In early 2010 the hubby, the 2 cats, the dog and I quit our day jobs, packed our lives away and moved into a 40-foot tin-can home to follow our dream of living an alternative life and exploring the US on wheels. WheelingIt was born with nothing but 12 paws, 40 feet, the freedom of the open road and the passion to see all those places we’d dreamed about for years. Through our blog our goal is to share that story and hopefully enable and inspire others who dream of this lifestyle to go out and try it. After all, if we can do it anyone can! So, take a peek at the tips, follow us in our nutty journey and share a few laughs with us along the way. Who knows, maybe down the line we’ll meet ya’ all on the road.
Here’s a little more about the characters on our journey:
Nina: I’m a full-bred Dane and, one could say, legitimate ancestor of Vikings from Copenhagen, Denmark. At the ripe young age of 4, my parents left the homeland and moved to Asia spending 5 years in Singapore followed by another 9 in Hong Kong, which instilled a good, solid shot of the travelling bug in yours truly. After finishing high-school I left home and moved to Paris to experience les français, attending The Sorbonne to learn French and cleaning a fair few houses for moolah along the way. I then went to England to attend uni at Cambridge University leaving with a stiff British accent and a BA in the Physical Sciences. Having frozen enough for a lifetime I was guided by my professor to apply to Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA which he assured me was “right by the beach”. It didn’t turn out to be Baywatch, but Stanford gave me a few years of excellent memories and a Masters in Materials Science Engineering. In 1995 I decided to get serious about a job and was hired by Cypress Semiconductor. On my first day of work, feeling rather lost and overwhelmed, I walked into a technical presentation (of which I understood nothing) being given by Paul…it was the beginning of 12 years at the company and a few more with the man.
Paul: Paul is a first-generation Cuban-American born and raised in Miami, Florida USA. His family immigrated to the United States from Cuba in the late 50s, leaving everything behind to establish new roots and lives in the US. He spent his young and tender years in the midst of an extended family with solid Cuban roots and an American twist. After high school he moved north to attend the University of Florida. He spent 6 years in Gator-land with many fond and fuzzy memories and left with a BS in Electrical Engineering, a MS in Electrical Engineering and a thesis on the diffusion of Arsenic in Silicon (indeed!). Once graduated and fancy free he moved to South Florida to work for IBM for a few years, a time he calls the most educational of his life. In July 1994 he was recruited to make the jump to the land of fruit and nuts (San Jose, CA) to work for Cypress Semiconductor where he spent the next 12 years. In 1995, he met me….
Paul and Nina: We met in August 1995 and it was…well…dislike at first sight. Somewhere in the background, however, fate was at work. Being forced to work together in a small group (selling chipsets no less), dislike turned to acceptance followed by tepid interest, sparks of unexpected fire and then a crazy, wild crash into full-blown love. We were meant for each other and after figuring that out (in January 1997, specifically) we moved in together and never looked back. Through work and with a touch of luck and egging on from yours truly we both moved to Brussels, Belgium where we spent 2 years from late 1997 to 1999, followed by 5 years back in the Bay Area and another few in Hong Kong. During our time in Hong Kong Nina launched herself into dogs and theater while Paul went back to school and got his Masters In Finance. After Asia we moved to San Diego, CA. Then, in March 2010 we moved into the RV and started our full-time lifestyle on the road.
The Furry Friends: Our family wouldn’t be family without our furry friends. Polly, our doggie was adopted from the Humane Society in 2009 and grew from a playful, pooping and eating machine of a pup into a gorgeous 40-lb doggie. Taggart and Rand, our 2 cats were rescues of a litter from Paul’s mom and are the yin-yang of the feline kingdom where the outgoing brashness of Taggart balances the withdrawn sweetness of Rand. The 3 musketeers are firm friends and it’s rare to see one without the other. You can read more about their story here and here.
The Beast: “The Beast”, as we’ve tenderly named her, is our rolling home on wheels. She’s a 40-foot Holiday Rambler Endeavor that we bought second-hand at a deeply discounted price. Despite her rough start in life, she’s turned out to be a first-class lady. She weighs a svelte ~32,000 lbs, boasts a massive 400 horsepower Cummins diesel engine and is a modern beauty inside. We consider her a luxury home with a view that changes anytime we want it to.
The Life Change: The big change in our outlook and lives will be a frequent topic on the blog but here is a brief synopsis. Hong Kong was where the whole transition happened – the thought of needing a change in life, of finding another way to live, of retiring early, of RV’ing across the US. We’ve always been frugal, money-conscious and adventurous but we didn’t begin planning in earnest for a life change until our time in Hong Kong. We read a ton of material, made several hundred versions of the financial plan and, after a few false starts, finally made the leap early this year. While on the road, I run the budget while hubby masterminds the money-making machine through investing (for more on our methods and means check out hubby’s blog Investing For a Living).
That’s it folks! Hope you enjoy the ride as much as we do!
POST SCRIPT: If you’d prefer to hear a verbal version of our story which includes exciting pictures of us petting the dog and my weird accent, our buddies Technomadia did an awesome job of putting together this 11.49 min video:
Note/ Please note that all material, text and pictures in this blog are copyrighted. Should you be interested in using them please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to talk about it!