Ok, so my husband and I have this great (or not-so-great) idea…
We were chatting the other day about life and our dreams on one of the beautiful drives we take here in North Carolina. We both agree that we’re happiest when we’re on the road, traveling, seeing places, exploring new areas, etc. Adventures are exciting and (to us) are what make life worth living. I had recently come across this awesome blog about a couple who live on a sailboat almost full-time. They also have three little girls ages 3 and under. Yup, reread that. Three little girls 3 and under…on a sailboat. I mentioned to John on that drive how it would be really cool to live in an RV for a year or so and travel all across the US. I didn’t think he would agree to this idea, but he actually thought it would be really fun and when we got home he started looking at the cost of used RVs and all the different types.
And so an idea was born…
Our lease is up in January 2016, so we discussed how we could put our stuff in storage, trade in our SUV for a truck with better towing capabilities and purchase an RV (specifically, we would get a fifth wheeler). Ideally, we would spend a day or so driving and then 1-2 weeks at different campgrounds across the US. Tell me that wouldn’t be awesome?!
Of course, there are many MANY details to work out before (if) we make this dream a reality. For starters, we would need to save $10K minimum between now and December. We would pay cash for the RV with the plan of selling it when we got back to NC. We would have to come up with a specific budget on what it would cost us to live each month and figure out ways to make money while on the road so we didn’t go further into savings. We would have to plan out our route and so on and so forth.
The two biggest concerns of ours are as follows:
1. John would be putting his career on hold
I would continue to freelance and grow my business from the road, but being real I know it would be harder to work when we’re exploring and traveling. Also, internet connection in certain areas could be finicky, which would make it impossible for me to work. John’s career, though, is the one we’re more concerned about. He’s been doing very well in the past 5 months of him working for himself. If we left for 6-9 months next year, he would basically have to start from scratch when we got back. Not the end of the world, but it’s probably not the smartest decision financially. If we stayed here and continued working and growing our businesses, we would be able to save more money for a down payment on a house, keep the girls on their regular schedules, contribute more to retirement, etc.
2. We would be RVing across the country with a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old
Part of me can’t help but wonder that this would be a death sentence for us, by choice, haha. Just kidding there, but in all seriousness traveling in an RV with kids would be extremely difficult, especially with the girls being so young. They go to bed at 7:30, but living in an RV would be similar to living in a hotel…if they go to bed, we essentially have to go to bed. I don’t want to go to bed at 7:30…nor do I want to tiptoe around not being able to cook or bake or eat my nightly bowl of ice cream without waking them. I don’t know. This is a BIG concern for me. Most people who do long-term RV traveling are retired and have grown kids. Part of me thinks that it would be much easier to live out this dream once the kids are grown.
While this idea just came to be about a week ago, I’m actually losing sleep over this. Part of me thinks – we’re young, we wouldn’t be going into debt, we have our whole lives to make and save money (what’s a 6-9 month break?), we’d be giving the girls an awesome experience and we’d get to see the U.S. now! And another part of me thinks we’ve completely lost our minds and there’s no way we would actually have fun living in an RV for 6-9 months, with or without kids, haha. I like space, I like my big kitchen, I love taking baths at night and I just really like being comfortable (don’t we all, haha). I’ve never liked camping (in a tent), so I don’t know why I’m so drawn to the idea of traveling long-term in an RV.
While deep down I don’t think this is something we will pursue, you never know. We don’t actually have to “decide” anything until September-ish, which would give us plenty of time to plan our route, shop around for trucks and RVs, put our stuff in storage, etc. It will also allow us to see if we met our savings goals and if this is even something we can financially afford to do. I’m torn…but I’ve always been a big dreamer and I’m happy that my husband is almost always on board with my crazy ideas.
Readers, what do you think? Are we nuts or is this something we should go for?
photo credit: Flickr via Abhimanyu
I think it’s something to do now or 20 years down the road. I have three kids one being a teen and he is not interested in traveling with us. One of our daughter’s is in a competitive sport and it would difficult for her to be away that long. Maybe you could go for 2 months in the summer or when it’s your husband’s down season at work if there is one and see if you like it. Being with people 24/7 even if we love them is something to consider too. You could still buy an RV and sell it or rent one. If the weather is nice and the kids are asleep you can sit outside and bbq or in an “add a room” with your husband and talk, have a glass or wine or something.
Sarah Brooks saysat
Thanks for the comment! We are also considering doing a “trial run” of about 4-6 weeks to see if we would enjoy doing it for longer. You are right that as long as the weather is nice – my husband and I could spend time together outside after the kids go to sleep!
Jayleen @ How Do The Jones Do It saysat
I love it! It would be so much fun to travel for an extended time. I’d say, the time is now, before the kids start school (unless you plan to homeschool). Before you know it, you will be locked in with all that life has for you. What a fun adventure that would be!
Sarah Brooks saysat
Exactly!! That part of me totally says “Go now!! Why wait until retirement?!” I don’t plan on homeschooling, so I know once the kids are in school we will be much more limited. We definitely hope to travel over summer breaks, but we couldn’t do anything for 6-9 months like we’re thinking of next year!!
I think the biggest thing is that the kids are young. Don’t you want them to remember the travels? We were fortunate to go on vacations every year, but I know I wish we could have done more once I got older. I think if you want to experience the open road, do it when your kids can contribute more and remember the experience.
Sarah Brooks saysat
I did think of that too actually!! I would love for them to grow up traveling and remembering the experiences, plus traveling (I think) makes you such a more well-rounded person. The only reason we would do the long journey sooner than later is because it’s before our oldest would start kindergarten. Once they’re in school, we hope to go on 2-3 month trips over the summers!!
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom saysat
I think this is a great idea! I’ve been trying to get My Mr. on board with something like this for a while!
About the hotel thing, some fifth wheelers have separate bedrooms, which would help with the sound and lights of you guys still up. Or, you could get a screen tent to hang out outside.
diane @smartmoneysimplelife saysat
Great idea! My caveat would be that the kids are too young to get any real benefit from the adventure. Extend your planning phase until they are older (kindergarten at least) and do some trial runs in the meantime. Hire different types of RVs to find the one that suits and find out what you *don’t* know BEFORE you jump in.
I have friends who’ve taken their teenage sons out of school a couple of times to do big trips around Australia. They take school work with them but find the trip itself is a far more valuable education than anything they get out of books.
Definitely go for it!
Christina @ Embracing Simple saysat
While I’m not sure if this would be for me, I think if you are really serious about doing it, now is definitely the time! In only a few years your girls will be old enough that activities and school (if you don’t plan on homeschooling) would prohibit you from pursuing this until 20 or so years from now.
Especially since you’re not tied into a mortgage too, it seems like financially it would be a good move to do it now too so you’re not paying for a mortgage and an RV (and the gas required) simultaneously. I say – go for it! 🙂
EL @ Moneywatch101 saysat
Go for it, as experiences like that never have a regret syndrome. If you can manage it save 17K, use 9K for the new truck, and use 8K to live on for the 8 months. I’m sure expense will be way cheaper, on the road. Good Luck.
Sarah Brooks saysat
Thanks for the advice!! Saving 17K would be awesome – we would definitely pay cash for the RV and I like the fact that we can sell it when we’re done. I know it’ll have depreciated, but over 6 months I don’t think it’ll go down that much, haha.
Harmony @ creatingmykaleidoscope saysat
This is the goal that is keeping us motivated to pay off debt and set ourselves up for early semi-retirement.
We’re planning a long road trip the year that we turn 40. We want to kids to be a little older so they can remember everything, but not too old that they will be moody teenagers. They will probably need to miss some school, but we will look into homeschooling options once we get a little bit closer to 2022.
All of that being said, if you want to do it and can make it work, then do it! Live your life 🙂
Sarah Brooks saysat
How fun!! Are you planning on going all across the US? That’s one thing I’m also debating – right now the kids are so young that they wouldn’t remember it. I’m almost thinking this is something we may want to wait on…but at the same time, right now we don’t have a mortgage so we could actually leave for 6-9 months and not be stuck paying our mortgage while traveling. Decisions, decisions!
I think this would be more fun with school aged kids, maybe late elementary school? Maybe you could homeschool (even just do online homeschool) when they are in third and fourth grade? That seems like a good age for this. Unless you are planning on more kids and will thus perpetually have toddlers. Then I would do it now.
Before we started grad school, my husband and I gave up our lease, put our stuff in storage, and drove around the country all summer. We had a tent and a national parks pass. It was completely amazing- we were doing 12 hour hikes every day. We met quite a few families traveling around with children, but none so young as 2 and 3.
Femme @ femmefrugality saysat
I think you’re nuts, but that you should do it. We’ve been taking about the same thing but haven’t gotten past the fantasy stage. We really want to do it before we own so that we can just have a gap in rentals without a mortgage to worry about!
Sarah Brooks saysat
That’s exactly what we are thinking – go now that way we’re not trapped in a mortgage!! The more I think about it realistically, the less I think we will actually do it. But, you never know!! A lot depends on our income between now and September-ish!
This is an awesome idea. I say go for it. I bet if you do it, you won’t look back and say, “wow what a terrible mistake.”
I’m hoping to be able to do this one day. I still need my paycheck from my full-time job, but hopefully I can generate enough passive income one day to allow me to travel across the US in an RV.
I love to travel but I could probably only do it for a few weeks. I need hours of quiet to get any real work done and the internet is obviously a must! I like working really hard when I’m home and taking frequent vacations instead of going on long road trips.
Julie @ HappinessSavouredHot saysat
That sounds more wonderful than crazy! Kids are very adaptable. Take that from someone who spent part of her childhood in sub-saharan Africa.
As for putting a career on hold, that is a tricky one. Especially if you have benefits that are hard to part with.
I’m looking forward to discover more on this blog! 🙂
Anne - Money Propeller saysat
This sounds amazing!!!
Would it make more sense to do this when the girls are a little bit older, so that they remember more of it? I’m just tossing that out there as an idea, I know that it’s you and your spouse who really want to do the traveling!
Sarah Brooks saysat
I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately!! If we go next year, the girls won’t remember the trip 🙁 But…if we want to go long-term (6-9 months) we would either have to go soon or I’d have to homeschool them while on the road. I’m not against that, but if I’m also freelancing it could be a bit hectic haha!
Sooooo did you go?