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Hitting the Road with Kyle Dunbar Part 2

Former Ink Mastercontestant Kyle Dunbar has packed up his tattoo equipment and hit the road looking for adventure. With his family in tow, Dunbar will be traveling the country and trying to make a living as a roving tattoo artist. Over the coming months Dunbar will share his tales of the road with us here on

I have rewrote and rewrote this many times and its just so… blah… blah….. blah. I have the duty of filling you in on the rest of my family’s adventures from coast to coast, but it seems to pail in comparison to the excitement of what’s going on now. I can tell you about tattooing with Joey “Blue Note Tattoo” Hamilton while Joey was in the last stages of opening his own shop in fabulous Las Vegas. It was a lot funnier tattooing next to Joey than competing against him. Or I could talk about this meal we had that cost more than my first vehicle did, but was worth every delicious penny. The fabulous head chef at “RM” seafood in the Mandalay Bay who just so happened to grow up with my wife, John Church, prepared the meal. Or I could tell you about the California coast, tattooing celebs (well just one celeb, but if I don't name names than you may think it’s someone big) I could go into it in great detail and explain each event until you were bored to tears but I’ll skip ahead and say all in all we had a blast and made all the memories we were hoping to. We also learned that we could make a living traveling, and developed a couple of strategies to help grow our clientele from city to city. Basically we just call the clients we worked on the last time we were in the area and set appointments with them or their friends.

Kyle and his son David on the road.

Kyle and his son David on the road.

Here I am sitting amongst all of my belongings boxed and waiting to be transported to a storage facility. All of my big stuff is listed on Craigslist, and we have about 18 days till my lease is up at my townhouse. At first we were planning on moving to a warm location near a hub airport. Vegas seemed good, we've always liked Florida and although we've never been to Atlanta it was still in the running. But no matter where we would settle we would only be home for a few days out of the month, but still have the rent due. What good is that? I need a home on the road. I need a motor home!!

Somewhere on a train my wife and I figured it all out. What sucks about traveling is the lines, disgruntled employees, cramped quarters, delayed flights and surprise gate changes. The driving places isn’t so bad and the being places kicks F’N ass. So what if the driving part was better, roomier and more comfortable? Then what if the being there was even better because we had all of our home there with us? Not a hotel we pretend is our home, an actual home with home stuff in it set up for doing home things. Well, that would be perfect.

Getting it may be tough. I don't know much about what I'm looking for. And do you know what a new motor home goes for? Many cost even more than the house they foreclosed on me. All of the good used ones are still happily owned by grandmothers and grandfathers and the few that aren’t are still out of a respectable tattooist price range, let alone a tattooist like me. I've had to learn that water damage is the secret killer of motor homes. Luckily the signs of that are easy to find so I’m not overly worried. At my budget the engine is the biggest gamble. You hope that an owner who always kept up the routine maintenance has cared for the RV’s engine, but you have to be diligent and make sure that the reason the RV is for sale isn’t because the owner had never evacuated the toilet waste and the sheriff has tagged it as an unsafe vehicle.

Despite the difficulty of finding the right motor home we figure that taking that step the most logical thing to do for an illogical pair like ourselves. We feel much like our American dream of homeownership was stolen from us but now recognize it as a blessing. We never owned that house and we never really would; even after it was paid off it would own us. We would be taking care of it, paying for its upkeep. We realize now that ownership is an illusion. Sure, in a motor home we won’t be able to collect all of the cool stuff we once thought would makes us happy, but we had all that stuff before and it all became old and boring. We put it in the garage awaiting the yearly yard sale, and moved on to the next shiny object we desired. The things we sought to own that made up our illusion of happiness actually got in the way of our pursuit of actual happiness. Now our plan is to actively pursue happiness wherever that may take us. It may take a while to get everything together but with a goal my wife and I can put our heads together and find creative ways to achieve it. One day we may have a vegetable oil burning diesel carting my family of tattooist to your town to tattoo your story on you. #TravelTattooFamily