Homeless No More

As of October 16th, we’re no longer homeless.  That’s right.  Our home no longer has wheels.

Why?

We have many reasons.  Let’s begin.

You can’t fit a cozy coupe in an RV!

First, we have to come clean.  In a recent travel update post we left out a bit of why we didn’t head to the pacific northwest.  What we didn’t say is that we were tired.  We were tired of endless travel, constantly driving and trying to avoid wildfires and crowds.  We were tired of trying to figure out where to go next and where we could dump/refill our tanks.  We were tired of having no stability, no home base, and no community.  The wind kind of left our sails.

We knew we would love the pacific northwest.  We also knew that we were getting worn out and would need to find a home base (even a temporary one) soon.  Unfortunately the pacific northwest is just too far from our families for us to consider living there – even short-term.  We’ll elaborate on what that means later.

Living in an RV isn’t difficult – in fact, it’s a good way to distill life to the basics – but living in an RV takes a ton of effort and work.  With that large amount of effort and work comes lots of adventure and the ability to explore our overwhelmingly beautiful country.  It’s worth the effort… until you decide it isn’t!  Of course we love traveling and exploring the country (and will do it again sometime), but after you spend months straight preparing, exploring, preparing, and exploring, all within a cramped RV, you lose some of the drive to prepare and explore.

We’ll certainly miss our home on wheels.

Another reason we stopped RVing is because Calla is LOVING making friends lately.  She’s becoming a little social butterfly.  When our friends visited us in Grand Teton National Park – which was perhaps the climax of our entire journey – having friends visit and spend several days with us had an enormous impact on Calla.  To this day she talks about her friends (by name now – she couldn’t say their names when they actually visited) and talks about the things they gave her or did with her.

The final reason – we wanted to go back to full-time work.  Yeah, it sounds crazy, but that’s where you can have adult conversations, build things, and exercise creative and social muscle.  We thought we’d be doing that via freelance or our own entrepreneurial work but that never panned out.

How?

When we hit the road last year, we didn’t intend on finding a new home specifically.  We were seeking new experiences and to see what else was out there.  We always wondered if we’d have some fuzzy feeling when we got to where we were supposed to be.  That never happened.

We realized very late in our travels that we spent the majority of our time on the road in places that we’d never actually live.  We were seeking nature, beauty, adventure, and solitude.  Once we started thinking about settling down, we wanted a healthy environment (no pollution, low risk of wildfire smoke), good schools and community, good tech jobs, good weather (low humidity and sunshine), and good food.  We wanted to be able to hike, bike and walk as often as possible – bike to work, hike on the weekends, walk downtown, etc. And we wanted all of that as close to nature and solitude as possible, because while we’re not living on the road anymore, the road still lives in us.

She may not clearly remember life on the road, but it definitely expanded her horizons early in life.

We wrestled with the idea of moving back to Pittsburgh, PA for a long time.  Our families and many of our friends are there.  We have job connections there.  It was the safe bet.  But after discussing it thoroughly we knew it wasn’t the right choice for us right now.

Speaking of family and friends, we knew we wanted a home base that had a direct flight back to Pittsburgh.  We want to visit (and host guests from) Pittsburgh as often as possible, and having to take multiple (and expensive) flights possibly after driving several hours just didn’t seem feasible.  This is the main reason we counted out the pacific northwest – it was just too expensive and intensive to make it back to Pittsburgh.

Where?

We knew we wanted to be as close as possible to the wonders of the west.  There’s pretty much only one major city that meets all of our criteria – and that’s Denver.  However, we spent nearly two weeks in Denver in June 2018, and while we liked it a lot, it felt like most other major cities except for the great weather and impressive mountain views.

We did lots of research and decided to give Denver another shot, except we wanted to head a bit west to Boulder, Colorado.  We ended up loving Boulder (and probably would have loved it even more 20 years ago) but aren’t hip or rich enough to live there.  So, instead, we landed right in the middle of Boulder and Denver in a small town called Louisville.

Calla trick or treating on Halloween in our new neighborhood

Louisville has its own downtown, tons of multi-use trails, great parks, shopping, and schools, and modern, cute communities.  The towns around Louisville are similar and are all mostly connected by trails.  The views of the mountains are spectacular and the foothills are a short drive away.  Rocky Mountain National Park is now an easy day trip. Louisville is often on those “top 100 places to live” types of lists for a reason.

RMNP is about an hour away from us.  This was from an early October hike of Sky Pond Trail.

We’re already making new friends here and loving the local parks and community.  Calla talks about her new friends (and making additional new friends) every day.

The downside?  The cost of housing here and pretty much everywhere on the Front Range.  Colorado is (and has been) experiencing a massive influx of people.  That influx has driven housing costs through the roof.  We’re just renting now (which is also obscenely expensive) but the cost of housing here will definitely affect our choices in the future.

What’s next?

Hannah started her new full-time job on Monday.  I’m in the process of interviewing at several companies in the area now and staying home with Calla in the meantime.

Last Sunday I flew back to Pittsburgh with only a backpack for $78 (thank you, Denver International).   By Tuesday morning, with the help of family, I had a 16 foot moving truck packed up with the rest of our “stuff” – furniture, clothes, toys, tools, kitchen stuff, etc. and had my (t)rusty old Accord hooked up on a car dolly behind. 

About to depart Pittsburgh with all of the stuff we didn’t miss on the road

I rolled into Louisville, CO around 10:30pm on Wednesday safe and sound after an uneventful 1,500 mile trek and an overnight spent in the moving truck cab at a rest stop in Missouri.

Unloading the important stuff.

The Fox is winterized and in storage nearby.  She’s been cleaned up, emptied out, and listed for sale locally.  Let us know if you’re interested!  Hannah is commuting in the Ram (ha!) but we’ll be picking up a smaller car for her shortly.  Once we sell the Fox, the Ram will be sold as well (or perhaps as a package deal).

We have yet to blog about the last 1/3 of our full-time RVing journey and still plan on doing so.  This blog is our way of documenting our travels for ourselves (and anyone else interested) and we’re already going back and reading old posts with a twinkle in our eyes.

And then what?

We don’t know how long we’ll live in Colorado.  We’re renting right now and the insane housing prices out here are pretty scary when thinking of purchasing a house in the future.

But RVing taught us a lot.  It taught us to embrace the unknown, focus on what you know you want and support what feels right.  The other stuff doesn’t matter.  We’re still living by those lessons today and hope to for a long time.

We love the Fox and will be sad to see it go.  We plan to pick up a smaller RV at some point in the future for shorter trips.  The Fox is great for full-timing but overkill for weekends and short trips.

Time to take a hike.

We’ll look back at our full-time RVing adventure fondly for the rest of our lives.  It has instilled in us the draw of nature, of silence, and of being together.  It’s also taught us to respect the environment, to be frugal and aware of our consumption, and that nearly anything in this country is just a drive away.

2 Comments

  1. I’ve enjoyed following your adventures over the past year or so. Your writing is fluid, engaging and comes across with a spirit of open wonder, honesty and sincerity. But I’ve also had a curiousity on raising a pre-schooler on the road. I come from a family of educators (I’m not one myself) who have long advocated and encouraged the grounding young children with a sense of place and connection to family and community. I get the impression from this post that you also recognize that important need arising in your daughter’s upbringing. I applaud your decision to settle. I am a huge fan of exposing one’s children to the adventures and enrichment travel can bring. I wish we could have done it more when our boys were adolescents. I’m sure you will be traveling again as Cally grows to an age to appreciate the enjoyment of new places and people. For now, good luck on finding a home in your new community. All the Best to your family. Thanks for the many tales of your adventures.

  2. Thank you, Mike! Such a nice comment!

    I personally think exposing Calla to lots of natural wonder and exploration was great for her. But yes, we’re finding that she’s happier with more stability. It (hopefully) can only get easier to travel with her, so we’ll definitely be doing more of it!

    Thanks again for reading and for your kind words, Mike!

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