Being a full time RV family was not a longterm goal for my husband nor I. It wasn’t even a thought in our heads. So how did we get to this place? I’ll start from the beginning…
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Before Being A Full Time RV Family
Craig and I started dating when we were 15. Before we could even drive! We have been together ever since. Yup, high school sweethearts. Funny thing is my parents are high school sweethearts and Craig’s are middle school sweethearts. Must be something in the genes.
Throughout the time we dated, we went on a few trips that consisted of your typical vacations to Mexico (Cancun like 7 times – we really like it there) or snowmobiling up north. We were not big adventure travelers and liked going back to the same place since we were familiar with it so we could get right into the vacation mode of sitting on the beach watching the waves.
Both Craig and I were lucky enough to get great jobs right out of college (this was before the crash of 2008) and both of us were in the top of our class. Craig has a computer science degree and I have a business degree in Marketing and Management Information Systems (the easier computer route then full-blown computer science).
We both ended up with internships at Snap-On Tools when we were still in college. Craig stayed on there after college and I went to work for Cardinal Health in their IT department. It was amazing how quickly I learned that I did not like a cubicle job. Sitting in a box all day long just did not work for me.
However, I was making good money and there were things about the job I liked: the challenges, finding things I thought I could fix, and meeting and talking with other people at work. After a couple of years I started going up the ranks in my job and become a Team Leader and then a Business Systems Analyst. I was getting a yearly bonus, great benefits, and making close to 6 figures in the 5 years I had been working. Then they wanted me to move to Ohio to work in the corporate office. Wasn’t going to happen…
Craig and I had known from the minute we got engaged that when we had kids I would stay home with them. My Mom had stayed home with me and Craig’s with him. We knew this is what we wanted to do. There really never was a question. Don’t get me wrong, losing my salary was hard to swallow, but we never looked back it just felt right.
We had been planning for this all along, we had built a house, sold a house, and then built our dream house (we had a lot of fun with the building process!). Seriously, this was the house we thought we would have grandkids come visit us in. We could maintain it all on Craig’s salary (he had since left Snap-On and taken a job at UW Parkside in their IT department) if we were careful with our money.
Starting A Family
After being married just over 4 years, we welcomed our first son. Being parents was an amazing experience and we loved it. After he was about a year old I started getting into direct sales and built up a successful Dove Chocolate Discoveries business. I quickly learned that I loved being a stay at home Mom, but I still needed something outside of that to challenge me. Direct sales was a perfect fit.
Over the next few years I built my business, we had twins (totally unexpected since we aren’t sure if it runs in our family or not and we weren’t doing fertility treatments), then got pregnant again when the twins were a year old, had a miscarriage (it was never a viable pregnancy), then got pregnant a few months later with our 4th. All of this happened in less than 5 years. Whoa!
After our 4th was born we knew we had hit our limit. Luckily when the twins were born my Mom was able to retire and she came over every single day for the fist 4 months when Craig was working to help. It made it possible for us to raise the kids the way we wanted to as Attachment Parents. That meant co-sleeping, exclusive breastfeeding (none of the kids ever had a bottle), baby wearing, no crying-it-out, no forced feeding, etc. It wasn’t easy, but we managed thanks to my Mom’s help and not much sleep.
Read more: Our Parenting Journey
By the time we had 4 kids, we realized we couldn’t give them all the attention that they needed or we wanted to give them, so we knew our family was complete. We also have 2 dogs that were our first fur babies! We had the American Dream. The perfect house in an amazing neighborhood, Craig had a great job, we had 4 kids and 2 dogs. Perfect, right?
What happened is it started to feel suffocating. We had accumulated so many toys and things to fill our house. We spent almost every weekend at Target or Home Depot buying things we thought we needed and other things we did need to maintain our house. Craig spent hours maintaining the yard and our pool. I spent hours trying to keep the house somewhat clean.
Life was so busy it was hard to find time for anything but keeping the kids fed, the house clean, and maintained.
We had known since our oldest was 2 that we were going to homeschool. My parents are retired school teachers and were the ones who actually recommended we look into homeschooling. We researched a bunch of options and came across Radical Unschooling. It seemed like such an amazing fit and felt like the perfect transition from Attachment Parenting.
The Full Time RV Family Idea Is Born
We did research on it, read books, joined Facebook groups, and decided we were going to give it a try. Knowing we were doing this really opened the door for other opportunities. We were no longer stuck to a school schedule. The year was ours.
We started talking about other things that we could do. We came across families, with 4 kids, that were traveling around the world full time! Wait what?! People do this. At that time it seemed so far-fetched that we could take our life and go in that direction.
Instead we had talked to my sister and her family about both of us selling our houses and buying a duplex together so that we could save money and travel on vacation days. But let’s be serious, there isn’t much traveling you can do when your husband only gets off for 4 weeks a year and then there is always time over Christmas you want to take off to enjoy the holidays. Plus we had pets we didn’t want to leave behind.
That’s when we came across the idea of becoming a full time RV family. Honestly I don’t know how we came to it. But there it was the thought to travel in an RV. It started by saying let’s buy a duplex and then travel whenever we could.
We were excited about this! We went out and bought a 29 foot Class C RV and figured we would give it a try. During this time we had also put our house up for sale. We were ready for a change we just didn’t know how all the pieces were going to fit yet.
Putting the house up for sale was not easy. Like I said, it was our dream home. Seriously down to every last detail. We had designed it, ran wire, painted it, built the deck, finished the basement, it was ours. There were lots of tears and uncertainty. But there was also excitement and that desire not to say what IF. So instead, we went for it knowing we could always build another house if we wanted to.
We took our first long RV trip down to northern Florida in January. I called my sister about 5 days in and said hey what do you guys think about selling our houses, buying bigger RV’s, and becoming a full time RV family with us?!
They were on board. And so our plans were laid out. Well kind of. Both of our husbands still had jobs where they had to go into the office in our hometown. But since we had seen other people doing it we knew there were possibilities for jobs that allowed you to become nomadic.
We came home, kept downsizing and selling things, searched high and low for an RV. Then the offer on the house came. It just got real. More tears, more uncertainty, but we kept moving ahead knowing we were ready for something more.
Read more: How we Downsized
We signed the papers on the house without having the RV. Crunch time! We finally found it, negotiated a deal, and Craig flew down to Miami to pick it up and drive it all the way back to Wisconsin. Having never driven a huge Class A motorhome before..
He got home and then the remodel began. The next month was a total blur. We had just over a month from when he got home to finish clearing out the house (we ended up with about 4 bins that we gave to my parents to store, but other than that everything else was with us), remodeling the RV so we all had somewhere to sleep, and making this transition.
We had found a local RV resort where we could stay from May until October and my sister and her family would be in the spot right next to us! Our husbands would continue to go into work Monday thru Friday and we would figure out our next step from there.
Full Time RV Family Life
The day came when it was time to leave the house. Man that was hard. We stood in our kitchen and balled our eyes out feeling like we couldn’t physically walk away. This was our baby, our dream house. What the hell were we doing?! But we had come this far and like we said no regrets, no what-ifs. So we did it. We walked out turned over the keys and started the next chapter in our life.
The biggest thing that kept pushing us forward was this desire to have more family time, to have more freedom, and to be able to really get out and see all these amazing places that the world has to offer.
So far, it has been a bumpy road and we haven’t found as much free time as we were hoping for. The visions of sitting around a campfire every night without a worry in the world, not true. But this is also on us as we figure out this entrepreneur life and find the balance between work and play.
Since becoming a full time RV family, Craig has left his full time job. We quickly realized we didn’t like him having to be at the table from 9 to 5 every day while we were out exploring. So we started our own businesses. Mine is a Virtual Assistant business that focuses on social media, blogging, and e-newsletters for small businesses. Craig focuses on web design. We also have our family travel blog. We also do blogging coaching, freelance writing, and are working on other ways to monetize our blog. No, this has not been easy to build while having 4 kids and traveling full time, but we are figuring it out.
This has been one INTERESTING journey. We have grown as people more than we ever thought possible. Have stretched our comfort zones farther than we knew we were going to and have forever been changed. We are a tight knit family that fights, loves, and plays with intensity. We don’t have all the answers and are forever seeking them out, but our life is ours to do as we see fit. We now truly believe we can do anything we set our mind to. But man it is a lot of work and scary! So the journey continues!
Also, check out our About Us page to learn more about us.
We love to hear your feedback and questions you may have on what its like being a full time RV family, so please leave a comment below and we will get back to you!