For our 9-month nomadiversary, the story of why and how I became a wandering RV Nomad. Brian wrote his story a while ago. Check it out too!
Pain and Illness
Over about nine years, I was in four car accidents – three of which caused some fairly serious whiplash. With each one, I recovered less and less. During that time, I also developed type 2 diabetes. Then, in September 2015, Brian and I were in a motorcycle accident. We missed a curve and, near as we can figure, I was dragged by the bike a bit then roll-bounced down an embankment. Have you ever seen The Princess Bride? Remember when they’re being chased and roll down the hill? Yeah. That.
I awoke mid-air, mid-roll, then stopped face down in blackberry bushes. In the end, Brian, thank goodness, was relatively unharmed and the bike was totaled. I had a dislocated and fractured patella, severe bruising and a possible hairline fracture on my inner shin, and a severely bruised ankle along with more neck damage. Three years later, I still have pain from it all. And, yes, for those who are questioning, I was wearing full gear. It would have been much worse if I hadn’t been.
I loved riding and had my own Spyder trike (we just happened to be on Brian’s two-wheeler the day of the accident.) I couldn’t ride any more though. Even after my chiropractor told me about the new and permanent damage to my neck, and warned me about further damage, I still tried to ride. It hurt – a lot. The weight of the helmet and buffeting of the wind was just too much, so I had to give up my trike and Brian held me while I cried at the loss of freedom and adventure. You see, besides local rides, Brian and I had a pop-up camper we towed with my trike. We’d already been on several motorcycle camping trips locally and one 10-day tour of Washington. We wanted to do more, go farther. It was our dream.
Dealing with chronic pain and diabetes hasn’t been easy. The first couple of years after the bike accident I had fairly high anxiety with panic attacks and some depression. I declined medications and chose to deal with the anxiety and depression myself, working with some homeopathic remedies when I’d have a stronger reaction to a trigger; but mainly looking inside and working through what came up.
A year after the bike accident, in September 2016, Brian and I started talking about our immediate and future plans. We wanted a small RV so we could do more camping. We were both done with tent camping, pit toilets, and the rain getting everything wet. We thought about another trike where I could be protected from too much buffeting (good luck) and maybe a toy hauler. We talked about what retirement would look like – and got frustrated. Living near Seattle and working in our industries meant either exorbitant mortgages or rent or long commutes in stressful traffic. Brian was also looking for something creative to do. I was happy with my job – loved it, in fact – but not with the commute. Brian has always loved tiny homes, but I just couldn’t see the two of us living in one and I didn’t want to crawl up and down a ladder in the dark every time I had to go to the bathroom at night. We tossed out all sorts of ideas for our near and distant future. Nothing that seemed doable made us happy, and what sounded awesome wasn’t really doable.
At one point, I said “What about living in an RV?” I’d had the idea of traveling the country in an RV since I was in my 20s but, like so many others, I’d never thought of doing it while we were still working. I especially hadn’t thought about it being my only home. Honestly, I’d sort of given up on the thought that it would ever happen. I didn’t think Brian would want to do that and had never even broached the subject to him. I have no clue what made me think of it in that moment, but I’m so glad I did. Brian thought for a bit. It seems like it was an hour and a minute at the same time, then turned to me and said “I think that’s a brilliant idea.” Hey look at that! Me. Being brilliant! 😉
Creating Our Future
Right then and there we started researching, following people like RV Love, Drivin’ and Vibin’, Technomadia, and Less Junk, More Journey. They inspired us to continue our research and efforts. Every challenge we came up with seemed to have a fairly easy answer. It felt so right! We started researching RVs and went to the local shows, popping in and out of RVs until I couldn’t think straight anymore. Brian already worked remotely and I talked with my boss about becoming a remote worker. (That didn’t work out, but not for trying on my boss’s part.) Internet was a fairly easy solution. We decided on a Class A so the cats could stay in our home when we drove.
After much research and just a little serious looking, we bought our RV in April 2017. She needed some work because she’d been sitting for at least a few years and we still had things to do to prepare, so we spent the next several months working our jobs, spending money on the RV, and downsizing. My family or good friends now have all my family heirlooms and other sentimental possessions. I also did a big give-away at a gathering of friends and the local thrift store has the rest. For me, it felt so good to get rid of so much!
We moved most of what we were keeping into Raven’s Haven on St Patrick’s Day 2018. We didn’t spend that night in the RV because she was full of boxes and parked on the side of the highway by our apartment, but I count it as our move-in day. The next morning, we drove to our first campground and began this crazy, amazing journey. We were fearful and excited and mostly exhausted, but we were doing it!
Living Our Journey
Over the year plus that it took for us to decide to live this lifestyle and actually move into our RV, my anxiety lessened, my depression lifted, and I felt like I was really living again. Sure, I was still in pain – still am, and I still struggle with diabetes and some anxiety – but life is about more than working, commuting, testing blood, and figuring out what’s for dinner. They say life is a journey and, for us, life is now about living our journey.
What’s more, we want to share that journey with others. Read our blog articles, follow us on Instagram where I post nature photos and give fun facts or talk about conservation, and like our Facebook page or follow us on EPIC Nomad Life for more current information on where we’re at and what we’re doing. Talk to us. Ask us questions. We’re happy to share our experience and meet fellow wanderers! Whether you want to be an RV Nomad yourself or simply discover the country through our eyes, our hope is to inspire you to explore, to learn, and to live your own journey too.