Since the Edwardian era, our insatiable urge to take with us way more stuff than necessary has been mocked by the cheeky string of words “everything but the kitchen sink.” Slightly less catchy but even older is “everything but the kitchen stove” going at least as far back as 1894. Well, that’s a really long time ago. It’s the 21st century, and things have changed a lot. Now we can bring everything and the kitchen sink, the stove, and throw in some bikes for good measure too!
Going full nomad. How did it come to this, traveling with everything and the kitchen sink? Well… yearning, that niggling fear of missing out. With endless places to explore, staying put felt like settling. So we bought a 5th wheel toy hauler to be our new home. There were several months of research, more time than anyone wants to spend with salespeople, a lot of haggling, and then one day, we drove off a lot with a home attached to the truck. We spent a year using the home on wheels only part-time to figure it all out, having never owned anything like it before, and to work out the kinks. Of course, there have been some kinks. The RV industry is notorious for poor quality paired perfectly with poor service. That said, we’ve been fortunate with our industry experiences. And a little troubleshooting builds character… right?!?
With that initial year of intermittent vacations a success, our subsequent first year of living full-time on the road was, for the most part, a perfectly idyllic adventure. Then came along a li’l ol’ virus. The pandemic has been the perfect prescription to slow down, explore closer to home, and take on projects that keep getting put off. Ever since moving into our tiny home on wheels, we’ve had dreams of renovating to fit everything tidily in that tight space and make it ours. The slower pace of the pandemic and less traveling were the little extra nudge we needed to finally take on the task.
“Decluttering to fit into a tiny home on wheels isn’t unlike pursuing a better life. You just take the stuff you like and leave the rest of the shit behind.”
When we left our sticks and bricks home behind to move into 330 square feet perched on four wheels, we felt freedom, the ability to do what we wanted to do when we wanted to do it, without constraints. Well, actually, there are constraints, not least of which is limited space. Becoming nomadic, for us, was a move toward a better life. Decluttering to fit into a tiny home on wheels isn’t unlike pursuing a better life. You just take what you like and leave the rest of the shit behind. Whether it’s life or the home on wheels, there are always little things we can work on to at least try to make it better. We wanted to make the garage a whole lot better!
The original garage was just that, a garage. We’d strap three or four bikes to the walls with bungee cords when traveling, and with no storage, everything else just got piled on the floor. Apologies for the low-quality images; they were snapped as a precaution before putting our 5th Wheel into storage a few years ago.
Custom making everything from cushions to doors couldn’t have happened without friends showing us how it’s done and a massive amount of help every step of the way.
With friends providing heaps of help and the perfect home base for our renovation, we still managed to sneak in an adventure or two over the busy summer. As with any project, we way underestimated the time and money required to complete the task, so a bit of mountain time to clear the head was a must.
Seven months after our bikes were stolen from this spot, we’re back. Upon our return, the RCMP call. They have just recovered our property. Chopped swapped and broken it’s a surreal reunion. What have those bikes seen over the past 200 days? Big shout out to Cst. McCready in Penticton B.C., Trek Bikes, and Cycle Therapy in Lake Havasu City Arizona for putting the clues together. Don’t steal bikes… everybody loses.
“The lie of a pipe dream is what gives life to the whole misbegotten mad lot of us…”
Snow blankets the hills signalling it’s time to move on.
In a normal year we, along with hundreds of thousands of other nomads, would be migrating to warmer climates. But it is not a normal year; there will be no trips to exotic destinations abroad. With our escapades confined to Canada as winter approaches, there’s a poignant reality in the air… The Iceman Cometh! True to the 1939 script, reality may be too much to bear. Until another dose of reality slaps us in the face, we’ll be blissfully chasing our pipe dream of sunshine and warmth as far as we can.
Photography and words: Jacob Johnson