I had the pleasure of interviewing blogger and now author, Kate Gilbert writer of the blog space, “Tales from the Scenic Route.” and author of the book “The Happy Camper”. I found out about Kate Gilbert while researching networking opportunities with bloggers who specifically write about the RV travel life. I was intrigued by the short bio on her site stating her and her husband had sold everything they owned and left their corporate jobs to travel full time. I thought, wow, what a brave couple to make such a bold decision to pursue a dream of lifelong happiness on the road. As Kate will tell you though, life on the road is not always “rainbows and unicorns”. I asked Kate a few questions about her life and how “Tales from the Scenic Route” came to be. Here are her honest answers about the life of a full time RVer.
Tell me a bit about your background, how you got started RVing, and how long you have been doing it.
We started off in tent campers over 13 years ago. We bought our first RV in 2008, when we wanted to extend our camping season into Spring and Fall. In June of 2014 we decided we just weren’t happy enough with our lives and especially the amount of energy our jobs were taking from us, so we quit our jobs, sold our home and started traveling full time. We currently split our time between RVing around the US in an Airstream Travel Trailer, and renting apartments in different countries around the world.
How do you subsidize your income while on the road?
My full-time job before we started traveling was in healthcare marketing. I still work in that field but as a freelance consultant now. As long as I have internet connection, which I nearly always do, I can work from wherever I want. I work a lot fewer hours than I used to, but our expenses are much less than they used to be so economically we don’t see a difference. I earn a little money from writing, and I am hoping I can do more of that as time goes on.
What was the most memorable RV trip you’ve ever been on?
We spent this summer in Wyoming and Montana. We camped for free on national forest land with the most fabulous view of the Grand Tetons you could imagine. We are set up to be pretty self-sufficient, with the solar panels we installed on our roof we can spend a week or more out in the open like that. Visiting Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks was the highlight of the summer for us.
Is the Airstream trailer the only one you’ve ever owned?
No, before the Airstream we owned a 24-foot Winnebago View motor home. We used it for weekend camping a lot. We used to live in Southern California so we could take it out all year round. It was a great start for us and was one of the reasons we knew we would love living in an RV full-time.
What made you decide to start writing about your experiences and start up the blog “Tales from the Scenic Route?”
Several reasons, really. We wanted to record where we had been and keep friends and family up to date too. Another reason is that we relied on a lot of other bloggers when we were starting out, so we wanted to pay back that support by adding our experiences to anyone else thinking about this lifestyle. One of the other benefits we have found is that “putting yourself out there” with a blog or on social media helps you to connect with other members of the traveling community.
Why did you decide to write a book?
The main reason is that I wanted to be an advocate for living a different kind of life. After many years of soul-searching in a corporate world, corporate life had changed and no longer made me happy. I, along with my husband, made some pretty big decisions about not letting life pass us by. It sounds so cliche, but life really is short and not doing everything you can to pursue happiness seems like such a waste. I wanted to share my thoughts and doubts about what it took to make a change in my life. The book is less about the life I have now and much more about what it took to change it.
Being on Amazon is a pretty big deal, was it a hard process to get published on there?
Not difficult, just laborious. Writing the book was easy compared to the rigorous proofreading, editing and formatting I had to do. It is definitely a labor of love. I tried to get a publishing deal but as an unknown author that was impossible, so self-publishing was my only option. Promoting the book is also very time consuming and takes a lot of effort, but I want to be an advocate for my lifestyle so I hope that it is worth it.
If you could do anything differently would you?
Start sooner! Full-time travel and running on our own schedule has been so beneficial to our quality of life. Also we started out our travels in a much more structured way with plans and reservations for many months in the future. Now we hardly ever have any reservations and just live week to week. We prefer the spontaneity of traveling this way, and (knock on wood) we have never found ourselves without somewhere to park for the night.
What kind of advice would you give someone who is interested in full time RVing?
Start by part-time RVing. Make sure you are comfortable living out in campgrounds or RV parks and being in a small space before you commit to a big change. It is not all rainbows and unicorns, so be realistic. Read lots of blogs about people who have done it. Reach out to them and ask questions. If someone you follow is passing by where you live, invite them for a coffee or a beer, and ask them for advice. Many of us are advocates for our lifestyle and will be happy to give you the good, the bad and the ugly of what it entails. Apart from that I would say if you really want to give it a try, do it. What’s the worst that can happen? If you don’t like it, you can always go try something else, but at least you won’t regret not giving it a try.
If you want to learn more about Kate and her travels you can visit her blog, “Tales from the Scenic Route” or purchase her book “The Happy Camper” from the amazon store here.
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This article was originally posted here.