6 Months on the Road – Highs and Lows of Full Time RVing

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“What do you do?” We get that question A LOT. Our standard response is “We travel full time with our rescue dog.” Most of the time, the response is “I wish I could do that.” If that’s your answer, take a moment to ask yourself “Why?”

Is it because the words “full time travel” bring to mind images of white sandy beaches, colorful sunsets, or a never ending trail through the redwoods? What if I told you to imagine being woken up at 4am to the roaring sound of a freight train to realize you’re in the middle of a thunderstorm with a tornado warning in effect for the next 3 hours? Your heart is pounding, your home is shaking and the nearest shelter is a good jog away.

Don’t get me wrong, we wouldn’t trade our current lifestyle for anything, but it’s easy to focus on the beautiful sandy beaches and forget about the realities of living full time on the road. Life keeps going inside a 250 square foot home on wheels and we have still have bills to pay, disagreements, severe weather, laundry, unexpected events and everything else life can throw at us. These are the realities of living full time on the road, but after the thunderstorm rolls through and the skies clear, we get to enjoy the soft sandy beaches, colorful sunsets and those special moments that we’ll never forget. The turtle crossing the road as we were leaving Everglades National Park and hearing the Elks bugling at Rocky Mountain National Park are two of my favorite memories.

March 13, 2016 marked day 183, the six month mark, of our full time adventure around the United States. When we started this trip we wanted to take a year long vacation to see the country, enjoy each other’s company and be able to bring the dogs along. In the process, we wanted to look for a possible place to settle down and find new jobs. One month in and we realized we wanted to continue this lifestyle indefinitely and have no desire to go back to the life we had before. As we look back on the last six months, there have been some great moments and not so great moments, but we’ve grown and learned a great deal from all the experiences.

A look back

It’s can be easy to forget everything we went through that got us to where we are today. Rereading our first post from the road reminded us of all the planning that went into making the transition from a house to full time RVing. In the post, we talk about buying a tow vehicle, finding the right RV, getting rid of most of our possession and moving into our home on wheels. It was one of the most stressful times in both our lives, but it was all worth it in the end. If you haven’t watched our YouTube trailer, here’s a look at the first few months of our journey.

Joe, my partner in crime, has this perspective: I remember when we first came up with our plan to sell the house and travel in a motorhome – we figured we would do this for a year and, in the process, find a new state to settle down. Now, I just want to find ways for us to continue this lifestyle. In many ways, the life we lead now reminds me of when I was a kid and got to enjoy summer vacations without any worries. I’ve never made a change of this magnitude before in my life. People tell me I was “brave” for making the decision to do this, and in many ways they’re right – it’s one scary thing to completely change your life. I can’t explain what a nervous wreak I was when we were closing on the sale of our house, putting our notices in at work and moving those last items into the motorhome. Six months later, my world has changed. Now, I wouldn’t at all be nervous or scared if we decided to sell the motorhome and ride motorcycles across Europe. I know now that I am capable of changing my life and following any dream I can come up with – it will take some time and planning, but it can be done.

I’ve learned a lot over the last six months. In the beginning, there were times when Kait and I drove each other nuts. We were so used to spending more time each day with co-workers than we were with each other. There were definitely times I questioned whether we would survive this trip together and there was a point where we snapped about a month into the trip. Kait was driving us to our next destination, pulled over at a rest area, we sat down at a picnic table and laid it all out there. We both had our issues and when we talked, we realized we had the same goal – turn this trip into a permanent lifestyle. I was still in “vacation” mode and trying to decompress from the 12 years I spent in corporate life but realized I needed to get my butt back in gear if we want to make this permanent.

Today, I find myself working more than I ever did in the corporate world, but I love what I am doing. I know that everything I do helps fuel this dream of ours. I still have days where I wake up and forget where we are or have trouble remembering the day of the week. I guess that comes with the territory when you are traveling across the country and Monday is no different than Saturday (Sunday’s are a different story; when you look around and everything is closed, you definitely know it’s Sunday).

The Highs of Full Time RVing

Freedom. If you ask us what we love most about RVing, our answer would be freedom. Having the freedom to move or stay for however long we want is incredibly liberating. An overnight night stay in Pagosa Springs turned into four nights because we had the freedom to do so. Our travel plans are wide open and we try not to make any campground reservations unless we absolutely need to. A good friend of ours has been trying to meet up with us and recently said “trying to meet up with you two is more difficult than landing on an aircraft carrier.”

America is beautiful. Every National Park we’ve been to has taken our breath away. It seems like each one quickly becomes our favorite. Every town has its own charm and we’ve fallen in love with quite a few of them. Flagstaff, Arizona and Fort Lauderdale, Florida are two places we may consider staying for a month or two in the future.

People. We’ve met some incredible people who’ve encouraged us, inspired us and helped us along the journey. Being part of a giant club of people who roam freely around this beautiful country is pretty cool. Everyone has a unique story and wisdom to share. We’ve learned a lot and made some friends along the way that we look forward to seeing again when our paths cross.

Unique experiences. If someone told me I would be waking up in a Walmart parking lot in Hurricane, Utah with a giant smile on my face I would have told them they were crazy. You haven’t lived until you’ve spent the night in a 24 hour Walmart parking lot. It’s amazing how quickly your body can adjust to falling asleep to the sound of shopping carts, car horns, screeching tires and stereo music. Oh, and by the way, the sound of a lawn mower is my new alarm clock. We’ve also enjoyed unique experiences through the different Harvest Hosts we’ve stayed with along the way.

Discovering real off-roading. I used to think driving on fire truck access roads was off-roading until we took the Jeep on Broken Arrow Trail in Sedona, Arizona. After we scaled the first rock face and scraped our baseplate, I finally understood why Joe wanted to get a small lift on the Jeep.

Family bond. We’ve learned to communicate better and figured out how to be around each other 24 hours a day in a smaller space. It wasn’t always easy, but now we are closer as a couple.

The Lows of Full Time RVing

Adjustment period. The honeymoon period lasted for about two weeks before we started to get on each other’s nerves along with multiple communication breakdowns. We went from spending about 60 hours apart each week to being with each other 24/7 in a tiny space which put a strain on our relationship. We both needed to acclimate to living in a small space and with each other in that space.

Duke. Ten days into our journey and we had to put down the first dog Joe and I adopted. His name was Duke and he was the most loyal, loving and protective dog. Dealing with loss is difficult, but dealing with loss on the road was even more difficult. We didn’t have family close by who could drive over and give us a comforting hug or grab a drink with friends who knew Duke and talk about all the great times we had with him.

On the go. In the beginning, we drove long distances and moved frequently. That was taxing on both of us, because we would pack and unpack every day or two and drive all day to our next destination. As much as we enjoy the freedom to roam, we also realized that we need to slow down or we would burn out.

Missing half the Packers game last season. We don’t watch much television with the exception of Packers games and Last Man Standing. Since we only have the standard TV antenna on the motorhome, we’re not always camped at a place that can pick up over the air television. Luckily, this can be solved with better planning for the upcoming season. I’m sure Joe won’t mind if I plan our fall destinations around Packers bars and bigger cities.

Internet. AT&T cell coverage has been decent, but not good. When we were at Mather Campground in the Grand Canyon we had no coverage, but when we camped at Flamingo Campground inside the Everglades National Park we had decent coverage, while Verizon users had none. Since we enjoy dry camping on public lands in remote areas, we need to increase our coverage and will be looking at other internet options for RVers.

Weather. Earthquakes, thunderstorms, tornado warnings and flash flood warnings. Being in a motorhome during an earthquake wasn’t bad, in fact, it was more enjoyable than in a sticks and bricks home. We can’t say the same for thunderstorms and tornado warnings though. We made a video about the storm we encountered in Immokalee, Florida.

Looking Ahead

It’s exciting to see how the future will unfold. When we set out on this journey, we planned for one year without income. How can we make this work? We’re working on growing traffic to this website and YouTube viewership. So thank you for reading this post and for watching our videos!

Southernmost point

Snapshot of the First 6 months on the Road

Miles driven (RV & Jeep): 13,851 miles

States: 11 – California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. Some of the places we’ve visited.

National Parks: 9 – ArchesRocky Mountain, Great Sand Dunes, Grand Canyon South Rim, Mesa VerdePetrified Forest, Montezuma Castle, Big Cypress, and Everglades.

Nights spent at campgrounds: 59 – Greeley Missile Site CO, Boulder Fairgrounds CO, Mather Campground Grand Canyon, Sedona Pines AZ, Canyon Trails TX, Bayou Segnette LA, Fort Wilderness Walt Disney World, Winter Quarters FL, Flamingo Everglades FL, John Pennekamp Key Largo and Space Coast FL.

Nights spent boondocking/dry camping: 124 – Outside Grand Canyon South RimFlagstaff, AZ, Tucson, AZ, casino camping, Walmart, Cracker Barrel, street camping and a rest area.

Days we used our portable solar panel: 55 – we encountered quite a bit of rain that prevented us from putting the solar panel out.

Days Joe drank coffee: 183

More About RV Life

If you’re interested in full time RV life, here are a few posts we wrote to get you started.

RV Living Cost

Must Have RV Gadgets

Pros/Cons of Full Time RV Life

Dry Camping/Boondocking

Our Full Time RV Life Video

RV Living Tips

RV Living tips

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45 thoughts on “6 Months on the Road – Highs and Lows of Full Time RVing”

  1. Yes, the Verizon Mifi is the way to go… we used it for a long time as we travel to Florida in the winter and in western New York state in the Spring, summer, and fall. Since my husband passed almost 3 years ago I decided to just use unlimited data plan from Verizon. I still go to Florida and I’m so blessed that my friends keep my RV for me. They set it up for me and return it to their backyard when I head home in the spring. We loved traveling in the motorhome, I do miss that life. Enjoy your life on the road, it’s the best.

  2. I have been following you guys for a while now and enjoy learning about life on the road. My husband and I have been planning our retirement to include a small camper and hitting the road. Our dreams are becoming reality as of this summer. We retired in July, found a small 5th wheel and we are getting it ready for our first road trip in a few weeks. We took a long weekend to a lake close by to learn to ins and outs of operation. Of course, we have a horror story of emptying the pee trap but I can promise it’s not a mistake we will make again! (hopefully!) We plan to be gone for about 2 months out west. We have been several times here and there but we have always flown and rented a car so we are super excited to have everything we need on wheels with us. I’ll be keeping a journal of our adventures and look forward to seeing more of yours! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. I love this idea of living on the road for a short while! I appreciate your advice and your openness about the loss of your dog while you were on the road. Not having a family support during hard times like that is one reason being on the road would be difficult, but I think it would be worth it!

  4. I just seen a popular tv show you guys were on looking for a new smaller rv to go to europe. I’ll reserve to say which show. We are in plans to sell the house and hit the road ourselves. I was concerned about your Europe travels hoping you had researched the specific needs for power and propane over there. How has that trip going? Can’t await to see you guys on the road!

  5. We have just started the planning stages of buying an RV & selling everything here in Ohio. My husband & I will both be retired by July of 2017. It looks like we can learn a lot from your experience. We are much older but are looking forward to start living our new life at 65.

    • Thanks Becky – very exciting about your upcoming retirement and it’s never too late to start the new life! Hope we’re able to provide you with some good info and let us know if you have questions along the way!

    • Chris – thanks for checking us out! you’re the second one to spot us on the Interstate and to leave a comment. 🙂 glad to know the window decal is doing its job. Where are you all headed? We are making our way to the Great Smokey Mountains.

  6. We are selling our home and going to start full timing it hopefully by this fall!! Life is too short!! My job lets me work from home so our biggest hurdle will be good internet service.
    Loving watching your videos and reading your blogs.

  7. Love blogs and videos that incorporate fulltiming topics. Yall have great ones on budets. earning incomes, pro cons yalls are doing a great job.
    Full member of CDOW. (Coffee Drivers Of the World). haha, not really but kinda really.

  8. Joe & Kait,

    Been following your YouTube channel & blog for a month. I enjoy reading you a lot : great job!

    We are picking up our fifth wheel in a month from now. We might be selling the house this year instead of next year, to embark on our travels in Canada & US this fall.

    We are both avid coffee drinkers! 🙂 Joe: have you considered doing a column on the interesting coffee shops you’ve come across in your travels? (and please forgive me if you already did reviews, I am still catching up on your past entries!)



    • Hey Chantal! Congrats on being close to selling the house.

      I actually have not thought about doing and coffee shop reviews. I love coffee and used to roast my own but I’d really have to work on trying to describe a cup to everyone. Maybe I’ll try incorporating that into some future content. Thanks!

  9. I thought there would be more downside to full timing but your list of positives certainly outweigh the negatives. I would cross out one of the negative – Cell phone or Internet coverage. Having teenagers and them constantly on the phone – drives me nuts and can go, actually would love to go a few days without any internet.

    Congratulations on the first 6 months, without killing each other. 🙂 I am very glad to hear that you are pursing to continue this lifestyle since I won’t be on the road til next year and looking forward to meeting up with you guys and of course Leo. My treat to Korean BBQ – All you can eat!!! And of course beer.

    Any plans to Alaska? I’d love to go but just worried about the damage to rig with horrible roads leading up there.

    • It would be great to not worry about cell coverage and data but since we’re trying to build up the site and YouTube channel, it’s the main thing we rely on. We do unplug every now and again ?

      We’d love to meet up and absolutely love K-BBQ. When we go back through our Los Angeles we’re going straight to Korea Town for some!

      We know a few people who’ve driven to AK and it’s not something we’d do. Everyone we’ve spoken to has damaged their rig in some way or another. We’d either take a train or cruise up there.

  10. We’ve been RV’ing since last August and have learned a great deal. We aren’t full time (yet) and have only been out in our rig for two weeks at a time (about 6,000 miles to date – yikes!). But even at that we can relate to this article well. It doesn’t take long for the walls to close in on the relationship and adjusting on the fly isn’t easy. We’ve had our share of storms (we live in Texas!) and cold and mechanical breakdowns. But, like you, we worked through it all together. Thank you for sharing your story. We really enjoy your social media posts and blog posts. Joe, any guy that can install a roof vent cover while consuming a Sam Rebel is okay in my book! Y’all ever get to Dallas look us up. We’ll show you a place where you can get a killer bowl of chili!

    • Wow 6,000 miles already! Those two week adventures must have been quite the journey. Very happy you’re enjoying the articles and what we’re putting up on Social Media. I do love my Rebel IPA and actually cut out most of the scenes where I took a drink and installed something, took a drink – well you get the idea. We had fun when we were in Dallas and sorry we missed you but we’ll certainly be back through and LOVE chili. Thanks!

      • Yes, give or take. I think we got the yips and I found myself driving way too much. We are out somewhere at least every other week, if even just for a long weekend. These rigs are way too expensive (and fun) to let sit in storage! Cheers!

  11. We just drove past you on I4 near Daytona Beach. Enjoy Florida and your travels. Someday we’ll quit the rat race and live the RV life.

  12. Great post you guys. It really nailed the ups and downs of your newly chosen lifestyle!
    Been following you all since the beginning, and as a follower of several other fulltimer blogs and websites, I have really been enjoying yours. It is a perfect mix of posts about sites along the way and, most importantly, great info on the “ins” and “outs” of the fulltime lifestyle.
    So cool to hear that you have decided to stay on the road indefinitely. To me, that alone says a lot about the merits of fulltiming as my wife and I prepare for a launch in about 3 years.
    Here’s a tip for you all. Don’t get too hung up on planning to watch Packer games. As a Mets (and Jets) fan who has been living in Iowa for over 20 years, I have found that satellite radio is a great (and affordable) alternative. You never have to make special plans (i.e., “go” somewhere) to follow the boys and I find I actually follow the games better while listening on the radio. Another bonus is that you can multi-task while listening. Also, it makes those occasions when you can get a game on the tube all the more special!!
    Keep up the great work and enjoy the road!!

    • Peter – Thank you for the kind words and for following our journey since the beginning. If you and your wife have any questions about full time RVing, don’t hesitate to ask. And thanks for the tip on catching the games via satellite radio. As long as I get to wear my jersey and cheesehead crown 🙂

  13. Thank you for sharing, especially the up’s and down’s of travel. I love reading/watching your posts that you do. I have been reading different RV blogs for about 4 1/2 years now and all are a bit different but one thing that I totally enjoy about yours is a lot of them are just your day to day experiences and you are not afraid to just be yourselves. The smile from Joe when he has a cup of coffee or the excitement when Kait finds something yummy to eat just seems so natural in you both. Don’t stop…. I know that times can be tough and not always roses but always being able to talk, open up and be honest with one another always seems to be the key with us. Leo is such a beautiful dog and so well mannered. Best if luck with your journeys and thanks for taking us along with you. Rick and Jenn

    • Rick, thank you for the wonderful comment and it made our day. When we started we decided to always be ourselves and wondered if anyone would enjoy what we did. Well, we’ve been able to stay true to ourselves, but sometimes I have to cut out the videos where Kait goes overboard on the yummy food ?

      Thanks for joining our adventures and so happy you’re enjoying them!


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