We are a traveling couple on a journey around the United States. We’ve got a truck, an RV and a passion to travel. Now all we need is the experience. – Justin & Joelle
Let’s start at the beginning.
Our first encounter with one another was an instant hit, we had fallen for each other literally the day we met. There was no turning back.. we were addicted to each other. Talking constantly and understanding our different views on life and coming to the realization that we made a perfect match.
After months and months of talking, it seemed inevitable that we were going to stay together. That’s when we started talking about our future together, one where we would help one another grow emotionally, physically and financially. Everything just fit.. we first thought about moving out of the townhouse we were living in together to an apartment in Virginia Beach, but that fizzled pretty quickly once we found out that we didn’t need all of the excess belongings. In fact.. we didn’t really need the space.
We started talking about how the only things we actually used at our townhouse were the basic kitchen appliances, couch and bed. Other than that, we were always outside or doing something together. That’s when the idea of a full-time rving lifestyle came into the mix. It wasn’t immediately something we thought we could do.. but given a few weeks we were hooked on the thought of it. The very existence of the idea was impossible to escape from, not that we wanted to.
In fact, we wanted to escape from the way that society had led everyone to believe that they HAD to live. We wanted to get away from the 9 to 5, chase down our dreams and build memories together.
So… we decided to look for an RV.
It took looking at hundreds.. maybe even thousands of RV’s before we understood what kind of layout we wanted. You’d think a small space, only about 150 square feet wouldn’t have so many variations.. but there are plenty to choose from. Our first thought was a big RV, one that could help ween us out of the “normal” lifestyle that we had become comfortable with. We found that the rear living designs felt more like a home, however they were also more expensive. Then the idea of a very small space came to mind, one that would help us get rid of everything we owned. Then a toy hauler to tow motorcycles, then a Class A so we didn’t have to tow anything, then a fifth wheel because they had bigger bedrooms… the list went on and on.
That’s when we found what we believed was the perfect RV. A 2005 Coachmen Chapparel 271RBS. It had a much more modern interior, a rear bathroom that was larger than any we had seen, a comfortable bedroom and new tires. We drove all the way down to Rocky Mount, NC (3 hours away) just to see it in person, then and there we decided that this was “the one”.
The only problem was.. we didn’t have a truck. We rushed around contacting truck rental companies, RV dealers, friends and family until we found a friend who was willing to help us. We drove back down to Rocky Mount with cash in our hands and bought her for only $5,500. The original owner had no clue that she was still worth above $10,000 after just a few fixes. We towed her back to our friends Will & Ingrid, who let us park in their yard while we fixed everything.
The big problems we faced right from the start included a propane leak, water not working, outlets without connections, a few water leaks and a medium sized water damaged area. Luckily these problems went out the window pretty quickly and we were able to get control of our new RV. We increased the height of the entrance/bathroom by 1 inch to create stability and then placed a vinyl plank known as Allure (you can find it at Home Depot) throughout the living space. This instantly modernized the RV even more and made it into what we now consider our home. The perfect new home, it’s simple, small and is just the beginning of our new journey.
Video Tour of Our RV
Joelle has since started recording videos and she’s put together a video tour of our RV on YouTube, you can watch the video below.
We had decided early on that it was a good idea to get the RV before we even considered a truck. That way we could be flexible with our choice. We didn’t have to worry about weight, if it was a fifth wheel or travel trailer and we had the option of choosing a Class A or Class C if we really wanted to. Once we made the choice of going with a 7,500lb travel trailer that would end up being around 10,000lbs we knew we wanted a bigger truck.. a diesel.
So we began our search.
At first we were looking at small trucks, ones that we could afford after selling a car and motorcycle. But then reality set in.. what if we invested all this money and all this time into our RV and a chose to go with a cheap truck and it broke down? It became more and more clear that going with something a bit more reliable would be a better option for us.
And then Joelles parents (Hope & Mark) flew all the way from California. They, along with all of our friends and family, were already very supportive of our ideas. We approached them with the thought of getting a bigger truck and they knew that it would help ensure our security. They went to see a few trucks with us but we weren’t able to find anything reliable enough in such a short period of time. Over the next few weeks we continued to look at trucks around Hampton Roads, VA until we found one that blew us away.
A badass 2008 Ford F-250 Crewcab 4×4 that ran on diesel. We call him Bartholemule the Big Motherf@#ker and boy is he just that. Driving down the road we feel confident we’re going to get to where we need to go without many problems. It’s the perfect truck for us to tow whatever we need, including motorcycles, dirtbikes and ATVs in the back of the bed. And we’re both comfortable driving him, even in the snow that came down the day we moved into the RV.
It’s different for sure.
We’ve quickly come to realize that this lifestyle is one of simplicity, an escape from the social norms that invaded our lives and a path to freedom.
Right off the bat we were introduced with a sign. It started snowing. Heavily. In Virginia?! It never snows here. We knew it meant something.. we knew it was a test to see if we could prevail and we did, with open minds and smiles all the way through.
We figured if we could stay warm in the cold we could do anything. Luckily, we were able to fix a small propane leak and get the furnace to work that very night of move-in.
The world around us was beginning to open up. It was no longer a thought of “What are we going to do today?” we started asking questions to ourselves like, “What are we going to do this year” and “Where do we want to travel?”.
We started becoming more and more adept to the idea that we had more freedom than most everyone in the US, which is often known as the land of the free. We didn’t have a physical house, instead home became where we were together. We didn’t have a backyard, instead the world became our playground. We didn’t have to live up to someone elses expectations of who we were meant to be, instead we became more of ourselves.
From here on.. the world is ours.
We make the choices we make, together. And we decide what path we take.
The open road is now apart of our lives and we’re ready with open arms to see where it takes us.
And so begins our Open Road Chronicles.
Thanks for reading our introduction! If you’d like to stay in touch and see what we are up to, follow us on Facebook. We try to stay as active as we can on our website and look forward to sharing stories from our travels!