If you're going to quit your job and travel the country full-time in an RV, you'd better be one of two things: rich or resourceful. Not being the former, we had to make every choice for this trip with the litmus test: "How will this help us keep traveling?"
We wanted to be self-sustaining and avoid campgrounds or any of the senior citizen stuff that comes to mind when you mention RV'ing, so it meant making compromises. When I started figuring out the logistics, Tricia and I talked about an apartment on wheels, those huge Class A's big enough to fit a whole rock band. Once I started running the numbers and reading about other people's experiences, I realized it wasn't going to work for us financially.
A Sprinter van was too small for the amount of time we planned on spending in it, but a 40 foot Class A was never going to fit in the places we wanted to go. That left us with a Class C motorhome, but most of them are built on a Ford van chassis that gets 7-8 miles per gallon. At that rate, we wouldn't make it far.
Enter Travelmaster. Back in the 80's, they made a motorhome based off the legendary Toyota pickup. You know, the ones that routinely hit 300k miles bumping around the mountains of Afghanistan. I've always done my own auto repairs (thanks to my dad, who restored a classic Chevy with me in high school), but I wanted something reliable and low maintenance. What better starting point for a sustainable motorhome than a Toyota? Not only does it get 14-15 mpg and fit in a normal parking spot, it's large enough (21 feet) to have a full bathroom, bed, couch, window seat, and kitchen. Eat your heart out, VW camper van.
Now that we had a luxurious 200 square feet of living space, the next challenge was making it somewhere we wanted to live. This meant a place where we could not only eat and sleep, but somewhere we enjoyed working and hanging out. I remodeled the interior and redid the electrical system to run off roof-mounted solar panels. I am neither a carpenter or electrician, but if you want something bad enough, you figure out how to get it done. With the help of a pioneer in the field of mobile solar, I was able to tweak our solar power to run our entire rig. Now we have enough power to last 3-4 days without sun, even during cloudy weather and thunderstorms. Of course, that's worst case scenario. Most days we don't even think about electricity, and that was the goal.
Sure, we don't have a microwave or a huge flatscreen or lots of other things that you take for granted these days, but having the means to do what we love is worth it. Each day we step out the door somewhere new and pursue our passions at our own pace. Now that you understand what we're doing, feel free to contact us if you have any questions about RV'ing, solar power, or any combination of the above. As Christopher McCandless said, happiness is only real when it's shared.