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June

2017

Inside A Traveler’s Walls: The Bennett RVing Family

INSIDE A TRAVELER'S WALLS

Bonjour friends. It is time for another amazing traveling family, to be more specific, an RVing family. The Bennett family is RVing the USA.

So many things – it’s impossible to pick just one – the freedom, the adventures and memories we are creating and sharing, the quality time we get to spend together as well as with others we meet on the road.

They sold their townhouse and took off to RV the US almost four years ago. Little did they know at the time that they would leave a secure location independent job along the way, develop a business for future RV’ers and dream of adventures beyond the US. Hey, maybe we’ll see them over here in Europe. Can we say RV meet-up? Since we are only a couple of weeks away from our European RV trip I am truly inspired to learn about other families who have had great success with it. Can I let you in on a secret? We have had a very rocky pre-launch experience. Maybe RV school would have been a good idea before our purchase. The big purchase reveal will be on our YouTube channel in the next couple of weeks.

There are so many parts of this post to fall in love with. I guess that is why they named themselves RV Love. They are well organized, open to change, adventurous, curious and so much more. The Bennett family are the type of people you feel connected to just through their words and images. It is the type of connection where you can see yourself around a campfire enjoying s’mores with them.

Ok, enough of my chatting, grab your coffee and get comfortable. It’s time to be inspired by this RVing family.

RVing Family

 

Introduce us to the people you live with?
We’re Marc and Julie Bennett, we’re in our 40s and have been together 7 years, married for 6. We met later in life and we don’t have kids. We are complete opposites in so many ways and yet just so right for each other when it comes to what really matters. We sold our Colorado home and just about everything in it back in 2014 and are now in our 4th year of full-time living, working and traveling in our motorhome, while exploring North America. Our living situation seems unique to so many others, but now we can’t imagine living any other way.

Marc: I was born in Colorado and spent my whole life there, so I’ve always loved being out in nature. I also love cars, driving – basically, anything with an engine and wheels – which is a huge part of the appeal of the RV lifestyle for me. Although Julie is more traveled than me, I was probably the main ‘driver’ behind our decision to sell our home and move into an RV. I’m also a social introvert, that is, I love meeting the many interesting and adventurous people we encounter on the road, but I also need quiet downtime. I’ve been a cyclist my whole life and getting out on my bike is how I unwind and recharge my batteries after a busy day at work or if we’ve been extra social. I think RVing is a fantastic way to live – to be able to maximize your health and enjoyment, reduce stress and get out and see the country or the world, at least, it’s been that way for us.

Julie: I was born and spent most of my life in Australia before moving solo to Boulder, Colorado with 2 suitcases just before my 40th birthday to start my life over again, after my business tanked during the global economic crisis. I guess it was a pretty out there and brave thing to do, but I’ve always placed a high value on freedom, travel and personal growth through life experiences. I met and married Marc a couple of years later and we lived in a nice townhome in a nice neighborhood…so yes, it was all very “nice” but it wasn’t really feeding my soul in the way I wanted. When we started tossing around the idea of living in an RV, our plans took root very quickly, within days. Initially, I was more nervous about the change than Marc, but as an extrovert, I’m always up for adventure, change, travel – meeting new people, seeing new places. We both share a passion for driving and road trips, so once we realized the RV life was do-able both financially and technologically (so we could work) it made perfect sense. The RV life represents freedom in the truest sense of the word – and that’s what is so exciting to me.


Where are you in the world and what are you living in?

We live in a 2012 Class A gas motorhome while exploring North America. Our coach is about 36 feet long and has 4 slide-outs which makes it about 12 feet wide. Funnily enough, that’s about the same size as our townhome was. Our townhome was 3 levels and the RV is one, but our townhome didn’t have windows on the side, only at the front and rear, and our RV has windows all around, so it actually feels like our world is bigger in the RV than it was at home. And of course, our views and backyard are changing all the time.

Why did you choose to live in your current arrangement?
Once we’d decided to live in an RV, we quickly narrowed it down to a Class A – which is like a bus – over other kinds of RVs. We like Class A motorhomes as it means we can tow a fun, sporty car, so we tow a Mini Cooper S Convertible for exploring once we’re set up at a campsite. We love being able to sit up high as we drive in the motorhome, enjoying the scenery through that huge glass windshield, and we love that we can get up and access the coach while driving – whether it’s the bathroom, fridge etc. It’s a great way to travel.

What do you do to personalize your unique (less traditional) living situation?
The best thing we did was convert the bunkhouse into a dedicated office space for Marc, as he worked a regular 40 hour, 8-5 workweek for his employer. It was important for him to have really good ergonomics to work productively, and be physically comfortable as he has a back condition and is very conscious of taking care of it. His office has an ergonomic office chair, pullout keyboard tray and allows him to literally ‘pull the curtain’ at the end of a workday, so his office and computer are no longer visible and don’t impact the rest of the living space. Julie uses the front co-pilot chair and dash with pullout laptop tray as her office, which also keeps her work out of the living area, though we didn’t need to do much in the way of modification for that.

Being a 2012 model, our RV is fairly modern and the ivory leather furniture actually works well for us, but RV decor is typically very uninspiring. Our RV has a lot of brown and beige and the linens did too, so we replaced them with brighter colored pillows in the living room. We also remodeled the bedroom with a new covered valance to match a fun, marine theme duvet cover, pillows and voile white curtains on a tension rod all the way along behind the bed, to create the illusion of a bedhead and also lightens things up. We also hung a white paper lantern from the ceiling with a battery powered LED tealight, popped a couple of blue glass candle holders with LED tea lights and white framed photos on either side of the bed. All of this creates a more beautiful and romantic space. We also removed the booth dinette table and replaced it with a white round cocktail table and placed a leather ottoman under the window. This creates more of a cosy, grown up Ushaped eating and drinking nook, instead of feeling like a kiddie booth dinette and works great – it’s perfect for just the two of us. Oh – and we removed 2 of the 3 TVs and replaced them with canvas art – one of which is a world map to keep our minds on more international travel. We don’t ever watch TV anyway and even the 3rd one is covered up with a whiteboard that we use for our business!

Tell us your favorite and least favorite room in your space and why?
Our favorite room in our RV space is the bedroom, because it’s the most personalized, beautiful and romantic… and we’re not called RVLove for nothing! LOL 😉 Julie also loves her front office space as it’s really comfortable and she gets to look out of the windshield while working, often with pretty epic views! We don’t really have a least favorite room or space, it all works well for us.

What is the biggest misconception you had about your current living situation before you started living in it?
Marc: I was actually worried about having to deal with lots of bugs and insects, especially mosquitoes! But bugs really haven’t been much of an issue at all. Maybe it’s because of where we stay, or the time of year we stay there – we do tend to like the desert south west – but so far we’ve been very fortunate that it hasn’t been too unpleasant at all. On the rare occasion it is, we just move!

What is the one household item you carry with you every time you move or the one item you cannot live without?
Julie: There’s no single household item that we can’t live without, we’re pretty unattached to most of our material things. But no matter where we go, we always take our iPhones and often, Julie’s Macbook laptop. Do they count as household items?

What do you miss most about permanent, stationary, traditional living?
Julie: Hmmm that’s a tough one. Really can’t think of anything at all! I guess a washing machine, dryer and dishwasher would be nice but we rarely, if ever, even give it a thought or mention it, as it’s just the two of us and really not a big deal to use the campground laundry or wash our dishes.

Marc: Better insulation would probably be the number one thing that we like better about a regular home, as it’s never as good in an RV, especially in extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Julie: All of that said, you can get higher end motorhomes that DO have much better insulation and come with washers, dryers and dishwashers… so if we were to upgrade, we could have all of those things.

We’re just entering our 4th year living on the road in our RV and I don’t think either of us have EVER said we miss our old home or talk about getting another one. But if we were to go back to one, I think we would talk OFTEN about what we missed about living in our RV!

Do you have a pet joining you in this journey? If so, has this been complicated? Any advice?
We started our journey with our 8yo labradoodle Coda, but unfortunately we lost her to lung cancer after 5 months on the road. It was unexpected and happened fairly quickly – and was by far the most challenging event we’ve had to deal with so far. We recommend using Banfield, which has a national network of vet clinics in the USA, as each location can access your pet’s records as you travel to different parts of the country. They were wonderful to deal with and helped us navigate a very difficult time.

What is your best resource to get items you need for your place?
Top of the list is Amazon Prime! Because we’re frequently on the move, it’s so much easier to order items online and have them delivered within 2 days, no matter where you are – it’s a fantastic service, especially for us RVers. Walmart and IKEA are great too, and if we’re in upscale areas, we like to check out the local thrift or consignment stores, where you can often find great quality clothes at bargain prices.

If you could only have one of the following in your home which one would it be and why?
Space, natural light, dishwasher or above average internet.
Oooh that’s a tough one…of course natural light is very important, but without it, we would simply spend more time outside – and that is very easy to do in our lifestyle, as we’re almost always in great weather. On the other hand, above average internet is what makes this lifestyle possible in the first place – our ability to work remotely is what funds it. Space is not as relevant, as again, we always have the outside. A dishwasher, while it would be nice, is a complete non essential. I think it’s interesting how many people think they couldn’t live without a dishwasher, when it’s really not that hard at all. But if you’re really pushing for one answer, I guess above average internet would be it!

If you were to compare your unique (less traditional) home decorating style to a kitchen appliance or gadget what would it be and why?
Probably our Instant Pot. It’s simple, modern, quick, easy and multi-functional. There is no room in an RV for a single use item!

How do you keep traditions alive for your family in your unique living situation?
We try to go back home either for Thanksgiving or Christmas at least every other year and when we can’t be there in person, we catch up with family via a FaceTime call on the iPad after their meal. While everyone is sitting around relaxing, they pass the iPad around which gives us a chance to visit with everyone. It’s funny, we can be on the call for a couple of hours and everyone feels as though we were really there, so that helps us feel part of the celebration.

How do you decorate for the holidays in your unique (less traditional) home or do you skip it all together?
We don’t tend to decorate the RV as we don’t have kids, but occasionally if we’re entertaining guests, say over Christmas, we’ll buy a Christmas-style arrangement for the table and put up some LED holiday lights to make the RV feel a bit more festive.

What is your favorite part about this lifestyle choice?
So many things – it’s impossible to pick just one – the freedom, the adventures and memories we are creating and sharing, the quality time we get to spend together as well as with others we meet on the road. The RVers and travelers we meet tend to be more present and available compared with people back at home who are so busy running on the treadmill of life that they often just don’t have the time to connect on a deeper level. Obviously nature and the incredibly beautiful places we get to see – often for extended periods of time, the ability to move whenever and wherever we choose to follow the weather or specific events. It’s such a rich and rewarding life, which is deeply fulfilling. For us, there is no better way to live, love and travel.

Many traveling families subscribe to the “house is not a home” theory. What is home to you?
Julie: There’s a saying among RVers “home is where you park it”. One of the best things about living full-time in an RV is you always have all of your things with you – your bed, your dishes, your decor. So no matter where you go, you’re always home. Then there’s the saying “Home is where the heart is”? I think there’s a lot of truth in that – if you’re somewhere that makes you happy, some place that you love, or even with the person you love, then that can be home too. To us, home is a place where we feel comfortable, safe and can lay our heads down to sleep at night. And really, that can be a lot of places… it definitely doesn’t have to be a house.

What makes you love the place you live?
Inside the RV, we’d have to say the efficiency of the space. You have to prioritize and bring only what you need, which means everything has it’s place. There’s no room for clutter or unnecessary ‘stuff’ to weigh you down, which simplifies your life and your headspace. It’s freeing and enlightening on so many levels. Outside of the RV, it’s the wide variety of the places we get to see and stay every other week. You just can’t beat it!

Can home be a person, or an idea?
For us, home is feeling happy and at peace within ourselves and being together. It doesn’t matter where we are. Home is a state of mind and a feeling more than a location.

Words of wisdom to anyone considering venturing out into the world of unique, less traditional homes?
Julie: Let go of preconceived ideas or limiting beliefs around what is home and be prepared to challenge society’s measurements of happiness and success so you can define your own. It takes courage to break with the convention of societal norms to follow your heart, live differently and embark on a life of travel. But it’s probably one of the most enriching experiences you can ever have, and one you’ll never regret.

Anything else you would like offer?
Julie: One of my favorite quotes when it comes to making big life changes like this is from Martin Luther King, who says:

“Take the first step in faith. You don’t need to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

What is next for you? Will you continue to live in your current home or try something different?
Marc: We’ve had our RV and Mini for over 3 years now and they have both been ideal for our needs, but we’re getting ready to try something new. It will still be an RV and tow vehicle, but we’re currently exploring our options to give us a new and different RVing experience here in the USA. We also have plans to RV in Australia, New Zealand and Europe in the future, so watch this space!

How do you make a living?
Marc: When we first hit the road, I was already working from home as Operations Manager for a nutritional supplements company. I worked a regular 8-5, 40 hour a week job, and as long as we had solid internet, I could work from anywhere. That made it easy for us to get started, as my regular salary was able to fund our RV lifestyle. (Interestingly, it costs about the same as when we had our home, we just spend our money differently now.)

Julie: I was in between jobs, so we decided I would start my own business again. I’ve always been a writer, in marketing and communications so I started our RVLove blog/website, YouTube channel and social media, while doing some writing, project work and lifestyle coaching for a few private clients. As RVLove and our following has grown over the years, alongside our passion for sharing, inspiring and educating people about the RV lifestyle, we decided to take the plunge and focus on this full-time.

Marc: Although a big and somewhat scary decision, I left my salaried job in February 2017 and we spent 3 months building an online learning platform to provide the education, guidance and resources to help people make sound decisions before buying an RV and hitting the road, and avoid many common and costly mistakes. It’s called RV Success School and it offers the online, self-paced courses, information and guidance we wish had existed when we began our own research journey back in 2013. The world of RVs can be a complex and overwhelming topic to learn about, especially when you’re considering doing this full-time or even part-time. So we cut through the information overwhelm to provide a clear and concise path that helps people understand what is most important, delivering it in a structured, efficiency and enjoyable way. We cover everything from how to plan and budget for the lifestyle, to choosing the right RV for you, understanding RV systems, how to get your mail, changing domicile, downsizing from your home, adjusting emotionally, technology and working from the road and much more. It’s interactive, with videos, lessons, quizzes and workbooks and there’s nothing else like it in the RV space, so we’re really proud of what we’ve created.

Julie: We launched in May 2017 and already it’s been a huge success, with over 200 students enrolling in the first week! The feedback we’ve been getting is phenomenal – so far it’s been 100% positive. It’s so gratifying to know that so many people are excited about the information and resources we’ve provided and that they are already benefiting so much from the courses. We absolutely know it will save them a lot of time and money. Our goal is to have over 1,000 students enrolled by the end of 2017 and continue to grow from there. We’re hoping the School will also have a positive impact on the RV industry, as more consumers will be better educated and know what to look for. And we’ve chosen the National Parks Foundation as our primary charity partner, which will directly benefit our National Parks, which so many of us RVers get to enjoy more often than most. We really designed it to be a win-win all round.

Marc: Although RV Success School is new, the early success has proven the concept and demonstrated a huge gap in the market which we’re now filling. We’re very confident the revenue from RV Success School will replace my previous salary by the end of 2017 and sustain us as we build the business in the coming years. Above all, we’re just excited to now be focusing our time and energy full-time on something that we’re truly passionate about and live and breathe every day. When we started our RVing journey more than 3 years ago, we never imagined it would lead to a whole new career and business. But that’s the beauty of a traveling life – it opens up your mind and world to a whole new range of opportunities and possibilities you could never see before.

Quote to ponder:
It takes courage to break with the convention of societal norms to follow your heart, live differently and embark on a life of travel. But it’s probably one of the most enriching experiences you can ever have, and one you’ll never regret.

Contact:
www.RVLove.com
www.RVSuccessSchool.com
https://www.youtube.com/user/RVLoveTV
https://www.facebook.com/RVLoveTV
https://www.instagram.com/RVLoveTravel
https://twitter.com/rvlovetravel
https://www.pinterest.com/RVLoveTravel

Ok, cool, right? I hope we can keep our rig that clean and organized. I am super impressed. I love seeing couples taking what they have learned to help others bring their dreams to fruition. When we created WorldTowning our main goal was to get more folks traveling to towns around the world so of course I have a soft spot in my heart for RV Success School. Plus, I can’t help but love anything RV right now!

Interested in living like the Bennett Family? WorldTowning’s services can help make this rving family story ‘your reality’ and we can do it all stress free. We will be there with you every step of the way.

Learn More

Bisous,
Jessica

Inside A Traveler’s Walls is where we feature families living in less traditional and unique homes (tents, boats, camper vans, yurts, flats, etc). If you think you might be one of those families and are interested in being profiled, please contact us for details.

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