An Update from the Road: What We’re Doing Next

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I usually stick to talking about RVing and travel on the blog, but today I want to get a little more personal. At the end of each year I write a “year in review” blog. I first discovered this practice from Chris Guillebeau and then stole it for my own blog. My goal for the post is to share an honest account of where I’m at in my life, what went well that year, and what I hope to improve.

It’s not the end of the year at the moment, but it feels like the right time for a life update post. Alyssa and I have celebrated a lot of big moments lately and I want to share those with you (people who have been awesome enough to follow my blog). We also have a few major projects in the works that I’m excited to finally be talking about! Eek! <– Me being pumped.

Where We Are Right Now

Alyssa and I are currently in Vancouver, Washington staying with some friends in a driveway (free wifi and free laundry and unlimited hot water!).

What We’ve Been Up to This Summer/Year

We’ve covered a lot of ground this year (see map below). The blue icons indicate places we visited this spring, green icons are places we traveled to this summer, and the red dots are placed we’re traveling too this fall.

If it looks like we’re coming through your town and you’d like to meet up for a drink, drop a comment below and let us know!

Two Huge Projects We Just Completed

Huge Project #1 Hourly America

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The past two years Alyssa and I have been working on Hourly America. Hourly America is the documentary about our 50 state road trip where I worked a different hourly wage job in all 50 states. This was the initial project that caused us to hit the road in an RV and experience this lifestyle for the first time.

Last week in Portland, Oregon we premiered our film to a theater of 270 people. We were both terrified to show our first film project. We knew that we have a ton to learn about film (heck, this is our first one), but it was a proud moment none the less.

We will be hosting a few additional screenings in select cities across the country (Austin, Nashville, and a few others). We’ll also be releasing the film online in the coming weeks as well. You can watch the trailer here :).

Huge Project #2 Writing a Book

I wrote a book! Well… an eBook (but still counts Mom).

After 25 interviews from my podcast and over two years of getting our business off the ground, I put together a resource to help others who are getting started RVing. More and more, 20 and 30-somethings are hitting the road in an RV and trying to figure out how to earn a living from anywhere.

The RV Entrepreneur is meant to serve people who are trying to answer the question, “How can I make a decent living while driving an RV across America?

Writing this book was a huge undertaking. I spent the first two months “researching”, which really meant procrastinating out of fear. In the end, I got it finished and sent it out to a small group of people who pre-ordered a copy. I’m currently revising it again, getting feedback from professional writers and other RVers, and will be doing a book launch on October 2nd! I’ll let you know when it goes live.

Until then, if you want to read the first two chapters for free, you can do that here.

Two Big Upcoming Projects

Project #1 Merging Our Blogs

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The past three years both Alyssa and I have kept our own blogs (heathpadgett.com & alyssapadgett.com). In the beginning we figured that our blogs would be on separate topics. I would share stories from my perspective on the road and likely talk more about business, Alyssa would share stories of me accidentally locking her in the shower.

However, the past couple years we’ve started blogging more and more on the same topic – RVing.

More specifically, we’ve started talking about what it looks like to build a life and business on the road. Since our content is covering the same topic, we realized it made the most sense to combine our efforts and share an online blog (we are currently in discussion on name ideas for the new blog: if you have any creative ideas, drop a comment in the thread below).

Project #2 Launching a Software Company – CampgroundBooking.com

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I’ve had so many ideas for products or businesses over the years. It’s been difficult not to chase all of them. Traveling to all 50 states, learning film, building a remote income and this blog has forced me to focus on doing less. I put my tech start up dreams on hold while we made a film and built a lives for ourselves on the road.

However, during that time I also discovered a lot of big needs within the RV industry. The more I’ve traveled and immersed myself into this community, the more I’ve been able to see how far it is behind in technology.

One of the biggest technological needs within the RVing community I’ve seen is online reservations at campgrounds.

Earlier this year I met a web designer named Bob Orchard. Bob is a full-time RVer and we were kicking around business ideas in the RV industry. We both brought up online reservations and how there was a huge need there. Since February, Bob and I have been communicating via Skype calls and Slack, putting our ideas together on how to get this business started.

A little over a month ago, we decided it was time to kick things up a notch. We recruited a developer named Paul and are within weeks of launching an actual product.

We ultimately decided to focus on building a campground management software. While the end goal is to push the RV industry towards instant online bookings, this was the most logical step forward for us.

The majority of campground management software solutions are clunky and outdated. CampgroundBooking.com has all the look and feel of a modern SaaS solution that will serve a huge need in our RV community. If you’re a campground owner (or know one) who is interested in being a beta user of our software, shoot me an email.

Over the coming months and the next year, Bob, Paul, and I will be building this business as we all travel full-time in our RV’s. I’ll do my best to document progress and what we’re learning while we build a company from the road.

Side note: Alyssa and I will continue to work with film clients as we’re getting CampgroundBooking.com off the ground.

820 Days on the Road and Counting

A few weeks back I looked at Alyssa and said,”I’m tired. I don’t know how much longer I can do this. I miss Texas. I want to go home.”

It was the first time I had brought up the possibility of truly going home and getting off the road (not just missing queso). I was exhausted.

My podcasts schedule was behind, client work was piling up and I couldn’t see the end in sight. I was also dropping the ball on my monthly blog posts for WinnebagoLife.

During Hourly America, travel was propelling us towards our goals of making a documentary. Each long drive day meant one step closer to achieving our 50 state/50 job goal. This summer I felt like our excessive travel schedule was pulling me away from our goals, instead of helping us reach them.

Alyssa, the wise sage that my wife is, dropped some wisdom on me.

I was trying to do too much.

Right before we hit the road this summer, we brought on two additional online course clients, I started writing my eBook, and still had to manage a blog and weekly podcast schedule. On top of all that work, we were traveling to a new place every couple days.

It was impossible to keep up with everything. Every spare second we weren’t traveling, I had my laptop open and was trying to get work done.

Sometimes I jump to the most extreme solutions for my problem (i.e going home because I’m tired and overworked). But Alyssa pointed out that I could simply remove some things from my plate and we could slow our travel schedule down. Since launching the eBook, premiering Hourly America and finishing one of our client’s courses this past week, I’m already feeling much better.

Alyssa was right. It wasn’t that I was ready to go home and quit RVing. I just needed to evaluate my bandwidth and be realistic.

This has been one of my biggest struggles in this lifestyle, knowing my limits and striking a balance.

Any advice from travelers on how to stay productive while traveling (without stressing yourself out like crazy)?

I’d love to hear from you. Drop a comment below and we can chat.

30 Responses

  • Great update! We travel very slowly, especially compared to other RVers. We like to stay in places around a month. This way we really get to know a place, and honestly, we have more time to work as well (without being stressed).

    • I definitely think we’re going to be shifting more towards that kind of travel as well. You guys might be in Utah/Colorado in September/October?

        • Awesome. We will be going through Arches National Park around that time! We’ll connect when it gets closer and see where you guys are!

  • ahh Heath! Totally feel ya! I totally remember that feeling and know that you are not alone! Living on the road is HARD! It truly is! There are so many beautiful things about it, but going from place to place constantly is draining! Being off the road now, my biggest advice that I wish we could have given ourselves and made happen is slow down! Do not rush! Seriously, this is your life right here and right now. Enjoy it and don’t feel like you have to do everything at once. (Still trying to learn that ourselves… but we are all a work in progress, right?!?!) 😉 Cheering you guys on! So excited for you and all that you are accomplishing! Take a moment to soak it all in! You made a documentary! That is rad friends! 😉

    • haha thank you so much Liz! We miss you guys. We hope that we get to hang with y’all again sometime in the near future and eat some of your delicious looking pizza. Also, great advice and totally appreciated.

  • I will definitely read that, thanks for sharing guys. I’ve definitely been feeling overwhelmed with everything. It’s nice to know that ultimately we can always scale back our work load and simply do less.

    We’ll be continuing to work towards more scaleable projects of our own so we can design more of our lives like you guys :).

    Thanks for your friendship and encouragement!

  • Great post, Heath! I think Rachel and I figured out that moving so much is a large part of what stresses us out. I have to work 8-5 M-F and then we find ourselves moving every Saturday and Sunday. There is no time to relax and do what you really want to do. It sounds like you work way harder than i do though, lol. Good luck with the new venture. Sounds like a great idea.

    • Thanks Chris! I totally get it. Moving days in the RV are super stressful. It’s gotten to the point where I plan very little work on move days, that way I’m not stressed trying to get so much done. I almost treat the work I get done on move days like “bonus work”… meaning that if I get it done, it’s a nice surprise :).

  • Decision Fatigue! It’s a huge part of this lifestyle that we’ve had to create mantras and heuristics to try and overcome. No screen Sundays has proven to be a good tactic to. It rejuvenates us, gets us focused on the week ahead and makes sure we have time to be grateful.

    It seems that all of us eventually scale back the pace of moving as well. We fall into that camp. Hanging out and being campground hosts for the past two months has been a welcomed change of pace.

    Y’all got it!

    • Staying in a place for a couple of months kind of sounds like the dream :). Will definitely be looking forward to staying put a bit longer this winter!

  • I love this update! You sure have a lot on your plate. Hopefully the book and doc being done will free up some time for the other projects.

    Campground Booking looks amazing, by the way. Keep up the great work and get this in the hands of campground owners!

    • Thanks brother! Hope you guys are well. Yes, hopefully so. Remember talking with you about this a few months back when I was trying to figure out the timeline of projects. I stressed myself out trying to still work on CampgroundBooking.com while also working on the book… but oh well :). Got it done!

  • Enjoying building campgroundbooking.com with you so far. Looking forward to getting it out, don’t let it overload you too much Bob and I are here to help get it out and support all the efforts around it.

  • Wow Heath Padgett … You are living the life I dreamt growing up as a 14 yr old in small town of Highlands, TX… Maybe you’ve heard of her…we all have our stories of being homegrown as I call myself … People would ask What do you wanna do when you grow up? Lol .. I wanna be a nomad … Folks thought I was crazy wanting to get in a motorhome, travel from town to town … Learning to waitress and getting enough money to get me to next town … It was a dream life mind you this was year 1970 … 8th grade school year Highlands Junior High … Go Eagles … Lol … Needless to say just recently left my hometown ( moved 5 miles away lol ) as both my parents passed and siblings ‘got’ a life of their own so time to move up in this world I thought … Still dreams of traveling in my mind … I used to watch motorhomes pulling away from Houston Leisure Park with 80 yr old plus folks RVing down the road and thought that’s gonna be me one day … Loved reading your story Heath and wish you the best during your travels … Now I can ‘see’ my life through the writings of a young 25 yr old and his wife … Good luck on the road and who knows you might run into me one day thinking Durn look at that old woman traveling in that 2008 [email protected] clamshell camper trailer wonder where she’s headed … She’d be wondering the same ??

    • Hey Karen!

      All of my family grew up in Highlands (the Padgett’s) and that’s where I was born :). Look forward to seeing you out on the road one day soon!

      • Yep , honey I know them ALL lol Elaine and I grew up together we are FB friends after much l?king
        … Stories I could tell about we homegrown folks … Lol … Who’s you’re Dad do you mind if I ask? I tried to view the trailer but I can’t pull it up ? When will you be in Austin? that’s the closest I see you coming near here … I’d love to buy tickets books etc whatever you a-selling I support … In cooler weather I’d love to travel both coasts see the whole USA … I’m envious of you and your wife doing the things to make a difference in your young lives travel safely ?

        • Ah that is awesome. I’ll definitely keep you in the loop. We are premiering our documentary in Austin on September 4th at 4PM at Concordia University (https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hourly-america-documentary-premier-tickets-27084256741).

          Also, my dad is Mike 🙂

  • Very inspiring post Heath. You two have definitely been up to a lot for the past several months. It is awesome to see you guys working to fill a couple big needs in the RV community, but try not to kill yourselves over it. There is a lot of wisdom in the other comments, take it a bit slower and enjoy the journey. You two are awesome!

    • Thanks Lou! Really appreciate you and also being a part of this community! Do y’all have a departure date?

  • Congrats on your finished film project! Looking forward to being able to purchase it to watch on one of the streaming venues.

    Also, maybe the fact that you gave enough of a damn to lose sleep over it is part of what made it a success! It’s been said that the best fertilizer is the farmer’s shadow.

  • I love reading about you and Alyssa’s adventures. Hopefully I can make it to the Austin screening of your documentary.
    Please keep us posted on the date.

    • That would be awesome. It’s on September 4th. Here is the info 🙂 https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hourly-america-documentary-premier-tickets-27084256741

  • I don’t know why I’ve only just now watched the trailer, eight months later. So good! I can’t wait to see the whole thing! If you two will be driving through Corvallis on your way south through Oregon, my husband and I would love to meet up for a drink! We come up to the Portland area pretty often, too, so a meet up there would work if thats easier. We’ve been following your story for awhile now and love what you’re doing.

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