You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money, Right? Our Monster Travel Experiment

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You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money, Right? Our Monster Travel Experiment

We all know the saying “You gotta spend money to make money.” I’ve never bought into that but with this major change we’re making, I’ve really got my fingers crossed that it’ll run true.

You see, my family and I made a big decision not even a month ago. We’ve decided to wrap up the lease to our apartment here in Ohio later this summer, put our stuff in storage, and travel around the country with an RV travel trailer for 8-10 months.

That’s a pretty big change, right? But it’s all about living your best life, my friends, like I just talked about recently in my post, Limited Time, Unlimited Dreams: 3 Steps to an Extraordinary Life. You only get one ride on the roller coaster of life so you’ve got to make your dreams a reality.

And doing slow travel across the U.S. was something on my bucket list as well as Lisa’s so why not make it happen now? Faith’s going to homeschool for possibly her last year next year (time will tell) so we want to take advantage of our time together.

This all came together extremely fast and we honestly didn’t realize just how costly this will all be. We started by buying an RV travel trailer, which rolled into buying a better towing vehicle, and then realizing the costs of everything else needed to do this trip right.

But in the end, we’re gonna find out with this trip if you really can spend money to make money!

Why are you doing this?

What the hell, Jim?! You guys just moved back last year after living in Panama for 3 years and you’re already leaving Ohio again?

Yup. Here’s what happened…

I was thinking about several things one night. As I’ve said several times over the years here, we have enough money to live comfortably for hopefully the rest of our lives without needing to work if we don’t want to. The term “comfortably” is where it becomes a little subjective though.

With our investment and withdrawal strategy, we can easily take maybe a vacation or two a year and live happily ever after. The problem, however, is that we’re loving the traveling we do and we want to do that more than once or twice a year. Yeah, I guess we’re a little greedy on this.

And, if you’re a regular follower of this blog, you know that I don’t like winter… like at all. This was absolutely a mild winter here in Ohio but it was still just too much for me. I need to get out of here next winter.

I was tossing around in my head the idea of us disappearing for winter next year like snowbirds. The problem is that we can’t afford to do that, especially if we do other traveling throughout the rest of the year.

I kept going down the rabbit hole in my head and, out of curiosity, I created an account on Indeed and started digging around for part-time jobs. My thought was that I don’t make a ton of money on this blog (but I’m grateful for your support through using links like those on my Recommendations and Credit Card pages!) and as other bloggers in the community have mentioned, that income seems to be declining a lot lately anyway.

The blogging income has always just been gravy for us because I really do enjoy writing here (over 8 years now!). But… if we had a little more money, that could make more traveling easier to do. Though I will say, that can be problematic too because depending on the job, taking time off to travel all the time isn’t something most employers appreciate. And when we’re on a trip, I don’t want to be working either so remote work isn’t necessarily the solution either.

All that to say that when I mentioned my job-hunting thought to Lisa, we paused to discuss it. Faith walked into the room about that time and the three of us started talking. If going to work part-time isn’t the answer, what is?

After brainstorming some crazy ideas, Lisa came up with the idea of us letting our apartment lease lapse, buying an RV, and traveling around the country for close to a year. We all liked it. If that was all the traveling we would do for the year, we could likely come out well financially and we could be somewhere warmer in the country during the winter.

What a win!

You gotta spend money to make money… what we bought

This whole idea became a reality very quickly. In fact, it happened so rapidly that we couldn’t process everything in our heads fast enough. And that’s when the spending part of “you gotta spend money to make money” came to fruition.

The first thing we decided is that on this trip, we wanted something more livable. And by that, that means that Lisa wanted a bathroom in it.

Our first big road trip in 2020 was just us and the 2012 Honda Pilot and, although it was good, it was a pain moving stuff every time we set up in the evening to sleep in the back.

With the second big road trip in 2022, we brought along a small trailer. This made for a much better time and made life on the road dramatically easier.

2012 Honda Pilot and trailer

But peeing outside or in our portable toilet in the trailer was still an annoyance for the girls. Plus, this trip is so much bigger. So we decided to buy a travel trailer for this expedition. And we chose that over a motorhome because we liked that we could still go relatively small and then just drop the trailer and explore nearby towns when we wanted to.

We also wanted to go with a smaller trailer because we wanted something that the Honda Pilot could tow (more on that shortly). Even though we stayed relatively small on it, we do lose some of the nimbleness that was nice to have on our last two road trips. That said, because we’ll be living in this trailer for several months, that was a sacrifice we were willing to make.

As a side note, some of you will ask why we didn’t go with a pop-up. We briefly discussed that option but we didn’t like it for several reasons, but the clincher was that a lot of parks in “bear” country out west won’t allow you to stay overnight in a pop-up. Since we plan to spend some time in those areas, that ruled those out.

My goal was to keep the cost of the travel trailer down but give us a good resale value later. So I didn’t want to eat that huge depreciation cost when driving a 2023 model (or even a 2024 model) off the lot, but I still wanted something new-ish.

After doing some RV shopping online and at a few dealerships, we finally found the winner… a new and unused 2022 Jayco Jay Flight SLX 7 184BS. It’s about 21′ long, has a single slide-out, a queen bed, bench seats that convert into another bed, and bunk beds (Faith’s one wish for it!). And it’s got all sorts of other bells and whistles that make this a good trailer for us newbies.

Here’s a stock image of our new Jayco travel trailer…

I showed you that one first so you can get a better idea of the length. Ours was parked between all the others on the lot at the time so I couldn’t get a good photo. It looks ridiculously small from this angle but I swear it’s not…

My photos of the inside aren’t wonderful either, but if you want to check it out (you do!), go to and click on the play icon on what looks like a video. That’ll let you click and drag around to see the inside in all its glory. You can also see more of the specs on that page. Once we pull the trailer off-site and start doing our thing, I’ll be sure to share more photos.

After taxes, title, and all that fun, we paid about $20,500 in cash.

Here’s something awesome though – as part of the negotiations, we were able to pay about $5,500 on our new Chase Sapphire Preferred credit card with no extra fees from the dealer. That put us over the top to give us the 90,000 point bonus on the card that was offered (plus all the points for the spending as well!). Gotta love those credit card rewards! Here are some posts I’ve written about rewards travel if subsidized travel is something you’d love to get into:

Now, here’s where things get interesting. I spent a lot of time working on the math for this, and in a nutshell, I wasn’t liking what I was seeing. Per the specs, our 2012 Honda Pilot could pull this trailer even with the water tank full. But even so, it would be pushing it close to the max and I didn’t like that. Besides that, we’d have to be way too cautious about what we could bring – we’d be limited to just a few hundred pounds if we maxed it out, which was something I wasn’t comfortable with anyway.

You gotta spend money to make money, right? So, we then bought another car as well… ugh. After a lot of searching, we bought a 2012 Ford Expedition XLT that’s in really great shape. And with a max GCWR of 15,000 pounds and a max trailer weight of 8,700 pounds, this bad boy ain’t gonna have any problems towing this travel trailer even if we maxed the trailer to its rated capacity!

That makes me feel a lot more comfortable for all of our safety as well as taking the burden off our Honda Pilot. However, there goes another $7,500 in cash after taxes and title. Like the Jayco travel trailer though, I hope that we’ll get back most of our money when we sell it next year… crossing those fingers again!

Additionally, we’re putting a weight distribution hitch (WDH) on the Jayco trailer to make for some smoother sailing. I believe the model we’re having installed is this Equal-i-zer 4-point Sway Control Hitch.

Then you’ve got all sorts of things to consider such as:

  • A generator and/or solar
  • A composting toilet since we’ll be boondocking most of the time
  • An upgraded battery – maybe lithium if we can afford it
  • A bike rack to install on the trailer
  • Periodic RV park stays (you can’t boondock all the time!)
  • Fuel throughout the trip
  • Propane refills
  • Insurance
  • And a multitude of other costs!

Plus, we’ll need to have a storage unit for all our stuff from the apartment as well as the cost of storing the Honda Pilot.

Yeah, this is going to be tight right now. I’ll likely need to dip into some of next year’s “paycheck” to be able to cover us throughout the rest of this year.

Um, what about the “make money” part of the saying?

Yeah, I do hope that the “you gotta spend money to make money” adage is indeed valid for us. We’re spending a lot of money right now (like uncomfortably too much money for my liking!). However, the hope is that when all is said and done, we’ll have actually come out ahead over where we would have been if we had just stayed here in Ohio and continued doing what we were doing.

Although we have a lot of upfront costs, we’re anticipating our monthly expenses to be lower than they are now. We won’t have rent or utilities to pay for and the slower we travel the lower our monthly costs will be on the road. That’s because we’re planning to boondock most of the time, which essentially means we’ll be staying in areas with no utilities, hookups, or other fun amenities.

We learned how amazing boondocking was on our last road trip. So not only do you have a lot fewer people, but you can have some extraordinary experiences in breathtaking areas of the country.

You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money, Right? Our Monster Travel Experiment - Instagram - Badlands

The best part… boondocking is free, which is great for the wallet.

And finally, when we get back, the plan is to sell both the Jayco travel trailer and the Ford Expedition. We’re not planning to get back what we paid for them, but if we do get the majority of our money back in our pockets, that would be a blessing. It’s extremely possible that we’ll come out ahead over where we would have been just staying in Ohio and doing the normal traveling that we’ve been doing.

Where we’re going

Ok, onto the exciting stuff! Where the heck do you go over an 8-10 month period of time?

While we haven’t laid out all the specifics yet, we have a general idea of the game plan. It involves a test run and three different segments…

We wait… patiently

We bought our new travel trailer a little prematurely. What can I say, we found the one we decided we wanted and didn’t want it to disappear if we waited.

That said, that gives us an opportunity to prepare everything the way we want it to be. I found an inexpensive camera system (DoHonest RV Backup Camera) that is supposed to work with the Furrion pre-wired connection on our Jayco trailer. So I want to get that installed.

Plus, I want to change out the toilet to a composting toilet. With us planning to do longer stints of boondocking, we won’t need to worry about a black water tank at all. I’ll talk more about that down the line, but to answer your first thought… no it’s not smelly so that’s a huge plus. From everything I’ve read and watched so far, it’ll actually be a lot less gross than the black tank sewage stuff we’d be dealing with otherwise.

I’m still comparing, and although Nature’s Head toilets like this one seem to corner the market, right now, I’m leaning toward the Air Head Composting Toilet. It seemed to be designed a lot more thoughtfully and might be the right choice for us.

There are a few other changes I want to make as well like installing a bike rack and some other fun. But for the most part, our new friend, Jake, the Jayco travel trailer, will just sit in storage for a few months.

We’ll be in Panama for a month-long visit starting at the end of June through most of July. Then when we get back, we’ll need to get a storage unit and move out of our apartment. Moving is never any fun but at least we got rid of so much stuff when we were planning our move to Panama back in 2019.

Then we just wait.

Test run… and save a little rent money! (Late September – late October)

Now for the fun! We’re planning to take the trailer to a local RV campground from late September through late October (when the campground closes for the season).

This will allow us to test everything, get a feel for living in the travel trailer, and work out all the kinks. With any problems, we’ll still be in the area so we can handle what’s needed without too much stress.

That also allows us to officially vacate our apartment at the end of September to save a month’s worth of rent for October. And once the RV park closes in late October, we’ll stay with my mother-in-law for a week or so before we get a move on!

Segment #1: Central U.S. (November – mid-December)

Off we go! For this first trip, we plan to head toward Texas to visit my brother and sister-in-law. We’ll adjust our timing to see what works best for them and make our way through the central U.S. slowly but surely.

You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money, Right? Our Monster Travel Experiment - Segment #1: Central U.S.

After that, we’ll head back toward northeastern Ohio while changing up the route a little. The plan is to get back in mid-December to be home for the holidays. We’ll likely stay at my mother-in-law’s house again during the month we’re back.

Segment #2: South for the Winter! (Mid-January – mid-March)

But come early to mid-January, it’s time to get the heck out of dodge! I hate the winter and the cold and wouldn’t come back even for the holidays if I had my way. So I’ll be chomping at the bit to get moving again!

On this next trip, we’re taking my mother-in-law (MIL) with us as well as her small dog, Ralf…

She hates the winter almost as much as I do so she was more than game on the idea to get out.

This time will be a little more interesting depending on the weather. We’ll need to be careful making our way down south since it could already be miserable out. But we’ll either take our time when there’s bad weather ahead or push forward more quickly when the good weather shines in our favor.

The goal is to just keep going until the weather’s tolerable. South Carolina might be a place to dawdle but that’s still not going to be great weather either. Georgia? Maybe an improvement. Florida? Should be better. If not, I’ll put this trailer on a boat to Cuba if I have to until we reach warm weather! 😉

You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money, Right? Our Monster Travel Experiment - Sgement #2: South for the winter
Oh, I see you there, Cuba… you’re not high on my list of places to visit, but I’ll do what I gotta do!! 😉

And that’s it. Chill out, explore, and enjoy our time as snowbirds for two or three months.

Then back to Ohio, we go… again.

Segment #3: Go West, Young Man! (Mid-April – July)

Another break at my MIL’s house for a short bit and then we’re ready to go for the next and probably the best segment… heading out west. This one will go back to just me, Lisa, and Faith.

We loved our time out west on both of our big road trips in 2020 and in 2022. This time, we’ll have a lot more time to stop and smell the roses at the places we’re enjoying. And we’ll have our home with a bathroom with us so we can do this round with a little more comfort!

Again, we need to work on the details as to what our stops will be, but the idea will likely be to do a loop similar to what we did in 2022. With this trip though, it might make more sense to go clockwise instead of counter-clockwise to help us with the weather. Mid-April might still be a little cool up in some of the northern states so why not mosey on down to places like Arizona and New Mexico before working our way up to places like Wyoming?

You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money, Right? Our Monster Travel Experiment - Segment #3: Go west

It’s even possible we make it to California or Montana – we’ll decide along the way!

The goal of this trip is to try to get to the more touristy places before kids get out of school and the summer road trips kick it up into high gear.

I’m throwing out July as a time to get back because if Faith decides she wants to start high school at a physical school instead of homeschooling, we’ll want to get situated first so that’s kind of the latest we’d stay on the road. But if she decides to continue homeschooling, that deadline isn’t as firm.

On the flip side, we could also end up wrapping it up much earlier. Months and months of being on the road and of being stuck together so much could push us to call it earlier. The upshot to that would be that would be selling the Jayco travel trailer and the Ford Expedition during the beginning or middle of RV season would likely be better and more lucrative than catching the tail end of the season.

So, we’ll see what happens. Playing it by ear and having flexibility in our plans tends to work well for us!

And if you want to stay up-to-date on how this new adventure progresses, be sure to sign up for our mailing list. You’ll be in the know, you can unsubscribe at any time, and I’ll also send you some cool spreadsheet freebies you’ll enjoy…

Ok, this is definitely not an example of needing to spend money to make money because we’re really not making any money, even if things go the way we hope. There’s no true income from saving money. However, the idea of spending money to save money is a possibility and that’s what we’re hoping to do.

If we don’t come out ahead though, I would guess we wouldn’t be too far off from our regular spending. And that alleviates being stuck in Ohio for the winter and checks off our desire to travel more, so this should be a win regardless!

Can’t wait to start exploring this country some more and taking in some of the magnificent wonders nature has to offer!

What do you think? Have we lost our minds (again) or is this adventure going to be pretty awesome?

Plan well, take action, and live your best life!

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

You know you wanna share this!!

49 thoughts on “You Gotta Spend Money To Make Money, Right? Our Monster Travel Experiment”

  1. You are just full of surprises! I don’t have any experience with camping but my oldest sister just finished spending 21 years in a Class A and towed a car behind and only stopped because of some health issues, They usually spent 2 weeks at a campground. They saw a lot of stuff, all the state capitals, presidential museums, obscure museums and National parks. They loved it but they didn’t have to worry about their money situation. I have a step-brother who just retired who bought a pull behind and had a truck and came to Florida. After a year they bought a new bigger truck and now after camping for the winter season traded up to a fifth wheel. They were work campers all winter here in central Florida and saved themselves $5k but worked 5 hrs/3 days a week. Availability in Florida does get tough during the season. My sister usually stayed in the Northern section. I live on the East Coast in the central part and went to some campgrounds with my sister in law to inquire. We found one for $900/month but only took married couples, most were between $1,300-$1,500. My neighbors have a pull behind and tried to camp only at state run campgrounds but found it difficult to get in. I do have a cousin who is traveling this year in a small camper and they swear by Harvest Hosts. Farmers, wineries open up to campers and I think it’s mostly like boondocking. I’d love to try it for a short run but my hubby crisscrossed the country several times with his family when young and doesn’t care about going. We have several fly/drive vacations ahead of us to look forward to. We are retired and having the small issue of its hard to spend the money after saving so long. I’m thinking you will work it all out money wise so don’t stress and just enjoy!

    1. Wow, sounds like everyone in your circle’s been enjoying the RV life, Nancy! ???? I’ve already wondered about what you mentioned about Florida being busy during the season – I guess we’ll just have to see how it goes. Harvest Hosts would probably fall under the boondocking umbrella because most of the time they don’t provide any hookups and you need to be fully self-contained. We’ve heard some good things about that as well and that might be one of the memberships we join.

      I can empathize with the opinion difference between you and your hubby regarding cross-country traveling. I’d love to really slow travel outside of the country again but I don’t think that’s going to fly anytime soon. Fortunately, you’ve figured out some good fly/drive vacations that you both agree on though – any travel is good travel in my book. Enjoy!! 🙂

  2. I can’t wait to read all about this adventure. I am working now, to live our dream of early retire and explore the US by camper. I am so excited for this phase and can’t wait to hear all about your experiences! I will be taking notes ????

    1. Ha, I love it! Take all the notes you want! I’ve got a tendency to become a little over-detailed in my posts and I share both the good and the bad so you’ll likely find some helpful stuff along the way. Good luck with making your dreams a reality – early retirement has been a true blessing in our lives!

  3. Hahha love it man… Gotta soak it all up in this life!!! Gonna have a lot of stories to tell too no matter how it goes 🙂

  4. Hey Jim
    Where did you buy your car from? We’re looking for a used car and was wondering if the Ford is from a private seller, if so where did you find them?

  5. I’ve got 2 year(2 winters) and I’m out. The youngest will have graduated college. I’m looking forward to spending time in some areas I might want to make permanent. I’ve thought about the RV thing and while it sounds good sitting in my chair, I realize it is a lot of work that I just don’t want to put in. Glad you are doing it now while you can.

    1. Man, you’ve got to be counting down the minutes on getting away from the winters here! ???? I’m looking forward to hearing where you decide to make your new home… when are you starting a blog for me to read?!

      1. I’m glad the weather will be good for a couple months here in Ohio. I’ve toughed out enough winters that 2 more hopefully won’t kill me. I don’t see me doing a blog as my life isn’t near as exciting or adventurous as yours!

  6. Great plan, Jim! I hope your plans include a few nights (weeks?) in Blue Ridge. Check out Morganton Point Recreation Center. It’s a nice campground on the shores of Lake Blue Ridge, open year-round, and only a few miles from our house. They stay fully booked and have a fairly long leadtime, so best to book it a few months ahead. Looking forward to reading your adventures from the road!

    1. Like it or not, you’re already on my list of folks to try to get together with on this trip… time for you to take your trailer and get the heck out of dodge before we get there! 😉

      I’ll dig into Morganton Point Recreation Center and Lake Blue Ridge – sounds like a cool place to visit!

  7. That’s awesome Jim! Bought a travel trailer a month ago and have been slowly making our way West from Ohio. We are in Arizona now headed to Grand Canyon. Have learned a lot and met some nice people along the way. Best advice we have received so far is to take your time and never be in a rush. Enjoy!

    1. Hey, that’s awesome, Mathew, and great that your meeting some cool people as well! I like the “never be in a rush” idea – this will be the first time where we’ll get to follow that mantra. Enjoy your trip!!!

  8. Sounds like a great plan, check out the ‘Thousand Trails’ membership for campgrounds. Mark & Julie Bennett did a review off it on their blog.

  9. check out :’Thousand Trails’ membership for campgrounds, Marc & Julie Bennett did a review on their blog along with everything else related to RV travel.
    Some complain about loud music in campgrounds in Florida.

  10. Oh this is a great idea Jim, Faith is one lucky girl! Might I suggest Naples Florida in December-March. Its fantastic weather during that time, 80’s during the day, 60’s at night. We have a little STR there, if you find yourself needing a ‘non-movable’ place to rest your head for a few nights, I might be able to hook you up if its not rented. Look forward to watching the progress!

    1. Cool, thanks for the suggestion on Naples, Jim! I’ve heard good things about that area. I don’t know Florida too well but my brother lived in West Palm for several years so I’ll press him for more info when we’re ready for that segment of the trip. And be careful about the possible hookup on your rental – I just might take you up on it! ????

  11. Sounds like a great plan!
    You might as well travel everywhere you can while you’re still able to.

    As far as generators go – there’s Honda & there’s everybody else.
    My friends at Thompson would fight over who got to use the Honda’s and who got stuck with any of the others. That was close to 20 years ago so I don’t know for sure if ones like Generac have gotten any better, I know I bit the bullet and got a Honda 2200 – just to have it around if/when the power went out so I could run my oxygen machine.

    1. You’re still on top of things with your generator knowledge, Rich – it seems Honda is still the top dog. Unfortunately, the price for what we want would be took much with a Honda. I just ordered the Westinghouse 4500 Peak Watt Inverter Generator yesterday. I wanted to be able to max out our 30-amp system on the trailer and I was deciding between this one and a Champion. They’re both really quiet with good reviews all over the internet, but the Westinghouse dropped in price a lot, so I made sure to jump on it.

  12. Hi Jim! As recently mentioned on Joe’s blog, you may recall me commenting in the past as “Jim from PA” – early-retired engineer + have one daughter roughly same age. During Covid we actually bought a 2002 [28ft] RV motorhome and crossed the country 4x (though unfortunately not slowly). Also visited family in Texas. I’ll bet with a couple beers we could talk for hours… Anyway, there are definitely cool things to see in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona, and especially places like Arches National Park along with the other majestic parks in Utah. Admittedly though, the driving out West can seem endless. I’m rather envious of your plans and wish your family all the best in the adventures to come! As I’m sure you’ve read on other RV sites, just don’t forget to drain your lines if the RV will be sitting in freezing cold unused for any period -now being permanently near Los Angeles, happy I don’t have to worry about such “winterization”, but on the other hand, the RV just sits unused so much of the time – we stubbornly hang on to it even though should sell and pursue the conventional types of vacations. Ping me if you are ever near LA

    1. Wow, 4x across the country – that’s impressive, Jim! Sounds like it was an awesome time, too! That was around the time we took our first big road trip and the lack of travelers during the pandemic really made the trip even better (though not everything was open). Thanks for the tip on draining the lines during any freezes. I thought about that and that’s something I’ll need to do when we come back for a few weeks in December… ugh.

      That stinks about your RV just sitting right now but I’m sure you think about that awesome trip when you see it. Hopefully, you’ll be able to make it happen again soon!

  13. I’ve had similar thoughts and may buy a very similar Jayco trailer (one of our favorites when we looked). Would love to read about more details as you embark on your trips, especially the pratical elements like towing experience (do you really need a vehicle with so much horsepower), how cold/hot it gets in the trailer and how you keep warm/cool, finding sites to sleep (both campsite and boondocking), gas mileage, types of meals eaten and the cooking experience, how tolerable is living in cramped quarters for a long time, etc. Trying to figure out what we may get ourselves into as well.

    1. There’s no doubt I’ll post about the details of these trips, especially since I’m newer to this and need to learn the ropes. I’m sure you’ll hear about some of our failures and learning from them, too!

      The reason for the bigger vehicle is that the Honda Pilot we drive would have maxed out its towing capacity. Not only would we not have been able to add barely anything to the trailer, but that would have diminished some of the safety I would have felt comfortable with, and the Pilot would have taken a beating. We looked at a lot of vehicles (maybe too many!) but from what was available, this one fit the bill. It’s probably a little overkill but I’d rather that than the alternative! 🙂

  14. OK Jim, I’m officially envious. This sounds AMAZING! I bet y’all will have so much fun. And though that is a lot of money to spend (I was semi-cringing when I read the cost of the Jayco), it’s not like you wouldn’t be spending anything if you just stayed in Ohio. This will be such a fun way to spend time with family. My theory is, if you all were able to survive roughing it in the Pilot together, you’ll definitely be fine for this trip since you have more space. 😉

    Let me know if you do make it down to FL – I am moving there soon so if you’re there when I’m there, we can meet up in real life!

    1. Haha, I’m with you on the cost of the Jayco – I’m still cringing from that cost! If this was something we planned on keeping for the long haul, I would have gone with an older cheaper model. My hope though is that by going new”er” but not with a ’23 or ’24, it’ll be easier to sell and I won’t lose too much to that initial-year depreciation. And it’ll still have warranty life on it, which is a great benefit when selling. Even if I lose $5k on it, we still come out further ahead than we would have by renting. And the bonus is that we get to enjoy a new unused trailer in the meantime! 🙂

      If we decide to do meet-ups on this trip, I’ll definitely keep you posted, Natalie – it would be great to meet you!

  15. Congrats on the new adventure! We are doing something similar and plan to hit the road full time in January. We’re blogging about it at Unfortunately we experienced quite the road bump when our brand new travel trailer was stolen and then recovered before our first camping trip! Hope your trip starts smoother!

  16. Sounds amazing. I think you guys will have a ton of fun and lots of memorable experiences. It’s great that your family is up for this kind of adventure. Most people wouldn’t sign up for this. My wife and kid definitely would say no. They are so attached to their lifestyle. I’m looking forward to reading more. You should post clips on YouTube too.

  17. Sounds like another awesome adventure.
    Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort, Paradise, Montana is great. I concur with (THINKINGAHEAD)
    I would also recommend Going To The Sun Road in Glacier National Park but plan ahead in addition to the standard entrance fee you also have Reservations and Timed Entry to schedule too.
    Some alternatives would be Jammers, shuttles, or bike it.

  18. Kevin & Hiroko

    I was going to suggest that you post on YouTube also. I just subscribed (#2). The journey continues and wish you and the family all the best!

  19. Awesome trip! A lot of people do that and head up to Alaska as well. It’s a great part of the world to explore by RV. I live an on the highway an hour from Alaska but in Canada and we have non stop RV tourists all summer.

    Have you looked into work exchange options? Farms, camps, and other places will let you camp for free and use their services in exchange for light work. There’s a lot of websites for these exchanges. I’m sure you could find ones with horses or other family interests. Camps always need maintenance people, cleaning, or other support.

    I’m curious why you are keeping your lease on your apartment for so long if you’ll barely be there this summer. Is it because you signed a 12 month term? Can you sublet it while you’re away in Panama? And live in the trailer in Ohio when you get back? Or housesit?

    1. Alaska has briefly come up to make a part of the trip, but it’s just so far that we have trouble justifying it… but who knows?!

      I actually did bookmark some “workamping” options – yeah, I’m learning my new RV slang! ???? That’s a possibility and I think Lisa will probably continue doing her secret shopping gigs while on the road as well.

      Our year lease ends at the end of July but that would be too close to wrap it up then since that’s about the time we get back from Panama and we just don’t have the time to get everything wrapped up and move out before then. So that’s why we decided to do a month-to-month at the end of this. When we get back from Panama, we’ll find a storage unit, work on the RV changes we want to do to get it ready, and move out probably at the end August or September. We’ll likely stay at my MIL’s house for any remaining time until we head to the RV park.

      I like the options you’re suggesting (though I don’t think we’re allowed to sublet here), but there’s just not enough time for us to wrap things up before Panama without pulling our hair out completely. ????

  20. How Exciting! My partner and I are planning to do the Lap of Australia soon too, initially we planned a pop up tent and our 4WD, however after reading a bit more we are looking into a caravan set up also

  21. Hi Jim, long time follower here. I’m about your age, 2 teens. I fired for over a year and now doing a PT job. Hubby had a major accident last year so I decided to go back to work until kids are off to college. I don’t plan to do any work after my true FIRE.

    We have a camper just like yours except no slide-out. We just came back from our annual Xmas camping trip in Florida. We live in DC.

    I had wanted to get a camper van #VanLife once kids have flown the nest but just realized that those have gotten way too expensive during Covid. Also, hubby is 6’4” Hard to fit in small camper vans. So the new plan is to get a more powerful SUV to replace our 4Runner and tow the camper for a year. My biggest love is traveling overseas but hard to convince my hubby. Guess we will cross the bridge when it comes to it.

    Good to hear about boondocking. Stealing the info you got about the compost toilet. 🙂 We usually camp at state parks. But yes those we plan a hear ahead. And I like warm beaches. In Florida we love Fort de Soto.

    Keep up the good work. Oh one questions-did you ever look into camper vans like we did? Just wanna see if great minds think alike, again. 🙂

    1. That’s cool, Bee – it’s truly an adventure (so far with its good and bad parts! 🙂 )! We had talked about one of the camper vans briefly but we wanted to have a little more room (it’s a balance between space, being nimble, and cost for sure!). I was actually just thinking about it this morning and I’m very happy with what we chose – it’s not huge but it’s plenty of room for us. I think if we would ever do this again, which I’m not sure will ever happen, we’d need to consider if our travel trailer is the way to go or a class C. Like I said, I do love what we have but there’s something to be said for not needing to unhitch all the time. Pros and cons to all of them for sure!

      We talk about how glad we are that we went with the composting toilet all the time. The problems and disgustingness I read about all the time in the RV Facebook groups makes me very happy. It took a little work to do (I’m not the handiest) but it was absolutely the way to go for us regardless of boondocking or at a park. I did put together a long and detailed YouTube video on our installation if that’s something you’re considering.

      Thanks for the tip on Fort de Soto – I’ll look that one up!

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