MARC & JULIE BENNETT
We’re Marc and Julie Bennett, also known as RVLove. We’ve been living, working and traveling full-time in our RV since 2014 – while exploring North America and the world. So far, we’ve traveled to 49 states – plus Canada, Mexico and Australia – all while working full-time.
As a 40-something couple, we sold our home and just about everything in it to step away from the madness of a so-called ‘normal life’ that no longer made sense to us. We bought a motorhome and hit the road to create a new life that we felt was more aligned with our own definition of success.
A Colorado native, Marc’s career ranged from construction, driving and law enforcement to IT, health and nutrition. He was disenchanted by the unhealthy and imbalanced expectations in our society, where people are driven to achieve materially, while sacrificing so much time and health. Julie grew up in Australia and ran her own marketing and communications company before moving to the USA – solo and with 2 suitcases – to start her life over in 2008, in the depths of the global financial meltdown.
In 2010, the stars aligned! We met on the dating website eHarmony and married one year later. We lived in a nice home in a nice neighborhood and drove nice cars. We had good jobs, made good money and were saving for retirement, but we also knew there was more to life than a bigger house, more stuff, and the promise of relaxing and enjoying the fruits of our labor in our ‘golden years’. We wanted to travel, share adventures and spend quality time together while we were still young and healthy. So we took the plunge and traded daily commutes, a stick-and-brick home and ‘normal life’ for remote work, a home-on-wheels and ‘the unknown’. It was a risk, but one we were willing to take.
Our blog and YouTube videos started out as a creative outlet for Julie, an extrovert, to share our journey and message with others. Little did we know there were thousands more who shared our worldview and would soon join our adventures – we found our tribe! When we left our old life and drove off in an RV, we had NO idea that the open road would literally become the launchpad for our new life-calling. This has led to Marc quitting his job so we can focus full-time on creating even more content to help others hit the road successfully too. By sharing the ups, downs and realities of RV life, we hope to inspire more people to discover a new way to truly live and thrive – and make their own path a whole lot easier.
WHAT RV WE CHOSE AND WHY: We live in a 2012 Tiffin Allegro Open Road 36’ gas motorhome and tow a 2006 MINI Cooper S Convertible for exploring and running errands. This was going to be our home, so buying a quality brand was paramount. We researched a ton before finally deciding on our RV – a bunkhouse model – which may seem odd for a couple without kids. Because we place a high value on work-life balance and with Marc working a 40 hour, 8-5 job, being able to work productively and comfortably – while keeping our computers out of the living space and bedroom – was important to us.
We converted the bunkhouse into a dedicated office for Marc so he could literally pull the curtain over it at the end of his workday. We set up the front co-pilot area as Julie’s office, utilizing a space that would otherwise be unused when the RV was parked. Creating two separate offices gave us both privacy and allowed us to draw the line between work and play.
PETS: One of our big reasons for deciding to explore the USA by RV was so we could travel with our dog Coda – a 9yo 50/50 lab-poodle mix. A real daddy’s girl, Coda looooved attention and was kinda needy, hence her nickname “Coda-pendent”! Our worst day ever came when we had to say goodbye to Coda after just 5 months on the road. Even 3 years later, we still cry over her, but we’ll always remain grateful for the joy she got to experience chasing her ball on the beaches of Oregon.
PREFERRED METHOD OF CAMPING: When we first hit the road, we mostly stayed in campgrounds with hookups. As newbies, we weren’t that confident dry camping (boondocking) for extended periods. And we really enjoyed the comforts and ease of living that comes with having electric and water hookups! We like having access to a pool, hot tub and laundry that we don’t have to maintain. And we also have a camping membership that makes our RV stays extremely affordable, even less expensive than boondocking!
An unexpected bonus of campgrounds has been the number of amazing friends we’ve made there – our RV life is extremely social! While we’re now boondocking a lot more than we used to and we love the self sufficiency, scenery and solitude that brings, we still probably spend about 80% of our time in campgrounds. We like having the option to choose and mix things up.
FULL TIME EXPERIENCE: We’re now in our 4th year of full-time RVing and have traveled to all of the lower 48 states with the RV, plus Hawaii without the RV. We’re planning to head to Alaska in the summer of 2018 – to complete our visit of all 50 states! We still feel there’s so much more to explore, so we’re glad we started when we did.
We began our travels spending 1-2 weeks in each location. We’ve since learned to slow down our pace and try to stay 2-4 weeks at a time, giving us more time to work, explore and relax. Full-time RVing is neither a race nor a vacation – it’s a lifestyle – and the last thing we want to do is burn out, even if it is from having too much fun!
One of the things we love most about the RV life is it’s always so interesting! From the people we meet, to the places we go, to the RVs themselves – things are constantly changing. We never get bored and we’re always learning. We love hearing other people’s stories about why they decided to RV, how they make it work for them and why they chose the RV they did. We soak everything up like sponges and it’s given us a much deeper and broader understanding of the entire movement, which we find fascinating.
UH-OH MOMENT: We’d actually considered ourselves pretty fortunate as our RV had been very reliable and we take great care of it. But, after 2.5 years on the road, we had 3 breakdowns in a month ending up on the side of a busy highway in Arizona. It was inconvenient, but no-one was hurt and fortunately, it didn’t end up being anything too serious. Repairs and breakdowns are inevitable in the RV lifestyle and it’s this side of RVing that probably scares a lot of people off. But like most things in life, you can put things in place to minimize the occurrences, inconvenience and expense. Stay positive, be flexible and look for the humor each time! It’s all part of the adventure and one day, it will be a great campfire story!
TOP SPOT: Our favorite stay of all time was when we camped for 12 nights at Watchman Campground in Zion National Park, Utah. The views were incredible, we had deer grazing on our campsite, and hiking and biking trails were just steps away. We were in awe of the majestic beauty of Zion every single day and night we were there.
Our favorite boondocking spot was in Sedona, Arizona. There are several campsites located along Forest Road 525, but be warned… it’s a 1-7 mile drive along a bumpy, dirt road to access them. Aside from the occasional Jeeps and ATVs driving right by us, we were all alone for 9 days in one of our favorite places. On our last night, we climbed up onto the roof of the RV with a blanket and watched the sun set then the full moon rise right over us. It was incredible.
FAVORITE MOMENT: Aside from our rooftop moonrise moment in Sedona, a less glamorous but more pivotal moment came 6 months into our RV life. We had flown to Colorado – where Marc had lived his whole life – to spend Christmas and New Year with Marc’s family. When we returned to our RV in Palm Springs, we both walked in and said “Oh, it’s so good to be home!” Having just returned from the place that WAS home for so many years, we looked at each other in shock, as we realized “Our RV really is home now. This isn’t an extended vacation, this is our life”. That was the moment we both knew we were fully committed – we were in this for the long haul and there was no going back.
WHY SELL IT ALL AND HIT THE ROAD? Ultimately, we wanted to unplug from societal norms and what we felt were misguided ideals around what it means to live a happy, successful and meaningful life. We wanted to consciously design our lives on our own terms and create more of what was most important to us – freedom, love and more enriching experiences.
Obviously, the chance to explore this beautiful country and reconnect with nature was a huge attraction. So was the ability to move with the weather so we could enjoy more of the outdoors year-round. But health was a big factor too. Marc has a few health concerns that are triggered by stress. Then, just a month before we hit the road, two of our friends died of cancer way too young. It was a sobering reminder that tomorrow is promised to no-one and the time to live is now… in every moment.
But if we had to sum up our answer in just one word? Freedom.
Our lifestyle choice seems unusual to many, but for us, RVing is the epitome of freedom. And now, we can’t imagine living any other way.
You can follow us as RVLoveTV on YouTube and Facebook, as RVLoveTravel on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest and at our blog www.RVLove.com.