In 2015, we were ready for a change. We hated the city we lived in at the time. Crime rates were high, it didn’t feel safe, and we never let the kids go outside on their own. We listed our 4 bedroom, 3 bath house for sale with initial plans to move back to my hometown to be closer to family. At the same time as looking at potential houses to buy, I was looking at RVs as well. We had discussed the possibility that once we moved, maybe purchasing a small RV so we could take the family along when Paul had to go somewhere for business purposes. That thought progressed to buying a house and an RV, then renting the house out for a year so we could travel in the RV.
We hit a snag with the initial prospective buyer’s financing for our house. At this point, we had a contingency contract on a beautiful house in my hometown and had to release it. I was having reservations about renting out this beautiful home anyway, so it was time to reevaluate. We just started praying. We knew we weren’t supposed to stay where we were, but it seemed like doors were closing all around us. So, back on the market, our house went. We did a lot of soul-searching and praying for God’s guidance during this time. Were we making the right decision? Was this going to happen? By this time, almost everything we owned was packed, given away, or in storage.
Questions started arising in our conversations. “Do we have to buy another house?” “Are we looking for another house because that’s what other people expect us to do?” We were all super excited (including the kids) about the prospect of having an RV. We would wander around RV dealerships for hours, dreaming of what it would be like to travel and go on adventures in one. “What if we didn’t buy another house? What if we bought an RV that had plenty of room for the kids, and for work, and we were mobile? What if we homeschool the kids so we don’t have to be in one place all the time? What if we were able to travel to places we were learning about, and go on field trips to faraway places? What if we were able to be close to home when we needed to be, and out of town for business when we needed to be, and never had to pay for a hotel room again because we had a moving house???” Eeek!!!!
We realized we really could do this! This was seriously a possibility! We were all SO EXCITED at this revelation!!!!
Within about 2 weeks of being back on the market, we had another offer on the house! We also had discovered an entire community of people who had the same ideas we did!
What a ride it has been! Our only regret is that we didn’t do it sooner. We have grown so much in our walk with God, in our family life, and as a married couple. We have made friends from all over the country, seen places most only dream of, and have learned so many things along the way. It has also given us the opportunity to spend more time with extended family. God has also continued to provide us with work along the way. We operate our Media/Marketing business from wherever we happen to be. We are having a blast, and love sharing our journey with people along the way. We hope our story inspires others to live a more intentional life of faith, family, and adventure…whatever that looks like for you!
Picking Our RV
For our RV we chose the 2015 Forest River Sandpiper 365 SAQB pulled by our 2009 Chevy Silverado 2500HD, because of the mid-range price-point and the layout, we knew this was going to work the best for our family. We loved the huge bunk room and the addition of the half bath for the kids.
The Best Working Environment
We had been in full-time vocational ministry for our entire married life. In April of 2014, we left “church-world” and took our “on-the-side business”, Sinar Media Consultants LLC, full-time. We tried the bricks and sticks office set-up for a while, but realized our business could easily be done from anywhere we could get an internet connection. This played a huge part in our decision to full-time RV. We were working mostly remotely by the time we purchased our RV in 2015. Today, we have continued to grow our media/marketing business as we travel across the country, and let’s face it….we have some of the most beautiful office locations you can imagine.
A Different Type Of Learning
We have two kids (Emily – 14 and Tyler – 9), and one fur-baby, Tipper. Our kids are both the most easy-going, cooperative people. We often joke that they are the mature ones in the house!
When we started our RVing journey, we were new to homeschool. I wasn’t intimidated to homeschool my children, but I was a little overwhelmed by all of the resources and opinions out there. The first year, we found a mixture of apps and websites that worked for us. We tried Time4Learning.com and the kids liked it, but it is video driven, and was chewing through our data plan. In year two, we came across a curriculum that we’ve stuck with. The kids love it, it’s free, and it’s just been great for us. Its called all in one homeschool.
The thing I love the most about the full-time lifestyle is the many learning opportunities we get as we travel the country. It’s different to walk the Gettysburg Battlefield, tour Abraham Lincoln’s house, watch a geyser erupt, tour caves deep in the earth, put your hand in a dinosaur footprint, or stand in the line of totality and watch a solar eclipse rather than reading about them in a textbook. The education my children are getting is incredible, and we are learning right along with them! I wouldn’t trade these experiences for anything!
Our Favorite Addition To The Family
Our dog, Tipper, is the perfect travel companion. She has multiple vocabulary words that we have to spell out if we don’t want her to know what we’re talking about! Ha! One of her favorite “vocabulary words” is “truck”. She LOVES to ride in the truck. She has her own little doggy seatbelt and sits in the backseat between the kids. She loves to go for “walks” and “swim”. She sleeps on Tyler’s bunk with him at night and sucks on her “blankie”, but we have to put her in her crate if we go out somewhere she can’t go. She does fine in the crate, then it flat packs when we return. She really doesn’t know she’s a dog, so if you can just keep that a secret, that would be great!
Authentic RVing Preferences
We camp in a variety of places when we are traveling, but our favorites are state parks, Corp of Engineer parks, and boondocking sites. We have stayed in resorts, but don’t prefer them. We love a site with a view and places to wander. Campendium has been very helpful in finding great places to stay! The hardest part about preferring these locations is that they are usually remote, which makes getting phone/internet a little more difficult. We do have to do our research and occasionally have to drive to the nearest town to work from our laptops. But, it’s worth it in our opinion! We’ll take living in God’s Creation over fancy amenities any day!
Budgeting Our Adventures
One thing we were firm about when we started this journey was being more intentional about our budget and spending. It’s amazing how much less we spend these days on extra stuff! We have our personal budget to meet each month…truck, RV, groceries, park fees, diesel, etc., but we only buy things we need! What a concept! Everything we own has to have a purpose and a place to live.
We have had the Good Sam’s Membership and Passport America, and though both of those have come in handy at times for discounts, we don’t use them often enough to justify renewing them right now. I will say, we got our money back almost immediately with the Passport America membership when we booked our first park with the discount. It’s always worth it to find out if state parks offer a rewards card. We’ve found that a few times. You also have to be careful with state parks…some charge additional fees on top of overnight fees.
Another thing we love that helps keep us on a budget is the Pilot RV Plus Card. It is accepted at both Pilot and Flying J’s across the country. You are required to pay it at the end of each month, so the balance doesn’t get out of hand. It also helps us budget for future trips better.
Turning Our Rig Into A Home
We have had to do several repairs on our rig, most of which are wear and tear from full-time use. We discovered early on that the build quality on our rig was not high, but we have found that to be the case across manufacturers in the same price range. Our bunk beds were installed using cheap screws that break over time and full-time use. We have replaced all the screws with lag screws, making sure they mount into the metal frame. Many screws throughout the unit were attached to the thin board that lines the inside and had worked loose.
Two years in, we had to replace the valve on our main black tank. It decided it didn’t want to close all the way anymore!
We also had to rebuild and reinforce the closet in our master bedroom. After several trips with clothes hanging on the plastic bar, it needed help and reinforcements. I guarantee this place is way more solid than when we first got it! 🙂
We decided early on to convert one of the bottom bunks in our bunk room to a workspace. We raised the bed platform to desk height, which also created more storage below. It has worked out great!
We have also done a lot of personalizing…painting, new curtains, shades, etc. It feels very “homey” now! We love it!
Our Adventure Continues
We don’t really know how long we plan to full-time. We’ve been at it almost 3 years and have no plans for turning in our wheels any time soon! We have hung around Texas longer this year than before because the kids wanted to go to church camp with our home church this summer. We are anxious to hit the road again and start our journey north for the rest of the summer. We have a vague idea of the direction we’re heading (north…LOL!), but no solid plans on where…that’s all part of the adventure. We’ll decide along the way! 🙂 We can’t wait to see what adventures we’ll find on the next leg of our journey!