Get the latest as we make our way across the country in our 25ft Airstream trailer. Busy Campers is the adventures and ramblings of Celena Carr-Thomas and Shoam Thomas as we travel the U.S.A. in our Airstream trailer.
Everyone’s favorite time of year is just a few days away — that’s right, Tax Day is April 17 (break out the party hats and confetti). We just wrapped ours up and thought it would be helpful to share a few surprising things we learned after buying our Airstream for those of you out there considering making the jump to the fulltime RV lifestyle.
Note: We are not accountants or tax experts. This post is about our personal experience, and you should always consult your own accountant before making any decisions that might have a big impact on your taxes.
1. RV Dealerships will say you can write off the interest on an RV loan, just like a home. But for a lot of us, there’s a catch.
Technically, this one is true — your RV is considered a second home, and you can deduct the loan interest (up to the $1 million limit in 2017, and the new $750k limit in 2018). But, and this is a big but, if you’ve sold your sticks and bricks home to hit the road, like so many fulltime RV’ers do, the interest on your loan likely won’t put you over the standard deduction amount, so claiming it on your taxes is a no-go.
Besides that, the math doesn’t really work out on this one — even if you can deduct it, you’ll probably wind up paying more interest over the lifetime of the loan than you’ll save in tax deduction. If you want to see some detailed examples, check out this post over on RV dreams.
As a side note, while the tax deduction isn’t a good reason to take out a loan, there may be other reasons to go with financing vs. purchasing outright. We did choose to finance part of the Airstream. It’s our only debt, and while we’d prefer to be debt free, we were starting a new business, which meant we wouldn’t get approved for other lending until we built up 2 years of work history with it. Even after that getting a loan can be trickier when you’re self-employed, so we wanted to keep more of our cash available for a future home or land purchase.
We're saving our cash for a cabin
Maybe... someday... Until then we just save a million of them to our Pinterest page so we can indulge in the fantasy. Hop on over there to catch yourself a case of cabin fever.
2. Planning on writing off your ‘home office’ in the RV? Hang on.
Back when we owned a house in Portland, we had a home office that Shoam used for his freelance business, and we were able to deduct a portion of our mortgage. In an Airstream, claiming a space that’s used exclusively for business doesn’t quite pan out — we work from the dinette, but we also eat there, watch movies, play cards (and constantly spill things on it) so we can’t claim it on our taxes. If you have a bigger 5th wheel or Class A with a garage area you can truly call an office that’s not used for anything else, you might have more luck on this one.
3. Consider travel expenses really carefully before deducting.
It might sound amazing to start a casual blog and write off all your travel expenses, since campgrounds and gas will probably be one of your major expenses. Unfortunately, business travel needs to be premeditated (i.e. you need to travel to your destination for the meeting/conference/whatever, not take a personal trip to Hawaii and then try to set up a meeting when you’re there to try to write off a whole vacation).
4. If you use an accountant, find one who gets what you do.
Now that we travel so much, we wanted to use someone who got that and would be used to communicating with us wherever we happened to be. We worked with Adam Nubern of Nuventure this year, and it’s been our smoothest tax time in years. As a fellow traveler, he’s super clear about his availability and when to expect to hear back from him, plus very proactive about reminding us what we should be doing by when.
If you’re looking for a new accountant for 2018, we’d highly recommend him. He’s not paying us, or providing any free services in exchange for us writing this — we just think he’s a great accountant and a good guy.
In case you missed it — Our shop is now open
Last week we officially launched our Shop, and it's loaded up with T-shirts, Hoodies, Pouches and Tote Bags for people who love the outdoors, camping and road trips. No... you probably can't deduct them from your taxes, but at least you can do your accounting in style, right?
Shoam says my dream life would be to live at a spa (he's not wrong). He's a good sport about it, so after a nice long break from the road in Taos he agreed we could treat ourselves to a couple nights at Ojo Caliente, an amazing hot springs resort in Northern New Mexico about an hour from Taos and Santa Fe.
Ojo had been on our list since before we even got to New Mexico, but when we found out they have a little RV park on the property we decided to wait until we could stay there to really make the most of it. I am not an easy girl to drag out of the water, so being able to soak as long as I wanted to and then just walk to my house was pretty incredible (#livingthedream). If you're in the area, we highly recommend setting aside a couple days to come here. We may just move in. They won't notice one extra rig in the parking lot, right?
The leisurely, and beautiful 40-mile drive from Taos to Ojo Caliente.
Adobe buildings abound at the resort with fire pits, desert plants and rock gardens scattered around the property.
Shoam and Dulce enjoying the trails.
There are several different pools at Ojo with a range of temperatures and different minerals that are said to offer health benefits. We especially loved the cliff-side Iron pool and the Lithia pool, and the water really does feel different in each. We made a circuit of all the springs both days, working our way from the cliffs back towards the locker rooms to minimize chilly walks in the 40-50 degree weather.
If you get tired of soaking (like that's a thing), there are several hikes, yoga classes and the tiny town center is right down the road with a couple restaurants.
Prices Entry to the pools: $24/day (save by bringing your own lock and extra towels to avoid extra charges) Stretch & Soak special (includes a yoga class): $30 RV Parking: $40/night
Yeah, I'd live here.
RV Parking Info
The RV park is tucked in against the cliffs, and spots are a bit rustic, but they have electric and water hookups, and you can walk right to the trails and the pools, which makes it totally worth the $40/night price tag in our opinion.
There are only a few spots that would work for bigger rigs, so make sure to specify your size if you're calling for a reservation. We'd also recommend dumping your tanks before you get there and planning to stretch them through your stay — they have a dump station, but there's a $20 fee to use it.
I'd happily hike every day of the week, but we do need to make a living in order to travel full time, so most days find us typing away on our laptops at the Airstream's dinette. We can usually squeeze in some shorter lunch or post-work trails during the week and we save the longer, more remote trails for the weekends. In my opinion one of the best benefits of RV living is being able to park our home in places that offer miles and miles of trails right outside our front door.
The Taos area offered plenty of opportunities to get out, and even when the temperatures started dropping in December, that New Mexico sun kept us warm and wanting to hit the trails. Here are our 5 favorites in the area, including our post-hike watering hole recommendations.
If you're looking for more ideas on what to do in the area, including where to stay and all the places to stuff your faces, make sure to check out our full Taos Travel Guide.
If you don't make it to any other trail in Taos, this was our favorite easy hike with stunning views down through the Rio Grande Gorge. We liked it so much we did it four or five times, starting it from both directions. You can often spot Big Horn Sheep cutting death-defying paths along the sides of the cliffs, and if you want to make it longer and more challenging you can combine it with the Rift Valley trail system (also great for mountain biking!) and come back up the Picuris Peak Trail. For a fun weekend day trip, park on the Route 68 side and then stop off for a glass of local Sangiovese at Vivac Winery in Dixon afterwards.
We hiked sections of the Devisadero Trail a few times during our stay since it was just a 5 minute drive from our RV park. Unfortunately, with the short winter days, we never made it out early enough to have enough time to complete the full loop in daylight, but it's a great moderate hike with killer views of the valley.
The views go on and on from the Devisadero Loop Trail.
Right across the street from Devisadero is the South Boundary trail system, which you can wander in a few directions for miles and miles. We loved this route on weekdays for walking the pup since the grades are never that steep, and with so many options it's easy to choose your own adventure and make it short or long, easy or hard.
We go through a lot of t-shirts on the road, so we started designing our own recently inspired by our travels and our love of the outdoors. We think this one's trail-ready with its wild topography. Check out our Society6 shop to get yours!
The drive out to Angel Fire was well worth it for a hike through forest and snow fields all the way up to views of Lake Monte Verde. If you want to make it a full day trip, pack a picnic and then after hiking, drive the long way home on the Enchanted Circle with a stop at Comanche Creek Brewery, which is housed in a tiny century-old homestead cabin in Eagle Nest, NM — it's one of the most unique breweries we've seen in all of our travels.
Snow fields and some steep climbs made this a beautiful, but slippery winter hike.
We rolled the Airstream into Taos in early October totally worn out after a crazy summer of travel. We had planned to stay for a week or two to rest up, regroup and visit Shoam's mom, who just moved there, but we quickly fell in love with the landscape, the friendly folks at our RV park and the food and we wound up staying for a little over two months for a much needed break from route planning and driving.
After all those days steeping ourselves in the trails, history and, of course, green chile of this Northern New Mexico town, we think it’s one that should be on every traveler’s list. With 4 seasons of fun in the outdoors, 360 degree mountain views, culture, art, beautiful architecture and delicious food there’s truly something for everyone here.
We’ve already made plans to return at the end of the summer after this year’s adventures in Arizona, Utah and Colorado. Keep reading for our Taos Travel Guide, including our favorite places to stuff your faces, and where to stay (for RV'ers as well as those without wheels) and we'll have a dedicated post on our 5 favorite hikes in the area coming later this week.
Taos, NM Travel GuideWhere to Eat: 6 Places to stuff your faces
Taos Mesa Brewing The major beer game in town with two locations, both of which are worth a visit. The downtown taproom serves up amazing wood fired pizzas with ingredients like fresh ricotta, grilled lemon and hot honey, and they have the best gluten free crust we’ve ever tasted.
The Mothership is Northwest of town, heading towards the Rio Grande Gorge, with an earthship-inspired outdoor stage and stellar views. It’s a perfect stop if you’re heading out to the gorge or hiking Manby Hot Springs.
The Burger Stand When in New Mexico, you eat green chile. When at The Burger Stand, you order the Green Chile Burger. You probably also want a side of truffle fries with house-made Guajillo chili sauce. Grab a stool and a local brew, and you’ve got yourself an afternoon.
Manzanita Market Tucked right off the plaza, this little coffee, breakfast, lunch and ice cream spot is our pick for anyone who needs an office outpost for the day. Get your work on and sample one of the simple sandwiches that are elevated with house-made ingredients like pickled apples or fig spread.
Medley On the North side of town, Medley offers a great happy hour at the bar with $5 drinks and eats ranging from crispy brussels sprouts and fried chicken sliders to a grilled avocado salad.
Common Fire Just down the road from Medley, Common Fire exudes a cozy, cool mix of New Mexico traditional and modern with a menu that spans comfort foods like mac n’ cheese to Asian-inspired dishes like coconut curry.
What to Do: Window Shopping & Thrifting
Since we live in less than 200 square feet, we generally shop with our eyes, not our wallets, but an afternoon cruising Bent Street’s shops is a fun way to pass an afternoon.
Wanderer This flawlessly curated women’s boutique is right on the main drag. Thankfully tiny closets saved me from any major temptation, but as designers, we love checking out patterns, color and textiles.
Op Cit Books My perfect bookshop is cozy, with floors that creak and shelves that are stocked with new picks and old favorites, and this place is all of those things. I could easily waste half a day in here.
Common Thread Filled with fabrics, ribbons, and handmade scarves, wraps and bags, this is the spot to go for the textile-obsessed. Conveniently places across the street from a yarn shop for the knitters out there.
Re-Threads Our favorite consignment/vintage shop in town, in addition to clothes you can also score used skis and outdoor equipment on the cheap here.
Pieces A massive consignment shop with everything from dishes and furniture to art and clothes, the pricing is a little all over the place, but the sheer size makes it worth a comb through for the junkers out there.
Hotels There’s a million choices near the plaza, and The Taos Inn is a cute option near town with beautiful adobe architecture and a nice little bar with live music most nights.
If you’re coming in to ski, the Snow Mansion is a hostel just a few miles out from the valley in the cute little town of Arroyo Secco that won’t set you back the big bucks.
Want a taste of Airstream life? Hotel Luna Mystica offers up several superbly styled trailers about 15 minutes from town. Bonus - walk to the Mothership for a drink and wake up to the Mesa views every morning.
Where to Stay: RV Parking
RV Parks& Resorts Taos Valley RV Park is where we parked, and it's our pick for longer stays for its central location and monthly pricing ($600-$650). About 10 minutes South of town, it’s got decently spaced sites, high-desert landscaping with mountain views and a nice trail for walking your pup.
In the Northwest part of town, heading out to the Gorge, Monte Bello RV Park is a good pick if you want to be closer to skiing. There’s not much in the way of landscaping, but it’s clean and the views are pretty.
State Parks, National Forest and BLM Campgrounds North of Taos, the Carson National Forest has several forested campgrounds near Red River that are open seasonally from May to October, and we’ll definitely be hitting these up next time we come through town. Cell signal fluctuates, but is probably boostable out here.
South of town, the Orilla Verde recreation area has several BLM campgrounds scattered by the river. All of them would be great for vans or tent camping, and the first couple are accessible to mid-sized rigs. Unlike open BLM, these are hosted with official spots, but at $7 a night they’re super reasonable. There’s no cell signal out here so be prepared to be off grid.
Thirty-five miles east of town, Eagle Nest Lake State Park would be a great summer spot. There’s not a ton of services around, but if you want peace and quiet with pretty scenery and kayaking or fishing access, it’d be a great stay for a few days.
We need your help!
This is a new format for us with more of a travel guide feel vs. a travelogue of our time. We'd love to know what you think, and if you'd like to see more of this kind of post with recommendations on what to do in an area, or if you like something more personal and story driven. Leave us a comment here or over on Instagram and let us know!
To plan or not to plan? This is always one of the first things that comes up when we talk to other full-time travelers, and we've met everyone from the super spontaneous to the hyper planned over the last year. Sometimes those two types of people are even married and traveling in the same RV.
We definitely fall into that category. Shoam doesn't really like to plan anything more than a day out. When we book flights, even if we know we're going somewhere, his typical response is, "let's sleep on it." (Yup, it drives me nuts).
I need to have at least a loose idea of the next few months. And by loose idea, I mean a meticulously researched, calendared and mapped agenda. And by next few months I mean six. (Yup, it drives him nuts).
While it might sound like we're totally incompatible here, we've learned to compromise and we're actually grateful for the way we balance each other out. If we did it all his way, we'd be roaming around Yellowstone looking for a spot on the 4th of July. If we did it all my way, we'd miss all those happy accidents that come out of having no plan at all.
So here's what works for us. We make reservations well ahead of time for the summer season (Memorial Day – Labor Day), major holidays and super popular destinations. The rest of the year, I relax my death-grip on the calendar and we create a loose plan for the next month, only making reservations about a week out if we make them at all.
And we always, always check in on whether it's working. Sometimes we have a plan and we throw it out the window. This year we scrapped most of the August route I had spent hours mapping and booking to escape the humidity of the Midwest and get to Colorado faster. It cost us my planning time and about $100 in campground cancellations, and it was totally worth it. We got more than two weeks back to explore the Fort Collins, CO area, which we loved.
Sometimes we don't have a plan and we realize we need one. We figured things would slow down after Labor Day and we wouldn't really need reservations. It turns out a lot of people like Colorado, and weekends are still pretty booked up through September. We're heading further south and west starting tomorrow and hoping to find fewer crowds.
What's your planning style? Are you the no-reservations type, or the professional organizer? And if you're traveling with a partner, are you the same, or opposites like us? Leave us a comment and let us know! We'd love to hear from you.
Today we visited the Shambhala Mountain Center in Northern Colorado. Five winding miles up a dirt road, past pine-dotted cliffs, a sprawling alpine meadow reveals itself for those seeking peace of heart and quiet of mind.
Prayer flags whip in the wind that whisks through the valley, their vivid hues fading in the late summer sun. Gravel grumbles gently under feet that carry you up, up, up to the Great Stupa, which rises improbably from the landscape in white and gold — an offering, a blessing to the land and those who visit.
But just beyond lies my very favorite thing: a small shinto shrine. Recognizing that it can’t compete with the landscape, it’s crafted humbly from only wood and stone. A gesture of a gate, a string of paper swans, and bowls of rice, water and salt are all that greet you. Cleanse your hands. Now your mouth. Follow the path to the shrine. Bow in each direction. Clap twice. Give what you can.
In these times, when so many seem to bend to hate, to be quick to anger and eager for violence, here is a place for hope. Because people arrive, one after another, seeking love and willing to sacrifice. Trying to be better.
And when I need to remember that in the coming days and weeks, it’s this place I’ll re-inhabit, these moments I’ll relive. I’ll take comfort in knowing someone else is there, right now, maybe feeling this same hope. And then I’ll remind myself that the world is still a beautiful place, if you go looking.
Airstreams have a special allure — we usually find that if you want one, you don’t consider a whole lot of other options. The biggest decision you’ll make is whether to buy new or renovate, so we thought it would be helpful to share a little bit about our thought process when we were making that decision.
We knew after our very first week of RV’ing that we wanted an Airstream, but we were on the fence for months about renovating. We’re designers, we love to nest and we did a lot of mini renovation projects back when we owned a home in Portland, Oregon, from a custom wood-clad nook in our bedroom to rebuilding our back deck, so renovating felt like the natural choice and we were leaning that way for a long time.
In the end we decided to buy new. Here’s why:
We Wanted a Warranty
Neither of us had ever RV’d before, aside from our spring break R-pod rental. Since whatever we bought was going to be our only home and hurtling down the freeway for thousands of miles, we felt more comfortable with the assurances of warranties and new systems.
Space & Budget Questions
We’d already sold our house, so we didn’t have space to store a trailer while renovating it. It just didn’t make sense for us to pay rent on an apartment and a storage facility and the costs of renovating.
We priced out having someone else do the renovation work for us, and the costs for what we wanted came out to be around the same as buying new.
Emotional Fragility + Power Tools Seemed Like a Bad Idea
And here’s the big one: I’d been working 60+ hour weeks for years, and in the 12 months before we hit the road we’d gotten married, sold a house, downsized to an apartment and I’d quit my day job. I was totally burnt out, and our goal with this lifestyle was to travel and be on the road, so we made that our priority.
Details & Things to Consider
Varies and depends on how much sweat equity you put in vs. hiring out. Expect to pay between $5-7k for a shell in good shape, and we’ve heard everything from $20k - $100k+ for total remodel costs.
Standard process without appraisals and most major carriers will offer a bundle with your car insurance.
Style & Layout
All yours! This is the major pro of remodeling since you can completely customize for your style and how you want to use it.
Standard layouts from 16 - 33 feet with several interior finish options.
Would We Make the Same Decision Now?
I definitely think we made the right decision for us at the time. Eighteen months later, things look a lot different. We have over a year of experience with the Airstream and all its systems, our business is up and running, we’ve made friends on the road, and we don’t have anywhere near the stress levels we used to.
I can also say that we adore our little house, even though she’s super beige and not totally our style inside. This year we’re planning some minor updates to make her more our own, but overall we love the layout (we have a 25 foot front bedroom) and there’s not a whole lot we would change besides the finishes.
We absolutely don’t mean this to say that you shouldn’t renovate, but know going into it that it’s hard work, there’s a learning curve (or lots of them in an Airstream!), and even though it’s a small space, there can still be major expenses.
We’ve met so many people on the road with gorgeous Airstream renovations that they’ve put their blood, sweat and tears into and I’m sure they could give you a list this long (or longer) of why renovating was right for them. The key is to really think about your personal circumstances, your timeline and your priorities — everyone’s going to be different and there’s no right answer, only the one that’s right for you, right now.
If renovating is right for you, here are 5 of our favorites:
The Silver Egg We totally dig their mid-century style and color palette with a blend of vintage and new touches throughout.
Mavis the Airstream Sheena & Jason did an amazing job on their trailer. While a lot of other Airstreamers go sparse and minimalist, I love that they accessorize and layer textures to make a super cozy space.
A Small Life Melanie & George did an amazing and really unique job with their farmhouse style renovation with tons of rustic wood touches softened up with soft textile and wallpaper touches.
The Modern Caravan I wish I had half the skill of these ladies — from design to install, their work is flawless, and we love that they live and travel full time in their Airstream while running their renovating business.
Stay Silver Tee
One thing we go through a lot of on the road is t-shirts, whether they get worn out from hiking or burnt by well-aimed campfire sparks, so we started designing our own. Check out our Society6 shop to get yours!
Dreamy Airstreams & Cute Campers
While we're definitely going to stick with updating finishes vs. taking on any major remodeling right now, we've saved a lot of remodels and interiors we love over on our Pinterest page.
Our favorite kind of camping? National, state and county park campgrounds were really good to us. State Parks can be a mixed bag, so do your research, but there are some truly amazing ones out there, and we’ve only come across a few we really felt “meh” about.
We had a high number of private campgrounds due to a lot of easy on/off highway overnighters, and a lot of these we’d be in no hurry to stay at again, but there are a few gems out there. Two of our favorites were Rose Valley Ranch in Silver City, NM and Taos Valley RV Park, where we recently spent two months.
How much did it cost?
Our total costs for campgrounds for the year was $11,500.79, for an average of $31.50 a night. Since we spent so much of the year on the East Coast where you can’t boondock, and there aren’t as many cheap camping options we feel pretty good about that number, but we’d like to get it a little lower in 2018.
We’re doing that in two ways.
We expect to do a lot more boodocking this year now that we’re back in the West.
We’ve been adding some monthly stays at RV parks both to slow down, and to save.
We’ve done monthly rates at RV parks since mid-October and we’re averaging about $22/night for full hookups, which is cheaper than a lot of state parks. There are downsides (like having to drive to trails, and closer neighbors) and we’re excited to get the Airstream back into nature later this month, but it’s been fun to mix it up, take all the showers and have the amenities of town (like a grocery store we've been to more than once — it's the little things).
What were our favorite places?
In no particular order, our top 5 campgrounds this past year were:
Gilbert Ray campground, Tucson AZ Otherworldly beauty and tons of trail access for $20 a night, yes please. We’re headed back that way for another 7-day dose this winter.
Lake Powhatan campground, Asheville NC I could seriously live in this park, and I think it would take a lifetime to do every combination of trails by foot and bike, and for Shoam to taste every beer in Asheville.
Schoodic Woods Campground, Acadia National Park ME Acadia was my first National Park and it will always be my favorite. This beautiful, new campground on the quiet side of the island was a perfect retreat for a week with bike trails where we rarely passed another person.
Angel Valley Rd., Sedona AZ We’re so glad we got to spend a week in this boondocking spot before they changed the rules. Waking up to hot air balloons sailing past red cliffs each morning was pretty incredible.
Part of the reason we wanted to slow down this year was to focus more on our business and have more time to hike, write and draw in our down time. Our big goal with this blog has always been to inspire other people’s adventures, so we’ll be posting more regularly here as we ease our feet off the gas pedal.
We’d love to know what kind of posts you’d like to see. Do you want to know more about how we make a living or budget for life on the road, how much full-time rv living costs, the places we visit and things to do there, or….? Leave us a note here (don't be shy!) or a comment on Instagram and let us know.
Happy travels, C+S
Find our favorite places on Pinterest
We’d heard a lot about Marfa before arriving — love it or hate it, everyone seems to have an opinion about the art mecca in West Texas. The best way we can describe it is that it’s a town that gives no f*cks. And we dig that. In a world of more, better, instant, now, it was refreshing to visit a place where the people and businesses seem intent on doing things their own way.
Put on the art scene map in the 1970s by Donald Judd, the old ranching town continues to be a destination for contemporary art that's a refreshing departure to the moneyed patina of urban galleries and museums where art lives out a climate-controlled, commodified life.
Much of Marfa's art lives rough in the dust, in the sun and in the winter morning chill and frosts that threaten to crack delicate concrete casts forming spires to the sky. And you have to imagine that the pieces prefer it that way: sleeping under the stars, waking to the sun and getting the occasional sigh of appreciation from passerby.
The most recognizable landmarks are dueling road-side art curiosities Prada Marfa (which is actually in Valentine) and a guerilla Target installation (which is actually in Marathon). And while they are oh so iconic, they're also so over-photographed that the surprise factor is sadly gone.
In our opinion, Marfa is best on foot or on bike. Or better yet, on bar stool, sipping a cold drink and listening in on slivers of conversation from locals and visitors.
This vintage trailer and teepee hotel has the coolest (and most expensive — shop with your eyes, not your wallet) hotel lobby shop we’ve ever seen, and they also have space for tent camping and dry camping for RVs on the property. Your nightly stay includes access to their outdoor showers, hammock grove, communal kitchen and killer free coffee from Big Bend Roasting every morning.
Chinati Foundation Open Wednesday to Sunday from noon to four, or nine to five, or dusk to dawn, or… well, it depends what you want to see at the contemporary art museum founded by Donald Judd. Don't miss 15 works in concrete and other outdoor sculptures in the area, but make sure to plan ahead and check their website for hours before you go.
Tumbleweed coffee & laundry We couldn't get enough Big Bend coffee, so after fueling up in the morning at El Cosmico we hit this spot for another dose while catching up on work and laundry.
Planet Marfa&Bad Hombres This pair of businesses on Marfa's main drag feature an awesome bar & beer garden open between Spring Break and Thanksgiving and a taco truck/social experiment turned brick & mortar across the street. We chilled (on the patio, on the deck, on the school bus, and inside the teepee) at Planet Marfa, enjoyed some people watching and got recommendations for our next Texas stops from some friendly folks. We didn’t sample the food (or the social experiment) at Bad Hombres but we got a kick out of reading their Yelp page, which really does seem to be the point.
Marfa Burrito We did try to eat a burrito at Marfa Burrito. They were sold out, but they made us some tacos that were simple, but tasty.
The other night a man sat down next to us at a local bar. He asked the inevitable “Where are you from?” question, and we explained that we travel full time in our RV. His response was “F*ck you,” said only somewhat jokingly.
We finished up our drinks and said our polite goodbyes, but the conversation stuck with me because it’s not the first time we’ve gotten this kind of reaction. Other times we get, “Are you rich?” or “Did you win the lottery?” (An equal number of times we get, “So… you’re hobos?,” so don’t worry about our egos too much).
The answer to all of these is no. But I get it. To people living a stationary life, and maybe feeling a bit stuck in it, it seems like we must have had some crazy circumstance that allowed us to do this. If the me from three years ago met the me from today, I’d probably tell me to f*ck off too.
But we didn’t have some crazy flash of luck or the winning ticket. And neither have any of the other young full-time travelers we’ve met. We haven’t met a single trust funder or lottery winner. The people we meet are photographers, electricians, lawyers, accountants, nurses, programmers, designers, writers, artists, camp hosts and workampers.
And almost everyone we meet in our age group has the same story. We were plugging along, doing all the stuff we were supposed to do: climbing the ladder, buying houses and filling them with stuff. But it wasn’t making us happy. Something was missing.
So if you’re out there wondering why your life isn’t like someone else’s, or thinking someone else has been blessed with your dream life, know that they were probably once just like you. The only difference is they stopped what they were doing and made a change.
I do believe in finding contentment where you are, and full time travel and full time RV’ing aren’t for everyone. But if you never wake up excited for the day ahead, and spend most of your time dreaming about a different kind of life, it’s time for a change. A friend of ours summed it up pretty perfectly over a campfire one night. He said, “I woke up knowing exactly what every day was going to be like, and I didn’t want to do any of it.” Yup. We’ve been there.
If you’re waiting to hit the jackpot to pursue your dream, stop. If you think you’re not lucky enough, stop. If you feel guilty because you’re “supposed” to be happy, stop.
Tonight the calendar will tick over to a brand new year, blank and full of possibility, and it’s up to you to decide what to do with it. You can wake up 365 times next year wishing you had someone else’s life or you can start living your own to the fullest.
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