Travelers That Inspired Us
This page talks about the travelers who inspired us to set off on a full-time RVing and sailing travel adventure. If you enjoy real-
life adventure stories, have a look at some of these. Perhaps these voyagers will inspire you to set off on a travel adventure too!
WEBSITES and BOOKS
Tim and Cindie Travis are true adventurers. They set off on their bicycles from Prescott, Arizona, on March 30, 2002, and have
been riding around the world ever since. In the first two years they rode through Central America to the bottom of South America.
Then they spent two years riding through China. From there they rode through Australia and New Zealand, and today tthey are
far from finished. They plan to travel by bike for another twenty or more years! They have written two books while on the road,
made videos and maintain a huge website. Their story is filled with jaw-dropping moments. One of the most profound for me
was when they arrived in Australia after two years in rural China and stood awestruck in front of a drinking fountain at the airport.
They hadn't seen running water in two years! Tim's book The Road That Never Ends describes in detail the process they went
through to extricate themselves from their workaday lives. His tips for preparing financially and emotionally for a life of travel are
very helpful. Their story is especially meaningful to me because I remember when they used to bring their dilapidated RV down
to Phoenix to join our club's group bike rides on the weekends. They sometimes talked about their plans to ride off into the
sunset, but it sounded so far-fetched. Who would really do that? They did!
My favorite true-life adventure book is Tania Aebi's Maiden Voyage. At 17, in the late 1980's, she set off from New York City to
sail around the world by herself in a 26 foot sailboat. She finished just before her 21st birthday, making her the youngest solo
sailor to accomplish a circumnavigation, although a technicality kept her out of the Guinness Book. Hers is a great coming-of-age
story, beautifully written by Tania and Bernadette Brennan (now Bernon).
Bernadette Bernon must have taken Tania's story to heart when she helped her to write it, because she and her husband
Douglas embarked on six years of sailing in the Caribbean and US East Coast during the early 2000's. They wrote monthly logs
for Cruising World magazine and maintained a terrific website. Their favorite places were the San Blas Islands of Panama and
the reefs off Belize, and you will find yourself melting into the sea and sun as they did when you read their descriptions of these
An Embarrassment of Mangos by Ann Vanderhoof is another adventure story that inspired both of us. This couple sailed their
boat from Toronto out the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Caribbean and back on a two year jaunt. She loved the local foods, and
she starts every chapter with a recipe she learned from the people on each island. She has excellent descriptions of their
adjustment to the pace of life in the tropics after taking a sabbatical from their thriving publishing business, and she writes
poignantly about trying to maintain that carefree spirit after they return home. Her shock upon their return when they threw open
the door of their storage and saw the stacks of stuff they still owned -- and hadn't needed for two years at sea -- is palpable.
Below are links to these travelers' books. I was riveted by each of these books, and the stories are a large part of what propelled
me off the couch and into the world of full-time travel. There are two additional books in this list. The first is by Emillio Scotto,
an amazing Argentinian who took his Goldwing motorcycle on a round-the-world journey to 285 countries over 10 years. He left
with $300 in his pocket. I have not read his book yet, but I saw his motorcycle and memorabilia at a terrific exhibit in Don
Laughlin's Riverside Casino's "car show" in Laughlin, Nevada. The last book in this list (rounding out the requisite six books for
this type of display) is Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. This is the ultimate fictional travel story, among many other things, and it
changed my life when I was 14. Like the other tales in this list, it describes ordinary folk leaving home to journey into
Hunting around the web for someone doing free-spirited RV travel fulltime, I found Tioga and George, a great adventurer whose
footsteps we eventually followed. There is a good website full of RVers' websites and blogs: RV Resources and another is:
During our stay in San Diego in October, 2008, we met Stephen Mann and Kathleen Torres who took their 39' sailboat around
the world via the southern route -- south of the Capes of each continent -- planning just five stops along the way. They did the
trip in just over 8 months, finishing by June, 2009. For reference, a "fast" cruise around the world on a sailboat generally takes
2-3 years, and most cruisers take 4-8 years to complete a circumnavigation. Their blog is on svtawodi.com. We met them at
their open-boat going away party a few days before they left.
Before we left on our own travels, I wanted to learn more about the equipment and budgets that were required by travelers, and I
found the website of Gilana, a boat sailed by a South African family of four to the eastern coasts of South and North America and
to the Mediterranean and Europe. This boat is amazingly well built and equipped for this kind of trans-oceanic travel. The photo
of the battery bank -- ten Trojan 105 6-volt batteries -- is astonishing. If we were to put that battery bank in our fifth wheel we'd
crush the truck! Not quite, but it would certainly fill the entire basement compartment. This website also discusses their budget in
detail, something I found very helpful. I was amazed when I emailed them with a question and received a reply -- from the middle
of the Atlantic Ocean as they made one of several crossings.
Everyone wants a brand new home to travel in, whether it's a glorious yacht or a mega Class A. However, it is not necessary. I
enjoyed the website of the Deckers who set out from San Diego in the early 2000's in an older modest sized mass production
boat they had sailed for years on the Great Lakes. They loved their boat so much they named it "Limerence" which refers to that
glowing state you feel when you fall in love. They were also part of the west coast group held together by the magazine Latitude
38 which hosts an annual migration from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, encouraging a "class" each year of people
making their first "puddle jump" from the Americas to the South Pacific. However, they went to the Caribbean and Meditterranean
after arriving in Cabo rather than heading west.
Maintaining your travel home, whether boat or RV, takes discipline, and I was floored by the detail of the maintenance log that
was followed by the couple aboard Heartsong. This website is also interesting because they left home with a finite trip of a few
years in mind. They knew they would be returning to their workaday lives, but they had a blast while they were gone. Not
surprisingly, they found it agonizing to return home and sell the boat!
Among RV travelers I found very few websites that gave the kind of detailed budget and equipment information I was looking for.
Most of those issues are very well addressed in several online forums, however. These forums are terrific for getting survey
answers to your questions. Usually the question has already been posed a few times, so a search of the forum will turn up the
answers without your having to post the question yourself. The only caveat about online forums is that you have no context for
the answers you receive. Sometimes the answers are written by true experts, and sometimes they are mere guesses written by
others. Also, the person writing the answer may have the same world view and travel style as you do, or they may not, and this
can skew the value of what they have to say.
My favorite RV forum is the NuWa Owners Forum, and not just because we live in a NuWa product! This forum is monitored by
the CEO of NuWa, Mike Mitchell. His presence is felt on every page, and this keeps the forum from deviating into personal rants.
Most of the issues discussed apply to all brands of RVs, as the component parts and appliances in all RVs are the same. I did not
realize how important this forum is to product development at NuWa until I spent a month in Chanute, Kansas, home of NuWa
headquarters. While I was there, I spent a lot of time on this forum between factory visits. I was shocked as heck when I
wandered into the plant and found that all the managers I talked to had read my forum entries. It seems that even though Mike
was out of town at the time, he monitors the forum and forwards valuable entries to the appropriate managers for their review.
Another great forum is the Arctic Fox & Nash Owners Forum. This is not monitored by the CEO of Northwood Manufacturing,
but what I like is that most Arctic Fox (and Nash) owners do a lot of drycamping and boondocking, so many issues related to that
kind of travel are discussed. The Airstream Owners Forum also has some good info.
Escapees has an excellent forum as well. This forum has an area for people planning their escape into the world of fulltime RV
travel, and they organize themselves in "classes" with graduation dates in upcoming years when their dreams will come true.
The biggest forum is RV.net. The good thing about this forum is that it is broad in scope, as it is not tied to a manufacturer or
club. However, the downside is that it is often a place where people get sidetracked into rants. Emotions run high on this forum,
and good factual information is often lost in the process.
GENERAL TRAVEL WEBSITES
A terrific travel website that offers articles by many writers on destinations around the world is GoNomad.com. Another excellent
For some amazing worldwide adventures, see: Everything-Everywhere.com.