How We Decided to Sell Everything and Move into an RV Full-Time

Jul 16, 2013

At some point around the middle of last year, it occurred to us that the need to pay for our house and all the stuff in it was the only thing keeping us from doing what we truly loved – being together as much as we’d like, living a simpler life in touch with nature, having a plethora of new experiences, meeting and helping many more people, making spontaneous decisions based on how we felt on a given day, and living our own adventure instead of just following the conventional and “safer” path in life. We were trading away the best years of our life for the almighty steady paycheck so that someday we could enjoy everything we earned.

Forget “someday” though, what about now? What if some unforeseen reason like poor health, a freak accident, the zombie apocalypse, or financial problems meant there was no “someday” out there waiting for us?

We asked ourselves, “If we knew we only had __ more days/months/years to live, what would we do?” The answer was immediately obvious: we would travel.

Late last year, to better cope with the dissatisfaction in our mundane daily routines and the depression that inevitably set in just after and in between vacations, we started joking about ditching our house and figuring out some sort of mobile career so we could just start traveling full-time. The jokes persisted, and after enough time didn’t seem so far-fetched anymore.

We realized that the most realistic option and easiest entry method was an RV. Maybe one day when we don’t have pets anymore we could go a step further and start backpacking on other continents, or cruise all over the world on a sailboat. For now though, we needed some semblance of a home base for us and the 4-legged kids.

We “joked” about these plans so much that – in a moment I still look back on and wonder “what the hell were we thinking?!” – we purchased a beyond-fixer-upper vintage Airstream. The first one we looked at. On a whim.

Jason wonders "what have we gotten ourselves into?!"

Jason wonders “what have we gotten ourselves into?!”

The day we brought her home – she definitely needed a LOT of work!

Neither of us had ever owned, driven, worked on or even camped in an RV before the day we bought ours. We had always thought these silver trailers were beautiful though and we were handy enough with home improvements after two house renovations, so we took the leap into RV ownership before we could even second guess ourselves. How’s that for kicking off a life of spontaneity and adventure?

A year spent renovating the Airstream to be our cozy little home on wheels kept us too busy to make many plans for what would happen post-completion, but it didn’t take long after the trailer finally started to feel livable to question our sedentary life. Couldn’t we be just as happy in 150 square feet as we were in 2,000?

After a year of hard work, it  really looks like home! Photo by Jennie Huettel - Mountain Mutt Media

After a year of hard work, it really looks like home! Photo by Jennie Huettel – Mountain Mutt Media

Our kitchen, "after".

Our kitchen, “after”.

With the support of one another, complimentary digital marketing and web design skills, and word spreading quickly through our social networks after a couple successful freelance projects, we made the decision to leave our emotionally unfulfilling jobs and start our own business – first I (Kristin) quit my job, then Jason a few months later when the work load became too much to handle with his help only in the evenings and weekends. We knew the opportunity to seize more control of our life and spend more time together was a requirement for us. It was a HUGE risk, but one we knew we’d always regret not taking, even if we failed trying.

As much as we love our home and the town we live in and are grateful for all it has given us, including the opportunity to meet one another, make some amazing friends, and find lots of success professionally, we need to see something else now. A lot of “something elses,” to be specific.

After our recent month-long, inaugural test trip in the Airstream, it was more apparent than ever that full-time travel is the next logical (or illogical, depending on how you look at it!) step for us. Keeping a sticks and bricks home has become a greater source of stress than pleasure. Daily life seems so predictable that it’s almost unbearable at times, and we’re having trouble fitting back into our old routines and social expectations. We know that we can only be happy waking up every day not knowing what new and exciting experiences will present themselves. Wanderlust has taken a firm hold on us and “the norm” is no longer sufficient.

Too happy not to spend as much time together as we can! Photo by Jennie Huettel - Mountain Mutt Media.

Too happy of a family not to spend as much time together as we can! Photo by Jennie Huettel – Mountain Mutt Media.

Our house is now officially rented for a year starting in September and we started getting rid of most of our stuff, which is easier than we anticipated, knowing that the end result is full-time travel. Finishing touches are happening on the Airstream to get it ready to be our new house, and we’re learning and doing as much as we can to make our personal and business transition to nomadic living as smooth as possible.

We want to sincerely thank all our friends, family and clients who have supported our dream, whether with physical help, advice, hiring us to work for you, or just friendship and encouragement. We truly couldn’t have done it without you, we definitely won’t forget about you, and we’ll be back to visit — or better yet, come visit us on the road!

Our cozy Airstream bedroom, "after". Photo by Jennie Huettel - Mountain Mutt Media

Our cozy Airstream bedroom, “after”. Photo by Jennie Huettel – Mountain Mutt Media

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8 comments

  1. Comment by Erasmia

    Erasmia Reply Sep 20, 2015 at 9:52 pm

    I just love what you have done. I am so jealous that you are able to make money while traveling. I have been someone who moves when I like and have traveled to a few places overseas. I love doing different things and seeing the world. After reading about your lifestyle. I can’t say enough about how much I like it. Currently my adventures have changed due to the fact that we have a 1 yr old daughter that I would like to be routed here in Colorado Springs and have a place she calls home. Now that things have changed for us I plan on selling my BMW Z3 and buying an airstream. My daughter can’t go into the Z3. Being here in Colorado I figure there is so much to see within a weekend driving distance that a trailer would be perfect. We are looking for a 16″ Bambi or equivalent. Would you buy an airstream again if you were in the market? I would like an old one like yours but smaller and in need of a lot less work. I can’t wait to show my daughter everything out in the world. I originally lived in Canada and can’t say enough about the country and its people. I noticed you have visited B.C.. It is a beautiful province. I would also recommend Driving through Canada’s Rockies and through the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Not to say the other ones are bad but these ones stand out. Good luck in your travels and stay safe.

    • Comment by Kristin

      Kristin Reply Sep 20, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Thank you so much! It can be a difficult balance working and traveling and we’re slowing down quite a bit after a hectic summer to recover a bit. We’ll probably always travel in some form, whether it’s part of the year or all the time. It’s in our blood now and once you get the sickness there’s no cure except more travel! 😉

      We’re actually going to be in Colorado next month – we’re thinking of staying at a friend’s cabin in Denver for a few weeks. If you find yourselves in Denver in November let us know!

      I would recommend an Airstream, especially one that’s a little bit better shape than ours! We knew ours was a total overhaul when we bought it, and we were up to the challenge, mostly because we didn’t have a 1-year-old! There are lots of them out there that are in better shape and they’re very easy to tow. The fiberglass trailers like Casitas are also easy to tow, if silver doesn’t matter to you. 😉

      Feel free to shoot us an email anytime through the contact form here. We’d be happy to give our opinion if you find any trailers too! Thanks again!

  2. Comment by stephanie crocker

    stephanie crocker Reply May 21, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    So awesome to have stumbled onto your web site. A few months ago, my husband and I found a journal where we had written some notes about our lives and dreams from about 8 years ago. We realized that even though we had sold our first house and were happily living in a more centrally located neighborhood and we had built a great community of friends, we were still struggling with the same exact problems as what we wrote in the journal, “should we sell the house and live in the country?” should we rent the house?” and so on. We took a drive out to the country to see if that fit our next move and something just didn’t seem right. We imagined growing old and lonely in the country and having to take long trips in the car to get milk. (my husband and I are avid cyclists).

    I have owned a bakery for the last 14 years and it’s been great, but I think I am ready to accept a new challenge. I thought about opening a restaurant, and that would just be more of the same. My husband has an audio production business and with all the consumer tools, his business has dropped. He doesn’t know what he wants to do next either. He keeps saying all he wants to do is ride his bike, and me (the practical one) keeps saying “how are we going to pay the bills?” I started thinking “maybe hes right”. Why do we need all this stuff? It seemed very clear that the next step could actually be nothing. We could just go.

    With a possible renewal of my lease at the bakery and a really great baker who is actually interested in purchasing the bakery, and the rental market in Seattle going through the roof, the logistics are starting to fall into place. We could definitely do one year. We might do more.

    We’ve got 2 cats and a senior dog. It would definitely be easier to embark on this journey without the dog, but we are committed to giving her a good life and she definitely has a bit of spunk left. So with the spirit of adventure and the attitude that we can handle anything, we are very excited about our journey.

    My husband really likes the idea of a motorhome, but I am more sold on the travel trailer. Your article on the plusses and minuses of both was very helpful and I am sure we will come to some agreement soon.

    I look forward to reading more of your site.

    • Comment by Kristin

      Kristin Reply May 26, 2016 at 2:19 pm

      Hi Stephanie! Thanks for the comment and for reading our blog!

      We considered and off-grid homesteading type life in a tiny house before hitting the road too, but also realized that being alone in the country is not really who we are. We like to be in the middle of things and see people, and for our surroundings to be new and interesting when we want them to be, but also have our own little place to retreat to, so this has been the best combination of those two things for us.

      With cats and a senior dog, a motorhome is definitely easier in our opinions – you aren’t shuffling them back and forth to a tow vehicle on travel days, and it’s easier to air condition a motorhome with a built-in generator, if you’ll be away from them for a bit en route or while camping off-grid. Some trailers now have generators built in, from what I understand, but the animals will be more cooped up in a truck while you travel. If you don’t plan to move around a lot, a trailer might be just fine for you, though! It’s a personal preference thing. We moved often in ours, so it was a bit of a hassle for us with three pets in a truck.

      Our friends at Ardent Camper just switched from a trailer to a motorhome and wrote a great article here that might help you with pros and cons: http://www.ardentcamper.com/blog/towables-versus-motorhomes

      Let us know if you have any other questions, and have fun! 🙂

  3. Comment by Amy

    Amy Reply May 24, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Awesome story! Thanks for sharing. The hubs and I are also under the impression we are missing life slaving away. May I ask what it is you do online other than blogging for income?

    • Comment by Kristin

      Kristin Reply May 24, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      Thanks for reading, Amy! We had a background in technology before leaving our stationary jobs, then transitioned to running our own business as freelance web designers and digital marketing consultants, and are now employed by WordPress in a support role. They’re a fully distributed company, so we can work all over the world. You can read more about it here if you’re interested: https://automattic.com/work-with-us/

      You might check out some of these excellent resources and videos about working on the road from our friends at Technomadia, for inspiration: http://www.technomadia.com/2011/12/jobs-careers-and-income-sources-for-travelers/ Good luck, and let us know if you have any other questions!

  4. Comment by Joseph

    Joseph Reply Jun 27, 2016 at 9:10 pm

    Hello, how much did you spend on the renovation ?

    • Comment by Kristin

      Kristin Reply Jun 27, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Hey Joseph! Between the trailer purchase itself and the renovation, we spent somewhere between $25,000 and $30,000. We bartered for a few items, and can’t really estimate the labor costs, had we paid someone instead of doing the work ourselves, but the trailer was appraised at around $40000 when we finished. Hope that helps! 🙂

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