We dreamed that dream, then we made it a reality.
In April 2013 my hubs Side Road Steve and I took off for a trip across the country, riding for 6 months, visiting 26 states on our motorcycles. We had named our journey Road Pickle Motorcycle Bohemia and wrote about the places we visited and the things we saw. After riding over 15,000 miles, we made our way back to San Diego, CA, the city from which we started, we considered staying on the road permanently.
But as time went on in San Diego, we started getting comfortable and leased an apartment for a year in March 2014. The ink hadn't even dried on the lease when I knew I had made a mistake. I tried to live with it, but within two months, I needed to bust out of the cement I had poured around my own feet. It didn't take much effort to convince my hubs to go back to a life on the road. We both decided that living the Road Pickle better suited us in many ways.
You might be asking yourself, "How can they live that way?" Here are a few logistics we've put in place over time so we can live the nomadic life.
Self Employed Internet Marketers and Publishers
Our business is publishing websites and marketing online. We not only market our own publications, we market for others as well. We also teach others how to blog for profit. All of this work can be done as we travel. We designed our business to be one that could be done with nothing but WiFi, two laptops, two cameras, two cell phones, a video camera, an external hard drive, a handful of SD cards and a whole rat's nest of cords and chargers. All of our "office" fits in one briefcase and gets set up in less than 5 minutes anywhere we stop. Any job you can create in which you can work for yourself and work from anywhere you can get WiFi would fill the bill.
Minimizing Our Inventory
We don't own much. We actually own just 11 pieces of furniture, and 4 of those things are being sold before we move in June. We probably have less household "stuff" than most 20-something newlyweds. We are minimalists, by choice. My hubs motto is, "The less I have, the less I have to manage." It's a great motto and while it took me some time to adopt this philosophy, I'm a much happier person now that I have. At this point, the less we own, the less we have to store.
Our Assistant Makes It All Possible
Our office assistant Shelli is really the glue that holds our lifestyle together. She is not only our company bookkeeper, but she also manages my personal money. Shelli receives all of our mail, sorts it and send a package to us weekly of things we need to have with us. She pays all of our bills, she manages the business invoices and payments, helps me with my insurance issues, watches my credit report and even reminds me when it's time to vote. My very own Jiminy Cricket, she even helps me manage my budget each month. I trust her entirely and I'm lucky that she's also my niece. Not everyone has someone so level-headed and organized they can rely on, so I count myself really blessed! We also store our extra belongings in her garage at no cost.
Only Paying Where You're Staying
By not maintaining a home while we travel, we aren't paying a mortgage or rent somewhere we won't be. We also don't pay utilities, insurance, landscaper, HOA dues, trash, sewer, property taxes, cable or internet. When we added up all of those costs we realized we could spend less on motels than a stationary home. For each person the costs would be a little different, so do your own math. For us, we strive to pay less than $2000 per month on the places we stay. Motels often have discounts for weekly or monthly stays, as do some hotels. A number of motel chains, such as Studio 6, provide a studio apartment with a full kitchen for less than $350 a week! Our visit in Tulsa at Studio 6 was in a lovely studio condo, fully furnished down to the dishes in the kitchen, and even had a fireplace. We also have used airbnb, a website dedicated to renting vacation rentals by owners at great prices. Overall we've had great luck with these options, only occasionally landing in a motel that we didn't enjoy. The concept of only paying where staying made so much sense once we really put it into action.
Dropping the Shopping
I like to shop as much as the next gal. Perhaps I like to shop more than most. But when I stood before a tailbag that was full, trying to shove one more thing in it unsuccessfully, I realized I had to stop buying things. A motorcycle has very clear limits on how much it can carry safely. Not only size, but weight has to be considered when packing. Riding a Yamaha V Star 650, my bike doesn't have much power. Once I put my plump butt on her, fill the saddlebags and strap on a tailbag, she's pretty much done. So I have to consider each item carefully and keep only what I'm using right now. After doing this for a few months I started to see things differently and I found I wanted to buy less things. The things I did buy became far more practical and served more than one purpose. Also, when one doesn't have a home to decorate, one doesn't buy cute trinkets in gift shops any longer to put in that home. Shopping has lost most of it's appeal for me now. I still love fashionable clothing, but one needn't forsake style for practicality.
As I said, I still love stylish clothing. When riding more often, my clothes tend to wear out quickly. They get smelly in a way that won't wash out and often they become threadbare from being washed so often. I also become bored with certain items quickly after wearing them over and over for a few weeks. The solution became shopping at thrift stores. I donate items that are still in good condition and pick up a few things just to have something fun and new! Also I really love the different styles I find in different regions of the country. Consignment stores, vintage stores, and thrift stores offer more affordable options and usually more unique, local items. I'm not a fan of "touristy" clothing, so it's rare that I'll buy something that has a city name on it. But the cowboy boots I bought in downtown Nashville are far more characteristic of the region than a T-shirt that says Nashville. My motto is "When in Oklahoma, do as the Indians do!"
Before we left in 2013 I visited my doctor a couple of times and had a physical, at her request. Because I have Fibromyalgia, she is willing to refill my prescriptions for my condition while I travel, as long as I check in every 6 months. I've visited her again recently and I have her blessing to leave again, but I have a followup in 3 months. Each month when I get my meds refilled I shop at drug store for the toiletry items we need. I have a CVS card and I use it every time I shop, and I enjoy some pretty good discounts along the way. We find it convenient to spend as little time shopping for necessities as possible, so I don't waste time looking for deals. I've also had great luck finding a CVS in almost every city we've visited across the country. This is one example of utilizing a chain while traveling. Many people only eat at chain restaurants for the same reasons. With their computer system I can walk into any CVS location and they can see my existing prescriptions and refill them while I wait.
I have dozens of other tips and insights into this type of traveling. My YouTube channel hosts plenty of my videos of these tips, as well as a few "Road Videos". My Facebook page Biker Chick Tips has tips and ideas not just from me, but other riders who offer up some amazing lessons learned.
If you've ever wondered how you can cut the cord on the stationary lifestyle and hit the road full-time, follow along with us as we travel and see if it appeals to your sense of freedom.