Roaming Far And Wandering Wide: Michelle And Justin

We were looking to relocate somewhere, but we couldn’t figure out where that somewhere was going to be. Justin (my husband) is originally from New York, so we toyed with the idea of moving to NY, but it just didn’t sound great. During yet another conversation where the two of us were trying to figure our next move out, I (Michelle) jokingly threw out full-time Rving; Justin immediately was on board. We started researching everything we could think of to make it work. We had never even stepped foot in an RV, but the more we looked into this lifestyle, the more we both worked to make it happen.

Our RV

We have a 2016 Thor Hurricane Motorcoach. Originally we wanted a motor home, but it just was not in our budget. We started with a 28ft bunkhouse travel trailer and made it work. 11 months into full-timing in our travel trailer, we upgraded to our new and current home; Class A Motorhome. We love the ease for setup and the extra 6ft of space for our family of 4. As for our vehicle, we still have our original GMC Denali. We love our truck because it’s comfortable for the whole family on long travel days and allows us to safely and reliably venture off-road.

Our Lives Before RV And Our Lives Now

I ( Michelle) worked fulltime providing children with behavioral therapy both in the clinical and school settings. I’m currently just providing families with parent training via online pro bono. Justin is a now-retired disabled Veteran and spent 3 tours overseas. Before he left his career, he was an Inspector for a helicopter firefighting company.

So Many New Experiences

We’ve been asked this question so much, but it truly is so hard to answer what our favorite thing ab0ut RVing is. Meeting fulltime families has been so wonderful for each one of us. Venturing into new states and soaking up the sights and the diverse atmosphere is something that we all thrive off of. Checking bucket list items like seeing Bison wander through Lamar Valley in Yellowstone is another amazing and favorite experience. Horseback riding along the Pacific Coast was breathtaking. Overall, experiencing all the “firsts” together as a family has got to be a top favorite.

It’s A Funny Story

As a married couple, we enjoy our time together. It’s hard to have our alone time with our 2 kids in 300sq ft. One night we thought the kids were sound asleep, so we attempted to have adult time uninterrupted. When things started to escalate, our son exclaimed: “why is the RV shaking so much”. We couldn’t help, but to burst into laughter.

Adjusting Has Been Easy

Your kids are going to have a blast! Our kids were shy before we decided to FT, yet they are thriving and have met so many friends from all over the globe now. I thought our son (8 years old) was going to get homesick and miss his buddies that he’d grown up with, but he’s loving life on the road! There are so many opportunities for the kids to explore, thrive, and just be kids again. As for pets, we also travel with 2 dogs, one being a pit bull. We’ve only experienced 2 parks with breed restrictions, but it’s as easy as looking elsewhere. The dogs love traveling and being with their humans all day long. They get more time with us and we get to take them on more adventures.

Our phones are through T-Mobile and we also have a MiFi jet pack through Verizon. There are tons of times where we don’t have service through either one of those companies, but there are an equal amount of times where we do have reliable service. You can always check before you go to a certain place to see what their WiFi connectivity strength is.

We love boondocking and also have memberships to places like Thousand Trails and Boondockers Welcome. I think having a combo of it all is the best. A thousand Trails offers our family amenities such as laundry and partial to full hookups. A thousand Trails is also awesome because that’s where we have met all the other full-time families.

We’ve boondocked in Walmart’s and casino parking lots. Walmart’s are convenient and free. We make a quick call to Walmart to verify if we can stay over and have yet to have any issues. Casinos are nice as well because some actually have hookups and will pay you to stay in their parking lot! We have yet to experience unsafe situations at any of the places we’ve called “home”.

The Cost Of It All

Full time RVing can get costly! I have 6 cubic feet that I call a refrigerator. I stack as much food in there as I possibly can, but at times I do need to go to the grocery store 2x a week – this can get pricey. I always try to cook every meal, but we also love to try new food and brews, so we make a budget for it all. It’s all about balance. Fuel can get costly as well if you travel frequently. We try to stay in areas for a minimum of 4 days to cut fuel costs. You can save on gas by shopping at certain stores such as Safeway or signing up for free memberships through Shell, Chevron, Safeway, and Savemart, all saving cents per gallon – anything helps.

Living minimally has always been important to me. We don’t need tangible items, but we want experiences. We aren’t big on souvenirs or buying things to buy them because we’d rather put that money towards an adventure such as the costs to enter National Parks. Memberships are the way to go! A thousand Trails gives us free rent for up to 14 days, our Museum Pass gets us into museums all over the states. If you’ve got a 4th grader, your family can get a free pass to National Parks. There are tons of ways to save money.

So Many Adventures Await Us

The biggest adjustment for all of us was meeting friends. We’re all introverts, but have come a long way and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting all our new lifelong adventurous friends.

We gave ourselves a year on the road; that is not happening. We don’t know when we ever plan on stopping. Not one of us want to go back to our old life (and we all loved our home and everything that was our old life), but this experience has been more than we could have ever dreamed it to be. We have so much to see and do and so many more people to meet. We’re currently roaming Yellowstone for another week and will head to The Grand Tetons to an amazing boondocking spot some of our friends called home. From there we’re headed to wander Utah for a month. We’ve got the Balloon Fiesta in New Mexico in October – the adventures are endless and we plan on soaking it up as long as we can!

Did You Like This Story?

Share your favorite part in the comments below!

7 comments

  1. How awesome! We really appreciate the love and feature – we hope we can inspire anyone on the fence about transitioning into this lifestyle. Safe travels to all♥️

  2. What a great adventure the Russell family is having. Thanks for featuring them in your article. I have been following Michelle and her family since they left out little town of Galt, California and enjoying it immensely. This is something they will remember and cherish their whole lives and will have stories to share to all. Go Restless Russell’s and keep posting for those of us at home!

  3. Is there anyway to get a printed copy of this article

    1. I can see what I can do and let you know. 🙂

    2. Hey Susan, I am going to email you a printable copy. 🙂

  4. So glad you get to do this while your young! Thanks Deb for share their amazing adventures 👍
    Marla

  5. Your Family is Amazing What you are doing is So Inspiring. I Love Seeing what you have seen or visited I even wrote a few things Down on my Bucket list lol Enjoy!!

    Heather

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *