Confession: we met Camille and Bryce on the Internet. And then, we drove and hour and met them in person! It’s true, and it sounds a bit well, you know… but we should have already known each other, and we had mutual new friends. We all attended the same RV Entrepreneur Summit in Fredericksburg, TX, less than a month before. At that conference, which was the brainchild of Heath and Alyssa Padgett, we and about 100 other people from all walks of life converged and formed our own pretty tight and completely awesome community. We found instant friends in a group of strangers who either live and work full time in RVs, Vans, 5th wheels or travel trailers or those, like us, who plan to downsize and hit the road in the future. The goal of the conference, which was absolutely worthwhile by the way, was to cuss and discuss exactly how people make a living in such a non-conformist lifestyle.
Fast forward a couple of weeks when I reached out on the #RVE forum for volunteer full-timers who were still in the area and were willing to be interviewed by me for Tiny Living Resource. Camille and Bryce invited my husband and I out to the Highway 71 RV Park to visit, tour their rig and grab dinner at The Roadhouse in Bastrop. Three words: Jalapeno cheese bun. What a fun, funny and entertaining evening. What lovely people! What an awesome lifestyle!
We arrived a bit earlier than we expected. Austin traffic, is notoriously heinous, so we tend to leave extra early, and well, we surprised everyone, especially Bryce. He was in the shower at the shower house (not in their RV) which was lucky because otherwise, it might have been an even more awkward start than it already was. Happily, though, none of us are very shy and we had so much to discuss. Camille and Bryce are fairly new to full-timing; they were fresh into this new lifestyle, so I couldn’t wait to ask them questions. For fun, we started with a Facebook Live interview which, to my delight, was their first Facebook Live experience and ding dang, they were absolute naturals!
We Start Asking Questions
So, 6 1/2 months into their journey, we wanted to know how they felt about their decision to leave good corporate jobs, rent out their house, buy an RV and just leave it all in the big-ass side view mirrors. “It’s surreal,” Bryce said. “I’m still a little bit in denial. I’ve always wanted to wander.” And sometimes Camille thinks, “Wow, I left a good paying job, my friends and family for a community of one.” They both agree that life in a small space, with just each other and their two cats, for company all the time is an adjustment. Luckily, they’re each others favorite people! They’re still adjusting, but they’re also finding RV life communities like Xscapers and the RVE Summit folks. Camille has even started her own running community called RV Runners and Walkers. They find runs like the “Bridge of the Gods” race in Washington and make plans to camp together, run the race and meet up.
“I need smaller feet” ~ Bryce
Now that they’re living in a Class A, 34 foot Tiffin Allegro, I asked them what they couldn’t do without, or what was on their wish list. Camille answered first, “My cats! I couldn’t do without my cats,” and then laughed, “oh, you mean amenities. Okay, my French press!” Bryce wanted smaller feet to keep from running into things and a dedicated work-space. Their most useful purchase was an electric heater, which they bought while staying in the 4 Corners area in December. Despite the fact that they’ve got an awesome fireplace in their rig that really puts out a lot of heat, it was cold! They say that they’ll be chasing milder temperatures from now on.
When asked what they wish they had known before they bought the RV, their answers varied. Camille said, “I wish I’d been more confident in buying used. We bought new because we had no experience with RVs.” She’s enjoyed seeing how other people have really remodeled and kitted out their rigs to their liking. Bryce said, “I wish I had known how frequently breakdowns and repairs happen, even when your rig is brand new.” This seems to be a common theme among our new RV friends. It takes patience and acceptance. “The worst malfunction was with the bedroom slide. We couldn’t slide it out, so our bed was right up against all our drawers. We wore the same clothes for 3 weeks, until the slide was fixed.” They both agreed that was not fun. On the flipside, although they’ve had repairs made, because they bought new, they were almost all completely covered. “Facebook groups are super handy to help. Usually within 30 minutes of posting a rig problem or question, you have lots of helpful comments.”
“We don’t know what we’re doing, but we’re doing it!” ~ Camille
They say that living smaller, amplifies whatever you’ve got going on in your relationship or in your life. They agree that you have to be intentional about doing different things and having alone time. It’s not easy in the confines of small spaces. “It’s not all footloose and fancy free,” says Bryce. “Real world problems are still with you.”
We asked if they have a list of places they intend to visit and how long they plan to be nomadic. Between them, there are a few states that neither have been to, and those are definitely
on the list in addition to other cool spots. They have also learned that they need to slow down. When they first got on the road, they tended to rush from place to place and then realized that they had missed things along the way. It’s good to make plans, but not too far in advance so that spontaneous exploring (sometimes the best kind) can happen. “As far as our time frame, we told our friends and family we were going to head out for a year, but really, it’s more open ended than that.” They’re currently deciding what sort of careers they want to begin anew on the road and finding time to get creative again. Camille is having a ball creating art pieces from found objects. They’re in a great place and have full tanks of inspiration not only from the RV Entrepreneur Summit, but also from attending the South By Southwest Interactive in Austin and the numerous RV Full-Timer groups they’re in. The people living this lifestyle have all kinds of careers and attitudes about making money. There’s inspiration to be found in everyone they meet.
I can’t wait to hear what they decide to do, and I cannot wait to meet up with them again out there on the road. Someday Camille and Bryce, we’ll meet up somewhere epic, or not so epic (who cares?) and relive the early days. Then, we’ll be the newbies to the full time RV lifestyle and we’ll be asking you tons of annoying questions again! Happy trails, friends!