Travel trailer parked in front of house.

From a House to RV Living Full-Time in 100 Days

From house to RV living in 100 days: Read all about the steps we took to make this dream a reality.

For years we had talked about how to downsize and do more traveling, more adventuring, as a family.

But a year-long journey in an RV after selling the family home and most of our earthly possessions? It sounded pretty cool. And also pretty crazy.

Full-Time RV Living Steps

Was it even remotely possible to make this happen at all? Let alone in just a few months as we imagined? This question stared us down as we, in turn, stared into the great unknown.

Launching a Full-Time RV Living Journey

Once this adventurous vision broke over our family’s horizon (carried by my wife, Julie), we embraced it wholeheartedly.

In truth, we clearly did not comprehend what we were embracing. I guess that’s how it always is with the most amazing things in life?

New travel trailer parked in front of house.
Credit: Todd Bonner / Trekkn

It was merely an exciting idea without specifics or form or sacrifice or sweat or dollar signs or struggle or pain or lost personal space or thousands of tiny-yet-exhausting decisions actually attached to it. Still pristine, undefined, unchallenged.

And yet the vision lived and expanded.

Step One: Purchase an RV

Once we kicked off, I spent a full week doing extensive research online as well as searching for RVs. My family and I stepped foot on an RV lot together in mid-February of that year. It was a fairly simple and unassuming start. Especially compared to the mind-bending, ridiculously quick process of shedding much of the life we had known during 21 years of marriage.

This isn’t how these things happen. At least that’s what I gather from speaking to some normal folks.

Buying an RV for Full Time RV Living
Credit: Todd Bonner / Trekkn

It was far too fast, without nearly enough planning and number crunching involved. But in our blissful ignorance, we shopped and chatted and moved forward as if we belonged. As if we knew what we were doing and somehow were meant to be here.

By early March, we had a 26-foot travel trailer parked at an RV storage facility in our Texas hometown. We accomplished step 1 in less than one month.

And all human pulses simultaneously quickened in our home.

We had moved beyond idle chatter and put this plan into action at neck-breaking speed. Was this outlandish plan really coming together? The speed at which everything was happening made me question whether it was actually “supposed” to come together. Was everyone still on board as much as we were a month ago? And did any of that even matter? As you can tell, I had a lot of questions.

Moving Forward with the Plan: Full-Time RV Living

This vision, this dream, had clearly taken on a life of its own at this point. Our doubts and fears and heart-stopping questions still orbited with us. But we moved forward, undaunted, into the next phase of this vision.

Okay, that’s kind of a lie. To be completely honest, I had a few “shut down” days during this first month where my entire being was on overload and I couldn’t even form sentences. I was very daunted. I would stare and grunt and point. That’s about it.

Julie suggested more than once that we just pull the plug on the whole RV idea because I was struggling so much with the unknowns of moving forward, with the fear of making a huge mistake.

It was pretty scary and crappy, and I thought you should know about hiccups along the way.

Putting Our House on the Market

I continued to put one foot in front of the other and by the end of March, we had prepared our family home for sale after countless hours of repairing and cleaning. The house hit the market on March 31 and within 24 hours we had a full-price offer. We had not expected that. Within a week, and after nearly a dozen showings, we received and accepted another full-price offer.

Selling our house to full-time RV
Credit: Todd Bonner / Trekkn

An early May closing date materialized before us. Our timeline for rolling out of town as summer hit in Texas moved one step closer to reality. Against all reasonable odds.

We literally could not have scripted it any better up to this point (aside from my “mini breakdown”). And we watched as we orbited, slightly astounded at the unfolding story. And definitely exhausted.

Selling All the Things

The month of April saw me post approximately 728 times on social media and Craigslist attempting to sell random possessions. My son and I mixed in almost daily trips to Goodwill and other donation sites around town to offload the slew of cheap-but-still-useful items accumulated over the years.

There may have been a garage sale or six thrown in there somewhere. Honestly, it’s kind of a blur.

In May, the for-sale posts and donation runs continued uninterrupted. But trips to the local waste treatment facility (aka landfill) also became necessary as we got down to the cluttered and hidden reality of our suburban family existence.

So. Many. Things. Processing through all of it began to feel like a full-time job as we slipped quickly toward our move-out date on May 26th. (In case you are following along closely, we leased the house back from the new owners for a few weeks after the early May closing.)

Possessions and Guilt

At this point in the process, guilt was poking its prickly head into my business. It didn’t seem possible to face the spoils of past compulsive consumption habits and not be ashamed by the appalling mountains of utterly forgotten stuff.

Young teen putting belongings in storage before moving into an RV full time.
Aaron and I started to move our few possessions into the storage unit.

It’s one thing to be selling or donating things for other people to get some use out of. When it’s passed down, at least you can feel there is some redeeming usefulness in the accumulated crap. It’s a little salve for the painful and oozing sore from over consumption.

But when you are down to the dregs of your possessions and you are up against a “move out clock”, those things have to be moved along somehow. Somewhere.

When far too many useful items end up filling a hole in our green earth, despite trying to just give it away first, it truly leaves a mark on the soul. Just as it does on the earth.

I’m not proud of this and still feel the sting of guilt as I lay it out before you now. But there it is. And I deeply wish not to repeat that consumption pattern in the coming years.

Moving into Our Home on Wheels

Despite all of this mess brewing internally, the work continued. We finally moved into our new “home on wheels” and slept there for the first time on May 26th. It was parked near my in-law’s home, which was a few miles from our house that now belonged to another family.

Family of five standing in front of their new travel trailer.
Credit: Todd Bonner / Trekkn

We were transported from a spoken and barely-formed vision to full-blown reality. The new reality was five people living in a space of about 200 square feet. And now we were on the verge of very long-distance road-trips.

It’s still a surprise that we made it happen so quickly. The only reason it worked is because our crazy vision was fully embraced by everyone involved. Our passion and excitement, even when mixed with fear and doubt, forced all the right pieces into place.

We simply brought our engaged selves, as completely as we could, despite not having all the answers. In fact, we had only a few answers. We acted in faith that we were making the right move.

Looking Back

And now I look back after more many months, over 4,600 miles, and memories of astounding national parks. I recall the beautiful cities across the U.S. and Canada. And I realize this remarkable adventure reminds me of the importance of welcoming and embracing new visions for my life, now and in the future.

Father and son relaxing outdoors at campsite.
Credit: Todd Bonner / Trekkn

Living in an RV with your family for a year may not be an exciting vision for you; in fact, it may be your worst nightmare. It’s definitely not for everybody.

But I believe that most of us in the American culture do need to find a way to break out of our consumption and accumulation patterns. Not just for the inherent benefits of that shift, but also in order to embrace some adventure.

It is good for the soul. You can’t convince me otherwise.

Make Your Choices About Full Time RV Living

So, what about you?

If you want to stop accumulating and start adventuring, the first step is to simply make the choice. Start crafting your adventure in your mind and then take steps to stop (and reverse) the accumulation of things that your life is currently orbiting around.

Full Time RVing in Oregon
Credit: Todd Bonner / Trekkn

And trust me: Your “adventurous vision” will be much easier to glimpse when the mountains of distracting possessions are out of your way.

It may not happen all at once in a 100-day window as it did for my family…and, honestly, you probably wouldn’t want it to.

But if you keep yourself focused on the direction you are moving, and not just the destination, it will be far more likely to all come together. And you will be far more likely to begin to see your own consumption and accumulation patterns clearly. You will change and grow as a result.

Giving Thanks and Dreaming

So give thanks for today, even for the piles of stuff that you wish didn’t exist, but always dream of a better tomorrow. We should all dream of peace and adventure that we have not yet known, not just for ourselves but for everyone we come in contact with.

We haven’t seen anything yet, and we know that the remotely possible is indeed very possible for you, if you believe.

Related Reading: How to Prepare for RV Living

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  1. Your article was so inspiring to us. We are about
    To do the very same thing as you and have the
    same fears and apprehensions. It all seems so
    overwhelming. We go home in March 2019 from
    Snowbirding all winter and begin downsizing and
    putting our house on the market. Can’t imagine it selling in a week like yours did but that would be a challenge for sure. We look forward to begin our full time adventure in the fall. Thank you for your inspiration and the boost I needed today to sooth my apprehensions.

    1. Hi Jenny,

      I really appreciate your uplifting comment, because it is very important to me to feel that I am helping others to move forward in the face of fear and uncertainty. Along with the overwhelm, those two will never disappear during a major transition like this. But they cannot win, they cannot dictate next steps. Not in this area of life, and not in any other.

      Now that we have settled back down into a “normal” life for this next season of life, I look back with nothing but gratitude and amazement at the experiences we had, the struggles we overcame, the lessons we learned, and the beauty that we explored. It all seems very surreal now, and it makes me crave another season of surreal exploration in the future. After all, shouldn’t life be just as much surreal as real? I think we need both. 🙂

      We wish you nothing but the very best in your upcoming transition. If I am interpreting your comments correctly, it sounds like you are already very familiar with RVing (as Snowbirds), so you have one less major piece of the transition to navigate (logistically and financially) than we did as RV newbies. Bonus!

      Happy Trails to you! Keep on TREKKN.


  2. We love your humor. We’re planning to hit the road next year. 34 years married and ready to see all of this country. The most difficult part is leaving the Grandchildren. Any help on taming the heartbreak of not seeing the Grandchildren every day? This is the tough part.
    Thank you for your article, truly enjoyed reading about your start up on the road.
    -The Summers

    1. Hi Cathy! Thank you so much for your comment. We don’t have grandchildren (yet) but it was definitely difficult leaving our college-age daughter behind. I dealt with guilt from traveling and seeing all of these amazing places while she was in school working hard. It was a struggle for her and us! We met quite a few grandparents on our travels who traveled full-time and for them, their families were scattered all over the U.S. so traveling this way allowed them to see their grandkids more. But, if you live close and see them all the time I can imagine that would be tough.

      Thankfully technology allows us to interact so much better these days. It made my day when we would FaceTime our daughter. Our middle son is working in Alaska right now, so getting to FaceTime him and hear about life has made missing him a little easier. I wish I had more advice. Let us know when you hit the road!

    2. Cathy,
      We too have been married for 34 years and have put feelers out for purchasing a motor home. My husband, myself, and our three poodles. (Two standard—one toy)
      I totally tested up when I read your reply. I have revolved my life around my grandchildren and to not see them daily, get their hugs and kisses😩😩😩 I know there’s FaceTime, but man, I’m so excited to begin our adventure (May is our plan) but so sad 😞 😢 at the same time. I wish you the best!!! Maybe we will meet up somewhere along the road!

  3. My wife and I are about a year from full-time RV life .
    We have recently purchased a 2019 grand design 2850 MK . We plan on doing some long weekend travels this year .
    My concern is the budget .
    I know that you work on your podcast but you didn’t mention how you prepared for this financially. If it’s in one of your blogs I have not yet read it .
    My wife has been looking for something she can do remotely and earn income with no success .

    1. Hi Rick,

      Congrats on the RV purchase and for being so close to your full-time launch date! We’re stationary at the moment but can’t wait to hit the road again.

      As far as preparing for this financially, we sold our house and used that money to get started. We also have been earning an income from blogging for quite some time, so we had that established when we hit the road.

      Here are a few blog posts on here that I hope will help:

      All about blogging:
      How we make money:
      Growing our travel blog from $0 to $5k a month in one year:

      RV Living costs:
      How much does RV living cost?

      Also, I have a friend who is a full-time RVer and she helps people find remote work. She knows way more about this topic than we do and has a fantastic blog and course all about it:

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

  4. We did it 2 years ago! Cleaned out our house in Colorado. Sold out house within one week of putting it on the market and bought our 1st RV. We made the huge mistake of buying used thinking we would remodel it but found out after a year and a half, it did not meet our needs. We were miserable. But the thought about setting roots and buying another home just to fill up with stuff again wasn’t an option either since we had grown accustomed to the minimalist lifestyle and most definitely enjoy its rewards! That’s when we went shopping and finally found exactly the floor plan to accommodate our needs and wants. We purchased our 2020 Keystone Outback 341RD and love and are enjoying it completely! Best move ever! And greatest lesson learned. If you decided to go tiny… go big with all the goodies and find something you love! We are so happy with our commitment to our new lifestyle and our new found stomping grounds in Florida! Make life count. Live it! You only get to do it once!

  5. Hi Todd and Julie, my husband wants to sell everything and do the full time RV life for at least 2 years. We actually lived in our 5th wheel for two years on our land before we built our house so we have some experience. One of my biggest psychological hurdles is the thought of getting rid of our household stuff. I read in one of your blogs that you listed your stuff for sale and it sounds like you sold it off bit by bit. Can you expand on that? Was the money you made worth the time and effort to list, sell, ship, etc.?
    I love your blog! The examples you give are really helpful! Thanks in advance,

    1. Hi Bernadette! Sorry for the late reply…I’ve been in travel mode for several days and am just getting my feet back on the ground.

      Here’s the truth: If we had to do it again, we would sell fewer of our possessions and store more of them. Now, we would definitely still sell quite a bit of our “accumulated crap” that didn’t really have any reasonable future use for sure. But keeping larger furniture items (beds, couches, tables, etc.) would definitely be our chosen path. We absolutely spent just as much, or more, replacing them as we received on the sale side before leaving.

      For some reason, I felt compelled to squeeze our stuff into a 5′ x 10′ storage unit…which probably saved me a few hundred bucks over the course of 18 months. If I had chosen to pay a little bit more 0er month for a 10′ x 10′ unit, it would absolutely have saved us some serious headache on both ends of the full-time adventure. Basically, I made it harder on us than it needed to be and I would chalk that up to a bit of “pride” for me that I downsized as much as possible.

      My advice? Drop the pride and comparison to what others are doing and just do what makes sense for your family! Whether that’s a 5×10 or a 20×10 storage unit, doing what works for you will pay off in the end. If you’re eyeing a 2 year RV adventure, I think hanging on to those larger items (as long as you actually like them) will be in your best interest.

      I hope that helps! If you have any follow-up questions, just let me know. Peace on your journey!

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