What Does it take to be a full time RV family?

pete and the winnebago

Gas tank? generator? engine?

Is it general knowledge and experience, hands-on skills, business savvy or the ability to utilize technology?  What is it that makes it possible for some families to successfully live a nomadic lifestyle?

Like many wannabe full-timers, we have been reading all the RV blogs, joining the forums and participating on many Facebook pages. We are soaking it in and gathering our info.  This beginning process has been both inspiring and intimidating.

We’ve noticed plenty of areas where we are “lacking” experience. This feeling of inadequacy has led me to create and evaluate a list of our challenges and strengths. It’s going to be interesting to see if we have what it takes to hit the road and maintain our travels.

What do other full timers appear to have, that we lack?

Handyman skills of any sort. Ok this is a big one.  Pete and I have many creative talents but neither of us are handy with building, fixing or using tools. We are amazed by the beautiful custom modifications that people make to their rigs.  For us, if duct tape can’t fix it we are screwed!

Technology knowledge. We are technological dinosaurs. I JUST gave up my flip phone and never learned how to record on my VCR. It feels like an overwhelming task to get mobile with our technology. We are starting from scratch. We owe a big thank you to Technomadia  for all of the free information and ideas on their blog.

Mechanical skills.  Mechanics hear “cha-ching!” when we walk through their door. The only belts I know about are made by Gucci and Louis Vuitton. If we break down, we are calling for a tow and arriving at the shop like baby gazelles on the Serengeti.

Navigational skills. I used to pride myself on this one. I HAD an innate sense of spatial awareness. But, since giving birth to my 4th baby, this part of my brain is lost.  We are going to zig-zag across the country.

The big safety net.  No rich uncles, no new RV warranty, no giant nest egg and no computer run business.  We are selling Pete’s book Dear Lillyteaching hoop classes , and work camping. We are taking it month-by-month on a wing and a prayer. A leap of faith, if you will.  Scary yes… but I’m not worried.

What we DO have is a magnificent set of intangible skills:

We’ve got  heart.  We are motivated and so thankful to be putting our efforts into earning a living through our passions. We see this as an opportunity to  live life on our own terms.

Perspective. The secret to having it all is knowing you already do. We are already blessed and have everything we need.

Sense of humor.  This is plentiful. We definitely get a big kick out of  our own shortcomings. I am a strong believer that sometimes you have to laugh, so you don’t cry!

Music & Hoops. It’s what makes our world go round. Filling our days with intoxicating music and the bliss of dance keeps our spirits high.  We might run out of gas on our tour, but we will never run out of what truly fuels this family.

Nothing to lose. The most glorious and freeing thing about being broke is that there’s not much to lose.  The only way we’ll lose is if we don’t go out and capture our dreams.

The practical minded person will see that our planning and skills are sub par. Others will see it differently. Is it the cold hard facts that we don’t have the essentials, or are a dreamer’s spunk and doggedness enough?

We would love to know what you think. To the families who are full timing: What do you think is most important?  What skills do you possess that make you a successful nomad?

18 thoughts on “What Does it take to be a full time RV family?

  1. I think you are are so much further ahead of the game than you know. Please keep blogging and posting. Hope to see you too.

  2. Sounds like fun, but what will you do, if someone in the family gets hurt, or seriously ill? I had a good job and some savings and it took one diagnosis to disable me for life, and bankrupt me. Mercifully, I had no children to support, but I did have elderly parents for whom I had to contunue to provide care. Public housing is no fun, nor is navigating illness without health insurance and being dependent on the government safety net when all else is lost. It is debasing, sad and very hard to recover from. Really, in this economy, with children in tow? What about hard work and saving for retirement? Public housing + total dependency + old age….I’ve seen that too, and it isn’t pretty. I hate to rain on your parade….it really does sound wonderful, but I worry for you. Despite that, best of luck. I hope you find what you think is out there….I doubt you will….but every journey has value I suppose.Godspeed.

    • I appreciate your thoughtful comment. First, I would like to say that health insurance is important to us and we do have BCBS. It is extremely expensive and we are hoping that the new changes in healthcare will help us. The state of the economy led us to make these choices. My husband and I are both teachers by trade and we both worked our teaching jobs plus supplemented with part time work. We did this for years as we rushed our children out the door every morning and then rushed them to bed at night. We were living “The American dream” in our house. Life passes by quickly and that is not how we want to live it.

      We are not going on an extended vacation. We are removing all of our over-consuming habits and living a simpler life that is focused on family and education. We are also working very, very hard at building two businesses that will provide for our lifestyle. These businesses are our passions. My husband is a writer and speaker whose main focus is to help teens with addiction, depression, and other adolescent issues. I am a fitness instructor with a hoop dance wellness program that I bring to schools and organizations.

      I am 40 years old and I have spent half of my life following the path of what is expected, and working for my retirement. You say you doubt I will find what I think is out there? I already found it. It is not “out there” anywhere. IT is inside each of us. IT is following your dreams and doing what you love with the people you love. IT is contributing to society with your skills, talents and heart.

      I really, really do appreciate your honesty and concern. I also appreciate the opportunity to explain this to you and others who share your opinion. I hear your warnings loud and clear but this is one of those things that we will regret if we do not try.

      • YOU ARE WORKING!! Just not in the traditional way! You’re also teaching your children that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life! You are also spreading very positive messages! People who are happy and fit are less likely to be sick. You are like modern day pioneers and I for one, look forward to reading about your adventures! I love the book Dear Lilly and have taken a hoop class from Gina and have no doubt that you will be successful…and it’s not all about money is it?? Good luck, God Speed, Safe travels my friends!!

  3. Gina, I love what you and Pete are going to do! I told you from the git-go and I love the journey that you have chosen! One of my favorite things in the world is music, so I’d like to share one of my favorite original songs written by one of the counselors at the camp where I worked many years. She wrote….

    Show me the path to follow,
    Lend me a helping hand,
    Give me a song when I’m lonely,
    Help me to understand.

    I do not know the road that you must travel,
    I can give you my heart but not my hand,
    There will be times when a song will make you lonely,
    And there are things we cannot understand.

    But I’ll give you a road that no one else has traveled,
    I’ll give you a song and sunrise on a hill,
    I’ll give you a friend who knows the joy of living,
    And we shall know peace that time can never fill.

    I’ll miss you Gina!
    Lets stay in touch through this blog………Kathy

  4. Kathy, that song was beautiful and very fitting to our journey! Thank you so much for sharing it. I know we will stay in touch 🙂 Thanks for the support and encouragement.

  5. Arienne, Aiden, and I are following you all the way from Germany! I think what you are doing is absolutely fantastic!! Our “lifestyle change” was somewhat similar. The typically distractions are gone and life is MUCH simpler being an American family living in a foreign country. We’ve learned that all we need is eachother and smiles on our faces to make even the gloomiest situation (deployment) feel a little less daunting. Our travels this last year have bonded our family in a way I never thought possible. I wish you all the very best of luck and safe travels!! Keep posting! We’ll be watching!! XOXO

    • Thank you Ashley!
      I have been following your pics and posts as well. It looks like you are all having some wonderful experiences there. It is really inspiring to see. Miss you

  6. In the words of my favorite U2 song (Summer Rain)-
    “when you stop taking chances, you stay where you sit
    you won’t live any longer, but it will feel like it”
    You go guys! Nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished without risk. There have been no great innovations or revelations down the “safe” route. I know you don’t have all the answers now, but, that does not mean that you will not be capable of meeting the challenges. You are smart, educated, passionate, and motivated…a pretty powerful combination. Best of luck to you along your journey!

  7. “Dear Gina and Pete and family”….who is to say “we” have it right? Life is a journey but can be a rat race at the same time. I respect your decision to grab life by the proverbial balls and run with it! It is too short to wonder “what if” or “we should have”….Fear stops many people in their tracks and makes them worried, nervous and prevents them from focusing on the important aspects of life which is family..children…inspiration…helping others…Health care, money, and pensions can be wonderful but difficult to obtain for many and those that have them are not necessarily better off or happier…You my dear are happy and those kids of yours are FABULOUS..grounded…beautiful…loving and kind and know the important things in life are not American Girl Dolls and the latest high top sneakers…YOU GO GIRL and Grow Your Roots…I will be staying home ROOTING for you all…and loving you all…while I squirrel away money for retirement, work 9-5 and collect my pension one day..I love and admire you..and hope I can hop on a plane and visit you (in a hotel of course)…XXOO
    One of your biggest fans!

    • Awww, OK that made me cry! It means so much to feel you on our side. Yes, life is a journey with many roads to choose. I could not agree more about the important things in life: family, children, inspiration, helping others. The beautiful thing is that there are so many ways to pursue them. Thanks for “getting it” and respecting our zig-zag path to living! I love you and your bunch & hope you come see us somewhere great 🙂

  8. Just wanted to wish you luck! I’m another 40 year old mom getting ready to go full time with my 12 year old and pretty clueless about what to expect! We hit the road in less than a month! You have my email so please keep in touch!! 🙂

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