This week on Travelers Tuesday, we have a special treat that I have been anxiously waiting to share. Introducing: Ryan and Rebecca from Our Streamlined Life!
I first met Ryan and Rebecca via Instagram and absolutely fell in love with their accomplishments and goals. If you have been searching for a family to follow as they are just starting their lives of living on the road fulltime then this is definitely a good one to look into!
About the family: Ryan and Rebecca met while in college in Virgina and have now been married for 7 years. They own an adorable 1991 Holiday Rambler that was purchased in May 2015, renovated over June, and it became Home in July. They have been on the road fulltime since November and the adventures before them are sure to be amazing!
What got you and your family interested in living this lifestyle? For 10 years, I was an outdoors person trapped in an indoor life, because that’s how I thought responsible people lived. Eventually, I rebelled against the 40 hour week, shirt and tie, fluorescent lighting life, and with my wife started looking for a lifestyle that was largely outdoors. Rebecca, the clever one in the family, had already built herself a work-from-anywhere position, and was spending daylight hours going for runs and walking around the awesome downtown area where we lived. But like me, she was itching for new horizons and unexplored destinations. Once I left my job, it didn’t take us long to decide to do something drastic. About a month later we bought a 1991 Holiday Rambler, updated and renovated it, got rid of 90% of our belongings, and began living our adventure!
Was getting on the road easy or challenging? Any advice to those just starting out? I’ll start by saying that yes, it’s completely worth it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say it’s been very difficult at times! Some of the difficulty was self-inflicted (trying to renovate the camper in 4 weeks while working full-time), but plenty was not (my camper brakes going out completely in pouring rain – at night – during my first time towing the camper a long distance). Pipes break, air conditioners leak, refrigerators act up — it’s a wonderfully free life, but be prepared for the reality that things will go wrong. Keep an emergency fund, learn to do as much yourself as possible (YouTube and Google will get you there almost every time), and be brave! People in the RV/camper community tend to be knowledgeable and very handy, and are always quick to lend a hand.
What are your travel goals? As it says on our blog, “See all the things!” The short answer is “everywhere,” but right now we’re planning on continuing west after the holidays, hitting the southwest and ultimately California, then working our way up the coast this spring. We’re in the process of deciding whether to keep traveling during the summer, or to go back to VA for me to work as a whitewater raft guide. Either way, we’d like to spend next August in Maine, and then work our way back down the East Coast, seeing friends and following the fall colors south. We’ll see what actually happens!
We also have some more long term international travel plans, starting in Europe, and then … who knows?!
How many states and countries have you already visited? On our 6-week road trip west in September and October, we visited 20 states, and since we started travelling with the camper, we’ve been to 8 more. Prior to starting the camper life, Ryan had traveled to Denmark, Germany, and Mexico, Rebecca had visited Turkey, Germany, and Austria, and together we’d spent a magical week in Quebec City, Canada … and we’re both anxious to add some international travel to the schedule (Ireland, Iceland, and Germany are high on the list!).
What has been your favorite and/or least favorite trip, site, experience so far? Ironically, our favorite trip that we’ve ever taken was before we moved into the camper! Last December, we took a road trip up to Quebec City for about 5 days right before Christmas. We stayed in the old town and had the most amazing time of our lives. We stayed in a gorgeous little hotel right off the river, spent our days touring museums, art galleries, and historical sites, and eating our way through the incredibly diverse and unique restaurant selection. The city was gorgeous, and we’re always talking about going back.
What is your favorite and/or least favorite thing about traveling as a family? I’d say the best part has been that we’ve not only gotten to do new things, we’ve gotten to plan and then do or see them together — we drove all the way to the west coast together, hiked together, and checked off many bucket list items together! We’ve always had our best conversations while driving on road trips, and this lifestyle has given us lots of drivetime to talk!
The downside is that we’re pretty much ALWAYS together. We’re both independent people who need time to ourselves, so living in a camper (and occasionally out of a car), has been a struggle in that regard. We’ve found our way, though! A curtain and some headphones can go a long way!
Getting a bit more personal: What is your favorite book? I don’t think either one of us could choose an overall favorite, but right now I’m really enjoying a book we picked up in Portland called Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere by Zach Klein about gorgeous cabins around the world, and the people who built and live in them. It’s worth the price for the pictures alone! Rebecca is currently in love with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. What is your favorite season? We LOVE fall. This year was great, because we experienced fall in Virginia, then drove out west and had fall in Washington/Oregon/Utah/Colorado, then came back east, and followed the colors south down the east coast, all the way to Louisiana. It’s been 3 months of fall! Do you have a favorite post, page, or category you have written on your website/blog? For Rebecca, it’s her post on how she hasn’t missed all the stuff we got rid of: Why I Don’t Miss My Stuff. For me, it’d probably be the ongoing camper renovation series I’ve been working on: Out With the Old! Our Camper Renovation, Part I. It’s been a lot of fun to show how we updated and personalized the camper!
What got you started in blogging? We’d always wanted to have a blog, because we are interested in so many things and love to share our enthusiasm and experiences. But it only really took shape once we decided to massively downsize, streamline our life so we could live the way we wanted, and move into the 26-foot camper we now call home!
What are your goals for your website? To inspire others to dream bigger, see and do more, and live better with less! For us, the key to achieving a lifestyle that we enjoyed was getting rid of the stuff that takes so much time, energy, and resources just to maintain. Our American Dream isn’t to have two new cars and a big house. Our dream is to have the freedom to travel and really get to know this country we live in — and hopefully soon, some other countries as well! If we can motivate others, and provide some how-to help in achieving similar goals, we’ll consider the blog a success!