Who are you and what is your backstory?
In 2014 our lives came to a screeching halt. Bryce and I had married in April that year and learned that planning a wedding was quite an undertaking. Soon after, the house we were renting was sold without much warning and we had to relocate within six weeks. Rather than continuing on the hampster wheel of renting, we decided, rather quickly to try and find, buy, and finance a new home of our own in a little over a month.
I would not advise doing this.
But it was our dream home! Until it wasn’t.
Within a month, we had a slab-leak, which is when the underground plumping springs a leak. The floors were flooded, and the walls were ruined up to three feet. Plus there was mold.
We moved into a hotel for nine weeks.
That’s when the stress finally got us. Bryce injured his back and put him on medical leave. I started a long series of sinusitis and bronchitis.
We finally looked at each other and said, “Really? Twenty or more years of this?”
Our lives were pretty much this: Get up, go to work, come home, recover from work, shove food in mouth, pay the bills, get up the next day to do it again. All for a house?
That’s when we decided to ditch our desks and suburbia, and head out on the open road in a RV.
Take us to the moment you decided to begin your RV life?
Ironically, we had never even been in a RV. Well, except for that one time I went to Burning Man in my early 30s and rode up with a bunch of strangers in a rental car because our plane broke down in Reno. These strangers were heading to meet up with Moby, the musician, to follow him in his RV. That is the first and last time I had stepped into an RV until we purchased ours in 2016. But I digress.
"I am so grateful to have been put on this path, because now I have much more confidence that my skills will be relevant forever, and I will always know how to make money online."
We made the leap to RV living because we had been in the workforce for over 20 years, and hit a real-stand still in our lives, professionally, physically and personally. There was nothing left to lose. Um, except for our jobs and income, family and friends, community, and identities. Minor details thought right? We chose RVing because backpacking or hosteling wasn’t really an option at our “wise ages”.
It was scary, sure. But really it was intense. It seemed like a million little decisions needed to be made. What type of RV should we buy? For how much? Used or new? How will we make money if we quit our jobs? What do we do with the cats? What about a medical emergency? We tracked every little question and answer, and later made that into a really helpful checklist for other people who are making the transition.
You can find that checklist here: How to Transition To A Wanderlust Lifestyle.
Tell us about the advantages and disadvantages to the RV lifestyle?
RVing full-time is transformative. The RV itself gets you from point A to B. But it’s also symbolic as a vehicle for change.
The first six months were pretty rough for me. I went through what I call “The Emotional Journey” that includes a lot of learning, doubts, fears, highs, and a mix of other confusing emotions. I have come to understand this as normal. In fact, I started a facebook group with the same name because so many other RVers shared really similar experiences, and I wanted a place where people would be more vulnerable about that and get support.
The small space created more tension in our marriage. It also forced us to communicate more, too. We started freelancing to earn income. We experimented with new business ideas. Then started working together. Living, working, and being married in 250 square feet is a real balancing act.
You might be thinking, “None of this sounds appealing.” I get it. I would think that too if I were reading this. But here’s the thing...all of this is part of the transformative journey that leads to a much more enriching life.
We went from bed to car to desk and back again for years. Other than a few holidays, trips, and backyard BBQs, we weren’t changing or growing or really living the best lives we could.
Stepping into the RV lifestyle pushed in new, exciting, and yes, sometimes scary ways. Ultimately we learned what we are really made of. And that’s a lot of heart, creativity, commitment, and courage.
Also, we get to see and visit some really cool places like National and State parks, go to fun RV events, and make new adventurous friends! We’ve seen some of the most beautiful parts of the U.S., like the rich red rock of Arches and Zion in Utah, the sweeping valleys on the “Loneliest Road in America” in Nevada, the sweet southern culture in states like Louisiana and Tennessee, and the lush forests of the East Coast. Each place has its own unique qualities that make it special.
How do you find a sense of community when you’re always moving? How do you maintain and build relationships on the road?
When we left our jobs, home, friends and family, we anticipated meeting all kinds of interesting people while traveling. We had visions of salty, old-timey RVers, regaling us with stories of yesteryear—the belly-dancing artist traveling with her four cats, or the uber-liberal family living in a vintage bus off the grid (oh wait, we actually did meet them). I think this idyllic view made saying “goodbye” to our loved ones feel less depressing.
"Set a date because it’s easy to get lost in the dreaming and research phase. It’s safer to wonder about RVing, watch YouTube videos and keep putting off your plans. But when you set a date and start getting down to business, everything shifts."
Sadly, only the crickets greeted us whenever we pulled into a new RV park. Sure, we waved at the family across the way, or chatted with the neighbors from time to time, but it wasn’t the fantasy we had created. These were normal people enjoying their vacations. They were there to relax and spend time together, not meet some dopey, wide-eyed, new full-time RVers. We were the weird ones with our foolish tale of leaving everything behind to RV full-time. Seriously, who does that?
Over time, we learned about different RV memberships and communities. We started attending rallies and convergences. I started networking online in Facebook groups and on Instagram. There are so many ways to connect these days. And it’s important because RVing can be isolating at times. Having a community either in person or at your fingertips online is important.
Additionally, we decided to RV our own way, and I traveled home a few times a year to visit with friends and family.
It takes a little time to adjust, but once you “sink” into the RV lifestyle, making friends and creating a community is really no different than it is in “regular” life.
How do you support yourself financially?
One of the things I LOVE to talk about is how to make money from your RV. It’s because my story is so relatable (and doable). Bryce and I were able to use our skill set from our corporate experience in new ways to create new financial opportunities. But we ran into challenges, too.
After starting our blog morethanwheelin.com, we were quickly thrown into the digital age and found that all the time we spent in corporate jobs became a deficit. Traditional jobs tend to lag behind what's happening in the digital business space. It was a tough lesson, but luckily Bryce and I collectively have experimented with twelve different ways to make money and learned a lot! Two of my favorites were creating training for the Escapees Online University and freelance writing for RV rental sites, like Outdoorsy.
I am so grateful to have been put on this path, because now I have much more confidence that my skills will be relevant forever, and I will always know how to make money online.
Now, I run a 100% digital business where I train and coach people on remote work and remote business. This is probably what I’m most excited to talk about because we live this journey and know exactly what it takes to reinvent yourself. If you’re interested in learning how to create remote income, you can watch my Remote Work Masterclass here for free!
What is your one piece of advice for people who want to do what you do?
The one piece of advice I would tell people who want to RV full-time or even for extended periods is to set a date. Bryce and I decided on January 1st 2016 that we were going to go for it. We were out the door in an RV on August 27th 2016.
Set a date because it’s easy to get lost in the dreaming and research phase. It’s safer to wonder about RVing, watch YouTube videos and keep putting off your plans. But when you set a date and start getting down to business, everything shifts. Yes, you’ll have fears and worry about a lot of things. But you'll be really excited and the more you work towards it, the more real it becomes.
You certainly want to do your research, but not so much that you never actually live the lifestyle you keep dreaming about.
What have been the most influential and helpful books, podcasts, blogs, websites or other resources?
Bryce and I did a lot of research about buying an RV (By ‘we’ I mean Bryce did the research). But we didn’t do much research on how to actually RV.
I was really caught up in the fun part of RVing and got excited watching videos from Gone With The Wynns. And thankfully I stumbled across Technomadia and Wheeldigit (I call them the OG RVers even though they don’t think so). Their content was really helpful for memberships to join and a few ways to save money.
These were my early influences and I am so grateful for all of them.
But I also saw a gap in the industry on a clear path to making remote income. While there’s enough people talking about it and sharing ideas, no one was actually teaching a direct path to do it.
Our blog was picking up steam, too, and people were asking us how we make money from our RV. That’s when I decided to combine my background in job placement, corporate training and counseling, and my direct experience as a nomad and online freelancer to create my first digital course: Remote Work 101: Work, Live and Travel Where You Want.
From there I created a coaching program and finally a program on how to start a remote business. I eventually stopped freelancing and put 100% of my time and energy into my students. I am proud that nearly 400 students have come through the program and more take the course—which is now on demand—everyday.
You can check out my free Remote Work Masterclass here.
What does the future look like?
Right now we are in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis. We have the RV in the shop for repairs while we shelter in place in California (we couldn’t have picked a worse state). Our family and friends are here, but were not exactly visiting with them yet.
We will wait out the summer, and hope to get back on the road in August and head to New Mexico. We have plans to attend Balloon Fiesta and meet up with friends. But we don;t know for sure what’s going to happen.
Thankfully we’ve learned how to be flexible and nimble, and know how to change plans on a dime.
I am thankful that I run an online business that goes with me everywhere, and that my income has not been impacted. I probably would have been laid off by now had I been working for my last company. People are struggling, and it breaks my heart. I wish everyone knew that there’s an easier way to create income full-time or side income, online.
Rapid fire questions
What are the top 3 RV essentials that you couldn’t live without?
- Coffee maker
- Air conditioning
Top 3 favorite places you’ve visited?
- New Mexico
- Asheville, North Carolina
- Utah, all National parks
Where are you now?
How long do you usually stay in one place?
When did you first start RVing?
RVing since August 27th 2016
Are you full-time or part-time RVing?
How many weeks have you spent in the RV in the last 12 months?
What kind of vehicle/rv/trailer/setup do you have?
Where can we go to keep up with you and your adventures?
Remote Work Masterclass: https://remoteworkschool.lpages.co/masterclass/