Today’s post was written by Bill from The Wandering RV. Bill and his girlfriend were fresh out of college when they hit the road in their Class C. Little did they know they’d be back at Granny’s house soon after. Read up to see what happened and how through grit and determination, they’re getting back on the road before winter. 

 

Living in an RV is really a dream come true.

You can travel anywhere you want, any time you want. You can park overlooking beautiful scenic mountains and get million-dollar beach views – without having a million dollars.

(Or even a few hundred.)

This lifestyle is truly incredible. Words can’t even describe it.

Words also can’t describe the horrible week when Kayla and I lost two of our major clients and over 80% of our income. It shattered our RVing dreams.

But let me back up. The whole story isn’t so grim. Let’s start at the beginning.

Fresh out of college – The Wandering RV is born.

Kayla and I started seriously considering the RV life two months before I graduated college. I was having some minor success with my freelance writing career, and convinced her to leave her daycare job to do freelance writing with me.

After only two months of last-minute planning, we bought an RV that was way out of our budget (that was our first mistake). It was a great RV, but we shouldn’t have spent so much on it.

This is Big Old Bertha the Brute, our first RV!

Skipping ahead, we left for our RV adventures in late July. We did some work camping in Bethel, Maine to help pay for our stay. It was only minimum wage, which was a bummer, but it helped us stay afloat as we got the hang of everything.

Plus, we got to use their kayaks for free, which was SO much fun.

the wandering rv kayak
Kayaking down the Androscoggin river in Bethel, ME.

This is also right around the time we started our blog, The Wandering RV. The original idea was to keep our friends and family happy and informed of our travels. It’s grown to be so much more than that (but more on that later).

All was going well, until we came back home to Pennsylvania.

Losing 80% of our income overnight.

This is where the story takes a turn for the worst. Kayla and I both lost what was basically our only clients – and all of our income.

Unfortunately, in college, I maxed out all of my credit cards to launch my first few businesses – eCommerce sites, an Etsy store, and even a promotional products company – none of which made it to profitability.

However, there is a lesson to be learned here:

Knowing what I now know, you MUST fail in order to succeed. Kayla and I are now happily self-employed, making over three times what we’ve ever made at any job before. But we never would have made it here without learning from past failures.

Anyway, back to losing our clients – we were stuck in my grandparents backyard. We couldn’t afford food or even the RV payment. We had to rely heavily on my grandparents for everything.

(Gram, if you’re reading this – you are the biggest blessing in my life. I love you SO much and would not be anywhere near the man I am today if I didn’t have you. Thank you for everything. And even though I love you so much, that was possibly the hardest two and a half months of my entire life.)

Living in an RV went from being the greatest freedom to the tightest trap. We were stuck in her backyard, unable to afford gas to leave or money to pay for RV parks.

And as much as I love my grandparents, living with them for so long was a struggle. It was money problems, on top of being stuck at their house in the woods, on top of living in a cramped space with all our stuff cluttering the RV. To make matters worse, winter was coming.

(Any other Game of Thrones fans?)

When you hit rock bottom, the only way out is up.

At this point, Kayla and I were constantly arguing, and I felt like a useless burden on everyone around me. My life felt like it was falling apart, and I was becoming depressed.

However, it’s also at this time that I found a podcast called Entrepreneur On Fire by John Lee Dumas. I also started reading a book called Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins.

John and Tony sculpted me. They took this shattered pile of bits and created a man obsessed with seeing success and fulfilling his dreams.

Every day of that two months I went on a walk in the morning to listen to JLD’s podcast and every afternoon I read Tony’s book. I worked tirelessly day and night on my business. Thankfully, despite being overly stressed in the worst point of our entire relationship, Kayla had my back and supported me every step of the way.

I’d like to take this time to say I love you, Kayla. Thank you for all your support. Just like my grandma, I would not be the man I am today without you.

After working 80+ hours for several weeks straight, Kayla and I were finally able to make enough money to make a move. We also got some money from Kayla’s grandparents, whom are two of the greatest people I’ve ever met in my life. I owe you both for helping raise Kayla into the wonderful woman she is today.

With winter coming, the pressure was on. It was already dropping into the mid 30’s at night and sleeping in the RV was miserable. We could have slept in my grandparent’s house, but we wanted to stay with our stuff. It was hard enough having to spend most of our days there.

So, we made the obvious choice – took all our savings and moved down to Georgia.

Getting back on our feet… and then some.

Here’s where the story really takes an upswing!

We moved into an apartment in Georgia. When we got there, our jaws dropped – it was a gated apartment complex, and totally unlike anything we’d ever experienced before. We felt like we were in a rich person’s community on a poor person’s budget.

wandering rv lives in an apartment
Imagine going your whole life living in 40+year old apartments to seeing this!

It was a tough ride, and we struggled a lot for the first four months living here. We put the RV in storage (since they wouldn’t let us keep it there), and didn’t even have a car! We had to walk or ride our bikes to Walmart for groceries every week. It was two miles away.

I will say, though, that the experience strengthened us. You can’t go through something like that and not have it change you. Besides, we were just grateful to finally have our own space. Writing about it almost bring tears to my eyes… I can barely believe we even went through all this.

It was a good thing, though. Not having a car forced us to shop light and stopped us from going out and spending money. It also gave us a LOT of time to work on our businesses.

In January of this year, my income tripled. All my hard work was finally bearing fruit. I had been networking and broke into a new group, where I got tons of referrals and made some great writer and marketer friends.

(In case you’re curious, I’m a content marketing and SEO consultant. I help businesses use their blog to grow their traffic, drive leads, and close sales.)

Now that we’re back on we’re feet (and then some), we’re looking to the future.

What’s next: Getting back to the RV lifestyle.

Now that we’ve been hustling, growing our businesses, and saving up money, we’re ready to full-time again. In fact, when our lease is up this November, we’ll be hitting the road – with more determination than ever.

We realized that we miss that life. We don’t know where we want to live yet, so why settle for our best guess? Besides, we’re adventurers at heart. We want to see every corner of this Earth. It’s one of our dreams.

Speaking of dreams…

The key takeaways.

Kayla and I have been together for two and a half years as of this writing. We’re only now at a point where we’re in a good situation financially. We’ve struggled – a lot.

But those six months of being flat broke, with over $15,000 in credit card debt, $30,000 in school loan debt, and $30,000 in debt on our RV were unlike anything we’ve ever experienced. It was truly rock bottom.

Those times of immense struggle shaped and strengthened us beyond anything we ever could have achieved living a “comfortable” life.

Constantly pushing your comfort zone, challenging yourself, and taking calculated risks are all a necessary part of living the life of your dreams. The important part is that you never, ever give up. Persistence is one of the driving forces to success, no matter who you are or where you are in your career.

In fact, I hung this poster right above my office bathroom’s toilet, so I can be reminded of how true that is every single time I take a wiz:

That poster was actually a gift from my grandma. So thanks again, gram! 🙂

Oh, I almost forget – I mentioned the growth of The Wandering RV but didn’t tell you what we’re doing. We’ve actually recently started interviewing fellow full-time RVers to bring together the community.

We’re trying to connect like-minded people.

Knowing there are others out there with dreams just like yours, who have overcome the obstacles you’re currently facing, is one of the strongest and fastest ways to make your visions a reality.

For example, Liz actually added her input, along with 30+ other full-timers, to reveal the best RV accessories. We’ve also written a post interviewing 20+ nomads to share their story of why and how they decided to live in an RV. I encourage you to check it out!

Anyway, I hope our story has helped shed some light on the reality of entrepreneurship and the mobile lifestyle. If you come away with anything, let it be this…

No matter how hard things may seem, no matter what obstacles you’re currently facing, there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel if you persist. Become obsessed with making your dreams a reality and you can accomplish anything. Nothing is impossible with the right mindset and massive action.

Start today. Take action on your dreams. Stop letting it take the back seat. Nothing can stop you if you just go for it. And it’s never as scary as it seems.

Good luck – and don’t forget to share this and leave a comment so we can impact as many lives as possible. Thanks for having us, Liz!

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15 thoughts on “What to Do When Your RVing Dream Turns into a Nightmare

  1. I’ve been struggling since my husband passed away 3 years ago we had a Campground we owed am about $250,000.00 in debt can’t sell the Campground we got flooded in 2011 and lost everything so Dean took out SBA loans to help get the Campground back up and running plus credit cards got maxed out I’ve got $185,000.00 loan on the Campground $17,000.00 on credit cards $14,000.00 on SBA loans, had to leave the Campground due to health issues and lease it out then buy a place in Florida that gave me another $75,000.00 in debit
    That’s with out any regular bills I have to pay and due to a car accident I don’t have a job

    1. Jo, I’m so sorry for all your losses. It sounds like a stressful time and I’m not going to insult you by offering some silly advice you’ve probably already tried.
      However, if you need someone to talk to in these hard times, please email me at admin@lizwilcox.com. I will be praying for the bettering of your situation.

  2. I feel a bit rude saying this but….six months of debt?? You have absolutely no idea what debt is and living with it until you’ve been forced to live YEARS with great debt hanging over your head. Two steps forward and one step back. One step forward and two steps back. I would give anything to “suffer” only six months of debt.

    1. To be fair, the author stated he was broke for 6 months and had 75k in debt. I think that’s quite a bit for a 25 year old who loses his job.
      I get what you’re saying though. I have a close family member who is over 200k in debt. I can only imagine.

    2. Thanks for backing me up, Liz. I was actually 22 at the time of being in debt, and I’m still in debt to this day. I grew up most of my life in poverty. Scrounging for gas money, living on Ramen noodles. I say 6 months because those 6 months were the hardest of all of it. It was a time where I truly didn’t know how I’d afford a $5 sandwhich, let alone rent or anything else. Don’t assume that just because I say six months of misery it means the whole rest of life was dandy.

      That said, I get where you’re coming from. I know I’ve had life better than a lot of people and I’m truly blessed for that.

  3. I was a year from retirement and in my new rv 2 weeks when I was blessed with custody of my 12 year old granddaughter. We survived a miserable winter here in Reno, but she learned propane and black tank tricks and we’ve settled into our 25 feet of coziness and wouldn’t change a thing. A year from now, we’re hoping to hit the road, true Gypsies!

  4. Great stuff We are both retired and traveling on SS and teacher retirement We have had health problems and not moving But I think it is be hind us now. You are inspiration to many Travel on.

  5. The single takeaway for me out of your journey so far has been how your love relationship has been strengthened. My area of interest in the RV lifestyle is the relationship challenges we face in tiny spaces. You are a remarkable young couple and I would be very interested in hearing more from you in the way of how to navigate troubled waters as a team. I have launched my blog that specializes in this subject and am getting closer to creating podcast conversations about RV relationships. Would love to interview you together! You can check out my blog to see if that would interest you. theartofrvharmony.com

    1. Hey, Britt!

      Thanks! 🙂 It’s definitely more challenging living in close quarters. You really need to learn to communicate well if you both want to stay sane.

      We’d love to be on your podcast! That sounds great! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Maryann! Glad you enjoyed it! I was worried we didn’t include enough pictures so no one would read it – looks like I was wrong! 😉

  6. I needed to hear this so bad. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I’m basically at my ‘rock bottom’ – maxed out cards, student loans thru the roof, job-less (by choice), and overall discouraged and scared.

    You are so right, though. I need to take action today. I have ideas on how to make money, but I haven’t been pursuing them. I know what I need to do and for some reason I’m stalling. I have been thinking about the RV lifestyle, but I’m scared I won’t be able to afford it. I have sold most of my stuff but not all and I’m not sure I can even get a small loan to get a starter RV. I feel pretty desperate at times. Thanks for the inspiration and enjoy your travels!

    1. Hi, Kilah!

      Hang in there. It may seem like the end of the world now, but your story is far from over. Every hero has obstacles, and this is just one of yours.

      Definitely take action. Taking massive action is the quickest path to overcoming any obstacle. It sounds like you know what you should do – so just stop procrastinating and go do it.

      And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us. 🙂 We’ve been there, as you know, so we know what it’s like! I’m glad we could help and we wish you the best of luck.

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