Some of you have asked why I’ve decided to turn in my house keys and
trade them in for a life on the road. The answer to that question is
something that’s been rattling around in my head for a very long time.
Why do I want to live like a rolling nomad armed not with a camel and
saber, but with a camera and laptop? Below is the short answer… if
you want the particulars, click the read more link and you’ll get all
the painstaking details, perhaps more than you might care to read, but
this is, after all, my blog.
The Top 8 Reasons Ben is Chucking It All
(well, most of it, the rest is going into storage):
- Ability to be more comfortable when traveling
- Living with just what I need
- Opportunity to explore and photograph National Parks
- A chance to visit friends that are scattered around the country
- Chance to live with zero debt
- To lower my personal expense by having more of my living expenses paid by my company
- A sense of adventure
- Ability to truly live a unique life
Ability to be more comfortable when traveling
Over the last year, I spent 113 days traveling. That means that for over 30% of the year I was away from my own comfortable bed and all my stuff. That means being forced to eat at restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner (I know that doesn’t sound terrible, but you really put on the pounds the more you eat that way). That means trying to get used to the often terrible temperature control of hotel rooms, unfamiliar and uncomfortable beds, odd noises every night (that subject alone would be enough to make up a book), etc. I often travel so much that I can’t remember which rental car I should get in since they all seem to be white and I might have had three within the last week (this leaves me standing glassy-eyed in the middle of many a parking lot). In a motorcoach, I have my bed, bathroom, kitchen, living room, bicycle, car, reading material, office setup, etc. I can also spend as much time as I’d like in a city without increasing my expenses, so I’m free to explore or visit friends. I’ll still end up flying to many of the places where I speak, but now I’ll have to option of bringing my mobile-home as well.
Living with just what I need
I’ve been living in a 5+ bedroom home for the last few years. As a single guy, that’s a lot of space to pay for, decorate, keep clean, insure, etc. It’s really easy to accumulate a bunch of crap when you have more space than you need. I bought this house because I liked the location, views and style of the house. But now I look at how expensive it is to live this way and how much of my time is spent trying to pay for everything. On a motorcoach, I have space for all the stuff that I really use on a daily basis and not much else. In going through my house, I have not found a single item that I use on a regular basis that I cannot bring with me on the motorcoach. When you just have what you need and nothing else… no space to add any more, then your mindset changes. You no longer look at things and think you want to buy them. You no longer think that you’re missing stuff that you know in the end you’d never use or care if it was missing. The all pervasive clutter will no longer be my master.
Opportunity to explore and photograph National Parks
My last real vacation was 10 days spent exploring the National parks in Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. I blasted through eight National parks in just 10 days and loved it. When would I get a chance to do that again? Whenever I convinced myself to take another vacation. What is a vacation anyway? It’s a break from work where you spend a very short amount of time doing something that you’d love to do "if you had the time", or "if you had the money". Well, I have a unique situation where my job does not require me to be in a fixed location all the time. My income comes from traveling and speaking at events around the country, from recording educational DVD’s and from writing books. Those are all things that can be done anywhere. Living on a motorcoach will allow me to stay parked at a National park for a week, a month, or any length of time that I want to, while still being able to get all my work done. Just imagine waking up early, heading out to take sunrise photos at your favorite National park, going for a hike and then getting into your own personal mobile-home where you have everything you need. Where you can take a quick nap and then write a chapter in a book, record part of a DVD, or just chill out. Imagine being able to visit every National park that you’ve ever wanted to explore for any length of time and not waiting until you’re retire to do it. I see so many people living this type of lifestyle after retiring… but that’s when your body isn’t able to climb those mountains quite as well as it used to. I don’t want to wait, so I’m doing it now.
A chance to visit friends that are scattered around the country
Every year I travel to about a dozen states and meet all sorts of interesting people. The problem is that after meeting someone, it might be years before I get a chance to see them again. By living on a motorcoach, I’ll have the ability to visit all those friends, I’ll have time to really get to know them better and they can come and join me on short trips (I have a rule already that nobody can stay on the coach for more than three days without being sent out to sleep in a tent). Many of my friends are photographers who run workshops. Being on a motorcoach will allow me to join them when they are out taking photos and will allow me to tag along while they teach a workshop. Who wouldn’t want to have a me teach a few hours of Photoshop during a photographic workshop in exchange for letting me tag along?
Chance to live with zero debt
Think of how many days a year you spend slaving away to pay for all the excesses in your life. The fancy house, expensive car, and all the other trappings of modern life. Then, think for a minute about what it could be like if you didn’t have any monthly payments, didn’t have to worry about how much you make each month and could make work-related decisions based on what you truly want to do instead of how much you’re going to get paid. Well, living on a motorcoach will allow me to have zero debt. No car payment. No mortgage. Nothing. That is a very freeing thought for me and really changes my mindset about how I structure my life. I might do a lot more work-related things that don’t pay quite as well simply because it’s what I really want to do.
To lower my personal expense by having more of my living expenses paid by my company
At the moment, clients pay to fly me out to their location, pick up the tab for my hotel, food, rental car as well as pay me to speak. Well, take all that $$ and put it towards fuel and you can go a long way. Not only that, but driving to a National park to take photographs that will appear in one of my books or be used in one of my seminars means that many of my expenses can be paid by my company. That will, in effect, give me a raise because I’ll lower my personal expenses. In fact I won’t own the bus personally. If my company buys it, then it can depreciate the asset, which will help lower our tax burden.
A sense of Adventure
I get really bored when things get to be overly routine. I think the longest I’ve ever worked at a job has been about 2.5 years. Once my work day becomes predictable and I don’t feel that I’m being challenged, then it’s time to move on. Living on a motorcoach will allow me to spice things up a bit and keep a sense of adventure in everything I do.
Ability to truly live a unique life
I have zero desire to live an "average" life. In my mind average=boring and predictable. The more predictable things become, the less excited and energized I become about what I’m doing. Just think of what it feels like to get out of bed in the morning. I want a life that I can’t wait to wake up and experience. I have a very active brain that needs constant stimulation and I believe that this new mobile lifestyle will provide enough interesting experiences to keep my mind stirred up.
This list is by no means complete. I just thought you might want to have some idea as to why I decided to sell my home and start living on a bus. If you have any unanswered questions in your head, then get them out of there by submitting them in the comments section of this post.