On April Fools Day 2015 we changed the trajectory of our life…
We sold most of our belongings, put a few necessities into storage, moved our family of 7 into a 30′ Class C RV, and took off on what we thought was going to just be a 5 month adventure. I’m not going to bore you with the vivid details of our story but if you’re interested you can head over to our About Us page.
Here we are, almost 5 years later. Living a dream I never thought could be possible.
For almost 5 years, we’ve been traveling the world and RV living full time with our 5 kids who are now between the ages of 8 and 20!
“If you want to be given everything, give everything up.” -Lao Tzu
We Weren’t Even Campers
Before 2010, we had NEVER gone camping as a family or even as a couple. Growing up, I often camped out in the desert on weekends to ride ATV’s but Victor had never camped a day in his life.
In 2010, after being kinda bored with our yearly vacations to Kauai, I rented a Class A Motorhome, handed Victor the keys and said “We’re going on a road trip.”
Victor drove it with white knuckles all the way to the Sequoias. It was the first time for anyone in our family to visit a National Park.
By the end of this trip, I was hooked.
Why We Decided to Live in Our RV
A few months after that first camping experience, we bought our own Class A and started taking road trips as well as camping locally on the weekends.
By summer of 2012, we were spending almost more time camping and road tripping in our RV than being at home but we still weren’t brave enough to make the jump to full time RVing.
Plus, we had a successful business that we couldn’t leave and so we took a small step that really ended up being the push we needed towards a new trajectory in our life. We sold our suburbia dream house and rented a house on the beach.
The shift to a beach lifestyle definitely changed how we looked at our routine and schedule.
Once our days started revolving around the tides and the surf, we lost interest in our possessions and our need for accumulating stuff.
But the final nudge to this lifestyle was when our landlord wanted to move back into her house and we were forced to decide to pay big bucks and rent another beach house or simplify our life.
“We go on multiplying our conveniences only to multiply our cares. We increase our possessions only to the enlargement of our anxieties.” – Anna C. Brackett
Our 5 Month Experiment
If Victor had known what he was agreeing to when he said, “Sure! We can live in our RV for 5 months and take a couple of longer road trips,” I don’t think he would’ve agreed.
I had homeschooled the kids from the beginning and used to dream about someday taking a year to travel to all 50 states. So when Victor agreed to 5 months in the RV, I was beyond grateful.
We only took two road trips that summer, a 3 week road trip to Colorado and then a 6 week road trip to Vancouver Island, but it was enough to know that this was what I wanted my life to feel like.
But, by the end of those 5 months, he saw me glowing and said “Let’s just keep doing this.” That’s love.
We still had a successful business and couldn’t just leave it so we found ways to live in our RV in San Diego while we spent that school year saving up enogh money and train employees in order for us to take a 6 month trip to Europe in 2016.
Finding the Perfect RV
Between that first Class A that we owned and the Class C that we moved into, we had bought a fifth wheel toy box that we camped in for a few years. Now, we live in a huge fifth wheel trailer that honestly feels like a 2 bedroom condo.
Point being, we’ve tried out a lot of different RV’s along the way.
If you decide to downsize your life to an RV or even if you are just thinking of purchasing an RV for vacations, there are a lot of things to consider. I think the most important one is,
Where do you see yourself going?
We really wanted to visit a lot of National Parks so the Class C was perfect because it was smaller and more nimble. Plus, we tend to move fast on a road trip and like to boondock often. Having to hook up, level and put the slides in and out every day would get old fast. I love our 5th wheel for when we sit still in San Diego for moths at a time, but traveling long distances with it will be much more complicated.
Gear You Need as a Full Time RVer
I knew nothing about RV’s when we bought our first one. Know dumping the sewer, leveling, hitching up, are all second nature to me and will for you too. It seems intimidating but it really is quite easy in the end.
But there are a few things that will make it much much easier.
“Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius- and a lot of courage- to move in the opposite direction.” – E.F. Schumacker
Start Off With A Road Trip
For us, taking a long series of small steps was really helpful in deciding our next moves. Rent an RV and try out road tripping or camping. It’s so easy to do today with Outdoorsy!
Outdoorsy is just like Airbnb but it’s for RV rentals. Owners rent out their own personal RV’s.
Moving into an RV doesn’t mean you have to pull your kids out of school. I know a lot of full time RVers who kept their same jobs and kids in the same school while making the move to a simpler lifestyle. But if you are wondering if homeschooling would also be a good option for you, read Things To Consider Before Choosing To Homeschool.
In my opinion, this is where the fun is. I homeschooled my older 3 for a decade before traveling whereas my younger two have only been purely road schooled. Both worked fine, but if I were to choose the most fun way to educate my kids, it would definitely be road schooling.
We still do the three R’s- reading, writing, arithmetic, but that only takes a few hours a week and we spend so much more time with hands on, real life, fun learning through our travels and interactions with the world.
What About Teens
You want to travel but you’re there is just so much to worry about. Besides the logistics of where to go, how to downsize, and the fear of being trapped in such a small living space, there’s a much bigger fear probably at work if you are a parent…your child’s well being.
What about their social life, their education, their future?
It can all feel so scary!
There are no guarantees in life, but sometimes all we need is a little reassurance that these things do actually work out for regular folks like you and I. And I can tell you until I’m blue in the face that it will be okay.
“As long as your intention is good, you show up every day ready to apply that intention into some form of interaction and you give your kids the best gift in the world, your time, then it will be okay.”
But it’s much better to hear it from a kid who’s actually lived it and loved it. Gabi gives it to you straight up why she thinks full timing almost her entire teenage years, has been not only a great experience, but it’s allowed her to start her dream career at only 18 years old. Check out this post to see why you definitely should travel with kids.
Stories From the Road
We’ve had some amazing adventures over the past five years. From getting stuck on dirt roads to thinking we lost our passports in Spain, we’ve experienced a whole lot of unforgettable experiences. If you’re looking for some straight up humor and inspiration, check out these posts!
Tips + How To’s
A big reason we loved living in an RV was that it lowered our expenses so much that we were able to save a ton of money to start travleling. Again, travel wasn’t even something we were very familiar with but as we started exploring new destinations and experiencing different cultures, and most of all, getting to do our adventure sports all around the globe, we became more an d more motivated to keep with this RV lifestyle and live small so that we could live big. You really don’t have to be rich, a trust fund baby, or a computer genius to travel more. There are so many ways to make travel a priority in your life. One of the simplest ways is to lower your overhead enough so that you save up a nice chunk of money and tent camp places. This can sound intimidating, but there are so many nice campgrounds around the world with kitchens and shared living spaces that are family friendly. Plus, the outdoor gear industry makes so many high quality tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads that make camping often more comfortable than a hotel.
Another concern people have about long term travel is medical insurance, but with World Nomads, you are totally covered for a really low cost. Job security can also be a big fear preventing you from experiencing more travel. It’s something we are very familiar with because Victor thrives at his job and it isn’t the same if he switches careers or if I was just his sugar mama. We tried long term travel , and I’m really glad we did, but now I realized how important it is for him to just get long vacations or mini adventure escapes. Before you quit your job, think about what your career fulfillment goals are or before you rule out long term travel because you just can’t get a way that long, maybe restructure your bills so that you feel less pressure to always be committed to your career. As humans, we need to balance out career, personal, and relationship fulfillment.But it ain’t easy!