings back something nostalgic and adventurous for me, like it does so many others.

I remember him regaling me with tales of all the places he was going to go when he retired. He just never got around to retiring before he died.

Life for me has always been very nomadic. I have never held the same address for longer than 4 years: once in grade school, and once as an adult (I’m 40). I’ve explored only small areas of the country, with only quick trips outside it’s borders. I’ve moved a lot, camped quite a bit, lived in my SUV for short periods of time when I felt like it, and always thought about making a move to a mobile RV life.

(Interestingly, about a year ago my dad told me that we lived in a parked Airstream when I was born. I had no idea.)

Most people think of RV life as something like my grandpa thought of it: something for weekend trips, family vacations, or retirement. While there may be plenty of good times to be had limiting it to just those activities, there are a lot of people of all ages living full lives in their RVs all over the world. Whether in full-sized RV’s, converted buses or cargo trucks, towing Airstreams or other trailers, and even stealth camping in vans.

Tales From Technomadia

If you’ve been to this site before, you’ve heard me talk about Chris Dunphy & Cherie Ve Ard. They have been traveling around the U.S. for several years now living in their towed Oliver travel trailer, along with their cat Kiki. They are not old and retired, but they enjoy working and living from wherever they happen to travel to at any given point. They are Digital Nomads who run several businesses from wherever they have internet access.

They’ve become very well-known in various RV and Location Independent circles here on the internet, and are experts at every aspect of life as a modern Technomad. I met them for a shuttle launch earlier this year, and use their handy State Lines iPhone app whenever I am about to cross into another state. They are always friendly and helpful, despite constantly answering the same questions over and over from people like me who are curious about or want to live their wandering experience.

They were recently selected to present on Technomadism at SXSW Interactive, and have recently settled in to explore the U.S. Virgin Islands for a few months over the winter.

Over the years, they’ve documented all of the various questions and obstacles people throw at them for why they can’t also live this life of freedom. Like with anyone else doing things outside the mainstream way we are taught to live in the default world, they get a lot of praise about their amazing life, almost always followed up with some variation of the “I wish I could do that” excuse.

They wrote an extensive series of posts on their blog about overcoming these obstacles to full-time travel, but they got several requests for a book form. They have now compiled this 15-part series into an ebook. I thought it was going to just be the posts sewn up quickly into a pdf, but it’s a 78-page, 25,000 word book.

They added a ton of stuff to it!

Chris & Cherie don’t use their blog to make a living, but to share information. They make enough money from their software development and consulting businesses to afford their travels. They’re working on some extra travel expenses to get to SXSW, but are generously offering this book for whatever you want to pay.

They’re not putting a price tag on this eBook – it’s offered to you on a ‘Pay-as-You-Wish’ basis. Pay what it’s worth to you. Heck, even download it for free, and come back later and pay what it’s worth to you.

Just change the suggested price of $15 in the shopping cart to whatever you want to contribute.

If you’re looking to live a mobile lifestyle or even just curious, it’s a great resource. I don’t say that because they are friends, because they quote this blog in the book, or because I’m an affiliate for it. It’s just a fantastic resource you should check out, and pay what you think it’s worth to you.

UPDATE 2-3-2011: They’ve added another chapter to the book! If you signed up for updates, you should have already received a notification. The book is still pay-as-you-wish, so you can buy the updated version at the same link.

Check out Answers to the Most Common Excuses to not Travel Full-Time

7 thoughts on “Don’t Die Waiting for Retirement to Travel the Open Road

  1. I just retired but the stock broke me and am living day to day and my entire life was planned on traveling when i retired. Maybe you should think about this and if i had to do it over again i would travel before retirement

    1. A large part of the reason for writing this blog in the first place was because I saw similar things happening to friends and family, and I wanted to show different options.

      One retired after saving “enough” money, then the market crashed, more than halving his retirement funds and leaving him wondering if he’d have to go back to work. His old industry is failing anyway, so he wouldn’t be able to go back (newspaper).

      There is definitely a balance for everyone. Weighing risks and balancing options is something we all need to figure out for ourselves.

  2. I have visited that site and many others like it. Its great to see that people are not waiting on or counting on retiring before they travel. I see a few that have purchased old school buses just for traveling. I can wait to get to the point where I am traveling around the world. Not sure it I would to it RV style or just flying from destination to destination. Looks like a great ebook!

  3. hi there,
    i’m lucky to be in pre-retirement and i’m only in my forties (i’m european so the system here is different), so i was starting to travel the world and live collar free… but then my mother went sick. this is not an excuse… i just can’t let her alone in the hospital or at home for months being the only daughter… so i decided not to leave europe for the moment, i’m travelling but in bits and pieces, and i often go back and take care of her for a while.
    i was wondering if for americans this would not be a problem at all, i mean do you prefere to pay someone to take care of your old loved ones so you can go on with your life?
    is it normal to let parents to die alone in hospices?
    i’m not ashamed to say that sometimes i think about this option, but then my sense of duty and my spiritual beliefs prevale…
    thanks for reading this and sorry for my english

    1. There is nothing wrong with taking care of sick family members at all. No situation is perfect all the time, and taking care of your mom can’t ever be called an excuse.

      I don’t think there are general rules that apply to every group of people. Americans come in many shapes and sizes, so I couldn’t say that Americans prefer to hire out help for the elderly. I think those who can afford to get professional help usually do. Sometimes a nurse, sometimes with a facility like a nursing home. Many older people also prefer that type of “assisted living” facility, where they can still be somewhat independent, but have help on hand all the time (I can see one of those buildings from my front door).

      Hospice is usually used in the very final stages of someone’s life. My partner works for Hospice here, and she says they provide care for people who are not expected to survive 6 months.

      They are not just left to die alone at all, but I think you meant away from family. I don’t know of too many families who just ignore their dying parents to go on trips, but I can’t speak for everyone.

      If your mother needs care, I’m sure you’ll provide it however you can. I’m sure she wants you to enjoy your life, but you can still do both. Enjoy the time you have with her.

      Your English is far better than any other language I try to speak, so no apology necessary! 🙂

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