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 ūüôā

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

 

 

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 2018 Rubbertramp Rendezvous (RTR) Part 1

We arrived in Quartzsite, AZ on January 9th for the 2018 RTR in inclement weather conditions. It was cloudy and raining off and on, which doesn’t mix well with tent camping. We were certainly dreading setting up the tent in the rain, and we didn’t know what to expect in the way of campsites.

With trepidation in our hearts, we set off down the worst paved road I’ve ever driven down – worse than anything DC has to offer. Because we were pulling the trailer, we took it very slow, which only made the bumps worse.

At the end of that four-mile long pothole filled road was a dirt road that was marginally better. We only had to drive that road for a little over a mile, so we were optimistic. Because it’s the desert, we were hopeful that the road wouldn’t be too muddy and that we wouldn’t get stuck.

We finally made it to the first RTR sign, and since it said RTR Music, we turned right and headed in. We weren’t expecting a different section for musicians but were pleased with the prospect of camping near fellow performers.

After driving the entire length of the music section and not seeing anyplace that looked smooth and level enough for our tent (the entire ground was covered in rocks), we reluctantly pulled back out onto the main road and headed for the main RTR camp.

After driving down into the main section of the RTR camp and finding more of the same, we were at a loss as to what to do and where to camp, plus the rain was still coming down.

As we circled back around by the main camp area where all the seminars were going to be held, a guy in a white truck flagged us down. He had seen my disability placard hanging from the rearview and told us that we were in the section set aside for people with disabilities to camp.

Rico got out and scouted the area for a good tent spot. After deciding where to camp, I backed the trailer in (I’m getting better at backing!) and we started setting up the tent in the rain.

It didn’t take long, and the sun finally came out a little. We were even blessed with a double rainbow, which made me feel confident that our RTR experience would be a good one. I wish I had thought to get a picture of it…

I must say that we were very lucky to find the spot we did, and we are eternally grateful to Garrett for flagging us down! We met the most wonderful people in that spot and feel we have made lifelong friendships. I will get into more of that in a later blog.

The first night was great, not too cold, and pretty uneventful. We were there a couple of days prior to the start of the RTR, so we had plenty of time to get our camp set up, which is what we did the next day.

Here are some pictures of our first couple of days in Quartzsite:

I’ve got so much more to share, so stay tuned!

Big Love,

Lainie

 

 

The Friends & Family Tour

It’s been a very long time since I posted… can’t believe it’s been over a month! So much has happened during that time, I will break it all up into several posts so you don’t miss a thing.

First of all, we spent a very enjoyable 6+ weeks with friends and family in Texas. We saw almost everyone we wanted to, got to enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the ringing in of the new year with the ones we love the most, and even got to do a little site seeing, music, and art. Rico even decided to shave his facial hair – all of it – much to my surprise and chagrin.

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So much happened, I have decided to show you in pictures. Enjoy!

When we first arrived in San Antonio, we were instantly whisked away to the birthday party of a long-time family friend. A good time was had by all… except the poor piggy.

We had a great Thanksgiving celebration – twice!

And an awesome visit with Rico’s father, brothers, nephews, and other family members. He has a BIG family!

We also got to hang with friends, make some art, make some empanadas, smoke some really good food, eat some really good food, do a little site seeing, participate in San Antonio’s First Friday, and play some music.

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And Christmas was off the chain! We had three!!!

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But the time came for us to leave. Though we were very excited to get on the road again, we knew we would miss all our loved ones back in Texas.

Where will the road lead us? Stay tuned to find out!

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Big Love,

Lainie

The Sights & Sounds of Savannah

We really enjoyed our stay in Savannah, GA in the company of a dear friend, Venessa. She was an excellent hostess and even cheffed it up for us, feeding us delicious meals that warmed both our hearts and our bellies.

We were rather disappointed with the weather (and very sick of the rain) because it didn’t allow us to explore the Savannah area like we had anticipated doing. However, we now have another reason to return (the first reason being we want to hang with Venessa again!).

Skidaway

On Saturday, Venessa cooked a FABULOUS meal, and then we headed to Tybee Island for a taste of the nightlife and some Karaoke. It was a great night, with loads of laughter, fun, good music (and also terrible music), and memorable moments.

Our first stop was Benny’s Tybee Tavern, and we all fell in love with the place instantly. It was decorated with typical kitschy beach themes, and there was an already drunk group of girls from Tennessee celebrating the upcoming nuptials of one of the girls in their party. They were hilarious and provided a lot of entertainment throughout the evening.

 

benny's

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Rico, Venessa, and I put in several songs apiece and enjoyed the other “entertainers” while we waited for our turn. It was a good time, but we were ready to explore more of the island nightlife after a while.

Our next stop was Doc’s Bar, where they had a live band. We grabbed some drinks and settled in to hear the band’s last set. They were pretty good, and we enjoyed their brand of 70’s rock covers.

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After Doc’s we were all pooped and headed back to Venessa’s very cozy home. We really enjoyed our respite in the care and company of Venessa, and we certainly needed it! Even the dogs were ready to get off the road for a few days.

We stayed through Sunday and were sad to say goodbye to our friend and the lovely city of Savannah, but we will be back! We loaded up the trailer, the dogs, and the Mini, and pointed ourselves South to Florida, hoping to finally outrun the rain, wind, and cold. Were our hopes dashed? Find out next time…

Big Love,

Lainie

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