“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
― The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
After 14+ amazing months of full-time living in our RV, we’re pressing the “Pause” button on #rvlife to get our teen through high school. We had hoped to make that work on the road but it wasn’t going to work for us.
After my battle with cancer we decided to make some big life changes. Our catalyst to (hopefully) long-lasting changes was to sell our house (aka. “burn the boats”) and move in to an RV. We set out with many goals, and we achieved each one to some degree:
- Spend at least one year, if not longer, living full-time in the RV,
- Prove to ourselves we could survive and be happy outside of the rat race,
- Downsize and simplify our lives,
- Challenge ourselves and live outside of our comfort zones,
- Discover new places,
- Meet new people and experience different cultures,
- Enjoy nature and be (live) outside,
- Spend more quality family time with each other.
One of the most positive outcomes is the confirmation that we don’t need many “things” (possessions) to be happy. We have a big rig and can carry a lot, but we ended up using the same few things over and over.
We learned to enjoy slow travel with no real destination in mind. This seems counter to our Type A personalities but being rigid on schedule and destinations caused arguments and stress.
Squeaky clean is over-rated: showers were few and far between, dust/dirt got in to everything and all over us. And it was fine.
All problems are solve-able. This is especially embodied by the Mexican people and spirit.
Our challenge will be to carry these principles forward no matter where we are living at the moment.
We started our RV build several years ago when our son was younger and he was enthused to get started. When we hit the road in early spring 2018, we were scared but excited. It took several months for us to get in to the groove of living full-time in an RV. Over time, we adopted new routines and, for the most part, we made it work.
Around 12 months in, our teen passed his 14th birthday and was showing signs of burn-out. He missed hanging out with kids/friends his age, he was getting tired of spending 24×7 with his parents (really?!) and he wanted/needed space and privacy. No surprise! I’m thrilled he hung in there as long as he did.
For me, these last 14 months with him 24×7 were precious and worth every penny we spent on our rig, every fight we had and every sacrifice we made to live in that tiny rolling house.
I can’t recall every great moment but here’s a few that roll off the top of my (our) head.
Grand Tetons, Shadow Mountain, Jackson Hole, Utah, Glacier Nat’l Park, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Kaibab Nat’l Forest, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Redinger Lake, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, Bear Lake, Lone Rock Beach. Just a few of the highlights from the top o’ my head. Note that there were plenty of other great places but we probably had a giant, throw-down fight over personal space or WiFi and I’ve blocked those memories.
Mexico: Baja Sur, Baja North, Mainland Mexico. Loved it all and will go again.
Attending Overland Expo West 2018 as part of the Bliss Mobil exhibit and meeting all the great like-minded folks. Hanging out after the expo with Marleen, Eduard and Merten from Bliss Mobil (@bliss_mobil), and Jay and Cindy from Couch Off-Road Engineering (@couchoffroad).
Meeting great people and making new friends, loosely in reverse chronological order: Marcus & Julie (@tucks_truck), Benjamin (@2008h2), Lili’s wonderful family in GDL, Noel, Gonzalo (@gonzalo_mi_gusto_es_conducir), Toby & Chloe, Michel (@michelszulckrzyzanowski), Adali & John, Tomas, Timm, Mykaela and their lovely family (@followdirectionsouth), Tom (@the_lost_box), Darren & Kim (@floodexploration), Rose & Stephen, Mark & Janell (@bluemoonexplorers), Erik & Marije (@the.yellow.nl), Yumira (@yumiira23), Marcela, Kirk (@impact.overland), @8yearsglobal, Steve & Melanie, Eamon & Bec (@eh.mon), Carlos M, Ravi & Peggy, everyone at El Cielo Winery (@elcielowineryresort), Rob (@unimogrob), @theluckycaravan, Atsushi (@sir.campalot), Razel (@ridin_dem_trails), @yotahome4x4, Joe & Cheryl (@joeandcherylb), David, Ross and team at Acela Truck Company (@acelatruck), Lorin (@popespics), Matt (@mattcope), Nathanael (@nathanael_kuenzli), Kyle (@kyle_somers_), Sammy (@sammyelam_realestate), Eduardo & Rubi (@adventuresonwheels), Ian, Cyan (@cyansamone), Carol & Howie, Ross (@fatissmartfuel), Caelan & Sophia (@thewitchandthewoodsman), Eric & Rebecca (@moabout), @quimsauce.live, Billy (@motivepowersports), Brandon & Baraka (@barakabrandon). Reach out to me if I missed you — this was compiled mostly from my feeble memory.
Will you live in your RV? No. One of our reasons to pause is giving our teen some room.
Are you selling your RV? No plans to at the moment. We’ll park it somewhere nice and we hope to use it, but not full-time.
Where are you “pausing”? Austin, TX, for now. It has good schools, is reasonably affordable (especially by Cali standards), has a strong active/outdoor vibe, and the BBQ is amazing! It is hotter than satan’s perineum in summer but mild-ish the rest of the year. Plus I grew up in Austin and have relatives in the general vicinity.
Are you guys going back to work? Yep, both of us. We’re continuing our remote, low-stress jobs and want to work just enough to pay the bills.
Are you planning to travel full-time again? Yes! After we get our teen through school and out of the nest.
Will you continue blogging about your RV? I have a backlog of requests for articles and videos, so as long as there’s interest, yes.
What about @blissordie on Instagram? Same as above. I’ve met so many great people through Instagram who I’m sure I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I may not be as active, so it will be faster to reach me through the Contact link here.
Are these plans solid? Could something change?? Absolutely! Anyone who knows us knows that nothing is ever solid with us and everything can (and will) change. During most of our time in the RV, we didn’t know where we’d be the next day!
As always, feel free to reach out to me in the comments or through the Contact link (email). I’m happy to answer questions, shoot the breeze or meet up if you’re in the area.
* Featured image credit: Tom Roszko (@the_lost_box).
I wish you well.
Thanks for sharing the past two years with the world. As a parent of a 14 year old, I’m surprised you got as far as you did!
Keep us posted on your adventures!
LOL!! Thanks for reading and for the comment. I do have a backlog of info to share and will continue to do so, so stay tuned!
Wow , what a big decision for you all ! You’ve been a huge inspiration for some of us out here so thank you for that , and the talks on the rig you’ve built as well. The pics you send out , and the write ups have been super ! There’s probably a lot you’ll think of to share about; the destinations , the gear, the rig, dos and don’t s . I’ll watch for further insight you are up for sharing. Thank you for taking that leap , and letting the world join in through your sharing !!
Thanks Chris!! It’s comments like yours that keeps me posting.
Started out reading your blog to research my own rig purchase (bliss box vs. gxv or er) and then found myself moved and inspired by your journeys. Best of luck!
Glad you enjoyed it and good luck to you too – feel free to reach out with any questions.
Just found your site as we have the same plan you’ve already accomplished 🙂
We’ll be travelling with 3 kids: 15, 9 & 8, I’m concerned about how it’ll be for our eldest, but hopeful because it’s always been my dream to rv fulltime with my kids.
I’ll be scouring your blog for any tips or tricks to add to my mental toolbox, thanks so much for writing this blog!
Traveling with a teen is challenging but the advantage you have is the teen has siblings. Our teen was by himself with us.
That is true, although a teen with younger siblings is sometimes a challenge in and of itself lol but yes overall I agree that by having multiple children there’s a better chance some struggles will be circumvented for him.
Any plans to hope back into the trailer just you and your wife in the future?
Apologies for the tardy reply but yes, we definitely plan to hit the road again as “empty nesters”!
Thanks, such a great perspective on life … LOVE IT! If you ever decide to sell your RV let me know.
I’d like to try that road you’ve traveled.
Thanks so much! I’ll email you if/when we decide to sell.