The stress of the nomadic life

Most people think living life on the road is the ultimate dream. I sure did… until we actually did it.

I’m sure living this life would be more than amazing if we had an income like so many of the nomads do. We aren’t retirement age, and my disability claim is “pending” (which I’m told could take YEARS!!! what???) so, we have to rely on our ability to hustle and make money any way we can, which is often extremely difficult.

Busking is fun and SOMETIMES profitable, but more often than not, we don’t make enough each day to cover our expenses. For example, we went last week to both Leadville, CO and Salida, CO. In Leadville, we made 9 bucks. In Salida, we made ZERO.

It all depends on the place you set up, the people in the area, and whether or not your music is to their liking.

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At the Traveler’s Campfest (where we were camped) we played around the “campfire” (burn ban, so there was no actual fire… we just circled around a field) and they passed the hat for us. We were SHOCKED and THANKFUL for what we received there. It was enough to cover our expenses for the next week. PLUS, the other nomads just kept coming to our campsite and just giving us cash… 5 bucks, 20 bucks, 50 bucks… they were all sooooooooooooo generous that it really touched our hearts.

Now that the Campfest is over, we’ve moved to a new site with our tribe and Rico is looking for a job in a kitchen. We’ll stay here until it gets too cold and save money for the next leg of our journey. We’ll also continue to busk because you never know when or where you might just make a few dollars.

If you are considering the nomadic life, remember that it costs money – not as much as living in a traditional house or apartment – but it still costs money. My advice to you, if you are in this place, is to make sure you have enough saved for an emergency fund, have a plan to cover your expenses while on the road, and DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! There are plenty of YouTubers out there who have made all the mistakes already, so make sure you subscribe to their channels and WATCH THEIR VIDEOS so you can learn from their mistakes.

Rico and I thought we were really ready when we left DC last November, but we have discovered that there is a HUGE learning curve to this lifestyle and mistakes will be made… sometimes costly ones… Better to be prepared than to be stuck, so do your homework!

Hope to see you all out there on the road!!!

Big Love,

Lainie

Here’s the link to our YouTube channel. I’d appreciate it if you would go hit subscribe 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/buskingbohemians

 

A Day In The Life…

Good morning all! I thought I’d let you get a peek inside our world of boondocking. What is boondocking? It’s a term for those who camp without hookups or any typical camping conveniences (i.e., bathrooms, water, electricity, etc.). It’s also called dispersed camping or dry camping.

 

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Morning:

Wake and head to the toilet – for us this means exiting our sleeping tent and schlepping over to the bathroom tent next door (or across or behind, depending on how we set up the camp), making sure to let the dogs out at the same time. We have a nice RV portable toilet, but many people use a bucket or something similar… that would not have worked for this girl, so we have a “real” toilet. After using the toilet, I clean it (there is no water in the bowl, so I like to add a little bleach water before I “flush” it), and then wash my hands.

Next, I round up the pups and give them their breakfast, after which I check the weather (extremely important whilst camping). If all is right with the weather, I usually sit back and read the news, scroll through social media, and watch a video or two. If there is something bad forecasted in the weather, I let Rico know and we get busy addressing whatever issues need to be handled before the inclement weather arrives. (It should be stated here that we ALWAYS check the weather before bed, so we’re usually well prepared before morning, but weather forecasts have a bad habit of changing rapidly, so better safe than sorry.)

Once Rico and I are fully awake, Rico cooks breakfast. Our typical morning fare is eggs with some sort of protein on either tortillas or toast. Sometimes we have oatmeal and fruit, or bean and cheese tacos. When the weather is bad and Rico can’t cook, we have sandwiches because they’re easy. Sometimes I do the dishes after breakfast, but more often I don’t, much to Rico’s annoyance.

Afternoon:

Laundry

After breakfast, we plan our day. Here are some of the activities that we have to choose from:

  • Go to town to do laundry
  • Go to town to get ice
  • Go to town to get groceries
  • Go to town to dispose of our trash
  • Go to town to dump our toilet
  • Go to town to busk
  • Scavenge for firewood
  • Practice music for busking
  • Edit videos
  • Upload videos
  • Blog
  • Write things other than the blog (i.e., music for Rico/novel for Lainie)
  • Visit with our neighbors and/or camping companions
  • Make art
  • Go sightseeing (where we are now, that is mostly going to the hot springs)
  • Play with the dogs
  • Research where we are going next
  • Take a nap… or two… lol

For the town runs, we always combine activities, but laundry and showers rarely happen on the same day because they both take a lot of time.

As you can see, we have a lot of activities to choose from, and every single day includes a nap, for sure.

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Lunch is usually something quick and easy, and we often skip it and have a light snack instead.

Evening:

Once the sun heads toward the western horizon, Rico starts making a fire and preparing to cook dinner. Our meals are often shared with those around us, which is really nice. We enjoy the community feel of these dinners, and everyone pitches in groceries and/or helps cook or tend the fire. I usually get stuck with the dishes (which I detest), but sometimes Rico does them for me (which I greatly appreciate).

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After dinner, we hang out around the campfire and talk about life on the road, past adventures, and future destinations. Rico usually gets out his guitar and we sing songs or just listen to him play something beautiful. It’s really nice. Sometimes we pass the phone around the fire and allow each person to choose a song to play for everyone. You wouldn’t believe some of the songs we’ve heard… from Opera to Irish folk tunes and everything in between.

Night:

We also like to stargaze, and we’ve seen a lot of falling stars. We are super in tune with the phases of the moon now that we’re out here away from the cities. With nothing to block our view, and no bright lights to compete with the beauty of the night sky, we’ve been awed by the things we’ve seen in the heavens. We even saw the SpaceX rocket boosters fall away earlier this month. We thought it was a UFO at first… lol. I’m sure we’ll see one of those eventually.

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We are usually in the tent by around 8pm, and in bed by 9 or 9:30. No late nights for us because once the sun is up, so are we. I expect this to change as the days get longer.

When it’s cold, we have our little heater that we huddle around before climbing, fully clothed (sometimes in multiple layers), beneath a mound of blankets. The dogs snuggle up to us and we keep each other warm.

So, that’s a typical day in our lives. We don’t have jobs, we live without a clock or a calendar, and we try not to plan things too far ahead. We are truly free to live life as we choose, bound only by our budget, which isn’t too bad. We have the time and the talent to make a living out here on the road, and the freedom to do that is worth all the struggles we face.

Yes, I’d rather have a real flushable toilet and a hot shower on board, but I don’t mind doing without those creature comforts in order to live this life of freedom. I have a very comfortable bed, a nice tent, a great portable toilet, plenty of clothes and jackets to keep me warm, a great man to share these adventures with, and I’m unencumbered by the trappings of a “normal” life. To me, this is bliss.

We’re heading to Slab City, so stay tuned for pictures and fun stories from our adventures there!

Big Love,

Lainie

 

 

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Part 2

The best-laid plans of mice and men…

Yeah… I fell again. Rocks… I blame it all on those darned rocks so prevalent in the Arizona desert. Anyway, I am a beautiful array of purple, green, and blue bruises on my right side and quite sore. Thankfully, it seems I was spared any broken bones.

That being said, we haven’t busked in Lake Havasu City yet, and we probably won’t. We are also delaying our departure to Joshua Tree National Park and Palm Springs to give me a chance to recuperate.

Right now, Pearl (the Mini Cooper) is getting a check-up and oil change and I am looking forward to another shower and hydro-massage at Planet Fitness later, after which I will visit the local Wal Mart to purchase a new air mattress. The one that came with that wonderful Coleman cot is torn beyond repair. I really liked it too but it seems it was no match for the desert (you know, cactus and stickers out the wazoo!).

I’m doing all of this because it is easier than being back at the camp packing things up. Rico is doing that, thankfully. I’m so sore, that bending or picking things up brings tears to my eyes. Sitting in an auto-repair shop and going to Wal Mart is a breeze in comparison (sort of – only the occasional wince), and that hydro-massage will be amazing I’m sure.

Here are a few pictures Rico & I took around the camp:

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Most of our companions have departed for other adventures, and once Rico and I and Garrett leave, the Craggy Wash area where we’ve been for the past two weeks will only be a memory. I’m sure we will all return there eventually, as it has been a great experience, but leaving now is somewhat bittersweet. It was truly hard to say goodbye to all our new friends as they left one-by-one, or two-by-two, but we are already making plans to meet up again in the early summer.

I’ll try to keep you updated on our wanderings as much as possible (finding a signal in the remote areas where we camp is difficult at best), and I’ll be sure to check in as often as we are in town and can get free Wi-Fi.

Until then, we hope to see you out there on the road!

Big Love,

Lainie

2018 RTR – Our Tribe

When we arrived at the RTR, we were welcomed by a wonderful group of people who quickly became friends. We felt blessed to immediately find a tribe.

Garrett welcomed us first and introduced us to Miss BJ, James & Kim, Jim, and Tina. Shortly, we added Leon & Jan, Rick, Sara, Theresa, Tony, and Kathie.

As the RTR progressed, we got to know these wonderful people very well and began sharing meals together. Everyone was pleased to discover that Rico is an excellent campfire chef and that he really enjoys cooking for everyone.

Jim and James are great at building and tending fires, so we were all pleased to be able to gather around the campfire each night to laugh and talk. They even encouraged Rico and me to play and sing, so we did… no need to twist our arms!

We also found a wonderful group of fellow musicians over at the music RTR area. G, Rivers, Mel, Omaso, George, and so many others lent both their space and their talent to make our evenings spent around their fire very memorable.

When we left the RTR, Rico and I headed up to the Lake Havasu City area to meet up with our camp tribe. We’ve been here a week now, and we have really enjoyed getting to know these awesome people better!

Garrett, Tony, James, and Jim know everything about everything, and how to fix almost anything! Theresa, Tina, Sara, and Kim love to pitch in with the cooking duties and, man, those ladies are good cooks. BJ, who left us already, was a fantastic bread baker and teller of good stories. We all miss her a lot.

Tony… well there aren’t words for that old codger. We just love him, period. He’s sassy and sarcastic, curmudgeonlingly adorable (is that a word?), and an expert on most subjects. And the guy is as generous as they come. He left the other day to head home, and we miss him already.

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Theresa left today for the Grand Canyon and then back home, and she will be greatly missed. She is sweet as pie (and those delicious no-bake cookies she makes), her stories are funny, and her generator has provided lots of coffee in the mornings that most of the camp will hate to do without.

Tina leaves for Texas tomorrow and I just don’t know what I’ll do without her sassy wit to keep me laughing. We’re threatening to follow her and camp out in her front yard.

The rest of us are staying put for a little bit, at least until the Lunar Eclipse, then heading our separate ways.

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From l to r: Theresa, Tina, Sara, BJ, Jim & Rico in front

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Front to back: left: Sara, Theresa, Rico and right: Tina, BJ, Jim

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Rico Phone 1.29.18 413  Rico & Jim

Rico and I are going to Palm Springs and then on to slab city where we hope to meet up with some of our music tribe.

I’ll fill you in on the Lake Havasu sites and activities next time, (and yes, there will be busking!), plus more pictures of our tribe, so stay tuned!

Big Love,

Lainie

PS – there is about to be a couple of new videos up on our YouTube channel about our adventures, so go check it out 🙂

Busking Bohemians YouTube Channel

2018 RTR Part III – Meeting Bob & Carolyn

One of the most exciting things for me at the RTR was getting to meet the people who are directly responsible for us choosing this rubbertramp lifestyle… Bob & Carolyn.

For those of you who don’t yet know them, go check out their YouTube channels. If you are at all considering making the road your new home, they have a lot to teach you!

Cheap RV Living

Carolyn’s RV Life

While you’re at it, you might want to go check out and subscribe to our YouTube channel. We don’t have a lot of content up yet, but we’ve just begun this adventure, so stay tuned!

Busking Bohemians

Anyway, meeting Bob and Carolyn was one of the highlights of the RTR for me. I have been watching and learning from them both for years, so getting to say hello and thank them in person was amazing!

 

I was even part of one of Carolyn’s videos!

Lainie on Carolyn’s Video

Suffice it to say, we really enjoyed our time at the RTR, and we can’t wait to return in 2019!

More RTR stuff (about our new tribe of fellow rubbertramps) to come, so stay tuned!

Big Love,

Lainie

2018 RTR Part II

I’ve heard that the 2018 RTR had between 2500 and 3000 people in attendance, and I believe it! I am still amazed at the number of people out there on the roads living free and unencumbered.

We saw all sorts of rigs from the super expensive, massive RV’s to the smallest little trailers. We saw homemade rigs and van conversions, and we saw people like us, living in tents. We also saw people, a lot of them, living in their cars or SUV’s. It is still surreal to me.

To think that so many people feel compelled, either by necessity or a strong case of wanderlust, to live life on the road is still hard for me to grasp. It is truly a counter-culture, and it is so refreshing to me.

We met some incredible people (Bob Wells and Carolyn Rose are two of them) and learned so much from the seminars and the people we camped with. I am still processing everything…

We really enjoyed the seminars and I was pleased to find out they were using a PA because I could sit right in front of my tent and hear everything just perfectly.

After the orientation and being made aware of the “rules” of the RTR, and learning that music wasn’t allowed in the main camp where we were, Rico decided to try and organize a Potluck Jam at the music camp. He made a sign and posted it on the bulletin board, and we waited for Friday with much anticipation.

On Friday, we grabbed a bag of chips and some trail mix and headed over to the music section. One of the guys we met early on (Omaso) had told us how to find the music fire, and after a couple of missed turns (it’s difficult to navigate effectively in the desert), we made it. The awesome people who were camped around the music fire (G, River, Mel, George) welcomed us like old friends and people began arriving. It did our hearts good to host another jam. We had been missing interaction and fellowship and JAMMING with fellow musicians since leaving DC, and this was just the thing we needed.

We opened up by sharing a song and a little bit about ourselves. After that, Rico strummed a simple tune and we went around the fire asking people to sing a little about themselves and whatever they wanted to say. It was a lot of fun.

After that icebreaker, people began stepping up to play and joining in when others played. A lot of people brought food to share, and G’s lady, River, cooked a delicious Thai meal for everyone. It was a wonderful night!!

More RTR to come, so stay tuned!!

Big Love,

Lainie

The Journey West

We departed the Texas Hill Country on January 5th and headed for an overnight stop in Abilene to visit Rico’s family.

On the 6th, we headed west to Roswell, NM and camped overnight in a really nice State Park – Bottomless Lakes. The scenery was beautiful, the accommodations were quite nice, and the price was right at just $14.00.

The next morning we headed into Roswell to take a look at all the UFO stuff. We really enjoyed the museum and I’ll admit, it made a believer out of me!

The doggies were sure thirsty, so here are some cute pics of them drinking out of the console:

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We had a great time in Roswell, but we had to get on the road to Alamogordo so we could get our tent set up before dark. The drive was really pretty and we’ll be posting some of our GoPro videos on our YouTube channel soon, so be sure to subscribe – youtube.com/c/buskingbohemians – so you can see them once they’re up.

Once we got to Alamogordo, we decided to stop for ice before heading to the campsite. Rico was walking the pups, so I went in and got the ice. When I opened the trailer to put the ice in the cooler, I set my wallet on the top of the trailer, and… you guessed it… I forgot about it.

I can only assume it flew off the trailer once we pulled out of the gas station, but I didn’t notice it until we arrived at the State Park and I went to get my wallet so we could register. I was totally FREAKED out, as you can imagine because EVERYTHING was in that wallet. I was picturing all the trouble I was going to go through to replace my ID, etc., so I grabbed my phone and started to look up the gas station where we had just been on the off chance that someone had found it and turned it in. Lo and behold, there were a text and a voicemail from an awesome guy who had found it. He and his lady had spotted it scattered all over the highway, stopped to pick it up and gathered all my stuff, including my ID and debit card. They also found one of our Busking Bohemians cards, which has our phone numbers on it. That’s when they texted and called. I was so flabbergasted that it took me a moment to register what had happened. I called and spoke to the man, who then offered to drive out to the State Park and bring it to me. What??? I was blown away!!!

Here is a picture of the two angels, Gordy King and Donna Countryman:

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My faith in the goodness of humans was definitely restored that day!

Our camp that night was okay… not great… but cheap (only 10 bucks). I was a little disappointed in the amenities of this small park (Oliver Lee Memorial State Park), but for the price, you can’t beat it.

I had a little mishap at this camp. I was trying to pull out a tent stake, lost my balance, stood up and stepped back to try and regain my balance, and tripped over a pile of rocks, landing flat on my back. I probably cracked a bone in my right arm up near my elbow, but without insurance, it wasn’t possible to get it checked out. I swelled up and bruised a lot, but the pain was minimal (until I bumped it). Since the last time I cracked a bone up near my elbow (on my left arm) looked and felt very similar, I think it is probably fractured. The last time they just told me to wear an elbow brace and put my arm in a sling, so that’s what I did this time. I’m all better now and no worse for the wear!

After leaving Alamogordo, we headed to Tucson and stayed the night with friends, which was very nice. We took hot showers, did some laundry, ate some pizza, laughed, talked, and generally had a great time! Thanks, Annette and Clayton!

On the morning of the 9th, we woke up to cloudy skies, a rainy forecast, and a 5+ hour drive to Quartzsite, AZ for the Rubbertramp Rendezvous. We contemplated putting it off another day, but both Rico and I were anxious to get to the RTR, so we loaded up the dogs and our clean clothes and hit the road.

Stay tuned for more posts about the RTR!

Big Love,

Lainie