For those who don’t know me yet, my name is Olie Moss. I have a little business called Olie’s Images where I get to travel mostly in the Western United States and photograph western equestrian events like team roping, barrel racing, breakaway and a few others. Those events are scattered all over and thus the reason why I travel so much.
This question used to come up more often than it does now. I think it was because maybe it’s more obvious now or because the people that are close enough to feel comfortable asking all know now. However, I can see it in the eyes of the people who ask me where I live. I tell them that I don’t live anywhere anymore because I travel full time. Full time travel, life on the road, nomadic wandering, however you phrase it, it comes with a ton of questions from those who don’t do it and especially from those who want to do it. For those who are interested in creating a life like this for yourselves, this blog post might be helpful for you. If you’re of the nature to pack your life in a backpack and travel full time as inexpensively as possible, this isn’t for you. I’m not really one to live life in the most minimal way. Though, I do agree with The Minimalist’s in many respects, I’m certainly not living that life exactly. Though, there is only room in my life for the things that absolutely add value.
Since travel is part of my business and my business is photography that means that I need to travel with photography gear, right? That’s right. Not only do I have cameras and lenses, I have duplicates of everything as well. I also set up a vendor booth and all the necessities to run a business at each of the events I photograph. All of that gear and equipment requires a certain amount of space. To literally answer the question of how I travel full time, I’ll tell you how I physically do it. I didn’t start out this way but after quite a bit of upgrading in a fairly rapid manor, I’ve acquired a 2019 Grand Design Momentum 397 Toy Hauler 5th wheel. (Close to 45’ long.) I pull it with my 2017 Ford F-350 Platinum. I have an onboard Onan 5500 generator with 60 gallons of fuel for those times when there isn’t a place to plug or if I need to stop along the way to fulfill orders.
For the rest of the time, however, I’m either parked at an arena where I’m shooting an event or I’m parked with friends or family. This year, 2019, I had about 33 events on my calendar. Some were two weeks long, and some were two days long but its fair to say that most of the time I’m probably parked at an arena. For example, I’m at an arena as I write this blog post. The rest of the time I’m either en route or staying with friends and family. I’ve been lucky enough to have friends all over the county and many within a short drive of my most frequented arenas. I really appreciate them letting me stay and most importantly let me use their wifi haha! I do my best to repay them, either by actually just paying them or doing something nice for them.
I schedule some events back to back but I do my best to schedule long periods between events so I don’t just work myself to death. After all, I am technically home every night. So, I might as well as enjoy the place that my home is located for the moment. For example, Brenna and I have gone to the Gulf of Mexico to find wild dolphins. I’ve gone to Sedona, AZ for the weekend and taken a helicopter tour. There’s always something interesting to do wherever I am.
No, there’s no inheritance, my parents don’t pay for any of it, I don’t have a rich uncle, I’m not living like a ran away with the circus either. I pay for everything myself or my business pays it. Many things are business expenses and the rest is up to me. But, really, this whole traveling full time thing is probably much less expensive than traveling most of the time but still having a specific geolocation to go back to after every event. I have a truck payment and trailer payment but I don’t have a mortgage. My trailer is kinda expensive for a trailer I guess, but its way cheap compared to most houses. I hardly every need to buy a hotel room unless I need more help than my trailer can hold. It sleeps five comfortably but seven if I really needed it to. Most events I have 4-8 people working it plus myself. Even if we slept two to a room, that hotel bill would add up much faster than my trailer payment but I wouldn’t have anything to show for it much less any room for gear. I have a 12.5’ garage and its full of camera gear, as is the pass through storage and the attic (plus my golf clubs but those are important).
So, while it looks expensive and sounds expensive. Traveling full time the way I do it is actually pretty inexpensive compared to more conventional ways. Even though I’m not living in a beat up old van and showering once a week, It’s really not terribly expensive. It is actually like having an apartment on wheels. I get it though. Many people have kids, pets, and other things that hold them to a home somewhere. I have never had any interest in those things. I’ve always wanted to be free from undue expenses. In fact, I’m working hard to be debt free ASAP.
My photography business is my excuse and reason to travel full time. It is why I’m able to keep it going. Travel is necessary the way I’ve set up my business. So, many expenses can be attributed to the business. That certainly helps, but the sacrifices I’ve made have been the biggest factor to determine the sustainability of this venture. I do my best to have fun along the way and invite my friends to enjoy life with me too! Having a reason to come stay with friends while not interfering with their lives or even using their bathroom, has helped me stay close to my old friends and gain many new ones. All of this while making my own rules, my own schedule, and my own income. I choose to either work all the time, or take a couple months off. As Seth Godin says, I picked myself.
Thanks so much for reading my little blog post. If you’re not already, follow my adventures and possibly learn more about my RV and Photography Life on my YouTube channel. You can find Olie’s Images on Facebook and Instagram too!