Welcome Newbie from West Coast of USA

How’s it rollin’?! My name is Jaime, I am originally from Portland, OR, but have spent my entire adult life (currently in my mid-forties) in Southern California for climate purposes. It’s too cold and rainy for me up in the PNW, so I snowbird in my van in the Southwest.

I found out I have a genetic disability that affects my joints called, Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome (EDS). The cold weather exasperates my condition so that is why I hang around the warmer/drier climates. This condition has me on SSD, which is why I chose vanlife to be able to move with the weather. If you have heard of this disability or have any questions about it, I would love to chat and spread awareness!

From September 2020 through December 2023, I jumped in my Ford Edge, and drove around all the 48 mainland states several times to see if the nomad lifestyle was something I would enjoy, and I love it! I stopped at over 130 National Parks (with my NPS Passport book, I am a real NERD). I stayed at rest stops, casinos, Walmart parking lots, and a lot of friends and family’s homes across the nation. I also learned more in three years of traveling nomadically than I did my entire life stuck in school as a student, teacher, and professor. I currently run an educational nonprofit, Global Alternative Learning Systems, that I am building the online platform this year to get us launched for travel school and other learning programs (we are 3 years old this year).

October 2023, I finally found the van that had everything on my list of my non-negotiables for vanliving, 1996 Dodge Coachman RV. I donated my trusty Ford (to my nonprofit, we accept all types of vehicle donations, with a motor and clear title). On New Years 2024, I started my vanlife in Seattle, and drove to Southern California where I will hang out till Mid March, then off to Arizona for a while.

Currently, I am searching for my new nomad community and would love to connect. Please find me here or on social media on all platforms @drjaimebrainerd. Also, I have started to blog about my experiences on drjaimebrainerd . com (newbies can’t post links).

Much gratitude for reading my introduction. Please post your favorite nomad tips below. I look forward to learning about vanlife in this awesome community.

Sending lots of love,

Dr. Jaime Brainerd, Ed.D.