By Lauren Grijalva
My family of four travels full time in an RV around the United States, moving on average every 7-10 days. It’s a lifestyle of constant change and adventure, and we’ve found that we are more relaxed, happy and free than we ever have been! We just hit the two year mark of full time travel, and we honestly can’t imagine stopping. I’m excited to share with you exactly how we made this huge life change, and how travel has recently changed, due to Covid-19.
How we got to traveling full time
Our family lived in a suburb of Atlanta, in a nice house, and we had jobs we enjoyed. Our two children, Casen and Calista, were in elementary school at a top-rated school, and we had a good life. A good and… busy life. My husband, Aaron, and I both owned our own businesses, which gave us flexibility, but also meant we worked a lot. Aaron started a company building websites and I started a photography business. I specialized in portraits, newborn sessions and events. We shared a home office, which worked for us since we get along really well.
Our kids Casen and Calista have always been close and gotten along pretty well, but we were noticing that as they got older, they started to drift apart, as they made their own friends at school and in the neighborhood. They also played sports, so their practice and game schedules added to our busy life. We knew of two different families who had sold their homes and started traveling full time in RVs. We always thought it was a cool concept, and one day the discussion turned to, “What if WE tried it?!” Neither Aaron nor I remember who was the first to suggest it, but it stemmed from a conversation about renting our house out.
Making the decision
We realized some neighbors were making some good money by renting their house out, and
we threw the idea out of finding somewhere to go for a year and renting ours out! That’s when
the conversation turned to RV life. We thought it would be fun to hit the “reset” button, leave all
our extracurricular commitments behind for a year, and travel. We would still have to work, but
without the big mortgage and utilities, our costs would be cheaper, so we thought maybe
Aaron could continue his website building on the road, and I could start a blog and document
It seemed a little crazy, but the more we thought about it, the more enticing it seemed! I started
researching the heck out of RVing, as we had never done it before, and started following lots of
full time RVers on social media. We made the decision to do it, if all the right doors opened,
and they did. Quickly.
*Actually* hitting the reset button
We found a renter for the house, got rid of 90% of our stuff through donations and yard sales,
sold our cars, and bought an RV and a big truck to pull it! I decided I didn’t want to pay for a
storage unit while we were away, so I just got rid of everything and decided to re-furnish when
we returned. (In the back of my mind though, I had a feeling we wouldn’t want to come back!)
We heard the advice over and over to buy used. We bought a used 2016 Coachmen Chaparral
390QSMB and a 2014 Ford F-350. I love renovating, so we got to work on making the RV feel
more like home. We painted the walls, replaced light fixtures, replaced some furniture, added
backsplashes, etc. I documented the entire process on social media, and even started a blog,
gaining followers who were intrigued by what we were doing!
I invested in an online blogging course that was taught by several full time RVers, and learned
everything I could about how to create a successful blog. It was all a whirlwind and happened
very quickly. We had the first conversation about possibly renting our house in August, and by
November 5th we were pulling away from our house in our new, tiny home!
And off we went…
We figured things out as we went. We did a lot of research before we left, and that helped a
ton! We purchased several campground memberships to help save on lodging costs. I started
homeschooling, (or “roadschooling” as we like to call it) the kids, and we hit the road, heading
west. Our first goal was to make it to California by Christmas to be with Aaron’s family. We
looked at the route options to get there, figured out what we wanted to see along the way, and
made some reservations.
Deciding on where to go
We often get asked how we decide where to go, and how long to stay. Many things dictate our
route. If there’s someone we want to visit, if there’s a specific National Park or location we want
to experience or if a group of our traveling buddies will be somewhere, we will go there. We
have found that 7-10 days is our sweet spot for how long we like to stay in one place.
Of course, we have the flexibility to stay longer if we want, and we do change plans often,
based on how well we’re liking an area! The flexibility of our lifestyle is awesome. We just need
cell signal for workdays, and we have a prepaid MiFi we use for internet. I document all of the
places we travel to, as well as write articles about RV life for our blog. Even though I had to
leave my local photography clients, I am able to take photos of beautiful scenery and fill our
blog with them! I pick up contract work creating content for different brands and websites now,
which has been a big blessing.
The hard parts about traveling full time
The hardest thing now is balancing work and fun! There’s always something fun to do, but we
still have to be disciplined and get work done as well. There are so many amazing places to
explore that it would take way more than a year to see it all. We quickly realized that there was
no way we could only spend a year traveling. After only a few months we made the decision to
keep going until we didn’t love it anymore, and here we are, two years later, with no plans to
We have met so many other families who also travel full time in their RVs, and we caravan
together often, and love doing life with our road buddies. We have found the RV community to
be one of the friendliest, welcoming and fun groups of people we’ve ever met.
How coronavirus affected our lifestyle
Covid did throw our travels off for a while. We were in Florida when things started shutting
down, and thankfully, the RV park we were in allowed us to shelter in place for six weeks. We
were in a beautiful park, right on the river, with tons of outdoor trails and space at that time,
which was amazing.
Our plans for spring and summer 2020 had been to travel up the east coast and hit up big
cities such as Washington D.C and New York City, ending up in Maine for the summer. That all
changed and we stayed on some land close to family for several months, in a safe place, to
see what would happen.
The Northeast remained shut down longer than other parts of the country, so we changed our
plans and went where we could. Things were still different, and a lot was (and is) still not open.
We are still visiting National Parks, but many of the visitor centers are closed, and even some
hikes and features in the parks are still closed.
Why RVing is still a great option
We do feel that RVing is a safe way to travel and explore, even in uncertain times. You always
have your own kitchen, food and bathroom with you wherever you go. You can visit more
remote places, and safely distance from others when wanted or needed, and still get the
excitement of exploring new places.
We love RVing so much, and one good thing the pandemic has brought about is more people
buying RVs and hitting the road! Many people feel much safer traveling this way than flying,
and more people are getting out in nature and spending time with their families!
I expect that more and more things will continue opening up, and hopefully, the people who are
falling in love with RVing now will continue to RV for many years to come! RVing has brought
our family closer together than we ever imagined possible and we are definitely living larger
than ever before… living larger with less.
We have everything we need, and more. Living in 400 sq. ft. with the three people I love the
most has been one of the best experiences of my life, and my hope is that more people will try
it out and fall in love with it just as we have. Blogging has given me an outlet to share our
experiences with the world, and show others incredible places around the country they might
otherwise never get to experience. I hope to continue sharing these experiences with others
and inspiring them to get outside and travel as much as possible!
About the Author
Lauren Grijalva and her husband, Aaron Grijalva, run a travel blog, TheWanderpreneurs.com. Along with their 7 year old daughter and 9 year old son, they are a full time traveling family! Lauren is a photographer and content creator and has covered the whole process- from getting started as full-time travelers to now documenting their journey with all its ups and downs.