Deciding on nomadism

Deciding on nomadism
Backpacking Coyote Gulch, UT

On December 23, 2021, on our way up Big Cottonwood Canyon, we got stuck in holiday ski traffic. Our intended target was Brighton Resort, but we set out too late and we became enclosed in the stop-and-go convoy of fellow late-rising goobers. Fiona and I were caffeinated and began musing about the longer-term trajectory of our lives. We lived in San Francisco and yet we were on our second month in Utah, working remotely and staying with my family. The longer we stayed and skied, the more our apartment in Noe Valley looked like an outrageously expensive storage unit.

"What if we just did this, but, like, other cities for all of next year?" Fiona wondered out loud. Everything about that idea suddenly clicked.

We'd batted this concept around before, like in 2020 when lots of other people were heading out on the road, but we weren't ready at that point. For most of the pandemic, we felt constantly under threat that our jobs would issue a "return to office" mandate and we'd once again find ourselves on the ol' Bay Area commute. But it didn't happen. And then it still hadn't happened nearly two years later. We learned to love working from home. Fiona transitioned to remote status to fend off any decree that she be in some office building by some time, and my company has always been friendly to distributed workers. Now was the time.

Two days after our conversation, I gave our landlord notice. We bought a car in early January, and we were on the road by the 20th.

The plan was roughly this: Do a giant loop around America for maybe 1-2 years and come back to the Bay Area for more stationary living. Allow for the possibility that we will fall madly in love with some other part of the country, or that we want to live nomadically for even longer.

The result: We fell madly in love with the Teton Range in Wyoming. We bought a house on the Idaho side near Driggs (significantly more affordable, though not exactly cheap).

What the future holds: "Slowmadism." Our big learning from '22 was that our pace was too aggressive to be sustainable. We found that we really like having a home base, particularly because we load out our car with gear for the present season (backpacking/mountaineering for the summer, and ski stuff for the winter) and it's really nice to have a place that isn't my parents' house to drop off all the stuff we're not using. We're probably going to target 60-75% of a given year at our basecamp in Idaho and then the remainder on the road. At least, this is how we're structuring 2023. More to come!

A retro on 2022

A review of our year on the road
Takeaways from nomad life.

Travel log

A log of where I’ve been