Going Nomad—Or Just Mad?

. . . and so I said “I was thinking about how much less it might cost to live if we didn’t have a house or a car . . . ”

How many wives would even have that conversation? Mine did.

It’s been less than 96 hours, and so much has happened that I don’t have time tonight to write it all, so I’ll summarise:

  • We’ve decided to investigate the possibility of living without a fixed residence.
  • We’re going to find a way to travel without owning a car (they’re no good for driving across oceans anyway.)
  • Both adult kids who live with us are on board with us moving out before they do.
  • Much support from folks who’ve done this, or dreamed of it.
  • Found some excellent books by people who’ve done this.

Sent two tentative emails this morning saying basically “Can we come stay with you, indefinitely?” in one, and after that answer was “Absolutely!” sent another that said “We’ll be driving by your door late this summer; can we drop by?” and got this in response (again, my summary)

Sure, and plan on spending the night; or, perhaps you’ll come August 2nd and house/dog-sit for two weeks while we’re on vacation, or three weeks, while we’re on two vacations.

Can a family from California leave behind nearly all their possessions and embrace a sort of nomadic lifestyle?

We’re gonna find out.


  1. Wow Joel! I bet a lot of people have said you are crazy! Krisy and I are talking about buying a 60 foot sailboat and sailing around the world for a few years and people think we are crazy… and a boat is still technically a home. Heck a 60 foot sailing yacht is bigger than some peoples apartments! I am excited for you man. I know you will find a way to pull it off and have a blast doing it. once you do it you will have another book to write!

  2. The sailboat is Phase II (and I mean eleven, not two!) It’s something we’ve discussed, but not with a 6-year-old.

    Look for us in your neighborhood, Brad. We should talk about a house concert right in your own living room. (As long as you have a nice barbecue, I mean. Otherwise, I’ll check with the neighbors.)

  3. Lol… 6 year olds are no excuse! We would be taking a 1 and 6 year old. I think they are more portable that teenagers. Think of them as “boat sized”! :)

    The children are one of the reasons we want to do it sooner than later. Imagine all the cool things you could do with them in Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, Europe, etc… How awesome is that!

    The house concert is on man! I’ll e-mail today…

  4. Oh, you mean “become homeless.” More and more people seem to be trying that out in urban areas.

    All seriousness aside, I did that in NYC in my rock & roll days, sleeping under bushes, on tenement roofs. I even tried phone booths (if they had a seat), but that wasn’t too comfy.

  5. I’ll get a job before I’ll sleep in a phone booth. And getting a job is, like, waaaaaaaay down on the list.

    If you’re ever reduced to phone booths again, John, we’ll at least bring you pillows.

    We’re actually looking forward to an increased standard of living. That may require explanation. I’ll drop by again and give it a shot.

  6. Good for you. I have actually heard of people who just house sit, as their lifestyle, and I think it’s ideal if you are up for it. Many people have second homes or travel for extended periods for their work, and would be thrilled to have folk like you in their homes to provide the lived in look. You can go literally anywhere. I envy you!

  7. Wow, you guys rock! Way to go! Congrats, good luck and happy trails. I’ll follow your adventures with interest. With open eyes and hearts I’m sure you’ll have the greatest of times.

    I dream of beach living in some tropical locale where the daily concerns are mostly where to fish and what to pick for dinner. But don’t think Pattrick would like tropical living. He would love to travel the seas but he’d be doing that alone. Open oceans are not my idea of fun. =o\ So maybe we’ll compromise on a lakeside cabin in the High Sierra or in the woods of MN? LOL…or maybe a hippy van camping our way across the Western Hemisphere!

    Who knows? I don’t! But I love to daydream about it.

  8. We were talking today about keeping the van while we travel the US and Canada, then selling it and buying another in Europe to travel Europe, Asia, and Africa.

    Maybe :)

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