Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons

Our RV Broke! Now What?

Today I wanted to take a moment and talk about choices. We all make them. Every day! I’m on a few RV sites online and I see an array of emotions when things break or stop working, or quality isn’t what they think they deserve. So I’m going to climb up on my soapbox here for just a minute. Agree or disagree with me, it’s ok! That’s what makes the world go around. And we still love you!


In the last 7 days, we’ve been done quite the 1200+ mile drive from Colorado to the Seattle Washington area. We’re meeting some friends, heading to Glacier, speaking at the Washington Grand Design Rally in September, and heading from there to Vegas for Halloween (come on – everyone has to do that once in their life right?). 300 miles from our destination we stop for the night. Justin very calmly says “we need to find an RV place” and shuts the truck door. I thought for a moment. Then chased him down and asked for an explanation. He notices we broke a shackle. Yep, we’re stuck here in a Cabela’s parking lot until we can find parts.

Here’s where the choices come in! We can run to the edge of the proverbial cliff, decide it’s worth jumping off, get angry, be mad that the whole day (maybe even week) is ruined, cause a bunch of drama, complain, cry, throw a pity party, stress each other out and then – Guess what?

IT’S STILL BROKEN!

One thing Justin and I have learned in the last two and a half years of RVing full time is things break. On a regular basis even. Not only on our RV but our tow vehicle too! We seem to be at our best when these things happen. I’m not sure why, or what triggers it, but both of us seem to talk a little more softly, and get into this “what do we do now, and how do we fix this?” mindset. Yes, we have a very well-made RV. Yes, Grand Design is known for its quality. But it’s still an RV. It’s still traveling down a road at 65 MPH for hours and days (2 and a half years to be exact). And if you have been following us long, you know we push the limits even more than the typical person. Our RV doesn’t spend much time on the pavement. We boondock in the most amazing, epic places. We go down roads we may not always recommend others do. If it breaks – we fix it. We aren’t reckless, and we aren’t lacking common sense, but if we’ve done our research, and we think we can get there, we try! “Afraid” is not in our vocabulary.

So we sprung into action with a somewhat nervous smile and some great suggestions from some local friends sent us just 17 miles down the road to pick up new parts, and Justin had them on in just an hour. Yes, in the Cabelas Parking lot! Thank you to Cabelas for your support of full-time RVer’s.

But things could have been different. It’s really all about attitude. We are so blessed to wake up and live another day in this life, and as cliche, as it sounds, “A Bad Day RVing is Still Better Than a Great Day at Work”. We could have been angry and yelling, but we make the choice not to be that way. Why? Because it’s counterproductive, toxic, and doesn’t change a damn thing.

I often see people on group sites online mad that after 3 years their couch is peeling, or they are mad that these RV manufacturers put cheap mattresses’ in their RV. Or … Or … Or … Let me ask you this – When was the last time you purchased a house with furniture inside already? And, if you happen to be that 1% of people who might have bought a furnished condo/house, was it high quality, top of the line stuff? Our daughter rented a furnished apartment in college, and let me tell you, it’s not high quality. You surely spent over $200k on your sticks and bricks house right? An empty one! So if you don’t like your mattress go get one that makes you happy! If your furniture is showing wear and tear after a few years, go get what makes you happy. Just be happy! No, of course not everyone can run out and spend big money on a new mattress, but some people can sure jump online and cause 200 people to have higher blood pressure for a few days complaining about it. Because it drags them into it misery loves company. And it doesn’t change anything. They still have a bad mattress! By the way, when we bought our Grand Design our mattress was less than ok, so we went and bought the two things linked below, which were lifesavers. Two and a half years later, there isn’t a night we don’t crawl into bed and say “I love my bed”. Sure we could have bought a whole new mattress, but this was in our budget at the time and we thought we’d at least try it first. So happy we did!

FUN FACT – Did you know we spend one-third of our life in bed?

2021 Update – I am still using these two same products. We love them, and highly recommend them!

Tomorrow is never promised! We say that a lot. It’s ok to be upset for a minute. We’re humans. But then turn it around, be thankful for something. Find something small even. Today, I found that I was thankful for so much. We didn’t notice this broken shackle until we arrived at our destination for the night. That means no one got hurt. We didn’t get into an accident. We didn’t hurt anyone behind us with flying metal and we arrived safely. I was also thankful for bright sunshine today as Justin crawled around under our 5th wheel. We all know how much it has rained in Idaho this year. I was thankful that Cabela’s was a big, safe, clean parking lot, in the middle of a city with cell service. Did I mention 2 days ago we were driving through Wyoming for 2 solid days without seeing even a building, and had no cell service to speak of? Today I was thankful for so much, even though we had a little speed bump in the road of RV life.

So if you’re full-time living in your RV, or even part-time. Or about to hit the road. Keep this in mind. Pick your battles. If you ask yourself “will this matter in a month? or a year?” and if it won’t … take a deep breath, and know that there is a reason for everything. Find the positive of the day! And smile! Even if it’s hard!

Ok, I’m stepping down off my soapbox. We hope every one of you travels safe, and we hope to see you all down the road sometime! Before you go, here are a few blogs we hope you’ll check out!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. 

How To's and Why Not's, Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, Our Life Before Full-Time RVing, RV Organization, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons

Q and A – Top 10 Questions We Are Asked Most!

We picked the top 10 questions we are asked the most and thought we’d share. If you have questions of your own, we’d love to hear them!

Q: Why would you give up a 6 figure salary and a beautiful home to live in 40 feet?

A: A few people thought we were crazy, and probably still do. There are a lot of reasons we made this decision. We had gotten to a point where we were so busy working all the time, we had no time to spend in our beautiful home. We found ourselves hoarding our “downtime” because we didn’t get it much. We are very giving, social people, and yet we had no time to give or visit. We were too busy spending our weekends mowing lawns, gardening, and doing house chores to get ready for the following week at work. It became a very sad process for us. There is a quote we love: We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. And Tomorrow is never promised. We have such freedom now. Our new motto is Live Simply. Give More. Expect Less. This lifestyle has allowed us to give our time which is priceless. As I write this, we are contracted to arrive in Texas in December to help by volunteering our time to people in need after the recent hurricanes. Giving our time is part of this process of life for us. Life is not just about ourselves, and what we get to see and experience. It’s also about giving back. Helping where we can. That is truly soul-filling. 

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Q: What were the steps you took to get rid of your stuff?

A: We started very slowly. We dedicated every moment we weren’t at work to going through bins and boxes. Every night after work and every weekend we spent separating things into 3 piles. Trash, Donate, and Sell. Since Friday was trash day at our house, we normally had the empty trash cans full by Sunday. Then because we worked all week, the process was slower during the week. Our local firehouse got most of our donation stuff dropped off in their outside bin as we knew they’d get some proceeds for that. We also took advantage of our local auction house. Twice. We weren’t in an area where a garage/yard sale would work, so the auction house helped a lot! To sell our other items we used a couple of different apps and websites. Craigslist, LetGo, and a local Facebook garage sale list. I won’t lie … it was time-consuming and tedious. And many times we’d turn in circles and not know where to start. Our basement became our staging area, and I’m sure it looked like we were hoarders at one point. We had a small walking path to the back. It was insane! 

Clear here to read how to deal with sentimental items when downsizing!

BLogQuotee

Q: How long did it take you to downsize, and is there anything you miss from your sticks and bricks house?

A: When we first decided to go full-time in our RV, we gave ourselves 2 years to sell everything we had, in addition to the 2 homes we owned. Once we got into our groove, we spent every free moment working in the house and selling or donating everything. We made our final decision in July, and we were on the road the following March. 9 months!

More than any other question, we are asked what we miss from our “big house” the most. This took a lot of thought, as our life is so rich and full now that we don’t miss much. The only thing we have mentioned to each other is our garden. We loved having home-grown veggies and had plans to plant some fruit trees. We now visit farmer’s markets. 

Q: How do you get your mail:

A: There are many options for people depending on your needs. A lot of people pick a family member who will bulk mail to them on the road. Most post offices have a general mail delivery address and are more than happy to accept mail for you from your family members. We chose to use a mail service in our new domicile state of South Dakota. We pay $8 a month, and when we know we will be somewhere for a few weeks, we send an email and let them know where we will be and ask them to send our mail. We actually don’t get much paper mail at all. We have a few monthly bills and pay them online. In fact, most of our physical mail ends up being junk mail. There are many mail forwarding services out there for you to choose from. 

Q: Will you ever go back to a sticks and bricks house?

A: We have no desire to go back to “normal” life in a sticks and bricks house. We try never to say never, but at this time, we are really happy and feel so blessed to be able to do what we are doing while we are young enough to physically do it. We both think when we have grandchildren, that will be our re-decision time, and we’ll have to re-think our travels. We want to be active, involved Nanny and Papa and we have some time before our girls are ready to have kids. 

Q: How do you deal with Winter in your RV?

A: The short answer is we don’t. There are different types of “Full-Time RVers”. We are full-time travelers. So we plan to be North in the Summer and South in the Winter. It’s not always possible, and the weather is unpredictable. We use propane for heat, and when we are hooked up to shore power, we have an electric heater (looks like a fireplace). 

Q: How much does it cost to live full-time in an RV?

A: Again, this is one of the biggest and most broad questions we get. There is a huge spectrum on this answer, and really there is just no way to answer this. There are so many factors and everyone’s needs and wants are different. It might cost one RVer $500 a month and another $5,000 a month. What are your needs? Wants? Requirements? Are you debt-free, or do you have loans? Do you pay for your health insurance? Do you boondock, or do you stay in RV resorts? Do you eat out a lot, or cook at home? Here’s a blog we wrote which will answer this question in depth: How Much Does it Cost To RV Full-Time?

For us, we live very simply. We stay within our budget of about $1200 to $1500 a month. That pays all our bills, fuel, food, and lodging. We prefer to boondock and pay very little in campground fees. That helps more than anything else. We also left our “big house” debt-free, so the only bills we have are things like cell phones and insurance. When we notice our travel expenses draining a little too fast, we find a place we are comfortable staying for a couple of weeks, and let things roll back in and catch up. 

So as you can see, this is the hardest question to answer. We have heard people say they’d never live off-grid, and others are better at it than us. Stacy still blow-drys and curls her hair, we shower every day and use the microwave. Ha Ha, We took the time to set up our RV so we could live off-grid and be self-sufficient, but comfortably. But to each their own, and your budget is only going to be your budget. It’s the most important thing to consider before going full-time!! The last thing you want is to take off on this grand adventure and have an emergency you can’t afford to get out of. 

Boondocking ~ How We Spent $48 on Camping Fees For the Whole Year

Another way we put a little more in our savings is workamping. That is not only fun, but it allows us to save quite a bit. If you are interested in workamping, check out www.workampernews.com

Q: How do you spend so much time with each other?

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A: This question made me laugh. But we recognize this might be an issue for some. We are truly best friends. Hokey … we know! We enjoy the same things, and have the same ideas and wants. That doesn’t mean we don’t have our moments. Our kids have always said we argue kind of funny. When things get tense, we tend to go to our own corner of the RV and read a book, or put on some music and let the moments pass. There just aren’t many of those moments, and we truly have always enjoyed being together. We couldn’t imagine living and working full-time together if we really didn’t like each other. Loving each other is a given, but we really do like each other and respect each other. Compromise. That’s always been a huge plus for us. Living so many months apart, so many times during the 20 years of military life has taught us compromise and understanding. We live together day in and day out in a little less than 400 square feet. It works for us. If you’re planning to live and travel full-time in a small space, it’s definitely important to be compatible. 

Q: Do you ever feel alone or disconnected traveling in your RV?

A: The short answer is no. But we do miss our kids. We have 3 amazing (grown and on their own) daughters who thankfully text and communicate with us a lot.  I think we talk to them at least once a day, sometimes more. (Thanks, girls! We cherish that!) We are very social people, and we love to meet people and chat. We have been blessed to have met some truly wonderful people we can now call friends through our travels and workamping. If you’re social, I would highly recommend joining social groups. We are not sponsored by, nor paid by any of the following groups, but we highly recommend them. Escapees (Xscapers), Instagram, and Facebook. There are tons of other social clubs, meet-ups and connections. Some are free, and some cost money. If you’re a social person, be open. Say hello. Immerse yourself in the community around you (even if you are only there for a few weeks). 

Q: How do you figure out where you’re going next?

susie

A: Throwing darts doesn’t work? But really, we try to chase 70 degrees, moving around to different areas of the country, seeing the things we have spent years making lists of. We use a travel website called Furkot, which helps us a lot. We then seek out things to do on that path to our next destination. It’s impossible to see everything in each state you visit the first time. We love to find small, off-the-beaten-path things, along with the bigger, well-known attractions. Next time we are through that state, we’ll be sure to go a different route to see something new. 

We hope this answered some of your questions. Let us know if you have more or how we can help you live your best life. Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. 

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

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Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons

3 Years Full-Time RV Travel and Our 15 Tips

Three years ago we handed the keys to our dream house over to the new owners. Three years! Let that sink in! We decided to take a leap of faith into the unknown, to live a life more intentional. I remember saying we’d make memories and mistakes, but I had no idea what was ahead of us. 

One For All and All For One

When Justin and I first made the decision to sell it all and live and travel in our new home on wheels, we also made a deal with each other that this was a united decision. If ever one of us decided we’d had enough, there would be no questions, no regrets, and no ridicule. We would move forward with our next chapter, wherever that took us. Relationship first! Always! And that is why we can live in 39 feet together. Happy. 

Exploring Every State

Today as I write this, I was looking back at the things we’ve done, and the places we’ve gone. By the end of this summer, we will have explored every state in the lower 48. But we’ve barely scratched the surface of this incredible country. There have only been a small handful of places that we’ve felt we completed everything we wanted to do and see. Every other adventure we’ve gone on has left us with a longer list of things to do when we go back. And then there are the most amazing places we vow to go back to because they were just that spectacular. 

Community, Friends, and Road Family. 

What we didn’t expect living full time on the road was how much our road family would become such a big part of our life. We joined the Xscapers in 2017 and went to our first convergence. Through that, and many other gatherings we have met lifelong friends. But they are more than that. When you live and travel on the road, you find your road family. The ones who would drop everything to come help if it were needed. The ones who are quick to offer up valuable information, tools and lend a helping hand in every situation. The United States is so big and so vast, but there is always an Xscaper nearby. I’ve never been part of such an amazing community of people. We accept and love everyone. What a beautiful road family to belong to. 

I have no doubt we’d still be on the road had we not joined the Xscapers, but being part of this incredible group of people has made us better, stronger individuals. The priceless memories are just that much sweeter with friends by your side. If you want more information about the Xscapers, click here! If you join, and you’d like to give us credit for referring you, please click here. We thank you!!

What’s our favorite place?

We get asked this at least once a week. We can never pick! We’ve grown from each and every experience. Each place has changed us and taught us something valuable that we didn’t know. So every time we are asked, we say “the place we are at the moment”. Want to see our entire 2019 travel map? Click here!

Advice – Our 15 tips!

What advice do we have for someone who is about ready to take off on their own RV journey?

  1. Think of everything as an adventure. Even the bad. When Justin and I run into a stressful situation (something major breaks, or some unforeseen issue comes up), that is seriously when we are at our best. Both of us speak a little quieter. We are a little more patient. And even though it’s never been discussed, we each have a role we proceed forward to fix the situation. 
  2. Make a realistic budget. Your budget is not my budget. There is no-one who can tell you how much it costs to live full time in an RV. We can share our budget with you, but it’s not going to be the same as yours. What are your needs, and wants? They will not be the same as mine. So make a real, honest budget before the launch date. We find it most sad when people think they will save money living in an RV but refuse to change how they live. If you’re broke and can’t pay your bills in a house, then you’ll be broke and can’t pay your bills in an RV. It’s as simple as that. Click here to see our blog post on our yearly expenses.
  3. Don’t do it alone! Have a network of friends and family. Justin and I are best friends. We enjoy spending every moment of every day together. It’s what makes this tiny living possible. But it’s also really comforting knowing that there are others out there who are checking on you, encouraging you, helping you, and loving you. The great thing about our friends is there are no expectations. Just acceptance, love, and understanding. So join a group of your choice. But join something! Step out of your comfort zone just once, and see how incredible a road family can be.
  4. Don’t get discouraged. If things don’t live up to your expectations, re-group, lower your expectations, and keep going. Remember that your life is what you make it. Life is still life. Things still break. You’ll still cry. And it’s ok. Tomorrow is never promised so don’t waste time being mad or upset at things you can’t change. Make the best of each day and stay positive. 
  5. Be flexible. Be flexible and … yep … be flexible. How many times have Justin and I been on a path to somewhere, and in a 10-minute dinner conversation, we change the whole plan? A lot!!! Weather, friends, grand baby’s being born … life changes. Just roll with it!
  6. Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired. It really is as simple as that!
  7. Buy an RV where you can access the bathroom without the slides coming out. Ask us how we know!
  8. Always find the good. Yes, sometimes things don’t work out the way you imagined. Or a trip turns into a complete washout of a day. Find something good! Even if you have to search hard for it. It’s still a memory worth having, and an experience worth sharing with others. I promise those bad days will come up in conversation down the road which starts with “remember that time … “. You might even smile about it!
  9. There are no rules! You get to choose where you go, what you eat, and you don’t even have to take your vitamins if you don’t want to. That’s freedom! True freedom! Don’t put so much pressure on yourself. I promise no-one died from eating dessert before dinner! Try it! It’s kind of fun!
  10. If you’re buying a used RV, get an outside inspection. Worth the money! Think about it. When you bought a house, didn’t you get an inspection done?
  11. Know all you can about how your RV and RV systems work before you take off on your journey. I (Stacy) am the first one to admit I struggle with that, but it’s more because Justin is so awesome and so mechanically inclined. Not an excuse! Just my reality! But one of you (or if you’re alone, then YOU) should know how things work and have basic skills to fix small problems. 
  12. Don’t ever become so experienced that you think a newbie asks dumb questions. I say that because recently I was shammed for asking a question in a forum about a topic I was trying to gather information on, and realized just how mean people can be. I was actually shocked! And quietly left. I had not run across that in such a long time, that I let it really affect me more than it should have. I’m always so helpful, and no question is ever wrong, that I was really thrown off guard. Everyone starts somewhere. Be helpful. Be an adult. Be kind. You never know how your kindness could really help someone. Remember that everyone, even you, started somewhere. An amazing great friend of mine once said “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no”. (Thank you, Pam Santana! From Santana RVing)
  13. Not everyone is your friend. And that’s ok. Find your friends, and cherish them. And not every friendship will work out. Remember, this is still a normal life. 
  14. If it doesn’t work out, it’s ok. You didn’t fail! You only would have failed if you hadn’t tried. I hope for the time you were on the road, that you learned about yourself, that you experienced some amazing things, and above all that you had fun. Never regret that, no matter how it ends. 
  15. Be happy! Just be happy! If you’re not happy, either find a way to change that while still doing what you’re doing, or find your plan B!

We can honestly say we’re not done exploring, traveling, learning, and experiencing. But if something happened and tomorrow I had to get off the road, it’s been an incredible and fantastic life. I’ve lived a whole lifetime in 3 years. We live in such a beautiful country.

Are you researching RV life? Need a little help? Here are some blog posts we think you’d love!

As always — Live Simply, Give More, Expect Less!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. 

Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, Our Life Before Full-Time RVing

2 Years of RV Travel

Wait What? How did this happen?

Kind of fitting for today. Today we change to daylight savings time, and also two years ago today, March 10th, is the day we closed on our home and walked out of a real estate office with a nervous and excited skip. A day of change for us. 

Embracing the Leap – I’m not going to say we weren’t nervous. And I’m not going to say we knew what we were doing even. We just knew that life in our dream home wasn’t the same once our daughters moved out. Some people seem to think because we are opting out of their American normal, that we must be looking for something. Trying to “find ourselves”, or fix ourselves. That’s so far from the truth! I’m not even sure what that even means actually. We just want a life that is fulfilling. To give back more. To live and experience life, not just exist. We both actually really loved our jobs. But year after year we found ourselves sinking emotionally. Hoarding our time. Becoming anti-social because .. well … simply there was no time to be social. We worked so hard and never had any time to spend in our dream home.

Our favorite part of our dream home was our wrap-around deck. You can see part of it in the picture above. It overlooked the amazing property we had, a creek running down and under the driveway. We found ourselves never spending time out there. Why? Because there was no time. We lost our precious time on the weekends drowning in chores to get ready for the next week. There had to be a better way! So we tell you this – take the leap. Whatever your leap is, take it. Trust it. Life is so short and so unpredictable, and if today was your last day, would you say you lived? I mean truly lived? Did you spend enough time with your spouse? Your kids? The people who matter? 

Let it go

Let the stuff go! We didn’t even know we had a lot of stuff. Now we have nothing we don’t use on a very regular basis. Getting rid of stuff was the biggest freeing thing ever. I’m going to share a story that I share every now and then with people we talk to.

The advice

When we were in our house, Justin came to me upset about the appraisal coming in just a few thousand dollars higher than what we paid for our house 6 years prior. And that was after sinking over $100k in renovations into it (it was our dream house … we were staying there forever Ha) After a few minutes I realized he wasn’t getting my point, so I told him this (same thing I’ll tell you) It’s black and white – it’s easy. You have exactly 2 choices. In our case, the money was already gone. Spent. Done.

Choice 1

Choice 1 is to stay in your current situation and keep doing what you’re doing.

Choice 2

Choice 2 is to forget about it, realize it’s already in the past and go forward and make the change you want. When I told Justin that, he got very quiet. I finally asked what he wanted to do. I was fine with either. We are a team, either we are both in or we are both out. We opted for choice #2.  So let the stuff go. It’s easier than you think and in the end, you’re going to realize how little the stuff really means. It’s the memories that matter. Memories are not in things. Check out two blogs below on how we handled our sentimental items and also our photos.

Road Family

Road Families Rule! We spent our first year on the road meeting new people and getting our feet firmly unplanted from “normal”. We spent a lot of time learning. The importance of community is priceless. We ended up meeting and joining the Xscapers. The best thing we did in the last 2 years was to join this incredible group of people! They are our road family. Our tribe. Our community. We miss them when we aren’t together. And we are loved and accepted like no time has passed when we come together. No matter what your life-changing event might be, don’t do it alone. Humans aren’t meant to be alone. Our road family is precious to us! 

Growth & Change

Growth is Painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong. 

What do we miss? We often get this question. Once in a while when Justin races me to the bathroom and gets there first, I miss having a 2nd bathroom. Other than that, there is so much satisfaction in our life, we miss absolutely nothing. It was strange going “home” for the last 2 years to spend the holidays with our girls. We drive around a familiar town where nothing has changed. And yet we’ve changed so much. We’ve seen so much. I thought driving by our old house would bring some sort of a feeling. It’s now just someone else’s home. We spent countless hours making our house a home. However, we realize now that we’ve been on the road, the memories made in that home are still our own. We just brought them on the road with us.

Our two years on the road have been truly life-changing. We’ve grown. We’ve learned. We’ve loved and we’ve lost. You know … life. We are so thankful we took the leap! We hope that whatever obstacle you find in the road, you also take the leap. There is a community out there to help you! I promise!

Here are a few more blogs we think you’ll love!

Live Simply ~ Give More ~ Expect Less

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. 

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How To's and Why Not's, Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, Our Life Before Full-Time RVing, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, Travel Destinations & Stories

RV Life – Why We Decided To Live Full-Time in an RV

We have now been living and traveling in our RV for 4 years. Wow, has that gone incredibly fast! We wanted to share our whole story of what put us on the path to full-time RV living, and how we got to where we are. Our About Us page has a little bit of information, but we are asked by so many people, what was our Ah-Ha moment, and why did we decide to sell everything and live and travel full-time in our RV. So here is our story.

The Before

To understand our “now”, we want to share our past story. Our lives came together in 1991, and we were married in 1992. We met while Justin was serving on active duty in the Navy Seabees. We lived and traveled all over the world, uprooting and moving our family every 18 months to 3 years. Our time in the military was very enjoyable, and we wouldn’t trade our experiences for anything. The long separations were hard, but we always remained positive and grateful. A year before Justin retired from the military, we were on a mission to find our dream home, so we would (say it with me now …. ) never have to move again! It took us just over a year to find the house with everything we wanted, but wouldn’t leave us house-poor. Stacy actually purchased the home on her income alone.

Our desire was a big country home with some land so we could have privacy, but a small community to feel part of as well. Justin went to work full time, with more overtime available than he wanted. Stacy continued in her corporate career she had been in for over 25 years. We settled right into the normal American life.

Our Weekends

To truly understand our decision, we need to share how we spent our weekends while living that American dream. Our weekends were almost more busy and more stressful than our work week. With over an acre of land, there was at least one day a week mowing the lawn or removing snow, tending to the garden we created, finishing a project in the house, or planning for the next. That garden was amazing and produced enough veggies for Stacy to start canning and preserving quite a bit. That took time too. During volleyball season, you quite often found us cheering on our youngest daughter at a high school or club tournament at least one of those days during the weekend. We also had to fit in grocery shopping and laundry. Our Sundays were typically spent prepping for the next work week. Once in a while after a long workday, in my high heels and corporate work attire, I’d visit the grocery store for the weekly grocery shopping, and that was always a wonderful gift to ourselves because that meant we didn’t have to go on the weekend. Busy was an understatement. But we didn’t know it! We were exhausted! But this is what the American dream was, right? Stacy often crawled into bed on Sunday nights and would mutter “I just need one more day off”. But even on a 3-day weekend, that same statement was said.

The Vacation

After 5 years in our home, our baby graduated from high school and was accepted into the forensic’s program at WVU. Which was about 5-6 hours from home. Between her freshman and sophomore year, she checked out of the dorm and came home for the summer. For the first time in our married life, we had planned a 9-day vacation without kids. With our daughter home to watch the fur-babies, we were on our own schedule. We traveled through Upstate New York, and Northern Pennsylvania while enjoying some amazing hiking, waterfalls, and history.

During one of our 11-mile hikes through Letchworth State Park, we had a lot of time to talk. It was almost time to go back home, to our crazy busy life. Over a bottle of wine and a beautiful sunset that night, Justin’s one question set us on a path to where we are today. “How can we do this more often?”.

The Next 40 Years

Before our daughter left to go back to college, she indicated that the following summer would look a little different. Since she was going to be renting her own apartment and getting a part-time job, she would most likely not come home for the whole summer. As a mom, that moment was both sad and super amazing. We did it! We raised another confident, daughter who was spreading her wings. We considered ourselves young parents to be empty nesters. Both of us still in our 40’s, we started to look at what the next 40 years (or so) would hold for us. Is this what we wanted to do? Go to work, come home, mow the lawn, and go to work some more? For 20-30-40 more years! We had bought our dream home. And yet, we never spent time in it (other than sleeping). We had a list a mile long of things needing to be done – you know … that next project! Visiting our family, which was over an hour away, was unfortunately always last on the list. With opposite days off, they didn’t find the time to come visit, and we didn’t either. Was this how things were supposed to be? Was this truly living the American dream?

Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can pay for the clothes, car, and the house that you leave empty all day in order to afford to live in it.

Ellen Goodman

The (sort-of) Decision

The only final decision made on that 9-day vacation was that we wanted more time together. And we wanted time to live more intentionally. Tomorrow is never promised and we had seen so many people in our life have beautiful retirement plans that never got to happen. We arrived home with plans to make changes in our life. But what changes? How could we really pull this off and make it work? Full-time RVing wasn’t quite on the radar yet. We had many thoughts. Maybe we would just take a year off work, rent the house out and hike the Appalachian Trail. Logistically, we couldn’t make that work. We tossed around a few ideas and thoughts in the next few weeks.

The Clear Vision

Remember the wine? Pretty sure it may have been magical wine. Ha! Well, we brought some home! The next few weeks were spent sitting on the couch after work without the TV on. Talking about what steps we could take to live a more meaningful, fulfilling life. If we didn’t have the two houses (we also had a rental property across town) we wouldn’t need our jobs to pay for them. If we didn’t need our jobs, we would have that time we so desperately yearned for. But we have to work, right? Our thoughts were sometimes reckless and radical but eventually brought us to our epic decision to full-time RVing.

Financial Logistics

We have always lived pretty simple, within our means, and never really owed a lot of money to anyone. We didn’t have a lot of stuff. I mean it was almost a necessity with the constant moving in the military. Stacy also decided to stay home and raise our girls for about 12 years, so having the new best things was not an option. Yes, we had a mortgage on our home, but we also refinanced to a 15-year loan and paid extra each month to the principal. If we had a vehicle payment, we would dump extra money on the principal each month, but we also typically didn’t have car payments. We didn’t need the best new “things” all the time and never had a credit card bill. I tell you this because this was one of the most important factors for us. Justin retired with a very small pension from the military. Could we live on that? Could we go from a combined income of $10,000 a month to just $1,800? Yes, those are real numbers!

RV Life

After a few more weeks, full-time RV life kept getting mentioned. We had owned and been traveling weekends and vacations in an RV for close to 15 years already. In fact, we had taken that 9-day vacation in our RV. Could we live that tiny? Could we downsize our 2200 square foot home to an RV? When we decided that full-time RV life was our way to live a life more intentionally, we put a 2-year time period on that plan. We would do a few last-minute upgrades to our already relatively new home, we would get a really nice nest egg in our savings account, and find a more suitable RV to live in, and we had 2 homes to sell. Well, with everything else in life, when you plan something, it just takes over and if it’s meant to be, it happens. Did it take us 2 years?

Selling Our Stuff

I won’t lie! There were 2 very real panic attacks. There were doubts. There were tears. And filling that 2200 square foot house with stuff we thought we needed, and then getting rid of it all for pennies on the dollar, was a hard pill to swallow. We invited our daughters over and told them to take what they wanted, and we spent months selling as many of our bigger items as possible, donating some, and sending some to a local auction house. In the end, it is just stuff. Our memories are what we carry forever. We did all this while still holding down full-time jobs. Check out our blog What To Do With Sentimental Items When Downsizing here.

Closing Day

Nine months, almost to the day we decided to sell everything and move into our RV full-time, we handed over the keys to our dream home and drove out of that driveway. We put our two PA homes on the market at the end of the fall, and they sold, 30 days apart. We never expected that, but we live under the pretense that if it’s meant to be, it will happen. And boy did it happen fast!

The Last 4 Years

We would be lying if we told you the last 4 years have been rainbows and unicorns every day. RV life is still life. Things break. Things go wrong. The epic plans you spent months making get canceled, and there are disappointments. There are breakdowns, broken slides, flat tires, broken shackles, and bad fuel (ask us how we know!) But what we can tell you is that it’s all been amazing, beautiful, and totally worth it. Even the not so good things that happened. Because these things taught us lessons, gave us memories and stories to tell. As we sat here today writing this, we both agreed there are zero regrets. We have made so many memories and a few mistakes. We are living our American dream. Life unchained! Do we miss the money? We do not! At all! Which really surprised us. Our life is so full of adventure, we don’t even think about it! We always have what we need and want!

The Next 4 Years

So what’s in store for our next 4 years? We truly don’t know! That’s the beautiful part of living life on your own terms. We travel in a general direction, where we want and when we want. We stay as long or as little as we want. We aren’t in a hurry. We eat when we’re hungry, and sleep when we’re tired. Sometimes we even eat dessert before dinner. We smile so much more! Life is about chapters, and we still have so much more to see and do. We have had our first grandchild, and the freedom to spend more time with our girls and now our grand-daughter is high on our list of priorities. We still want to travel and visit people who can’t.

Full-time RV life isn’t for everyone. And that’s the beauty of living life on your terms. You get to choose what is best for you. Whatever you do, just live. We only have one life that we know of. Make the most of it. Where there is a will, there is a way.

We hope sharing our story gives you something to think about. Let us know what questions you have. We’d also love to hear your ah-ha moment!

Here are a few more blogs we think you’ll love!

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Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up.

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Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, RV Camping, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, Travel Destinations & Stories

Full-Time RV Life – Thousand Trails Costs

As this wild year of 2020 ends, we wanted to share some of our yearly stats with you. I know most people are looking back at 2020 as it being chaotic, horrible, insane, crazy, and sad. We are choosing to look at 2020 as one of the best years of our life. That’s not to say we aren’t compassionate for anyone who was affected by the virus. Either personally, or through a family member. 

Just two days into 2020 I (Stacy) helped welcome our first grandchild. The love we have for our children is a love only parents can truly feel. But when your daughter has a child … well, it’s just hard to even put into words. This little girl has me completely smitten. Her smile melts my heart. 

So our travels slowed way down this year, both because of the restrictions in travel, but more so because our heart was pulled to family.

Click here to check out a much more detailed look at our 2019 finances where we break down our fuel costs, and so much more.

2020 Miles

You can see our complete 2020 travel map here. Every year we share all the overnight places we stayed, and most include pictures, cell phone readings (we both work remotely), and GPS coordinates.

Boondocking vs. Campgrounds

Boondocking is what excites us, and truly what we enjoy more than spending time in campgrounds. But had it not been for our Thousand Trails membership (purchased new in October of 2019), we don’t know what we would have done. Especially in the lockdown. 

In 2020 we spent 296 days in the Thousand Trails system. Let that sink in!

When comparing total costs to total days stayed our average nightly cost was $29.53. We got to this number by taking the total cost divided by the total number of days since we’ve purchased our membership. So this amount will be forever changing. There are so many people who are taking the yearly membership renewal fee and dividing that into how many nights they stayed. We feel this gives a really unrealistic number of something like $4 per night. They aren’t taking into account the initial cost of the membership. 

There are many options for Thousand Trails memberships. We did purchase a new one because we wanted the ability to re-sell it. You can purchase used ones for much cheaper, but there are more restrictions. After a lot of research (and let me tell you, it was overkill on the research), we decided the Elite membership was what would fit our needs. And at this point, we have no regrets. 

You can read more about our decision to purchase the membership here.

There are other ways to figure out your Thousand Trails costs. We wanted to keep a complete running total that will include all our Thousand Trails costs year over year. For instance, Thousand Trails does charge an extra nightly fee in a few of their Encore parks. Also, some of the parks offer 30amp service, but for a very small fee, you can upgrade to 50amp service. So we wanted to give a really realistic look at the total costs for us. 

2020 Travel

Before March, we had spent 4 months planning and booking a big summer trip up through Ohio, NY, and up and around the New England area. 4 months of planning and 4 minutes to cancel everything. Everything happens for a reason, so we’re going to focus on the few trips we were able to take. We were able to catch a beautiful late September fall in upstate New York, and most recently we have been exploring North and South Carolina. My sister moved from Arizona to North Carolina this past summer and we were so excited to spend a quick evening with her and her beautiful family. With the virus, it’s more precious when you’re able to spend time with family. 

Our Year Ahead

What does 2021 bring for us? Well, as most everyone might feel, we think it’s going to be unpredictable. We would still love to try to get back up into the New England area and do some exploring, but we also are spending some more time in PA playing our favorite roll of grandparents. We’ll keep you all updated!

Keep following us here, and on Facebook as well as MeWe

Yes, we all agree 2020 was challenging. The struggles are real, and we know for some it’s been a really difficult year. We are focusing on what we have, and not what we don’t have. For the things we got to do, and not the things we were not able to complete. All in all, it’s been a beautiful year for us. We are so fortunate in so many ways. I can say without a doubt that if every year was as beautiful as 2020, we’d be happy. Anything better and we will be ecstatic. 

Thank you is something I’m sure you hear all the time. Such small words that really mean so much to us! Thank you to those who have come into our lives, because you have taught us valuable lessons and given us your friendship, love, and laughter so freely. And thank you to those who have left, because you have reminded us that nothing lasts forever. We wish you all a very happy, beautiful, successful year! And thank you again for being part of ours.

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How To's and Why Not's, Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings

Resolutions Are Like Graffiti

Resolutions are like Graffiti. They can be beautiful. They can also be destructive, distracting, messy, confusing and overwhelmingly disappointing. 

Stacy Ford

Hear me out before you think I’ve gone a little cray cray here. 

We don’t make resolutions. “Opting Out of Normal” ya know! Living a life of no goals? What? You must think we don’t have any dreams. And of course, we must have no ambition whatsoever. It sounds scary, right? Against everything you’re taught in school, and from your elders. Our society is very “goal orientated”. You see it all over! How could we live if we didn’t have goals? I remember school assignments forcing me to make goals of some sort. 

In the corporate world I worked in, everything was about goals. We had our reviews at the end of the year. Did we meet “our” goals that we didn’t necessarily even set for ourselves, but that the company set for us? That bled over into homeownership goals, personal goals, weight loss goals, eating goals, short term, and long term goals. There are also travel goals, lifetime goals, and money goals. You know – I’m going to save a penny today, 2 tomorrow, 3 the next, and so on. By February you were trying to re-count your pennies because you’re sure you forgot a few days and needed to at least put in a quarter or two by now. But wait. Wasn’t there a list you made to tell you how many pennies you should have today? 

We personally had so many goals, lists, and spreadsheets. And even a goal about making goals. I would regularly spend New Years Day making lists, and (say it with me now) “this year I’m really going to keep up on this list and accomplish these goals”. Ha! So I worked harder each year crossing off goals we’d accomplished, re-evaluating, and then … dropping the ball. Where is that list? I know I put it somewhere I’d remember this time. I was supposed to have a goal of remembering these things better. Wasn’t I going to get organized this year? I’m sure I bought a bin or folder to put all these things in. What did I do with it again? Another failure. Another frustration. Our perpetual and seemingly never-ending list of goals grew to more disappointments than accomplishments. 

So, why do we have goals? (Other than it’s instilled in you for your whole life that you must set goals.) My personal reason is I thought it would help me get things done. I’m a planner and a doer and a lover of lists. Putting it out there on paper would make me get it done! Right? I spent hours making lists, checking the lists periodically, and then — losing the lists in all the chaos of … You got it … painting the house. Because that was a goal this year ya know. So I’d make more lists. I thought completing goals was achieving happiness. If I completed a goal, I was allowed to be happy. Why can’t we just be happy now? It shouldn’t take a “goal” concocted on January 1st to put new flooring in your house by December 31st to make you happy. Just make a choice to do it when you’re choosing to do it. What happens on December 31st when you look at the list you might have actually been able to find, and nothing was done? Or maybe just a few things were half done? You feel disappointed in yourself. Oh but wait! Now you can just add it to the next year’s goals. Problem solved! Because (let’s hear it again now) “This year I’m really going to do it”. 

Choices vs. Goals

What if instead you just make “choices”? I’m not saying just change the word from goal to choices. It’s a thought change. 

We make choices. Not goals. Choices are more sporadic, more intentional, more deliberate, and more direct. Choices have nothing to do with the change of a year, December 31st vs. January 1st. I choose to be happy. I choose to be healthy. I choose to go to the gym, take on an extra job to make some money, or put new flooring in my house (instead of painting it, which might have been on a list of goals). I just choose! Choices. We all make them. You don’t have to start a new year out making goals that you can’t even remember by March what they were. If you want to lose weight. Choose to do it. Don’t put a time frame on it. Don’t say you’ll start in the new year. And eat an entire cake on New Year’s Eve. Start today. By not making goals, it doesn’t mean you’re lacking dreams or ambition. It just means you’re allowing yourself to make choices and not putting a time limit on those choices. And you’re allowing yourself to be happy today! Not next year when maybe you actually completed all those “goals”.  Try it. Don’t make goals this year. Just make deliberate choices in your life.

On a side note, in 1983 when my dad passed away, I opened up the newspaper to cut out his obituary (I was just 16 years old, and someone had delivered a stack of that day’s newspapers to our house. I’m assuming for that reason). I was thumbing through the paper and found an anonymous quote that had been published that day. In my own spiritualness, I felt this quote was something my dad wanted me to read that day, and carry with me in life. I don’t think he was done teaching me all those “dad-ism’s” when it was time for him to leave this Earth. That ripped out that newspaper clipping, yellowed and brittle, still hangs on my magnetic board today. I have carried it with me for 37-ish years. Maybe I even lost it at one point (maybe it was with my resolution list I found a few years later?) I want to share it with our followers today!

Happy New Year everyone! Live each day happy. Your own happiness! Not the expected happy, or societies happy. Not someone else’s happiness. Tomorrow is never promised. Don’t waste one day.


And screw those resolutions. 

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Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. 

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Boondocking / Dry Camping, Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, Travel Destinations & Stories

RV Boondocking vs. RV Campgrounds

Full-Time RVing With A Plan B

We’ve mentioned it more than a few times in our blogs. When you live full time in your RV, you’ve got to be flexible, and you’ve got to have a plan B. If you’re boondocking, a plan B and even a plan C isn’t a bad idea. There was a stretch of about 6 months straight where every single time we arrived at our plan A destination, something prevented us from staying. It became a joke between us. Comments like “why even have a plan A since we know we’ll end up at Plan B” were often overheard in our RV. Some of the causes were weather, road construction causing closures, and the government shutdowns just to name a few. 

You can read how we spent $48 in camping fees in 2018 here!

Life is About Chapters

In 2018 we boondocked our way across the USA. We spent a total of $48 in camping fees for the entire year. You can read our blog about it below.

Boondocking – How we spent $48 in Camping Fees For The Whole Year of 2018

We were determined to show everyone it really can be done in a big rig. There were some sacrifices along the way and we skipped a few things we might have stopped to see had there been boondocking nearby. We had been told by so many people that we’d never be able to boondock full time in a big rig. And if we did, we’d spend most of our time in Walmart parking lots, rest areas and truck stops. We knew we could do it differently. We wanted a beautiful lakeside or amazing mountain views. And we got them! We did it! 

With all the above being said, 2019 we were on a little bit of a different path. Boondocking is still (and always will be) the preferred method of our Full-Time RV life. But flexibility and Plan B is the key. 2019 brought the purchase a few inexpensive memberships to help us boondock still, but also gave us another choice in inexpensive camping.

Boondockers Welcome

Priceless! The best of boondocking, and meeting new people. This small yearly membership allows you to stay on private land that the owners have opened up for us. Usually between 2 and 5 nights. Sometimes they have hookup’s and sometimes it’s just land. You can make a reservation and talk to the land owners straight through the Boondocks Welcome website

Passport America

We love Passport America. There are a lot more restrictions than we originally thought, but we saved more than the annual membership in less than a week of staying in campgrounds. Currently, their membership is only $44 per year. And you receive half-off every single campground in their list. Which isn’t just a few! There is quite a bit of them all scattered throughout the USA. Well worth the small annual cost. Tip: Hop into a campground for half price for a night to dump and fill vs. paying for a dump fee. Last year we were trying to find a place to dump our tanks and get water. The local campground was charging $10 to dump, which is very typical. But if we stayed all night, hooked up to power and water it was only $12.50 with our Passport America discount. Kind of a no-brainer on which one we chose. If you use our affiliate code, it gives you an extra 6 months on your initial membership!! Plus, gives us an extra $10. C-742152. Thank you!

2020 Brings A New Chapter

As 2020 approaches – yep! More changes. The most incredible, wonderful, beautiful kind of changes in our opinions.  We are going to become grandparents for the first time. And, we are both completely in love with a child we haven’t met yet! We are so excited we can hardly stand it. With our oldest daughter becoming a mom, we quickly realized that traveling to and staying on the east coast would be challenging. Yes, we found some amazing boondocking locations on the east coast, but they are very limited and completely non-existent in many areas. If you need a specific area, sometimes that can be more challenging to find boondocking. Weather is challenging on the east coast, both in summer and in winter.  Monthly campground fees have skyrocketed in the last few years, and the cheapest monthly campground fees we could find were still ridiculous, and astronomical. Plus, they still charged electric use. We can supplement since we have solar, but needless to say, still way out of our price range. So again, plan B comes into play. With a lot of research, we decided to become a Thousand Trails member. We will boondock every single chance we get. Campgrounds are not where we want to spend our time. They are overcrowded, loud, and drinking coffee in the morning overlooking a lake vs. the neighbors slide is much more appealing. But what we do want is to have the freedom to be grandparents. Supporting our daughters, being involved with our grandkids, and watching our kids become parents is and always will be our number one joys. Chapters, right? This is our new chapter. Traveling to the east coast, and being close enough to the kids even for a few months at a time is important to us. And that isn’t feasible spending $1,000 a month in campground fees. Especially since we’ve planned for me (Stacy) to fly back to the east coast at least once in-between our driving there. I’d rather spend $500 on a plane ticket, then I would $1,000 a month a campground. Just makes sense for us. 

Why Thousand Trails?

Thousand Trails is definitely a membership we highly recommend. In fact, you can almost say we did the research for you. Ha! I may have researched this to death! I joined groups, read the endless rules/contracts they have, and talked to many people who have the membership, and ones that didn’t renew memberships for various reasons. The relentless questions were asked. No matter which plan you choose in Thousand Trails, you can’t go wrong. If you plan to be on the east or west coast, Thousand Trails can be such an asset. It’s a lifetime membership, with a small annual renewal. But you can stay 2-3 weeks in campgrounds for free, and depending on the membership, go from campground to campground always staying free. No strings! I promise! If you’re interested in Thousand Trails and have some questions, please click here, to see our Thousand Trails page. We make it easy for you to get a quote on exactly what you need.

Yes! You may say it’s expensive, but not if you really break it down. When you’re looking to spend a few months in a campground that is costing $1,000 a month, you start to look at things differently. For the cost of this membership, we have to spend 3 months in a campground. Not 3 months a year. Just three months to re-coop our money back. Give or take depending on the cost of each individual campground. Still, completely worth it in our situation. 

Final Thoughts

So in the end, this full-time RV life is about chapters, flexibility, and definitely about Plan B ~ no matter what type of overnight camping you choose. One isn’t more right over the other. Everyone has different needs, different agendas, and different goals. And every one of those changes from time to time. Sometimes it’s becoming new grandparents that can give you a whole new perspective on your Plan B. But it’s an amazing Plan B.

Our opinions are just that. They are raw and they are honest. We hope you use our codes above to secure your own membership if you decided to go that way. If you don’t use ours, use someones! Pay it forward! You pay no more by using our code. And either way, we thank you! Truly and honestly, thank you!! Whether you’re just here to read another blog post, or you decide to reach out and purchase one of the memberships, you are appreciated! We wouldn’t want to be on this journey without each and every one of you. Your support, encouragement, and love is appreciated more than you know. 

And don’t worry … we’ll still share all our epic boondocking locations with you all. That is still our preferred method of travel and always will be. But just fair warning, you might be seeing a lot of baby pictures coming across our feed in the near future. 

Here are a few blogs we think you’ll love!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, RV Tips, Tricks & Lessons, Travel Destinations & Stories

Workamping … wait what?

Yeah, we know … You read the intro, and it clearly said we quit our jobs and we’re going to live the dream of traveling through the US, skipping through the flowers, and eating ice cream. Well, that’s still true to a point. 

But in the summer of 2017, we decided to try what they call “workamping”. Essentially it’s being camp hosts of a campground. It could be a national forest, run by a concessionaire, or a privately owned campground. Not hard, right? Check a few people in. Answer some questions, and make sure toilet paper is full. Well … yes and no. They are not all the same. People are not all the same. We learned so much that summer, and though there were some frustrating, tiring times, with some very long days, we really did enjoy our time at Holland Lake in Montana.

Camp Host

I’m pretty sure the next time we agree to be camp hosts, I will be buying Justin a t-shirt that says “Don’t feed the camp host”. But thank you to all our new friends who felt Justin was possibly losing weight and sent him home with salad, prime rib, and oh yeah … the beer! Most days our conversation went much like this:

Stacy to Justin: “Can you run to the other campground loop and check fee tubes?”

(Two hours later Stacy uses the walkie-talkie provided by the campground owners)

Stacy: “Justin? Did you fall in the lake?”

Justin: “Sorry, talking, be right there” (THIS . MAN . CAN . TALK)

Sometimes I’d wait another …. many minutes and he’d walk in carrying food! 

We got so many smiles, hugs, and we met some incredible people, including our new very good friends Bob and Kellie. A summer job turning into lifelong friends is such a blessing! We met so many amazing people. Too many to mention. Brian and Annie who finally got married at the lodge. “The Susan’s” who gave us great conversations, laughs, and yes … food and beer! Most of these people don’t even realize how they truly impacted us! Thank you!!!!

If you all are ever in the area, you will find the cleanest pit toilets and bathrooms ever at this campground. Ha Ha Well … at least when we were hosting. We must have gotten 100+ people that told us it was the cleanest bathrooms they’ve ever seen at a campground. BOOYA!! We rocked!!

So if you’re thinking about hosting at a campground, do it! You’ll meet some amazing people! Possibly eat some amazing food!?!? Maybe we’ll come back to Holland Lake in the future! But either way, if you all are ever there, or planning to be there, check it out. Make sure you jump online 6 months in advance and reserve your spots! Did I mention it’s a very busy campground? Our two favorite walk-in sites (no reservations needed) are 18 & 30 in the Bay loop, or 1, 2, and 3 in the Larch loop. Sweet spots! But good luck. Please don’t bribe the current occupants. LOL (Yes, we saw some crazy things).

Our Advice: Ask lots of questions about what your job at the campground entails. Take time off! Smile! If you’re having a bad day or things are stressful, it’s not the camper’s fault! They are there to have a few days of vacation they very rarely get. We constantly got comments about how happy we were and there were a few times we were sleep-deprived and exhausted. Explore and see what you can around the area. Each workamping job will be so different. Different places, different amenities, different job expectations.  And last but certainly not least  —  keep those bathrooms clean! People like that! 

What are Workamping?

It’s pretty simple. Workamping is accomplished by individuals that travel the country and work. Some people try to limit the definition by saying, “Well, I’m only a Workamper if I’m working in a campground or if I live in an RV.”  That’s not technically the definition.  If you are living and traveling, (which usually means in an RV) and you are doing any kind of part-time or full-time work – you are a Workamper!

What kind of work does a workamper do?

The possibilities are endless! While the majority of the operations that utilize Workampers are in fact campgrounds, there’s really a vast assortment of opportunities available for someone who is able to think outside the box. For instance, seasonal work at amusement parks or fulfillment centers – such as Amazon. Think about holiday help such as Christmas Tree farms or in-season fruit stands that might need help for just a few months of the year.

How much money can I earn?

This is a really broad question, but we get this question more than any other. It can be anywhere from a set hourly amount to a trade agreement. As an example, we were paid for our workamping job a very small stipend per month (each). And we were given a full hookup site including a landline telephone. There was no office, and we did everything from our RV. Some places will offer other amenities (laundry, wifi, cable, etc). There are so many options for workamping, and we encourage you all to make sure you ask and are clear on what the benefits are that you are getting. And most important, how many hours you are expected to work. After we arrived at our facility, the couple we were supposed to work with left, and we essentially spent the rest of the summer alone off and on. Resulting in very long days and no extra compensation. It was our first time, and we didn’t ask. There are some great resources out there as well. Our favorite is here.

Here are a few more blogs we think you’ll love!

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Thank you for stopping by our little corner of the internet! We truly appreciate each and every person who takes the time to read our blogs. We’re honored you spent the last few minutes with us!  If you aren’t signed up to follow us, please do! You’ll be notified of our new blogs when they go up. 

Life ~ Thoughts ~ Writings, Travel Destinations & Stories

Full-Time RVers? Raise Your Hand to Volunteering During a Natural Disaster!

As I sit here updating this older blog, we have CAT4 hurricane Ida landing in Louisiana and Mississippi. I’d like all my RV community to step up and step out when this is over. When you live in your RV, you’re the absolute best source for people in need! Why? Because you’re mobile!

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Picking the right volunteer position for us was much harder than we ever imagined it would be. It’s a personal or maybe spiritual decision for everyone. The purpose of this blog isn’t to bash or negate any certain organization, but when you actually dive into the research of how much goes back to the people, you will be shocked to find out the percentages that never, trickle down to the real, living, breathing humans, and how much never leaves the upper chains pockets. We did so much research and wanted to find an organization with 2 thoughts in mind. #1, dollar for dollar went to the people, and #2, we could be involved in talking, hugging, and helping the local people directly. We chose RVDC (RV Disaster Corp). Check out their videos, and their website for more information.  Click here to check out their website

Arriving in Port Aransas

We arrived in Port Aransas, TX in early December 2017 Not knowing the area or anyone in the city. Watching the devastation on the news is one thing. Seeing it 4 months after the event, having preconceived ideas that “my gosh, it’s been 4 months, it must be better now” … that’s another. 

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Houses aren’t still falling down … they took care of those right? All the people must have everything they need to survive by now … right? Driving through Port A was humbling, sad, and devastating. The piles and piles throughout the neighborhoods litter the sidewalks. The median on the highway through Rockport has been set up as a staging ground for the debris. 

The Houses

The houses … 85% of them missing floors, roofs, ceilings, half falling down, or just a shell at this point. All you can do is repeat “Oh My God” as you drive. We arrived just before Christmas, so the first couple days we were there we helped organize a Christmas party at the community center for the kids. Many new toy donations came in. Books, games, Legos, and Nerf guns. Barbies, dolls, baby toys, make-up, and jewelry kits.

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I overheard one beautiful woman tell her husband how she found the one toy her 1-year-old had lost in the house which was his favorite. They lost everything. (They had only 45 minutes to leave their home and literally left with what was in their hands at the time) Her face smiling as she’d just been given the most amazing thing in the world. The kids ran around in the fake foam snow that blew out of the machine that night, stuffing cookies into their mouths after delivering letters to Santa, being loud and carefree. Not a care in the world. Resilience is beautiful! Yet most likely every one of them went home to a tent on the ground at the beach, or an RV as their temporary home. Most of Port A residence are living in tents, cars, or RV’s if they are still there.

If they had the means, they left. But so many of them did not. We hugged crying people as they showed us their home barely still standing. Explaining how looters had taken everything that Hurricane Harvey had not. Insurance was much too expensive for most to afford. Between most companies not writing insurance in Port A, and the company or two who still agreed to write insurance for them, but at a very hefty price.

Flood Insurance is a Luxury

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Most people did not carry any insurance. If they carried one but not the other, some of the loopholes have swallowed them and there was no coverage. It made me completely embarrassed to be an insurance agent. In fact, I never offered any advice, and never admitted that I was indeed an insurance agent. How dare these companies putting these people through this. How dare they not make these people understand what they did purchase, and what they didn’t purchase. I won’t name any certain company but there is one Texas state-run Insurance company that writes most of the island’s properties and they ought to be completely ashamed of themselves.

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What we didn’t expect was to walk away with the feeling that we got something more than we gave. We thought after our 3-week stay we would be anxious to leave and get back on the road. It was just the opposite. We both wanted to stay longer! We have made new lifelong friends.

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Port A Donations and Distributions. Where everyone came to donate, or get what they needed. No cost involved! Bobbie opened up her own, destroyed home to help the community. Her community.

Our Final Thought

You have never really lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you. 

Here are some other blogs we think you’ll love!

So – You’re shopping on Amazon? I mean who doesn’t, right? Please consider using our link. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, and it gives us a few extra pennies. Click below to use our link and then just shop like normal. Don’t forget ~ check out within 24 hours so we get credit! Thank you!! It really means a lot to us!

We hope each and every one of you raise your hand for just a minute. We aren’t asking you to give money or months of your time. Contact the best volunteer organization you feel is best, and give a few days, weeks, or whatever you can. Time is the most important thing.

Thank you,