It’s crazy to think about how different our lives are from just a year ago! We’ve had time to think back and analyze, and we think the spark happened the day we purchased our old 1996 Jayco pop-up camper. Tom and I both grew up with treasured memories of camping, and when Covid took away the dream of an anniversary cruise, we put the money into a beat-up camper. We had high hopes of fixing it up and praying it would stay road-worthy long enough to squeeze out a couple of camping trips before school started back. We did exactly that. We took it out on two trips in July 2020. Mammoth Cave, Kentucky, was our first trip (more on this in a future blog post) and Greer’s Ferry, Arkansas, was our last hurrah of the summer. Both trips were incredible. We unplugged from technology, swam for hours, and figured out who we were as a family. We worked hard for those trips, and every set up required all four of us to lift the pop-up’s cover, because the mechanism was broken (and no parts were coming in because of Covid shutdowns).
We look back now and recognize that was the beginning of the “Yondering Rogers.” We had big plans for more camping trips! With the start of the 2020-2021 school year, we quickly slipped back into the normal routines of work and school responsibilities. The continuation of the pandemic, however, combined with the political upheaval of the election, got us thinking about our lives. We (Tom and I) had a lot of heart-to-heart conversations about getting older, parenting, and living for Jesus. We talked for hours about dreams we’d had when we were younger as well as dreams we had for our future. Covid had taught us a difficult lesson about the brevity of life and the uncertainty of reaching retirement. We knew we wanted to make TODAY count: not only for ourselves, but also for our kids. We wanted to live with purpose and redefine our version of success.
Other factors contributed as well. Our home’s value had risen exponentially. The house we believed we’d own until our kids were grown was soon on the market. We didn’t originally plan to live in an RV full-time. Our plan at the beginning was to buy an inexpensive camper we could live in until we found a home to buy in another state (or country). Looking up RV models and researching things we needed to know to live full-time (even temporarily) led us down a path. We learned that many families do travel full-time, living in their RVs, homeschooling their kids! We were intrigued.
It took months of searching, but we found a fifth wheel that we believed would work for our family. The Montana High Country 377fl would give us all the space we would need. (Blog post coming on that later as well. There are pros and cons to this model!) We had already planned a family vacation to Arizona for Christmas break, so we purchased our RV as soon as we returned.
We lived “stationary” in a campground for the next 7 months. We finished out the school year, and made arrangements to “hit the road” in July. We had never hitched up a fifth wheel or towed one before! Tom watched a ton of videos, and he’s been hauling our home for over a month now—not a single problem!
It’s a work in progress to go from living in a 2200 sq ft house with multiple storage areas down to a 340 sq ft fifth wheel with little storage, but we love the minimalist lifestyle. We cleaned out so many years of stuff we didn’t need when we sold our house, and we are not in a hurry to ever go back to having rooms full of items we don’t use!
One of the hardest things for me personally is finding a rhythm for groceries. I used to do groceries every two weeks with maybe one small trip for forgotten things in between. That’s nearly impossible with full-time RV living. We don’t have the freezer space for a ton of extra food, so I typically buy just enough for the week and go from there. Produce from some areas doesn’t “keep” as long as produce from other areas. Grocery shopping is now a once-a-week chore, and that’s if we have a decent grocery store nearby. I have learned that not all grocery stores are created equal!
One of our favorite aspects of full-time living is meeting so many new people. Just yesterday, we met a family from the UK while we were on the trails at Glacier. A few weeks ago we made lifelong friends with a couple from Maryland. We already have plans to meet up with them and a group of other full-timers in the spring.
The day-to-day routines are not fully mapped out yet, but we’re getting there. I always have a tendency to push for “perfect” rather than progress. Transitions, no matter what a person is transitioning from or to, are difficult. We have to give each other (and ourselves) grace daily, sometimes hourly. “Are we there yet?” Is a question asked on regular basis, despite the fact that we drive all the time!
Still, we are living purposefully, intentionally, and bravely. Not every day is easy. Not every day is “social media beautiful.” There is, however, something beautiful in every day.
We are frequently asked when we’ll be back or when we plan to “settle down” again. We honestly have no answer for that question. We are confident we will know when and where God begins to move our hearts to put down roots. Until then, we’ll see you down the road!
We went to the Needles, had a fun time. We went to the Needles--is this supposed to rhyme? Climbed some rocks, hiked on some trails, went through some tunnels, and took some more photos. SO. MANY. MOTORCYCLES. Always bring tennis shoes. The walking stick I brought helps sometimes.
So we were staying near Hill City, South Dakota. Most days we were out and about doing fun things in South Dakota. The other day, on a Saturday we went to Mount Rushmore for a second time in a MONTH. (Crazy right! I know, but that’s our life know, lol.) After that we were feeling a little hungry so we went to DEADWOOD, South Dakota. We were planning to go there anyway, so we made our way down to Deadwood, scoped around for a place to eat, and found Stockade. The food there was incredible; the Buffalo wings were very, very, good. After that we went to the Adams Museum; it was awesome; it showed and talked about Wild Bill Hickok as well as Calamity Jane, two of the biggest Wild West icons. Then when we were done, we went to Mt. Mariah, which is where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried.