Vagabonding Case Study: The Altmans

The Altmans

Age: 38

Hometown: Southern Minnesota

Quote: “Kids are awesome, but it takes a whole other skill set and resources to travel with them.

How did you find out about Vagabonding, and how did you find it useful? Through Tim Ferriss. My wife and I have taken so many trips and have always wanted more. The idea of traveling our whole lives has always been a dream. After reading Vagabonding we wished we would have done things differently before we had kids. Kids are awesome, but it takes a whole other skill set and resources to travel with them. For 5 years, we toiled with how we could travel more. We were taking 10 camping trips a year to get our travel fix and one international trip without kids. The book was constant inspiration for our current slow travel method. Being from Minnesota, almost everyone goes somewhere warm for a week in the winter. I noticed they were trying to jam as much as they could into their all-inclusive trips. They never got to relax. In some ways we used to be like that, until I read vagabonding. Now, the shortest time we spend any where is one week. Ideally, when we find a beautiful area, we spend a month. It is amazing what you can learn in a month about a place.

What is your job or source of travel funding for this journey? I had a fairly good sized supplement business as part of our practice and quickly turned it into a mail-order business. I do nutrition and supplement consulting all the while trying to build a bigger blog network. My grand plan would be to have our blog create enough income to allow us international travel. I love to write about travel.

Do you plan to work on the road? Definitely, wi-fi is my friend.

What was the reaction of your friends/family/colleagues as you planned your trip? As expected, only a few family members were supportive and only 3 friends. Everyone else couldn’t conceive the idea and could never live with an unknown future. Unfortunately, my mom didn’t want us to go. That was tough.

Any tips or lessons learned from the travel-preparation process?

  1. Oh my, yes. We came from a traditional family setting with a big house and lots of stuff, and we weren’t even shoppers. Even after jettisoning a mountain of stuff, we still had too much. Before we left we had a huge garage sale. Fortunately, the first month we stayed in Minnesota and camped with family. What a blessing. We able to off-load and entire pick-up of stuff we thought we needed. No kidding. If you are going to start your trip camping, start close to home, family, or a storage shed. You’ll get rid of stuff the first two weeks. Now, after 3 months, we have even more stuff to get rid of when we see some family in a month.
  2. Have games, books, movies, crafts, computers, etc for the kids on rainy days. There are days when you just don’t want to do anything.
  3. I had a major crash course in all-things-motorhome related before we left. I had it worked on by 2 different mechanics and I stood there and asked a lot of questions. I paid extra for it, but it was well worth it. I knew nothing, and within a month, I knew more than most campers. Know your rig or other mode of transportation, so you can take care of it, or be prepared for any emergency. We had a tire blow out the first day we left the state.
  4. If you are going to camp full time, be sure to have numerous small trips under your belt first to see if you enjoy it.
  5. Have a little extra cash. We burned through money like firewood for the first 2 months until we got enough experience to travel cheaper and slower.

How long do you hope to spend on the road? That’s a tough question. If we can do it forever, I think we will. Exploring the world is way too much fun. Then again, we have kids and we constantly wrestle with the idea of settling down again. They certainly don’t mind traveling and we would have never done it, if they weren’t so good at it. We’ll travel for at least a year.

Which destinations do you hope to visit? We already made one of our goals. That was to visit the Oregon coast. We next want to take the kids to all the southwest National Parks and backpacking in the Grand Canyon. If we get really good at this stuff, we would like to continue camping through Europe, and then New Zealand. Both of which have strong RV camping cultures and beautiful places to see.

Which experiences are you most looking forward to? Seeing my kids learn and light up when seeing new things. Our 6 year old was floored when seeing mountains for the first time. My kids had their first experience with the Pacific Ocean last month and God was smiling on us with picture perfect weather. They will always remember that afternoon, and that is really why we travel. If we make the jump to Europe it will be amazing to experience new cultures with our kids.

What are you packing for the journey? Since we are traveling in an RV and sticking to warmer climates, we have basic clothing. We also have our basic household items, 2 laptops, and all the basic camping supplies. If you want a full list, that will take quite awhile. I have already started thinking about what we would take to Europe, and that would be a good list.

Do you have any worries or concerns about the journey? After our tire blow-out I have the general worries about mechanical breakdowns. I also worry about major emergencies with my kids. Ironically enough, I now worry about being chased by dogs on our bikes, because it happened to me, luckily I was by myself. Maybe, most of all, I worry about running out of money to keep our journey going. We are very frugal, but gas is expensive for an RV.

How can we best follow your adventures? You can follow us from our website with RSS and weekly email updates.


Are you a Vagabonding reader planning, in the middle of, or returning from a journey? Would you like your travel blog or website to be featured on Vagabonding Case Studies? If so, drop us a line at and tell us a little about yourself.

Posted by | Comments Off on Vagabonding Case Study: The Altmans  | November 24, 2010
Category: Vagabonding Case Studies

Comments are closed.