Six months after embarking on a nomadic living experiment (turned lifestyle), I made this video, reminiscing about apartment living and stresses of the lifestyle I used to live … while sitting on one of my favorite beaches exploring ideas about what makes a well-lived life.
I think it’ll make you smile and maybe even learn something. Enjoy!
Have you grown accustomed to a bit too much of the same-old-same-old? Routines can provide comfort and stability, but they can also cause your mind – and your life – to go into autopilot.
You don’t have to settle for status quo expectations and life on autopilot.
This doesn’t need to feel mysterious. Apply these simple powerful strategies and you can make your life what you dream it can be. Life so good you can’t wait to get up and out of bed for it in the morning…
Modeled after an 8-day countdown I shared on Facebook as it was happening (in 2017), here’s the highlight reel of my 8-day Nomadic Living Countdown.
To say that there was a lot involved in planning for such a major downsizing, would be an understatement. Going from apartment living, to my boyfriend, dog, and I all moving into a 20 foot RV was no. small. undertaking. (Spoiler alert: One year later, we upsized to a 27′ Airstream.)
The process required very real focus and attention to downsize, organize, pack and prepare for our Nomadic Living Experiment. And we did it all in 60 days!
Here’s the synopsis of my 8-day Nomadic Living Downsizing Countdown:
8 Days From Nomadic Living: A Downsizing Micro-Glimpse
With the downsizing and packing process well underway, I paused to catch my breath. This bag of tea is a micro-glimpse of my process. I went from an abundant tea selection, with many boxes of tea stacked in my kitchen cabinet, to one single consolidated zip-lock bag. With just one week to go, I spent an entire Saturday sorting and clearing “everything kitchen”. Tea was one of so many things I needed to sort through from my kitchen, but bit by bit… it got done.
7 Days From Nomadic Living: Moving Sale
The 7 day count-down! After sorting, sorting and more sorting … I had set aside my final few irreplaceable items for storage (original art, family photo albums, for example). I posted a moving sale sign by the elevator in my building. It listed the last of the things I had yet to sell. (Much of it sold. Whatever was left, I donated.)
6 Days From Nomadic Living: Decision Fatigue
I find that the most difficult decisions to make are often the ones that don’t really matter but that you need to make anyway. Do you agree? I was definitely feeling decision fatigue as I made countless micro-decisions … which pots to pack …. what spices to take … which socks … which kitchen utensils … toiletries … etc.. etc… and, even more daunting for me was deciding where each item I wasn’t taking was going … sell? recycle? donate? … and if for sale, for how much? … where and to whom?
You feel me? I was knackered. I put out a call for some positive juju and energetic support as I sorted through the stuff of downsizing. While super excited to simplify and have less – I won’t sugarcoat it – the process of getting there took a lot out of me.
But, one decision at a time, I did it. And I’m SO glad I did.
5 Days From Nomadic Living: Giving Love Away
With just 5 days remaining, I hit a turning point. I went from battling decision fatigue, to surrendering.
Instead of wanting to sell things, I wished I could just beam it ALL to donation. For starters, I gave ‘Love’ (and a few others items) away. I delighted in doing so, as a metaphor in motion. Really, isn’t that what it’s all about? I literally gave “LOVE” for free and it felt good. 🙂
4 Days From Nomadic Living: Farewell Pistachio!
With a sense of nostalgia, I sold my little Fiat who I had named Pistachio. I bought Pistachio 2.5 years prior, just days after moving to the DC area. Fun to drive and cute as can be, I loved being able park in spaces that no one else could fit in.
One time, a man standing on a nearby curb watched me parallel park and stood on the curb clapping for me after I fit into an incredibly tight parking spot. I bowed when I got out of the car. 🙂
Pistachio and I also took to the highways, on road trips south to Florida and north to Rhode Island. Here I was, just days from Nomadic Living, and it was time we parted. Farewell, Pistachio … and thank you! Maybe I’ll see you on the road.
3 Days From Nomadic Living: We Put The Cart Before The Horse
Here’s a quick story about when Carl and I went to the RV dealership and purchased our “condo on wheels”. While learning about the weight of the unit, the towing info, etc., the sales guy asked, “What do you drive?” and in unison we answered:
“Fiat” “Prius” !
Maybe you had to be there … but it was a funny moment.
Here we were, looking to buy an RV with two vehicles that obviously weren’t going to tow it.
That day, we purchased our (starter) RV travel trailer and drove off – in the Prius.
With a ‘Sold’ sign in the window, our little RV was awaiting our return to pick it up.
In other words, we literally put the cart before the horse! Arguably not a rational logical move but, hey, not all good decisions are rational decisions.
We put into practice what, in coaching with my clients, I refer to as ‘Quantum Leaping a Dream’. By, quite literally, putting the cart before the horse, we took a big ol’ leap of faith. We dove into the deep end and teamed up to do something that neither one of us had done before.
Our decision to put the cart before the horse, ensured that we would figure out what we needed to figure out, and gallop our way back to hitch our cart. And that’s exactly what we did. We sold our Fiat/Prius. And our little RV got it’s horse.
*** What Quantum Leap are you dreaming up for your own life? What dream is stirring within YOUR heart just waiting for YOU to leap?
Any friend who helps you carry boxes and drop stuff off at Salvation Army, is the real deal.
Just a few weeks after moving to the DC area, while out salsa dancing, I met Laura. We had chatted briefly between songs. When later that night she saw me leaving, she yelled goodbye, waving vigorously at me from a balcony. I knew then and there, we’d be friends. A few weeks later, we went for a 3-hour kayak conversation (much more talking than rowing) and it was a friendship made.
Just 2 days away from nomadic living, Laura came over and helped me move. I gave her the grand tour of our 20′ condo on wheels, and we ate take-out at the dinette table. We also took this “see you later” selfie (no goodbyes).
I’m so glad our paths have crossed. And I know they will again. True friendship transcends time and space.
1 Day From Nomadic Living: How Long Things Take
Carl and I spent our last night in the almost empty apartment after a busy day of too many tasks to name, all on the heels of a late night out dancing (we, too, met on a salsa dance floor). We accomplished a lot that day and sleep felt like a true reward.
After months of planning and preparation, it was exciting to be less than 24 hours away from the kick-off of our nomadic lifestyle. Knowing that by this time tomorrow, we’d be fully moved out of the apartment and starting on our RV living journey, was definitely exhilarating.
Big life changes are rarely made overnight. They take time and they require planning and preparation.
Generally speaking, the bigger the change, the more planning and preparation is needed. But, how long?
How do YOU determine how long things will take?
As a rule of thumb, I find that when it comes to getting big, daunting tasks and projects done …. things take exactly as long as you have for them.
Knowing and learning to trust this, is a bit like having a superpower.
We did it in 60 days. Once the deadline was set, we got to work, trusting that the time we had was exactly the time we needed.
A favorite personal mantras of mine is “Time expands for me.” I tell myself this (on repeat, until I believe it) especially when I’m feeling like the time I have is shorter than the time I need. And, lo and behold, it all gets done.
On the eve of this great new adventure, having certainly wondered and felt concerned about whether we’d pull it off and get everything done and ready to go in time — I went to bed feeling confident, a knowing in my soul: we got this.
What about YOU? How long do things take?
Do you find that things take as long as you have for them?
How do YOU ensure that tasks and projects get done, done well, and efficiently?
If your life is out of alignment with what’s truly important to you, it’s always going to feel icky.
Check in with yourself.
==> Are YOU feeling angst about an endless list of “to dos”?
==> Do you own a bunch of “stuff”, much of which does nothing for your soul?
==> Ever feel like you’re caught in a status quo race to a finish line your heart really isn’t in?
If you see yourself in any of this, it can be hard to let yourself see it. It can be scary to admit. But, trite as it may sound, only the truth can set you free.
It’s time to be really honest with yourself.
No, you’re not alone … though there’s no real comfort in that. Knowing that others also feel “icky”, does not help you one bit.
*** Let’s do far better than that. ****
Because until this changes, you’re never going to experience the true freedom that life has to offer. And it’s never too late to start.
Take this a little quiz:
Which of the following best describes YOUR personal philosophy?
1. Resourcefulness and efficiency rule. 2. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. 3. Bigger is always better. 4. Luxury at all costs.
In our comprehensive Nomadic Living 101 Program, we include this question in our Module 5 assessment. It’s just one of the tools we use to help our members get clear on which of the following is their number one priority: Affordability, Versatility, Simplicity or Luxury.
Module 5 is titled ‘Wheel Estate: Selecting the RV that’s Right for You’ … and choosing an RV isn’t unlike other life decisions. Like everything, selecting an RV can be done in a way that’s aligned with your priorities, or it can be done in a way that’s misaligned with your priorities.
Unlike an RV dealership, we are not here to sell you an RV.
Our sole intention is to help you hit the road, and to do so in the most aligned, sustainable, fun way – for YOU.
It’s all about learning what you need to learn, and finding what’s right for you.
This is a journey that applies both on and off the road. We help you figure this out. It all starts with clarifying your true priorities.
Once you’re crystal clear on your priorities, make aligned decisions, and take aligned action to support those decision … life rapidly gets better.
Easy? Not necessarily.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It’s all about getting to the bottom of what’s best for you, what’s true for you, what’s unique to you, and setting yourself up with the support that is going to best help you create this, ASAP.
“Are you going to die on the side of the road in an RV?”
I had a very unusual (read: odd) experience while leading a Nomadic Living seminar at the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa. During the Q&A portion of the seminar, a young woman in the audience raised her hand and asked me a rather interesting question.
Her question was about “exit strategy” and our retirement plan. For context, understand, that the speech I had given prior to opening up the stage for questions, had been filled with stories and sentiments about how much Carl and I love the nomadic lifestyle and see no end in sight to this way of living.
The exchange with her began with her asking: “What’s your exit strategy? Like, what about retirement? What’s your retirement plan?”
We were asked many questions during the Q&A, to include:
==> How do you get your mail?
==> How long do you generally stay in one place, and why?
So again, what she asked was: “What’s your exit strategy? What about retirement? What is your retirement plan?”
Something in her tone made it immediately clear to me that her question had deeper implications than what was presented at the surface … but, so as not to be presumptuous, I began by approaching her question literally.
“Good question. I shared earlier that Carl is a remote-working corporate employee. He has a 401k through his company. Since 2004, I’ve been an entrepreneur with my own company. I rolled an old 401k I had from the job I had prior to starting my business, into an IRA, and I contribute to it every year. Does that answer your question?”
She replied: “No, I mean, when you retire, are you going to buy a house and settle down? What’s your plan for that? I assume you’ll be buying a house and settling down at some point, right?”
This made me smile inside, especially given how many aspiring retirees were there in the seminar, eager to sell their house and enjoy the freedom of the “golden years” traveling full-time in an RV as soon as they could make it happen.
“Ah,” I said. “Got it. What Carl and I are doing breaks the mold on what’s expected or traditional, and I fully understand that it can be confusing for others to imagine a lifestyle that goes against what’s typical or considered normal. I so appreciate your question and I hear where you’re coming from.”
I continued, “I have owned property in the past, and I have since sold it. As I shared earlier in my speech, Carl and I absolutely love this lifestyle and we see no end in sight to nomadic living. So we don’t currently have any plans to buy property or to live in one place anytime soon.”
Now, prior to the Q & A, I shared in my speech the story of how Carl and I had gone about making the decision to let go of our apartment to embark on a “nomadic living experiment”. In the story, I had explained that this left us just 60 days to downsize, get ourselves into an RV, and on the road.
Still responding to her question, I went on to say… “Now, if Carl and I were to decide that we want to return to a house or apartment living, I have no doubt that we could reverse engineer what we’ve done. I’d bet we could even do it in as little as 60 days again. We could sell the RV and find a house or apartment pretty quickly. Does that answer your question?”
Here’s what she asked next: “Are you going to die on the side of a road in an RV?”
Direct quote. That was her question.
Given that those in the audience didn’t have a microphone, I’d been asked to please repeat each question before I started answering. It was a big room, 200+ people, and I had the mic.
I repeated the question:
“Am I going to die on the side of the road in an RV?”, I said with a smile.
This got a lot of nervous laughter. I paused for a moment to ground myself before I spoke, and then I proceeded:
“Ok. So, I’m really not picking on you. I am fully aware that my lifestyle makes some people feel uncomfortable. It is entirely possible that I will travel and explore for as long as I live and that I may never again live in a house. I don’t know this for sure, and I don’t need to know this now because if something changes, I can always shift things then to adjust. Make sense?”
Seeming somewhat relieved, her reply – I kid you not – was: “Ok, so you WILL settle down at some point and buy a house.”
Slowly … and with a big smile, I said: “Is that what you heard me say?”
The room filled with laughter.
I reiterated to her that, “As radical and confusing as it may seem, I have discovered for myself that living in one place is not something I need in order to feel grounded and at peace with my life. In fact, I am more “settled” NOW than I have ever been, because I am living the truth of what my heart desires.” This got cheers, and “woot-woot’s” and clapping.
I thanked her for her question and moved on to the next question.
The big lesson here has nothing to do with Nomadic Living and everything to do with human nature and how we tend to respond to things that make us uncomfortable. Sometimes people don’t actually want to hear the answer to a question – even if they are the one asking the question.
Sometimes we’re just not able to hear and receive the answer, because our own resistance and fear blocks us from hearing it. We’ve all been guilty of only wanting answers that stay within our comfort zone, answers that keep us feeling safe and help us maintain our current understanding of the world.
I truly applaud her for asking, and for being willing to be seen and witnessed in a state of genuine scratching-her-head I-just-don’t-get-it confusion.
It’s a vulnerable place to be.
By asking, she bravely positioned herself for a breakthrough, a potential shift in perception. In this way, confusion is good news. Confusion sets the stage for new levels of understanding. I suspect, and I hope, that this was the case for her.
I believe everyone laughed because on some level they could relate to feeling that awkward confusion, and mind-scramble. It was honest. Her confusion was genuine, an extraordinary example of something we’re ALL capable of: a deep-seated resistance to changing our thinking.
Thoughts are things. Ultimately, taking responsibility for your life means taking responsibility for your thoughts. And expanding your thinking, will expand your understanding about other people, about the world, and about what’s possible for you.
If you want to change something about your life, change your thoughts. It sounds cliché, I know. But the Truth with a capital “T” is thatif you continue to hold onto old limiting beliefs, and hold firm to your comfort zone, then that will be the truth that you live from and create from.
And truly … the magic happens when you allow yourself to expand into new possibilities and ideas, and when you take aligned action to support this.
I had the pleasure of interviewing a couple who defines home in a way that is truly unique. Their version of nomadic living is in a converted ambulance! (They call it The Adventurelance.) I did a livestream Facebook interview with them and within 24 hours it got over 8K views. It’s a fascinating interview. Watch it here:
How do YOU define home?Is home defined by the address where you currently live? Or does it feel more complex than that? Are you a nomad in your own right? What’s your answer to the question: Where do YOU live?