In just over two weeks, we’ll be home for the holidays. Hello, fried turkey! Full-time travel has given us the best, craziest, most adventurous 7 months of our lives.
While full-time travel, working from the road, digital nomad life, whatever you want to call it is definitely catching on, most people we meet still have a lot of questions about what it’s like to live in an RV and travel full-time before the magical age of 65.
So, today, we’re going to answer a few of the questions we get asked most about what it’s like to live in an RV and travel full-time.
Do you even work?
This question usually comes from people slightly older than us. And, yes, we do work. We have fewer expenses and bills on the road than at ‘home,’ so we don’t have to make as much money as we did. Sometimes we only work a few hours a day; sometimes it’s all day. Just depends on the day and week.
How do you make money?
Thanks to the internet and hot spots we are able to work from pretty much anywhere. What we do…
Luke: does some writing for a fishing magazine back home. He also owns a fishing charter business that he manages from the road.
Laura: does freelance marketing mostly through Upwork.
We also own a little outdoor/fishing apparel company that brings in a little side hustle money. P.S. we keep all our inventory in the RV with us, so if you want to free up some space in the RV for us, I’ll gladly give you a 40% discount. Use code: RVLIFE
I would love to do that, but there’s just no way.
I know this isn’t a question, but we get this all.the.time. Sure, there are some situations that would keep people from being able to travel full-time or live in an RV full-time. For the majority of people that we get this from, there is a way to make it happen. It’s risky, it’s full of unknowns, and there’s a lot of planning that has to happen. But it’s not impossible.
We had to figure out to keep Luke’s business running while we weren’t there. I left my dream job. We had to rent out our house. I had to sell my car, which I loved. We had to get rid of a lot of stuff. We had to part with sentimental things that were honestly just clutter, but that didn’t make it any easier. We knew we were going to miss some big events with our friends and family.
It’s not a case of if it’s possible but a decision of if the sacrifices and risks are worth the experience. For us, it definitely has been.
Why did you decide to full-time travel in an RV?
So, the decision came about from a series of events. I definitely didn’t wake up one day and decide I wanted to live in 32 feet of RV. Long story short-ish:
When I graduated college, I had an internship. Luke and I decided if I didn’t get a full-time job, we take a few months to take a road trip across the country. Luckily, I got a full-time job, so that idea was off the table.
Fast forward a few years, Luke got a job offer in Texas that we were no pursuing – it was kinda out of the blue. I didn’t want to leave my job, and I wasn’t too keen on living in the part of Texas we would be in. However, we both knew we had to explore this opportunity. So, we went to Texas to “check things out,” and it seemed like everything was falling into place. I’m pretty sure we only told our parents about the decision we were trying to make. A few months later, some things happened that made it clear that this was not the path for us. Nothing against Texas, but I’m glad we didn’t end up moving there.
While this may seem like an insignificant detail to full-time RVing, it was the first time that I had seriously considered uprooting our life in Wilmington. I really felt like something was going to change, but now I didn’t know what. So we continued on with life as normal, but in the back of my mind, I could shake the idea that it was time to change things up. You can read little more about that here.
Oh, I should have mentioned, at some point in all of that we bought an RV just to take weekend trips… no intention of living in this thing full-time. We bought the RV and renovated it just for fun.
So, how did all that lead to “risking it all”? I kinda jokingly mentioned to Luke that we should full-time RV. I don’t know why… I don’t think I had even found all the full-timers on Instagram yet. So, it was kind of a yeah, haha, maybe. Then, last October, we checked a trip off of my bucket list when we visited Yosemite. I’m in love with that place.
Something just clicked for me.
One, we had to go back to Yosemite as soon as possible. Two, a week isn’t enough to see and do everything there. Three, we could full-time RV and find all the other amazing places.
That was in October 2016. From then until the end of the year, we started hypothetically planning the trip. If the pieces could come together by February, we’d do it. And they did.
On May 10, 2017, we drove out of Wilmington with our three dogs in at 1994 RV (that doesn’t have slides). Full-time travel here we come!
Does the RV ever feel small?
Yes. Next question.
Just kidding, it does feel small at times. I wish we had slides so it didn’t feel like we’re living in a hallway, but 99% of the time, it feels plenty big. It’s not 2017 fifth wheel, but it’s also not a van. One thing I do miss… our king size bed. When it’s cold and three dogs find their way into the bed, a queen just doesn’t cut it.
How did you decide where to visit?
When we started planning our trip, we knew we wanted to spend most of our time on the western side of the country. We made a list of National Parks and cities we wanted to visit and just mapped it out. We started our trip with a route and general idea of where we’d stop. We’ve made some additions and skipped some places, but for the most part, we’ve stuck to the plan.
Typically, a day or two before we’re about to go to a new place, we’ll research exactly where we’ll go and find a good boondocking spot.
How do you find free places to stay?
The main way we keep costs down while traveling full-time is by boondocking. At one point, we went over a month without paying for a camping spot. It was like not have a mortgage or rent payment for a month. We wrote a whole post on finding incredible boondocking spots, so I’ll send you there to get the details. It’s pretty easy. I would definitely give it a try whether you’re full-time RVing or just looking for a sweet vacation spot.
Why did you come “here” [insert town]?
This is my favorite question from locals who don’t exactly love their town. You can go anywhere you want, and you stopped here. Of course, the reasons vary. Sometimes there’s good fishing nearby. Sometimes it just a stop on our route, but we found a sweet boondocking spot and decided to stay a few days. Sometimes the town is pretty cool, but when you live somewhere for a while, it’s easy to forget.
You know RVs breakdown a lot, right?
I don’t know why people feel the need to tell us this. Yes, we freaking live in an RV. We know things break. It kind of drives me crazy, but I also think it’s kind of hilarious. So the answer…
“Yes, we know. Luckily, Luke has been able to fix practically everything that’s broken. We had the transmission rebuilt before we left. We have the most expensive AAA membership available. And yes, we have an “emergency fund” in case something seriously goes wrong.”
Take away if you’re thinking about full-time RVing: get AAA and have an emergency fund. If you’re able to fix things on your own, you’ll save a ton of money – YouTube is your friend. And be prepared for people to tell you things break.
Three dogs?! What’s it like living in such a small space with three big dogs?
Dog hair… in my food, on my clothes, in bed, currently on my keyboard. Dog hair everywhere. If you have a shedding dog, you need this: FURminator deshedding brush. Even with furminating them and vacuuming, there’s still do
g hair everywhere.
Other than the dog hair, it’s great. There’s no way we would have left the dogs behind, and they adjusted to full-time travel life great. There are some things that make it easier. Occasionally, two of them will sleep behind the curtain on the dash, so it’s like only having one dog taking up space.
Hudson did get under my feet today, and I stepped on his tail. I felt so bad.
How do you not drive each other crazy being together 24/7?
Well, we do occasionally get on each other’s nerves, but that happened at home, too. I wrote about RV marriage at the beginning of our trip… actually spending time together is so different than “normal American life.”
Since it’s just the two of us, we don’t get girl-time and guy-time or get to go hang out with friends. We try to make a point to give each other some alone time. Typically, Luke goes hunting or fishing, and I’ll go to a coffee shop. I’m definitely the type that needs time alone to recharge, and Luke needs to get outside.
Thankfully, there have been very few moments where we’ve gotten really annoyed with each other. It’s typically been when the weather’s bad, and we’re stuck inside for days. Most weeks, we’re out exploring and living life together. It’s truly great having this adventure together.
What’s been you’ve favorite place?
This question should be at the top because it’s one we get all the time and always ask other people who full-time travel.
Luke: Grand Tetons and Jackson, WY. Second would probably have to be Glacier.
Laura: Yosemite. And then, Bend, OR the most dog-friendly city in America.
We don’t know for sure. We have a few ideas depending on how things come together. We planned 7 months on the road, so we’d be back in time for Thanksgiving. Thankfully, both of our families are in Wilmington, so we’ll be there through New Years.
After that, we’ll stay close by. Topsail and Southport are both on our short list. There’s salty, ocean air, and we have places to stay in the RV. Maybe rotate between Wilmington, Topsail, and Southport for a while – local-ish travel?
We also talked about selling the RV and buying a travel trailer. So we might have another renovation project on our hands. My favorite! Give me some walls to paint and space to decorate.
I’m typically the type that likes to have things figured out (and gets a little stressed with too much unknown), but if there’s one thing full-time travel has taught me, it’s to get over that. So, all I know is we’ll figure out exactly what’s next in the upcoming months (even though I’d like to know now – I’m going to let God lead us to what’s next. He led us to this, which is better than any plan I would have come up with.), and go from there.
Have any other questions about full-time travel or RV living? Want us to go into more detail on one of these questions? Let’s us know in the comments.