Nomadic FAQ

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Here’s a list of some things that may be interesting to anyone who doesn’t live the nomadic lifestyle—yet!

Despite all our research, we had no idea how we’d feel about actually living our new lifestyle until we actually did it! We had no idea if it would really “work.” Fear of the unknown is often paralyzing. When it becomes the subject of focus, it can prevent a person from trying anything new. Choosing to do something unknown can be quite scary, and it certainly was for us.

We both believe the adage “leap and the net will appear.” For us, this means you do as much as you can to plan— research and work through the unknowns.  Then there comes a point to try something new—you have to leap. It’s feeling the fear and choosing to try it anyhow. Amazingly, once you’ve reached the other side of the unknown, you can’t remember why it seemed so scary. Things we never even seemed to think about became the most challenging, while the things that most  frightened us now all seem manageable. Every moment we were scared and uncomfortable was worth the huge amount of growth we’ve had and will continue to have . . . the rewards of a lifestyle we love!

Purging Our “Stuff”: When we left New York, we sold, donated, or gave to friends about 90 percent of our belongings. Most of the remaining ten percent—photos, artwork, some books, and a few family heirlooms—we stored in Virginia thanks to a wonderful aunt and uncle who allowed us an area in their basement (thank you, Suzy and Andy). An purging process can be overwhelming and emotional because, while we can all say we don’t care about our “things,” it’s a different story when the time comes to actually let them go. It was really interesting to watch each other’s reactions when going through all our possessions and making the choices of what stays and what goes. The “stuff” that remained after the purge now sits in either our truck or our home-on-wheels!

Mail: We receive our mail through a mail-forwarding company out of Madison, SD called My Dakota Address, who emails us daily to tell us what has arrived. We then choose when to have our mail sent to wherever we may be, usually opting for General Delivery to a local post office. The “My Dakota Address” team will also fax us anything we need, send check deposits to our bank, or even open a piece of mail and read it to us over the phone.

Where We Live: We usually choose to stay in campgrounds at national parks, national forests, state parks, county parks, and Bureau of Federal Land Management land (for free). Sometimes we’ll choose a private campground, and occasionally we’ll opt for a night in a hotel.

Technology: To stay connected and do our work, we use a MacBookPro and a Lenovo ThinkPad. We both have Motorola Droids and use Verizon’s BroadBand Access plan. We’ve spent some days in the local library or friendly coffee shop when a reliable Verizon signal wasn’t available.

Some of our rules for living in a teeny, tiny home-on-wheels:

  1. If you buy something new, then something old has to go out! There’s only so much space, so if you decide to buy a new t-shirt or pair of shoes, then something that takes up the same amount of space has to go out (usually as a donation to Goodwill).
  2. If you get in an argument, work it out quickly! You’re both getting back into that 60-square foot space whether you are friends or not, so figure it out!
  3. Dump the toilet before the red light goes on! (nuff said)
  4. Get dressed one at a time.
  5. When you pull your house up to stop somewhere for the night, remember to put the wheel chocks on before you unhitch (especially when on an incline!)
  6. Only one person allowed in the kitchen to cook or do dishes.
  7. Don’t brush your hair inside; it gets into everything when everything is within arm’s reach.
  8. If you sleep in a Walmart parking lot, unplug your house from your truck or risk killing your truck’s battery!
  9. Put things away as soon as you’re finished using them, and make the bed each morning or you’ll have nowhere to sit, eat, cook or stand.
  10. Shop often for fresh food! Otherwise, with a fridge this small, you’ll be living on granola.
  11. When you camp right next to someone, remember to close the shades before bed . . . or you might wake up to a face looking in at you in the morning.

We have all the room we need and then some. Think about it for a moment: how many places can any one person occupy at any one time? Even in a 30-room house, you can only be in one place at a time, so how much space do we all really need?

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1 Pat Jaroszewski June 21, 2010 at 12:32 pm

Awesome story, I know because I was there for 8 days….I did brush my hair in the camper, (never told you). Only flooded it once though. I didn’t get mad at either one of you…so there was no working it out..(loved that one). Didn’t close the back shade over my bed, how could I, then I would never have gone to sleep looking at the Milky Way, the full moon, the Straight of Juan de Fuca. I also know about fitting in the kitchen, how do I know…because while I was there I was not allowed to cook, make my bed, do dishes, or anything else that required me to do anything but relax.

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