The question, “Have you always been this way?” causes Jim Elmore to grin.
“What, nomadic?” he asks. “My Uncle Hansel, who was nomadic, told me, ‘When you go someplace, don’t come back the same way.’ ”
Jim and his wife, Linda French, decided to live out that advice.
“We had this nice house with great landscaping and a nice office in our house,” Jim recalls. “There was really no reason to leave.”
Despite those sentiments, nomadic callings cannot be ignored.
“Jim’s always thinking outside the box,” Linda says. “He said, ‘Why do we have this house when we can be anywhere working?’ ”
After a trial run with a rented pop-up camper, the couple became fanatics of a new lifestyle. They purchased their own pull-behind trailer, but couldn’t resist a more luxurious ride and soon upgraded to a motor home.
“We loaded up and were e-mailing while we crossed the Mojave Desert,” Jim remembers. “You can’t beat that.”
But, for Jim, the weekend trips weren’t enough. His thoughts soon turned to a permanent life on the road.
“He said, ‘You can try it for a year, can’t you?’ ” Linda recalls. “I thought, ‘Well, heck yeah, I can try it for a year.’ I was ready for an adventure like that.”
They sold their house and their possessions, dumping their earnings into a Prevost bus.
“The first one we looked at was decorated like a whorehouse,” says Jim with a laugh. How he knows this is worth exploring.
“Well, I don’t,” Jim says with a sly smile, then finishes describing the new home on wheels. “There were these lights around the windows and ceilings with marble floors. When Linda saw it, she said, ‘I can live in that for a year.’ ”
The one year they had committed to inexplicably turned into three.
“You aren’t in a routine. You get to meet new people and try new things,” Linda says. “I absolutely loved it, but, unfortunately, it was a huge financial drain.”
“The maintenance expense almost killed us,” Jim says. “It cost us about $25,000 to operate living on the road each year.”
Three years later, the couple decided to come back home. They purchased a midtown house, simultaneously putting their bus up for sale. But, a nomadic spirit is relentless.
“Now that we’re back doing the same things that we did when we left, I’m kind of getting bored,” Linda admits.
This boredom prompted the purchase of a sleek, chrome airstream trailer. Their next excursion is imminent.
“I love Tulsa and I love the people here, but a life on the road always provides a new discovery,” Linda says.
“There is so much out there to do that I haven’t done,” Jim adds.
After many journeys together, Jim and Linda have come to relish the in-between points in their travels—to the exclusion of their ultimate destination.
“As far as where we’re going,” Linda laughs, “We’re not sure.”