If you would have told me even 5 years ago that my husband and I would be in a fifth-wheel camper traveling the U.S. full time, I would have laughed in your face. Ask my husband, my family and my friends. I am not a camper. Since about the age of 16 — and ever since — I’ve tried tent camping and even camper rentals (when our kids were little). It just wasn’t my thing. So many people (including my husband) loved it why didn’t I?
Then in 2018, we tried it one more time — in a tent, in the mountains — the friends we were camping with were great, but the tent experience — again — was not great. THAT’s when we started talking about getting a small camper. One that would protect us from a cold rainy (or even snowy) day.
Our first camper
We purchased a new Grand Design Imagine 2500RL in 2019. We loved it! We took it to Minnesota, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and all over Colorado. At the time we were still working in our offices in Boulder, Colorado, but we tried to get out at least every other weekend and we even managed a couple of longer trips where we worked remotely for a week or two.
Then COVID hit and Colorado shut down from late March until June of 2020. You couldn’t go out to eat, drink, see movies or even congregate with people. As I’m sure you also experienced in some way, it was very isolating. So taking our camper out was a savior!
Working remotely starting in March of 2020 due to COVID really had my husband and I shifting our focus. Our youngest daughter graduated from high school that year and was heading off to college. While we’d dabbled with the idea of going full-time remote in a camper previously, we didn’t seriously consider it until we were forced into full-time remote work from the pandemic. That’s when we established our four criteria required in order to go full time in a new fifth wheel (that we were yet to purchase).
Four criteria for becoming full-time RVers
Youngest daughter needs go to college (and stay there)
That headline might sound cruel, but it’s really not. With COVID, there was so much uncertainty as to how dorm life would go. She set off for college but after the first semester she decided to come home and just do school remotely and save money (not being able to congregate and meet people or even sit down for a hot meal on campus will do that to you). While it looked a little dicey that we’d accomplish this milestone in 2021, that young lady is very independent and we checked this box off when she officially moved out of the house in May of 2021!
Housing market needs to stay hot
Well, it did. We sold our house quickly and closed in May of 2021. This was our final photo in the house before we locked it up and drove away in our new fifth wheel. It was a lot of work to downsize as much as we did. We sold pretty much everything except family heirlooms and stuff we were going to bring with us, but we got it done! We checked that one off our list too!
Internet needs to be reliable
We are eventually hoping for Starlink, but while Elon Musk continues to add satellites, we asked friends and acquaintances who are already full-timers to explain their solutions for having wifi when it’s hard to come by. Believe me there are a lot of campgrounds with crap for wifi. This spring, Joel purchased a handful of products (more to come on that) so we were able to create our own mobile wifi. Check!
Arrange remote work with employer
Joel’s company had no problem with him working remote. I was a little worried about my company. It’s a small, boutique PR firm that enjoys in person interaction. But, while we missed seeing each other, we all did really well remotely too. I laid out a few points for my boss. We sat down and discussed it and he said “Okay!” That was the final check we needed to move forward with our plan.
In January of 2021, we had checked two of these off our list and were pretty sure about the other two, so we went ahead and ordered our Grand Design Solitude 390RK-R, and were expecting a delivery in April, which exactly when it showed up.
As of Memorial weekend 2021, we are traveling full time. Here you’ll see articles on questions we deal with regularly, we’ll track our whereabouts (you’re welcome, Mom), make recommendations on food and campgrounds, share some lifestyle tips (working out, working remotely, how to feel at home when traveling all of the time) and we’ll be brutally honest. When something sucks — we’ll let you know. While this site aims to bring positivity, we also will be brutally honest. Feel free to reach out with questions or just join us for our journey!