In late 2014, John fell ill (in his early 40s) with a random illness that causes him to be unbalanced. It was sudden, of unknown cause, and made us start to rethink a lot of things. He can’t go on boats, planes or motorcycles because of his illness. We used to go on all three. We owned a boat, rode motorcycles and flew to exotic locales frequently. But our exploring days seemed to be numbered when he got sick. Until we thought of camping! We bought a smaller rig for weekending. After a couple of weekend trips, we were hooked.
We figured, if not now, when? Johns’ sudden illness really shook us up. Why wait until we were of retirement age to get out and explore? And we realized we had been stationary for too long. I am Australian and have always been a bit of an adventurer. John was in the US Army and had traveled all over the world as well. We met in England, lived in Hawaii, New York, DC metro and Virginia Beach. But being tied down to jobs and one location just didn’t seem that appealing anymore.
We had friends who had decided to full time – Bold and Adventurous – in their Airstream. And they had kids! We started watching a lot of YouTube videos of RVers (like The Freedom Theory, Chris & G Travels, His and Hers Alaska, and a bunch of others) took notes and worked out our plan. It took about 12 months, but we did it.
Our Lives Before Full-Timing
I (Sonya) worked for a University leading a large marketing department. I resigned when we decided to go full-time as I knew it wouldn’t be easy managing a team remotely, and it was the right thing to do for both the organization and myself to leave. However, I ended up working for them remotely for a few months to help in the transition to a new Marketing Director. It also gave me a cushion as we transitioned to our new lifestyle. Recently I decided to start my own Marketing Consulting firm called The Intentional Marketer, which I now operate from our RV.
John works for a very large tech company, and it took a while for things to fall in to place with his organization to allow him to work remotely. Few people at his company are full-time remote workers, so there is a process that he needed to go through to be approved. It took about a year of easing into it, by working remotely from our sticks and bricks home for a week or so a month, and then gradually making it more of a 90/10 where he was in the office. He does have to visit an office every now and then, but we work those visits into our travels.
Traveling To Beautiful Maine
As soon as we hit the road in July of 2017, we headed north to Maine. We didn’t expect much but were blown away by the amazingness of Maine. It is stunning. We stayed near Bar Harbor, Maine for most of August, and it was the first place we met fellow RVers that have become friends. So there is so much about Maine that we love.
We enjoyed Maine itself, for all obvious reasons – the beauty, the weather (in Summer of course!), the forests, the mountains, the roads, the hikes, the trails and the coast.
But it also introduced us to the Community aspect of RVing.
We met so many wonderful people that we are still friends with today. Since Maine, we have continued to enjoy meeting new people and connecting with people we have met in social media groups, or through friends of friends. I don’t think we ever expected the social aspect to be so strong when we decided on this lifestyle. We aren’t really extroverts and social people, but we are becoming more social as thing RVing thing is a strong bond amongst the community. Back in our sticks and bricks, we barely knew our neighbors and had a small circle of friends that we would see every now and again. RVing has changed us somehow… in a good way.
Internet Is A Must
We are 100% dependent on good Internet for our jobs. John especially. He needs good bandwidth, but awesome latency. That can be hard to find. We have great boosters for both cell data and WiFi that we use. We also have backups to our Verizon MiFi with an AT&T device and T-Mobile devices. We have been fortunate that we have always managed to find a signal that works for us in most of the places we have been so far.
Use a good app, like “OpenSignal” or “Coverage?” to see if you’ll have coverage in an area before you go there. We have had to skip locations as the coverage was non-existent.
We also have a wifi booster and have managed to work off campground wifi in quite a few parks. Surprisingly.
We Are Just Getting Started
We feel like we are just getting started! We are already planning trips for 2019 and 2020, so there is no stopping us for a while. We don’t have an end date. Up next is traveling from Florida to the West Coast. Having solar panels installed so we can do more boondocking, and then traveling up the coast to Oregon and the Pacific North West for summer 2018. From there, we have no plans! (We always head back to Virginia Beach for the end of year Holidays to catch up with family, so that will be our end of year destination).