American Adventurer Chase Barfield Shares How to Live on the Road with Your Family

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

My name is Chase Barfield. I am originally from South Georgia, United States. I am currently in the Florida Panhandle. Just finished a 3-year journey to live and explore the contiguous 48 United States. I like to explore, hike, go to the gym, snorkel/scuba and watch movies. As for my personality, I am fairly outgoing, confident, bold and extroverted. I am a friendly person that can carry on a conversation with just about anyone.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

How and why did you become a nomad?

I am an investor, entrepreneur and businessman. Managing or participating in the various companies I own/am partners in does not require me to be in one place. My wife came to me one day and said, “You can work from anywhere in the world, but we never go anywhere.” So, we had a discussion about how to fix that. We home school our sons and I can work from anywhere that I have internet, mobile phone signal and access to a regional airport. So, within a month or two we had placed some items into storage, sold the rest, bought a cargo trailer and hit the road.

I continued doing what I was doing before I was a Nomad. As stated, I am an investor, entrepreneur and businessman. My immediate family (wife and sons) were completely supportive. We are a team. And, it was no surprise to my extended family or friends. My wife and I are solution oriented people who are prone to make decisions like this and just execute them. Life is too short not to live it fully.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

Why is having a nomadic life important for you?

It was important for a few reasons. 1) We did not feel like we were where we should be, geographically. But, how would we know where we wanted to be if we did not visit other places? This was one way to do that. 2) We want to eventually build a house. Renting multiple houses across multiple states has allowed us to experience what we want and do not want in our home. 3) All of like to explore and seek adventure. And being a Nomad is one heck of an adventure. 4) We wanted our sons to experience their own history rather than just sitting at home and reading about it.

This journey of being a Nomad created a few important and positive changes. 1) Getting rid of all of our “stuff” was really freeing. It was to a point where our stuff owned us. Selling or donating most of it reclaimed us owning our stuff. 2) How we evaluate things has changed. For example, on the road, we only had so much space. So, we compared things for their size, weight, utility and flexibility to determine if we really wanted it and if what we were buying was the best fit. 3) Being on the road with only my immediate family really brought us together and made us even stronger. We were in states where we knew no one and we had to rely upon each other for everything.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

How do you finance your nomadic life?

I financed my Nomadic Life with my businesses. One of my businesses is a Strategic Advisory Firm. It is where I spend most of my active time. That business, called Take Control LLC, was the main source for our expenses. Anyone that can work from the internet can follow in our footsteps. The biggest expense was the places we rented each month. We rented vacation rentals because they were furnished and all amenities were included. Places were from $1200 USD to $3000 USD per month. We had to have places to sleep five people. So, smaller families or couples could do this on an even lower budget. Our expenses in our Nomadic Life were actually less than our stationary life.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

How do you build a social life as a nomad?

In today’s hyperconnected world, it is easy to maintain current relationships. Technology (video conference apps) allow you to speak face to face with people. And we were staying in places where people liked to vacation. So, we actually ran into people we knew more than once while on the road. Also, we met all kinds of people. IT is not hard to socialize. People will ask “Where are you from?” When you reply, “We actually travel full time.” That is an instant conversation starter. My wife and I even met a couple at a baseball game that we still keep in contact with. They were from Germany, live in China and just had a baby which they named, Noah, the same name as our eldest son. And, our eldest son actually found his current girlfriend of two years or so, while traveling. A social life is not hard as long as you just leave the house. There are events going on constantly everywhere we go.

Also, there are online groups all over the place that cater to travelers. Others who travel share tips with each other and most are quite friendly and open to talk to.

As for cultural barriers, no real issue there. We still do what stationary people do. We simply pick up every 3 to 5 months and go somewhere else. Most people are very inquisitive and cordial with us when they find out we travel full time. They associate our travels with us being on permanent vacation, which is not accurate. But, it makes them want to know what we do and how we do it. So, no real barriers.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

Where do you live and work as a nomad?

We rent vacation rentals, mainly from HomeAway.com. There is a link on our site (towards the bottom). The only difficult thing was packing up the house into our travel trailer and then unpacking on the other end. But, we got good enough that we were able to pack one day, load the next and move on the 3rd day. Then we could unpack in one day and be almost completely setup within 2 days. Once we were into the house, we cooked, ate and slept like others in stationary lives.

I have an all in one computer that I travel with and a folding table for my desk. I commonly find a corner or a room to setup in. And, I wake up, eat breakfast and start work like most. The big difference is that I will schedule hiking or exploring into my work week. Less people are at these public places in the middle of the week. Honestly the biggest challenge is when I change time zones. I get accustomed to a certain work schedule (meaning time to start and stop work) and when I change time zones I have to make adjustments. But it is not a very big challenge.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

How do you bring your things with you?

We have an extended Ford Expedition SUV and a 5 foot x 8 foot cargo trailer. We have forty-two 12 gallon plastic bins that we put our stuff in and stack in the trailer.

We bring some things in the trailer that are important for the road, like a trailer spare tire, hydraulic jack, grease gun, lug wrench, rubber and metal hammer and a some regular tools (screwdrivers, pliers, etc).

Some other important gear is our hiking gear. We have one pair of hiking boots each, water bottles and two backpacks: one with a bladder in it for water that is used for hiking where we are not far from civilization. If we hike far away from civilization, we have other backpacks to hold more equipment in case of any emergencies.

As for gear to get my work done, I have an all-in-one computer and a bin of networking and technical equipment (routers, file storage, etc).

No real bags, the way that you would think. We have forty-two 12 gallon plastic bins. Each Nomad was allotted two bins for clothes and two bins for personal effects (non clothing items). We packed clothes for all climates in those bins. Instead of having heavy sweaters for winter, we had some long sleeve shirts that could be worn in the Fall and then we put a heavy jacket over it for winter. That saved space. And, a great space saving tip is to roll your clothes, not fold them. More clothes will fit into the same space. At first, it felt like we did not have enough clothes. But, as we traveled and some clothes got ripped or ruined, we actually did less and less replacements. We figured out that we had more than enough clothing with two bins.

How do you organize things in your bags?

Again, we have plastic bins. The only time we use a bag is when we need to stay in a hotel between destinations. We will pack the trailer and the SUV but have a light bag we can bring into the hotel so we do not need to haul a whole suitcase into the hotel.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

How important to have waterproof/water resistant bags?

It is very, very important to have water resistant bags while hiking, for more than one reason. First, you sweat. If your bag is not water resistant, any dry clothes you have in your bag will absorb moisture from your bag and your bag will absorb your sweat. Second, no matter how well you plan, if you hike very much, you will get caught out in some kind of rain. Having a water resistant bag keeps your content dry.

Another tip, keep ziplock bags in your backpack. If you need access to your camera, GPS or phone while it is raining, you can put your electronics in the bag and it will keep it dry. If you get a big enough one, you can fit your hand into the bag and operate the device while keeping it dry.

Finally, there was one instance where we hiked up and over a rock ridge. And the only way back was to follow the river. We were able to stay on the side for most of the way. Then we got to a narrow gorge and the only way to continue was to get in the water, over our heads. So, I jumped in and swam down the gorge to a place where I could stand. Then my sons threw their bags one at a time to me. Water resistant bags kept things dry from any splashing during this ordeal.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

How do your bags and gear hold up?

Our backpacks have held up for the last three years. Our heavy packs are made of canvas. Our lighter packs are made of a water resistant, ripstop material. Also, you do not have to spend hundreds of dollars on a backpack for normal hiking. All of ours cost less than $100 each.

All of our gear was great. We did have to fix a blowout on our trailer once. That was it though. Proper maintenance makes things last a long time.

Any gear you wish you had brought with you from the beginning?

No. We were pretty well prepared from the beginning, however, we definitely brought too much gear. Things were not difficult to find though. We labeled every bin we had, so it was easy to find anything we needed.

What has been your best gear purchase below $100?

My hiking boots. They are Hi-Tec Bandera Mid Waterproof boots. I hiked in almost every state with them, city, desert, mountains, everywhere. They kept my feet cool when it was hot, warm when it was cool and my feet were always dry.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

What is your best advice for new and experienced nomads?

Being a Nomad is simply living a life that is not stationary. It is not a live of vacation. So, plan your life just like you would for being stationary, but make sure you look for things that are lighter, more durable and have a higher utility and flexibility factor. Also, go into this knowing that things will likely go wrong, you might get lost or something may break, no matter how much you plan. Freaking out will be your enemy. Keep calm and make a plan. If the problem seems huge, break it up into smaller pieces and take one piece at a time.

If people have successfully been living Nomadic for years, it is likely that they have their own system worked out. No two Nomads are the same. Each has a different reason for being Nomadic and a different journey ahead of them. So, if they are a few years in and still successfully living a Nomadic Life, they probably already know where to go for advice and answers to help them on their journey.

Chase Barfield - Living Nomad Style

What will the future bring?

Right now we are settled into the Panhandle of Florida. Our next destination to explore will be Hawaii, then Alaska. No gear to dream of. Last thoughts are that being a Nomad is simply lifestyle design. A stationary life is not what you want so you design a mobile life. If that is something you really want, the odds are that you can design it if you are really committed to it.

Also, it does not have to be set forever lifestyle. We moved from vacation rental to vacation rental every 3 to 5 months. Someone could start out this way and decide to go to another country and live there for a year, then to another country for a year. Or, someone can actually have a home base to keep their stuff and journey places for a few months at a time.

There are various methodologies for being a Nomad, Explorer or Traveler. Just decide what your journey looks like, plan for that and get started. Never lose sight of why you are doing it and ignore the comments of those who would try to get you to go off of your path. Safe Travels.

Visit Chase Barfield and his family on their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter


MightyGoods share interviews that will help you upgrade your life!

  • Join our newsletter and get tips and tricks from top athletes and great adventurers every week.
  • You can also follow us on Facebook.
  • Help us do more interviews by visiting Amazon through this link. It costs you nothing - and really helps us run the site!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

32 Shares
Tweet
Share32
Share
Pin