[Photo taken by author]
When you are an RV Digital Nomad, or a world traveler, a home base can mean different things to different people. It can depend on time and situations.
For example, we lived in Alaska for 12 years. Before we headed up there from Colorado, we sold most of our belongings and went with what would fit in the 19 foot travel trailer and the back of a Toyota Tacoma that pulled it. The truck had this funky used camper shell we kept gluing together to try to keep the water out. It never really did that.
Driving up the Al-Can (Alaska Canadian Highway) we felt absolutely free. Most of our debt was gone because we sold the home we had in Colorado and paid off everything except the truck and trailer. That was our new home for the time being.
When we hit Alaska in July, we knew that living in a 19 foot travel trailer would not work during the winter, so we found a place to rent in Anchorage. I would be attending University of Alaska starting in August and it made sense to find an apartment and fill it with what furniture we could find on the cheap.
A year later we put what we had accumulated into storage, moved out, and spent the summer exploring the state.
At least the parts that had a road. That meant Homer to the south and the Arctic Circle to the north.
Hint – there is no circle. When you go back to the little town near there they ask if you saw the circle and they give you a patch. No circle, but millions of mosquitoes!
When fall hit in our second year, we needed to find another dwelling, so we opted to get out of Anchorage and move to the Mat-Su Valley. My school requirement at that point was writing my thesis which freed us up to live 45 miles out in a more remote area and commute when I needed.
That place was not the best but all that we could afford at the time. Once spring came, we started to roam again using the money I had coming in from various contract work. Our lease was good until August and we could not wait to get out of there. A 9 month lease would have worked so much better for us, so keep that in mind if you find yourself in this cycle.
Come August we found the perfect place on Wasilla Lake. Still in the valley but what a view. When I walked into the duplex there were two large windows overlooking the lake to the north and Hatcher Pass rising in front of us. During the winter, you can see the Aurora dancing through those windows.
I continued to be self-employed, but Wayne commuted for a short time before we joined me in the business. It was great being distracted by various bird migrations, eagles battling with ravens, gulls gathering in the spring along the ice edge, and the loon pair that came every year. And of course, moose. There was always a show out those windows, either produced by nature or Alaskans.
It became a habit to wander into the living room after getting up in the middle of the night to use the restroom, peak through the curtains to see if the northern lights were out.
We stayed in that duplex for 10 years. It became our home base while we explored as much as we could. Flying out to places like Nome, Barrow, and Yakutat. Wayne fished and filled the freezer with salmon, seabass, and halibut. It was an experience I will cherish forever.
The only reason we had home bases was due to the weather of Alaska and the vastness of the territory. We were not yet snowbirds because there was so much to explore. After 12 years we felt it was time to sell out again and get into the travel trailer. Same trailer, but we bought a new truck. The Toyota had over 350,000 miles on it and we were concerned about pulling over the passes of the Rockies. Still a wonderful truck, but safety first.
We had other home bases over the years for other reasons. We stayed in Tennessee for a while to be near my mom, and back to Colorado when we hit some hard times. But each time the road was calling.
Now we have found a rhythm of staying in a location for two or three months, explore a bit, and then look for another spot. As I write this, we just left Oregon where we were all summer, and are now in southern Utah where we will be until March. Or we may mosey on down further south if the weather gets too cold. Our choice.
I am playing around with the idea of finding three or four plots of land in different locations and building an RV pad at each. We can stay when in the area and rent them out when we are not. It would be great to support other RV Digital Nomads.
So, you see, there are different definitions of a home base. We never chose to keep a permanent residence after selling our house, but that could be an option too. For me, it seemed like an easy way to cop out. Now I realize we could have rented it out, but that brings another layer of stress.
You will find the rhythm that works for you. And you certainly don’t need to jump into the deep end like we did. Especially if you are not accustomed to swimming.