We already homeschooled our kids and we wanted them to be able to see the country before they went off and started lives of their own. Our love to travel and see new places with our family of 7 is hard with the expenses being so high. A travel trailer was the best decision for our needs because it was more cost effective for us.
Our family didn’t have intentions to go full time, just travel here and there within a specified distance. We took our first long trip to North Alabama to take our second oldest son to see a doctor up there. Being gone for two weeks, we loved it so much that we moved out to the RV when we got back home. We had a spot in our backyard that allowed us to pull the RV into and even install a 50 amp hookup. Our oldest son didn’t want to travel with us because he was making a living at home, so we waited until he was old enough to move out on his own and listed the house.
Our Focus on Health and Business Coaching While Traveling
We are health and business coaches with Optavia. The experience has been eye-opening for sure. Kevin still does computer programming and one of our sons currently works for them as well. We also have our own business that we have had since 2007, building websites and developing custom software. Since we started full-timing we are focusing more on the health and business coaching since we can work as a team to change peoples lives!
We Love Hiking with Our Kids
All the hiking we’ve done has been our favorite experience RVing. We try to stay at state parks, if we can, to keep the kids active. They love seeing new places and all of the history that they are learning along the way is unimaginable! My least favorite thing (I know you didn’t ask about that) is driving. I hate pulling the RV down the highway. I don’t care who is driving! We try to stay off major interstates for sure.
How We Stay Connected
Definitely, have two different providers. We have T-Mobile and Verizon and the only place we had no reception at all was in the Kentucky State Parks. However, I might add that they wanted you to pay for internet while you were there and that if you went out of the park that you suddenly had service. We have not been out West yet, so we have not needed a cell booster or anything like that yet.
From Extreme Planning to No Plans
On our first loop around the country, we made reservations everywhere we went. In fact, we had 5 months planned out. We made friends and didn’t want to leave a particular spot. If we liked a location, sometimes it made the kids sad when we had to leave.
This second loop that we are doing we have no plans and no reservations anywhere. If we like a place, we can stay longer. We installed solar and can boondock anywhere now. We can last 8 days on our tanks, so to us, the sky is the limit (and that is in the middle of winter). We don’t like the private campgrounds as they are smaller spaces and many are not kid friendly or even shepherd friendly
We have to have a budget with a large family or we would go broke! For the most part, we kept the same expenses as we had at home. But the historic sites and playthings that we want to do with the kids can get outrageous. While we are very comfortable where we are at I would never want to have it get out of hand not keeping track of what we spend.
Warranty vs. Fixing It Ourselves
We bought the extended warranty with our RV. That was a waste of money for sure. We recently had our water pump go out and I called the service department and they said it would be about two weeks, but we could dry camp in the parking lot! We were staying at the resort on-site, why did we have to dry dock and how can we exactly dry dock with no water pump? I told them to forget it and bought the $50 pump and Kevin installed it himself. Repairs are not hard on an RV, it’s very similar to a house, you just need do your research.
Customizing Our RV for Our Kids
Just because you see a design that someone made for their kids, doesn’t mean that it is going to work for yours! We took a different approach to the kid’s beds and built bunks in our king bedroom. Kevin and I sleep on the pull out sofa in the living room.
Why did we do that?
Well, for us it was a choice. We both wanted the windows that this RV has. He wanted all of the extra square feet, I wanted something smaller, and we didn’t want to have to get a bigger truck.
Would a bunk room have been nice?
Yes, but our living area would have gotten much smaller and we spend 90% of our time in the living area. I also didn’t want a door to be near the kids’ room. I’ve heard horror stories about how people just barge in your RV and while we keep the doors locked most of the time, what’s to say one of the little kids wouldn’t turn it to the unlock position. Also with kids, take your time. Don’t rush them through things, let them experience it too!
We Want to Keep on Going
Originally we were only going to full-time for a year or so, but after the first six months, we don’t think we ever want to stop. We will eventually have a piece of land out West and a piece in or near Tennessee, but we will keep traveling as long as we can for sure.
Our kids are even talking about getting an RV of their own and following us around the country. As for the next 5 months, we have to stay in the Southeast of the US because our oldest son is getting married. After the wedding we are heading to the New England area, possibly going back to home base for Christmas and then heading West from there!