Home is Wherever We Are

by Stephen Mills on July 27, 2010

Hugh Family

Guest Article Tuesday

Note From Stephen:  I get a lot of requests for guest articles.  I’ve decided to create a new feature called Guest Article Tuesday where readers or other bloggers can express their ideas to my readers.

Hugh DeBurgh, The Passionate Warrior, has dedicated his life to the achievement of the ultimate family lifestyle. You can find him writing about Creative Family Lifestyle Design over at his blog, The Way of Passionate Warrior. Currently he is on the second leg of a worldwide travel adventure with his wife and four young children.  Follow Hugh on Twitter or sign up for his RSS feed and don’t miss an update!

Where do you call home?

With my family, things can be a bit different than for most.  You see, we are road warriors.  Digital nomads.  Call us what you will.  For us, home is wherever we are.
We live most of the year in a 35 foot diesel motor home.  All six of us.  Me, my wife, and four young kids.

And during the time that we are on the road, that motor home is our home.

Friends have asked us how we do this.  Are we independently wealthy?  No.  Do we live on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches?  No.  Don’t we miss having roots in a community?  Not really, because we still have those.  Are we insane for living so close together for such long periods.  Perhaps. 🙂

I’ve also heard comments to the effect that a motor home can never have the feeling of home.  When folks say, “There’s no place like home,” they aren’t seeing a rolling box on wheels in their mind’s eye.

I guess what all these folks are asking is, “What do we sacrifice by living a mobile, nomadic lifestyle?”

Fair question.

First, we aren’t always on the road.

We do drive a lot.  We have circumnavigated North America (Canada and the US) one-and-a-half times.  And we have zig-zaged all over the interior as well.  We still do.

Yes, our motor home is our house.  But our community is wherever we choose to stop and experience for a while.

And we stop from time to time.  Often it is to visit an interesting place.  A museum, or a historical site, or a science center.  Or perhaps just somewhere that’s fun.

At other times we casually stop somewhere and just get that homey feeling.  When I feel that, I want to stay.  Not long enough to build a house, but for a week or two.

To me that homey feeling is when you feel it’s OK to let down your guard.  Where life’s affordable, the natives are friendly and sparse, the weather is nice and the scenery is pleasant.  And where all of your principle needs can be easily met.

We just found such a place.  In Champaign, Illinois.  It’s a little campground outside of town, in the middle of cornfields (what isn’t in the Midwest!).  The scenery here is very pleasant, its quiet, shaded with a lovely grove of trees, and yet five minutes from all the amenities you could need.  And the Internet here is awesome!  Finally I can get work done and backup my files online.  That’s a big deal for me.

Which brings up another issue.

Mobile Lifestyle Needs

When you live on the road, your needs are quite different than when you are just “camping.”  As a result, we have little in common with the casual campers who surround us at most campsites, especially in the summer months.

When you camp, you may be prepared to accept a certain amount of “roughing it.” But when you are “home,” you  have fairly consistent needs that now need to be provided for on a mobile platform.

There are the basics, like, food and such, there are comfort needs, and you may also have business needs – typically technologies that allow you to work on the road.

For me to be able to call a place “home” I will have to satisfy all of these needs wherever I happen to be.

A lot is written about lowering your needs “threshold” before heading on the road. That is, reducing the number of things that you think you need so you can pack a bit lighter. We did that when we started traveling.  And it feels fantastic to get rid of  all of that stuff that you thought you couldn’t live without.

But there are some things that we are not prepared to part with, and yet are difficult to carry with us.  We have to scavenge to satisfy these needs as we go along.
One of those scavenged needs is high speed Internet.  Without it, we cannot carry on our business.  And without that economic engine, the road trip is over.

The Internet Makes Our Lifestyle Possible

Without the Internet and cell phones, we could not live as free a life as we do today. To ensure that we keep connected, we carry our own Internet technology with us.

One of my big gripes when we’re on the road is the Internet quality, or lack of it, that we find.  So we do the best that we can.  Outside of major metropolitan areas, Internet signals are poor or inconsistent all over North America.

In fact, this is a serious problem for anyone who wants to live life on the road but needs world-class communications at the same time.

There are very few entrepreneurs who seem to be addressing this problem.  And those who are trying are using technology that’s getting a bit long in the tooth (cell technology and satellite Internet).

As more and more folks discover the freedom and beauty of the mobile lifestyle, this lack of Internet infrastructure means that North America is loosing its traditional advantages over parts of the former third world and Europe, where the Internet is often much more ubiquitous.

Anyway, even with these minor issues we sacrifice very little to live a mobile lifestyle.

You can buy most anything you need on the road.

Nice campsites in quiet and safe communities are available for $25 to $50 a night (water, power and sewer included), and we tow our car along with us.

And the scenery is always changing. When the weather is hot, we head north.  When it gets cold, we let the snow line chase us south.  All the while we run a business and write posts like this one.  The kids play and life goes on.

If you’ve ever wanted to chuck your current lifestyle and hit the road, just do it!

Give it a try.  Consider renting an RV  or other more affordable means of travel. Vacations are usually way too expensive to maintain as a lifestyle.  Yet you can live quite comfortably – even luxuriously – while living mobile.  It just requires that you reconfigure your life so that your dollars buy you the maximum possible return, and no more.

I hope that you will take this post as your wake up call to live the life you’ve dreamed of!

And let me know what you decide to do.  I’d love to hear about your adventures!
All the best,

Hugh

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Stacy July 27, 2010 at 11:30 pm

This is a great thing to be able to do. I know that my husband would love to do this but, only a few people can do this. Everyone else has to work and live in one place.

Reply

Hugh DeBurgh ~ The Passionate Warrior July 28, 2010 at 9:20 am

Hi Stacy!

Thank you so much for posting your comment here!

I hear you, but I beg to differ… 🙂

You see, it is quite true that only a few people follow the sort of lifestyle that my family follows.

It is also true that most lives are configured such that this kind of lifestyle seems impossible.

The secret that most people don’t realize is that lifestyles can be “reconfigured.”

My family used to live a VERY traditional lifestyle. We were connected to the land in the typical suburban manner. We had a business with lots of employees, a building we rented, and mountains of responsibilities. And we struggled in an industry that was imploding well before the current recession.

We also had babies. One after another in succession (we stopped at four). 🙂

We were incredibly busy. We didn’t have the time to make a change in our lifestyle, even if we wanted to

But we did it anyway.

For us, it honestly took years to reconfigure our lives so that a mobile lifestyle was possible. And it was a lot of work. But it was a labor of love, and that kind of “work” is easy.

So why did we go through all of that effort?

We were talking about fundamentally improving the quality of our lives. We wanted to really live. And to us that meant on-the-road freedom.

What could be more worth the effort than creating a life that you love? Than teaching our children that taking control of the direction of our lives was possible, no matter how impossible it might have looked at any particular moment.

In your case, it is your husband’s dream that we are talking about.

So I pose this question: If there was nothing stopping you from transitioning to a mobile lifestyle (or to any lifestyle that is different from that you live now), would you make the change? Or do you prefer your current lifestyle?

That’s a key question for you both. Is this really just an issue of your belief in the impossibility of making such a change? Or does the lifestyle that he seems to have in mind simply not appeal to you?

I used to be in your husband’s place, so I know where he is coming from.

If he mentions this sort of thing to you, even casually, I’m willing to bet that this is a much bigger deal to him than you imagine.

Changing the way one lives is no small matter, as you well know. So if he is thinking along these lines, he probably is serious. He just doesn’t know how to break it to you.

Now, I might be completely off base about your husband. If I am, I apologize for this long response to your comment.

But even so, there are probably a lot more folks out there who feel the same as you do, and who need to hear this message.

And that message is:

You can do this!

You can transition your current lifestyle into the lifestyle of your dreams.

No matter how impossible it may look to you now, just about anybody can extract themselves from the place they’ve wandered into in life and intentionally design a lifestyle that fits their real passions and desires.

I call this process of creative transition Creative Family Lifestyle Design.

But first, you gotta believe …

And my family is living proof that that belief is not absurd. Nor are we super-human. I assure you that we are quite ordinary.

The difference between my family and other families that dream of making a change but never do is … we took action.

Even though we had few models to follow, we just set off.

These days I spend a good deal of my time writing and speaking to folks just like you and your husband. And my message is simple.

It is not impossible. It is not even all that difficult. It can definitely be done. And you don’t have to sacrifice the quality of your lifestyle, either. You may even improve it! Your health will improve as your stress levels go straight down.

And you will discover things as you live this new life – about your husband, about the world, and about yourself – that you never imagined.

All of this is waiting for you both.

So, now that you know that it is possible for just about anyone to make this kind of transition in their life, what are you going to say to your husband the next time that he brings this up?

Any way you decide to go, it is important to simply live a life that you and your family consciously decide to live, and not just a life that you have stumbled into. Most people are living the “stumbled into” version, and that is a crying shame.

What can be more sad than a life lived less that it could be?

I know that if I convince just a few to take a chance on their lifestyle, I’ve made a positive difference in this world.

I wish you and your husband the very best in life, no matter what you decide.

Thanks again,

Hugh 🙂

Reply

Nea | Self Improvement Saga July 28, 2010 at 11:11 pm

This is so inspiring. I’ve been telling all of my friends that my dream is to live a mobile lifestyle once my daughter turns 18 (a year and half from now). People look at me like I’m nuts but I just know that I can make it happen. The fact that you live this lifestyle with a wife and 4 kids has just added to my certainty that it CAN be done. Thank you so very much for this post.
Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog post ..Self Improvement Techniques to Reshape Your World

Reply

Hugh DeBurgh ~ The Passionate Warrior July 28, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Hey Nea!

You go girl! 🙂

Ignore the looks you get. I got them too. At first.

Some people just can’t open their minds until they see it being done. So I guess you will be setting the example for your friends.

Have a great journey!

All the best,

Hugh 🙂

Reply

Ian Fuller May 14, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hello,

Cheers to you for encouraging people to jump outside of the box and take a risk to live their dream life!

I do not live a mobile life, but I live a semi-nomadic lifestyle changing jobs and moving to different countries/islands/cities/states/etc. every 6 months on average. I am also living my dream as a marine mammal and exotic animal trainer and have worked with amazing species throughout my career including dolphins, sea lions, seals, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, lions, elephants, monkeys, penguins, grizzly bears, etc. etc. Whenever I meet people who say “I always wanted to do that….” (whether is going to Africa or following their dream career), I simply smile and nod; but I am secretly thinking, if you truly wanted to do it, then you would’ve made it happen.

And that’s it: if you TRULY know in your heart that you are meant to do something, then you owe it to yourself to live and experience it! That is the point of life afterall anyway, right? To live what makes you happy and share it with loved ones along the way!

I think there are 2 types of dreamers in this world: the madly driven ones who have an almost instinctually programmed mindset to automatically, no questions asked, pursue at full strength all of their dreams, and the ones who really fantasize and have the potential, but are too scared and influenced by our “play it safe and settle down like a normal person” cultures, and the last type of dreamer needs that encouragement to take their leap of faith!

Reply

Hugh DeBurgh ~ The Passionate Warrior May 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Hey Ian!

Thanks for your great thoughts! You live a very cool lifestyle!

I hope that my writing helps at least a few folks to get up the nerve to follow their dreams. Comments like yours are sure to help.

Congrats on living your life in your own unique way!

All the best,

Hugh

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge