As I write this, we’ve been in Michigan for nearly 2 months, with no real plans or desire to leave except a general sense that we might not like it as much once it cools off. We’ve been on the road for 9 months now and owned our motorhome well over a year and lived in over a dozen states, which is plenty of time and space to have developed some opinions about our lifestyle and also to have formed some dreams about what we might do in the future. Also, we’re assholes who constantly dream about change and new things around the corner, whether they make sense or not. So what’s next?
A new RV?
Quite possibly. We love our Bounder, but having spent the last year getting used to living full-time in a motorhome, we know more than ever what we want and need in an RV. For starters, at 34 feet, our Bounder seemed relatively tiny when we were downsizing from a 2000-square-foot house, but we know now that it’s still bigger than what we truly need. We have storage bays we never open containing stuff we obviously don’t really need to be carrying around with us. We were able to sacrifice a huge chunk of wardrobe storage in order to install a washer/dryer unit this past spring–and we’re on the fence about the necessity of having the washer/dryer at all. We just got pissed over a few episodes of ruined clothes from washing at laundromats.
Our other strong craving is for something a bit more modern inside. Our Bounder is a 2014, so it’s not old-fashioned, but it was designed with a sensibility that caters a bit more to more traditional tastes. Faux-marble looking wallpaper combined with antique-looking detailing on the cabinets gets old when you look at it every day. We know we could paint or redecorate, but mostly we’d rather just have something that was built from the start to be simple and modern.
So what are we dreaming about? It comes down to two main options:
For many people, owning an Airstream travel trailer is the ultimate RV dream. Those gorgeous, classic-looking aluminum tubes look wonderful zooming down the highway or parked at the next campsite. We had zero interest in dealing with a truck/trailer combo when we were first getting started, but now we know we could learn to deal with just about anything. And it’s hard to beat Airstream’s simple, classic approach to building trailers. The International Signature/Serenity models seem just about perfect to us in terms of interior design — though we could even go for the current Tommy Bahama special edition versions that have been around for 2017/2018 and their cute little wet bar/wine storage areas! Something around a 27-foot model seems like it would cover our space needs too. No slides, WAY less storage…it all seems crazy, but that additional simplification feels like our kind of crazy at this point.
- Build quality: could possibly be a “keep forever” RV
- Simple/clean space: no carpeting, no cheap materials
- Great sense of light
- Washer/dryer doesn’t fit in the plan anywhere (but how big of a deal is this?)
- We’d have to buy a truck/SUV, so we’d likely wind up financing both it and the Airstream…but we’d also be otherwise debt-free so this still pales in comparison to our old sense of “normal” cost of living
- Motorcycles could only possibly work in the bed of a pickup truck and/or rear of an SUV, which means we’d have to choose between motorcycles and our only remaining storage space option!
- Still “wastes” space on a dedicated bedroom (WTF am I talking about? See next RV option below!)
Leisure Travel Vans
Leisure is a Canadian RV brand that we only learned about once we hit the road and occasionally saw one of their models at a campground. We were instantly smitten by their approach to making super-sleek motorhomes out of the Mercedes Sprinter chassis, with a much more euro/modern sense of interior design than most other Sprinter-based motorhome designers are using. In particular, several of their Unity model floorpans strike us as the most clever use of space in all of RVing. The FX and MB models both employ a combination of a slide-out and a Murphy bed that solves the “problem” we have with our current floor plan: a dedicated bedroom is basically a waste of space once you wake up in the morning. Why not fold it up and use the space for something else? They repurpose the space into both a dinette and a lounge.
- Beautiful and clever design
- Build quality: much like Airstream, Leisure has an excellent reputation
- No need for a tow/toad vehicle: at 25 feet, the van would be both our home and our primary vehicle
- Can itself tow 5000lbs, which opens up crazy options like
- Pulling a cargo trailer with a pair of motorcycles in it
- Pulling a cargo trailer with one motorcycle and a washer/dryer in it (like I said, we are crazy assholes)
- Do we want another motorhome? The idea of separating the “thing with an engine that will stop working someday” from “the place where we live” has a lot of appeal
- Would we hate having to break camp to go buy groceries or shuttle a dog to the vet?
- Do we really want to pull a trailer around to still have “stuff”, and wasn’t the point of downsizing partially to get away from the “take it all with us” mindset? Mind you, that’s not a con of the LTV but of our idea of how we’d use it
You read that right. First of all, let us say this now: we will never not have an RV or boat or something that can take us on adventures — fuck, for all I know I could be here writing about the airplane we’re moving into in 5 years! But we also have found a few corners of the country so far that we think we like enough that we’ve actually discussed whether buying property would be worth it again. On the short list would be:
- Traverse City, Michigan: a place to spend summers. Awesome, cool little city that we fell in love with this summer and an overall area we still haven’t been able to make ourselves leave
- Charleston, South Carolina: a place to spend not-summers. Southern charm that we didn’t think we’d even find charming combined with a modern small-city vibe really spoke to us when we finally visited last fall
- Jacksonville/St. Augustine, Florida: also a place to spend not-summers. The area has it all: gorgeous beaches, every type of shopping imaginable, good range of restaurants, but with a livable vibe and less rich pretension than seen in a lot of other Florida metros
Our twist? We don’t think we ever want a conventional house or property again. We just have zero interest in spending a lot of our time either decorating and cleaning the inside of a large space or landscaping a large exterior. But it doesn’t mean we don’t miss having a home base. We’d probably do this in stages, like:
- Buy some land in a pretty setting and/or walking distance from a cool town
- Add water/sewage/electrical services to said land
- Park whatever RV we own on said land
- Shop for some kind of cool pre-fabricated or tiny home (we have seen designs we love at way under 1000 feet)
- Work with a contractor to position said home attractively on said land
We know the least about this option, but every time we are near water, we find ourselves walking along marinas looking longingly at boats of all kinds. We’ve had conversations about living on a houseboat in a pretty location like the Florida Keys that is otherwise cost-prohibitive in terms of normal real estate. We were also pretty inspired by Technomadia’s decision to live half-time on a boat somewhere along the Great Loop. And of course there’s the full-on crazy of living 100% aboard a sailboat. All of it is wonderfully captivating and fills us with longing. For now we’re sticking with the booze cruise in Grand Traverse Bay.
These are just some of the dreams we’ve had lately. I’m sure they’ll change or morph into unexpected new varieties, but it’s always fun to share.