About two years ago, Chad and Tara got the itch to travel and started to think about the possibility of selling their home and hitting the road full-time. The two had never been inside an RV and hadn’t even really spent time tent camping before deciding to take the leap.
Read our interview with Chad and Tara to learn more about how they got started, what life is like now and what they’re doing for the holidays!
Question: How did the idea come about to become full-time RVers?
Chad: Tara and I like to travel, but we hadn’t been able to do a whole lot because Tara has Chronic Lyme’s Disease so that limits us a little bit.
Tara: While I was in treatment, I was confined to my bed and we would watch a lot of travel shows. One day, we were watching Big Time RV and we started thinking how cool it would be to be able to drive around the country and have a bed wherever we go. When I got a little bit healthier, Chad suggested we sell our stuff, get an RV and actually do it.
Question: What were the steps you took to make this idea a reality?
Tara: We went to the Tampa RV Show in 2016 knowing nothing about RVs other than what we had seen on TV, and by the time we left the show we knew we were going to do it. Chad is a spreadsheet junkie and we got to work comparing hundreds of RVs.
Chad: We planned and studied for a year. Initially, we were looking at a Class A Diesel and then we started doing the math on taking our 980 lb. Indian Roadmaster motorcycle with us, which led us to toy haulers. That’s what we ended up going with.
Question: Before you embarked on this adventure, you had never even been in an RV before. What was it like to let go of your old lifestyle and start living full-time in an RV?
Chad: We considered renting before buying, but we thought nothing could change our minds. It’s worked out. It’s pretty much exactly like we thought it would be. As far as living in the RV, I think we just planned it right. We took our time and chose the right floorplan for us.
Tara: We had never spent any time in an RV before the hundreds that we walked in and out of when we were shopping at Lazydays. We went back to the lot so many times even after we had ordered our RV to take different measurements of storage space, so we knew exactly how much of our stuff would fit and we got rid of everything else.
I haven’t felt claustrophobic or cramped. It is a small space, but it doesn’t feel like it. We have all these windows to look out at beautiful nature and we’re always changing our location.
Question: What was your first day like in the RV?Our very first night in the rig was on the Lazydays delivery lot. The delivery process was really cool because they helped us get hitched, adjust our hitch, do a turn check, practice driving and backing up into various spots. I was comfortable with towing bumper-pull trailers but had never pulled a fifth wheel before and definitely nothing this big.
Question: How did you end up choosing the RV you did for living in full-time?
Chad: As Tara said, I was big on spreadsheets. I built a spreadsheet that detailed all the features of each model we were looking at. We had features that we had to have: a King-size bed, space and capacity to bring the motorcycle with us, at least a bath and a half, and enough access to move inside with the slides in. When we were originally looking at Class A Diesel RVs, I was looking at the weight rating on the rear axle and the wheelbase. Once we started getting deep into the numbers, it was looking like we would need something really big like a tag axle vehicle.
Tara: It was more important for us to get out and start living this lifestyle than it was to wait another year until we could afford a Class A Diesel. We had to change our way of thinking because we hadn’t thought about fifth wheels at all. When we walked into the Grand Design layout, we both immediately knew it was the one. I think what sold us on this model Grand Design was that we can access our bedroom, bathroom, and refrigerator when the wall slides in.
Question: What has surprised you most about the RV lifestyle? What did you find that you didn’t expect?
Chad: I didn’t really know what to expect from other RVers. I think it was a really good surprise that the people that we’ve met in RV parks are super friendly, super helpful (sometimes too helpful when you’re backing in and everyone wants to help??). We’ve met some really good longtime friends.
Tara: Some of the best parts about RVing can also be the hardest parts—we don’t really have roots anymore. We can’t always see family and friends on a regular basis. As great as it is being out and about exploring it can be hard to be away. But, the upside is if we want to see them, we can go to them and take our house—we always have our own place to stay. We’ve traveled to see family more in the last year since we got our RV than we have in many years past.
Question: What keeps most people who want the full-time RV lifestyle from taking the step is figuring out how to make a living while always being on the road. How have you made a mobile lifestyle work for you?
Chad: We get that question quite a bit. I was really lucky in that I already had a telecommuting job, so I could work from anywhere. There are so many companies now offering flexible work arrangements.
Your RV expenses can be kind of what you make them. If you’re just getting started, you can make money workamping or being a camp host. You’ll get your campsite for free and sometimes get paid on top of it.
Question: What is celebrating a holiday such as Thanksgiving like in an RV?
Chad: This year, we’re back in our home area for Thanksgiving. I have two daughters that live nearby so we’ll be spending the day with them.
Tara: This is our first holiday season since being full-time in the RV. We’re planning to drive up to see Chad’s parents in North Carolina for Christmas. The advantage of being able to take our house up there allows us to do that. If we didn’t have the RV, we wouldn’t be able to stay there because there’s isn’t enough room.
Question: Do you feel like living in an RV together has brought you closer?
Chad: Even when we had the house, I was working from home and Tara was home, so we always spent a lot of time together. It definitely helps that we like each other! I think living in an RV has made us a better team, especially when working around the RV or packing up a campsite.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know our first official ambassadors, Chad and Tara! Be sure to visit their website ChangingLanesRV.com and subscribe to their YouTube channel to keep up with them on their adventures!
Do you have any questions for Chad and Tara? Leave a comment below!