Christmas is my most favorite time of year. The traditions and meaning of the season are so deeply entrenched in me that for many years the thought of leaving home never occurred to me. It seemed to me that a Christmas away from home wouldn’t feel much like Christmas at all.

The first year we left home for the holidays, I was filled with anxiety. I couldn’t help but wonder if I’d regret taking my kids away from the familiar, not to mention myself. As it turned out, I worried needlessly.



Anything I could do at home, I could do in the RV. I decorated, baked, wrapped gifts, and played Christmas music. When we were pulled over for the night, we could cuddle up and watch a Christmas movie together. In our home away from home, Christmas was almost the same. Almost.


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It’s safe to say that we love our RV. R’Velle has become a beloved member of our family, often confusing others when we refer to the RV as ‘she’.

Though we don’t RV full time, we travel with her as much as possible, relying on her to get us to and from our pleasure trips while also offering a home away from home.

And while I think of R’Velle as our vacation home, I hadn’t really expected to use her as our actual home for an extended period. And I definitely didn’t think about this situation popping up in the middle of our fall trip to Florida, where R’Velle winters in the warm temps while we return to the cold Iowa plains.

A Trip to Florida Becomes a Trip to Texas


We were just a day and a half into our 4 day trip. Fun stops had been made at Lamberts Café in Ozark, Missouri- where R’Velle met another 4 Winds bunkhouse in the parking lot.


RVelle meets another 4 Winds Type C Bunkhouse in the parking lot at Lamberts Cafe in Ozark MO.


We followed that with a visit to Mansfield and tour of the homes of our favorite Pioneer author, Laura Ingalls Wilder.


The two homes of Laura Ingalls Wilder at Rocky Ridge Farm near Mansfield Missouri.

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Snowbirds is a term for people who leave colder climates to migrate south in the winter to areas like Florida, California, Arizona and Texas. I grew up in Minnesota and went to college in a small town way up north. It was so cold that the college built underground tunnels connecting each building because they knew college kids wouldn’t head out into -20 degree weather to sit in a lecture. After so many cold winters, I understand why people head south when the weather starts to turn cold.

As an entrepreneur I often ask myself, “what if I did the opposite of what everybody else is doing?” Some of the biggest rewards in my life have come from doing the unconventional. Our RV trip to Florida was one of these rewards of going against the grain.

The idea of being reverse snowbirds came after we unknowingly took a trip in the off season to southern Utah. In the winter it felt like we had everything to ourselves! I hiked Angels Landing and watched the sunrise as I reached the summit. I spent over an hour at the top with just myself and my thoughts. It was beautiful!



A few days later I did a huge loop trail in Bryce Canyon and didn’t see anyone the entire hike. It felt like I had the entire national park to myself that day.


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The big spring trip. It’s become a family tradition we all look forward to after our long Midwestern winter.

This year’s route took us more than 2000 miles in 10 days – from Florida, through southern Louisiana, into the heart of Texas, and back home to Iowa.

After collecting R’Velle from the consignment company that cared for her over the winter, we restocked with groceries and our belongings and hit the road, our excitement for the trip ahead overriding the exhaustion of the late night flight the evening before.

That first day our drive from Orlando to I-10 and through the Florida panhandle was long. And, other than a rainbow following a quick afternoon downpour, the view really didn’t change much.



An overnight stop at a campground near Tallahassee allowed me to start unpacking our supplies that had been stored during the winter. Bedding, towels, bins, and blankets had been haphazardly stacked and strewn around the RV and it was making me crazy! I sent Doug and the girls outside – and out of my way so I could work!


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My family suffers from one of society’s most common and prevalent afflictions: too much. Too much clutter, too much to do, too much general busy-ness. My husband and I are both self-employed Type-A personalities and there are many weeks when we work upwards of 50 to 60 hours. Our two daughters are both in competitive cheerleading that gobbles up eight hours each a week of their “spare” time. Add to the mix all the regular mundane chores like homework, laundry, and grocery shopping – and we have an active social life. 

While there’s no doubt it’s a good life, every once in a while it can get, well, overwhelming. When it all gets too much for me to handle, I metaphorically throw out my hand and slam it hard on our escape hatch.



Our family’s “escape hatch” sits on six wheels and is 40 feet long. From the outside it looks like your typical motorhome, but don’t be deceived; it’s so much more than that. Our RV has become our shelter from the storm and our first go-to when we need a family reset. “But it’s just an RV,” some may scoff. Not so, I’d counter. It’s a family containment unit and when the outside world has us paying more attention to our screens than to each other, it’s time to hop inside for status updates that are spoken instead of texted.


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