As a military family, we can expect to move every few years. While living in California we purchased our first home and when the Navy sent our family to Mississippi we put our house on the market and headed for the Gulf Coast. Unfortunately, after we left, the house flooded, had to be taken off the market, and needed a full renovation. The next six months were full of heartache and financial stress. We were floating two house payments, repairs, and the day-to-day expenses of running a family of five. We had no room to live our lives as freely as we wanted and we ended up in a hole of debt. In search of a happier, more adventurous, more minimalist lifestyle, we discovered full-time RVing and when our house finally sold, we jumped in feet first!
Plenty Of Room In The RV
We have a Keystone Montana High Country that we tow with a GMC 2500. We kept an open mind when shopping for RVs and weren’t limited with our options because we made our vehicle choice second. While we looked at our options, we kept being drawn to the more “house-like” feeling of the fifth wheel. We loved that this particular fifth wheel featured a mid-bunk floor plan so the kids have their own room and we have plenty of living room space with the rear living room.
My husband Michael is in the Navy, which has taken our family to California, Mississippi, and now Florida. I have mostly been a stay-at-a-home mom. However, prior to our move to Mississippi, I had my absolute dream job as The Director of Children’s Ministries at a small church in Southern California. Currently, while it doesn’t necessarily pay the bills, I do bring in a little extra income with an online homemade jewelry business.
An Amazing Community
So far with full-time RVing, we have been enjoying our lives more, we are happier than ever, and we have met so many amazing people. Meeting the people in this community has been my absolute favorite experience of full-timing and honestly, it was something I wasn’t even expecting, maybe that’s why it’s my favorite. The people we have met come from so many different walks of life and are all different age groups, yet they all have one thing in common. Despite most of this community owning only the items they have brought with them in their RVs, they are so willing to give you the shirt off their back and help you in any way they can. This is the most giving, kind, and genuine community of people we have ever come across.
The Feeling Of Being At Home
When we first picked up our fifth-wheel, the plan was to deliver it to the military RV park close to our house in Mississippi and then slowly, over the next few weeks, finish cleaning out our house and selling all our furniture. We even had planned the night of the pick up to attend a baseball game. There were still 30 days left on the house and didn’t expect to be full-timers until that time was close to being up. However, when we got the fifth-wheel parked and hooked up the excitement kicked in and we canceled our plans for the evening. We had decided to pack up what we would need for the night and stay one night in our new home just for the fun of it. Little did we know, we would never go back to sleep in our house again. We were full-timers already and we didn’t even know it! That was it. We were ready. We were in love with our new home and in the morning we went back to the house and packed the rest of the clothes, food, and toiletries we would need to get by. The next few weeks we spent sleeping in the fifth-wheel and I would head to the house to pack and clean after dropping my son off at school. After school we would just live our best full-time life, grilling and playing games with the other families close by. It was something we never saw coming, but I am so glad we did it that way. It actually gave us a trial period of full-timing with the security of our house nearby should we need it. But spoiler alert, we didn’t. Full-time RVing was definitely the life for us.
Create A Space For Everyone To Enjoy
When it comes to kids, my best advice would be sure that they have their own space. Somewhere they can get away and calm their minds or do something they enjoy. Sometimes we can forget that even little minds can feel overwhelmed by changes or even by everyday life in general. Having a space of their own that they can rely on or feel safe in, is important. A sticks and bricks house comes with the luxury of plenty of space to be alone in, such as a solo bedroom. When looking for an RV, keep your children’s interests in mind and look out for places where they can keep their favorite items or a place that they can call their own. It doesn’t have to be a separate space either, something simple can work just as well. My oldest, for example, likes to read or play video games, which he can do on the top bunk in the bunk room, by himself if he wants. My daughter likes art. So even the kitchen table will do for her. She can have time while her brothers are away from her, playing in the bunk room or outside where she is free to do what makes her happy or calm her down.
Laundry Is A Challenge
My biggest adjustment has been doing laundry. While our fifth-wheel does have the hook-ups and space for a washer and dryer, it didn’t come with the washer and dryer themselves. We decided to utilize laundry facilities at the RV parks to get our laundry done instead of purchasing them. In our house, I could get away with just doing wash once a week or over a weekend. However, with three kids to keep up with, and not much space to keep dirty laundry in the RV, I feel like I have spent most of my time walking baskets back and forth from the laundry room every day. Which, depending on our space and the park, can be pretty far at times.
Just Enjoying The Experience
We are almost one year into our full-time experience, and boy has it flown by. We don’t know what the future holds or where the Navy may send us next, but we hope to keep living this RV life for as long as we possibly can. I am sure that our kids will outgrow their small and shared bunkhouse room and we will either need to eventually upgrade to a bigger unit or maybe even settle down into a house if we see fit. But as for now, we have no plans to make a change in the near future or for at least however long we are stationed here in Florida. As for our next adventure? We are having so much fun exploring all that Florida has to offer and hope to get out to see the springs or the Manatees soon! Follow our adventures on our YouTube Channel and our Instagram.