Recognize that man?

Recognize that man? Here we are boondocking somewhere along the west coast of Australia.

Map of Western Australia

Map of Western Australia

A few days ago we ended 3 months of boondocking. Yup, you heard right…three whole months without hookups for “the beast”, so long ago that we almost forgot where our electricity cable was. That also meant our very first loooooong showers, turning on everything in the RV (just for the hell of it), and giving our girl a good wash. A whole winter of Arizona desert dirt will do it for a lady and here in SKP Saguaro Park in Benson they let you clean your rig at your site (rather thoughtful of them, is it not?).

After so long in the boonies it’s totally weird to have unlimited water….and neighbors…but every now and then even the most rugged of boondocking-lovers have to pretend to be civilized. Besides, Paul is once again off to Florida for a week and with my preponderance for accidents he prefers to leave me somewhere where someone will find me if I pass out. So, here I’ll stay pining for his return and trying to catch up on a bunch of blog posts I’ve been meaning to write for the longest time…including how the health care law is affecting fulltime RVers, and the science of transmission oil testing (yes, my interests are both varied and gripping :))

But before I get carried away on the serious stuff, I wanted to get back to this van thing. Glen’s little ultra-mobile set-up stirred up quite a bit of interest amongst you blog readers, and not just because of our witty exchange of banter. It got me thinking to the start of our own RV adventures and how that might be an interesting tale to tell.

Have you ever seen beach like this?? Shell Beach, Australia

Have you ever seen beach like this?? Shell Beach, Western Australia

You see, many years ago when I was still a spring chicken (or at least a working semiconductor sales chicken), hubby and I decided to try our hand at RVing (they call it caravanning over there) with a multi-month trip in Western Australia. Having never lived in a rig, we rented a van the size of a gnat with no shower and no toilet and decided to just let loose in the wilderness, figuring if we could get through this adventure, we’d have no problem living fulltime in any kind of small space that might be in our future. It was our very first introduction to van-dwelling (not that we even knew such a thing existed back then) and our very first extended trip on wheels. We had no idea how it was going to go.

Our little van at Pinnacles Park

Our little van at Pinnacles National Park

Now, to get a picture of just how wild we got you’ve got to understand a little bit about the geography of Western Australia. This place is HUGE…I mean absolutely enormous, and mostly completely empty. Western Australia covers an astounding 2,529,875 square kilometres (976,790 sq mi = almost 4 times the size of Texas) and contains a paltry 2.5 million people, most of which live in Perth. That means that once you drive out of the “big city” there is….quite literally….NOTHING….for like yonks, and yonks, and yonks and YONKS! Want to talk about unspoiled beauty? Limitless miles of untouched beach? Astounding nature & unbounded highways of red dirt? Infinite places to get lost and see nary a soul? Add to this more than 70 national and marine parks, a wine growing region & some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet. Yeah, it frikkin’ rocks!!

On a hike in the Stirling Range

On a hike in the Stirling Range

A Dolphin in pristine waters at Monkey Mia

A Dolphin in pristine waters at Monkey Mia

We spent two months driving this desolate corner of the world in a teeny van with suspension as tight as concrete blocks that only had space for either a bed or a table….and we didn’t kill each other. In fact it went totally the other way. We fell massively in love with the country, the boonies and the idea of a nomadic lifestyle. The seed of a different life was born. It took another two years before we finally bought “the beast” and made the leap to fulltime RVing, but there’s no doubt it all started on the dusty red roads of the Australian outback. And one day, when we are PP (post pets) we may well fly back to that crazy spot, buy a little van and do the whole thing for a few more years.

So, there you go. Our whole RV adventure started as van dwellers in a land far, far away, yet even back then we were dirt-lovers with the boonies in our soul. I guess that’s why I feel such a connection with all nomads, no matter what their type of vehicle. I guess it’s also why I love the boonies so much even without the comforts of unlimited water and long showers. We’ll be here in Benson for just over 10 days and then we’ll get back to the wilds where we belong, “beast” size and all. We can’t become toooo civilized, after all :)

So, what’s YOUR RV story? How did you start out on the road, and what kind of camper did you have? I’d love to hear about it! Share and enjoy in the comments below.

Can't go to Australia and not get a kangaroo pic, right?

Can’t go to Australia and not get a kangaroo pic, right? At Coalmine Beach Caravan Park

Aussies are serious about their privacy in the boonies

Aussies are serious about their privacy in the boonies

One of many friendly Aussies we met on our trip

One of many friendly Aussies we met on our trip

Gorgeous Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta

Gorgeous Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse in Augusta

Lots of red dirt roads

Lots of red dirt roads in the outback

Another pristine coastline. Eagle Bluff

Another pristine coastline. Eagle Bluff

Wildflower Collage MOD-JPG

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66 Responses to Once Upon A Van In A Land Far, Far Away (or How We Started RVing)

  1. We are planning to go full time this coming May. Hoping to find our “beast” love following your blog!
    When we first met we did a paper route( subsidizing Rogers job) it stated at 3am. Middle of snowy winter in NH . We always said if we survived that together we could do anything!! Lol so we’ll have lots of laughs as we wind our way across America.
    Sheila, roger, Sammy our 8 year old lab, Ozzie our 2 yr old lab and hold on, Lola. Our new one year old newfoundland. Oh yes, we’ll be doing allot of boon docking!! Lol

    • libertatemamo says:

      Whoosh…3am paper trail. That’s some serious dedication! I think you guys are going to do just fine. Congrats on you’re upcoming adventures! May the road be good to you!
      Nina

  2. Bill says:

    We started RVing in a small T@B trailer then after a few years we moved up to a 30ft travel trailer. Now we’re looking for a 5er to fulltime in. I love your stories and blog!

    Bill

    • libertatemamo says:

      Funny how our campers get bigger and bigger isn’t it? Yet the love of freedom stays the same. Nice history!
      Nina

    • Cherie says:

      Very cool.. we also started out full timing in a T@B trailer back in 2006/2007. What wonderful years of ultra small living! We’re now in a 35′ bus conversion now, but still in love with the road!

      • libertatemamo says:

        You and Chris are the ultimate technomads…and were a big inspiration for us. Still can’t quite believe you both lived in that small trailer for so many years.

        Nina

  3. Anne H says:

    One I hung up my backpack and traded boots for sandals, my first camper was a 20 year old VW Westphalia camper van — poptop, teeny fridge, 2 burner propane stove, and two double beds (the couch and a bed up top. Kayak rack on top, bike rack on the back, porto- potty discretely covered with towel just inside the sliding door.

    It was sweet! Evev though I believe there are sewing machines with more powerful engines . . .

    • libertatemamo says:

      Fabulous setup! There’s a particular kind of freedom you get with a small van, and yet it feels so luxurious if you come from backpacking (as we also did). Bet you have a ton of good stories from that time. Cheers for sharing!
      Nina

  4. Jazz says:

    Sooo … no people in all those Australian miles? How does one gas up the van? stock up on supplies? Do you have to keep going back and forth from Perth?

    • libertatemamo says:

      There are small towns along the way…and plenty of gas stops, especially if you stay along the main coastal highway (which is what we did). No problem connecting. But there’s also a whole lotta nothing. It’s a interesting mix!
      Nina

  5. Sherry says:

    Before the full timing bug bit me we had never stepped foot in the awful RV. We were tent campers, backpackers….6 weeks in the wilderness was our time frame. But we kept having to come back and it wasn’t fun. And when the economy went south in 2008 our jobs became even more irritating. Time to retire early and live on whatever we have. Tents are good for that but sleeping on the ground for a year or so – which is what we thought at first – probably not. Thus began a year+ of research which ended in Winnona finding us and the RV haters became her devoted fans. The year turned into 2 and 3 and 4 and……………..

    • libertatemamo says:

      LOL…the “dreaded” RV. I know what you mean. Before we bought “the beast” we were pretty much purist backpackers (well, other than our van trip to Australia) so anyone in an RV was weird. Who would ever want to travel in those monsters? Look at us now!!

      Nina

  6. Our beginning is very simple…didn’t know where we wanted to retire but we did know it wasn’t in one place. So a motorhome was the perfect answer. We are coming up on four years and have never been happier:)

    Your beginning was great. If you can make it in a small van, you are set in a “Beast.” Thanks for sharing:)

    • libertatemamo says:

      The perpetual “retirement location seeker”…yup, I know a bunch of those folks. Many, like you, start out with the idea of maybe just traveling for a little while to find the perfect spot to settle down. Then they realize the RV IS the perfect spot…it takes you to the best places at the places at the best times of year :)

      Can’t believe it’s been 4 years for you guys already! This lifestyle definitely suits you!

      Nina

  7. MonaLiza says:

    Three months in the boonies! Not sure if we can do that. Now I fully understand why you can and will always be comfortable in the nomadic lifestyle sans the hooks ups.

    Steve had the experience of a smaller Class A with his parents. That is how he brought the idea of us living in a motorhome but in a bigger one.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I do think boondockers are a special little sub-bunch of RVers. Most folks like their hookups, and that’s a good thing too…keeps RV parks in business, and keeps the boonies pretty empty. Good stuff all around :)

      Interesting that Steve RV’d as a kid. Paul had some van exposure when he was younger too (parents had an old popup VW). It’s a great activity for kids that often follows you on into adulthood.

      Nina

  8. Mark Gehring says:

    We got pour start by “hiring” a camper van ( very similar to the one in this post ) in NZ for two weeks on the South Island. It did have a tiny shower with toilet in the shower, but we only used the toilet ( and only “number 1″ ) to make life easier. Also, we were very surprised that, from what limited information we had, there was virtually no boondocking or even campsites like our US state and national parks have. We spent every night with full hookups in commercial campgrounds. One guy told us they call it “British style camping”. Glad to hear Australia is much better in that regard.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I know exactly what you mean. We did an extended trip in NZ many years ago, but spent most of it in B&B’s. In Australia there is a lot more wild country with potential to boondock. When we were there we didn’t really know what we were doing, so most of the nights we overnighted in the wilds were just total flukes. There were so few people out there that I’m not sure anyone would have come by to tell us to move anyway.

      The serious Aussie outback campers call it “free camping”, and if you google that term you’ll find a bunch of references and info on the web. There are certain rules and etiquette just like here in the US, but there’s also a lot more opportunity to get totally lost. A lot of wild country out there!!

      Nina

      • Vivian van Dijk says:

        We lived in Australia for a couple of years, and spent many vacations New Zealand as well. I always tell people who ask about these two countries “If you want to see scenery, go to New Zealand, but if you want to have fun, go to Australia.”

        We spent time camping in the outback while we were there, out to Birdsville and about. Seeing one other person on any one day was about average.

        • libertatemamo says:

          Nice analogy there. I definitely found New Zealand extraordinarily scenic (especially southern New Zealand…what a place!), but I agree that Australia was fun. Both great places, but with their own unique personalities!

          Nina

  9. Laurel says:

    After a lifetime of tent camping, we grew tired of sleeping on the ground and cooking in the dark and upgraded to a 17-foot Casita in 2003. Realized after a 3-month cross-country trip that we needed something bigger for full-timing — so we bought our 21-foot Bigfoot trailer in 2008. Traveled several months a year until last June, when we finally took the leap into full-timing. We LOVE it! Kayak on top, bikes on the back, and can’t imagine stopping anytime soon. Or ever!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Awesome! Sounds like you guys slipped right into fulltiming with no issues at all. It’s like that for some people. I think either you love it or you hate it, and if you love it it’s hard to stop.

      Nina

  10. Bob Nuttmann says:

    About February of 1980 I was an area sales person in the Western USA and Canada and there were three months left in the fiscal year. My boss told me that I was on the “use it or lose it” expense account plan. So I spent the rest of my expense account ($10,000) renting a 28 foot motorhome and packing up wife and 5 month old daughter for a 5,000 mile circle from Orange County CA to Vancouver Canada and back. Spent a month doing it. Did a bit of work on the way. Saw the beautiful western USA. And a small bit of Canada.

    The most exciting thing on the trip was that we camped on the western side of Mt St Helens the night before it blew in 1980. We were the only non-journalists in the RV Park. They were all waiting for the expected blow up. We left at 9am. The mountain blew an hour later. We could hear it from the RV going south.

    We have been RVing since, but never full time. Now about 3 months a year.

    • Rowanova says:

      I was fishing at a mountain lake we’d backpacked into the day before St. Helens blew up. The falling ash was so thick breathing was a serious effort even with something, anything, over our faces. The pure darkness in the ash filled air was soon bad flashlights only shined a few feet at best.
      It took a while, but we all made it out and lived to tell about it. Glad you made out ahead of the blast.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Holey moley…what an interesting start…and an amazing story about hearing the blast from St. Helens! Sounds like that expense account went to very good use.

      Nina

  11. Rowanova says:

    I’ve been tent and canopy camping pretty much my whole life. I backpacked a lot for a number of years as well. All those RV people were whimsy campers, that’s not real camping, ya kno! Lol.
    Well then nature catches up. The knees and the back aren’t what they used to be. Hair color becomes a mixed mop. The backpacks are long gone. The few nights a year on the ground with the sleeping bag aren’t much fun in the morning.
    RVs seemed less whimpy some how. So I’ve had one for a while now. Boondock near exclusively and hike without the backpack.
    Next up? My full timer RV setup and adios to the “normal” living.

    • libertatemamo says:

      LOL…yup, I used to poo poo the big rig campers as well. What wimps indeed! And now I have to admit I really, really like my luxury camping. I mean, we have everything we need and yet we’re totally mobile. It’s crazy.

      Good luck w/ your move to fulltiming. Looks like you’ve already got it in your blood.

      Nina

  12. Pleinguy says:

    My current rig is my first, an 04 Lazy Daze Twin-King 24 ft class C. It’s perfect for me. I’ve been full-timing now for 9 months, and loving every minute. Sometimes I think a converted van would have worked for me though.

    • libertatemamo says:

      If I were to go solo I think I’d probably chose a similar rig…Class C. Although I have to admit the versatility of the van is pretty amazing. Glen gets into spots I couldn’t even begin to consider in “the beast” and might not even be able to look at in a Class C.

      Nina

  13. Michael says:

    It sounds like many of your readers have similar roots in tent camping and backpacking. Growing up, our family(8 kids + Mom & Dad)did our summer vacation trip up to Maine from NY. Usually on a lake where we could swim and fish. We started out with this enormous canvas tent with dozens of poles. Eventually we moved up to a pop-up trailer.
    When I moved to SoCal I had a group of friends that did a lot of backpacking and tent camping. From there my wife and I got a small(21 foot) Minnie Winnie. We now have a 32 foot Southwind that is just right, for now. We’ll be heading out to Borrego Springs for some boondocking in a few days and some of that desert dirt.

    Michael-

    • libertatemamo says:

      Ah yes, those massive canvas tents. Can’t help but feel slightly nostalgic about them. Somehow modern tents don’t seem to have the same flair anymore.

      Enjoy Borrego. Flowers should be blooming now!

      Nina

  14. Barrie Bochoff says:

    I traveled around North America (retired early) in my VW Jetta and sleeping in the car. Then I found an old fiberglass ‘egg’ Trillium, which the Jetta could tow, and I was hooked. A few years ago I found a wonderful woman and now we have a 20′ TT. Bliss…
    Barrie

  15. We started out camping in the back of an old Jeep Wagoneer station wagon…Bobbie, me, and a big Husky that shed like a tin roof…or is it “woof?”
    Box Canyon Mark

  16. LuAnn says:

    Terry tent-camped his way through adolescence, then graduated to a pop-up with his folks. His dream of the full-time lifestyle was born long before mine and I will admit to being a bit hesitant at first. Perhaps the thought of sharing a tiny space together 24/7 is what petrified me (lol).

    Our RVing life together started in a 36′ Hitchhiker 5th-wheel, where we packed up our belongings, threw a few more into storage, and headed to Yellowstone to work for a few years. How green we were as most people in March were heading south, we noticed, as we bravely (foolishly) headed north.

    We have since graduated to our Mobile Suites, and except for one light bitty meltdown by me, we haven’t looked back.

    And the very best part of this journey, meeting like-minded folks like you and Paul…sweet! Great post Nina. :)

    • libertatemamo says:

      I remember you telling us this story, but for some reason I’d forgotten you were hesitant at the beginning. You just seemed so comfortable with everything.

      I think it’s common for a couple to have divergent views on the RVing (or even camping) thing. Paul had never done ANY backpacking before I dragged him on a trip, and yet we ended up backpacking for years after that. I have never done ANY RVing (apart from the van in Australia) before we started in “the beast” yet I felt comfortable in it right away. Interesting how things progress.

      Nina

      P.S. And yes, meeting folks like you makes it ALL the better!! :)

  17. I think you’ve heard our story before–Mike had never done any camping except the kind you do in a wall tent packed into a remote area by a horse for the purpose of hunting. I grew up camping but when I suggested a RV, Mike said, “I’m not living in one of those tin tee pees!!” Thus a blog name was born and we’ve been living winters in our version of a tin tee pee for almost 10 years.

  18. We always camped. Did the tent camping thing, moving up to a tent pop-up, then a hard sided pop-up(Chalet/Aliner). In 2007 on a whim after my dad passed away and left us just enough money, we bought our at the time 6 month old 30′ Lazy Daze class C. Had no intention of fulltiming in it but we loved it so much on our drive back to FL after picking it up in Denver we decided we had to figure out a way to retire early and hit the road. One year later we had sold everything and left Florida. Five plus years later and we’re still going strong.
    We, like you, have done much more boondocking over the past couple years. It took us awhile to get comfortable doing it, finding places we can get into, learning how to conserve water, tweaking our solar, etc. We love it but it is still a nice luxury to stay at an RV park once in awhile to clean up the rig and enjoy those long showers!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, the boondocking thing took us a while as well. In fact, when we first started RVing I had no idea such a thing even existed. We spent the first 4 months of our journey staying in private parks and hated it so much we almost quit altogether! Then by chance we discovered public parks, national forests and finally boondocking. We were hooked!

      Interesting that you guys never intended to fulltime. I guess we never did either (until we suddenly decided to give it a go). The lifestyle definitely suits you!

      Nina

  19. Randy says:

    Pam and I just celebrated 35 years of marriage and we started out tent camping. Then tent camping as a family. Our first RV (though we didn’t call it that then) was a 1978 VW Westfalia Vanagan. Then we upgraded to a 1984 version. Then more tent camping. And then ‘retirement’ and downsizing and our 2007 (which is bought in 2009) when we started Full-timing.
    Love your web site and adventures!

  20. G says:

    Love your blog and I have been reading it for about a year when I finally read your bio. Now I can truly relate. Born in Cuba came with my parents back in 1961. Electrical Engineer from Florida Atlantic University. Always had the travel bug in me and can’t wait to start my own adventures.
    Just curious how did you make the quantum leap from van to mighty Beast or where there some prior releases :) prior to what you have now?

    • libertatemamo says:

      Wow…you and Paul have so much in common. Both from Cuba & both studied Electrical Engineering in FL (although he’s a Gator…very important distinction that)!

      The quantum leap from van to “beast” was exactly that. A step function leap with no in-between whatsoever. From the moment we decided to go full-time RVing to the moment we were living in the RV was only ~6 months and “the beast” was the very first “big” RV I’d ever stepped into. We went to an RV show in San Diego, I stepped into the beast, I said “I could live here” and we started negotiating on the spot. 6 months later we were living in the thing. Crazy, eh?

      Nina

  21. jonthebru says:

    Really good comments. I still can remember the smell of the canvas tent from the late 50’s and early 60’s when camping with my family and the Boy Scouts. All of you are great inspirations.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Yeah, that Canvas smell is something you never forget. I know the new tents are so much better, but sometimes I miss the good ‘ol stuff.

      Nina

  22. Dianne & Tom says:

    So, just after noon we are driving down I-10 towards Saguaro SKP to spend a week, and Tom says, “Oh, by the way… read Nina & Paul’s blog of yesterday, and that’s where they are.” Go figure… after so long boondocking ourselves we, too, needed a good place to hang out, clean up and do some projects. Enjoyed the gem & mineral shows in Tucson, got some things done, and now are happy to be here! Would enjoy a visit… let us know, please, what might fit in your schedule. Thinking you might come for margaritas and snacks one early evening? Take care, drop a note, and we look forward to time with you both! Dianne & Tom

  23. Caryl Marie says:

    I’ve been full timing most my life…. In my dreams! Ha! Grew up eldest of five w/o any family vacations except one….San Felipe, Baja Cali in the 50’s! That’s where all the dreams started. Since we got married we have rented, barrowed and stolen. everything we could to camp in the beginning… Converted a Pinto station when DH said he was working through his vacation…NO WAY!! Off we went, a barrowed tent and a cutesy station wagon with curtains. Now, some 48 years later WE are selling it all and hitting the road….FINALLY!!!! Never say dreams don’t come true…some just take longer. Have had a million tents, a class C and two A’s with most recent being an 2005 Tiffin Allegro and we’ve been dreaming of a 2014 36′ Phaeton Red that we will buy used in a few years with less than 25k mileage and will drive it til it or us give out.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well a HUGE congrats on getting to your goal. Hope the dream is everything you expect it to be!! Wonderful story.

      Nina

  24. karen says:

    We have been camping, hiking and backpacking together for 35 years now. Two years ago we bought a Nissan NV hightop van and went the homemade camper route. We LOVE it. Still working, but plan to fulltime in a few years most likely in a 5th wheel.

    The great thing about a homemade camper is we can change it up. Greg took out the old shelvesvand bed he previously made and is on to a new design after seeing Glen’s rig (on his blog not in person. Will post pics of next iteration of the build out on our new blog. Although we don’t FT, we spend as much time through out the year in our rig as we can manage.

    Loved Quartzsite and boondocking. Your blog allows me to dream of the day we can finally hit the road and not look back. We are obsessed hikers and adventurers.

    • libertatemamo says:

      There is something particularly interesting about homemade campers. So much opportunity to make it exactly the way you want it. I have to admit we were SUPER impressed with Glen’s van. He’s done an amazing job of the interior.

      Nina

  25. Debbie says:

    What an inspiration you guys are! My hubby and I have been full-timing for a year…wish we had been able to start when we were younger but work & kids kept us home bound.
    One thing I have to say looking at the photo’s in this post…your photography has evolved into something that is breathtaking. I too am a photographer and every time I open your blog I am so inspired by the photos you post! Keep it up Nina!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Well thanks Debbie! I like to think my photography has progressed too…as well as my writing. I think the blog has most definitely helped that evolve. Lovely to see it get noticed :)

      Nina

  26. Dahkota says:

    We started out about five years ago in a 22′ pilot house boat – no bathroom, no heat, no a/c, and barely a kitchen. We spent almost every weekend on it and for vacation we towed it to places like the Florida Keys and anchored out (boat boondocking) in some amazing places. The one thing we missed was hiking. You can only walk so far on 22′. So we sold it for our first travel trailer (22′), which we dragged around the country for two years on weekends and vacation. We felt we were in the lap of luxury in that trailer – it had a toilet! The first year we spent 100 nights in it, the second, 180. This is now the end of our third year rving and we now have a 30′ trailer and have started fulltiming. One month in and I am so grateful we can do this! We are still east of the Mississippi but are working our way west in anticipation of all the great boondocking I have been reading about in your blog. Thank you!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Wow…a 22′ house boat. Now that is something else. The 30′ trailer must seem like an absolute dream. You guys have certainly been living this lifestyle a long time, in many different forms. Enjoy your trip out West…I have no doubt you will!

      Nina

  27. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    Backpacking was my first love way back when Colin Fletcher was the guru. My trusty dog Buck (100 pound irish setter and black lab)carried his own food in his backpack. Together we hiked the deserts of California and Nevada. Then tackled the mighty Sierra’s. Ah the fond memories of those glorious days of yesteryear. I learned the secrets of nature by being silent and using my five sences. I became uncivilized and a new man. Only those who have experienced being alone out in the boonies for long periods of time can appreciate this. With my home on my back I found that man doesn’t need much to live on…but that was then and I am now an old man, but still enjoy the wilds. My wife and I live full time in a Casita travel trailer that is 17 ft long and 6 and half ft wide. Much bigger than my pack so we can haul all our worldly goods around with a 4X4 Toyota Tundra pick up. This life is almost as good as before. The closer we can get to Mother Earth the better.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I definitely resonate with your love of the wild, and we have many, many fond memories ourselves of our backpacking years. Back in the day we would take days off work just so we could backpack into the wilds and spend as much time as we could out there. I still love backpacking!

      Even with our super-luxurious “beast” we do everything we can to be close to nature…thus the amount of boondocking we do. It’s definitely a different experience with the RV, but I value it tremendously nonetheless.

      Nina

  28. Tamara/Early Retirement Journey says:

    We pined for over 10 years before finally buying our first RV, a Fleetwood pop up canvas tent trailer some nine years ago. I’m not sure we could have done more wrong things our first trip out, including botching the charge on our battery so that we had no battery whatsoever once we arrived at our 7 day dry camping site. Our workaround was to back up our SUV to our trailer each morning, plug in the trailer extension to our SUV, and keep the SUV running while we flipped on the heater, then made breakfast. I’m sure our neighbors loved us for that – we now know better!

    We upgraded to a still-petite hard sided folding trailer three years ago, and have one 49-day long trip under our belts, our longest to date. This year, come April, we will be out for almost five straight months. While not full timers, we are on the road about 50% of each calendar year. I feel the same thrill of excitement every time we head out as I did the first time those many years ago. And the wonderful, wonderful memories we’ve accumulated along the way . . . simply amazing.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I totally get what you mean about doing silly things when you first get the rig. The very first day we slept in our RV I “melted” the stove…turns out it was a bad fitting, but I really thought I had destroyed our brand new RV. And then of course there are the “tree incidents” and other things of which we shall not speak.

      Hope you have a blast on your 5-month trip!! Thanks for sharing your story!

      Nina

  29. Daniel R Utter says:

    WE are hoping to hit the road in June or July depending on our house selling I don’t want to start out with any debt. we have a 33.5ft fifth wheel it is a 1997 but in great shape. just bought a 06 dodge 3500 dually diesel to pull it. We are only in are mid 40’s and hope that doesn’t hurt our chances for work camping along the way. I follow your blog regularly it is very helpful in preparing can’t wait to get started.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I think you’ll be fine for work camping. In fact I’ve found that the state parks & other places have a real interest in younger workers. Enjoy your journey!!

      Nina

  30. DebbieM says:

    We’ve camped with 4 children and 2 beagles in a large pop-up tent trailer for 18 years, a month each summer (and many shorter trips). We know we’ll have no problems in a 5th wheel :-)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Wow…TOTAL respect!!!! That’s some serious space-cramming. You guys will be loving it in your 5th wheel!

      Nina

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