Being a free-spirited full-timer isn’t just for retired folks. Many people are figuring out how to do it long before retirement and they’re having a ball.
Take Caleb and Kristy Simpson of Austin, Texas. In 2015, these thirty-something parents ditched their traditional suburban life for nomadic RV living with kids.
A sense of home wherever they roam
Caleb and Kristy were bitten by the travel bug when they met a full-time RVing family of four at a rock climbing event. As devoted outdoor sports and fitness enthusiasts, Kristy immediately knew that full-timing was the life for them. After some gentle persuasion, Caleb agreed. RV living was the perfect way to satisfy their wanderlust.
They could rock climb, run and roam wherever they wanted, but still give their growing family a strong sense of home. Newly invigorated by their new commitment to debt-free living, changing gears to a tiny home and simple lifestyle just made sense.
As many young families who go full-time RVing with kids experience, the people closest to Caleb and Kristy didn’t share their enthusiasm for full-timing.
“Our whole family thought we were crazy,” writes Caleb in the couple’s blog. “Our friends all said it was cool, but inside they probably thought we had lost our mind. What parent in their right mind would live in 250 square-feet of space with two toddlers? Our minds had been made up though, and nothing was going to change it.”
“Our parents hated the idea,” Kristy said. “They did all they could to talk us out of it.” Most people figured the novelty would quickly wear off and the couple would go back to living in a ‘real’ house, she recalls. “We’ve actually fallen in love with it and now we’re telling them ‘This is our house!’”
After deciding to give full-time RVing a try, the couple traveled to Nashville to thank the man who inspired them to live debt-free, the financial guru Dave Ramsey.
Balancing a business and RV living with kids
In 2015, the couple paid cash for their used 30-foot Four Winds trailer and Dodge 3500 pickup. Downsizing into the rig was relatively easy since their tiny two bedroom apartment didn’t have room for too many possessions. “We cut it to the quick when we moved out of the apartment,” says Kristy. “I’ve been very pleasantly surprised with how little we actually needed, even with the kids.”
Adapting to their new lifestyle was easiest of all for young Abby (age 3.5) and Josh (age 2). “Our kids are so young. Josh doesn’t even remember life before the RV and Abby doesn’t care,” says Kristy.
As long as the kids know where they’ll lay their head at night, they’ve had no problem adapting to RV living, says Kristy.
The family kicked things off by traveling to some of their favorite outdoor spots, like the Rockies and Utah. Caleb even fulfilled a dream to complete the Wasatch Front 100-mile Endurance Race. Going that great a distance was relatively easy for the 37-year old vegan athlete. After all, his efforts were fueled by his own creation: Bearded Brothers Energy Bars.
Founded in 2011 with his brother-in-law, Chris, the bars are made with mostly raw, non-GMO, soy and gluten free ingredients. Even at $4 each, the tasty organic fuel is knocking out the competition at retails stores like Whole Foods.
A crew of 10 employees is responsible for the company’s success. There’s a lot to manage but it hasn’t stopped Caleb and his family from living on their terms and traveling when they want to.
“My team is very much self-managed for the most part,” he explains. After experiencing a few lessons in human resources, Bearded Brothers can now pinpoint the right employees to facilitate Caleb and Kristy’s unconventional lifestyle. “We want people who are more self-motivated,” says Kristy. “We want to continue to travel knowing that we have a team that likes to be left alone and self-sufficient.”
In September 2016, the couple welcomed a third child into their lives. “Of course our family and friends are now asking us, “Are you going to move back into an apartment now, or find a house?” writes Caleb in the couple’s blog. “And our answer is simply, No. We love tiny living, and our kids do too.”
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.