In “The Inspiration to Full-Time” series of posts, I shared the various epiphanies that led to my decision to travel full-time. The Minimalists and The Office Hobo being 2 of the first major influences. What I didn’t detail in those blog posts was the influence my cats, Basil and Freddie, had (and continue to have) on the evolving plan. They’re my Nomadicats and a big part of this adventure too!
The Minimalists inspired me to resolve I would never own more than I could fit in whatever vehicle I had at the time. The goal was to no longer feel tied to any one place, just because I didn’t have enough money saved to move. If everything I owned fit in my car, I could go whenever I wanted, whenever the mood struck.
Taking the minimalist thing up a notch was the Office Hobo, who lived in his office for 18 months. But it’s what he did after he was laid off from that job that inspired me. He took up residence in the bed of his truck and made it into a cozy little place that he still calls home, spending many nights parked at the beach in Southern California.
I began minimizing and had to go through my stuff several times to get to the point I could fit everything in my vehicle, including the cats and me. It was a pretty tight fit. Since I lived in Phoenix and drove a Kia Forte, I clearly needed a bigger vehicle and a cooler climate in summer. Unfortunately, there is no cooler climate in summer that would be cool enough to leave 2 cats in the car safely. It was at this point I began to think about ‘that YouTube guy’ (Nomadic Fanatic) I had been watching for a few months, who traveled in an older RV with his cat.
It became clear to me I would need an RV, travel trailer, or camper van. I didn’t know which at the time and I still don’t. (In case you haven’t been playing along, I’m leaning toward a camper van, though a small class C isn’t out of the question) Living in an RV/Van would allow me to be better equipped to handle hot weather no matter where I was, which would be handy because I had also started to realize I wanted to travel full time.
Fast forward to the present. Now that there is a solid plan in progress, I realize I am going to need to leash train these boys and get them microchipped. While I have done neither yet, I plan to buy harnesses this month and begin the process. I know both will take to it eventually, but I expect it to be a little involved. Basil is a bit older and a lot less enthusiastic about change, so he won’t like it at all. Freddie is slightly younger and for some reason never calmed down after being neutered like most boy kitties do. I have no idea how he will take to leash training at first, but I know he will enjoy it more than Basil when he realizes he can now venture outside.
I also know that whatever RV/Van I buy, I will want to install a Fantastic Fan with a built in thermostat. This seems to be a no-brainer for pet owners who may need to be away from their vehicle from time to time for a couple hours. I’ve also seen some very clever litter box set ups that I hope to be able to implement, but will ultimately depend on which RV/Van I choose.
I have had more than one person suggest that it would be easier for me to travel and leave sooner if I just ‘re-homed’ or ‘got rid of’ the cats. I don’t know how to respond to people who would say something like that to me. When I brought them into my home I made a commitment to care for them and there is no way they leave my side. I lost 2 cats 7 years ago and my heart still breaks for them. I can’t deal with anything like that again. My cats are my responsibility, my family, and I love them. Yes, it makes it a little harder, but life without them is not an option.
Both Basil and Freddie have moved several times in the years they’ve been with me. I am prone to need different scenery often and they have always adapted nicely. In fact, I adopted Basil when I lived in Portland Oregon, so he was a year old when we made the trip from Portland to Phoenix in early 2011. Freddie was adopted in Tempe, AZ in June 2011.
I plan to make a few cozy spots in the RV/Van I chose and take the great advice provided by Wheeling It in their RVing with cats post. I already know they can deal with a small space since we’re currently residing in less than 240 sq ft. now and they’re just fine. It may not be easy at first to get them acclimated to the travel life, but they’re worth it and I think once we get on the road they’ll really enjoy having me there almost all the time.