How it all began...

The idea had been circling in my head for years. But the time was right and I could no longer fight the wanderlust that had built up. I bought a 1977 GMC NuWa motor home, threw a solar panel on top and started getting it ready for the open road. My main goal: to wander around North America, catching up with old friends, visiting new places and experiencing things I haven't before. This is my story...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Alter Egos and Installations

Bakersfield, CA - Since beginning my trip, I have taken on several different "alter egos" that come out as needed. There is "Bill the Surly Mechanic" that arrives when I don the blue coveralls to work on various projects on the rig. Then there is "Georgie Boy"...the dapper gentleman that appears sporting a Derby Hat and jacket. Now I will be adding "First Mate Samuel" to the mix since I just bought an inflatable kayak! Why would I be First Mate and not Captain, you may ask? Well, obviously Stella will be Captain of this seaworthy vessel...duh. The kayak will aid me in exploring the world! (or at least the small lakes in California)

There were several project I was working on while still in Pahrump, one of which was building an outdoor shower attached to my rig! I've placed several photos below for anyone that is interested in the setup...this design was courtesy of Bob and Wayne, fellow van dwellers. I know this may seem trivial since I already have a shower inside my rig, but it is an amazing experience to take a shower outside with the warm sun beaming down upon your shoulders. 'Tis the good life!

After leaving Pahrump, I headed to California to visit my cousin, Karen, who lives in Apple Valley with her partner, Gina, and their two kids, Joe and Josh. I had an incredible time despite the fact that it included having a 10 and 12 year old beat me in basketball. Retribution came in the form of me picking them up and throwing them around. If you can't beat 'em, just throw 'em! Ha!
Now I am sitting in Bakersfield visiting with my friend Roger. We played volleyball in the park yesterday and I learned a valuable lessons...daily walks just doesn't cut it when it comes to jumping, lunging and diving. By the third game my legs were jello and my shoulder was killing me. Roger just laughed at me. So what is the plan tonight? Ultimate Frisbee games, which means more running, lunging and diving. I am so screwed. I will be the slow one on the field that everyone wants to guard. Trust me, though, I am not necessarily feels great to get out and run around. Makes me feel like a young chap once again (that was dapper Georgie Boy talking).

Earth Day 2010 - What are you doing to help the Planet?

Pahrump, Nevada - Today is a day we should sit back and reflect upon what we have done to improve the health of Mother Earth and what we plan to do in the coming year. Think of it as a sort of New Year's Resolution, except that instead of quiting this, getting more of that, blah, blah, blah, we focus our attention and energies towards something much more important...our world, our earth. Whether is it small steps or big leaps, doing something, anything, to help the health of our planet will pave the way for a better future.

So, what DID you get Mother Earth for the big day?? Presents are welcome, actions are preferred. I have noticed that by necessity, people living out of their vehicles are conservationists. We don't have access to unlimited supplies of water like those living in sticks & bricks. I thought I was pretty good about this practice, using water very sparingly, but since meeting up with other van dwellers here in Pahrump, I have learned many valuable lessons. One example is the use of spray bottles. There are tons of applications for this, such as misting dirty dishes prior to washing, wetting your toothbrush and mouth, spraying on yourself to assist with "sink showers",...the list goes on and on. I only used 2 ounces of water in a week for brushing my THAT is conservation!

Some people may not realize how important water conservation is to our planet. I read a statistic recently that stated 1% of the total electricity consumption of the United States is used in the treatment of our water. Per a 2005 statistic, the United States uses 3.8 trillion Kilowatt Hours/year. Thus, this equates to 38 billion Kilowatt Hours per year for water treatment alone. We can significantly reduce this power consumption by utilizing water conservation in our homes and daily lives. Take shorter showers, don't leave the water on while doing dishes or brushing your teeth, do full loads of laundry, etc. Little steps can go a long way to preserving our world.

One of those little steps that I am doing in my rig...Worms! I just "harvested" my first batch of compost made from my vermiculture bin (worm composting). I learned some valuable lessons from this first attempt, but still ended up with a flourishing worm population and plenty of 'castings' to help fertilize my plants. Which leads me to another thing I am doing in my rig...growing a little indoor garden! I've successfully planted green onions and basil, while unsuccessfully planted tomatoes (second attempt will happen in the next few days). So far, the plants are doing extremely well. I'll give ya updates in the months to come.

So what did I get our planet for Earth Day? A present and an action. I bought another solar panel formy rig and will be installing it tomorrow. Trying to make a big difference a little bit at a time...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Summer Employment!

Still in Pahrump, NV - It looks like I have plans for the summer! I have been camping with other van dwellers for the past few weeks and several of them have summer jobs as camp hosts. With their help and connections, I was able to secure a job as a camp host in the mountains of California for the summer! I will be near Shaver Lake, which is about an hour east of Fresno, CA. I will be in the forest, several miles from both a lake and a small mountain town. The job starts May 10 and goes through October. Plenty of time to explore the area and practice my new hobbies!

I've enjoyed the past 4 months having no set schedule and letting my whims dictate my movement. Yet it does feel good to have my summer plans set. I learned from my time at Belle's ranch that while I do enjoy the life of a nomad, I also like having tasks and things to occupy my time. I loved the job of feeding the animals every day! I think I will feel the same about this sites and chatting with people camping.

On another note, I have just updated my "Thoughts of Green" page (access it via the link towards the top of this page). If you have a moment, go on over and let me know what you think! I wanted it to me more of a resource page, but I am still trying to figure out how to best utilize the space. Let me know your feedback!

Monday, April 5, 2010

In the Company of Fellow Van Dwellers

Pahrump, NV - I had thought several times prior to being on the road that there is the potential of boredom setting in at some point. I'm here to report that I no longer think that will be an issue. I've been on the road for almost 3 months (living in the RV for nearly 6 months) and I am finding that my days are constantly filled with activities, chores, laughter, learning, playing and much more. I've experience countless beautiful sunsets, starry nights and blue sky days (throw in there a few snowy days as well).

I'm currently in the town of Pahrump, Nevada. I came here to meet up with other folks who have chosen to live the life of a modern day nomad. Ten of us congregated here…me, AstroBri, Wayne, Bob, Steve, Kate, Charlene, PJ, Cheri and Paul. It's been wonderful to meet up with like-minded people who have been doing this for years. The stories leading up to living in a vehicle are as varied as the individuals, yet we all have those common elements that binds us together…a love for the outdoors and a desire to live in a nontraditional manner. I’ve got to be honest here…It feels a bit like home.

I think the main thing that impresses me most with the people that I’ve met is their ability to give. All of them have given freely both personal belongings and personal knowledge. While some of this giving is part of the constant "downsizing" and "purging" that vehicular living necessitates, it is still remarkable. Equally impressive is the knowledge that is shared within this group of individuals. Just in the short time that I’ve been here (1 week) I’ve learned so much. From Kate

I've expanded my knitting knowledge to include hat making and increasing/decreasing stitches;from Cheri I've learned how to make wire jewelry; from Wayne I've learned some things about my RV engine and being a great host; Bob has endless van living information, including solar and employment; Steve showed us his stunt kite flying skills and solar knowledge; Charlene knows turtle repair (don’t ask).

So that brings me back to my original point: will I get bored while traveling and living? Doubtful considering all the new things I’m learning and all that I want to learn. Who has time to be bored?