Road Weight


I just thought I’d post a little personal tidbit here. Your mileage may vary, but I’ve noticed something wonderful about living on the road. Instant weight loss.

When I first started full-timing in 2008, a 29 year old man who had spent the past few years living in a city with no car (read: biking and walking everywhere), I weighed 175lbs. I was in shape, but not overly so. Though city life as I lived it meant lots of moving around, there was also a lot of eating out at restaurants and sitting around in my house.

Four months into full-time traveling, I’d dropped ten pounds. I still frequently ate out at restaurants (part of the traveling experience!) and wasn’t doing anything else on purpose to lose weight.

But I was biking much more. Instead of short rides to some specific location, I was riding miles and miles around Austin and West Texas, just exploring. There was considerably less “sitting around” as an RV is just not as comfortable as a house. And I wanted to see everywhere we went in detail.

Six months later, my appendix ruptured, got infected, and I was bedridden for a month. My weight dropped to a scary 146lbs.

Now I’m not counting that as weight loss from travel, just keeping my actual weight in perspective. Within a month I’d bounced back to 160lbs and maintained that for over a year. Again, doing nothing to purposely manage my weight. Just living the full-time lifestyle, hiking, biking, and I’d moved into a Volkswagen Bus which meant practically no time spent sitting still as with the Lady, Tristan and I all in the bus there wasn’t room to just lounge around. We walked all over, I spent a lot of time crawling in, under and around the bus working on it, and life was naturally healthy.

Our second son, Winter, showed up in the Lady’s belly, and after a few more months of moving around, we settled down for the cold season in Manzanita, Oregon. We put the bus in storage and picked up a Toyota 4runner. We stopped walking anywhere and, with a big ol’ pregnant mama, drove just about everywhere. The sun set before 5pm, and so most of our days were spent sitting. I sat on a couch to work away the mornings, we sat in the car driving up and down the coast every afternoon, then lounged around in the house all evening.

Within six months I’d gained 25 lbs, for a total 185. I was bigger than I’d ever been, and felt like it, too.

When Winter arrived, we hopped back in the bus and I dropped down to 175. Though we were living the road life, having an infant around limits the amount of hiking you can do.

Over the next couple of years (more traveling & another baby) I rose and fell with the amount of travel we did, until topping out at 201 lbs after our baby Wylder was born.

That’s big. I was a big guy. I hated it, but it was what it was.

We then hit the road in the Airstream last Spring, fully back into hiking and living outside. I was down to 180lbs by mid-Summer.

Then again we stopped and rented a house in Astoria, Oregon for a few months last winter. I shot back up to 190.

Two months of traveling like this again and I’m back down to 175.

Living in houses promotes laziness, at least in me but I’d wager in most people the same applies. It’s easy to sit around on the couch and watch Pawn Star marathons. When it’s cold or rainy outside, the motivation to get out and “do” just dies away.

I know lots of retiree full-timers in their rock star Class A RVs often live in them like houses anyway, but for the rest of us, stuffed into small places and eager to go live amongst the vast massive gorgeousness of wherever we may roam, this life is naturally healthier, at least more active.

It’s closer to being a homosapien, wild and free like animals, than a modern human, with all of our technological shortcuts. We build fires, we don’t turn on heaters. We daily gather water and setup camp, we don’t turn on faucets and wake up to ready to use homes.

Fluctuations in weight like I’ve experienced are generally deemed unhealthy, but the track record shows that living like this, especially for me, is a significantly better way of life than in a stick house.

Plus I do like having my t-shirts accentuate tattoos on my arm, not a bowl around my belly.