I have it all: The family, the best neighbors, the perfect career, the dream house, and even the frigging dog. But I also had a lot of stress and not enough time with my family. My husband Brian, retired form the Marine Corps and is transitioning into the civilian world. He is stressed and often gone for work. We both are stressed about monthly living expenses, parenting our 7-year-old daughter, I’m worrying about my husband in his current line of work, finances, and the future. We needed a change.
After lots of talking, crying, yelling, and even laughing I asked my husband “If you could do anything next week, what would it be”?
He replied, “travel”.
I replied, “So why don’t we just sell all of this stuff, buy an RV, and travel. We have the insurance and income from your retirement with nothing tying us down here”.
He looked at me like I was crazy and then asked if I was serious. To my surprise, I was. We talked about it for a couple days and said lets do it. We began researching RV’s, different types of RV’s that might work for us, and reading about Full-time RV Families non-stop online. To our surprise, there were a lot of people living this lifestyle already and thriving with their families. We grew more excited at the idea of having real freedom in our lives while having the opportunity to spend more time as a family.
We knew we wanted to travel the country so we had to make sure we could actually afford it. The best advice we received on income was that you have the availability to really set your own budget to live with by how often you moved and where you stayed. So we played with our numbers and realized that this was totally doable for us!
Next began the difficult part. Downsizing 3,500 square feet of stuff, selling our home we purchased a year earlier, finding the right RV for our travels, and telling our friends & neighbors we would no longer be living here. The last part was by far the hardest thing for me. The downsizing was not that painful surprisingly. We were able to sell a lot of our things online and at a couple garage sales. We had an awesome realtor that we knew would get our house sold within our timeline. All we had to do was find the right RV for us, which actually proved to be a challenge, all of its own.
Buying an RV for us was proving to be a borderline nightmare. A brand new RV is horribly expensive, new rigs we read will require a lot of time in the shop to repair warranty work, we sadly caught sales people in lies, and finding a used RV that would work was just not happening for us. Thankfully, a friend of mine sent us a message that her grandparents were selling their RV and said we should check it out. It was a much older than we had planned for RV but had been really well taken care of.
Brian and I started discussing the things we would do to it and how we would make it ours if we went through with buying this motor home. We decided that it was the one for us and began getting the loan in order. No sooner had this happened, we received an offer on our house. This idea was now becoming a reality.
The day the house closed, we finished putting our things in U-Haul pods, packed up our “Rex”, and began our journey to Tennessee where we would begin renovating our 1999 Rexhall Aerbus into our traveling home. It was the hardest move I have ever done in my life as we watched our friends waving goodbye to us from the mirrors. I cried my eyes out for days but was so excited for the adventures ahead.
Renovating the RV
We arrived at my Mom’s house in Tennessee a week later and began the renovation. We knocked out the counter tops, ripped out the carpets, painted the interior, installed new floors, replaced the couch, installed a full pantry, replaced the master bed, and my awesome husband manufactured a bed for our daughter above the drivers area. The renovations took about two months to complete and about $5000.00, which we had planned for. It finally started to feel like our new home.
Before we set off on our journey, we completed enrollment for home school and picked out the curriculum we would follow. We knew we wanted to use the National Parks Jr. Ranger program, museums, aquariums, zoo’s, and other educational facilities in our travels. But, we also wanted to make sure that we were following the required standards so we decided to utilize an online program for the remaining classes. We wanted to incorporate our travels with her education while not missing out on the fundamentals. To this date, she is doing fantastic and every educator we have met on the road says that she is getting the best education just by doing what we are doing.
Living the Dream
We have been on the road for over a year now & have seen 30 states, completed over 20 National park programs throughout the country, have made amazing friends that also travel full-time, and have no plans to stop any time soon. Our daughter is happy and thriving. My husband is less stressed, has found a love for cooking us meals in his Instant Pot, and is the happiest I have seen him since he retired. I love my life and time with my family. There is no other place I would rather be than here in this life now.
I am currently traveling the country in a motor home with my husband and daughter. We home school her along the way while seeing National Parks, wonders, and eating at hidden gems