The Adventure Begins!

Interview – Brian and Michelle at LivinRVision

Today, we sat down and interviewed Brian and Michelle over at LivinRVision. Their adventure started in 2018 and is still bringing them wonderful memories every day. There are so many different ways to live a full-time RV lifestyle that it’s important to hear from different nomads to see how they are doing it. You might even learn a new way to save some money, generate revenue while you’re out there, or some handy dandy tips and tricks before you pull the trigger and join the ranks of full-time nomads yourself.

Learn more about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to nomadic living and check out the awesome interview below.

1. How long have you been full-time in an RV, van, skoolie, or other conversion? 

We started the day before Thanksgiving of 2018,  as the buyer of our house asked to move in the day before Thanksgiving.  We are now starting year 2 of living in our motorhome.

2. What is your current set-up like (E.g. RV, van, skoolie, etc.)?

A 2009 Newmar Ventana 3960 diesel pusher named Vinny. 🙂 Vinny has 3 slides, 1 full bath with a stackable washer/dryer, queen bed and a 10 cu ft RV refrigerator which we have found has sufficient room for food for two people.

3. What is the most memorable experience you have had so far living your lifestyle? 

We have had so many memorable experiences, good and not so good, that it is really hard to pick. I would say our best experiences so far are staying in southern California near Palm Springs, the San Francisco area, Orlando and Key West, visiting the Vicksburg National Military Park to see the civil war monument that listed Michelle’s great-great grandfather on it and the ability to care for my (Brian) dad  when he was needing in-home hospice care.  This is something that I may not of been able to do if I was still working for an employer locally.

Our most memorable bad experiences have been when the RV dealership crashed our motorhome and would not pay for the extra expenses and of course when my (Brian) father passed away.  I felt a tremendous amount of guilt for not living closer and getting more time with him and at the same time, I felt very fortunate that I was able to care for him those last 2 1/2 weeks of his life. I was truly blessed to care for him and I could tell it meant a lot to him as well.

4. How do you support your lifestyle (E.g. to earn an income)?

Michelle still works her same full time job that her company graciously allowed her to work remotely.  Brian quit his jobs and now works full time on their YouTube channel (LivinRVision) and trying to build that channel to inspire and help others live their visions as well. 

5. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced so far?  

A) When the dealership we purchased “Vinny” from failed to properly fix some issues that they were supposed to take care of. We did finally get them to agree to take care of the issues, but they then crashed “Vinny” into one of their support poles in their building.  This was at one of their new facilities that did not have a body/paint shop yet, so they were not able to fix Vinny and instead, cut us a check to have Vinny fixed by a third party.  We then had to wait for parts to arrive and in the meantime we found ourselves searching to find a place to stay before and during the time our motorhome was in the repair shop and we were not reimbursed for these extra expenses.  B) When our refrigerator failed, we had a hard time getting our warranty company to pay for the replacement.  C) Our tankless hot water heater recently went bad and we had a hard time getting the warranty company to agree to pay again and then the company that builds the tankless water heaters had to order a board to build the unit.  We are sitting at 4 weeks with no hot water. 

6. Do you long-term/short-term at RV parks, Boondock, or Urban dwell? Can you tell us a little about your experience?

We utilize our Thousand Trails membership as much as we can as well as our Trails Collection add-on to stay at Encore properties.  This enables us to save a ton of money and still have the luxuries of an RV resort.  We typically stay between 2 to 3 weeks long at a Thousand Trails and 2 weeks at an Encore property.  We do rarely utilize our RPI, Passport America, Harvest Host or Good Sam’s memberships.  Out of those last 4 choices, we have stayed the most at Harvest Host.  

We only boon-dock when we are traveling a long distance and need a place to stay overnight.  When we do this, our main place we stay has been Cracker Barrel, as they have all been RV friendly with dedicated RV parking areas. 

7. What does your daily routine look like? 

We start our days Mon – Fri both working from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm with extra occasional hours that Brian works in the evenings as well.  One thing that we did not realize before going full time, was the amount of hours that are involved with a YouTube channel and all that it requires.  Brian started working 60-80 hours per week for the first 5 months and then had to force himself to bring it down to 50-60  to reduce burnout. You have to realize that your lives come first and you sometimes just have to “say no” even though you have more work that you can do.  The work involved with a YouTube channel, website, and all the social media sites can be never ending and it is very hard to stop working.  The editing alone on the videos can take up a ton of time, depending on how creative you get and how particular you are or want to be. 🙂

8. I think the biggest question that a lot of people would like to know is, how much does it cost to live your particular life-style? Everybody’s different.

We have found that you can live for as little or as much as you want, depending on your income  level, whether you stay put in one spot for a longer term, whether that be “Work Camping” or boon-docking.  Since we have to move every 2-3 weeks with Thousand Trails, we try to stay close to an area where we can go back and fourth, park to park and save on fuel costs.  On average, we get around 9.2-9.5mpg if we drive between 62-65 mph in our 40ft 350 Cummins diesel motorhome, pulling a 2017 Hyundai Sonata. Before going full time in our RV, we had a nice 3 yr old home that was close to 1500 sq ft on the main level with the same sq ft in the basement. We have realized that we still spend about the same amount of money now living full time in our motorhome, utilizing the Thousand Trails system as we did living in our house.  The main reason is fuel costs when traveling. The less distance you travel within a short period of time (say a month), the easier it is to stick to your budget. 

9. Any plans or goals for the future? Where to next? What more does your adventure have to hold?

We really enjoy the Southwest the most, as we both love the dryer climate.  We would love to caravan to Mexico, Canada, Alaska and then Europe.

10. If you could give one tip, the biggest and most important one you can think of to someone thinking about trying a lifestyle like you’re living, what would the tip be?

Try to find a “home” big enough to be comfortable in yet small enough and easier to maintain yourself with less headaches.  BONUS:  It would be our recommendation to not use a dolly and find a tow vehicle that you can pull 4 wheels down.  Dollies are a real pain in our opinion and you also need to be sure you and your spouse/partner both feel comfortable operating both the RV and the towing system.  If something were to happen to one of you, the other person needs to be able to take over. Do your research on as much as you can.  All RVs have their issues but there are some makes that generally have less issues than other makes. Entry level RVs are notorious for having more issues than others.  There really is so many things that could be covered with this question, that it could make an entire book. 🤔

Learn more about Brian & Michelle at LivinRVision :