Traveling the country and the world for that matter has always been something we have dreamt of being able to do! But, it wasn’t until life gave us an unexpected twist that forced us into doing something exciting and terrifying that we have always wanted to do as a family!
Full-Timing with a Baby, Kids, and a Dog
Babies, kids, and pets….it’s crazy, to us, to think that we have all decided to start full-timing in an RV. Our youngest daughter is now ten months old (seven months when we started), our oldest daughter had just turned five and our dog (a 150lb Great Dane) turned seven a month after we started. It has been a learning experience for all involved, but one that we will forever be able to look back on knowing that we didn’t shy away from our fear of the unknown, but instead took it head on.
One of the toughest parts about having children and pets on the road would have to be making sure that they are able to expel all of their energy on traveling days. We have a very active five-year-old and when she is not able to get out all of her energy she becomes overly energetic and then starts to break down. Making sure that we take frequent stops to eat, stretch our legs and have potty breaks has been a necessity for us. A tough thing with RVing with a baby is making sure that they are warm during the winter months. Since babies are not allowed to sleep with blankets we make sure that our youngest has layers of warm clothes to keep her comfortable at night. We also purchased a smaller pack n’ play so that the two girls can share the back room.
When it comes to getting out and about with a baby we have utilized our baby carrier for all of our adventures. We keep it in the truck so that it is ready to go for any spur of the moment plans that arise.
With our dog, Apollo, we make sure that he has a place that he feels is his own. Somewhere that he can escape to when he is tired of the baby crawling all over him or the five-year-old trying to “teach” him new tricks. But, one of the biggest struggles for us was figuring out travel days! Should he be in the cab of the truck, in his kennel, in the bed of the truck or just roaming free in the RV. Eventually, after much trial and error, we have found what works best for him! But, it is just one of those things you have to figure out what works best for you.
The Right RV For Our Family
With an 8-month-old baby, we needed an RV that had a separate bedroom for her to take naps during the day, but we wanted to stay as short as possible. We have always loved Ram trucks and they came highly recommended from our family as well!
Red Woods National Forest
Full-timing has brought about for our family many wonderful opportunities. Our oldest daughter talks about her experiences with us and we are amazed at the things that she has learned and remembered. Our favorite memory thus far would have to be Fern Canyon in the Red Woods National Forest. We all loved it and recount the experience with family all the time. Walking through the cold water through the canyon watching as our daughter finds rocks or “dinosaur eggs” and prepares nests for them and tells us what kind of dinosaur will be hatching from that egg. Or seeing elk just feet away from us acting like it is no big deal that we are standing there staring at him like creepers! I believe the reason that this stands out so much is because it was a spur of the moment adventure. We love that RVing has been able to provide us with so many of these types of opportunities.
Vlogging, Media, and School
James has always worked in media including commercial production, news, film, episodic television, visual effects and more! But, about 4 years ago we also started this crazy thing called “vlogging” on YouTube.
Ashley worked within the school district doing everything from paraeducator to substitute teacher. Just recently she completed her Masters in Education and plans to go back to teaching after she has given our kids the one-on-one attention we feel they deserve!
About 2 years ago we got lucky enough that between the 3 YouTube channels we were running and the occasional freelance project James was able to quit his day job and do YouTube full time. We had always wanted to travel the country/world but never had the time or money. Now that we had this time and freedom we started to plan our first cross-country road trip. Then, as life usually does, it gave us something unexpected. We found out we were pregnant with our second child, putting all of our plans on hold. Fast forward a year later with all the crazy changes happening on YouTube, we, unfortunately, lost one of our main channels and about 80% of our income.
That’s when we thought back to our plan of traveling across the country and had the insane idea of not only traveling but traveling full time! It was almost like life was twisting our arm into doing something we’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to do when things were going well.
Jump forward to October of 2017, we sold our house, moved into our fifth wheel and began to travel the country full time with our then 7-month-old baby girl, 5-year-old daughter, and our 150lb Great Dane!
What We Plan To Do Now
We honestly have no end plan for our RVing journey. We have talked here and there about what all we would love to accomplish before we discuss stopping, but there is nothing set in stone.
We have so many upcoming adventures that we are excited about. We will be traveling through parts of Texas, Arizona, and California before stopping at Disneyland to celebrate our youngest daughter’s first birthday!