I’m going to be very honest – this summer, we thought about buying a house and settling down. In fact, we were this close to contacting a real estate agent. If it were up to me, we might already have one!
Ultimately, we just couldn’t do it.
The traveling lifestyle offers so much dang flexibility for my wife and me, and as LeanFIRE-type folks, we want that flexibility.
One big example is how our current set up practically allows us to live as cheaply as we want – all the time. In fact, I’m writing this very article camped out for free in a casino parking lot in Tucson, AZ.
For free. Casinos, Walmarts and several other businesses allow free camping in their parking lots (banking on the fact that you’ll also do business with those establishments). All over the country, too.
Earlier in the year, we “mooch-docked” with some friends of ours in their driveway. We’ve set up camp in the desert about two miles from where my parents live in southern Utah. All this has been 100% rent-free.
That’s called boondocking. And, we do it all the time.
How we do #NoSpend days and weeks
Through the magic of solar power and living in our Airstream travel trailer, we can park virtually anywhere that allows overnight parking and live normal lives. Use our computers. Walk our dogs.
Just live like [semi]-regular people.
We bring our own water using an integrated 62-gallon freshwater tank in our rig. We’ve installed a composting toilet, which means we aren’t hauling around heavy (and smelly) sewage waste.
Yeah, we don’t really like sewage.
We hold waste water from sinks and our shower in our gray tank, and we’ve combined that with our black tank because we no longer have a traditional toilet that uses the black tank storage.
If you’re new to RVing, let me explain:
- Gray tank: Holds water from sinks and the shower.
- Black tank: Holds waste products from the toilet (sewage).
Since we’ve removed our traditional toilet and installed a composting toilet, we no longer use our black tank for sewage (because we no longer have sewage). Instead, we’ve combined both our gray and black tanks to hold water ONLY from the sinks and the shower.
This means we have more capacity to store
We are more self-contained and less reliant on services.
We have 500 watts of solar
We love solar. I mean, we really, really love solar. Though expensive to install, it’s been a game-changer for us as we’re able to stay off-grid for long periods of time.
In fact, we’d never need to plug into shore power if we always had sunshine (and didn’t need to run our air conditioner). If there’s sunshine, we’re charging our batteries with our solar panels. Automatically.
When we say #NoSpend, we mean no spend.
Like, no mortgage payments (we don’t have a house and we bought our Airstream in cash). No rent, either, when we are boondocking or mooch-docking. We never pay personal property taxes because we no longer own a permanent dwelling.
The exceptions? We do pay for health coverage. When we drive, we use and pay for diesel. But during those days when we’re home all day, we’re literally spending nothing to live.
Okay okay, we eat food, too. But, we’re about as close to #NoSpend as you can get because of the flexibility of full-time travel.
We can’t give up digital nomad flexibility
Like I said, we were close to seriously investigating home ownership (or “
It has absolutely enabled our early retirement on our schedule.
There are many different ways to live a digital nomad lifestyle, but we’ve found that RV travel is among the cheapest (and we probably could go even cheaper if we did the whole #VanLife thing, but there’s no way we’re going that small.
After all, I need my office.
And, we have two dogs that need their space, too. No, this little 200 square foot Airstream is working perfectly for us.
We just can’t stop.
Oh, and #NoSpend. 🙂
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.