We get asked a lot of the same questions when people find out we are on this adventure, living on the road full-time. People are curious, understandably so. Because we’ve answered these questions daily for the last few months, it makes sense to create an FAQ page.
It’s actually pretty funny because the first three questions from people are usually: How can you afford to do this? (READ: How can I afford to do it too?) Why did you decide to do this? and What is the plan?
By far, the number one question we get asked is, how are you guys able to afford to do this?
I wish I could say that we are independently wealthy and our bank accounts are overflowing, but unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The truth is we’ve worked really hard, followed a specific plan, as well as budgeted and saved for years to realize this dream.
If you’re wondering if you can do it too, the answer is YES! But it isn’t easy. We recommend our E-Book: 5 Steps to Travel More to get started. In it, we walk you step by step through the plan that worked for us. We give you worksheets, spreadsheets and a budget guide so you have all the tools to make your dream a reality. You can purchase the book here. Alternatively, you can get it free when you sign up for our email updates.
Why did you decide to do this? You’re peaking in your careers, the money is good, retirement accounts are growing…why now?
We believe that there is nothing more important in life than the experiences and memories we make together. Life on the open road allows our family the freedom to experience places whenever we want. We’ve also never subscribed to the typical American Dream and the lack of work-life balance that comes with that. You know…the work 40-45 years in a career where we dread going to work with 1-2 weeks of vacation annually, which you’re lucky to be able to take, and will hopefully be in good enough health at 65 to enjoy life when you retire.
Nope, not for us! Actually, we don’t really subscribe to the idea of retirement at all. We feel that we will always be working in some form, but have decided that it will only be doing things that we enjoy and are passionate about. That may mean less money, but it definitely offers more freedom – for us.
Obviously, this isn’t everyone’s idea of a dream life, and we respect that too. We believe there’s a path for everyone, and if you follow yours, you’ll be happy.
What is the plan? Do you have it mapped out and do you know when you will be there?
Nope. There is no plan. No schedule. No agenda. Just a journey. And we plan to enjoy the journey without focusing too much on a specific destination. That being said, we do have certain places we hope to visit during our journey, but nothing set in stone. If you are interested in where we’ve already been you can find that here.
Now that we have gotten the Big Three out of the way, let’s move on to some more detailed questions…
What type of RV do you have?
Our motorhome is a 2012 Tiffin Allegro Open Road who we call Blaze. For those not familiar with brands and models, it is a Class A (drivable) motorhome. Blaze is 35′ long with a queen bedroom and a bunkhouse. We spent more than a year researching RV’s, going to shows and reading reviews prior to deciding on a Tiffin. We bounced between travel trailer to fifth wheel and back to travel trailer initially, mainly due to what we perceived as cost savings. However, when we broke things down in detail (we love spreadsheets!), we finally decided that a Class A would be right for us. The Tiffin brand is well-respected, family-run, quality-built, and we couldn’t find a single dissatisfied Tiffin owner. We plan to do a whole post dedicated to this decision in the future so stay tuned!
Is your RV gas or diesel?
Our RV is gas powered. Honestly, this was simply a financial decision. If we had found a diesel within our price range, we’d probably be driving that right now. That being said, the V10 engine in our rig is top notch and we’ve had no issues whatsoever with it (knock on wood). We will eventually do a post on the pros and cons of these two as well.
What type of gas mileage do you get?
When we are towing CHASE (tow vehicle), Blaze(motorhome) gets about 7.5 MPG if we stay in the sweet spot, between 60-65 mph. If we go 70 that number drops down to 6 MPG, so we go slow. We are THOSE guys on the interstate (we try to stay on smaller roads though) – the ones you are trying to pass. But we don’t mind, we aren’t in a hurry, and the mpg difference is well worth any nasty looks we get on the road. If you see us, please wave hello!
Another thing that helps with fuel cost is our Good Sam Club Membership. Members get 5¢ off per gallon at Flying J and Pilot gas stations. This makes a difference in the long run, so we use the Pilot app to find the closest station. Pilot/Flying J stations are usually larger and more accommodating for larger trucks and trailers as well. Getting gas can be a challenge sometimes!
What vehicle do you tow?
When we decided on a Class A, the car we had would only tow on a dolly. After researching for months, we decided we wanted to tow 4-down (no tow dolly, just all four wheels on the ground rolling down the road). We also needed an automatic. Cat can drive a standard, but not 100% confidently. So we also needed an automatic. That limited the options significantly due to potential transmission issues. But after much research with manufacturer’s and owner’s manuals, we found a 2010 Ford Escape Hybrid. It works really well for us as it’s a lightweight SUV with all-wheel drive. Bonus, it gets about 30 MPG around town which is great for our monthly gas budget.
We call her CHASE.
Do you guys have a home base?
If by home base you mean a house somewhere that we go back to, then no. We moved to Finland in January of 2017 and sold 95% of our worldly possessions.
While this may sound daunting to some, the weight lifted knowing we have nothing holding us down was incredible. It was completely unexpected. Living small is more than just the size of your home, and we’ve embraced the minimalist attitude. We have talked about the future and decided that even if we move into another house one day, we will never own more than what is necessary.
Where do you intend on calling home and what will you do after all this is over?
We are enjoying the journey right now and we have no plans at this point for what happens in the future (stay tuned to find out). It wouldn’t be the adventure we are seeking if everything was mapped out. We don’t have a crystal ball and aren’t stressing about what comes next. It’s a pretty incredible feeling.
How much does it cost to live full time on the road?
This is a hard one. The answer to this is driven by your personal preferences and the experience you are looking for. We are happy to provide you with an outline of our budget and costs to date as a guideline so that you can see our targets. We could cut this in half if we boondocked every night, cut down our food budget and more. But there are some comforts and luxuries we aren’t (yet) willing to sacrifice.
That’s not to say we won’t change our minds later, but our budget will only go down from here. We think it’s important to note that there are many families out there doing this, and we all have different lifestyles and budgets. In the end, you choose what works for you, outline your no-matter-whats, and draft your budget from there.
Is it hard traveling with kids?
Well, it’s certainly different than traveling as a couple. But G has been traveling since he was 4 weeks old, so adventure is in his nature.
Although our days aren’t 100% kid-centric, we do try to do a few kid-friendly things in every city we visit. He understands that we split our time between adult-oriented activities and kid-friendly adventures. This keeps all of us happy. It’s important to us, given that he’s an only child, that he understand the world doesn’t revolve around him.
Unfortunately, G isn’t quite old enough to go off on his own exploring or stay home alone, so we are with him 24/7. There are some days we want to pull our hair out, and others that are idyllic.
The biggest issue we face is schooling. He is scheduled to begin kindergarten in August, so we will eventually need to decide whether to claim a home base and homeschool him, or actually send him to school. We truly believe he is getting an unparalleled education seeing, touching and learning about people and places firsthand, but we also want to ensure it’s the right choice for HIM. The decision will be a tough one. It’s definitely something we think about daily though and probably the only stressor in our current lives.
So, to get back to the question of whether or not it’s hard…No. Different and sometimes challenging, yes.
What was it like living in Finland?
Finland was amazing! The people, the food, the culture, the travel…It was all truly spectacular. The biggest takeaway for us was the work-life balance they have. They truly value their time with family and friends, and while work is important, it does not run their lives. It was very enlightening to see how much can get done in a 37.5 work week when you aren’t burnt out from being overworked. The Finns are focused, efficient and driven when at work and tend to shut off work completely when out of the office. We made amazing friends and the experience forever changed our lives.
If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit this incredible country, you really should put it on your list and go soon. You can read a little more about Finland here, here, here, and here. We could go on for days, maybe weeks, about this country.
What is your mission for this website/blog?
When we moved to Finland, we started a blog for friends and family so they could keep up with our life and the interesting things we encountered on a daily basis. While we have always been passionate about travel, what we found with the blog is that we are just as passionate about inspiring others through sharing our experiences.
We don’t think our specific lifestyle is the one for everyone. But we hope to show you several things through our posts:
- ANYTHING is possible if you set your mind to it.
- Finding your passion is the first step toward a lifetime of happiness.
- Embrace life. Live it to the fullest, because we aren’t guaranteed a tomorrow.
If you total the cost of the website (hosting, domain, email server, software subscriptions), the man-hours that go into creating regular content and the cost of our gear (camera, drone, video camera, computer, etc.), then the answer is that no, we don’t MAKE money. In fact, if you put it that way, we have lost our #$$ on this site. We never set out to make a living from this website or any substantial money for that matter.
That being said, if you purchase something through one of our affiliate links, there is no additional cost to you (in fact, you were probably already going to buy something anyway) and we get a few pennies from the purchase. You’re supporting us and showing us that you get value from what we share. Maybe after a year or two, we might have enough money from those sales to buy a new SD card or something. We don’t want our website filled with ads, so you can be confident that we only provide links/ads for products and brands we know, use and love.