A job with HP, a home in the San Francisco Bay Area, a wonderful circle of friends. Sounds like the quintessential American Dream? Not quite, for Philip May and his wife Tracey, who decided to give it all up and head for the open roads with their two kids, Ally and Josh in a RV. What prompted them to alter their life so drastically? How was the experience? Here is Philip's story.
Philip had a middle management job with HP and Tracey was a sales manager at Mentor Graphics. However the rat race, the hectic rounds of partying, ferrying the kids from one class to another, meant their lifestyle was spiraling out of control. They weren't spending much time together as a family, work spelt dread and the pollution was making them ill. "All in all, we needed to change, but no small change was going to make a difference, it needed to be something big" says Philip.
So without much ado, the couple quit their jobs, rented out their home, sold their cars, bought a motor home and set out to explore the country. Over the last three years, they have covered the 48 contiguous states. They have no fixed plan, they stay at a place as long as they like and "When we get bored of somewhere (usually after a couple of weeks), we pull the plugs and in around 30 minutes, we are driving down the road to somewhere new."
Philip says that the best part of life on the road is "Being able to experience this wonderful country. For example, as we're talking now, I can look out of my bedroom window and see the orange glow of the Arizona sunrise lighting the saguaros and hills in the distance. Once we finish, I can go for a run on some amazing hiking trails, right from my doorstep. In a way, it feels like being on vacation the whole time!" Now that's hard to beat.
The kids did miss school and their friends initially but have now grown extremely close to each other. They are home schooled, which allows them the flexibility to go at their own pace. And they've had a chance to explore the country in a way that expands their learning way beyond the classroom "Just in our first year on the road, we went paint-balling, scuba diving in a cave, ATVing, dune buggying on sand dunes, a segway tour in Washington DC, horseback riding on the beach, swimming with the manatees in Florida, and go-kart racing to mention just a few. Sharing these experiences together brings you closer" says Philip.
Going from a 3000 sq. ft. home to an RV of 300 sq. ft. wasn't easy. Philip explains that "You have to be very ruthless about what you have with you, but it is also a great opportunity to realize how little you actually need and how much junk we normally fill our lives with." Everyone has to pull their own weight and carry out their tasks. You have to respect each other and allow each other their privacy. And there's literally no room for sulks, broods and bad moods!
As for finances, they bought their motor home outright so that eased things a bit. And living in an RV costs considerably less than living in the Bay Area. "In the Bay Area we were paying more than $1,000 a month just in property tax. Now, that covers our entire housing cost, water, electricity, sewer and garbage!" The Mays have started their own business, TechnoRV, selling high-tech travel and safety products to RVers. They run the business out of their RV and participate in RV shows held across the country.
They have thoroughly enjoyed the nomadic lifestyle but realize that as the kids are entering their teens, they now need more stability. Future plans include expanding TechnoRV and buying a campground in a place they like. Philip has written a book "From High Tech to High Plains - An Englishman's Journey Across America to Discover Himself and his Family" which is in the process of being published right now. So until they find a place they are willing to set down roots, the May family continues to forge ahead on their journeys. To learn more about the Mays journey and TechnoRV products, visit their blog http://blog.technorv.com/.
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