Oh my gosh, life, man, it gets such a bad rep. Everything about it is hard, no? And all the stages of life seem to be more difficult than the last.
Not to mention that our lives are now revolving around work and there is little time for anything else.
But does it have to be that way? We certainly don’t think so.
I mean, we changed everything in search of an easier, slower, more focused way of life.
We took our lives on the road to show our kids a different way of life. A way that focuses on God, faith, relationships and family, fun and adventure. A way that makes you eager to wake up in the morning and thankful to be alive each day.
Despite popular belief, you don’t have to be rich to follow your dreams, but you do have to make your dreams a priority. You have to be brave and courageous. And, the bummer … you have to be willing to struggle for those dreams.
“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney
I want to scream from the rooftops, I just want to inspire people to put at least an equal amount of time into their families and their children as they do into their jobs.
I know we have to work, in order to provide a home and food and a secure and safe childhood, I’m not saying to quit your jobs and become reliant on the state. Lord knows I like money as much as the next person, but it has to be low on the totem pole for me to be happy. It just so happens that to live out our dream, we have to be able to live on less.
It’s a give and take … it boils down to asking yourself what you’re willing to sacrifice for your dreams for your family. Me? Financial abundance. You?
There are a lot of different dreams out there. Your dream is not the same as my dreams. But, if our email serves as any indicator, it seems more and more young families are realizing there is more to life than cubicles and offices and commutes. It seems they are truly looking for the holy grail to family life. We’ve heard from so many of you.
Some want to RV full-time, while others want to travel during the summer months and sporadically during the rest of the year, and yet others, want to purchase an RV as a stationary home either on their own land or to park permanently in long term campgrounds.
While your dreams vary from ease of travel to budget friendly, what you all have in common is the desire to own an RV.
I get it, I mean, I obviously get it. I live in an RV with my 12 kids, my husband and a dog for 11 months of every year for the past 3 years!
And I have been saying for the past three years that I wish we’d started traveling in an RV decades ago. Even if just for vacations, it would have transformed our lives way back then as much, if not more, than it has today.
So in response to the huge volume of emails we receive on a daily basis asking how we got started RVing, and in light of the fact that the RV industry is booming, I’ve listed the top 5 things to do if you are interested in hitting the road long term or even just to make travel fun and easy.
1: Crunch the Numbers
Budgets, they suck, I totally get it, but if you are actually going to purchase an RV you have to know how much you can spend. I literally went from the 12 bunk Entertainers and the Newmar King Aire to $7k coaches that I could purchase with cash.
Somehow along the way we moved up into a middle of the road option and eventually found our 1999 Georgie Boy which was less expensive than we had planned to spend but offered so much more than what we had been looking at.
You’ll find your perfect RV take your time and don’t skimp. Get the best your money can buy. You’ll be surprised to find out that you can finance a new RV for 15 years and if it’s your home and/or your work base, you get to take advantage of tax breaks, so even a seemingly expensive RV can be affordable.
2: Sell Your Stuff (or don’t)
The next big decision is what to do with all your things. Like many of you, we had a house and everything that goes with it…furniture, keepsakes, memories, and more stuff than I ever imagined I could collect!
We decided, for financial reasons, that selling was the only way to go.
We had a few yard sales, sold as much as we could and the rest we packed up and gave away to friends, charity or put in a storage unit. And then our house didn’t sell.
So … we ended up renting our house.
Point is, where there is a will there is a way. You can sell, you can rent long-term, short-term or even just for the summer. There are so many options, you might just need to get creative. We are currently working with a few seasonal companies to offer our home as employee housing.
Think outside the box!
3: Decide Where Your Legal Residency Will Be
This is a loaded topic and so HUGE I really should devote an entire blog to it, but for now let the following info be a launching pad for your own research.
When we first started full time RVing, we winged it. If you honestly must know, we piled into the RV and drove off. Simple as that. We put a hold on our mail, we maintained our insurance, our licenses … everything.
As time went on, we slowly started paying attention to all the adult aspects of RVing, such as the following:
You can only hold your mail for 30 days at a time so we rented a UPS box in our hometown and had all our mail forwarded there. Whenever we traveled through town for Ortho visits and Dr visits, we picked up our mail. For anything more time sensitive, we can have the mail shipped to a friend near where we’ll be or ship to a nearby UPS box.
Obamacare killed it, plain and simple, however there are a few options for travelers that one can look into if they are so inclined. Just Google RV Health Insurance and a plethora of options will pop up, even agents who handle it all for you. We have yet to find an option that is as “affordable” as promised and are quite bitter about the entire thing, so I will refrain from giving any referrals other than to Google!
Medical Care on the road is so much easier than I ever thought it would be. Even dentistry, in fact, dentistry is even easier. But, medical care is not the same thing as insurance, even though everyone talks about the two as though they are. So, have no fears about medical care, and if you are worried, read the blog above!
There are some states with extremely rigid laws, like PA and some that allow parents to make decisions for their children without a daunting amount of red tape like, TX. One could decide to move their legal residency from PA to a more accommodating state based solely on the homeschool rules!
Just like homeschooling, there are some states with suffocating state income taxes, like CA and some with none, like FL. Choosing a state like FL could save you a ton of money.
In terms of residency, my disclaimer is that I have not come close to exhausting the information you may need. I just wanted to give you an idea of the awesomeness that can ensue because you can pick ANY state as your permanent state … if you plan to full-time that is!
4: Making Money
So, I actually have a FREE e-booklet on this subject that lists every job, career and opportunity my brain and my research could uncover. How super easy is that?
We were lucky enough that Dan’s job as a software engineer was totally portable. Today he’s a contractor and once again runs his own business. As long as he has an Internet connection he can work and we always have an Internet connection (see #5 – remember Ryan). Our kids, Grady, Brody and Kady all are working on travel friendly careers as well … photography, videography, website design and mobile apps.
If you plan to travel in an RV full time like we do, you need to have a way to make money on the road. Check out my ebook, hopefully you’ll see some ideas in there that you can run with, but even if you don’t, maybe RVing is something you start doing on a tiny scale … a weekend trip, a family vacation, a day trip to a water park. It doesn’t matter, wherever you go, going in an RV is the easiest, most comfortable, way to go there. 🙂
Or maybe, you purchase your RV and you park it in a long term campground, like KOA for the summer or longer. Your RV can then become your summer home!
Friends of ours started this way, they have jobs that are keeping them in Tahoe, but they want a cheaper cost of living and want an exit plan from their high powered, executive lives because they’ve realized time is their greatest commodity and with three young kids, time is slipping away. So they bought an older RV and are living in it at the base of the mountain, until they are able to hit the road.
As with all things RVing, thinking outside the box is a major must do. We are ALWAYS available. If you have questions, post them below and we’ll respond, either in real time or in a blog post or even on a LIVE STREAM!!
This is probably one of the top questions posed to us. And we know a lot about this topic .
Dan is a software engineer, he’s the money maker. I’m a travel writer, I have a hobby. The kids have school work and research and the, not to be underestimated, need to keep in touch with friends.
We must have reliable internet service. Reliable being the key word here. If you are planning to travel, you must also contract with a provider that has the biggest coverage possible and folks, there is no provider better than Verizon.
We tried to find one. We were newbies and thought we could find something of equal quality for less money. We were suckered by some really really good advertising and made a very costly switch. And have regretted it ever since. If you have to work and are choosing to be mobile, Verizon is your only option.
And, we are going to let you in on a little secret. Ryan Maharg. That’s the secret. He knows all the ins and outs and specializes in the needs of RVers AND he has the inside scoop on deals and discounts!! He sure helped us. He can be reached at email@example.com. Tell him we sent you or give him the code: kelloggshow, and he’ll work you a great deal.
Just Do It
There comes a point where you have researched everything you can research, planned for everything you can plan for. This is when you just GO! You just flipping go. And figure the rest out along the way.
I can assure you, if we can make this work, if a family of 14 can figure out how to travel full-time, you all can too.
Just Do it.
Great post, thank you!
Re: insurance, an RVing couple we know who are freelancers have opted not to have insurance. They said paying the penalty is way more affordable. We were surprised. Have you heard similar stories from other RVing folks who still work full time?
Yes. Across the board, I believe the penalty is small, especially in comparison to the monthly premiums. 🙂
Great article! Where can I find your free e-book on making money on the road?
Hi Susie! I’m not the type to post comments on blogs(this is my first time I do believe:)), however my husband and I are letting the idea of getting an RV float around in our heads. I am very interested in your free ebooklet and had trouble finding a link for it on your page. If you could help me find that I would be so thankful! Having debt and needing money to keep food on the table are things that scare me when I think of making the life style change you and your family have made. I think what you all are doing is AWESOME!! It looks so exhilarating!! Watching your 6 yr old kayak down the Colorado River blew my mind!! I felt fear for her life (thinking what if she tipped over!!) and then I felt “I wish my kids were doing this!!” and I wished I wasn’t so afraid. She did great!! You guys are living life to the fullest and fearless! My husband and I have credit card debt, loans, and a mortgage(on a home that is a money pit for real). I feel like we are always gonna be in debt and that scares me!! I really would love to do this, but I think of all this money owed and I feel trapped. My husband is going to school full-time online and I work 40 hours a week as a physical therapist assistant. I make enough money to support our family, however it just makes ends meet so to speak. My husband is soooo smart (as a therapist I have diagnosed him with Aspergers Syndrome!) and I know he could do anything. He just has no idea what he wants to be and he doesn’t like the 9-5 work style. He served in the army and as an a civilian as an Arabic linguist. He got tired of that job, so he quit. He has no computer degree but has built websites and made stop motion videos in his free time. He is the best ever debater on any subject I know!! Sorry to go on on and on but your ebooklet may shine some light on something he or I could do “on the road” and achieve this freeing life style you all are enjoying!! P.S. I really felt like I just vented a little and it made me feel good to get these things off my mind, so thank you for reading this and responding if you get a chance!!
Hey Sharon! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!!!
Awesome post . My wife and I leave in less than a month. We have 3 kids and they are excited. We were wondering what advice you could give us on boon docking or a website with actual free camp sites. What are your thoughts on RV camping clubs. Thank you!!
Hey Daniel!!! Congratulations … super exciting!!! Boondocking is super easy, and it’s what we do the most. We just head out to National Forest Land, BLM land or anywheere that isn’t private and/or heavily populated!! 🙂 Fill up your tank and have a blast. Check out the Public Lands App or Campendium or Ultimate Campgrounds for free campground listings. As for camping clubs .. bleh, we used Good Sam’s Club for about one year and never used them again after that. Hope to see you on the road!!!! 🙂
Hi Susie how can I find the free e-book you mentioned?