Travel Trailer Life in My Vintage Fan Camper

RootlessRoutes Travel Trailer Life

About a year ago I decided to create a life devoted almost solely to travel. Become… a Digital Nomad so to speak. Somehow I planned to diminish my expenses so that the majority of any future income could be directed to my travels.

Now I knew I wanted to live my life on the road, but had absolutely no idea how I was going to achieve that. Having already sort of ditched my home, I knew I was part of the way there, but when my random and impulsive purchase of a 1971 Fan Lee Liner occurred, my journey towards living a travel trailer life began. I was that much closer to my dream.

Although I am not even living in the damned thing as of yet.

RootlessRoutes Travel Trailer Life
Vintage Fan Lee Liner 16 foot Travel Trailer / Travel Trailer Life RootlessRoutes

Preparing for my Travel Trailer Life

It has taken far longer than I ever imagined for the stars to align and allow me to move in and start this new travel filled life.

Since I had little plan beyond that which existed in my head, I am not actually off schedule. But I’m ready and it is certainly time!

RootlessRoutes Travel Trailer Life
Entrance to my 1971 Fan Lee Liner Travel Trailer

I left the camper with the guy from whom I had purchased it until April, due to weather. Although I picked the travel trailer up as intended, I ended up heading back to Scotland for a month again. That’s twice in one year now. Since that time, I have been across the US numerous times. East to West, North to South and diagonally covering every existing coast on the mainland.

You just cannot visit Scotland too many times. Ever!RootlessRoutes Scotland 2018

Scottish Highland sheep 2018

Dundonald Castle 2018
Durness Beach RootlessRoutes
Durness Beach 2018

Rootless Routes Scotland Road Trip 2017Traquair House grounds 2017

It is not the trailer restoration that has taken so very long, but the typical extenuating circumstances of life. Sort of the expected, unexpected, that we all know will happen but do not know what they will be.

With little warning I had to pick up Roadie from the dog sitter. This was about a month earlier than intended. Roadie was located over 3000 miles away. I was missing her terribly anyway.

Roadie the dog RootlessRoutes
Roadie An Australian Cattle Dog living the Travel Trailer Life

This put me back on yet another cross country US road trip, right at the time I had planned to be selling off my shit and fixing up the trailer. It also ate up a large amount of my budget well ahead of time. But it was just part of life’s expected unexpected.

Not being one to miss an opportunity to travel. I turned this diversion into a travel adventure, albeit also a bit out of a necessity.

I flew from Virginia to Portland, drove to Seattle pick up the dog, and back to Portland I went.

Drove from Portland to Austin, Texas and then from Austin, Texas to Providence, Rhode Island, booking AirBnBs in the places I wished to explore. I did indeed get to explore and visit friends and family. But I was far away from the travel trailer that was meant to be a part of these journeys.

Planes, Trains, Automobiles, Dogs, Cats & Kin

When I found out that I had but days to pick up Roadie from the dog sitter in Seattle, I was staying in Virginia Beach.

Having left my SUV at my sons place in Portland when I left for Scotland, I had to book a last minute flight to Portland to pick it up, then drive to Seattle to pick up the dog. But of course, the travel trailer was still in Virginia Beach. Most of my belongings are in storage in Pawtucket (near Providence) and my Mom was feeling lonely in Austin.

RootlessRoutes Lincoln Aviator
My trusty steed that shall be the forefront of my travel trailer life

My 92 year old Mom was depressed and needing to see me, so after visiting with my son for a bit I headed to Austin Texas.

Dew the cat
Dew the cat

Jameson, my son had been watching Dew the cat while I was away and was not at all thrilled that I was not taking her with me. But the dog was sick, the journey ahead long and I just could not drag that poor skittish cat on another journey until I had the travel trailer ready for her.

I must make note that the dog nearly died in Baker City, Oregon. At 16 she is already quite elderly. An amazing vet saved her. Alika Fisher figured out it was a resurgence of an infection from a tick bite shed experienced in 10 years earlier. If you ever have an ailing pet in Baker City Oregon do not hesitate to stop at Baker City Animal Clinic. They saved Roadies life.

So we’ve covered planes, automobiles, dogs, cats and kin. There were no trains involved. Sorry.

Selling Off Your Life

It takes forever to sell off all of your shit. Especially if you’re living nowhere. Staying with friends and in AirBnBs until your home (travel trailer) is ready to move into kinda sucks.  You cannot help but feel that you are putting those involved out. Being home is never really being in YOUR home, which puts a lot of ones routine on hold. You stay on perpetual visit mode.

The money consequently runs out pretty damned fast. And you get to the point, after staying far longer than intended, that you feel as if you’re walking on eggshells. No matter how welcoming the people hosting your stay may be, it is indeed their home and not yours.

With my writing, photography, online shops and GoPro editing I need a fair amount of space to work and it is quite difficult for some to share their space in that manner. I don’t tend to just visit, I need t spread out in order to work.

Although my friends in Virginia have been remarkably kind. I have lived amongst them on and off a great deal in the past year. They have become like family to me. A family more accepting and appreciative of me and my lifestyle than one I have ever known.

They have offered me understanding and support. Given me unending space and freedom to live as I wished within the confines of their home. Lent a hand at fixing up the camper and with helping me move about. I will miss them when I go and cherish everything they have so selflessly offered me.

Travel Trailer Life

My 1971 Fan Lee Liner RootlessRoutes
My 1971 Fan Lee Liner Travel Trailer

Yesterday, my 1971 Fan Lee Liner went into the shop to complete the things I could not do myself. Soon I will be on the road doing a cross country test drive. Nothing is even close to ready. Yet the travel trailer is ready enough for me to live in. I will finally truly be living on the road nevertheless.

My travel trailer life will begin.

Well sort of.

I still need to head back to Rhode Island to try and sell off more of my shit yet once again. But at least I can stay in the trailer and not bleed out money to an AirBnB. I suppose once living in the travel trailer, no matter what I am doing I have at least met this one goal.

It’s ironic that getting to the point that I can begin my travel trailer life lifestyle, may be harder than actually living it. Once I finally start living in the damned thing.

I read so many blogs about the travel trailer life, the RV life, Van life but I have yet to read about what a pain in the ass it is getting to the point where you have cut enough ties from stuff and expectations to actually move in and start… well living the travel trailer life. But I am close, so very close!

If you wish to find out how it all shakes out. Follow my blog and we can experience it together.

Going Nomad | When Nowhere is Home

I’ve gone nomad.

I officially don’t live anywhere.

I guess I am now a wanderer, a vagabond, gypsy, tinker, drifter.

RootlessRoutes The world is my home
Nowhere is home or the world is home?!?

Technically being a nomad means nowhere is home. Or everywhere…

I went nomadic about a year ago with little warning or planning.
Camper life. Fan Lee Liner Vintage camper
1971 Fan camper will soon be my only home.

Dumped my apartment.

Started downsizing.

Purchased a vintage Fan Lee Liner camping trailer (which is not quite ready) and I started to roam.

Routes of the Rootless RootlessRoutes

This move was made not out of need, but of desire.

A desire to live a life as a nomad, means being more in tune with my principals. A life with new and unexpected challenges.  My passion for travel and a dream to be a full time traveler.

When nowhere is home, your construct must change. Overcoming unfamiliar trials and impediments becomes the focus.

As I rely more on myself I hope to become less bound to and less reliant on material things. I’ve always been halfway there anyway.

As adaptable as I tend to be, I don’t know how well I will acclimate to this new way of life. And that’s part of the allure.

A Nomad Travels Light

I’ve lived out of a backpack for long periods of time with no issue. But I always had a home to drop my bag at in the end.

Can I happily travel about the country with my large 16 year old cattle dog and neurotic cat and not go insane?

Am I already insane?

RootlessRoutes backpack
Osprey backpack on train from New York to Norfolk

Almost everything I own held within the confines of 200 square feet?

Is that really what I’m going to do?

Vintage camper
Trial run with dog in vintage camper AirBnB similar to mine

Hell fucking yes I am!

Will the act of living life on the road, be equal to the fantasy?

Likely no, but nothing ever is.

I have no expectations, no preconceptions . I’m just going to take things as they come. Remain as open to my next disaster as eagerly as my next bliss.

I know this is not going to make my life easier. I like  grappling with learning new things. I’ve always seen myself as a wanderer, so a ‘gypsy’ I have become.

My life feels more fulfilling with new problems to work out. New obstacles in my way.

So many people are driven by fear of something different, but security is a scam.

I might lose my fucking mind living in a tiny trailer constantly on the move.

I won’t know until I give it a try.

Nowhere is home to Dew the nomad cat and she hates it
Dew the cat likes to meow mile after mile after mile

Perhaps I’ll lose my shit and drive us off a cliff after the 5000th mile of Dew the cats endless meowing?

Maybe I’ll writhe with glee every time we pick up to head to the next place.

When Nowhere is Home

I’ve driven and flown from Virginia to Providence or Boston 12 times in the past year. Virginia to Austin to Portland and Seattle 4 times in the past 6 months.

I’ve driven over 5000 miles of Scotland, 1300 miles of England, a wee bit of Wales and almost 800 miles of Ireland. I think I’m ready for this life on the road challenge.

I survived the travels across the US, stuck in my SUV with cat and dog while staying at AirBnBs.

Through wild rainstorms, outrageous snowstorms, forest fires, trains jumping off of bridges and traffic straight from the bowels of Hell, and I seem to have revelled in each adventure. I suppose I really do have some sort of gypsy soul. But will being a full time nomad be as exciting to me once living in it?

A Nomad Needs Friends

Saturday I head out of Portland to Austin in the SUV.

I will then make my way to Virginia, finish work on the camper and then off I will go.

Nowhere will be home for real. I will be living a gypsy, wanderer, traveler, nomad life quite literally.

I’m in the thick of my vagabond life now. After over a year long soft launch. The hard launch is nipping at my heels. There’s no turning back.

I have no idea if I will love this challenge or despise it, because it is merely an experiment.

Follow along with me on my going nomad adventure, and we’ll find out together.

Camper Life? I Bought A Vintage Fan Lee Liner Travel Trailer. I Guess I’m Home?

Camper Life in my Fan Lee Liner

Yeah! I guess now, I’m living the ‘camper life’…

Camper Life in my Fan Lee Liner
1971 Fan Lee Liner My Camper Life Trailer

Okay, maybe not so fast. Let’s start from the beginning.

In the past three (3) years I have downsized from a jam packed 2200 sf 10 foot ceilinged loft, to a shitty (they claim it was 1000 sf but I think not) apartment and two (2) 10×20 storage spaces, to today, with the two (2) storage spaces in Rhode Island, plus a 10×10 with all of my Etsy shop stock in Virginia, an SUV and a 16 FAN Lee Liner travel trailer, that I am going to refer to from this point forward as a camper.

By this time next year, I plan to be down to one 10 x 20 storage space, the SUV and camper. But time will tell.Camper life is living small

Camper life is living small. Not a lot of room in there.

My goal is to live on the road full time for the entire year if 2018 and decide if it’s pure insanity or a life of pure elation. Right now I am in the elated side, but hey… where early in.

Traveling with a 15 year old cattle dog, and mentally deficited, rather skittish cat will be but a small part of this new challenge I’ve put before myselfCamper life for Dew the cat may be trying

Dew the cat in our lovely AirBnB Providence Rhode Island

I am tired of being tied down to the limitations of owning or renting a house, especially when I am traveling so much. Yet I am not so naive as to believe this is going to be a free or even inexpensive ride.

The shear expense of upgrading the tow package on he car, readying it and the trailer for the first cross country drive, is not cheap, especially since I’m staying in AirBnBs while the work is completed.Is Roadie the dog ready for camper life?

Roadie contemplating camper life

I am still sorting out how to manage my online shops, Renegade Revival and Lightly Sauced Retro on the road. I’ve been temporarily shutting the down and reopening them, with them still surprisingly doing remarkably well. But that cannot work nor last forever. But I’ll figure it out.

Anyway, here I am in Rhode Island, awaiting parts, so Apex can install the beefier tow system into my car, writing about my future camper life. My Lincoln Aviator is my camper life work horse

Lincoln Aviator, with a V8 baby

Perhaps I should talk a moment share some of my experiences and shit I’ve learned up to this very early point.

First thing to know if you too plan to live the camper life (and yeah I know it’s technically a travel trailer, but the point is still the same) is that you really need to gain a great deal of knowledge about tow bars, tow packages, tow capacity, ball hitches, electrical receptacles, brake controllers and well just all kinds of things that I know jack shit about.

Be prepared to learn, ask questions, take notes and if you cannot fix things like this yourself, you better trust the guys you’ve got doing it for you, or you can be seriously screwed.

Camper Life FAN
American made, ‘Camper Life’ Trailer by FAN made in Lagrange Indiana

I have now learned that the 1 1/4 inch hitch that comes standard with my Lincoln Aviator apparently is not sufficient to tow my new (to me) trailer. After 3 different UHaul locations (who were all very nice and accommodating by the way), told me easily 50 different things, that all turned out to be incorrect information, I am back at my tried, true and trusted guys at Apex Tire & Service in Pawtucket Rhode Island, to have what I need installed. (I would have asked them in the first place, but did not realize that they did such things until I had wasted a day and a half with UHaul).Apex Tire and Service. Preparing me for camper life

Apex Tire and Service. Pawtucket RI

On top of everything else, the Aviator that I just purchased, needed brakes, coils, spark plugs, new ball joints and arms (thanks a LOT Perry Subaru, you WILL be hearing from me as soon as I am back in Virginia).

Since here I am stuck for a few more days in Rhode Island, I rented a great AirBnB on a lake in Shrewsbury (Mass). I had been staying in a lovely AirBnB in Providence this week, but the AirBnB on the lake is brand new, so they are offering a fantastic deal and after already paying almost a grand for staying here this week and running around trying to get so much shit done… chilling on the lake with some wine, the dog and cat this weekend, while letting everything just be and settle, seemed the best plan. So yeah, not quite living the ‘camper life’ full time just quite yet.

If you have read my story, you will know that I have been in great transition for some time now and am now dedicated on traveling through all of 2018 with no real home base. Now, I guess that has altered a bit since I actually have a home base in this trailer. Although I have no plan for the trailer to be on any particular location for any extended amount of time, it is still a bit of a home base so to speak and I suppose a place that I can call home, when I am on the contiguous US.

Once the SUV is repaired and the trailer hitch installed on Monday, I will then pick up the trailer in Carlisle MA, head from there, through Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware into Virginia. This will be the easily the 20th time I have driven this route and likely the last.

Now, with my Dad gone, there will likely no longer be reason to drive along this particular path any longer, unless I am on one of my ‘camper life’ journeys in the future. It’s a strange, bittersweet feeling.

How did a 50 something woman end up giving up all she owned to live the camper life? Creating in only a few months a life dedicated to traveling and keeping moving on?

Honestly, I do not have much of an answer. I just know, here I am and I am the happiest I have ever been. There is no way to know how this will end up, but worse case scenario, 2019 comes around and I am left right at the place I started, except I will have spent an entire year traveling the world.

With less idea of what is before me and as little as possible concern for what is behind. Being as present and as honest as is possible to everyone and everything, even to myself and present in the moment is all I can do.

Camper life will be for me or it will not. Be it one step forward, six steps back, at least I am taking steps.

Life is the only thing you have and you only have one chance to utilize it to its fullest until it’s over. I may not succeed, but I I do not think that I care. Next week I will be driving in my new (to me) little vintage camper and I guess that then I will truly be my only home. I feel as open to anything and free as ever!