Nomad Life in an RV: How Full-time Travel Changed Our Lives

a millenial couple holds hands in front of their truck and travel trailer

Photos by The Wild Hixsons.

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“We travel full-time.”

No matter how many times I say it, people are always so surprised, intimidated, and at least a little impressed by this statement. It’s always a fantastic ego boost to see people get so excited about the way we live our life, and I usually feel a mixture of pride and humility in that moment. I love to tell people our story if they have time, and since I have plenty of time here, this is our story:

After a year of renting an apartment while simultaneously paying for plane tickets, hotel rooms, and Airbnbs as we bounced from city to city for our ‘real job’ of marketing video shoots, my husband and I were exhausted. We hated traveling, and we missed our home. We almost signed on for years more of that former lifestyle by trying to buy a house that was too expensive in a place we didn’t even really want to live. Luckily, our first offer was rejected, and we had the opportunity to consider what we really wanted. After picturing ourselves living in a house with an expensive mortgage and a still crazy travel schedule, we decided that we needed to make a change.

a young couple sits in camping chairs in front of their travel trailer
Andrea and husband Tyler sit in front of their now home, a travel trailer.

With our lease ending, our wedding approaching, and our offer rejected, it was the perfect time to make a big change, and we had to do it soon. We decided to go against the norm and do the only thing that made sense: to combine our home with our travel and move into an RV. It was a really tough decision. The idea to pivot from a life we knew all too well into a life we knew nothing about was terrifying, and it caused more than one fight between us.

In the beginning, I actually got so upset and frightened at the mere idea of living in an RV that I wouldn’t hear of it for days.

But even through my initial fear, I could always see that it was an incredibly exciting concept. It also seemed like it was the only way for us to stop being miserable without completely overhauling the business that we had spent the last 3 years building. So we turned our fear into excitement, we bought an RV, and we got rid of almost everything we owned.

We hit the road in the summer of 2019. Since then, we’ve seen things I’d only dreamed of, been places I’d never heard of, and settled into a work-life balance that actually worked for us. No more wondering what we missed out on as we zoomed in and out of new cities, no more plane-induced exhaustion, and so much more adventure. But it wasn’t only a new work-life balance, it was an entirely new lifestyle, and it actually changed who we are.

I think even before we set out on the road, I knew our journey would be life-changing. That’s why I decided to document our first year on the road: all of our adventures, everything we learned, and how this new lifestyle changed our lives in a matter of months. It’s all in the documentary I recently released, Newly Nomads (2021) and it’s streaming for free on YouTube.

Seeking both the challenge and the adventure of our life in an RV has made us stronger, more independent, and more confident. Our relationship is even more solid, our values are clearer than ever, and we are even getting better at finding true happiness. I am proud of who we’ve become over this last year and a half, and I’m excited to see who we will become over the next few years.

So when I say, “We travel full-time,” I feel only grateful for making that tough decision to move into the RV.

It was scary to turn our backs on what our friends and family expected of us in order to venture out into a new life we didn’t know anything about, and I’m glad we didn’t let that stop us. But the other side of me wonders if we ever would have found this lifestyle if we weren’t miserable with the way things were.

Would we have stepped out onto this ledge if we weren’t pushed? I don’t know, but the one thing I do know is that almost all of our fears about this new lifestyle were unfounded. We have not gotten stranded, we have not gone broke, we have not gotten hurt, and we have not lost friends or family.

What exactly were we so afraid of?

a couple stands on a desert cliff above their campsite along a dirt road in the desert
The Wild Hixons.

The nomad lifestyle can seem unattainable, but the truth is really the opposite: this lifestyle is for anyone who wants it. That’s not to say it’s not challenging. The nomad life is definitely challenging, and I think it’s the struggle that’s the scariest part. Even if we didn’t really believe we would get stranded, broke, or hurt, we were intimidated by the challenge of taking on an entirely new level of independence in an unfamiliar lifestyle. But the mountain of changes wasn’t nearly as insurmountable as it seemed. And ultimately, it’s the struggle that makes this lifestyle so fulfilling, even more than the travel and the adventures themselves. The challenge is what changed our lives.

I hope our story can inspire you to take whatever leap you’ve been turning over in your mind. I am so happy with how Newly Nomads turned out, but it definitely makes us look cooler than we really are. We are not special; we are simply hard-headed, hard-working, and eager to live full lives. And we have learned not to be afraid of a challenge. Whether it’s living the nomad life or any other adventure, I encourage everyone to lean in to the challenge. If we’ve learned anything from our journey, it’s that the challenge isn’t nearly as impossible as it seems, and the reward is a hundred times more fulfilling.