Cherie Ve Ard & Chris Dunphy (Technomadia)

Cherie Ve Ard & Chris Dunphy (Technomadia) 11


Travels: Full-time

Traveling Since: April 2006

Business Name: Two Steps Beyond LLC


Occupation: Technology Advisors, App Developers, Authors

Here is Their Story

The Income

We’ve pursued multiple streams of income, so that we’re not dependent on any one of them.

Our top income source right now is running our website, where we keep on top of the mobile internet industry. We offer a book, premium membership service and advising.

We also have created a few mobile travel apps for iOS and Android that we utilize in our own travels. This provides a mostly passive income source, that requires some updating throughout the year.

And we also consider selective advising to business clients that are well aligned with our skillsets and interests. We combine a unique combination of social media proficiency, technical advising and product management to help launch new products & services.

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Getting on the Road

We each started nomadic life solo, and met along the way.

Chris used to work in a traditional office setting for a major Silicon Valley tech company as an industry analyst. His job required a lot of travel, but he was never getting enough time in the places he visited to enjoy them. When his position was downsized it was the perfect catalyst for him to hit the road on his own terms.

Cherie ran a software development company with her parents – working entirely remotely from her home. She always had wanderlust, and was exploring extended personal travel, while continuing to work remotely.

When we met in 2006, it was ideal to explore our new connection by joining our lives on the road. Cherie just continued running her company remotely and Chris took on consulting projects for clients.

Over the years, our we combined our skills to create products (our mobile apps), Chris joined the family company and we began consulting together on projects. When Cherie’s father passed in 2013, we decided to also close the family software business and find a new life/work balance that wasn’t as focused on billable hours and keeping traditional work hours.

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The Fears

Keeping connected and work/life balance, for sure. Back in 2006, 3G was just being deployed for cellular data speeds. But slower speeds were still much more prevalent. As we started in small travel trailers, our satellite option was on a tripod and had to manually assembled at each location – which was not always practical.

Some of the clients we supported were mission critical applications, and we had to be accessible during normal business hours.

We planned our travels around where we could get a signal, or decent WiFi and would often miss out on taking more interesting routes. One of us would often have to be in the passenger seat working, and missing out on the views.

Thankfully, mobile connectivity has come a long way, and it’s easier than ever to get super fast speeds from some pretty remote places. We still struggle with the work/life balance thing – even though we have redesigned our work life to be less dependent on schedules.

The Awesome Side

We love the location independent nature of our chosen lifestyle. We actively avoid commitments that are tied to a date and location, so that we maintain flexibility to be where we need or want to be.

Whether we are called to an awesome view, attending a convergence with friends or really being with loved ones when they need us. Nothing is more valuable than quality time. Being able to ‘move’ locally to be near Cherie’s parents when her dad was ill was absolutely invaluable. We didn’t have to take time off work or worry about a yard to maintain back home. We could just be there. We had our own home in the area to re-charge at and be in our space, and stay on top of our work projects.

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The biggest challenges are overcoming all of the potential logistics of working on the road. Where do you owe taxes at for what income streams? Where is the best place to incorporate your business? What legalities do we need to be aware of? How do we get viable health insurance and business insurance? How do we best avoid our RVs being considered commercial vehicles if they are also our home offices?

There are not many legally trained folks out there who can advise us mobile workers, especially the self employed who are working across state lines remotely and earning incomes in more virtual ways. A lot of this is in new territories and there’s not a lot of precedence out there to guide us.

How are we overcoming this? Well, that’s why we’re here. Hopefully with the combined power of many of us coming together via Xscapers, we can navigate this stuff together.

For the Aspiring

Carefully consider your own tenacity and adaptability. It’s easy to view the RVing lifestyle as a constant vacation – particularly from the outside, or in your first few months. And it is a wonderful lifestyle that can take you to many wonderful locations.

But that work thing can get in the way of your adventures. It can be stressful trying to find enough bandwidth to make that 3pm video conference call, when you really want to be hiking that trail you just discovered. The work life balance thing is difficult, especially when your office space may also be in your kitchen. It’s easy to fall into working too much and not remembering to take time for your adventures. And it’s easy to get distracted with constant new places, new people and fun things to do and let work fall behind.

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In the End are we Happy?

Absolutely! We’re going on 10 years on the road this year, and it seems like we’re just getting started. Despite the challenges, and taking breaks from RVing by exploring other nomadic modalities from time to time – we keep coming back to RVing as our home base.

There’s nothing like getting to explore all the time and never having to pack & un pack a suitcase.

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