I’m writing this blog post just shy of reaching 8 months as full-time RVers, and it just so happens to be the first time that we have really talked about our “why”. I mean, don’t get me wrong - we both knew why we chose to sell most of our belongings to live in a camper - but we didn’t really have a mission or a well formulated answer to that “why”. You might be here because you’re asking yourself the same question… “why full-time RV living? how can I afford to travel or live in an RV?” So let’s see if I can do “our why” some justice today.
First, you should know a little bit about our background. Basically, Eric grew up hiking and camping and doing everything in the outdoors - and I did not. In fact, I specifically remember many summers where my parents had to pretty much drag us out of the house to play outside. I would question … but what is there to do outside?
The TV is inside. Snacks are inside. Everything I love is inside.
And so while I was being forced to be one with nature, Eric was out living it up in the Adirondacks - climbing mountains with his family and cooking food over campfires.
In fact, I was so out of touch with the types of adventures Eric grew up encountering, that when my father in-law asked if he could take our son to the same mountains where he took Eric year after year - I immediately said “no way”. I had these images that went through my head of a family like literally rock climbing up the side of a mountain to reach the peak. I thought there was no way that could be safe - and I wanted nothing to do with it. Of course after a good long laugh … and some basic 5th grade education on camping in the mountains … I decided to let him give it a go. Looking back on it, I am so glad that I gave in because it definitely made for some lasting memories.
So fast forward. Over the years together we took the kids on one camping trip really. Eric worked for an RV dealer and we were able to use one of the rigs for a long weekend. It was fun, but it wasn’t anything I wanted to do repeatedly. And then as the kids got older we started to rent cabins up in the Blue Ridge Mountains and we decided huh … we kind of like the relaxing pace of being in the outdoors … maybe we should try camping again. And so we did. And as we kept trying out this camping thing, I quickly realized that I do truly enjoy the peace of nature and getting away from it all. I do. I swear. Just in short stints. I like a nice hike that wraps up with me being back inside in time to catch the newest episode of Real Housewives.
And so we bought a camper.
Our first camper was a Starcraft Satellite 17rb and it was perfectly cozy for the two of us. We loved taking it out to local state parks and really enjoyed spending 2-3 days camping in it here and there. And then one day I casually said “this camper is so cozy… I could easily live in here for like a month”. And I swear, I heard Eric’s wheels start turning almost immediately.
There are a couple of different circumstances that really motivated us to explore this opportunity. The first has to do with a couple of vacations. We love to take vacations. While maybe we didn’t take the kids camping much - we did take them on a lot of cruises, and our youngest even earned a trip to Maui for graduating with honors.
So it was after a trip to Key West, and the trip to Maui that we really started yearning for more out of life. There’s just something so freeing about how people are living minimalist lifestyles, chasing the sunshine and really following their dreams. If you want to sling coconuts to tourists on the corner of Duval St. with a smile on your face? I am here for it. We came back from more than one vacation thinking … “should we sell everything and live in a shack on the beach?”
I think most of us have these thoughts throughout our lives, especially more so now that we also get to live vicariously through friends, family and heck … even strangers, who are sharing their lives over social media. And of those who have had these thoughts, I’m sure most of us have sighed and said “maybe one day”.
Well, we decided we didn’t want to wait for one day because honestly … that “one day” may never come. I’m sure we aren’t alone, but we’ve personally lost friends and family far too early in their years, and that unfortunately includes both of Eric’s parents. We are lucky to have had the time with them that we did, and looking back, I’m so thankful that I let my father in-law take our son to the oh so dangerous mountains too. I do wish that they could be here to see Eric taking this courageous step towards living a life of adventure - just like they taught him. And I’m sure they’d have a good laugh about the fact that Eric has me living in the great outdoors too!
Our children. Of course our children had a huge impact on our decision as well. Being young parents meant that by the time we got the itch to uproot, all three of them were well on their way to navigating life as adults. We really lucked out to have such great kids that have encouraged us to explore the opportunity to live as full-time RVers.
There were a lot of options to consider. Options we are more than happy to discuss in more detail in a future blog, because we know how overwhelming it can feel at first. We would love to share what we considered and what we learned in the process in case it helps you too. We had a lot of ideas. Do we sell the house? Do we buy land? Do we buy a small house and also buy land? Do we live in a shack or do we live in an RV?
Spoiler alert - we live in an RV.
We ultimately made the decision to keep our home and rent it out - and moved into the RV on July 3rd, 2020.
Since July, we’ve been stationary RVers (meaning we mainly stay in one location without traveling - with the exception of a couple trips). We chose to rent a site at an RV park that is actually just 10 minutes from where our house is. We did this because Eric still works locally, so it didn’t add too much to his commute while that 10 minutes was also just enough to give us some new scenery to make it feel even more like an adventure.
Staying put since July has given us close to 8 months to focus on turning our RV into our home. We’ve completely made over the interior with painted cabinets, wallpaper and plenty of cozy details. Eric focused on upgrading our hitch, making sure our internet was golden, installed a water softener and somehow talked me into getting a husky puppy. Most importantly, it gave us the time we needed to get our feet wet as full-time RVers.
How are you going to have a blog named Stairs Up - Handle In if you are stationary RVers, you might ask? (Also - I was fully prepared for someone to ask me that, but can honestly say it was never mentioned…)
Well that all changes on March 1st, 2021.
When we made the decision to be stationary RVers just 10 minutes from our house - we knew it wouldn’t be forever. Our ultimate goal was to hit the road and travel, but it was going to take some strategic planning. Over the past 8 months we were able to pay down debt and streamline our finances to allow Eric to retire from his job, giving us the freedom to travel. We also invested in a Thousand Trails Membership, which after the upfront investment, will connect us with free camping options. As of now, we have plans to visit 14 states between March and October, finding our way back South to Florida for the winter. Plans. It will be interesting to revisit this in October to see what we really managed to accomplish, but that is where we are now.
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And there we go. Our WHY. And a little taste of the WHO, HOW and maybe even WHEN. We can’t wait to share even more of our journey with you and we are just grateful that you chose to stop by and learn a little bit about us. We would love to hear from you! Drop your questions, recommendations, fuel tips and lucky numbers below!
Originally appeared on stairsup_handlein's blog.