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Craving Adventure: the Novelty Gene

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I have always had a craving for novelty and adventure. How else can I explain riding a motorcycle up the Alcan in the 80's when it was mostly still dirt and mud.

I’ve always had a craving for novelty and adventure. How else can I explain riding a motorcycle up the Alcan in the 80’s when it was mostly still dirt and mud. On Judy’s and my trip to Alaska there were literally hundreds of adventure motorcycles riding it–even though it’s mostly paved now and very little adventure to it. 

Are you happy? We all want to be happy, but surprisingly few Americans are. All you have to do is read any of the latest statistics on the rate of alcoholism, addiction, depression, anti-depressant drug prescriptions, suicide and crime to soon reach the conclusion that overall, we are an unhappy nation doing everything we can to avoid our reality. Sociologists back that up by doing surveys of contentedness and happiness around the world, and America usually ends up way day the list in our total satisfaction with our lives.
And yet you have to wonder why? The poorest among us have better health, more food and possessions than the great majority of the people of the world. And the average American lives a better life from a physical point of view than 90% of the people who have ever lived—past or present. Obviously, an abundance of the necessities, and even luxuries, of life do not make us happy. So what will?
I think were bored, terminally bored. Humans were never bored until recently; boredom is a modern invention. Our ancestors were constantly on the move facing new and exciting places and situations. Every day was a new adventure of some kind whether it was big or small. Wanting something new, something novel is literally in our blood.
Why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good airplane?! Because we are hard-wired to seek new adventures.

Why would anyone jump out of a perfectly good airplane?! Because we are hard-wired to seek new adventures and new places.

There has been a great deal of research in the last 20 years on genetics and its role in happiness. One of the surprising findings is that we have a gene that makes us crave new things. It has been labeled the “novelty-seeking” gene and  researchers are calling it neophilia (neo=new philia=love; the love of the new). A great deal of research is showing it to be one of the most important determiners of our overall well-being. Vandwellers cut to the chase and call it “itchy-feet.” Here is a quote from a very good article on it:

Fans of this trait are calling it “neophilia” and pointing to genetic evidence of its importance as humans migrated throughout the world. In her survey of the recent research… the journalist Winifred Gallagher argues that neophilia has always been the quintessential human survival skill, whether adapting to climate change on the ancestral African savanna or coping with the latest digital toy from Silicon Valley…. “Although we’re a neophilic species,” Ms. Gallagher says, “as individuals we differ in our reactions to novelty, because a population’s survival is enhanced by some adventurers who explore for new resources and worriers who are attuned to the risks involved.”

The adventurous neophiliacs are more likely to possess a “migration gene,” a DNA mutation that occurred about 50,000 years ago, as humans were dispersing from Africa around the world, according to Robert Moyzis, a biochemist at the University of California, Irvine. The mutations are more prevalent in the most far-flung populations, like Indian tribes in South America descended from the neophiliacs who crossed the Bering Strait.

In other words, due to a genetic mutation, humans as a whole have a tendency to be adventurous wanderers. It’s been an important part of our survival as a species and is still crucial to our development as well-adjusted, happy human beings. Because America is a nation of immigrants, we consistently test as one of the most novelty-seeking places on earth. Think about it; most of our great-great-grandparents took all kinds of risks to come here and start over a brand-new life, in a brand-new place that most often spoke a brand-new language. Now that’s novelty seeking! And they passed those genes down to you and I.
I got to thinking about this when a Canadian reader asked me why so many Americans have such a fascination with Alaska. Sure it’s a beautiful place but there are lots of places just as beautiful. Why Alaska? Even a casual look at American history shows that we are a tremendously restless people and we have been on the go every-since we first landed on Plymouth Rock. There was always somebody with itchy feet who had to go over the next hill to the West and see what was there. Finally we had gone as far West as we could go, but we still yearned for movement, adventure and newness. So we went North to Alaska, and we’ve been doing it ever since.
For many of us (but certainly not all) there is a deep inner cry for something new, for something different and risky. We hate the mind-numbing tedious, monotony of our life. Every day is the same week after week, month after month, decade after decade–and then we die. That’s something to look forward to! Alaska cries out with wild adventure, newness and risk, something every novelty-seeking neophiliac cries out for. The majority of times when I tell people I lived in Alaska most of my life they are quick to say that they have always wanted to go there. Now I know that’s literally in their genes!


Riding a motorcycle to Alaska is not an adventure any more–it’s just long! So instead people are riding their bicycles to Alaska. We saw dozens of them pedaling their way to Alaska. But that’s not enough of a challenge either, we say probably 8 guys walking to or from Alaska. Walking over 200o miles in bad weather, mosquitoes, bears and traffic! Humans really crave adventure!

If you have any lingering doubts about the novelty gene, just go watch some kids at the local park. What are they doing? They are having imaginary adventures and slaying dragons and fighting enemies. Or ask them if they want to go on a scary ride at the amusement park. Most will jump at the chance! They are the living embodiment of the ideas of the novelty gene that’s present in most of us. Ask a child what they want to be when they grow up and their answers will most often be something exciting, adventurous and risky.
But then they grow up and what happens? That spirit is crushed and pounded into the dirt by their parents, schools and society. Every effort at originality or adventure is pounded out of them by decades of brainwashing. Modern society needs working drones, not adventurers! The “American Dream” is made to look so appealing and at the same time non-conformity is not tolerated. Move into a van and you’ll soon find out how America actually hates anyone who chooses true freedom. It persecutes them until they become good little sheep again.

A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for. John A. Shedd

I think that’s the secret to why we are so unhappy as a nation, we refuse to do what we were built to do. Our genes urge and demand us to be one thing but society forbids it and forces us to be something else. Little boys want to be cowboys, fireman or pirates but instead they become accountants, insurance agents or “middle-management.” For little girls it’s much worse, they are told all they can be is wives, secretaries, teachers or nurses. When I was a boy I wanted to be a bush pilot or trapper. My ultimate hero was Dick Proeneke who wrote “One man’s Wilderness” and lived alone near Lake Clark in a cabin he built himself and trapped, hunted and fished to live. Instead I became a grocery store clerk for 35 years—and I was always unhappy.
Today, since I started living in a van, for the very first time I’m happy and content. What about you? I have to wonder why you are reading my blog, and probably others like it. I think I’m a decent amateur writer and photographer, but I don’t think that’s why you’re here. I think you have that novelty-seeking gene and some part of you longs for something new and exciting, and I offer it to you vicariously. However, there are many people who are much more adventurous than I am and doing much more exciting things; I’m a wanna-be compared to them. But what I’m doing is easily obtainable, anyone can do it. You can too!

This was my first "adventure" when I started to try to follow my true nature again. It was a very mild white-water trip. This was the roughest section and it wasn't scary at all. This all I'm planning to so some serious whitewater in Moab.

This was my first “adventure” after  I started to try to follow my true nature again. It was a very mild white-water trip. This was the roughest section and it wasn’t scary at all. This fall I’m planning to so some serious whitewater in Moab.

I’m hoping that if you have the novelty seeking gene, becoming aware of your genetic compulsions will let you make some adjustments that make you happier. I’m not saying you have to sell everything, move into a van and head off into the sunset or you’ll be miserable. I’m not saying you have to jump out of an airplane; most of us have been so brainwashed by society true adventure  is no longer an option for us. Out true spirit is so crushed and demoralized we can just barely find it. But I do think that by being aware of the need for new things and adventure you can begin to make simple adjustments to your life that can satisfy those needs within your current situation.
Spend some time examining your life, particularly when you were a child and adolescent. What made you happy? What did you want to do that you never could do? I don’t mean be an astronaut or a pirate, that’s not realistic. You must have had some attainable dreams. I loved nature and hiking and so now I live in nature and hike a lot. Start with those things and see if you can’t incorporate them into your life. If that isn’t practical or doesn’t work, then start adding other new and slightly adventurous things into your life.
It might be best to start with some small, safe things and then try to make them increasingly adventurous and dicey. Most of us are so afraid of failure that the risk of failure keeps us from trying anything even slightly difficult. Try to embrace failure as normal and healthy and actually desirable. For example, if I suggest you try to paint or draw or play the guitar, you are very likely to say, “Oh, I can’t do that. I’m no good at it.” Have you ever tried, I mean really tried by taking classes or getting a tutor? Probably not, you’re too afraid of looking silly or failing to even start. The little boy or girl in you sure wishes you would!

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Anais Nin

For me the day came when the misery of my life was too great and I was going to change everything or I was going to die. I’m so glad I did!


  1. CAE

    Excellent points. I find myself attracted to going to different places just because it will be something new.

    • Bob

      CAE, it sounds for sure like you’ve got it!! Congratulations!

  2. Jan Cook

    All I can say is, “wow Bob”. I sure hope I get to meet you at the RTR.

    • Bob

      Jan, I’ll be there so be sure to find me! (Don’t get your hopes up to high, I’m rather disappointing in person!)

  3. Paula

    Above you said: “Move into a van and you’ll soon find out how America actually hates anyone who chooses true freedom.”
    As a van dweller (An older van that was factory made into a class B RV) since the beginning of Feb. of this year, I can attest to the truth of that.
    However, for every shocked look of disapproval and what appears to be a form of unspoken anger visible in the set of their jaw, there are also those who look at you with admiration and exclaim how remarkable it is and how much they envy what you are doing. Most people cannot believe a single disabled woman would do such a thing and they usually proclaim how gutsy they think it is.
    In actuality, what I found is that the gutsy thing is not the living in a van. That becomes the new norm after a very short while. The gutsy thing is the physical step outside the “accepted” norm into the unknown. That single act of choosing unknown adventure over comfortable conformity. But oh, the rewards are incalculable.
    I did this for health reasons because I could barely take care of me much less a sticks and brick home. I sold or gave away almost everything I owned to take my step. Some advise putting it in storage to “see” but I skipped right over that and it was freeing.
    Although I still struggle with self-care most days, I am truly happy and peacefully content with my living situation. I feel I have a real shot at getting better since the weight of the care for a home with all its “entanglements” no longer rests on my being.
    Another woman I met in my travels came in to chat a couple times in my van and she told me how happy she felt sitting there in my van and she was surprised she felt such an energy that she remarked seemed to disappear 10 feet outside of my van. I think in a way, living in my van is like a living inside a big hug. I took care to create a homey feeling inside by choosing to arrange it with some little luxuries (like the icemaker!). I too was surprised she felt the comfortable warmth inside that I do. It is less than 65 sq feet of living space, but it is MY Walden on Wheels (another great RV book).
    Inside the van is also the promise of a new adventure whenever you are up to it. There is nothing to do but decide it is time for a new view, a new adventure.
    Yes, we live outside the “normal” boundaries most people know and take comfort in, but in my experience happiness is much closer and more abundant in a van.
    I came from “polite society” where this kind of thing is just not done. But, I chose me instead of what others would think. I don’t remember where it is from, but I remembered the saying: “Those to who mind don’t matter and those who matter won’t mind”. Yes, you shed personal belongings (including those who consider you one of theirs 🙂
    Those who truly love and care for you may not understand, but they will love you just the same through their bewilderment until they either reach acceptance or understanding. Either one is fine for someone who still lives on the inside. After all, there is nothing wrong with loving the norm. Most of the people I know and love live it and love it.
    Living in a van is not always “easy” (therein lies an adventure right off the bat), but it is a simpler life that does allow for deeper breathing, more moments to notice and admire wonder, more time to feel real joy and more wealth in adventures than money could ever buy for those of us who know we have THAT adventure gene 🙂
    It truly is a spirit and confidence building lifestyle. I have always felt some gypsy blood running in my veins, and what a tremendous feeling to “GO” when the fever of adventure calls.
    My health dictates that my adventure is a much slower and less audacious route than you and Judy. But when my health improves, so too will my adventures. I had hoped to catch the Alaska adventure in person, but I just was not up to it 🙂 It is on my radar to plan for in the next few years. And YES, if I do not meet up with someone else to go with, I will still go!
    Thank you for your site, and your book! Both were instrumental in helping me take the step into the unknown with some knowledge 🙂 Everyone considering taking this step should make both required reading.
    I am launching a website to share more of the RVing/van dwelling lifestyle and adventures at next month. There is much to share and it has brought so much more life into my world. I will also link to your blog posts and other wonderful RV bloggers adventures out there too. Thank you for all you do Bob.

    • Bob

      Paula, I’m so glad you have found a new way of life that is bringing you such happiness! That’s wonderful! I couldn’t agree more that the hardest thing of all is breaking out of societal pressure and becoming a true non-conformist. Other things about becoming a vandweller are a challenge, but i agree that’s the biggest.
      I’ve known numerous people with physical and emotional challenges who said exactly what you said, moving into a van made them feel safe and manageable. I think it’s like returning to the womb where all is at peach and rest and safe.
      I wish you the best on your new website!

    • judy

      Paula, Your comments mirror so much of Exactly how I feel. The more I read, the lower my jaw dropped! Hats off to you!! I think you got it figured out pretty darn well.

  4. MJ

    Time on the land, time on the sea, time on the land again.Very soon, time on the American by-ways. I’ve never heard of the ‘novelty gene’ but it sure explains a lot!

    • Bob

      MJ yes it does, for an awful lot of us!

  5. Kayle

    Thank you Bob, for this. And I want to especially thank you for sharing your precious, precious experience with the bears. The photos you took flying into to see the bears are stunning. I, for one, hate to fly and I certainly would not have flown in a little plane like that, even to see such phenomenal country (however I have traveled to AK by the ferry; awesome!). So I’m grateful that you did it for us landlubbers and that you do indeed take the time to share your most excellent adventures. Blessings to you and Judy!

    • Bob

      Kayle, My father moved to Alaska in 1961 because he loved hunting. In Alaska, to be a serious hunter you really need to be able to fly and so he always had an airplane (a Super Cub) and I flew all of the state with him. So flying in small planes is 2nd nature to me.
      I’m glad to bring you something that you wouldn’t normally experience.

  6. Joanne

    The word that you want for “itchy feet” is dromomania.

    • Bob

      Thanks Joanne! Actually I knew that but I was trying to do something artistic and put in a counterpoint to all the science I was including.
      I was trying to say (apparently unsuccessfully) “We vandwellers already knew that and we didn’t need a PHD or a government research grant to figure it out.”

  7. JD

    Hmmmm. You start off talking about addiction as a diversion and simply offer different diversions as a solution. You might counter these diversions are somehow more vital, subjective as that is, but more diversions they remain.This is a logical fallacy and really does little to get at the heart of the matter.
    IMOa so-called “novelty gene” is a ruse, like crows tiring of one shiny object seeking another. If your serious about understanding the HUMAN mind, get into your boredom, get to the root of your boredom, use boredom as barometer to see how much you’re running from facing yourself. Changing the scene, going on a trip or jumping out of an airplane might offer temporary dramatic relief but one always ends up back where they started, like a hamster in a carousel.
    “All men’s miseries derive from not being able to sit in a quiet room alone.” – Blaise Pascal

    • Bob

      Thanks for your thoughtful reply JD! I may not have said it well, but really what I intended to say is “To thine own self be true.” Whatever your most basic nature is find it and follow it. For a great many of us everything we’ve ever been taught goes counter to our nature. The only way to be able to sit quietly a room is to align our lives with our nature.
      For example, I said it was fundamental to me to be in nature (god’s creation) and now that I am my mind has gone quiet. I can wake up go outside and just sit for much of the day hear every sound around me without a constant buzzing in my head because I am where I am supposed to be. But, then I can also satisfy my urges to travel and move and take risks. For 6 months of the year I sit and travel very little, often not moving for months at a time. This last summer I have already driven 10,000 miles and will drive more yet. I’ve taken at least one risky adventure and have more planned. I might jump out of an airplane again.
      Both of those things are me and only by being both of them can I be happy. The idea that jumping out of an airplane is an attempt to run away from myself like a drug addcit does is simply wrong.
      All winter I look forwrd to travel and adventure. All summer I look forward to solitude and silence in nature. Both are 100% valid.

      • judy

        All that I have experienced & all the diverse people I have met have changed who I am as a person. Possibly the lifestyle has allowed me to look into myself (having time to keep a journal helps sort our my thoughts) ie. who I really am has been brought out.
        I’m no longer simply someone that everyone/thing gets a piece of…the job, husband, children aging parent, home, yard & garden…until there was no piece of time that was mine. There was no time to know who I was other than a servant & workhorse.
        I’ve seized my old age and made it mine to do with as I please and found contentment.
        With respect DJ, In my case, I am not the same person who started van dwelling 14 months ago. I have not circled around to the same place I began.

        • judy

          oops sorry… I transposed your initials JD

          • judy

            and just to clairfy the husband referred to in the above comment is now an EX

    • Calvin R

      I beg to differ. I have been facing myself in 12-step recovery for over 24 years. While I no longer ignore danger, I have not come to see anything positive about conformity or “stability” for their own sake. If one’s spiritual rewards are in one place and in a repetitious life, that is a fine thing, and I know that some people find that. However, let’s not lose sight of the fact that such a life can just as easily be a way of avoiding the seeming risk of exploring the outside world. Not facing one’s fears is spiritual dishonesty.

  8. Calvin R

    I will need to learn more about that gene. I have had the idea in my mind for a long time that, “Some people stay and some people go.” Certainly it seems genetic in my family. Both of my parents’ families are restless back to at least 1850, and I have lost track of the places my siblings and I have lived.
    However, my particular trait does not extend to serious discomfort or risk. I just want to see what and who is “out there”; discomfort and risk are to be minimized.

    • Bob

      Calvin, the old question is nature versus nurture and the answer is always BOTH. It’s common for addicts to have the novelty gene so they did research to track how people known to have the gene turned out based on their upbringing. People with the gene who were raised by strict, distant parents were much more likely to be drug addicts and get into trouble.
      In other words, you are who you are based not just on your genes but your upbringing. My advice to everyone is throw out their past and become who you were meant to become, not who society chose for you to become.

      • Calvin R

        Thanks Bob. My particular way of working is to use my past to find a path to become my best self. Plenty of that is genetic tendencies, but reality requires my own creativity and growth to make it fulfilling and useful. I began with a short, unhappy, and addicted life. Inventories of that and work with others in spiritual fellowships have taught me much about what I really want and need. Had I accepted others’ notion of what is a good life and succeeded in achieving that, I am now convinced I would be deeply miserable in the unlikely event I were still alive.

        • Bob

          Calvin, I understand and relate totally!

  9. Nancy

    Thank you. I’m so ready to hear this. Now I need to make a plan. Speaking of which, have you ever written about the issues facing women living and traveling alone in vans and RVs?

  10. Linda D.

    Hi Bob! What you have written is so true, and I must have gotten most of the neophilia/gypsy blood in my family, as I seem to be the only vagabond. I have moved around quite a bit in my 60+ years, and am making plans to embark on another adventure next year. Thank you for letting us live vicariously through you. I’m a big fan and hope to meet you one day.

    • Bob

      The pleasure will be mine Linda!

  11. Ming

    good post, Bob! I guess that for me living in Canada and surrounded by rain and boreal forest, the deserts of the US seem exotic and far away. To Americans, they must seem like their back yard, and Alaska is the last frontier. Now that I’ve seen your descriptions and photos, I think I’d like to see it too, someday!
    Exploring new places in nature takes you away, but it also allows you to reconnect with something bigger than yourself, which also reconnects you to yourself. I think that we lose that in the unhappy, safe, dead end life that you describe so well.

    • Bob

      I 100% totally agree Ming!

  12. Al Christensen

    Earlier today, before I saw this post, I was thinking about how I should have gone on more adventures when I was younger and more able. I think I must have gotten the safety gene or the that’s-too-much-trouble gene. I admire people who’ve gone out and done interesting things. Not necessarily thrill seeking, just having a variety of experiences. Better late than never, I guess.

    • Bob

      Al, I think you are more than making up for it now.

  13. Elizabeth

    Woohoo! Glad to see something a bit more similar to your Sunday sermons of old: more philosophical and thought provoking, without the ole’ feather ruffling, which i loved, but was not always calming for you. Thanks for the gentle nudges and deep insights, though i could use a clonk on the head sometimes………..welcome back!

    • Bob

      Thanks Elizabeth, I’m a fickle creature! Never know what will come up next.

  14. Linda Sand

    Dave was in the Army when we married. We moved 11 times in the first 10 years. I loved it. I was truly amazed when I was able to spend 9 years in one house. Of course I followed that with dragging Dave out to go full-time RVing where we moved nearly every day.

    • Bob

      Sounds like you got it Linda! The fact you spend the winter in your Class B kinda confirms it!

    • jonthebru

      Wow, Linda thats one powerful essay that you linked to in your blog.

      • Linda Sand

        Yes. I couldn’t not pass that one on. Glad you found it powerful as well.

  15. Lynn

    Hi Bob, I really would like to take a trip to the Yukon and Alaska so wanted to see what your experience was like. I have always had an adventurous soul, so I know I have that gene. Probably got it from my parents as they always took us kids traveling.
    Do you think the spring is the best time to go or was the rain an unusual occurrence this year?

    • Bob

      In my 45 years in Alaska, June has by far the best weather. This year it didn’t but I would still play the odds and go in June.

  16. jonthebru

    “Where ever you go, there you are!”

    • JD


    • Bob

      Very true, jonthebru! That’s why it’s so extremely important you like being in your own skin!

  17. Dan

    Bob: You and Judy have spent several weeks in close quarters in the small space of a van, and I was interested in knowing your thoughts on 2 people living in a van. I’m wondering for myself if a van isn’t too small a space for 2 people, even 2 people who like or even love each other for the long haul. I’m wondering if a step van wouldn’t be a more reasonable size for 2 people rather than a regular van, which in my opinion is best suited for just 1 person, at least for the long haul. For a few months, 2 people could live in a regular van, but there really isn’t a lot of space in a van. But a step van is not too large but compared to a regular van, it’s much larger. For instance a step van or a small box truck could provide anywhere, depending on size, from 50% more floor space and head room, up to even as much as 100% more space than a regular “extended” 350 van.
    To my way of thinking, you can’t enjoy your “adventure” gene if you’re compressed into too small of a space with another person, no matter how much you like that other person, because neither of you has “your space”.
    I’d appreciate your considered opinion on that question now having spent these past few weeks with someone you like (Judy)in the constricted space of a regular van. I’m not trying to get you in trouble with Judy here, I’d really like to know your views, because I’m trying to decide whether to get a regular(extended) van or a step van to modify into a home on wheels for myself and my wife. We’ve been spending the last few weeks in a small cabin, and we’re feeling “cramped” for space not because we don’t like each other, but because we’re both intelligent adults who like each other, but also “like our own space” for part of the time.
    Thanks for your opinions and thoughts on the matter.

    • Bob

      Dan, I hate to put you off but I can’t fullyanswer that question quickly in a comment. I’m nearly at the end of the my posts on the Alaska trip and then I’ll do a wrap-up and part of it will be full-disclosure about Judy and I and my thoughts of two people in a van.
      I’m going to answer your question, I just need more space to do it in!

      • judy

        Dan…I can give you my 2 cents worth. My best advice for a couple is to have a van & tow a small trailer with both outfitted as you see fit for private space. IMO no matter how large the space, if you are confined to one unit, it’s impossible to have your “own” space.
        Surprisingly the physical space of my van was Not a great issue. The need to be alone was the bigger issue.

        • Dan

          Thank you for your 2 cents. To me it’s worth much more, because this helps me understand better what is needed for emotional tranquility and peace of mind when we make the transition to a more mobile lifestyle. Alone time is a concept that I agree is important after having read your words, but if you hadn’t pointed it out, I think it may have been lost as the concept “tree” in the complexity of life “forest” of my understanding. So the concept is you have a van and a trailer, and so you have 2 places when you wish to have “alone” time, or you can both be in either place if you wish to have together time. Makes sense. Even if it’s raining you can get away from the other person if you need to do so. Otherwise you have more space to do things indoors when it’s raining or otherwise experiencing inclement weather. Makes good sense! Thank you very much. If you have a motorcycle strapped on the back of one of the vehicles, you can even go to different places if you need to simultaneously as long as the weather permits. Otherwise if you had a small 2nd car, like a small hybrid, etc., you would have an all weather separate transportation arrangement. But I don’t know how one
          would do that with a stepvan, trailer, motorcycle, and small car or jeep. But maybe it could be done in a convoy when you change camp. Yeah, that could work. Thanks for your thoughts. Very helpful. regards,

  18. Joe S

    What a great way to start my Monday morning! Although I will admit that reading your articles make it hard to live my current life as a worker drone :-(.
    But… on the bright side you are a source of motivation for me. This year has been my most active year since I was a kid. I trained for and ran my first half marathon, went on a week long boondocking trip to Moab and Western Colorado for mountain biking, hiking and Indian rock/ruin explorations, and continue to do as many nature based activities as the Missouri weather allows.
    I have a few sources of inspiration but I have to say your blog is definitely one of them! Thanks for that Bob.

    • Bob

      Joe how wonderful! I love to here peoples lives are somehow improved by my feeble attempts at writing. I’m plannng to be in Colorado and Moab either in August, September or October. If you are going to be nearby maybe we can meet up.

  19. Peggy

    There’s much food for thought in your post, Bob. When I was a teenager I dreamed of being a vagabond, travelling in a converted school bus. I hitched out west with my boyfriend at the time and had lots of adventures as we crossed Canada but we were broke by the time we got here, due mainly to being ripped off along the way. (That’s a whole story in itself.)
    Anyway, I stayed put in Vancouver and got a series of jobs that I didn’t mind too much. In my 30’s I started earning my living as a self-employed person working as a creative, in jewellery then as a photographer. I think if a person is happy at their work, that’s a big part of being content overall. Having said that, I often wish I could stop my compulsion to constantly accomplish things and just sit and read for a day. I don’t allow myself to do that for some reason. I do, however, get out into nature on a consistent basis every day, even if it’s only for an hour or so. That helps greatly. This summer we’ve made a point of going for a swim in the ocean most days. I think if we at least have a connection to nature, some of our longing for “something else” or “more” is quelled.
    You’re right though, when I read your posts I’m partially living vicariously through you. Due to health problems and the complications of getting my partner in gear, travelling with two dogs, and seemingly endless problems with vehicles, I’m still not living the RV lifestyle. I’d like to at least try it and hope that comes about in the not too distant future. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you handled travelling with Judy in a tight space.
    Overall what I’m trying to say is that while I enjoy my life to a large degree, there’s a longing to have a little more and I think that little more is the RV lifestyle.

    • Bob

      Peggy, everything is relative and some people have a strong compulsion for new things and some people have little. It sounds like you may be more like me, I’m somewhere in-between. I’m partially a homebody but with a need for some travel. The trip to Alaska satisfied that need and now I have mostly lost my itchy feet and I’m looking forward to staying in one place for longer.
      I believe that strong need to accomplish something is one of societies dirty tricks to make us good little worker drones. It’s especilly foisted off on women!
      Like nearly everything else in life, it’s finding the balance that works best for you.

  20. taj

    Ive been reading your page/blog for about a year now, ive got my own little home almost ready to take on the road part time, in a few years it will be full time. You sir are a inspiration and when it seems that the ‘getting there’ will never come, i open the webpage up and read of what you and others have accomplished, and that gives me the umph i need to carry forward with the ‘plan’ which consists of getting my green heat box of a van ready for the next phase of my life, namely on the road. Keep up the great work here, and hope too meet, and shake your hand some day soon.

    • Bob

      Thank you, Taj, I’m very glad to be of some help! Maybe you can make it to the RTR one of these years! My camp is always open.

  21. Jim

    Very interesting website Bob.I drove cross country e-west after waiting years for the “right time”. One Friday afternoon I was sitting at a red light at a Hwy.80 West intersection and recalled a friend once mentioning ” this road will take you all the way to California”. It dawned on me at that very moment if I keep waiting for the “right time” it will never come. By the time the light turned green I manuevered into the WEST lane and 4-5 days later I was crossing the California state line with the clothes on my back. Even dipped into Mexico for a few days. I didn’t go to the Grand Canyon because I wanted to save it for a return trip. Sadly to say that was 7-8 years ago and I still fell into that “right time” trap. I drive a van now and I am already loading up. I think that right time deal is what makes the Gods laugh the hardest or so I have heard. Thanks Bob for opening my eyes !

    • Bob

      Jim, the “right time” trap is what sucks the life and joy out of us. I’m glad you’r seeing it and going to move back into the “NOW is the time!”
      I think you’re going to be glad you did!

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