Alyssa driving our 1994 Coachmen RV

3 Things We Learned from Three Years of Fulltime RVing

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This week Heath and I celebrate two huge milestones:

  • Three years of marriage 💏💏💏
  • Three years of RVing full time 🚌🚍🚌

We never expected that we would fulltime RV for this long, but it has been the best years of our lives. (No end in sight, people.)

I have learned so much in these past three years about marriage, building a business, running a blog, filming a documentary, fixing water leaks, and driving an RV across the country.

The craziest thing I’ve learned though is this: Other people actually want to do the same thing.

What?!

You mean we’re not crazy?

Cause until this past year, I definitely thought we were crazy for “living in a van, down by the river.”

Actually, I still think we’re crazy. But at the very least, we’re not alone.

So I wanted to share with all the newbies, soon-to-be’s and dreamers out there one thing we’ve learned from each of the three years we’ve traveled America in our RV ++ a few predictions for year four.

Year 1: No one will ever give you permission to travel.

Alyssa and I on Mt. Denali in Alaska
At basecamp for Mt. Denali in Alaska

During our first year of travel, we visited all 50 states. (Okay, okay FINE. In our first year + six days of travel we visited all 50 states. We made it to Alaska a few days late! Blame the Yukon for being huge.)

Since our story was published a fair bit of national and international media outlets, we heard a lot of positive and even more negative comments about our new travel lifestyle.

  • “Must be nice to have a trust fund!”
  • “Do you really think you’ll stay married living in an RV together?
  • “What are you doing for money, selling meth? Cause that looks like the Breaking Bad RV.”

And so on and so forth.

Here’s what I realized: Most people want to travel, but most people equate traveling with luxury. 

People think travel has to cost thousands and thousands of dollars and that you need to save up for years before jumping into the lifestyle.

NOT TRUE.

We did neither of these things and we’ve made this lifestyle work for us through trying out lot of different income streams.

[Check out our free course on our How to Travel America for $2K/month here]

If you want to travel, TRAVEL.

Don’t wait for your bank account to hit that magic number (Because you’ll come up with a reason why it isn’t enough).

Don’t wait for your parents to tell you it’s a great idea (Because telling your loved ones that you’re moving into an RV rarely goes over well).

Don’t wait until you’re a certain age, until you’ve made it to a certain point in your career, until whatever excuse you’ve made up in your head that needs to happen before you can even dream of traveling.

Well, I waited until after our wedding day so some waiting is probably permissible.

I’m here to tell you what every RVer ever has told me: “I wish I had started sooner.”

You won’t regret traveling, but you will regret waiting. Don’t wait too long.

Year 2: Living in an RV is a great way to save money.

Ah student debt, you are the loathe of my life.

rv versus student debt

We started our marriage with $28K of student loan debt and in our second year living in the RV we decided to hunker down and start paying it off…because we completely ignored it during our first year.

So during year two, we stayed in Texas at a lakefront RV park for seven months straight. I hated the idea of being stationary in the RV for such a long time, but after traveling to all fifty states, we needed a break from travel and we needed to focus on making this lifestyle sustainable.

During those seven months, we worked on developing multiple income streams and building a relationship with Winnebago. Since we were in one place, we saved a ton of money on gas and lodging (rent was $360/month).

[Read more about how we make money blogging here]

We ended up paying off around $14,000 in student loans over the course of the year and learned SO much about how to build a business from anywhere. (And we still spent two months RVing on the coast of California, flew to Hawaii, drove to Alaska, and took a few non-RV trips to Portland, San Diego, Denver, and Chicago.)

When money is tight or when you just need to take some time to sit still and regroup, the RV is a pretty stinking affordable way to live.

Year 3: You will accomplish nothing alone.

During our third year of RVing a few major things happened:

  1. Heath started The RV Entrepreneur podcast and it hit all sorts of crazy metrics like being the #1 New and Noteworthy Travel podcast.
  2. We premiered our documentary! (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  3. Heath started CampgroundBooking.com with Paul of Roamin Ryan’s and Bob of webnomads.
  4. We combined our blogs into heathandalyssa.com.
  5. We hosted our first ever RV conference!

These were all huge years-in-the-making accomplishments for us and they all required a team of people. People like Kelsey Henry, whose name you’ve probably seen as a contributor to our site because she edits all of our podcasts. And people like Tate Hipps, who helped us edit our documentary, without whom I would still just be staring blankly at my computer screen, uninspired.

And then there was the group of awe-inspiring, truly amazing, I-can’t-believe-I-can-call-them-my-friends people from the RV Entrepreneur Summit.

Photo Cred: Joe Hendricks

We have found our people. The people who encourage us, challenge us, and remind us that we’re doing the right thing. People like all of you who follow our blog and leave sweet thoughtful comments that inspire us to keep traveling, keep meeting new people, and keep pushing ourselves to do and be more.

This community we’ve built is invaluable to us and hands down, the best thing to come out of year three of RVing.

Year 4: A few predictions on what we will learn next…

1. These are the good ole days.

This is one of the most profoundly heartfelt moments from The Office series finale. But I love this concept.

We take too few moments to look around and realize that we are living in the good old days.

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in metrics and trolls and if we have enough likes on our Facebook page. But when you’re stressing over meaningless stuff, you’re missing out on a chance to appreciate your life.

These are the good old days and we should enjoy them as such! Take a deep breath and look around. This is a pretty stinking awesome time to be alive.

2. Capture everything. Memories can be forgotten, but Youtube is forever.

Kidding. I also keep hard copies of all of our videos in case Youtube ever deletes them all.

But I do really, really love creating videos for our Youtube channel with the intention of preserving our memories of this crazy, eventful, fun time in our lives.

This was our biggest regret from our first three years of travel: that we didn’t “vlog it.” Yes, we have a ton of footage from our first year of travel because of Hourly America. But we don’t have a lot or any footage of our adventures during years two and three.

So year four is all about capturing, editing, and preserving all the adventures we are on this year.

[Check out our Florida Keys video series here. I’m really proud of these ones!]

3. Let’s keep expanding our comfort zone.

After three years, Heath and I are really comfortable in our RV. We have the groove of moving days down to a T. We easily run our businesses from the dinette and the picnic table. Life is little too easy.

So we brainstormed new ways to push ourselves to keep growing.

Heath’s new thing: CampgroundBooking.com

I’ve talked before about how Heath and I try to learn one new thing a year. Heath’s new thing this year is going all in on his software start up. (You’ve probably heard him talk about this on the podcast!)

Heath’s been working on CampgroundBooking for a full year now, but now that the product is built out, it’s time to start selling. I know Heath is pretty nervous about this next step, but I’m excited to see how he tackles this next challenge.

Alyssa filming while on the Pacific Coast Highway

My new thing: Our aforementioned Youtube channel

I’ve been a working in film for three years now and yet we never once considered starting a youtube channel and sharing some of our work. In fact, all of our client videos are private so you couldn’t see a lot of my work even if you wanted to. Heck, we just listed Hourly America on Youtube as public last week!

This is a really scary jump for me, but I’ve already seen myself grow a lot from it. Here’s my mantra I repeat every time I export a new vlog: Done is better than perfect. 

Words to live by.

Next year’s new thing: RVing Abroad (!!!)

Heath and I are big fans of the strategy to “speak things into being” or to tell a bunch of people we are doing something so that we are held accountable.

So…

WE ARE RVING ABROAD.

I don’t know which continent.

And I don’t know if we will buy, rent, or swap RVs.

But I know that I’ve been dreaming of living abroad for years and RVing seems like the best (and scariest) way for us to do it.

Most of all, I know it will push us out of our comfort zone and ultimately make us better versions of ourselves.

These past three years of fulltime rving have been more amazing than I ever could’ve imagined. It’s been the best decision of my life…after marrying Heath of course.