The Bar That Started It All
Many of life’s greatest decisions are made in a bar. I was traveling to San Francisco for work and John later joined me and we decided to meet up at a bar. At the time, we were both working very high-stress corporate roles and it was the same thing every day. We couldn’t imagine the foreseeable future becoming this monotonous, predictable cycle of riding the subway, working endless hours, followed by happy hour, then a lackluster takeout meal, and never enough sleep. It was exhausting and while it seemed in the moment we were going somewhere, from afar in this bar in San Francisco, I realized, we weren’t going anywhere. But then came the greatest life-altering decision we had ever made. I blurted out “I don’t want to go back.” It wasn’t necessarily that I didn’t want to go back to New York because I love New York; I just didn’t want to go back to the routine that had become our lives. That’s when I suggested that we buy a school bus, renovate it and travel the country. To my surprise, John said, “let’s do it” and that’s how our RV life began.
A Life We Didn’t Give Up On
We quickly realized that “Skoolie life” might be getting ahead of ourselves because after all, we were not renovators nor had we ever really RV’ed much less camped (actually, we camped once in a tent, and I vowed we would never do it again and still stand by that decision). So instead, we opted for a 30 ft 1994 Airstream, which we renovated mostly ourselves, learning as we went through endless amounts of YouTube videos. It took us about 6 months to finish the renovation and in December 2018, we set off with our two mini–Australian Shepherds, Clinton & Dani, for what we thought would be a year on the road. Within the first week, I wanted to go home because I hated it. Everything that could possibly go wrong did. Fortunately for future us, we didn’t turn back. Since our house was being rented out, we had no choice but to press on and fix our issues, which we did.
We were in Alaska and had met up with a group of Xscapers (a working nomad group, part of Escapees which is for retirees). Many people in this group had purchased older truck campers specifically for Alaska so that they wouldn’t damage their RVs making the trip through the famously terrible roads (quick note: they aren’t that bad). We were jealous of how nimble they were. Someone had brought up Leisure Travel Vans and that set off all of the rave responses. They mentioned how the Murphy Bed made the space so adaptable and how nice the finishes were. We stuck this mention in the back of our minds and didn’t think much about LTV because, at the time, we thought we would likely go back to New York and pick back up where we left off.
Ultimately, our time on the road would open our lives up to the possibility that there truly was more to life other than work. We had met countless fellow RV’ers that had all said the same thing, “we wish we would have done this sooner, you are smart to do this while you’re healthy and physically able.” Most people wait until they retire to take that trip of a lifetime or travel the world but we realized that we didn’t want the final years of our lives to be a rush of making up for lost time or worse, not having the opportunity.
Times Have Changed
Time is not always guaranteed so we adjusted our lives to ensure that we are able to balance the necessity to work with our love of travel, food, and nature. I (Lisa) have started a remote consulting business that allows me to maintain a flexible schedule and do all the things that I loved about my work in New York. Prior to the pandemic, there weren’t many opportunities for John’s work to be done in a remote capacity, but times have changed. He now leads a team from afar and his company is supportive of his unconventional, nomadic lifestyle. We are a long way away from our first week on the road where we wanted to go home. Once we got the hang of things, John and I became addicted and needed to figure out ways that we could continue living on the road.
The Search For Our LTV
While we loved our previous rig, we had evolved into very different campers than when we first started. At this point, we were mostly boondocking so we wanted something smaller. The extra power was also needed so we could charge our devices (we didn’t even have an inverter!) Most importantly, we both needed to be able to work comfortably thus, we decided to sell our rig and find something that was going to be more in line with our needs.
The search was proving more difficult than we had anticipated as nothing quite fit our needs or our style and we really did not want to renovate again. It was then that we thought back to our conversations back in Alaska about Leisure Travel Vans. We went on to watch nearly every LTV tour with Dean to see if there was a layout that would work. Soon enough, we were hooked on the Rear Lounge and began calling all of the dealerships and scouring Facebook for listings. With an abundance of perseverance, we were able to take the place of cancellation in Michigan for a 2021 Rear Lounge.
This truly is the perfect layout for us because it allows us to have two separate workspaces (dinette and lounge area) and the design aesthetic is something that I have never needed to lift a drill or a saw to alter.
Going Full Circle
At the time of writing this blog post, we have crossed the United States three times in our LTV and are loving our petite home on wheels. We have experienced the fall colors in the northeast the cold springs of Florida and the rich, red deserts of the southwest.
We have also braved the snowy and lush Canadian Rockies, and continue to travel extensively and work comfortably (and quite glamorously) in our rig.
This summer, our LTV story is going full circle, back to where it all started, which is back to Alaska. We hope to meet many of you along the way. Give us a honk or flash of the headlights- we love meeting fellow travelers along the way.