We started full-time RVing January 3rd, 2017. Trevor is a nurse and I, Alanna am a nurse practitioner. We both have jobs that can be very mobile. We started feeling the itch for something new after our son was born in March of 2016 and then got very serious in October of 2016.
Trevor had been a travel nurse before and Alanna had wanted to try it so we started researching RVs and tiny living. We realized that the kids were little enough where we didn’t need to make any decisions about school and travel nursing would allow us to have one parent with the kids at all times. We knew that we wanted one of us to be home with the kids. Plus, on the road, there is not always family or friends that can be a backup for childcare.
We have been doing it for 13 months now and really enjoy it. We are a little different from many of the full timing people we know because we still have some semi-permanence. Most contracts are 3 months long so we don’t move as often as others do in the RV community. It also makes it more difficult to be off the grid (which we love) but we make the most of the time between contracts.
Why not become Travel Nurses
We both worked in sticks and bricks setting. Trevor was a nurse at a rehab hospital and Alanna worked several jobs as a part-time NP. We both enjoyed our jobs and had good experiences. We just started getting the travel itch and thought “we can take these jobs with us”.
Our Journey to California
That’s a no-brainer! Alanna had a contract in Colorado for a month and then we needed to be in California for Trevor’s contract starting in November. We took 2 weeks off in-between and boondocked through Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and California.
We saw the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, and Death Valley NPs. Then we took a detour through Las Vegas for a few days. It was a whirlwind 2 weeks. We loved it and only paid for camping in Las Vegas. We can’t get enough of the National Parks but also love city life and the hustle and bustle. We feel like we get the best of both worlds because we can change up our scenery so easily!
Traveling with Our 2 Kids
We really just guessed as to how it would work with kids. We love having a dedicated room for them. It allows them to have some space and for us to have a place to put all the things that come with having 2 small kids.
Also, having a dedicated room has been essential for sleeping as our littlest naps for long periods of time. Having a place for him and still having room to play with our 3 year old has been essential.
The other thing we would emphasize is being outside daily is crucial. There is no getting around that living in a small space with the energy of children is difficult. Getting outside is a snotty saver for the kids and parents alike. We hope that getting outside daily will be a habit that both kids carry with them.
Minimal toys are the answer, and there is a lot of purging of things that happen on a regular (monthly) basis. We get rid of toys and clothing regularly. We have tried to stick with a few interesting, well-loved toys. This seems to work well. We also have bikes and a great stroller so that getting around in RV parks and exploring is relatively easy and fun.
Internet and Phone Connections
We have found that a dedicated hotspot is essential. We don’t use our phones or internet for our jobs very much so we can imagine that it would be even more important if we did.
We use T-Mobile and have 10gb of tethering per device per month. We have also had very few places where we didn’t have a signal. When we did we found that it wasn’t our carrier, but every carrier. Some places you still can’t get phone service!
Also, another thing we have learned is that campground WiFi is a mythical unicorn that doesn’t really exist. If you need an internet connection, don’t rely on WiFi in a campground. Get tethering with your plan or upgrade and get a dedicated hotspot.
We Plan to Keep Going
We have no idea how long we will full time. At some point, the kids will be more involved in the decision making. We don’t think school will be an issue yet as we can homeschool if we want to keep traveling.
We love the adventure and just feel that we are getting the hang of it after 13 months. After 2 years maybe we will feel like “we got this”, but for now we are still figuring out our rhythm. Some days we think we will stop after the next contract, other days we are looking 10 years down the road!
Ultimately, we would like to be completely location independent. Full-timing has allowed our minds even more freedom to think outside the box and we are constantly exploring revenue streams that will make us even freer. Until we are fully sustainable, we will keep taking nursing contracts that are in new places we want to explore.