Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Life Remains Good

Since I haven't posted in almost a year, I thought I'd give you an update.

Bob and Suanne on a You Tube Video talking about 
Homes On Wheels Alliance's Emergency Fund for Nomads. 8/19
After 10 years of retirement, my good friend Bob Wells and I co-founded a nonprofit called Homes On Wheels Alliance (HOWA), which is a 501(c)3.  I am the Executive Director and Bob is the President.  We are building a Board of Trustees of eleven members.  We help those in need within the mobile community.  As with any start-up, the hours are long and work challenging.  Yet, the rewards have been great.  Not only do I love our mission, but I enjoy and admire the people I work with.  And, to top it off, I've been able to remain a nomad, spending lots of time in nature.

An amazing rock formation called "Feathers," hundreds of feet tall 
over a campground at Frenchman's Coulee in Washington State.  
Found while scouting for Caravan locations, 7/19.
HOWA's first birthday is in a week and I'm proud to say we have already helped several people and are currently accepting applications for three other fully-funded programs -- Nomad Emergencies, Minivan "Home On Wheels," and Solar Panel Kits.

In addition to the above efforts, HOWA has an active Caravan Program, where those in the mobile community can meet up and camp with others.  Furthermore, we are deep into the planning of the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, large gatherings where we expect at least 9,000 people who attend to learn and build community together in the Desert Southwest in January.

A dirt road in New Mexico, amazing views while scouting
Caravan locations, 3/19.
As you can tell, this is not my typical blog post from my retirement years.  One day I'll get back to the luxury of travel by whimsy.  Yet, for now, what I'm doing is equally fulfilling and liberating.  HOWA's work is truly important, my colleagues are a joy to be around, and the community connections have been amazing.  People are good.  Nature remains my solace.

When I decided to take the Executive Director's position, I knew my life would radically change.  I fully expected that I would get back into working long hours and take an active leadership role.  I also knew that this position would require me to become a public figure.  That's been a transition as an introvert who had previously preferred to lead an unobserved life.  Although I'll continue to grow in this role, I'm accepting its changes and challenges.

I love being in my Prius during a rain, the sound on my roof.
Here is the location of our last Minivan Build (across the way), 6/19.
Even though I'm an introvert, I've always liked to perform and teach.  So, the little bit I've shared the camera and stage with Bob (already a full-on public figure) has been kind of fun.  The challenges for me come from being recognized in public, which is kind of unsettling.  Typically people are truly appreciative.  The hardest part, as expected, is being openly critiqued, criticized, and hated on.  That hasn't happened too much; but, as with all negative comments, they take on a life in my head that becomes larger than the many positive comments put together.

My skin is growing thicker.  I'm ignoring the haters and listening to helpful critiques.  Most importantly, I'm focusing on those who I want to help.

Full-time nomading, aka vanlife, vandwelling, rving, is coming into its own in the media.  For example, Bob was recently interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning, a couple of documentary film makers are sharing a camp with a Caravan right now, and a major motion picture about this lifestyle is in post production.  Who would have thought!  I'm glad for the publicity.

Taking a nice break in a forest at sunset in Western Washington State, 7/19.

For all of the camping lifestyle's inconveniences, the benefits -- being in nature, traveling the backroads, sharing campfires among friends, and its affordability -- make it a way of living that I want to promote.   It's the antithesis experience to our society's consumerism, turmoil, distrust, and readiness to fight.   Here, I have the freedom to just to be.  Here, I've found like-minded others.  Here, I embrace myself.  And, if I don't like "here," I've got the wheels to move.


  1. Nice to hear from you Suanne! I'm glad you're enjoying all you do.

    1. Good to see that you all are out on the road these days too!

  2. Just thought that I would say 'hi' and I'm glad to see your new involvement with van-dwelling. I've also been watching Bob's videos and plan to go camping again soon. (I still have a house.) Julie

    1. Good to hear from you. I hope you make it out to the Desert SW again.

  3. Hello, "Suanne". Finally found my way to your blog site. It is lovely and informative.
    I commented here as "anonymous" because "Googl"e still uses my old email address. my name in New Tribalism is "Dan 1", my user name in mainstream society is Daniel Donnason Jones.
    My functional email, in cyber space, is
    I am a 74 year old pale male, that has been interested in New Tribalism and Nomadism since about 1963. Yours's and Bob's good work has led to my discovery of Evolutionary Modern Nomadism...which I have previously overlooked. (failed to see). This opens up opportunities for me to strengthen my understanding about my concerns about Capitalism As It Is Practiced and my theories about the values of designing and constructing New Tribes.
    When you wrote above: "Not only do I love our mission, but I enjoy and admire the people I work with. And, to top it off, I've been able to remain a nomad, spending lots of time in nature.", I was inspired to introduce myself to you...thinking that this might produce Good Things in the future.
    Thank you being You and for all You do for Better Ways Of Living.

  4. Welcome to my blog Dan ... and to the concept of Modern Nomadism. I hope you are experiencing the benefits of this lifestyle yourself. Perhaps I will see you down the road.

  5. Hi Susanne

    I have seen all your videos just started reading your blog.
    I am amazed at the work you and HOWA are doing.
    You inspire me.

  6. Hi Suanne,
    I've been watching you, Bob and many, many other nomads on YouTube for quite a while now. I find your lifestyle so fascinating!! I've actually become sort of "obsessed" with watching all the many different ways that nomads are living. I find myself waking up in the morning wanting to get on YouTube to see any new videos of nomadic life I can watch. It's truly sparked something in me to want to try it for some short trips and have the true freedom experience myself. I'm married and my husband still works, so we can't travel together yet, but hopefully he'll be able to retire in the next 3-4 years and we'll have that opportunity together. I've done enough traveling here, stateside as well as lived in Frankfurt, Germany before marrying, plus visited my son, who is a Major in the Air Force, in Tokyo for 10 days. I'm not afraid of trying it, I've just got to sort out my calendar in between visiting our 12 grandchildren. For now I'm still watching, learning and dreaming of meeting you all on the road one day, even if it's just for a few weeks at a time.
    Thank you for all you do to help people to live their dream! Be safe and well wishes to you & Bob on 1 year of your program, plus many more to come. You all are so inspiring to me!!!!
    Paula Wilder

  7. Yep. I don't see our name so much out there but here I am. My van has been sitting in the woods for 2 going on 3 years as I patch up my little Tahoe primative cabin, making it tolerable. I'm actually a van life newbie. Have much to learn.

  8. Greetings Suanne!

    Ever since I saw your interview with Bob and Jamie, about living and traveling in a Prius, I became obsessed with the idea of owning a Prius for that purpose.
    I recently bought my Prius, and I love it!! Would not change it for anything else. I am not traveling full time in it yet, but camp around and I enjoy it.
    I am obsessed with the nomadic lifestyle channels; especially the ones that show us ways on how to live full & part time—traveling on a Prius and the set-up.
    Thank you for introducing us on how to be nomadic in a Prius.

    Safe travels! : )

  9. I am new at blogging or replying. Suanne, I wrote u a long text. I then hit "publish". I don't know where it went. In fact, I don't know where this will go. If anyone has an answer, please let me know.

  10. How do you find or locate free places to stay at parks or other public lands?

    1. My go to resource for finding free camping places is

  11. Hi Suanne,
    I just a few days ago watched Bob's video of the Prius and the Habitent. I remember watching a video of you and your Prius so when I think of someone living "out of a" Prius I think of you. If it is not too personal, may I ask if you still have your home and do you travel out of your Prius all year long. Thank you for all you contribute to the nomad community. Much health and success to you. David

  12. David, I no longer have a conventional home. I do live out of my Prius all year long. Even when I'm visiting friends who have a conventional home, I live out of my Prius in their driveway. It's my preferred home. That being said, I did just purchase a van (see the blog post I made yesterday). And, I very much intend to keep and use my Prius whenever possible. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  13. Thank you, Suanne, for sharing your beautiful new abode and process with us! My own journey has been quite the odyssey as well, so there's another thing we can both relate to. I hope I can find a good name for my gal, without it sounding pretentious. She represents the good that lays ahead. Thanks again!

    1. Good to hear from you Lisa. The best to you on your journey ... and all the good that lays ahead.


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