Today marks the first of what I hope are many more travel/nomadic milestones: 100 days since heading out from Findlay, OH and into full-time Tamasté living.
I thought maybe I should send myself a card, but shopping Hallmark racks for 100-year-old birthday cards could be fruitless! (I did not really look, but cannot imagine there are too many of those nor would the sentiment be what I would want!)
I will, of course, share some stats and stuff at the end, but not everyone is into stats and such. So I will first share a before/after intentions snapshot, then a little about what may lie ahead.
This post-retirement nomadic wandering thing was going to be all about seeing the country, getting more and deeper exposure to nature, meeting new people…all while able to carve out huge writing-time chunks.
I went in committed to full-time van dwelling for a year, then seeing what I felt like going forward. In the process of criss-crossing the USA, I hoped to explore potential places to live or at least create a base if I continued traveling.
All the intentions remain in place, but some have morphed and one is not there yet. Overall, it has clearly been a good plan for me and a positive influence.
Throughout the 100 days, some shuffling of things in the van happened to make it work better as a daily home, jettisoning some stuff, replacing others not the right thing.
I am now strongly leaning to this being an open-ended lifestyle, not just for one year. The few things in the way (suitability of the van, ability to find ways to stay places a week or longer, doing without things, social interactions, etc.) are evolving and resolving. I’m currently figuring out whether to stay with the K van layout I have and mod it further to fulfill three perceived voids (dinette-type seating, more storage, better batteries), or sell to get a GL resolving those now-desired voids. Either way, I am past the temporary thought about going bigger and settled on the Travato being ideal for my nimble, nomadic life.
The idea of a base place still exists, and so far my possibilities short list based on places visited includes penciled entries for West Texas (Big Bend Region, but specifically Fort Davis) and New Mexico (multiple spots).
Emotionally, the travels so far provided a good, mental cleansing and time to settle some things. I was never concerned about loneliness or being lonely, but what brief thoughts arising around those issues are gone from meeting and developing numerous new, Travato tribe friendships. I feel I have (for me) about the right amount of face-to-face social interactions and online conversations to make loneliness a non-thing going forward.
I am, finally, out of vacation mode and the pull to see every cool thing I drive by. I still want to explore some of those, but no longer the major pull of this ongoing adventure. The one intention not there yet is my writing work. While writing blog posts and a near-daily travel journal, I have not yet found the expected writing routine of five work days/week to work on two book projects plus articles and other works.
On health and fitness issues and goals, I am doing well. Not perfect on all levels, but eating and feeling better than before I started while putting in significant miles/steps on hiking adventures. Will continue to ramp up these self-health bits and make them routine.
Lastly, the single biggest logistical obstacle is how to affordably stay in one place for 7-14 days. While I truly enjoy the driving, moving about that much is disruptive and influenced not meeting writing expectations. Much savvier (and confident) now about boondocking or dry/disperesed camping, and on how to find these opportunities, which will open up longer stays in one place. I have applied to be a camp host at the Davis Mountains State Park for a month or two, and if an enjoyable experience, will likely camp host somewhere once or twice each year.
Surprisingly, I am more open now than my pre-nomad-self to accepting offers from strangers for driveway nights and boondocking on their private lands. It helps that most of these strangers are in the tribe, where no one is a stranger even if never met before, yet this openness with people still technically strangers is a new shift for me.
I mentioned above the pending decision to stay nomadic past the full year, and the rig dilemma/decision coming soon. And also the shift into finding places to stay put longer and thus drive less (which will definitely help my bulging monthly gas costs).
I am not ruling out periodic travel pauses to explore other travel options. In late April, I travel to Hawaii for five weeks to visit my boys, and have plans for a similar park-the-van-and-go travel next year as well. And still continue considering places as a travel base to spend a few months each year but otherwise travel to continue exploring and writing in the wild.
But…these are forward speculations. This journey is about one day at a time, with open expectations for next.
Onward through the fog and down the roads, whether paved or not! It is only going to get better.
Stay tuned to find out what really happens!
- Miles: 10,727
- States crossed: 12
- Parks/campsites visited: 31
- Rallys attended (big and small): Three, with the recent BNR of over 100 vans, 200 people a huge success and pulling this introvert out into the sunshine just a little bit farther
- New friendships from within the tribe: Countless, but at least a dozen new, ongoing friendships from Travato connections
- User/newbie-errors relating to Tamasté operations: Uhh…no comment
- Mechanical/system errors/problems: Zero