My wife and I have been full time in our ‘88 Airstream Excella for nearly three years. Our little patch of aluminum has afforded us a life focused on connection, community, and experiences.
My home – tucked behind a tree near Zion National Park
Because I’m a ‘full-timer,’ my heart breaks when I run into people who are dying to get on the road but waiting until everything is ‘just right.’ My eyes also tear up every time I run into people on the road who are traveling alone because they waited too long and lost their spouse before getting everything ‘just right.’
Things will never be ‘just right’ for you to live your Outdoorsy dreams. If you have that burning passion in your heart, you have to kick yourself out the door now. The good news is that even if you are currently waiting for a ‘just right’ moment – like retirement, or getting out of debt, or whatever it is that’s holding you back from camping out – it is never too late to live a life of more connection and community.
We’ve seen the world from these windows 🙂
Take my friend Ken for example – Ken was our neighbor on public lands outside Sedona, AZ. Ken is 62 years young and he’s been full time on the road for over three years. While we only spent a week alongside Ken, that was more than enough time for him to impart many life lessons to my wife and me.
We met Ken on some free campland just the other side of those rocks…
Hailing from Maine, Ken started his career in an office and quickly realized he was not made for pencil-pushing. Consequently, he went back to school, got a masters in forestry, and spent the rest of his career working in the woods near his home. While he loved this new work, he still never seemed to find time to explore beyond his home.
It was for these reasons that Ken decided to get on the road full-time before he retired. After all, his kids were grown and the job was winding down. All that was left was to find a cool rig for the journey.
Ken didn’t have to look far. His old forest service pals happened to be retiring a 60s era Chevy truck that had been in service for as many years. This truck became the foundation for Ken’s future home on wheels.
Ken is the crafty sort. You know the type, the MacGyver-like person in your life who needs only a stick of gum, some tape, and a piece of wood to build something magical. In much the same way, Ken transformed that old Chevy service truck into a wondrous home on wheels. Here’s a picture of Ken with his truck:
While he might look surly in this picture, Ken’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet!
As you can see, Ken took that old truck and mixed it with some Maine love to build one of the hippest rigs on the road. Ken repurposed the windows and many other parts of his camper from old boats around his hometown – almost all his windows are actually boat portholes!
Why waste a good boat window???
The interior of the camper features a vintage stove, cozy surroundings, and nautically inspired design:
What I hope you take from Ken’s story is that it is never too late to live your dreams, never too late to simplify your life, and never too late to escape the rat race for life on your terms. If Ken can do it at his age, I believe it is possible at any age.
Ken is not independently wealthy in the financial sense. He fuels his journey by working as a craftsman in the various cities he visits. Ken, however, is infinitely wealthy in terms of the life wisdom he’s gained on his journey. Here are the biggest three life lessons he taught me:
- Use what’s in front of you to fuel your journey – Ken had crafty skills, a forestry truck, and proximity to old boats. He used these ingredients to cook up his hip rig. We all have things in front of us that we can use to get on the road, but sometimes you’ve got to think outside the box to bring them together.
- It’s never too late. People of all ages are building lives on their own terms. No matter where you are in your journey, ‘too late’ is never a real excuse.
- The timing will never be ‘just right.’ Unlike money, time is a non-renewable resource. If you feel that burning desire to build an Outdoorsy life, the time is now.
Roadlife has continued to put amazing people in my path – people that teach me more about life than I learn anywhere else. Ken was someone I met early on who taught me a thing or two about how to keep the journey rolling. I hope that his story has helped you see it is never too late to live an Outdoorsy life.
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