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There aren’t many of us out there, the young RVers that is. We hide away in the back of RV parks and national parks, hoping for a decent wifi connection. We work remotely online, doing all we can to earn a living while pursuing a life of freedom. We gave up the 9-5 office life for taking showers in parks and waking up next to mountains. We chose adventure over comfort, and during the process have encountered a life that many dream of.
We get strange looks from the retirees, who shake their heads and wonder how we travel without first having worked 40 years. People often don’t understand what it is we do, or why. We live in a constantly changing world of scenery, accents, and climate. But more than anything, we’ve chosen a life style that embraces simplicity, adventure, and seeing all our beautiful world has to offer.
We are the Millennial Generation of RVers.
This blog post is for the dreamers and doers alike, I’m talking to the people who are willing to give up comfort for class A or C (I’m talking RV’s now, try to keep up). I’m writing to help pave the way for others who want to pursue a life of freedom from big corporations and being another cog in the machine. I’m here to show you there is another way, and it rocks.
I won’t pretend it’s all easy, because it isn’t. And I won’t pretend to have all of the answers, because I don’t. However, I will tell you the RV lifestyle is something worth pursuing. I will tell you that if you follow some of the advice in this blog and the posts that follow, you will have a very good chance at being one of the few who hold the title of a millennial RVer.
Who this blog isn’t for? Someone scared of change. A person who isn’t willing to sacrifice comfort for the unknown. If that’s you, then it would be in your best interest to close this tab and keep moving along, it’s not for you.
Now, let’s get started.
You want to live a life of freedom, one that beckons greatness while doing work that matters? Let’s talk business. What are the benefits of the RV lifestyle? Why should someone be interested in pursuing it? These are a couple of the questions I want to begin with.
What does the RV lifestyle look like?
On a good day, the RV life is filled with whimsy, beautiful sites, and really cool people. On a bad day, there might be a leak during a thunderstorm in South Dakota, or you might be working on fixing a fuel pump, or maybe your trailer is falling off. There are a number of things that can go wrong while RVing, so I want to give you a realistic expectation. Now that I’ve done so- I want to mostly tell you how awesome it is (from my own perspective).
Nine months ago, my fiancée (now wife) and I began first talking about taking a trip across the country. We had spent most of our life in Texas, and we wanted to see the world. The only problem? We’re only twenty-three years old and needed to work another 40 years before traveling, or so people had told us. It wasn’t a rational idea to travel, none the less we started scheming anyway.
The plan was to take an indefinite trip across the country after our wedding, I guess you could think of it like an epic honeymoon. At first we simply wanted to check out other places to live in the country. We thought we may want to live in California, Portland, Colorado, North Carolina, or Nashville. I came up with an idea to go spend a couple weeks in all the different places and see which ones we enjoyed most. Alyssa countered my offer and said let’s just go to all fifty states. So, I said okay. What else was I going to say? She dreams big, that’s why I love her.
Lesson one: Dream big. Where do you want to go? First you need to have a passion for traveling and seeing the world, before anything else.
We had a big idea, now we needed to put our feet on the ground and start strategizing. How were we going to fund the trip? What kind of vehicle were we going to travel in, etc? How much does gas cost to drive around the country? Should we just build a tiny house and tow it?
Thank goodness the tiny house idea didn’t pan out, there are a lot of mountains in America. After a month or two of researching different kinds of vehicles, and a heartbreaking 8 hour drive to check out one on Craigslist that fell through, we finally found Franklin: our 1994 class c motorhome. We didn’t originally plan on buying a motorhome, because we assumed they were extremely expensive (not necessarily) and eat up a lot of gas (absolutely true).
However, we found a heck of a deal and ended up paying $11,500 for this baby.
We spent a week redecorating the inside to feel more like home, and then got to work figuring out how in the heck one of these things operates. After realizing not all motorhomes cost $200,000, we put our heads together. We had been living in Austin where average rent for a one bedroom apartment is $700. That means after factoring in $150 worth of monthly utilities, you’re looking at $10,200 in one year of rent. We decided that after our trip if we came back to Austin and lived in the RV for a little more than a year, it would more than pay for itself in rent alone.
You may ask yourself, why sacrifice the comfort of a cozy apartment for living in an old motorhome? Well, first of all it offers freedom. We aren’t stuck to any leases, and can pack up whenever we want and leave (right now we’re in St. Louis). Secondly, we had Franklin parked at an RV park overlooking Lake Travis for only $300 a month, utilities included. How much could you save if your only overhead was $300 a month? If you’re making anything at all, you should be able to make ends meet.
Lesson number two: Find an RV that fits your lifestyle and limit your overheard (meet Franklin). This blog post isn’t about the different kinds of RV’s (fifth wheels vs. trailers vs. truck campers), but I will happily go into that in another article.
Once we found an RV to travel in, we needed to secure some kind of income stream for our trip. We are both writers, and wanted to have a cool mission for our long honeymoon. We came up with the crazy idea of me working a different job in all fifty states, sounds like fun right? We could blog about our experiences and meet some awesome people along the way.
I quit my job two months before our wedding, and ten days later I had found us a sponsor for our project. They had offered to help give our trip legs (support) and also financially backing us (read more about how I found a sponsor).
If you want to travel, but don’t have any ideas that could be sponsored- there are an endless amount of ways to work remotely. Free lance writing or blogging, consulting, video editing, social media work, or even technical support for a company like Hulu who offer remote work positions. You may be telling yourself you don’t have any of the skills above. My piece of advice to you would be to start spending time working towards a skill that can be done anywhere. If you’re young and dedicated, you have time to work on your craft until you can build up enough revenue to get started.
If you aren’t willing to work on developing a new skill that can be done remotely, then don’t plan on living a remote life of travel and freedom. There has to be some form of dedication and sacrifice, otherwise everyone would do it.
Lesson three: Find a skill that can be done remotely. Spend time building an income on the side of your current job or school so that when you’re ready to hit the road, nobody will even known you’re gone.
Real Life Example: Alyssa and I recently met a couple who launched a very successful blog in Austin. They spent years busting their butt and building up a team of writers who contribute two daily articles to the blog. On the side of their blog, they started a company that helps do online social media and marketing for small businesses. After building up trust and a rapport with their clients, they packed up and left town. They told me since they did most of their work remotely any way, the businesses they consult with wouldn’t even notice they were gone.
It didn’t happen over night, but the point is it’s possible. You can do it too, if you’re willing to work for it. The name of their blog is RV Wanderlust, check it out.
After figuring out a skill you can master remotely, the next step is planning what kind of remote RVing life you want to live. Do you want to consistently move around and always be on the move? Do you want to shack up on the coast of Cali and stay put for a month or two? Maybe a national park tour?
It’s important to decide what kind of RVing you want to do, because that will determine how you fund your trip and how much your expenses are. Our second month of being on the road our expenses came out to be approximately $3,000. That was 6 states and a ton of miles on the road. Our third month we did even better and our expenses were around $2,500. For RVers who spend a month in the same spot, this is a lot of money. However, for RVers who spends their time always on the move- we keep a pretty tight budget.
If you want to read more examples of people who make money while traveling, I would suggest you take a look at this group of articles put together by Gone With the Wynns. On that page you will see several examples of people who make a living while touring the country. (the Wynns are another young couple who spend their time traveling around the country)
There are so many other details I could outline as part of this guide, but I wanted to first take a whack at some of the basics. The RV lifestyle is an unconventional way to see the country and even earn a living while living remotely. With technology at our finger tips, it’s becoming more and more possible to become a millennial RV traveler.
Just don’t expect the wifi to be great.
P.S I recently launched a free 7 day email course for RVers called How to See America on $2,000/month! It’s everything my wife and I learned about how to travel CHEAP and enjoy a lifestyle of full-time RV traveling.
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