Let me tell you a story about how, why and wherefore we began RVing it…
We hit the road on October 10, 2015. It has been nearly 4 years since we drove away from what was supposed to be our dream and we aren’t looking back!
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The Typical American Dream
Jessica and I are working-age adults, with young children and like most Americans, we had a mortgage and bills to pay. In 2015, we were living outside of Orlando, FL. Jessica, worked remotely from home, and I, Robert, had a regular commute Monday through Friday battling the I-4 traffic monster that so many Central Floridians loathe, and millions of tourists see as an asphalt conduit to Valhalla: the Disney megaplex, Sea World, and Universal Studios.
We had a wonderful home, comfortable, modern and lusciously landscaped, and above all, conveniently close to family. But we were uneasy. It just didn’t fulfill us. We’d been homeowners for 10 years since we’d lived in Georgia and keeping up with even a modest home by modern standards was inexplicably complicated for us. The grass was regularly overgrown, the two-car garage had to be dredged of boxes and “stuff” that threatened to overwhelm the one car we did manage to park in it. We even tried gardening, you know, for fun and failure. But we wanted something different.
How it all started
Our Youtube viewing history, the modern time-waster of choice, started to reveal an odd pattern that included RVers and Homesteaders, and a few… “preppers”. We were wanting to escape, to explore, and we didn’t even know it.
And then one day, we did something entirely out of the norm, and far outside our known comfort zone. We visited an RV dealership. We had little idea of what it all really meant. Travel Trailers, Class A, B, C, Super C?
If you could only understand how out of character visiting any sort of “Recreational Vehicle” dealership was for either of us… Well, we don’t even look at things we can’t afford. That day, we sowed a seed.
Jessica worked in the Quality industry and pulled off a job miracle – successfully transitioning from an office job, and taking that same office position to a work from home arrangement. I, however, was working in human resources, well outside of my industry of choice – airlines and aviation, and it was Jessica’s remote work, and my desire to return to aviation that proved key in our jump to the Fulltime RV lifestyle.
Just four months after that first visit to an RV dealership I received a phone call from a friend at a small airline. It was a simple phone call asking: “Robert, how would you like to be an FAR Part 121 Aircraft Dispatcher, exercising Operational Control?” I replied that I thought that would be great, but we were living in Florida again and weren’t sure about moving back to Atlanta. My friend replied – “Robert, the work schedule is 4 days on, and 4 days off”.
30 days later, we purchased a Travel Trailer, found a good deal on a pickup truck and drove north to our first RV Campground ever and our nascent Youtube channel switched from local finds to RV living.
What do our kids think about all this?
It depends on the day of the week and if they’ve blown their allowance. Roadschooling has been wonderful for their education. Observing the character of our children, we were terribly torn about putting them in public schools.
Daniel has extremely strong and deep feelings. He truly feels joys and sorrows, sees and hears everything and learns in a collaborative and experiential fashion rather than by rote. Nadia, our free spirit is just that. Dancing and singing, painting and playing in rocks and dirt.
RVing made the path to unschooling them clear and simple. I’ve had midnight walks with my son looking at the stars discussing astronomy, surface discussions about matter and energy, questions of life. With Nadia, we’ve watched the sunset and looked at rainbows putting science and schooling to the songs she hears cartoon characters sing. We all go on nature hikes and have discovered beaver lodges, tortoise skeletons, diverse animal tracks, mosses, lichens, and fungi. The world is our schoolroom!
After months of battling to teach Daniel to read three years ago, we backed off. Now he’s buying books on his tablet and his reading level is advancing rapidly. Nadia at 7 is learning to write on her own and she asks intelligent questions and asks for help when she needs it. Learning becomes one of exploration where and when they’re ready and interested. My secret joy at the moment is listening to them quiz each other in basic arithmetic. Slow and steady, but they are asking all the right questions.
The New American Dream
Now starting our fifth year in our RV journey, Jessica now is free from a traditional job completely. It is an exciting and scary time. I am still tied to traditional work doing a job that I love, but it can only happen at a fixed location. The benefit of now working for a major airline (the smallest major airline), is that I can commute to work out of many cities across the country.
But is the day coming when we’ll guide our own destiny? We’re working on our social media channels and remote work, and to that end, we’ve explored non-traditional workamping opportunities. We’ve completed a turn as campground hosts in the Georgia State Park system. This experience has increased our appetite for this type of work to defer living costs, and it has the added benefit of often having beautiful locations. It’s rewarded us in many ways in that it’s simple, honest work serving our fellow campers by providing clean, attractive and welcoming camping experiences.
What does the future hold?
We’re actively researching what is possible for making the big leap and for me to cut ties to a traditional office job. We’ve written about it and now with Jessica, we’re putting it to the test ourselves. Flexjobs and Upwork may become a big player in addition to our own blogging work. And opportunities from Workamper News may help guide our adventures. The future is wide open to us and we can’t wait for the journey!
RVing has broadened our thinking and helped us step outside of our comfort zone. Jessica and I have always kept to ourselves. This lifestyle has broadened our horizon and allowed us to consider previously unexplored ways of living our lives! Will we get a Unimog and traverse the wide-open spaces of the west? Perhaps move into a houseboat maybe and cruise America’s lakes and rivers? Or maybe homestead in a tiny home living off-grid on the side of a mountain?
Whatever comes with our New American Dream, RVing is our conduit to a world that throws off the shackles of the mundane. Now, where can I find a VW Eurovan and trick it out?
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