HOW WE CHOSE OUR RV

It is hard to believe that we have been full time RVing since July 2016! Time definitely flies by and I couldn’t be more grateful for making the decision to escape what was “normal” according to everyone else and doing what meant freedom for us.  I am not saying that RV full time living is for everyone, but it is definitely a lifestyle that is perfect for our nomadic spirit!  A question we are frequently asked is “How did you choose your RV?”

 

 

We went to a dealership and decided to walk into different models to see what felt like “home.”  The year before we had actually gone dream board shopping and fallen in love with a toy hauler model because of the high ceilings.  At the time we were not planning on living in one full time, but it was just a thought to have one for getaways in the future.

 

Exactly a year after our dream board shopping adventure we went on a SUPER last-minute RV getaway with my in-laws (a whole other fun story of its own). It helped inspire us to go buy an RV and live in it full time instead of renewing our rental lease at the time! It was a pretty wild decision and quite honestly the best one we have ever made for ourselves and our family.

 

When we purchased our RV, we had a one-year-old who was just learning how to walk and a three-year-old.  We knew that we wanted two bathrooms and a good area for them to play and also sleep.  We went shopping again and decided to look at different types (Class A, travel trailers and Class C).  We ended up falling in love with the toy hauler once again because of not only the high ceilings but this one happened to have a side patio and a back patio.  We were totally sold on the side patio because we could set it up as a play area for our little ones.

 

 

We were extremely happy with the layout and the fact that it not only had a second bathroom, it had a small bathtub in the kids’ bathroom as well! It was truly perfect for us!  We honestly should have done more research, read more articles like this and spoken to fellow RVers about their RVs to educate ourselves on the differences.  Luckily, we ended up choosing a toy hauler which later we realized has a lot less sway than a travel trailer.  The more people we meet with travel trailers the more we realize that the toy hauler was the right decision for us.

 

I love the fact that our RV just like any other RV out there gives us the freedom to move around if we choose to move it.  For us it’s a great feeling to have our home wherever we go.  It means less packing for vacations and always having our toilet and our bed (seriously priceless lol).

 

 

Something that I wish I would have done before purchasing our RV was to rent different types.  I think this would have given me a better feel for the different layouts.  Nowadays there are neat companies like Outdoorsy and RV Share where you can rent an RV from someone in your area! I think that is one of the neatest ways to rent because you are renting from a private owner who you can even chat with about why they chose that specific RV and then try it out for yourself to see if you really like it.

 

I highly recommend when searching to write down your “Must Haves” on paper because it will make it easier when finding the perfect RV for you.  The perfect RV for us has been our Heartland Toy Hauler AKA Big Bertha because it is what got us on the road.  It can be overwhelming with the different RV types, hitch types, axles, landing legs, etc, etc.  Best advice I can give is to ask yourself the following questions:

 

 

  • What kind of camping will you use your RV for? (Campground camping or off-grid boondocking?)
  • What is your budget?
  • How many people will you be traveling with?
  • How long are you planning on RVing?
  • Who will be driving it? (You want to make sure the driver is comfortable driving the RV.)

These are a few questions that helped us when we chose our RV.  Trust me, before you know it you will also have the perfect RV for you to take on your next adventure! The more experiences we collect the more we realize that all the junk we left behind to live full time in our RV doesn’t even matter.

 

I would love to hear how you chose your RV. Please do not forget to comment below and share away. We love hearing from you!

 

 

ROADSCHOOLING

When people meet us and realize we are traveling with our kids 99% of the time they ask us, “What about school?”

 

 

When we first began our journey, we weren’t sure how long we would be on the road and they were still too young to be in school. The more we traveled we realized we really loved the freedom this lifestyle brings and would more than likely be homeschooling our children or in our case, road schooling.  We have now been road schooling since we hit the road full-time! We have been using the entire country as our classroom the last two years without even realizing it!

 

 

Many people think that homeschoolers are not very social or as society says, “socially awkward,” but that couldn’t be further from the truth.  We quickly learned that there are tons of people road schooling their children. What exactly is it you ask? It is homeschooling, but on the road. Basically, traveling full-time and educating your children through actual experiences versus the traditional way of textbook learning.

 

 

For us personally, our oldest has a speech delay and after we began traveling full-time his speech increased dramatically! I believe it’s because of all the nature hikes, museums, caves, beachside arts and crafts, fishing, swimming, kayaking, petting zoo, apple picking, hanging out at an actual production studio and countless other experiences we have collected over the last 2 years!

 

 

Anyone who travels can road school, it’s just a really huge mental shift for the parents! I grew up in the traditional public-school system in New York City and then I finished my last two years of high school in Pennsylvania and then went to college!  I never EVER thought in a million years I would even think about homeschooling let alone road schooling!

 

 

Allowing my kids to learn about the world by experience rather than by only reading has been one of the neatest experiences for all of us! We all enjoy having a new and changing classroom! Mountains one day, beaches the next! Children are learners by nature and I have learned how to tune into what each of my kids enjoys and I take the opportunity to expand on that. There are many ways to road school; I personally do not believe there is a right or wrong way to do it.

 

 

We intentionally use the entire country as our classroom.  I would never speak for everyone, but we feel we do not have to make our kids step into a classroom to learn.  Our goal is to prepare our children for anything the world presents to them. They are learning about themselves and very valuable world skills at the same time.  I firmly believe that kids should be encouraged to explore what they truly love and learn how to thrive on it!

 

 

I personally hated history growing up, but the more we travel the more I realize I LOVE it the most! There is something about being in the middle of history that makes it come to life.  One of those things that you can’t truly explain, you just have to experience it.  I can tell just by my children’s expressions that they are taking it in and enjoying it just as much as I am!

 

It is important to keep in mind that each state has its own requirements for homeschooling and I highly recommend to research what your state’s requirements are.  Some states require a much stricter curriculum than others. Please make sure to research and choose which state to make your domicile state in order to enroll your child.  Florida happened to be our homebase so we decided to enroll our child with Florida Unschoolers.  After extensive research, we found this private umbrella school to be in perfect alignment of who we are and what we want for our kids.

 

Road schooling might not be for everyone, but it works perfectly for us!  We love giving our children hands-on learning experiences.  We are obsessed with bike riding, discovering the desert, the mountains, and the ocean all hands-on.  If I could truly write down Julez’s reactions as he walked under real bats (during his Batman phase) in an underground cave in Michigan, trust me I would, but it’s something, not even our video camera could truly capture.

 

 

I asked a fellow homeschooling mom for her one tip and Neva from Our Nomadic Story shared, “Do not buy into any one particular curriculum for all subjects. Pick and choose by individual subjects based on how your child learns, what interests them and what works for your lifestyle.  A bonus tip- if a curriculum isn’t working, change it; do not keep forcing it.”  I really took her advice to heart because she has successfully homeschooled her boys who are now furthering their education.

 

 

Although I am a very positive person and I would love to say it is always unicorns and rainbows in life, I know there are always “challenges.”  I decided to ask my great friend Jessica from Exploring the Local Life what her biggest obstacle has been so far in her road schooling journey? Her answer was, “The biggest obstacle we have faced is not burning out.  There are so many opportunities on the road that we have had to pick and choose carefully.  Otherwise, we would be broke and exhausted!”  This is great advice. I am newer to the road schooling world than Jessica is and I can see how it can easily become exhausting if we do not pick and choose carefully.

 

 

I will end this with a quote I love from Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”  Can you relate to this quote? I truly can!  My best way of learning is to be involved. When I am immersed in what I am learning it is very hard to forget!  It leads me back to our decision to road school our little ones because I want them to enjoy their childhood years of learning as much as humanly possible.

 

FIVE MAIN LESSONS FROM FULL-TIME RVING

As our 2-year nomadversary approaches, we have been thinking about all of the lessons we have learned during our time full-time RV living; and boy have we learned some lessons!!!  If you have also transitioned from a sticks and bricks home to living in an RV full-time, I am sure you will relate…

We have been very vulnerable in sharing our lives with our tiny humans in a tiny space in hopes of inspiring you to collect more experiences during your time here on Earth, so here we are again being a total open book with our top lessons learned from full-time RV living!

 

Lesson # 1: It’s Still Life

Just like living in a brick and sticks home, things will happen. We have learned how to just smile and laugh when unexpected things occur.  When we took our RV out for a test run a few weeks before hitting the road full-time, our neighbor (who was also full-timing) told us, “Things will happen, learn how to just go with it!” This was his biggest tip to us. I swear the universe wanted to prep us early because that weekend before going back to our sticks and bricks, one of our landing legs did not want to go up!  

We have learned that kids leave faucets running, rainstorms cause chaos, and sometimes things just stop working, After every “terrible” unannounced situation life has thrown at us, we have been able to laugh about it and learn a lesson from it as well.

Lesson # 2: Slow Down

We learned this very quickly after crossing the country from Florida to California in less than a week (just writing that makes me exhausted) after only being on the road for 2 months!

After talking to many RVers, they have also learned this lesson the hard way because they have experienced getting burned out.  I understand that it is so exciting at first that it’s easy to try to do it all, but trust us, (we learned the hard way) not only is it exhausting, but you do not get to enjoy yourself as much.  

When we learned the art of slowing down, we began to remember our experiences more clearly vs feeling like we had run a marathon and every memory was starting to mesh together. It also allowed us to really explore the area we were visiting including the non-tourist attractions.  

We also learned the art of not driving 10+ hours in a day, the maximum we ever do now is 4 hours and the least we have done has been 25 minutes.  Growing up in NYC, I didn’t realize how much I had been programmed to live my life in a hurry for absolutely no reason and I almost feel guilty that I had kind of rubbed off on my better half without either of us realizing it.  So, I am very grateful for learning this lesson thanks to this lifestyle because our kids are learning the art of slowing down as well (#priceless).

Lesson #3: Collect Experiences 

Coming from an 1,800+ sq. ft sticks and bricks home where I had been conditioned to fill every nook and cranny just because I had the room I quickly realized this was not possible in our lovely house on wheels.  Not only is there not a ton of space, but there are also weight limits in the RV I had to keep in mind.  

We have been determined to make every day memorable vs filling ourselves up with junk we truly don’t need.  Our slogan “Collect Experiences, Not Junk” came to me on a random night as I looked through our recent adventures at the time and realized how joyous my heart was just from thinking back on all of these experiences.  

If it had not been for this lifestyle, I am not sure we would have seen and done as much as we have.  It is one thing seeing videos and reading about it and it’s a whole other story living the experience yourself.  We have definitely collected more experiences in the last 23 months than most people do in 10 years thanks to RVing.  

You can imagine what it’s like to go kayaking in uncharted waters, fish across the country, climb up a 1,300 foot mountain in the rugged Upper Peninsula of Michigan, sit in an actual NASA room, walk through a cave that used to be a copper mine, hike through the Poconos to find a huge hidden waterfall that can only be seen by climbing up the mountain, go swimming in a spring fed pool in the middle of the Rocky Mountains…. but your imagination is nothing like collecting that experience.  Doing this with our children beside us has been life changing because we know in our hearts we are helping them realize the power of collecting experiences simply through living. 

 

Lesson # 4: Research RVs

This lesson right here could have saved us a bit of a headache in the beginning.  We were one of those couples that dove in head first with zero knowledge about RVs!  We ended up picking a fifth wheel (we didn’t even know what that meant) and learned very quickly that the weight was a little too much for our truck at the time.  We had already made the purchase, so we ended up having to purchase a truck that handled the weight and that also fit all of us because our truck at the time was only a 3-seater.  

I even recommend renting the type of RV you are looking for on a site like Outdoorsy because then you can really get a feel for the type of layout and you will meet the owners of the RV and get to ask them questions too!  Quite frankly, if someone had told me this when we first looked at RVs, I would have totally done it! Learn from us: do more research on type, length weight, diesel or gas, etc.

Lesson # 5: Meet Others on the Same Path

In the beginning, it was a pretty lonely journey.  Our friends and family did not really get our lifestyle and they did not understand the landing legs, sewer fun times and all the “funny” lessons we were learning.  We began to connect with more fellow RVers online (thank you Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter) and we quickly found so many “crazy” folks like us! 

We have slowly began meeting each other in real life and collecting experiences with these folks too! It has made the journey that much more memorable to know that there are folks just like us out there escaping the chains of what we were told our entire lives was “normal.”  We love our friends and family, and of course, keep them up to date, but until you live in an RV full-time, you won’t truly understand all the lessons this lifestyle throws at you.  

Thank you so much for reading about our lessons learned!  We are on a mission to inspire you through our actions to collect experiences of your own instead of junk while living a more intentional life.  We would love to hear your thoughts below and any lessons you have learned from living in an RV full-time.