We are the Full Time RV Family!

We are the Full Time RV Family!

by Ralph Burns
(Mitchell, South Dakota (for the next two days))

Nope, we are not “professional RV people”, we’re not even experienced RV people.

In fact, we have barely ever camped, RVed or done anything remotely related to “roughing it” in the outdoors. The only other time we ever vacationed in an RV was a three day RV rental that cost us a small fortune to Acadia National Park in Maine over three years ago.

We were so bad at it we vowed we’d never do it again.

Never being ones to shy away from completely intimidating tasks that could easily over match us, and despite that first major setback, we decided to give it another go…but this time do it 100% – doing it full time.

Why Full Time RVing?

Most people thought we wouldn’t actually go. We have a nice home in a nice neighborhood with good friends and family nearby. We have good jobs and our kids are doing pretty well in school and life overall is good. We consider ourselves to be very fortunate.

So why throw all that aside and go in an RV full time for a year?

The main reason is that we love to travel. We’ve traveled and vacationed in the continental United States and Canada many times before but always felt we never had enough time to really enjoy all the sites, as well as see all the places we’ve always wanted to go to.

So we decided that to get a real taste of what our country is really all about, we had to do it by RV. In fact, this passion to see the U.S is so strong that in spite of our lack of experience and knowledge of RVing full time, we would buy an RV site unseen on the Internet, buy a big honkin’ truck to pull it (twice in fact, but more on that later), take the kids out of school for a year and home school them, totally take our own businesses mobile and travel the country for a year living in an RV full time.

Our Story

It all started in 2008, when Jen gave me a book for our 9th wedding anniversary called The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris. I gave her a USB cable to hook her phone to her computer as I recall – (nothing says love more than technology accessories I always say).

Suffice to say, I got the better end of the deal.

The 4-Hour Workweek described the limitless possibilities of mobile work enabled by the emerging technology from the Internet to build a “location independent” lifestyle. The author Tim Ferris described how he outsourced much of his work through technology, setting up automated systems to make money online with passive forms of income using automated systems. This enabled him to pursue his passions around the globe including ultimate fighting in China, tangoing in South America and basically pursuing his passions because of his mobile lifestyle.

Although The 4-Hour Workweek didn’t inspire us to decide to take on this full time RV adventure, it did enable the final piece to the puzzle as to how we would accomplish it.

At the time Jen gave me the Tim Ferris book, I was working at a job I hated with my career going nowhere fast. Jen on the other hand had built a very successful business and had always wanted to travel the world from the start of our marriage.  The final part was what I could do to enable this mobile dream to come together.

So I started an online business in the Tim Ferris mold, outsourced much of the work and built it part time while still working full time. Eventually my primary online business reached the point where we could be comfortable to leave the trappings and location dependence of the corporate job world and set the stage for the idea Jen had always had in mind ever since we first met.

Truth be told, our original goal was to travel around the world before the age of 40. We had traveled fairly extensively in the continental US and Europe prior to our family, and particularly fell in love with the western United States. But instead, we decided to have kids and build a location based lifestyle in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. And we are so glad we did because our kids are the best things to ever happen to us.

So the idea of going across the US in an RV started to take shape as we discussed how we could satisfy our passions for travel, spending time with our kids, while continuing to pursue careers that we are extremely passionate about. We really weren’t so sure about what we would actually DO with the kids on the road though. How would we educate them for an entire year?

That’s when we heard about road schooling, a form of homeschooling that has been pursued by other location independent families that have similar desires to us with regard to travel, work and family. Although secular road schooling is less prevalent, Jen did a tremendous amount of research on how this all could be done in a mobile environment RVing full time.

So all the pieces of the puzzle started to come together in mid 2010 and we started announcing to our friends and family our intent to hop in an RV, home school our kids, run our businesses and travel the country.

Sounds simple right?

The Plan

We figured once we announced it we had to do it. Thomas Edison once boldly announced that he would bring electricity to every home and business in the US when all there was was candle power. He said the best way to accomplish your goals is to announce it to the world, then pursue it with reckless abandon to avoid the humiliation of backing down.

We are far from bringing electricity to millions of homes for the first time, but that’s in essence what we did.

So we researched RVs and trucks extensively, dissecting styles and floor plans. This took months of research (how we went about this specifically in later blog posts). We then started putting our house up for rental while we were gone, putting together initial plans for itinerary and got the plan moving forward, laying out all the pieces for a summer 2011 departure.

Departure Day or “D-Day”, as it was commonly referred to, (not coincidentally as the both destructive and liberating historical day in 1944 by the same name) came very quickly. All the plans were in place and we shoved off not the great unknown of upstate New York for what would be the first of many sight unseen spots we would call home over the course of the next 12 months.


Here we are six weeks into the journey and we couldn't be happier. We have seen so many sites, visited with old friends, made new friends and have really had a great time.

Stop over and visit us at http://www.fulltimervfamily.com to see what we're up to!

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