Go RVing in the Rockies
Photo credit: Christophe Noel

Working in the Himalayas From an RV in the Rockies

In early 2019, we sold everything, packed up an RV, and said goodbye to a fixed address.

When we decided to purchase an RV and travel full-time, it didn’t come as a surprise to our friends and family. Our definition of home has always been flexible. For several years we lived in a cabin in Alaska and once spent an entire ski season holed up in a hotel room. Adopting a home on wheels may have bucked convention for some people, but not us.

Like many full-time RV dwellers, our evolution from weekend escapists to perennial drifters didn’t happen overnight. In an ironic twist, we only became RV-curious after moving into a sprawling modern house nestled in the burbs.

Over time, the walls of our dream home started to close in. Vacations seemed painfully short, house maintenance neverending, and the daily grind too boring to bear. Driving by the local RV dealer every day only added to our sense of stagnation.

I don’t recall the exact moment we both mentally abandoned our brick-and-mortar lifestyle. The transition first started with a subconscious reduction in possessions. Multiple garage sales eventually thinned our home so much it echoed with emptiness.

In preparation for a pending departure, one as yet planned, we squirreled away extra funds and streamlining our finances. My wife later described the whole process as “un-nesting.” Maps and RV brochures started to show up on the kitchen counter with more frequency, and then one day we voiced the plan aloud, “Let’s do it. Let’s buy an RV.”

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The final mooring line to cast off proved the most nerve-wracking. That was the day my wife tendered her resignation and said farewell to a longtime and stable job in finance. If there was a point of no return, that was it.

As a full-time journalist and photographer, I have always worked from home. In addition to freelance work, I founded a nonprofit organization providing safe drinking water solutions to rural communities in Nepal. With the project gaining momentum, my wife didn’t have to find a new job with a digital commute. We had her new gig already waiting as our director of operations.

In the months prior to purchasing our RV, we spent countless hours poking our heads in travel trailers and motorhomes in an effort to best match our needs and wants. Doubts arose as we thought about the logistics of living and working from the road.

While some mobile pros find it feasible to work from a tiny van, we needed more elbow room to prepare for our extended forays into the Himalayas. We settled on a 32-foot fifth-wheel trailer as the ideal solution.

32-foot RV
Photo credit: Christophe Noel

The large floor space and cavernous storage bins help us stage the piles of gear we regularly lug to Kathmandu. The dining table, seldom used for meals, seems perpetually covered in travel documents, permit forms, field reports, and maps scribbled with notes.

Given the 12-hour time difference between the Rockies and the Himalayas, midnight in our RV often involves satellite phone calls with our ground operators in the remote corners of Nepal.

The only constraint we now have is finding a place to camp with sufficient connectivity to use our various communication tools. Through the marvel of technology, we can instantly transport ourselves to Nepal through video chats with doctors, government officials, or just to see what’s happening on the ground in real time.

In June, we helped coordinate response efforts for a Himalayan village ravaged by monsoon rains and landslides. And we did all of that from a river camp in Colorado.

Go RVing in the mountains
Photo credit: Christophe Noel

We never would have imagined we could so easily manage our project on the other side of the world from the cozy comforts of an RV. When the time comes to embark on our multiweek stints in Nepal, we simply roll our rig into a gated storage facility, lock the door, and know when we return our life on the road is ready and waiting.

As much as we love our time in Nepal, we often get homesick for our unfettered and untethered life on the open roads of America.

Many people have asked if we’ll ever return to a home with a fixed foundation. I know we will in due time. But for the moment, we wouldn’t part with the ability to focus on our work while remaining stress-free through the magic of RV travel.

One thing continually resonates with us each time we hitch up our trailer in search of a new place to camp and work: Why didn’t we do it sooner?


This article is sponsored by Go RVing. Check out RV travel ideas, news, and dealer information at gorving.com.