FAQs About Us

Want to know more of the details behind our full-time RVing?  This is the place, my friends…

I have pulled together a lot of the questions that we are asked regularly, and I am providing concise answers.  

chris-jen-fulltime-rver-lifestyle-faqs

Why did we decide to RV?  For the short answer, it was a combination of a lot of things, but here are the top four reasons:  1) I had been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and suffered severely for a year before choosing a natural path to wellness that finally allowed us to consider new possibilities, 2) Chris decided to leave his job and a new opportunity was presented to us that allowed him to work from home, 3) We decided that we really wanted to experience America, and 4) we were ready for a BIG change.  For more of the details, click here to check out our post on our decision to become fulltime RVers

What is your RV and Vehicle?  We have a 2006 Copper Canyon Sprinter Fifthwheel by Keystone.  We use a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel to tow it.  The truck is more than we need, and that is how we wanted to play it.  Click here for the whole story on how we found our fifthwheel.  And Click here for the whole story on how we found our truck to tow our RV.

Why did you choose Used?  It’s simple…we could afford it.  We are committed to being debt free on the road (and in general), so we bought an RV and vehicle that we could pay for outright.  Plus, no RV exists with the interior we wanted, so we didn’t want to buy something new and then renovate it.

Had you been RVing before?  Nope, not even a single night.  Our only experience was with tent camping.

Why don’t we boondock more?  The simple answer is that we have to have reliable phone service.  Chris has a serious job with serious deadlines and serious clients.  Buildings are literally waiting for him to perform his job so they can be built.  He wears the pressure well, but don’t let that fool you.  To this date, we have not found the reliability we need for his business to make the upfront investment of extended boondocking worth it for us. 

What do we do for money?  No, we did not win the lottery.  Chris does work.  Chris runs his own company that provides drafting, code study, cost estimating and residential design (Nittany Design website).  We do not make nearly as much as we used to with conventional jobs.  Our hope setting out was basically to break even while we travel and not touch our savings.  As with any small business, some months are better than others; but we have seen steady growth along the way.  Click here for a video on how we maintain an income on the road.

What are your expenses like?  This question is a tough one because spending is so subjective.  What is important to me may not be important to you, and vice versa.  However, at the end of one full year on the road, we compiled our cost data and you can click here to learn more about our RV Living Cost. If you are trying to figure out a budget for RVing for yourself, click here for our budget worksheets and instructions to help you.

How do we handle domicile and mail?  Since we were new to RVing and not sure how we would fare, we decided not to change our domicile in order to keep it as simple as possible.  When we set out, we were hoping to make it three months in our RV, so it didn’t make sense to go through that whole process to potentially do it again in three months.  My sister & brother-in-law kindly offered to handle our mail, so we changed our permanent address to their house in Pennsylvania.  We had a lot going on when we made the switch…selling a home, moving to a rental, quitting our jobs (Chris ran the office so it was a big deal), selling my car, buying an RV, buying a truck, spending weeks renovating the RV ourselves, selling our stuff, and we took in a stray cat that had kittens in our basement (we found homes for everyone) all within the span of a few months – the last thing we needed was another involved process when we were ready to hit the road!  

What are the biggest challenges we have faced in our RV?  I see, you want to prepare for the worst.  Well, overall, we have truly been pleasantly surprised in our travels.  We did have two tire blowouts, we faced our first tornado, and Chris even got pulled over by the Police once.  But, we are counting our blessings.  

Do we have any pets?  Nope, just us.  We have always wanted a dog, but our work schedules were such that we never felt able to be home enough to meet the dog’s needs the way we wanted to.  After we sold our house, we rented a one-room schoolhouse, and we ended up taking in a stray pregnant cat (long story).  She had the personality of a dog – she would actually go on walks with us every day after work.  Anyway, we found homes for the kittens, and my parents have the Momma, Lucky.  We still would like to have a dog someday, and we have found RVing to be conducive to pets. I used to keep chickens too, and how I wish I could put a chicken cage on to Aunt Glady like the original western settlers did, but, for now, no chickens!

Click for more About Us!

Got a question?  Leave it in the comments.

26 comments on “FAQs About Us

  1. Hi,
    What equipment (camera, laptop) do you use for recording/editing your videos?
    Paul

    • Hi, Paul! Great questions! For the videos we usually just use my phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S6. We also have a DSLR camera, but we usually only use that for photos. My laptop was an old one that our workplace no longer wanted, so they gave it to me when we quit our jobs, so that I would have it on the road. It is a Dell Vostro 3560. We hope that our lack of equipment and experience proves that you don’t need it to still have decent videos. Hope that is helpful!

      • Thanks, yes very helpful. I have been impressed with your videos , obviously your equipment is handling the filming tasks with ease. Keep up the good work! Really enjoy your travels 🙂
        Paul
        nomadic.rv

  2. I really enjoyed your videos on YouTube (I’m addicted to researching the RV lifestyle). My wife and I are planning our RV life. Right now we spend about 3-4 months a year living in our truck camper. We both have full-time + jobs, but that will soon end as we enter our next phase of life. We have started a business and with that and other investments we plan on financing our new life. If your ever near Lake Powell send us a message, would love to chat (we met a lot of others with fascinating stories) Plus on occasion we have a home with full hook ups and let people stay a night or two. Message me if you’re ever in our hood. The website is part of our business and the house with hook ups. We are both on Facebook as well.

    Chuck

    • Hi, Chuck! We will definitely let you know if we are in the area. Lake Powell is in our sights for sure. We passed through there last summer, and some of the people we met from St. George told us about the lake. We had never heard of it before, so we decided to stop at the dam and check it out on our way through. AMAZING! We definitely want to get back. We love Utah – I think it is still Chris’ favorite state! 🙂 That is so great that you are enjoying the truck camper! At some point, we would love to downsize to something like that to really make the travel simple. Our sincerest best wishes to you as you shift in to a new life phase with your own business and prospects of more RVing – so exciting!!! Thanks for reaching out, and we will definitely let you know if we get close to your area.

      • Thank you for replying. The truck camper is great, but we are considering up sizing to fifth wheel or Toy hauler. Pros and cons..Pros and cons… we all really want the 40 foot class A that turn into a pup tent with the click of a button..lol Maybe the Tartus from Dr. Who will go up for sale??? Just stole all your budget worksheets, very nice, already had a good electronic budget SS,but your work is nice. I’m sure I can learn something from the,. I do hope you guys swing by Lake Powell. I may even need to hire your husband for his design skills one of these days. Too many idea pop into my head.. who knows. BTW I will be trying to get my boat ready for next summer (needs some tender care).. Time your visit right and ???

        • Lol – I would love to see the Tartus on the road! We know in our hearts that we will definitely be back to Utah, and to have an opportunity to go out on Lake Powell, would truly be a dream come true for us! You have us rethinking our summer plans!

  3. Just found your channel and after doing some research on our life style change we are about to embark on. Unlike you 20 years ago i lived in an RV but like you our life got to wrapped up in maintaining a small farm and a old house. On our way to go look at a new truck my wife and i decided to sell everything by a bigger truck and a rv and hit the road. We bought a 2003 dodge like yours. This summer we will by a rv. My next job looks to be in san Antonio and will last about a year. I have been researching lake Madina because we will be taking our boat. What park did you stay at at the lake? By the way i think you can stretch your oil changes out more even with regular oil. Read the cummins manual. Also just watch the transmission temperature. My old 95 1500 had the worst transmission ever. I put a gauge on to watch it and i sold it with 300,000 miles on it and pulled stuff to Colorado and back to texas.

    • Hi Kyle! Sounds like you have some exciting things ahead in the year to come. We stayed at Lake Medina RV Resort and actually wound up going back for another stay about one month later. We thoroughly enjoyed this RV park. Very secluded, quiet, lots of space between a number of the RV spots, and you are right on the beautiful lake. I would highly recommend it, and their rates are reasonable as well. I would imagine with a long term stay like you are considering you may be able to get an even better rate, definitely worth asking them about. I’ll check the truck manual on the oil change guidelines, thanks for the heads up. Best of luck to you!!

  4. I have thoroughly enjoyed your videos! My wife and I are seriously thinking of upgrading our small camper, selling our home and hitting the road. We have had this crazy idea for a year or so and after seeing your videos, I want to go more than ever. We have had some great vacations exploring the U.S. and am amazed at how much our Country has to offer. When you guys started, did you have a specific route you wanted to follow ? For example did you work your way down the east coast then out west or did you just pick a spot and randomly pick another from there? I’m sure I could think of a thousand more questions, and your videos are successful in answering many. Thank you for sharing them.

    • Hi, Bob! Thanks so much for the encouraging, kind words! We are so excited to hear that you are an RVer, and may possibly be making the move to fulltime. Either way, we are glad you are able to enjoy the lifestyle! When we started out, we were desperate to go West. We had already done a lot of travelling on the East Coast (not as Rvers, just as vacations), so our priority was seeing something new. I love history, so we decided to follow in the footsteps of so many before us and head to St. Louis first, and then follow the Oregon Trail for a while. We left the trail to enjoy the Blackhills, Badlands and Yellowstone. Then, we dropped in to Utah to hit up their national parks before returning to PA to visit family last year. For the winter of 2015, we spent it in Florida and Alabama, then made our way to the West Coast through the southern states and then all the way up the coast to Washington. We still have a lot yet to see, and we do believe that each state has something awesome to offer! Hope that was helpful, and please feel free to ask away! 🙂

  5. I seem to remember some comments about a huge repair to the front of the rv… is that correct? How did (or is) that going?

    • Hi, Ted! Yes, we have some delamination that we would like to deal with. Chris is considering redoing the roof as well. He is still doing the research and trying to come up with new solutions that may be an even better fit. We will definitely document what we decide to do, and will film the process. Thanks for the reminder to make sure we record that info.! If you have any suggestions, let us know.

  6. Hi you 2. I have always said that a person should do what you all are doing. Figure out a way to see this glorious country we live in while young. We get told to work hard, save our money to be able to retire financial well and then travel and do what you are doing. We bought on first rv in 2008 and then bought a 2009 dodge 1 ton 4X4 single axle which we love-very depenabe- as you all know. Then in 2011 traded for a 5th wheel cedar creek with level up. I retired from FCC 6 years ago thinking we would go full time rving but what happens a person gets old not able to do things lik when young. Love all you videos. You all are so lucky. Also now it is to hard to leave our area permanently . The nice thing we have done is travel all over the US with my job and we have also Rved lots. But as one gets older it’s very DIFFICULT to get around. We still rv a lot. We love Branson, mo. If you all get to southern Mo contact us we have ownership in a resort in Branson that you would love.

    • Hi, Phil! Thank you for sharing how much you have loved RVing and your set-up. We are very grateful to be able to do this kind of travelling while we are young, and we hope to be able to keep it going for a while. We would like to make it to Branson some day. The company Chris used to work for was a structural engineering firm that did the structural design for Sight & Sound there and in Lancaster. We have seen a few shows in Lancaster, and if we make it to Branson, I will gladly let you know. Thank you for reaching out, and we are so glad that you found us!

  7. Do you have an option in the planner that isn’t specific to the year? Something where we write in the dates? We are leaving on our year’s trip in Sept and only want to take one book.

    Thanks

    • Hi, Kim! We do not have a non-specific option at this time. I am sorry for that inconvenience.

  8. Good morning, Jen and Chris. I have been curious about something, since watching my first Wander Freely YouTube video. If I may ask, what is the silver urn that sits on your dinette? It’s beautiful, and apparently needed, because it is always there. Just curious. Have watched a bunch of your videos and enjoy the loving interaction with the two of you. I just watched your late night drive outside of the Sequoia National park, something my husband and I would do. Hope you have a blessed day.

    • Hi, Shirley! It is a Berkey water filter – we are asked about it a lot! I think I will do a post soon to explain what it does and why we use one – stay tuned for that! Also, thank you for the kind words – it means so much to us. Blessings, Jen

  9. Hi Chris & Jen I’m very excited about your travels I have been watching your youtube videos. The washer/dryer installation what awesome (keep it simple). and does pull on you RV amps.

    You two are quite blessed and a blessing.

    My wive Suzanne and I can relate we are much older in are 40s we live on northeast PA and plan to rv fulltime in a couple years. Suzanne is a RN for a trauma 1 ICU and I’m I engineering technician (design/CAD/programmer) for automotive.

    We have rv’ed with are 8 children (not fulltime) to around 25 state. For many years.

    We Look forward to see more of you adventures.

    Three questions
    1. Have you ever tried and autoformer if so how did it work for you.
    2. Priming and painting over the factory “wall paper” did any start to curl up.
    3. Since your tire blow outs did you find out was pressure increase or temp more a fault.

    Mike

    • Hi Mike! Thanks so much for the kind message, I’m glad that you have enjoyed our content! That is so exciting that you and your wife are looking to fulltime in a couple of years, woohoo!! It sounds like you already have a lot of great RVing under your belt, I’m sure you are excited to get to spend more time on the road exploring this beautiful country. 25 states down, many more to go!! I had never heard of an autoformer until you mentioned it, and the little bit of reading I have done on them since has me very interested. I’ll definitely be looking into them in greater depth to see how they could help our current power situation on the road. Thanks for the great suggestion!! Priming and painting over the “wall paper” couldn’t have gone better. We didn’t have any areas that started to peel up, and by the end of it we had four coats of paint on the walls! Regarding the tires, I think it was a combination of heat and old tires. They were the original tires from when we bought the camper so we had no real way of knowing how old they were. They looked ok, no evidence of sidewall rot, the treads looked good, but how do you really know. We were in southern Texas for a while before the blowouts, so heat was definitely a factor. After the first blowout, when I put the spare tire on I noticed it wasn’t the same load rating as the other tires…not good. I think that played a role in the other tire blowing out two days later, it was taking too much load because the spare tire wasn’t pulling its weight, literally in this case. So now we have all new tires and a new spare, all match in type and age, and I feel better about the whole situation! As I fix and/or replace each thing on the camper it is a good feeling to know at least that part is sound. In the next month or so I’ll be tackling some exterior camper rehab projects that should be quite an adventure! Thanks so much for following!

  10. I am levning in Denmark and I am starting to
    Get ready to go to US for
    Tur in USA aunt for 2 years in Mie now Rv
    Entegra Anthem 44,11 F fod
    Meby vi mit on the road

    • Hi, Carsten! Congratulations! That is very exciting! We wish you safe travels and a great tour of the USA! We would love to meet you, if our paths cross!

  11. Thanks for all the useful information, My wife and I just got our first RV (fifth wheel) and had quite the adventure bringing her home from Nebraska to Tampa Florida via Ohio (1800 miles). We sadly dont have a generator built into our fifth wheel making boon docking impossible we feel in the high heat of the south. We have a portable generator that can power the fifth wheel but not sure if it would be acceptable to use on the road, can you share your thoughts on this? Jim & Terri

    • Wow, talk about breaking it in! Well done! When we first set out, we considered solar/generators/boondocking, but it was a bigger investment up front than we wanted to make, especially since we were not really sure how much we would use it. Over our two years on the road, we have found it to be difficult for us to boondock due to our situation with Chris’ work. It is just not a viable option. We do overnighters occasionally, or even 2 nights, but that is it. We have met people who love and people who hate generators, and we have met people who love and people who hate solar. Either option comes with its own set of problems/considerations. Our advice is always to work with what you currently have, rather than spend money up front on something that you may or may not use. As you spend time on the road, you will learn if investing in to a different option is the right choice for you. Boondocking is great in the southwest, and certain parts of the country; but it does not work out well everywhere – that will depend on your travel plans. You are right about the South – it is the humidity that makes it so difficult. In the southwest desert areas, there is no humidity, so while it is hot during the day, it is cold at night – you don’t get that kind of reprieve in the South. We have talked with some folks that do use portable generators, but they mentioned that even with two generators running they couldn’t power everything (fridge, AC unit, computers, etc.) at the same time (those were big fifthwheels). So you’ll want to fully understand exactly what all you’ll be able run given your generator setup. But, using a portable generator is certainly doable, and we would start there since you already have one. Sounds like you guys are doing a lot of great planning and research, please let us know if you have any other questions! Hope this was helpful!

      • Thanks for the advice and thanks for all the videos on RVing, I am not sure I would have been able to do take on RVing without all the advice you both put out here. During our 1800 mile journey, we had an emergency window come loose (thanks to the trucker that let us know), a blown (Shedded) tire (Thanks to Good Sams roadside assistance), and the handle for the fifth wheel lock break off (Thanks to a pair of vice Grips) we survived with no stress. Thanks for all advice you offer!

        Jim

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