YouTube Burnout with Scott Watson of Go Small Live Large – Episode 13 RVing with Joe & Kait

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Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means we will earn a commission on the products or services you purchase using the links. There is no additional cost to you and the earnings help keep this website running. Read the Affiliate Disclaimer for more information.

In this episode of the RVing with Joe & Kait podcast, we welcome Scott Watson from Go Small, Live Large! to delve into the highs and lows of the RV lifestyle and the challenges of being a YouTube content creator on the road. We discuss the realities of creator burnout, the complexities of maintaining a fulfilling life while traveling full-time, and the unseen struggles that come with content creation. Join us to uncover the deeper aspects of living and working out of a Class B camper van through Scott’s personal experiences and insights.

YouTube Burnout as an RV Youtuber

Scott Watson Go Small Live Large YouTube Burnout

Where to listen

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Episode Guest

In 2017, Scott was unhappy with a traditional lifestyle that included a big house (or as he call it, his storage unit) a long Chicago commute to a corporate job that left him unfulfilled. In 2018, he created a plan to reinvent his life. It began with buying a Winnebago Travato GL Camper Van and then started a YouTube channel about Vanlife.

In September 2021, he exited corporate America and became fully self-employed through YouTube and his RV partners. In February 2024 he completed his fifth year of full-time van travel. April 2024 begins a planned sabbatical from posting content on YouTube. Returning on August 28, 2024, he plans new types of content, including taking Viewers with him to exciting destinations such distilleries as a “bourbon hunter”.

Today, Scott is most pleased with the amazing Go Small. Live Large! Community he has built with his audience through YouTube and in-person events. As he says at the end of each video, “Journey On!”.


Resources Mentioned in this Episode

Key Highlights

  • RV travel can be a rewarding and fulfilling lifestyle.
  • Becoming a successful YouTube creator takes time and consistent effort.
  • It’s important to find your niche and provide value to your audience.
  • Taking breaks and reevaluating your content strategy is essential to avoid YouTube burnout.
  • Building a supportive community is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a content creator.
  • Consider diversifying your income streams to supplement YouTube revenue.
  • Taking time off to recharge and rediscover your passion is necessary for long-term success.

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Joe Russo Welcome back to another episode of RVing with Joe and Kait. Today we are talking to Scott Watson from Go Small, Live Large! about what it’s like being a YouTube creator and talking about creator burnout. Now Scott is a full-time RVer in his Class B camper van and has been doing this quite a while. So let’s get right into it.

Scott, welcome to the podcast!

Scott Watson Well, it’s just a delight to be here. It’s kind of a weird feeling. I’ve never been on a guest on somebody else’s program before. So this is a real highlight for me. Thank you for inviting me.

Joe Russo Today, we wanted to talk to you about creator burnout and what it’s like being a creator on the road because you’ve been doing it now for what, six years. Based on the video you just published about why you’re quitting YouTube or at least taking a sabbatical for the moment.

We’d love to talk to you about that because I know there are a lot of people out there who are currently RVing and are content creators like ourselves and have definitely felt burnout. There are people out there who are just starting and then there are a lot of people out there who are considering the RV lifestyle and saying, “I’m gonna do this by making videos and that’s gonna be how I make my living on the road.”

So we’d love to talk to you about your realities that you had during the last six years. So could you kind of tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started?

Scott Watson Really want to make the distinction, I am not burned out from travel. I am burned out on the business of YouTube. We’ll talk about that in-depth, but I want to be real clear, I’m not quitting traveling. I’m just taking a break from the YouTube business.

So a little bit about me. I’m about 60 years of age, so kind of in a sweet spot where a lot of people are getting into RVing and after retirement, I’ve had three major corporate careers over the years, including over a 10 year stint at Apple. I’ve always followed my passion. Whatever that was has led me to great success. And that’s part of getting into the van thing. We’ll talk about that later.

From Chicago, originally from the Pacific Northwest, I moved to Chicago and now Florida is home base. And how did I get into RVing? It’s not an uncommon story, I don’t think, but I was tight. I had a long Chicago commute to an over air conditioned cubicle, working with nice people, just had no passion for what we were doing.

And I had to stay to get the big paycheck to pay for the big storage unit, I mean house. And I was looking for change, but I didn’t really know what that change looked like. I always enjoyed travel, but through corporate travel, we saw a lot of cool places, overseas and otherwise, but it was always an airplane and a hotel. And I didn’t want to travel that way. So I was kind of looking for some other way to travel. On the ground, slower, for longer extensive time. Weirdly and never thought of an RV.

So that’s just a little bit of background and I’ve been super lucky over the years and you guys, as you know, Joe and Kait Russo had a big, big part of that. So just an honor to be here.

Joe Russo So how did you actually get started on YouTube?

Scott Watson I actually didn’t know anything about YouTube. I started watching it as this, you know, the search for something. I literally watched no YouTube before that point and started poking around. Somehow the algorithm, God love them, delivered me a Revel video and it was put together by Winnebago and really great video.

And I’m like, that’s it. That’s what I want to do. I’m going to travel in an RV van. I didn’t even know vans were RVs, right? Shortly thereafter, discovered many RV YouTubers, including We’re the Russos. They were in a van. Most of the others were not. And through you guys, Joe and Kait, I discovered I could at least work my job from the road. I could create a YouTube business over time. I can get some partners, and I can help people change their lives. And that’s kind of what got this thing going.

And I made a pretty robust plan. My partner, Kyle, he called it the fantasy plan. And it turned out to be the reality plan. It’s pretty cool. And the plan included dates for getting the van. I’m a big deadline guy, you know, putting something on the counter because then it’s real. When was it going to go part time in the van? When was it going to go full time in the van? When was it going to exit corporate America? What channel growth numbers would look like? Didn’t quite hit that one.

And it also included what changes would we need to make to take care of this big house? Because I was tired of paying for the house. So I’m like, I’m doing the van thing. Kyle, what do you want to do? I want to move to Florida. Let’s do Airbnb. Fantastic.

So now we each have our fantasy plant and we kind of got underway with that. I attended a couple of RV shows, took him along the first one. I didn’t invite him back the second time. He was just a big grump on the whole idea. He’s like, van, are you kidding? These things are so small. How about this big bus? I’m like, yeah, that’s not going to happen either.

And I just really started thinking through what kind of van floor plan would enable my full time travel the best. And it went from a Revel, no way, Jose, Paseo. Remember those when Bago made the Paseo on a Transit? That was pretty cool. Then I discovered the Travato and with the Volta Lithium system, it was enabling the freedom to do what I wanted to do wherever I wanted to do it. It was pretty magical.

So we ordered the van in June of 2018, took delivery of October 2018. I’ve never been pregnant, but I got to tell you pregnant ladies, man, that’s a long time to wait for the delivery, right? And I’m like, it was just six months of pain.

And I actually started YouTube during this time. I didn’t even have my van yet. And I was posting very infrequently up until August 1st or the first week in August of 2018 when I started weekly content to to YouTube. So I was talking about vans and I didn’t have one. Yeah, that’s pretty funny.

Then we took delivery and the first trip we took a couple of overnight trips around the Chicago area, but my first big trip was I went to go show my parents in Spokane, Washington, my new van. I didn’t tell my employer. We had a very loose work from remote program anyway, very distributed company. And so I just didn’t show up in the office, which was kind of my deal. I said, I’m going to work remote, making some changes at the house, whatever. And I worked from the road for two weeks before I told them what I was doing. They’re like, we didn’t know you’re working from an RV. I’m like, perfect.

That was my first RV. Never owned one before or since. This is all I know.

Kait Russo Your channel and brand that you’ve created is Go Small, Live Large! What inspired you to name it Go Small, Live Large! and kind of the community you’ve built around that?

Scott Watson The name actually came up through an Apple colleague. There’s another channel that I wasn’t aware of that’s pretty similar in name, but I told him what I was doing and why. And he’s like, you’re going small? You’re going to be living large. I’m like, that’s it. That’s a good one. Hold on. Let me take that down.

And that’s kind of the whole point. Go small, meaning minimalism-ish. It’s a van, not a huge RV. You guys have had huge RVs in the past where you’re tied down to shore power and you think you have to carry all this stuff with you. So go small so you can live large.

In my case, being anywhere I want to be. And with a lithium package, you can be anywhere you want to be. And that’s why the channel is not my name. This ain’t about me. It’s about us. Figure out what’s important to us. What makes you happy and then chasing that happiness.

There’s my very first and still my favorite sticker. I got it the RV Entrepreneur Summit in March of 2019. Teach everything you know. And like that’s gonna be my motto. I’m not gonna be the entertainer, try and make it fun a little bit. But by teaching everything I know, I’m learning from awesome people like Joe and Kait Russo. On their shoulders I stand, but now people are standing on my shoulders. And they’re doing things that they never expected to do.

And the community I’m telling you, you guys know this through your own experience, but the community. We’ve been through four, five, six campouts in the last few months. We have a blast. It’s so much fun. And it’s real again. This isn’t manufactured. It’s just organic. And I didn’t really expect it. I hoped, but I didn’t really expect it. And it’s again, it’s this community. It’s not just me. It’s all of us working together to find more fun in our lives, discover America.

And we’re friends now. I met you guys. Remember we met in person in Milwaukee, July, 2019 at that. I think it was a Patreon roundup, right? At the old Milwaukee Brewery there.

Kait Russo Yeah, I think it was 2018.

Scott Watson That’s right. I didn’t even have my van yet. And when I stepped into your Hymer, it’s like people stepping into my van now. They’re like, they’re like vibrating. I’m like, it’s just Lily. And you guys are like, well, sure you can. I’m like, oh, hurry, take my picture before I pass out.

So it’s just come full circle. It’s just all of us working together to be better people and have more fun with life.

Kait Russo When you decided to start YouTube, at which point did you say, okay, this is going to be like something that I’m going to put in full-time effort towards earn enough income to support the new lifestyle of traveling in a van full-time.

Scott Watson Part of the fantasy plan was generating enough income from YouTube to pay for traveling. Probably would get a partner that kind of happened by a happy accident. The other one more intentionally with Volta, the first one. Happy Accident with Embassy RV. But I thought I could make some pretty good money on YouTube. I didn’t really see any YouTube videos about how much money you can or can’t make. Everybody’s pretty quiet about that subject. It’s kind of interesting.

My goal was to help people change lives, their lives, and pay for the party, traveling around, showing all this stuff through YouTube income.

Joe Russo Once you got started on YouTube and you kind of got into it a bit, did YouTube live up to the promise or was it kind of a different reality than what was expected?

Scott Watson It turned out to be a different reality than what I expected. Did not monetize the channel until well into the whole program. I monetized the channel on April of 2020 because COVID, I was afraid our company was, I worked for was very uncertain if the company was going to survive. So I’m like, Oh my God, I needed to make some money here.

Let’s turn on YouTube monetization. And so I ran for a couple of years before that. I built a nice following. I didn’t really care of the views and the clicks and all the stuff because I wasn’t making any money from it. So it didn’t matter to me. Growth was consistent but slow.

When I turn on the monetization, it flipped my attitude. Now it’s about the clicks, the views, the analytics. Getting the views changed my topic.

Joe Russo When we decided to go full-time with YouTube. It turned into a full-time job. And for us, that was like 80 plus hours a week, nonstop. And, you know, I remember our first quote unquote paycheck from YouTube was like 50 bucks. And it, you know, after all that work and effort, you’re like, well, this, this covered some of the coffee that we drank at the cafes when we went to go use the WiFi.

But how did that look like for you? Once you made that change from just doing it as kind of like, let’s say a hobby to now making it a business.

Scott Watson My first YouTube paycheck was $6.80. I was so proud. Texted all the family. Like this is ridiculous. What you’re doing. You know that, right?

Um, but I had my partner, Embassy RV, and was producing content. They were paying me to make content. So I did have some income. I was working for my job. So the money wasn’t from YouTube wasn’t a big deal. But again, kind of to your point, it shifted how I looked at it and what kind of content got more views and what didn’t.

And the kind of content that didn’t and the hardest to make is the travel stuff. Where am I going? What am I doing? You know, going into stores and all that. And few watch it by comparison, at least on my channel, to what I call van tours. So a tour of an RV van on a dealer lot. And those performed super well.

And I did a number of things over the years, places, travel videos, product videos, van tip videos, van tour videos always performed the best. So I just started leaning into that because now I was having to make some money. I couldn’t live just on the MCRV money and needed to get the content positioned where YouTube was posting it to people and it was it was working but not fast enough.

Kait Russo You took delivery of your van late 2018 but you were still working for a couple of years. So at what point did you leave your corporate job and at what point did you go full-time van life?

Scott Watson Took delivery of the van in October of ’18. Kind of buzzed around on a part -time basis with my employer’s blessing. I was I’ve had a full-time job. I just was remote from my van on a part -time basis traveling.

In February 2019, I told them it was kind of an experiment, right? They were concerned. My CEO’s mandate was don’t miss anything because you don’t have internet. I’ll figure that out. No problem. And we figured it out. I test drove it for a month at the SuperShow in Tampa 2019. And that’s when I decided I’m not going back to home base. I’m blasting out of the universe and I’m going somewhere else other than Florida and got the okay from the employer, got the okay from the family, Kyle in particular, and off I went. So that was February 2019.

In April 2020, I went, I was kind of on a forced part-time basis from work for the COVID because the business really kind of imploded. And that’s when I started monetizing. And the YouTube income was going up because I was focused on van tours.

And then in September 2021, I gave my employer notice that I was leaving because at that point I was still on part time. So I was working Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Fridays were kind of a blow off day anyway, but it was, the job was actually in my way of doing these other things I wanted to do.

And I’d managed to exceed my, or match almost my part time corporate income through the two partners and YouTube. So I achieved my goal that I could leave corporate American focused full time on this whole situation. It was a big day. I’ll never forget that day.

Joe Russo So once you did focus. How did your travels from that point forward change as opposed to what you were doing previous to that?

Scott Watson So my Volta partner duties was to go train Winnebago dealers on the Volta system. What dealers are going to take me in, do the training. So that’s how I determined trajectory. Frequency was also kind of determined by that too.

I’ll never forget though, it’s a great question. It makes me think of some of these things. It was so frustrating to be sitting in this amazing place having to do a whole day of Zoom calls for my job. I could be doing all this other stuff. And when that went away, it’s like the veil lifted. I’m like, oh my God, now I can do anything I want wherever I want based on where these dealer appointments are. It’s really changed everything.

Kait Russo At this point, it sounds like you have two things going on. You’re a content creator, and then you’re also working with RV partners outside of YouTube.

Scott Watson And each one’s a job. I was creating content for embassy, Volta training at Winnebago dealers. That was a fair amount of work. So each one was kind of a job on a part time or full time basis. So two jobs plus YouTube and then to kind of add more. I’m always self inflicting pain on myself.

So what I decided to do is try something different. And in January of 2021, I started a weekly YouTube live program called What’s Up Wednesday. So now I had these Volta deadlines. I had Embassy deadlines. I had What’s Up Wednesday deadlines. I was experimenting with content. I was posting one to three times a week on YouTube, trying to find something that worked besides van tours.

Add to your point earlier, I was probably working 80 hours a week at least across those four jobs. What’s up Wednesday, Embassy, Volta, and YouTube, regular stuff, right? Managed to keep all that going up until this week.

Joe Russo Based on our experience, when you first start out that channel and you’re putting in that time, it’s an exciting period because you’re seeing growth. You’re seeing like certain videos will hit and that’s kind of like, it’s almost like a drug. You get that high and you’re really excited and you’re trying and working and you know you can push and do it again and get another video up there.

For you, where was kind of the tipping point where you started on the other side kind of coming down saying, why am I still doing this or what is next? Like how did you get to the point where you decided to take this sabbatical?

Scott Watson So I’ve been thinking about this for a year, but kept persevering. Now, if I was making $10,000 a month on YouTube, I keep persevering. The problem is I’m making. Well, I just did my taxes for last year. I had to pay some tax. And my YouTube income for 2023 all in, this is including the Superchats and everything, was $24,800. It’s at least 5,000 hours over last year going into YouTube. And the return just isn’t there.

The only content that pops are van tours. Those perform well, but it really skewed the algorithm so that anything other than a van tour just performed badly. Now I did have one van tour that I would say went viral to about a million three hundred thousand views from that one video I’ve made.

So in totality on YouTube, and again, this is kind of a reality check for a lot of people. If I look at my monetized April 2020 to April 2024, my entire income is $72,000. Of that, one video is about $30,000. And I don’t know what we did differently, except I kept interrupting her all the time. I don’t know why that video went viral. An Embassy RV owner gave us a tour of her van.

But without that van tour, that would even be a sadder story revenue wise. And the income trend was going down for this year. I’m like, something’s got to change.

Joe Russo How was all that work really impacting your enjoyment of RVing? I mean, the reason we do it is to get out, enjoy it, see the world and do all that sort of stuff. And like we found there comes a time where you turn around and realize I’ve created a monster that I now have to feed and it’s taking away from why I originally got on the road.

Scott Watson Which is so true. That’s why I’m taking a sabbatical. To rekindle the joy of travel. I’ve never not traveled in the van without the overhead of YouTube. So I don’t know van travel without YouTube.

I’ve talked with all my partners and I’m really happy to say they’re all fine. They’re just going to give me at the sabbatical pause. And so I’m not doing anything business related until I come back in at the end of August in 2024. So I can’t wait to travel in the van to a cool destination and not think about recording it.

Kait Russo I can’t wait to hear about your experience and what it’s like to RV travel without YouTube in the background, because we haven’t gotten there yet, have we?

Joe Russo No, we haven’t. I mean, that’s every RV trip is how do we turn this into a video? We have found a happy medium where when we travel and we’re going to be creating content, we take time that we’re not going to create anything. We might get some quick clips here or there for a reel or something like that or an Instagram photo. And we’ve found that helps us.

Kait Russo For example, if we’re going to Fort Wilderness and camping at Walt Disney World. If we’re booked for a week, we might film, let’s say, the first four days and then those last three days, it’s our time off to really enjoy ourselves without having to turn the camera on.

Scott Watson There’s two of you running your business. There’s only me. So I’m doing everything website. I mean, guests lined up for What’s Up Wednesday. I mean, I was doing everything and everything was just dragging me down. So I’m really so I’m going to pop up here and there just to make sure YouTube knows I’m still alive for algorithm situation.

But, the other thing I’ve done, and this is kind of interesting, is you guys have a Patreon. This is a Patreon platform, and I launched that at the request of many van friends that we met last year in March at Luckenbach. We’re kind of sitting around the campfire and talking about YouTube, because some of them are aspiring and have channels, small channels.

We all start with small channels. And they’re like, why don’t you start a Patreon so we can have a tighter knit group. They’re really the people that believe in you. And so I did that. I started that last, I don’t know, six or eight months ago, whatever it was. And so I’m pointing my audience to that platform, because that’s where I’m going to keep posting.

And I can’t tell you what a difference it’s made, or simple it is, and how much more rewarding dollar wise it is. I’m almost half of what my YouTube income is on Patreon after just doing this for a few months.

Joe Russo I do want to kind of throw something in here, though, for everyone listening. And that is you might be hearing us and Scott talk about, we’re doing this for monetary rewards, essentially, financial gain. And it’s a job.

If you are going to do this and try to make your living on the road, you have to make it a job. And I think that was the big turning point for us is going from making it a hobby to making it a full-time job. And in that sense, our goal is to make money off of this and to support ourselves.

If we’re not doing that, then we’re not successful. At the same time, however, we still want to educate, we want to entertain, and we want to provide people with value because we are making money off of that. And I know, Scott, you’re the same way.

Scott Watson I’ve always been really transparent about YouTube revenue, but it’s been fun to see the true believers come over to Patreon. And there’s a free level and two paid levels.

And I’m always conscious, Joe, to your point exactly of the value that I’m bringing the viewer. Now, as a viewer, they can consume all the stuff we’re doing and pay absolutely nothing for it. Wait for the ad. Counting down. Skip ad. OK, good. Keep going.

If I’m not providing to my customer what they really want, then that’s my fault. I need to figure it out. The customers I had, it’s probably a small tribe of the van travelers, it was all about getting the van. Now they got their van. What are they going to do with it? I never really answered that question. I just kept showing vans.

As I take the sabbatical and rethink things, I’m going to look at through some different lenses. But now as I come out of this sabbatical, how can I provide value for those that want to travel in a van? I’m going to get off the van tour treadmill. That’s going to I’ll be punished for that. I know that.

But I’m going to be going places like to a bourbon distillery in my van. So I’m going to pick up a whole new audience because I’m going to focus on cool places. Probably distilleries, I’m kind of into the bourbon thing, and I might even pick up a new partner through a, you know, a distillery type situation.

So very, I just love how you say that because yes, we’re making money. It is a business. I don’t have retirement income at this point. I managed to save up money over the years to let the sabbatical go, not have to worry about it. But when I come back, it’s going to be with a completely fresh thinking of who is that customer? What do they want to see? And it’s probably me going to small town or a, God forbid, a national park and traveling in my van to get there.

Joe Russo For someone who is aspiring to be an RVer or they’re RVers and are wanting to or need to make money on the road and they think YouTube is going to be the answer. What is the conversation you would have with that person?

Scott Watson I would say I don’t want to dampen your dreams, but if you’re planning to make money on YouTube, it’s a marathon. It is not a sprint. I mean, just in my own case, making, you know, seventy some thousand dollars in four years.

Balance it out. What kind of content do you want to make? Who is your audience? Who’s consuming it and why? And you have to post at least weekly. I was trying to post one, two, three times a week and What’s up Wednesday too. Way out of balance. Plus, you know, the partner stuff. So I start as a hobby with the mindset of a business.

The other thing I would say is don’t invest in all kinds of camera gear. I made it, went down that path. Terrible idea. I spent thousands, thousands. You can use your smartphone and a microphone setup and that’s all you need and a Gmail address. That’s all you need to be in the YouTube content creation business. Which is pretty amazing if you think about it.

Gary Vaynerchuk said it really well, document, don’t create. Just document what you’re doing in real life, your journey. And that’s what I’ve always tried to do. It was good advice. Never met Gary, someday maybe.

Joe Russo YouTube is only one part of our business. When you look at our spreadsheet of where our revenue is coming in from, there are numerous things coming from numerous places that have nothing to do with YouTube. We have a website, we have sponsorships, partnerships, all different things going on, consulting.

I know you mentioned that you’ve worked with partners, but do you look for other ways to bring in income to kind of supplement what you’re getting on YouTube?

Scott Watson I think partners, in my case, Patreon, are the other legs on the stool. Through YouTube, I found those partners, or I found them. I couldn’t have done that without having YouTube. So it’s this kind of symbiotic relationship, but unless you hit it big, and some have, you need other other means to do it.

And even if you’re like retired and get some money on the side and that’s what you’re living off of, I think that’s super cool. I don’t have that option at this point. So for me, it was and I love the partners we’ve managed to attract. I’m not the one I’m thinking of one channel. She’s really gone down the path of hawking products. She probably doesn’t actually use but she’s just trying to get the ring in the till. I’ve never done that. I’m not gonna do that because I just that’s not me.

So the other thing I would say to the budding Youtubers, figure out what your real is. That’s gonna make a big difference on how you approach partners and income because if you’re willing to put anything out there, man, to me it just cheapens the audience and that’s you’re using. For me, if I was to do that, I would be using my audience.

This is something else I have not done. If you look at the other RV channel, I don’t think you guys have ever done this really big in a big way either, is be negative, clickbait crap. I’ve experimented with it last year on a couple different videos and the negative clickbait crap to acts on performance, but I just refused to go there

So again budding youtubers figure out how what what’s your tone gonna be? What’s your truth meter gonna say and all these comments I’m getting from people Joe and Kait? Responding to the email of my sabbatical. Probably one of the biggest things they all say is it we appreciate how you did it and why you did it and you did it the right way.

I could double my channel by either having either paying YouTube to promote my videos. Now think about that. Or doing the clickbait crap. For me, my experience, YouTube ain’t footing the bill for everything.

This is something else, by the way, to think about van travelers. I am not out here to save money doing van travel. Now compared to my residential house lifestyle back in Chicago, this is way less expensive. The mortgage payment was like three or four grand a month when you got all the stuff to worry about, right? The landscaping and Christmas decor, all that crap.

I don’t have that overhead now, but I’m not out here doing van travel to save money. I’m out here to take it all in, baby, because this ain’t going to last forever. And I want to see, touch, taste, go places, and that costs money. And by sharing it, I need the business to help support that so I’m not pulling out of savings.

I did how much does van life cost? Mine’s about $3,000 a month and $4,000 a month sometimes depending on what I’m doing. Rarely is it under $2,000 a month. And in that video, I was real clear. I’m not doing this to save money. If I’m trying to save money, I’m sitting out in the desert or in a mountaintop. I’m BLM land, not paying for anything until I have to. You know, me and BLM land, we don’t get along real well.

Joe Russo There are definitely people out there who are doing this lifestyle because they need to. There are those who do it because they want to and then those who do it to really kind of enjoy everything that this world has to offer.

Now that you’ve experienced burnout, you said over the last year that you’ve been thinking about this, you finally decided to make the decision to take the sabbatical. During that year, what was it that drove you to say, yes, this is it? Was it just the financial part or was there more to it?

Scott Watson The financial was the trigger that caused the decision. But I recently, my dad died recently. My mom died a few years ago. So there’s, I’d never really. Everybody loves moms. They’re unconditional love for everything, right? Dads, they’re a little more conditional. And have a mom die a couple of years ago hit me, certainly, but dad dying. And I saw him the last day he was alive. I was on an airplane trying to get back to Florida to the van and his death was a real sever severing to the past and my present because there’s no God can be more future.

And it just really I started looking at what do I have this amazing audience. I’ll meet some of them. I got some really close friend friends which are they’re great. I got my brother and sister. That’s cool. And I got Kyle. And that’s kind of, you start thinking about that’s all you got. That’s all I got. And his death was a pretty big, pretty way more than I thought it would be.

Um, and just, and just the workload and I just, I had lost the, I was sitting in RV parks, working on partner stuff, working on, on content and What’s up Wednesday. The fun for travel for me had long gone. It was like a grind at the job like a lot of folks have, I certainly had, and all the fun was gone out of it. So then I saw the money that I made last year from all the effort. I’m like, something’s got to change.

And when I left Florida this time, it was a very different feeling, Joe and Kait, than all the other previous years, because I’d hang around Florida for Christmas, and it was a SuperShow, then it would call a show, and we’d have the Peace, Love, and Vans. And so there’s reasons to be in Florida. And even though I wasn’t traveling I was living in the van because the Airbnb properties were sold out.

So that’s just anyway, so there’s something all the years previous I’m like, I’m out of here, Florida. I’m out of here drunk. I’m out of here I’ll see it at the end of the year, right? I was a big smile my face and I got all my time back. And no this time I’m like, you know dad died. And it felt weird this time leaving Florida like I was leaving Kyle behind that’s the first time I ever felt like that I can do pretty well solo?

I’m fine being alone, but also I felt lonely. And there’s a big difference between alone and lonely. And traveling, I can be with as many people as I want by just kind of engaging folks around me or not. And I was just finding myself being a little more anti-social because of all the weight of the business. Money was kind of the deciding point, but all these things kind of stacked up over the last year. And, you know, losing dad was a pretty big deal too.

Joe Russo Now on the flip side of that. What is the deciding factor for you to want to come back in August?

Scott Watson And now this is where my new anxiety starts. I have a date, number one, so it’s a date. So it’s the last Wednesday in August. We’re going to start with What’s Up Wednesday. And I’m going to figure out what the content is going to be.

When I get back to Florida, I’m going to hire a personal trainer and go to a really heavy 90 day fitness program. If I had much discipline going to the gym, as I do for What’s Up Wednesday, I’d look like Arnold Schwarzenegger and I don’t. So I’m going to hire a personal trainer and experiment with some of this content that I’ve been thinking about this new way to do it.

Joe Russo Given the burnout that you’ve experienced over the last couple years that led you to this point, how are you going to do things differently going forward so that you don’t get back here?

Scott Watson So I’m going to be taking trips in the van during the sabbatical. So it’s not like I’m sitting around at the house and watching Price is Right. I can do that in the van. So I’m going to be taking and this is kind of a new thing too. I’ve never known anything other than kind of full-time travel.

Most people aren’t full-time travelers. They’re part-time. They take trips of days, weeks, or months. I’m gonna do that. So I will have a whole new appreciation and a whole new way to help people, giving all of my YouTube career experience, all this travel experience, packing for the trip, taking the trip, and then coming back in a month or whatever, right? That’s kind of the plan I’m really excited about actually.

Joe Russo Well, I think that kind of brings us full circle. Looking forward to that first What’s Up Wednesday back at the end of August. And Kait, do you want to ask the final question unless you have some more?

Kait Russo I always have questions, but we can we can jump to the final question. What’s something you wish you knew about RVing before you got started?

Scott Watson This was a big one I figured out a couple of years ago. I realized that I’m not going to see everything on the road that created anxiety. It’s like I’m driving by all this cool stuff like the Grand Canyon. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon yet. Guess what? It’s still waiting for me.

I found van travel to be very intoxicating. I wish it was started sooner. So somebody keeps waiting for that magic date. I would encourage them not to wait through van travel. I’ve discovered America. The awesome people. Most people are really cool. Everybody’s afraid about and I just turn the news off because guess what? That’s not real. It’s happening one tiny, tiny, tiny pinpoint of the country, right?

Awesome people, amazing culture, amazing food, amazing history. I discovered Western country, Western music and bourbon that I probably never would have discovered outside of figuring it out on the road. And then the people we meet, I mean, the thing I’m probably most proudest about, I hoped it would happen, but I didn’t know what happened. And that is creating this amazing community that like it being part of your community. And when we get together, it’s we may not see each other for a year. And when we see each other, we pick right where we left off. And now we’re chatting amongst ourselves. We’re going to Bisbee for the Weird Wild West next week.

I wish I knew how amazing this adventure would have been. I didn’t really expect. I hope it would happen the way it did with my fantasy plan turned out to be turned out to be a reality plan and we’re helping people change their lives for the better. And that’s probably my biggest my biggest reward.

All the business side business stuff aside, helping people can rediscover themselves through through van travel and change some of their own lives. Like you guys helped me get my life changed up. That to me is the biggest reward.

And when I get to see them in person. See some of these comments. This stuff is real. This stuff is real. And to me, that’s just the biggest blessing, really.

Kait Russo Thank you so much for sharing. It’s a difficult topic to talk about. Really appreciate you sharing, giving people a look behind the curtains of what it’s like to be a content creator, especially an RV content creator.

Joe Russo Yeah, and I think there’s a big stigma behind what it is we’re doing, which is if you stop, you’re quitting and you didn’t put your full effort into it and everything else. And we need time off. You can’t produce content every week, 52 weeks a year, and we’ve all done it. And after a while, you’re just getting to a point where you’re like, I need a break.

And even our favorite TV shows, they take breaks. They don’t run all year long. We all need to step away. And I think listening to your story and hopefully the people out there who are aspiring to do this or they’re doing it and they’re feeling that burnout, realizing it’s okay to take a break, step away for a little bit, recharge, maybe relook at things if what you’re doing isn’t working, and start anew or start something else. You can stop.

Kait Russo We launched our YouTube channel at the end of 2015. Really went full-time at the beginning of 2016. And since then, we’ve taken quite a few breaks. We’ve played with kind of different uploads from weekly to every other week. And, you know, we meet a lot of content creators in the RV travel space who are very much burned out, but they’re afraid to take that break or make that change. You willing to take the sabbatical is

Joe Russo a big step.

Kait Russo Yeah, it’s a big step.

Scott Watson Big decision. And some of you say, Kait made me think of something. I’ve spent six years building this community. I feel very loyal to them from business mindset. They’re my customer. So how can I do better for my customer?

But at the people level, the human level, I’ve got so much into this. I didn’t want to just disappear for a few months. I’ve always been very transparent on this channel and I wanted to tell them what was happening, why, and what’s next.

I got some really great advice from one of the partners. They’re like, give them a date you’re coming back. That will help you count down to that and help you keep accountable. I’m like, hmm, interesting. It’s gonna be really easy just to flame out, right? And a lot of the YouTubers, the van YouTubers, they just never show up again, you know.

So it’s just, I wanted to be transparent about the what, the why, and what’s next. And that’s just how I roll.

Joe Russo I know you have a lot of great content out there. There’s a huge library of content and then you’re coming back that last Wednesday of August. So where can people find you? What is your Patreon? All that fun stuff.

Scott Watson Yeah, the easiest thing is just go to my website,, and you can click off the Patreon there. The URL is And there’s going to be regular postings there. Again, there’s three levels, including free. So it’d just be an honor to. Stay with me. Hang in there.

Joe Russo Well, thank you so much for being on the show. We really enjoyed having you.

Scott Watson Joe and Kait’s been an honor. This is such an honor.

Joe Russo I hope you enjoyed this episode of RVing with Joe and Kait. If you’re looking for any of the resources that we mentioned in today’s episode, you can find them in the show notes below. For those of you who are looking for your first RV, I do offer a one-on-one coaching service. That link will also be in the show notes. And if you’re interested, click the link and send me a note and I’ll get right back to you.

I also have two books on the RVing lifestyle, Take Risks and Tales from the Open Road, both of which you can find on pretty much any digital book platform. And as always, you can head over to our website, for additional resources around the RV lifestyle.

Thank you for tuning in and we’ll see you on the road!

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