October 1, 2015 marked four years that we have been both living and traveling full-time in our 1988 Dodge Camper-Van named Annie.
In that time we have covered 34,000 miles, volunteered in ten places and explored many new (to us) parts of the country.
To stick to our allotted budget we’d figured we could travel 6,000 miles per year. As you can see, we managed to go over that a tad. A couple of things allowed us to increase our yearly distances. Times of lower fuel costs and a few volunteer gigs providing a stipend.
We have paid for camping twice in four years. Once to obtain our South Dakota residency and the other time was when forest roads to our planned boondocking spot were impassible. That is a grand total of two cents spent per day on lodging in the last four years.
Looking at the previous map, you can see we’ve still got a few gaps here and there. However, before we hit the road full-time, we would close our business for a respite month each summer. We used this time to venture around, first tent camping out of the Jetta and later in our Tacoma, exploring the country and the idea of living in small a vehicle.
When you add in our pre-full-time travels, it looks something like this...
What did we learn from those month long pre-full-time journeys?
We also discovered there were three things that we wanted in our permanent travel vehicle that we did not have in the truck: 1) to stand-up 2) to cook inside 3) to get to the driver’s seat without having to go outside.
In terms of traveling, we learned that we often enjoy a different approach than most.
We’ve had some adventures and after several years of part-time travel, four years full-time and many miles back and forth across the country, one might think that we’ve developed quite a taste for this or that and we would know what we want from our full-time travels (or life, for that matter). Truth is though that we have no idea about any of that. What we do know is that after four years we still enjoy living in a van and traveling.
We have also discovered that we enjoy volunteering our time for various agencies.
Our foray into volunteering just sort of happened on a whim and a was an unexpectedly enjoyable experience. So much so that we just kept doing it. Now 10 gigs later and getting ready to start number 11 we’ve computed our volunteering to comprise 57% of our travels.
Our time on the road and the freedom to roam are an ever evolving project of self.
It is about wandering. It is about new and different. It is about being open to change.
It is about?
Satisfying our shared interest in a simple, nomadic lifestyle
and being o.k. with the fact that we never really know where life is taking us.
On that note... take it away Metallica!
“Anywhere I may roam, where I lay my head is home. I adapt to the unknown, under wandering stars I've grown. The less I have the more I gain. Off the beaten path I reign.
Rover, Wanderer, Nomad, Vagabond
Anywhere I may roam, Where I lay my head is home.”