One day, we came up with this idea to travel around the U.S. with our dogs. After working out the details, that meant getting rid of most of our stuff, quitting our jobs, and living out of an RV. We both needed a break and wanted more time with each other and our two dogs, Duke and Leo. Over a year later, we can finally say we did it. We’re on the road living our dream.
The Beginning of Our Full Time RV Life
People often ask how we can afford to do this. Our answer is simple: planning. Based on research, we were able to sketch out a budget and figure out how much we needed to buy the RV, tow vehicle and live one year on the road without any income. As we refined the details of full time RVing, we updated our budget accordingly. We go through everything in detail in our video series Live Life on Your Own Terms.
Planning has been some of the most fun we’ve had together. The biggest decision was figuring out the right type of RV for us. There were a lot of options – Class A, Class C, Fifth Wheel, tow behind…the list goes on. Going to the California RV Show was an eye opening experience and really helped put us on the right path. We really enjoyed going to RV shopping and seeing the different options and models. Our friends even drove us around Florida to see some of the biggest dealers in the world.
In the beginning, we considered all lengths of RVs. Then we realized that if we want to visit state/national parks, we’d need something smaller. Over a year of research and shopping across the country, we found our first RV, a 29′ Class A gas motorhome.
We needed a flat towable car. This would give us a flexibility to drive around town, scope out camping spots and make quick trips to the store. Neither of our cars could be to be flat towed, so we set out to find one that could. The list of eligible cars was surprisingly small. We wanted something big enough for us, the dogs and be able to explore 4×4 trails. Come to find out my dream car, a Jeep Wrangler, happens to be one of the most popular toads among RVers. After extensive research and shopping we ended up with a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sport. One big item checked off our list.
Getting rid of stuff was harder than we thought. In order to move from a 1,200 sq ft house into a 250 sq ft RV, we had to turn into minimalists. This was a difficult process for both of us. At first we thought we could easily go through our belongings and get rid of the stuff we didn’t want. In reality, it was a difficult and time consuming process. We realized we had way more stuff than we ever expected (or used).
We started by going through all our stuff and making piles for donation, for sale and for the dumpster. Trying to sell things that held sentimental value was difficult and emotional. We ended up storing a few boxes at Joe’s mother’s house and got rid of everything we didn’t need. As we got closer to our departure date, we simply gave things way to friends, sold it for a great price or put it on the curb for people to take.
Listing the house and quitting our jobs. We toyed with the idea of renting, but didn’t want the hassle of trying to manage the property from the road or pay a management company. Within a few weeks of listing the house, we got a great offer and started escrow. While the house was in escrow, we were still working and trying to prepare for full time RV life. Once the sale of the house was finalized, we both gave notice at work. This was a very stressful time, but the pieces all fell into place in the right order for us.
Along the way we had a lot of help from family and friends. Our parents helped out tremendously by supporting us. Many friends and family members have been our cheerleaders through the transition. They had faith that we would achieve our goal when many others didn’t. We’ve also met some great people along the way who helped guide us. The Snowmads, in particular, helped mentor us. We’d like to thank all of you for your help and support.
Looking back, we had a lot of fun and there were some very stressful times, but as we said to each other the moment we drove away on our first day, “If we go up in a ball of flames right now, at least we did it!”
(In case you’re wondering…no we haven’t gone up in flames yet).