How We Became Full-time Travelers in 2015

2015 was a year of creating and achieving goals for us. It was the first time either of us really envisioned a huge plan and wrote down simple daily & monthly goals to manifest it. The outcome was an amazing, yet natural transition to a life of full-time travel in our 1985 Fiber Stream camper.

Here’s our year in review!

Leading up to 2015

We decided in September of 2014 that we were going to live full-time on the road. At this time we held a huge yard sale to help us declutter and begin a small savings account.

Our anticipated departure date was set: September 1st, 2015.

January

It wasn’t until January of 2015 that we actually wrote our goals on paper. The goals were addressing our most challenging issue – money! We created a strict budget that eliminated going out to eat, and decided upon a realistic amount of money to deposit into savings every week (between the two of us I think we agreed on $300 a week).

During this time we’d complete a nightly, national scan of Craigslist in search for the perfect camper – affordable, functional, and unique. We also discovered the wealth of information about fulltiming on YouTube (many thanks to Technomadia and Gone with the Wynns). These nights of dreaming and learning together were as rich as any of our travels!

February

We had one solid month of savings and research under our belts; our financial goals were right on track.

It was time to look for a furry travel companion. As we envisioned life on the road, we knew we wanted the friendship and security of a dog. With Olivia’s lead, we made multiple visits to the Baldwin County Animal Control and found our pretty pup! Neither of us had been “dog owners” before, and we were amazed how much love an animal could bring into our home.

We made several “potential camper viewing” trips in February; so many overpriced, under maintained campers out there! We drove to Biloxi (1.5 hours away), Valdosta (3 hours), and Panama City (2 hours). All of our searches in February came up empty.

March

March was pretty uneventful. We were still kicking butt in the budget department, being totally frugal and sometimes putting more than the $300 weekly goal into our savings account.

I was picking up additional solo gigs for extra cash, and Olivia was anticipating the busy season at Big Daddy’s Grill. We were also selling some of our “toys” to thicken the savings account.

And, we were loving our play-time with River!

April

Finally our persistence and patience of camper-searching paid off! We found a 1985 Fiber Stream located just north of Atlanta. It was unique, weighed the appropriate amount, and under our budget. We contacted the sellers the evening it was listed on Craigslist, and were on our way to pick it up the next morning. It was a long, wet day (and night) of driving, but we eventually made it back home with our new “home on wheels”.

We decided it was time to create a blog and begin documenting our transition – “Drivin & Vibin’” was born!

In late April our friend Julie wrote this on our Facebook page: “Don’t forget our standing invite to come use the shop and DPs expertise…” I’m not sure she knew what she was in for!

May

In May we took Julie & David up on their offer and parked our Fiber Stream in their yard. Here we had access to a metal shop, wood shop, and a wealth of knowledge. We were timid about renovating the camper, but David gave us lots of advice and a hand with the challenging tasks.

Olivia began working a second job at an organic blueberry farm. She was able to put that entire paycheck into savings every week. With spring break in full form, I was gigging five nights a week. We were exceeding our financial goals by leaps and bounds.

June

As June rolled around we began seeing progress with the camper renovation. I was rediscovering my welding skills as David and I rebuilt the trailer frame and flipped the leaf springs. We were still exceeding our saving goals and able to begin purchasing parts for the camper renovation.

Olivia and I decided to splurge and get “home sweet home” tattoos (Man O War) in remembrance of our cabin in the woods.

July

Summer was blazing hot! Olivia was still working her butt of at the blueberry farm and I was at the beach everyday playing for the tourists.

However, we still completed a heap of renovations; we extended the tongue, welded a new coupler & jack, added a tool box, fabricated a bumper with tire mount, picked out fabric for re-upholstery, and welded on a axe & shovel mount.

Janna, of Sunshine Sisters, did an amazing job of re-upholstering our cushions!

As our initial departure date of September 1st was quickly approaching, we decided to give ourselves a cushion and push it back a few weeks to September 15th.

August

We were feeling the pressure of completing camper renovations and moving out of our cabin! Fortunately, Olivia finally finished her job at the blueberry farm and could give me much needed extra help on the camper.

We added solar power, installed new brakes, repainted the exterior stripe, and installed all new LED lights.

Emptying the cabin of “stuff” became an area of concern! My favorite method of disposal is by fire. Olivia prefers donating our unwanted possessions. We met somewhere in the middle.

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We did manage to take a break and float down Styx River with our friends!

Getting the news that my dad would be in town at the end of September, we revised our departure date one final time to September 28th.

September

We were down to the wire – lots still had to be done on the camper and in the cabin.

By September 23rd we completed all camper renovations – rewiring lights, installing wood floors, building new doors, building new shelves, welding on stabilizers, installing the composting toilet, and reworking the plumbing for the grey water tank.

With the renovations complete, we were able to haul the camper up to Big Daddy’s for our “Going Away Party”. It was a blast. So many kind and generous friends came out to celebrate.

Olivia’s family was a huge help with clearing out our cabin. They made multiple truck loads, hauling off our soon-to-be-useless possessions.

All of our projects were complete and we could finally take our camper on a test run at Gulf State Park. The test run went well and all systems functioned properly.

The two days before we left were pretty stressful with tying up loose ends. Everything felt surreal at this point. We were jumping into a life totally unknown to us. Our departure morning finally arrived, and we drove away from Alabama at 4am on our way to Hot Springs, Arkansas.

October

We quickly grew accustomed to living in the camper. Our October travels brought us to Osage Beach (Missouri), Kansas, numerous Colorado parks, Moab, Zion, Nevada, and finally California!

November

By November we officially felt like fulltimers. We spent the majority of the month at Lake Piru. Here we were able to tour Los Angeles, spend Thanksgiving with family, and make new friends.

We created and executed our monthly budget with success.

December

As a year has passed, we find ourselves in Desert Hot Springs, California traveling slowly. We’ve learned so many lessons this year. Most importantly, we learned anything is possible with a simple plan.

 

Thanks for reading our blog. Help support our mission – to live freely and deliberately – by checking out our Etsy store, shopping Amazon through our link, or treating us to a virtual latte!

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3 thoughts on “How We Became Full-time Travelers in 2015

Add yours

  1. We spent our first full time Dec/Jan in Desert Hot Springs last year. We loved it and plan to return in Dec. 2017. Loved the summary of your year.

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  2. When grocery shopping are you using coupons? This can save you a bundle. Who doesn’t like free food right?
    If you are not using them, you should. call the local area newspaper and see if they have a discount on sunday paper if you purchase on monday (usually it’s $.75 per paper if you buy 5) learning which stores in the area have the best deals matching with coupons.
    Good luck and may ya’ll have a great future in RV’g

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