Why did you move into an RV?
We decided to full-time because we did everything we were “supposed” to do (go to college, get “normal” jobs, buy a house, etc.) and it made us miserable. We had jobs that ran us ragged, an assload of student loan debt, and a house that wasn’t worth what we paid for it after the recession and housing market crash.
Also, through Levi’s work travels, we fell in love with a city across the country from where we were living. We knew we wanted to end up there, and we also knew we didn’t want to make the home buying mistake again. Renting didn’t appeal to us either, so we went the RV route. We both love nature and travel, want change, and have laid back/easy going personalities, so this life is a good match for both of us.
What kind of RV do you have?
We have a 2006 Fleetwood Discovery diesel pusher. She’s not new and she’s not perfect, but she’s ours and we love her.
Where are you from?
We’re from two small towns in north central Indiana, USA. We lived near Anderson, IN for a number of years and worked in Indianapolis, IN.
Do you travel or just stay in one place?
We call Tucson, AZ home, and for now we’re parked in one place. We’ll take short trips in our car to places like New Mexico and northern Arizona from time to time, and take our motorhome on short trips to keep her moving and in good shape. This makes us a little different from other full-time RVers we’ve met, and that’s okay.
How and why did you end up in Tucson?
We always knew we wouldn’t stay in Indiana, we just weren’t sure where we’d end up. Florida was the easy answer because Nicole has family there. However, Levi traveled to Tucson for work for 6 years and fell in love with it. He took Nicole to Tucson at different times of the year, and she fell in love too. The rest is history. We made a plan and worked our asses off to get here.
What do you do for work?
Nicole worked in healthcare facilities management and medical device quality and regulatory compliance for almost 10 years, but always wanted to try starting a business. She left healthcare in 2015 and ran a small digital marketing and virtual assistance service for a year.
She decided it wasn’t for her, and is now a freelance writer/data entry/copyeditor/SEO wizard for an online job listing site. In late 2017, she began making a career change into web development.
Levi is a former biomed technician turned HIPAA compliance for connected medical devices guru. We can work from anywhere as long as we have an internet connection, and Levi travels a lot so as long as he’s near an airport it doesn’t matter where he lives.
Where do you put your stuff?
A lot of our house stuff is in a storage unit in Indiana. In the RV, we use our basement (under the RV) storage a lot. Fleetwood did a great job of utilizing what little space is in our motorhome for storage, so it hasn’t been an issue for us. We have a large closet in our bedroom and a lot of cabinets and drawers to utilize.
How do you cook?
Our motorhome has a propane stove, cooktop, and a convection oven. We also grill outside and use our Instant Pot a lot. Overall, it’s not much different from how we cooked in our house.
Where do you, uh…you know, go?
We use the toilet in our RV. When we flush, it’s goes into what’s known as a black tank. When the black tank starts to get full, we dump it into a sewer line. It was one thing that scared us when we were thinking about moving into an RV, but it’s truly not a big deal at all. And if anything ever breaks or goes wrong, the RV park we’re at has nice restrooms.
How do you shower?
Just like we did in our house! We use the shower in our motorhome. Many people have told us horror stories of not having enough room, having to take “Navy showers” where you shut the water off while you’re sudsing up, and running out of hot water. That hasn’t been our experience. We’ve never run out of hot water, and showering is not a huge issue for us. If it ever becomes an issue, the RV park we’re staying at has great showers.
How do you put up with each other in such a small space?
It has never been an issue for us, as we enjoy each other’s company. We got along when we lived in a house, and we get along now that we live in an RV. When Levi travels, he looks forward to coming home and Nicole misses him while he’s gone. Guess we’re just lucky!
Why did you choose a class A motorhome?
We chose an older (10+ years) Class A diesel pusher. We didn’t have the budget for a big diesel truck and fifth wheel, and we liked the layout options and storage in the Class A motorhomes better than any other rig type.
We knew that we’d want to take our small car with us, so we needed a rig that would tow it. Since we both work remotely we needed to be able to set up separate office spaces, and the roomy Class A made that easy.
We both like cooking, and the room and features of the Class A kitchens are more than ample.
The husband grew up on a farm and has experience driving and maintaining things with big engines, and he enjoys troubleshooting. We like the reliability of diesel, and we don’t plan on selling our rig for a very long time. The cost vs. reliability and power analysis between gas and diesel made the most sense for our situation and where we wanted to spend our time. Plus, big-ass diesel engines are just cool. 🙂
How do you get mail?
Initially, we were using a service called Traveling Mailbox to manage our mail for us. After we got to Tucson, we signed up for a UPS box. Also, we can receive mail using the address of our RV park and our site number.
How do you use the internet?
We have hotspots on our phones and the AT&T Home Wireless Internet service. If any of those devices fail us, our RV park has “good enough” Wi-Fi we can purchase. Or we could drive down the road to a coffee shop or library.
How do you do laundry?
Our RV has a Splendide combination washer and dryer that works great for us. Because there’s so much sun here in Tucson, we use a clothesline for drying clothes. For larger loads, the RV park has great laundry facilities we can use.
What do you miss from your old life?
We’ve talked about this at length and the honest answer is…not much. Gardening and having a dishwasher are the only two things we’ve been able to come up with.
How do you deal with the heat?
Tucson is not as hot as Phoenix, so there aren’t many days where we’re “dealing with” heat. We love the climate here, and dry heat is truly different from humid heat.
The thing that will bite you in the Sonoran desert is the sun. We have sunscreens on our front windows and doors, and use Reflectix insulation on many things. We have a few nice shade trees at our site, and our RV awnings are out a lot.
The RV park we’re in has a nice pool, and our motorhome has two air conditioners that keep us comfortable. We’ve also done creative things like building a swamp cooler out of a trash can.
How much does it cost?
The honest answer is that it depends. There are a lot of different ways to live the full-time RV life, and it depends on what works for you. We’re a bit different than a lot of other full-time RVers in that Tucson is our home and apart from small trips here and there, we aren’t on the road a lot.
We rent our spot at an RV park on a long-term basis, and it’s roughly $300 a month on a long-term plan. Water and sewer are included, and the only other thing we pay for is electric at .14 per kilowatt. Our RV payment is around $500, so at the end of the day it’s no more expensive than our mortgage was, and we’re a shitload happier.