snake river

There is a current in society, an invisible force that pulls you in a direction whether you are aware of it or not. This current guides you to get a college degree, get married, have kids, and adopt a dog. It was once called the “American Dream.” It sounds magical: achieve this and you are set for life. Go with the flow, and you will have it all—white picket fences, money, a legacy. Just ride the current, don’t ask questions.

The current is strong. Its waters are deep.

Most people aren’t even aware of this force. When the world around you meets your needs so effectively, there’s no reason to question it. The first step to becoming a nomad, is asking the question “What if?” Like, what if we didn’t need to plug into the power grid? What if we carried all the water we needed? Where would we go if we weren’t tied to a mortgage and utilities? Being a nomad is like drifting in uncharted waters. You write the rules as you go, but that often means you stumble before you can run.

“We won’t make it,” This one said “It’s been only three days and there is less than 25% left on our battery bank. We won’t make it another 4 days off grid.”

“We will need to land somewhere to charge up.” Answered That one.

sunset with bear

“Land.” That was the term they used when they talked about spending a few nights at a campground or an RV park. A place normally associated with recreation by the carpet walkers had become a four-letter word to our heroes. It is the spaceship equivalent to being grounded. The birdcage when they wanted to fly. However, it was fuel. A place that they could plug in, fill up, and reload. Landing often meant they were wedged into space twice the width of a parking space alongside 5th wheels and travel trailers. This was not the future they dreamed about. Something was broken.

This one said to That one, “I think we need to take Heyvan in for an upgrade and some repairs. If we are going to be in the wilds of Alaska we need to be more self-sufficient.” To which That one nodded her head in agreement.

I should pause here now, dear reader, and warn you. This is not the story of a grand adventure. It is not the epic tale of crossing borders, and seeing exotic landscapes. This is a list of chores. It is grocery shopping and errand running. It is the quiet before the storm. The prelude to the adventure yet to come. Read on if you wish, but consider yourself warned.

devils tower

Constantly being on the move makes normal things difficult. Carpet walkers can log onto the internet and have their heart’s desires delivered to their doorstep in days. The nomad has to dance between necessity and convenience. The irony is that they often have highly specialized needs for their equipment, which usually means it must be ordered from the far corners of the web. However, their best option is usually one of the many US chains that pepper the county. The same goes for other things. Parking? Complicated. Internet? Complicated. Haircuts? Complicated. Mechanics? You guessed it, complicated.

Fortune shone on our heroes concerning the last one. A van technician was only a short detour from their current course—if you consider a two-state and three-day drive a short detour. Nevertheless, the universe was telling them they needed a professional, so they reset the compass for the mile-high city: Denver, Colorado. I guess the mountains were calling.

They called Denver home for several weeks. It was their proving ground. The first order of business was upgrading their power system with an extra battery. Additionally, they discovered a malfunction that prevented their batteries from charging as they drove. Correcting these issues was a game-changer! Providing they drove at least once a day and plenty of sun exposure on their solar panels, they now had unlimited power to fuel the technology that allowed them to work while on the road.

They learned the art of boondocking1, and drydocking2 in addition to both stealth3 and dispersed camping. They became good at it too! No matter where they went, they were at home. Their backyard became the Rocky Mountain National Park. Their front yard was a climbing gym. They made bakeries and cafes their office. They were embedded in the city, knew it well, and enjoyed all it had to offer, especially discovering family.

That one’s cousins moved to the area less than a year before our heroes found themselves planted in D-Town. This delightful convergence of need and want was perfect. Our heroes had wanted to visit the cousins for years, but distance made it difficult. They also needed an address to ship some specialty items. Coincidentally, they now had both!

In a world filled with billions of people, it is a truly wonderful and exciting happenstance to connect with someone right at your first interaction. That one’s cousins are genuinely amazing human beings and our heroes felt lucky to have spent so much time connecting with them both.

In Denver, our heroes not only found solutions to their technical challenges but also found a sense of community and belonging. The city offered them a chance to recharge—not just their van, but their spirits. They immersed themselves in the local culture, explored its hidden gems, and forged new friendships. These experiences enriched their journey, reminding them that the road is not just about the destinations but also about the journey.

Their time in Denver was a chapter of growth and reflection, a reminder of the support and resilience that underpinned their nomadic life. Through the virtues of wonderful people and hard work, our heroes simplified their complexities. However, constant motion prevents stagnation and before long it was time to roll on down the road. Now, Alaska was calling and they were ready to take off the training wheels!

stonehenge meditation

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Table of Contents

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  1. boondocking (v.) - camping on public land 

  2. drydocking (v.) - finding somewhere to be while the van is in the shop 

  3. stealth (v.) - camping in urban areas under the radar.