Paradise RV Campground -Thousand Trails, Washington. Tucked in the pines near Mt. Rainier
Questions We Get Asked About Living in Our RV Full-Time.
We have been full-time RVers since March of 2017. The questions we get asked about living in our RV full-time are sometimes surprising but most are honest questions about why we chose to live this lifestyle. It’s not the typical American Dream…
We don’t mind answering the questions we get asked about living in our RV full-time because it is a different lifestyle. Most people think this lifestyle is reserved for those that are retired or with lots of money. I am here to say those ideas are a myth and most anyone can live this lifestyle if they so choose. We are enjoying life NOW. Sounds great, huh?
Living the American Dream Our Way
1. What made you guys decide to buy an RV and sell your house and most of your possessions?
When our youngest daughter moved out to start her life we decided to get a small 26′ travel trailer to take up to the forest to enjoy the cooler weather. One Saturday the fall of 2016 we were binge-watching on YouTube and were shocked how many people are actually living full-time in their RVs, NOT retired, so it kind of snowballed from there.
The house went up for sale and garage sales started happening all in less than 6 months. Don’t get me wrong it was hard to go through everything and deciding what to part with or what to put in storage, but now, now I can’t remember half the stuff we ever had.
2. Have you always wanted to RV full-time?
No way! No one saw this coming. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think we’d live this lifestyle. I did not even like to go camping and never did so in a tent. “It was to much work”, I would say. Not relaxing at all if you are worried about one of your kids getting hurt or any other reason I would give.
Aaron, on the other hand, had a dream to one day travel all while living in an RV once he retired, of course. I wanted to travel via car and hotels until I came across other RVers that are NOT anywhere near retirement but working full-time and traveling.
3. Do you ever get tired of living in such a small space?
Truthfully, no. We are outdoors more often than we were when we lived in our house. I don’t think we get on each others nerves all that much 😉 We actually like the smaller space because we like to spend time together, in the house, we had to much space and didn’t spend much time outdoors.
You just can’t say no to this face when she wants to play ball! So we are outside a lot more with her.
4. How do you live in such a small space with a big dog AND two cats?
Like we did in a house? lol It really isn’t all that different for us. Yes, Maggie is a very large dog, okay a GIANT dog, but to us, it isn’t any different than those that have more than one dog living in a small space. Maggie is like having another human around. She doesn’t think she is a dog. She is the star everywhere we go. 🙂
We actually get to see our cats more because they have less hiding spots. They adapted well to a smaller space and I think they are happier now that they get more attention. Not that they didn’t get attention before, now they are under your feet and we see them more.
5. You are too young to be retired. Do you still work?
No, we are not retired. Aaron works remotely, full-time, in data analytics and I run our blog and social media accounts. Social media is how we share our journey with family and others that might be interested in following along.
Being able to see the places we have always wanted to see and do it while we are healthy and young is worth any sacrifice we’ve made to live small. Plus seeing family that live in other states is an additional bonus.
6. Is it expensive to live and travel in an RV?
It depends on how you do it! We budget our expenses on the road, just as we did living in a house. We have memberships for campgrounds which helps save money and our National Parks Pass. The places we “site see” along the way are often free.
While we love trying new restaurants in the towns we visit we try to keep eating out minimal. We shop at Costco, Walmart or Kroger/Safeway stores and stay away from small-town stores where food is very expensive. ie: outside of National Parks. We aren’t on a permanent vacation, we just live a little differently now. But not by much. 😉
We’ve heard of food trucks but never a food ship! Fish and Chips at Bowpicker in Astoria, Oregon with our awesome friends we met on the road this year! The fish and chips were AWESOME and so was the company!
7. How do you get mail?
We use a mail forwarding service for regular mail and have it delivered via “General Delivery” to any local post office. It takes a bit of planning ahead but it works very well for us. Additionally, we have eliminated most of our mail by ensuring all bill/account statements are online. Not having a magazine or catalog subscriptions also keep the mailbox tidy.
Package deliveries can be a little more tricky. We normally wait until we can receive packages at the RV Park. Sometimes waiting isn’t possible so we utilize Amazon Lockers, FedEx Shipping Centers or The UPS Store. Regardless, getting mail takes some planning but it isn’t all that difficult. We’ve even driven up to an hour away to get packages because of our remote location but its all worth it.
8. How do you get internet on the road?
We utilize cell phone networks to ensure we have connectivity. Currently, we use Verizon and AT&T hotspot devices and our cell phones are T-Mobile. By having all 3 networks available we can pretty much go where ever we desire. If the signals are less than ideal we use our weBoost signal booster to enhance the signal.
Connectivity was one of our biggest expenses initially but its critical for us to remain on the road.
How did we ever survive without cellphones?
We also research destinations ahead of time using campground review websites. We love Campendium because one of the review sections is the status of cell service. This allows us to see how the signal was for fellow RVers at that location.
We have remained flexible and are prepared to change our plans based on cell availability. I have to say though, the networks are getting stronger and it is rare we can’t make it work. One exception is cell service in National Parks; it’s pretty much non-existent. No problem for us, we just stay outside the parks where the signal is strong.
Another option is the campground’s FREE WiFi. We never rely on it because most often its simply too weak to reach our RV.
9. How do you decide where to go?
Our primary goal is to visit all of the National Parks. We’ve currently visited 23 of 59. This is what generally determines our route. This spring/summer (2018) was planned according to locations of National Parks in the West/Northwestern states.
Aaron plans the route based on campground and cell service availability and I am the “activities coordinator” once we arrive at a location. LOL
We sightsee after the workday is done or on the weekend if we are in that location long enough. This is a fun challenge for me determining which sites are “must see” before we move on. Of course, the National Parks are number one.
10. Do you just stay at RV parks?
No, we use the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in the western states FREE dry camping. If we are by family and they have the room we will mooch-dock at their place. 🙂
Thousand Trails Campgrounds are membership-based campgrounds. We stay FREE.
Boondockers Welcome is also membership based and involves staying on someone’s property. We used it once in northern California and stayed on a family farm.
State Park campgrounds are also one of our favorite places to stay. In the state of Oregon, Veterans stay free up to 10 days a month. We RARELY stay in a private campground unless there are no other options. During the winter months, we return to AZ and stay in an RV resort. This winter we plan to change it up and get out of the private resort.
We enjoying sharing our camping experiences so check out our campground reviews.
Boondocking at the Grand Canyon Oct. 2017
11. How long do you typically stay in one place?
One to 2 weeks is about the longest we stay at a location. Winter is a bit different where we return to our home state of AZ and stay 3-6 months. It all pretty much depends on where we are and what we have planned in the area.
12. What is the best thing about living in an RV?
If you don’t like where you are you can pick up and move. 😉 Experiencing so much more out of life than we could have ever imagined.
PCH 101 – Oregon Coast
13. What is the worst thing about living in an RV?
Managing and conserving water, electricity and holding tanks aren’t something you think about when you live in a house. Are the tanks full yet? I think the tanks are full!!
14. When are you coming back to the real world?
Wait are we living in a “fake” world? haha Actually, we planned to do this for a year and here we are on year 2, so who knows. We love this lifestyle, are experiencing so much and meeting so many awesome people along the way we aren’t anywhere near ready to give this up 🙂
15. What is your favorite place from your travels?
Tina – I can’t just pick one place, there are just so many awesome places we’ve been along this journey. If I were to choose a state, hands down, Oregon wins! Favorite National Parks so far Mt. Rainier and Grand Canyon. The Pacific Northwest has simply stolen my heart along with Victoria BC.
Aaron – I’m with Tina; it’s impossible to pick one favorite. I think for me anywhere in the state of Idaho is beautiful. I love all the green, water and wildlife. We haven’t made the trek to Alaska yet so Idaho may be a mute point. LOL
I also agree with Tina about the Pacific Northwest and Oregon, simply amazing. As far as downtowns go Seattle has been my favorite, so far. Seattle’s public transportation was very impressive.
Victoria, BC wins for most beautiful and cleanest harbor city. I loved the impeccably kept historical buildings and the little water taxis cracked me up. 🙂
Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed… Living our version of the American Dream..
We hope that answering some of the questions we get asked about living in our RV full-time has been helpful. If you have any questions not covered here please leave a comment below.
Tell us about your RV adventures and how you solve some of these issues. We look forward to hearing from you.
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