Author Topic: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?  (Read 7709 times)

spartana

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Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« on: November 08, 2017, 12:13:14 AM »
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« Last Edit: June 27, 2018, 02:04:41 AM by spartana »

StetsTerhune

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 08:47:41 AM »
Background: I'm a married 30-something who's been a nomad for 3.5 years. The first 2 years I worked remotely for a US company and stayed almost exclusively in the US. I quit my job 1.5 years ago and we've traveled almost exclusively abroad since. I'll take your questions one by one:

is it everything you thought it would be? Yes. Not saying it's a magic bullet, but it's pretty awesome

Are you enjoying it or do you have regrets? None. When we started this, I was expecting it to last a year or maybe 2. 3.5 years in, I'm not 100% sure we'll do this forever, but for the foreseeable future.

Is it more of a hassle than you imagined it would be? My wife loooves booking flights and places to stay. Some things are hassles, but you pretty quickly learn to avoid those things and do the things that are worthwhile for you.

Do you feel somewhat adrift and disconnected? Homesick or missing interaction with family and friends? Sometimes. I do miss random interactions with people on a regular basis. OTH, I have had far more meaningful interactions with friends and family these last few years. Instead of lunch when they're in town a few times a year, I can stay with a friend for an extended period. You have to be sensitive and know what works for that specific person, but it can be truly wonderful to get to be part of someone's life for a little while. That said, I think I'd feel differently if I were single. My wife provides most of the human interaction I need

Expenses higher or lower than planned for? When we were in the US, it was higher, but I had a job which A. made it necessary to stay more reliable places and B. made me less budget conscious. That said, the US lacks many of the budget options that you find abroad. Abroad: quite a bit cheaper than planned. AirBnB is remarkably cheap in most of Europe/SA. Hotels are so cheap in Asia. Not having any fixed expenses makes everything so much more reasonable though. Yes, there are times when you'll be paying more than you want, but there's also times you'll be somewhere very, very cheap for an extended period, with no mortgage/rent/anything on top of that. I once spent $200 in a month.

Do you wish you had done it differently - maybe a different mode of travel or longer or shorter stays in one area at a time? We started out quite cautious, staying each place quite a while. We eventually moved to much more active travel for a while, and have now slowly moved back to slower and slower travel. Sometimes traveling actively is fun, sometimes it's exhausting. The more you do it, the more you know what you'll need and find the right balance for yourself.

If you've tried different modes of travel/living or locations  which did you like best/least?   I love camping, but can only do a total of maybe 2 months a year. I love SE Asia, but get a bit sick of it after a few months. I haven't found a perfect place that has everything I want and no annoyances. Combining everything I've managed to find a pace and a variety that works for me, but your mix will obviously be different.

If you had kids or pets or are single and going alone how much harder or easier did that make things? I think the dog will be a huge issue. For me this life only works because of the variety of things, places, styles of travel I can do. A pet will severely restrict you geographically and in terms of what kind of lodging you can use. To the extent that it restricts you to the US it will cut out a lot of cheap nice options.

What is your backup plan in case you got seriously sick or injured or just decided you were done? Go somewhere and get an apartment. It's not that difficult.

Did you decide to call it quits earlier than planned and went back to buying or renting in a fixed location to stay permanently? Not yet.

My three biggest pieces of advice:

 1. if you're single, really think about how you'll get whatever amount of social interaction you'll need. We're all different on this front, so this may be a huge issue for you, it may be nothing. I've traveled alone a ton, but I'm 100% sure I wouldn't be a nomad still if I were doing it alone.
 ‎2. Think about how/where you'll spend your down time. My guess is I spend 6 months a year just relaxing various places. If I wasn't able to spend those 6 months extremely cheaply, I wouldn't be able to live this life on my budget.
3. It sounds like you've already sold your house, unless I'm missing something, it doesn't sound like it'd cost you anything to go down the path of being a nomad for a while and seeing if you can make it worthwhile for you.

Good luck and let us know what you decide and how it goes!

Megma

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 09:51:23 AM »
Posting to follow. Would like to RV full-time for a few years in early FIRE (sadly many years from now) and maybe travel extensively elsewhere. Our current pet profile (1 dog, 2 cats) is a big concern for feasibility.

FrugalZony

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 12:19:20 PM »
OK, I'll give it a shot:

For those of you who have given up having a fixed residence to travel, whether FIRE or not, is it everything you thought it would be?
It is actually even much nicer than I ever thought it would be.
We boondock a lot more than I thought we would and we stay in real awesome places.


Are you enjoying it or do you have regrets?
I sometimes think, I should have worked a tad bit longer to remove my anxiety over not having enough and not giving enough.
But then I remember how I forgot about all the annoying stuff at work and how difficult that OMY would have been.
No regrets going full nomadic without house.
Slightly regret buying a too big RV (was a good deal unlike many of the smaller ones) with not enough ground clearance.
But we love our rig, so all is well

Is it more of a hassle then you imagined it would be?
It's amazingly smooth with very few setbacks. But it's good to be on a team.
Honestly, had I gone out on my own, like I had orginally planned, there would have been a couple of situations when I may have been more stressed.
I fully acknowledge that being a team cuts the hassles more than in half.


Do you feel somewhat adrift and disconnected?
Sometimes I wish I could just head to the Camp Mustache events, but we don't want to drive huge detours or like to leave the rig behind.
I crave a bit more community than we have no, but all in all things are good.

Homesick or missing interaction with family and friends?
We are in one spot for the winter (2 months) now, where I have friends and community and can reconnect with everyone.


Expenses higher or lower than planned for?
Lower, as we boondock more than we thought and also because we have been fortunate to take care of many things ourselves.

Do you wish you had done it differently - maybe a different mode of travel or longer or shorter stays in one area at a time?
See above: smaller rig!
Also, last year we were in a spot for one month, because I wanted to be in a park for the holidays. That was really not our thing.
The only time I want to be in a typical RVer community now is when we are back in Phoenix.

If you've tried different modes of travel/living or locations  which did you like best/least?
We are only in the RV right now, save for the few weeks that I went to take care of my Mum, when I stayed in a house.
Once we no longer have pets, we will venture outside the US and are considering short time rentals and Air BnBs

If you had kids or pets or are single and going alone how much harder or easier did that make things?
Have two cats and they definitely had the last word. If RVing had not been for them, I would have had to rethink everything.
Originally I was planning to RV single and have a small home base in Phoenix, while I go RVing three months at a time, but as I met
DH we are full time with no additional home base.

What is your backup plan in case you got seriously sick or injured or just decided you were done?
Depending on the seriousness of the sickness or injury.
Short term: find an RV park in Phoenix, get treatment and stay until I am better then hit the road again
Long term (real serious things): Move to another country for better healthcare

Did you decide to call it quits earlier than planned and went back to buying or renting in a fixed location to stay permanently?
No, not yet, we still enjoy exploring, but we stay in one place for extended amounts of time while travelling.

My situation is now much different than yours, but I remember from your early posts on the forum and my plans, when I just started out reading,
that they were somewhat similar. So feel free to pm me if you'd like to chat further, or ask questions here.

terran

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 01:57:45 PM »
Super interested in this thread!

In addition to Spartana's (excellent) questions, for those of you doing this internationally I'd be interested in how you deal with visa requirements. Do you just make sure you're gone before non-visa entry requirements lapse? Do you know where you're going next, and do you already have tickets booked -- I think some countries require an exit ticket, and I've always been asked how long I'm staying? I'm sure there are other questions I haven't thought to ask too.

terran

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 07:03:59 PM »
ETA another option that my sister suggested and wants is for me to give her my dog (it was our Dads dog we inherited but I'm the one she came to live with). While this would allow me to live the kind of nomadic life I THINK I want, where ever and however I want, I'm not sure I can emotionally do that. I especially don't want to do that if I ended up hating nomadic life.

It sounds like you're thinking if you give your sister your dog it's a permanent thing? If you came back stateside you don't think she'd give her back?

Given that your dog sounds like she's slowing down, I wonder if she'd better off with a (presumably loving) stationary home rather than traveling around. Unless you think your sister would mistreat her, perhaps living with your sister would be the best thing for her at this stage of her life?

On the other hand, you don't necessarily have to write off finding an apartment that allows dogs. It seems like everyone and their mother where we live has a dog -- and these are mostly college kids. From when we were looking for a place, there's often extra deposits or "pet rent" but many places allowed it. We're the only ones in our 6 unit building without a pet, and only one of the other units has a cat, the rest are dogs. It's probably regional though, because like you I've definitely heard of people having trouble finding apartments that allow pets.

Padonak

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 07:30:37 PM »
Following

StetsTerhune

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2017, 02:14:45 AM »
When I originally gave up my lease and went nomad, I thought much more in terms of long term trips different places. six months in asia, a year in europe, etc. The more I've done it, the more I've realized that flights are cheap and easy and not a big deal if you're flexible. You can go somewhere and try it out and leave if you don't like it.

I get the feeling that you're thinking very much in terms of black and white: You either become a nomad or you don't. You either keep the dog or you give it away. It sounds like you have lots of options in between though.

If I were you (for whatever it's worth), I would let my sister keep the dog for a while longer and travel internationally for 2-3 months (Don't let me get started with naming ideas for a 3 month trip). Then come back, take the dog, and travel in the states for 2-3 months. Then reassess. It doesn't sound like your sister would mind this. View it as a trial and do your best to make it feel sustainable mentally, but don't put any pressure on it.

I have considered my entire life as an experiment to figure out what works best for me. There have been some failed experiments, but no regrets.

mubington

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2017, 03:59:51 AM »

is it everything you thought it would be?
For me it was very different to how I expected. I learnt that the pleasure of travel for me, was much to do with the contrast with normal life, and the novelty. Once there was no contrast between normal life and the travel, the novelty wore of very quickly and I ended up settling  for a bit where I happened to be, which was very cool in other ways.


Are you enjoying it or do you have regrets?
No regrets. I learnt a lot about myself and the world (including my home country) I would not have understood otherwise, but I could have perhaps go the same experience with an extended sabbatical somewhere.


Is it more of a hassle than you imagined it would be?
Itís not huge hassle in parts, but the slight friction does add up quickly if you move around. This is coming from someone who now uses Alexa to turn the lights on, however.


Do you feel somewhat adrift and disconnected? Homesick or missing interaction with family and friends?
Yeah for it is hard to forge meaningful enduring relationships on the road. Everyone moves on. I loved the increase in random and short term encounters, but i underestimated how important recurring friendships are. I thought i could do without those boring everyday encounters, if the fleeting stuff was fun enough,  but I guessed wrong.

Expenses higher or lower than planned for?
You can spend as little or as much as you want to. Both at home and on the road. There is more temptation on the road, but also no  space for junk, so it balanced out for me.

Do you wish you had done it differently - maybe a different mode of travel or longer or shorter stays in one area at a time?
Personally if doing again, I would keep a home base.  it would have been cheaper just to keep my main residence than endure costs and intangibles of moving out and in again.
 

If you've tried different modes of travel/living or locations  which did you like best/least?   
Med coast is awesome. 

If you had kids or pets or are single and going alone how much harder or easier did that make things?
Dog makes a huge difference. Basically your options are cut by 75% in most respects. hotels, cafes, travel etc. Maybe that 25% is still good enough though. Though dogs are also great company and good ice breakers, and nurture good habits, so maybe it is worth it.


What is your backup plan in case you got seriously sick or injured or just decided you were done?

Flying home was always easy for me Having a dog would complicate things though. 



Did you decide to call it quits earlier than planned and went back to buying or renting in a fixed location to stay permanently?
Yes. Ií m a wuss though, and realised I was an introvert,  homebody who dislikes tourism. So it was never gonna work long term. I ended up renting a flat for 6 months in a great and exotic place which was a good middle ground and something that wouldn't have happened otherwise so no regrets.

rockstache

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2017, 01:23:01 PM »
PTF, this is all so interesting. I don't think I could fully give up a home base, but for me a home base could even be just a bedroom. I could see myself paying someone a small monthly amount to host my bed and small personal effects that don't fit in a backpack, and then going off for months at a time. It seems like it could be a good deal for the homeowner and for me/Husband.

Cookie78

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2017, 02:46:56 PM »
Also PTF.

I FIREd recently and left my houses (all rented out at the moment) to go be somewhat nomadic, but so far I've just been visiting family in my home town and don't see that changing any time soon. After I sell at least 1 rental house next summer I may spread my wings a little more and actually start traveling (truck camping) with 2 dogs.

Like you, spartana, I'm not likely to go outside the Americas for any length of time while I still have the dogs. And now that I have adopted a 3 year old dog that may be awhile!

My biggest fears are feeling homesick and disconnected, since my boyfriend isn't likely to FIRE for another 4-5 years and I'll likely be mostly traveling solo.

Cookie78

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2017, 04:53:17 PM »
Also PTF.

I FIREd recently and left my houses (all rented out at the moment) to go be somewhat nomadic, but so far I've just been visiting family in my home town and don't see that changing any time soon. After I sell at least 1 rental house next summer I may spread my wings a little more and actually start traveling (truck camping) with 2 dogs.

Like you, spartana, I'm not likely to go outside the Americas for any length of time while I still have the dogs. And now that I have adopted a 3 year old dog that may be awhile!

My biggest fears are feeling homesick and disconnected, since my boyfriend isn't likely to FIRE for another 4-5 years and I'll likely be mostly traveling solo.
I've been pretty successful meeting people to do stuff with when on the road via meet up groups and local sports/hobby groups. Usually requires you to be somewhat close to a town though so if you are going to be super remote might not work. I can usually find regular campgrounds close to some towns so that I can play outdoors all day and still go out at night if I want. Ski and mountain or resort  towns are good for us solo outdoorsy types who like to meet people too. And its easy with the dog as I can leave her in the truck (or van) and go out for a few hours at night. Daytime stuff is harder though because of heat so usually do stuff I can take her along. Again since I've only done this stuff p/t with a home base, f/t may be a whole different thing.

Good luck on your nomading. Been following your journal and canoe trips. Love all the doggie pics!

Thanks! Good luck to you too. I'm already looking forward to and planning the next leg of the canoe trip, but there's a small chance I might not be able to do it this summer. It may conflict with needing to be available for selling the house, and that's way more important right now.

Dicey

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2017, 09:39:05 PM »
Hi Spartana! I've been wondering about your beach volleyball. You haven't mentioned it much (that I recall) lately. I'm guessing that you had a tight posse who all have relatively comparable skill levels and similar amounts of free time. Are these the folks you're going to miss? Your sister? Others?

It seems that your love of the outdoors and of volleyball specifically could open doors to new friendships in many places.

What's the chance that you and your sister could take turns for longer chunks of time? I can totally hear that you are torn on this issue. Tough decision.

I keep thinking that a small van conversion or truck/camper combo might be decent options, especially for your little monster, provided that she (he?) would be okay if left alone for a few hours. Some can easily do it, others go ape-shit. Such a set-up would be easy to use when you wanted to go/roam and easy to park when you wanted to hunker down in one place.

This is a tough decision, but damn, you are lucky to be facing such a difficult choice! I know you will figure out something grand. Plus, the point that your decision needn't be a forever one is hugely valid. Do something for a while and then do something else when your mood changes.

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2017, 04:41:45 AM »
When I originally gave up my lease and went nomad, I thought much more in terms of long term trips different places. six months in asia, a year in europe, etc. The more I've done it, the more I've realized that flights are cheap and easy and not a big deal if you're flexible. You can go somewhere and try it out and leave if you don't like it.

I get the feeling that you're thinking very much in terms of black and white: You either become a nomad or you don't. You either keep the dog or you give it away. It sounds like you have lots of options in between though.

If I were you (for whatever it's worth), I would let my sister keep the dog for a while longer and travel internationally for 2-3 months (Don't let me get started with naming ideas for a 3 month trip). Then come back, take the dog, and travel in the states for 2-3 months. Then reassess. It doesn't sound like your sister would mind this. View it as a trial and do your best to make it feel sustainable mentally, but don't put any pressure on it.

I have considered my entire life as an experiment to figure out what works best for me. There have been some failed experiments, but no regrets.
I'm very interested in your 3 month trip ideas!

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk


Megma

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2017, 07:04:23 AM »
Spartana you have a lucky dog! Everyone wants to keep her for good :)

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2017, 11:08:24 AM »
Megma - Yeah everyone loves my cute doggie until they spend time with her and realise her nickname - The Barkinator - is well deserved ;-)

And the special occasion nickname MonkeyJengaStopHumpingThat.

If my nomad plans go through, I'll be in the same single no kids boat. No dog either though. I'm hoping that visiting friends in each city will get around the loneliness aspect.

rockstache

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2017, 12:33:14 PM »
Megma - Yeah everyone loves my cute doggie until they spend time with her and realise her nickname - The Barkinator - is well deserved ;-)

And the special occasion nickname MonkeyJengaStopHumpingThat.

If my nomad plans go through, I'll be in the same single no kids boat. No dog either though. I'm hoping that visiting friends in each city will get around the loneliness aspect.

YES! Come see me! I WILL FRIEND YOU until LONELINESS LOOKS HEAVENLY you move to the next location.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2017, 01:30:12 PM »
Megma - Yeah everyone loves my cute doggie until they spend time with her and realise her nickname - The Barkinator - is well deserved ;-)

And the special occasion nickname MonkeyJengaStopHumpingThat.

If my nomad plans go through, I'll be in the same single no kids boat. No dog either though. I'm hoping that visiting friends in each city will get around the loneliness aspect.
haha! Well she is still fondly called "MonkeyJengaQuitHumpingThat!" but has sadly been humping-less since she tore her ACL. On a good note just got back from vet and he said she won't need surgery as she's getting better. On a bad note is she needs to continue to stay in a controlled environment a few more months so no travel for her. So back to square one: rent a place long term or leave her with sis and travel? Also sold my truck so now homeless and carless...um...yay??

BTW MJ how are you planning on travelling? Flying and couch surfing mostly?

Aw, poor little MJQHT.

I'll be doing minimal flying, mostly bus and other public transit. Staying with friends, family, and true couch surfing when needed.

LOL rocky.

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #18 on: November 10, 2017, 09:19:55 PM »
Megma - Yeah everyone loves my cute doggie until they spend time with her and realise her nickname - The Barkinator - is well deserved ;-)

And the special occasion nickname MonkeyJengaStopHumpingThat.

If my nomad plans go through, I'll be in the same single no kids boat. No dog either though. I'm hoping that visiting friends in each city will get around the loneliness aspect.
haha! Well she is still fondly called "MonkeyJengaQuitHumpingThat!" but has sadly been humping-less since she tore her ACL. On a good note just got back from vet and he said she won't need surgery as she's getting better. On a bad note is she needs to continue to stay in a controlled environment a few more months so no travel for her. So back to square one: rent a place long term or leave her with sis and travel? Also sold my truck so now homeless and carless...um...yay??

BTW MJ how are you planning on travelling? Flying and couch surfing mostly?

Aw, poor little MJQHT.

I'll be doing minimal flying, mostly bus and other public transit. Staying with friends, family, and true couch surfing when needed.

LOL rocky.
Have you looked into Amtrak rail passes? Not sure they still have them or what they cost but use to be a good deal. I think Grey Hound also have bus passes.  Both allowed a certain number of stops with in a certain period of time anywhere in the country.

I have not. I only plan on switching locations once a week, but I'll look into whether it would be cost-effective. Thanks!

MonkeyJenga

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #19 on: November 11, 2017, 09:52:49 AM »
^One thing I'll caution you (or anyone) on rail or bus passes is that once you're retired and no longer "have" to be anywhere on a set schedule you may end up wanting to stay longer than originally planned in various places. So that 2 month Eurail pass you planned to use to see ALL the countries with may end up being kind of useless when you find yourself wanted to stay a lot longer someplace(s). So your plan to stay one week in each place before moving on might not happen and so a Amtrak or bus pass might be a bad choice for you. Of course that's the beauty of homeless nomadic travel - no time limit and no schedule.

Totally. I don't want to buy scheduled bus tickets in advance even when it means cheaper tickets. No commitments!

Besides, any sort of monthly pass is unlikely to pay off for 4 trips a month.

noplaceliketheroad

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2017, 12:32:44 PM »
I think it would be very hard for one person to have a nomad life with a dog. My husband and I are traveling for his work with our 85 pound lab and it's manageable with the 2 of us. For example, you can't leave your dog alone in the car while you hop into a grocery store or use a restroom if it's warmer than about 70 degrees out (even with the car windows cracked, it'll quickly get 90 degrees inside). Last summer we were road tripping across the country, and we would take turns going in the grocery store while the other waited in the car with the dog (so the windows could be down all the way or the AC left on- also this was July, and the midwest was almost 100 degrees as we were passing through). Short term stay apartments and hotels have been fine for us, as DH's job has coordinated it all for us. I've noticed traveling with a large dog eliminates most middle ground hotels. The really cheap places, or the really expensive places will allow dogs, but not a whole lot in the middle. This could be different for smaller dogs.

If you do end up taking your dog with you, make sure to get a full physical and shots for your dog before you leave. Let your vet know where you will be traveling. We came from a SoCal area that doesn't have heartworm, so we had to start him on heartworm medicine before we started our trip to the east coast.


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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2017, 05:10:57 PM »
Hi Spartana,

Rather than have nomads answer your questions (since everyone and their circumstances are different), it'd probably be more helpful if nomads asked you questions based on their experience. So here are mine:

1) What is your "mission statement" while being nomadic? What do you plan to get out of being a nomad that is different from your life currently? What are you going to fill all your time with?

2) What are all the things you enjoy about your current life? Can you take it on the road with you? If not, will you miss it?

3) What are some of the things you dislike about your current life? Do you think being a nomad will fix it? Or will it follow you on the road?

4) Where do you want to go? What's on your bucketlist? Your budget (and mode of travel) will probably coalesce around your destinations.

5) Do you have a template for your travels? Is anyone else doing the kind of nomadic travel that you see yourself doing? Do they have a blog? Maybe you can adapt what they are doing so you're not inventing the wheel from scratch. Contact them and ask them specific questions about the lifestyle they are living. Even maybe arrange to meet up with them for a chat. Nothing builds rapport quicker than being around people with the same mindset as you.

Apart from loneliness and isolation, I think the biggest challenge for people on the road is finding a sense of purpose. If you can brainstorm some ideas to address these two issues before you start your travels, you'll be ahead of the curve of those who just hit the road and try to figure it out on the way.

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2017, 05:32:04 PM »
for those of you doing this internationally I'd be interested in how you deal with visa requirements. Do you just make sure you're gone before non-visa entry requirements lapse? Do you know where you're going next, and do you already have tickets booked -- I think some countries require an exit ticket, and I've always been asked how long I'm staying?

If your visa is expiring, you've got a couple of choices. Some countries allow you to extend it without having to leave the country. But not multiple times though. Most places just allow one extension, then they get suspicious that you're living (and working) in the country.

Another option is to do a visa run. A lot of countries don't care how long you're out of the country, just that you leave it, then come in on a new visa. So some travelers catch a bus to the border, stamp out, and then stamp right back, like a revolving door. The restriction is how many visas you can obtain a year, or how many cumulative days you are allowed in the country in a calendar year, before they get suspicious that you are living (and working) in the country...

If you're truly nomadic and do a visa run that takes you out of the country for longer than a week, most border officials will know you're a real tourist and not an undocumented worker.

As for countries that require proof of onward travel (like an exiting plane ticket), that's an easy problem to overcome. Some methods are legitimate, some not...

The most legit way is book a fully-refundable ticket, and just cancel it once you've crossed the border. But this requires a very expensive charge sitting on your credit card, so if your limit is low, it may not be the best option.

There are companies that will temporary issue you a legit return airplane ticket, but will automatically cancel it for you on the day you cross the border. Just search for "onward travel tickets". They typically charge $10 for the administration.

Or you could do what I do. Just take an old flight itinerary and edit it with fake details. Unless it's the same airline you're checking in on, they have no way of checking that the booking reference number is legit or not at the check-in counter, and chances are the border people won't have access to that information. A bit riskier, but I admit, I've done it successfully a few times. And it's free...

Retire-Canada

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #23 on: November 11, 2017, 11:09:29 PM »
I would get the van and try the nomad lifestyle for a while. If you don't love it you can get an apartment and come up with a new plan. Having a van doesn't mean you have to live out of the van full time. You can get a vacation rental anytime for a few days, a week, a month, etc...

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2017, 08:44:44 AM »
When I originally gave up my lease and went nomad, I thought much more in terms of long term trips different places. six months in asia, a year in europe, etc. The more I've done it, the more I've realized that flights are cheap and easy and not a big deal if you're flexible. You can go somewhere and try it out and leave if you don't like it.

I get the feeling that you're thinking very much in terms of black and white: You either become a nomad or you don't. You either keep the dog or you give it away. It sounds like you have lots of options in between though.

If I were you (for whatever it's worth), I would let my sister keep the dog for a while longer and travel internationally for 2-3 months (Don't let me get started with naming ideas for a 3 month trip). Then come back, take the dog, and travel in the states for 2-3 months. Then reassess. It doesn't sound like your sister would mind this. View it as a trial and do your best to make it feel sustainable mentally, but don't put any pressure on it.

I have considered my entire life as an experiment to figure out what works best for me. There have been some failed experiments, but no regrets.
I'm very interested in your 3 month trip ideas!

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I'd like to hear them too! To bad these forums don't have a travel (or better budget travel) section since so many people do that around here. My only problem is that I absolutely hate to fly.  So, if I did decide to leave dog with sis, I'd probably go for 6 months and come back for 6 months to limit my flights and give me more time at a selected destination.

Megma - Yeah everyone loves my cute doggie until they spend time with her and realise her nickname - The Barkinator - is well deserved ;-)

Just posting to say I also wish we had a 'better budget travel' type of section and I'm a bit surprised that we don't.

Cashonda

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2017, 01:45:33 PM »
Love this thread! I agree there should be a travel section on here 😄

Iím not a full time nomad but I am at least part time. In the last year I think I was ďon the roadĒ for 10 months. I own a tiny apartment which I sublet out when Iím traveling longer term. Or to put it another way, when someone rents out my apartment I am homeless and have to go travel. 😁

Iím typing on my phone and I didnít copy the main questions so I will try to paraphrase them and reply.

How long have you been a nomad?
Expat for 7 years, nomadic for about 2 of those.

Are there hassles?
Yes sometimes. But they donít make me want to travel less, just smarter. And mostly the hassles come from stress of owning my apartment and being a landlord and personal stress from life issues. The travel hassle crap is mostly annoying but not too bad. Although I will agree being sick and solo and in an imperfect uncomfortable foreign situation is no fun. Thatís when you just want to go home to your own cozy nest. But you get over it.

Do you get lonely?
Yeah sometimes. But I try to join in a group activity in a place I am staying if I feel like I want to meet people. Like language classes or volunteering or things like that. There are also lots of nomad and RV groups which could be fun to join up with. But Iím also quite outgoing so if Iím feeling isolated I usually just chat to the nearest person and soon crave solitude again hahaha.

I travel solo. I see couples doing this together and yeah sometimes it seems like it might be more fun, safer, less stressful. But to be honest, Iíd waaaayyyy rather be solo than have any past boyfriends with me haha. I do see nomadic couples who get along great and love their life but couple life also means compromise and trade offs which is not a bad thing, but itís also nice not to have to ask anyoneís opinion on whatís for dinner or how long you want to stay in Belize.

Expenses
As others mentioned the expenses can vary a lot depending on how you travel and where you go. I find itís good to have a balance (as others have said).

Things Iíve learned
Like you said Spartana, I always find myself resisting when it is time to go home. I never ever want to go home, I seem to always be trying to change my plans at the last minute to extend my trip.

That being said, I have learned a few things about planning in the past year. I kind of hate it! Thatís what I have learned. If I plan something like ... I will move on to Paris next month ... then when the time comes Iím often resisting. Not that Paris is bad per se,  more that I might be happy where I am, or now I decide I want to join a friend in Italy instead. But I already booked my Paris plans and I feel trapped. Oh woe is me😁 hahaha

However... if I donít plan then everything is much more expensive. Last minute accommodations are a bitch. I have found it is usually much cheaper to plan shread as the good deals go quickly. Unless you get lucky or travel in places with a lot of cheap availability, which I do not sadly.

So I am often caught between planning and freedom and I havenít quite figured it out yet.

One other thing I have learned in the past year is that for me it is nice to pick a home base and stay there for a month or two or maybe more, rather than move around every few days. I try to pack light but even so carrying stuff uphill, across cobblestones, through train stations, gets tiresome. Also staying in one place sometimes allows you to find a good deal on longer term lodgings and then you can take side trips.

Another factor is that I still work (freelance and my own projects) and the more I move around the more distracted I am and the less work I get done.

I think you are considering vanlife Spartana and that is my next nomad move I think. I have done it before and I love it. I think it is a very popular option for those with dogs. Traveling internationally with a dog can be done but it is way more complicated and expensive depending on where you go. For example Europe can be very dog friendly but getting your dog overseas is pricey and stressful for the dog. But in many countries you can take the dog everywhere with you on public transit etc. So I guess if you decided to relocate for a year or so it could be worth it. But Iíd leave the dog at home. ☹️ Thatís just me.

I think it sounds like you have a cool plan and I wish you luck and adventure!

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2017, 06:22:15 PM »

Just posting to say I also wish we had a 'better budget travel' type of section and I'm a bit surprised that we don't.

I just sent a PM to Arebelspy about it since he's a mod, active and last I heard doing the nomad FIRE thing.

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #27 on: November 13, 2017, 07:19:43 AM »
Iím not a full time nomad but I am at least part time. In the last year I think I was ďon the roadĒ for 10 months. I own a tiny apartment which I sublet out when Iím traveling longer term. Or to put it another way, when someone rents out my apartment I am homeless and have to go travel. 😁

I think you might be the first nomad with a home base who has posted. Can you tell us more about that choice? Do you rent it furnished? Do you put certain things in a locked area, or just not worry about it? Short term/long term? How do you rent it out (AirBNB, other)? How do you deal with maintenance, cleaning, whatever else might arise while you're not there? How much does it end up costing you once rental income vs expenses are figured in? Is your apartment in a popular tourist destination? Overall would you recommend this route, or if you had to do it again would you go full nomad?

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #28 on: November 13, 2017, 07:59:01 AM »
Hi Endless Journey. Always nice when you pop in here - and as always I'm loving your blog and adventures!

Thanks! Can't wait to hear all about your adventures!

I haven't made a decision yet so am interested in other people's perspective of the dream vs the reality.

For us, we took some very long road trips before deciding to cut the strings and drop the home base. So we already had a good idea of what to expect, and the reality of long-term travel jibed with those expectations. I'm sure with your many experiences of long-term travel, you won't have any surprises either.

One thing we didn't foresee is how our stamina waxes and wanes over the years. Initially, we were so excited about travel that we went nine months full throttle (literally and figuratively). Then we collapsed into an unmoving puddle for a month. Hit the road for another 6 months, then another 6 weeks rest. Our travels have alternated between a ferocious travel pace and then extreme sedentary living (albeit in a new and exciting place each time).

The last swing was 14 months on the move (different bed almost every night), followed by 5 months of not even getting out of the same bed except for food and toilet relief... :D

Thankfully, we got over that last hump.

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #29 on: November 13, 2017, 01:05:15 PM »
I'm currently looking after a friend's dog while she works overseas. It was initially supposed to be just for a year, but it's been a year and a half and she's not ready to come home yet. As her home base (I also have her stuff and car), I have two ideas for you:

1) Look in to formal or informal opportunities for you to house/dog sit for military who are deployed. They'll trust a vet more readily than someone who hasn't served, and they may be grateful for someone to look after their pets (assuming that you're ok with additional temporary pets) in their own homes. My friend whose life I have napping on my sofa was a friendly colleague at best while we served together, but we've become super close since we both got out and I heard that she needed someone to take her pooch in.

2) Don't forget that you can travel to Canada with your dog so long as you have a vaccination record with you! Unless you're in to winter camping, you may want to wait until spring though.

Bonus idea: Have you looked in to WOOFing? It seems like something that you could take a little dog along for.

Cookie78

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #30 on: November 13, 2017, 02:10:10 PM »
Thanks for the suggestion Sun Hat but I think that would require a much longer commitment then I'd want to make (I really don't want to have any set plans or any commitments). Arebelspy had sent me a link about short term pet and house sitters (Trusted House Sitter I think ts called) that he used while travelling but most require longer stays and don't want you bringing your own pet. Great idea for others though.

Canada is definitely on the agenda (as is Alaska) if all goes well over the next few months. It was suppose to be my destination this fall but didn't make it (got side tracked by pretty mountains in the US ;-)). South and Central America and Mexico too might be doable once I see how it goes first in N. America.

I'll be interested to see what you decide to do, especially since our situations and desires are roughly similar. :) If you do head up towards Alaska next summer let me know. I've got a lovely rural property you can camp out at for free along the way.

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #31 on: November 13, 2017, 03:51:25 PM »
I think you might be the first nomad with a home base who has posted. Can you tell us more about that choice? Do you rent it furnished? Do you put certain things in a locked area, or just not worry about it? Short term/long term? How do you rent it out (AirBNB, other)? How do you deal with maintenance, cleaning, whatever else might arise while you're not there? How much does it end up costing you once rental income vs expenses are figured in? Is your apartment in a popular tourist destination? Overall would you recommend this route, or if you had to do it again would you go full nomad?

Hi Terran, these are awesome questions! I kind of rented out my house by accident and thought it would be a good test of all the questions you asked above. What happened was that an acquaintance needed a place to stay for a few months and I felt like traveling so I agreed to sublet. Then I did it 2x more as other friends approached me while I was away! haha. I'm not sure if I will do it the same way in the future or something entirely different.

I rented the place furnished, but I took a lot of my personal stuff out (clothes, shoes, art supplies etc) and put it in a small storage space. I did this to free up storage space for the tenants as my apartment is tiny and there is only one closet. I also did it in case I wanted to access my stuff - like summer or winter clothes. It was super handy and I visited the storage space many times. I was traveling but ended up passing through town a few times and it was great to be able to drop off winter boots and pick up sandals and sundresses. So I would definitely do that again.

I didnt rent it on airbnb, and I dont think I would -  for a few reasons. My apartment shares entry with others and I just dont feel it is right to have strangers regularly coming and going in that shared space. I dont think my neighbors would like it. And I would have to have someone manage it if airbnb guests were coming and going. And it is just a hassle. But I live in an extremely touristy area so I could charge triple the normal rent. It's tempting. But the city is cracking down on airbnb as well so...

The big question: how do you deal with issues when you are not there - is my biggest stress. Some small issues came up while I was far away and it was stressful. It makes me think maybe the landlording is not for me haha. I just dont like having to rely on other people to take care of things when I am far away and have no control. I dont have family in the area or that would be an easy option. I could possibly find a manager but really it is not very likely to find one for my tiny apartment. This is my concern going forward and I have polled lots of nomads about it. Typically they have friend or relative managing it. I dont really have that option.

Oh you asked about the financials. I havent exactly done the math of it but generally speaking it is not a cash cow of huge proportions. I own the place and dont have a mortgage but there are low HOA type bills and of course utilities plus the small (cheap) storage place I was renting. But the little stuff like staying in a crappy hotel for 2 days because the tenant moved out 2 days late, or when the plumbing broke the hour before the tenant moved in and I had to pay an emergency plumber fee. If I were living there on my own these expenses would not come up. I would have googled the plumbing problem and fixed it myself haha. So in the end I think I made a bit of profit each month but enough to make it worthwhile? I dont know.

I am back in my apartment right now but I do plan to take off traveling again in a few months. I am debating how to handle it. Is it worth the stress to get the rent? Can I find a manager? I am considering selling and going full nomad. If it turns out to be the best plan financially I will likely sell in a few more years -  hoping for a bit more appreciation. In this city it is often cheaper to own than to rent and that is why I bought. So that is another factor in my decision.

It is nice to have that home base to return to for periods of rest or more accurately for me right now, to live cheaply in my "free" house and focus on busting my ass to make extra money so I can take that next big trip. :)

I hope this helped! What about you? What are your thoughts on the questions you asked? I'd love to know!

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #32 on: November 13, 2017, 05:18:56 PM »
I am absolutely loving this thread right now.

Since it started I have spent about 40 hours researching couchsurfing, house sitting, and other budget slow travel blogs and websites.

I really think SO and I will give it a test run for 6-12 months starting in 2020.

#wanderlust

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #33 on: November 13, 2017, 06:00:00 PM »
Just an fyi, the little doggy trailers actually do work well if you like to walk a lot. Just pick wide trails. So if you have to go that route, it is an option (we have 2 12 year old pugs and they both go into the same trailer). It's also a great way of getting them some exercise without overdoing it (you don't have to keep them in the buggy the whole time). A lot of the trailers fold up easy which helps to.

Megma

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #34 on: November 13, 2017, 07:12:42 PM »
Just chiming in, a little late, on international travel with a dog...I actually moved my dog to Europe when I was living there for about 2 years. I didnít have anyone to keep her and I wasnít taking her to a shelter! So I got paperwork from the vet, pet sedative for the flight (sheís small enough for in cabin) and it wasnít too bad. When I came back stateside, I did the same in reverse.

It wasnít a big deal really. Actually both times the paperwork I got was barely glanced at. Seriously. Arriving in EU I walk passed 6 customs officials who were chatting with each other with my dog in a carrier and paperwork in hand. US they werenít really any more interested.

But I donít think Iíd do it for a gallivanting around trip. I was stationary for 2 years and I love my pooch.

CanuckExpat

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #35 on: November 13, 2017, 07:57:42 PM »
I can chime in with a more full response later, we're certainly nomadic/houseless/homeless, and live/travel out of an RV semi full time, alternating between fixed short term arrangements for weeks to months at a time. Two small children and two small dogs. As time goes on, we are definately shifting to more and more slow travel and alternating bits of camping with more luxurious arrangements in between.

The dogs make things more difficult from a logistics point of view (harder and more expensive to find accommodations, flights, etc) and the kids make things more difficult from a day to day point of view.

In terms of if shit hits the fan, one of the few just in case pieces of equipment we travel with is the dogs travel duffel bags, since they are small enough that we should be able to put them in the bags (unwillingly) and take them in a taxi or flight if needed. In case we have to abandon the motor home unexpectedly for some reason. Thankfully never had to exercise this option.

Being nomadic is interesting, in that we may stop, but then we don't know where we would settle, and we don't really want to stop. The reasons for stopping are mostly related to the small mammals: as the kids get older, they keep getting more energy and we get less. We also want to do more international travel occasionally, and think having a home base would make it easier to find dog sitters. Though it comes down to that tricky question of where would your home base be, when it could be anywhere.

At about the two to three month stay, I find I can get connected enough locally to stay involved. i.e. I bike around, and if I find some obvious deficiency in the bike infrastructure I can start bugging people to change it. I like being retired and bugging people so that works for me. The downside is you don't always get to see the long terms affects of things you are bugging people about.

Dating can also be hard, or non existent, even with stays of two to four months in length.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2017, 08:02:38 PM by CanuckExpat »

Cookie78

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #36 on: November 14, 2017, 12:04:20 AM »
Thanks for the suggestion Sun Hat but I think that would require a much longer commitment then I'd want to make (I really don't want to have any set plans or any commitments). Arebelspy had sent me a link about short term pet and house sitters (Trusted House Sitter I think ts called) that he used while travelling but most require longer stays and don't want you bringing your own pet. Great idea for others though.

Canada is definitely on the agenda (as is Alaska) if all goes well over the next few months. It was suppose to be my destination this fall but didn't make it (got side tracked by pretty mountains in the US ;-)). South and Central America and Mexico too might be doable once I see how it goes first in N. America.

I'll be interested to see what you decide to do, especially since our situations and desires are roughly similar. :) If you do head up towards Alaska next summer let me know. I've got a lovely rural property you can camp out at for free along the way.
  Think I'll end up doing the camper van thing. Easiest for lazy me and also easiest to  undo if too difficult with dog. Also can be very low budget once a small van is bought. It might be much harder for you having large multiple dogs (I just have one small one now who I can carry in a sling or pack or buggy/trailer).  You may want to continue trying it in your truck awhile longer before deciding to sell all your properties so you have a place yo come back too if things don't go as planned. I've spent much of the day looking at camper van porn online (and over at Retire_Canada journal) so getting an idea what will work best for me (small and simple).  Currently trying it out in this (Áomfy!) and storage underneath but not longterm.

Ya, larger dogs may be harder to manage nomadically. Luckily they are both great traveling. We haven't done as much truck camping as I'd hoped to this year and nothing long-term, but they did great while canoe camping! Some day I may get something bigger like a van, but no need just yet. And you are probably right about the properties. I may keep one house an extra year or two just in case, but ultimately I don't want to live in the city whether I'm nomadic or not.

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #37 on: November 14, 2017, 04:32:21 AM »
On a not-entirely-unrelated note, there are lots of  "Girl + Dog + Van" accounts on the blogosphere and Instagram. They are very popular and get lots of followers. It's a very romanticized way of life and people seem to be fascinated with it. Perhaps a sponsorship is in the cards for you? :D

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #38 on: November 15, 2017, 10:51:07 AM »
Well I bought a van (the one I was renting so no fancy fully equipped camper van). So guess I'm doing the van camping thing ;-). Will try it out with my dog and  it will either be great or terrible. Likely somewhere in between.  Will take off once all the paperwork clears. Which will likely be in a day or two. WOOT!
Let us know when you are in the Northeast!

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EndlessJourney

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #39 on: November 15, 2017, 11:13:23 AM »
Well I bought a van (the one I was renting so no fancy fully equipped camper van). So guess I'm doing the van camping thing ;-). Will try it out with my dog and  it will either be great or terrible. Likely somewhere in between.  Will take off once all the paperwork clears. Which will likely be in a day or two. WOOT!

Welcome to the tribe! :D

Cassie

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2017, 11:17:14 AM »
When we bought our used RV the couple gave us some advice. They said they made a big mistake when they sold everything because after a year they wanted to come home and had to re-buy house, etc.  Our motorhome is 27 ft and until recently we had 4 dogs. 3 small and one 80lb dog. WE went on a trip for a month and spent more $ then if we had stayed home. While it was fun I was done after a month.  2 people and all those dogs in that small of a space was enough for me.  Because we have a motorhome we can leave the dogs in it while we are gone.  WE have had small dogs that can barely walk but because of our situation it doesn't matter if we are in motorhome or a real home.   Maybe you can share the dog with your sister:))  Sort of what you are doing now. Lucky dog to have 2 people that love her that much.  Also after a month I missed family and friends.  I also missed our regular activities. I am more of a homebody. Now we take we vacations a year without dogs for 10 days each.  This year we did not go in the RV for more then a week.  I think it is much harder to live in such a small space. Ours does not have slide outs so everything is off a narrow hallway.  So it is difficult for both people to be standing/moving at the same time. Plus the big old guy likes to lay in the hallway and we have to step around him.   As our dogs naturally leave us we intend to only have 1 or 2 small dogs which will make things much easier. I have a rule that if I am cooking DH has to be out of the way and sitting.  Everything is tiny in that small of a space.  I also found it a challenge to keep things neat and organized. I have no problem in a house though. Part of it may be that DH is messy:))  The other thing with dogs is that without a yard every time you take them out to go potty they have to be on a leash.  At home I can just open the back door.

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #41 on: November 15, 2017, 10:24:03 PM »
Have fun on the road, Spartana.

Cassie

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Re: Full Time Nomads: How's That Going For You?
« Reply #42 on: November 17, 2017, 04:20:16 PM »
Spartana, I do remember that you wanted to sell your home regardless. Remember I promised you a good home cooked meal if you end up in  our area.  Your camper van would fit in our driveway:))  I think even without the dogs ours is too small for 2 people. Especially if one of those people is messy and I have to constantly pick up stuff or just give up and live in a mess.  Things get out of control quickly in such a small space.  The dogs love to go in the RV and get very excited. Since we bought it used and paid cash we intend to keep it for shorter trips.  I would never spend a bunch of $ on one of those things.