Some of my earliest memories from middle school involve joking around with friends about living in a bus. We called it our commune. It was either that, or a castle, we were pretty sure, in the way that only kids with no concept of finances can be totally sure of anything. Obviously, for a lot of reasons, neither of those things ever happened. However, the idea of living in a vehicle wouldn't leave me so easily.
By college the idea had morphed, I was planning to live in a van. Possibly down by the river. I was a music major whose future plans amounted to not much more than "be a starving artist," and the idea of waking up with the sun to compose the Next Great American Musical with nowhere to keep a piano was both compelling and the only way I could figure to afford to pay down the student loans I had taken on to escape a toxic employer.
Four majors later and I was back to more traditional living arrangement plans. I dreamed of owning a home with enough space to take on the kinds of "mad science" projects I've often dreamed of. Building drivable furniture and adding flame throwers to things. The stuff Colin Furze does for a living. (Oh man, if I had been able to predict the kinds of things you can now do for a living, my life would have gone an entirely different direction.)
By early 2018 I found myself with a fortunate confluence of a job that allows me to work remotely full time, no strong ties to the area where I've lived most of my life, a decent nest egg for a down payment, and no hope of being able to buy a house at prevailing market rates.
I started to investigate what it would take to become a digital nomad.
Turns out, in this day and age, all it takes is that special spark of insanity to decide to do it. Cellular internet is relatively affordable, reliable, fast, and ubiquitous. Sure, it probably won't reach into the depths of a national forest, but it'll get me enough connectivity to do my job in broad and impressive swaths of the country.
In November 2018, I pulled the trigger and purchased a 2016 Fleetwood Bounder 35K. It is and was almost the exact RV I wanted at almost exactly the price I wanted to pay. I couldn't pass up the opportunity.
What followed was a whirlwind of downsizing. It's amazing how many things a standard house or apartment can hold "just in case" that never end up getting used. I should be on a first-name basis with the local Goodwill by now, considering how many things I've donated.
The benefit of a large class A motorhome is that I have a relatively large amount of space for an RV, but it's subdivided into several smaller compartments that require a lot of thought for where things can go. A small number of larger items can be hard to find space for, while a large number of small items end up being no trouble at all.
Now, on January 1st, I prepare to start my journey with a skip, hop, and jump to the North of my ancestral home. The choice of a relatively close first location was largely practical. Coming from the Pacific Northwest in the winter, heading any direction but North requires treacherous mountain passes that I'm not prepared to take as a new motorhome driver.
Consider it the first step. One of many.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
-H. Jackson Brown Jr.