When I told my dad the news, his response was “congratulations…it’s about time!” I guess growing up with a family of RV’ers it really was only a matter of time until Josh and I purchased our first motorhome and dove into the RV travel lifestyle. But still, the whole way it happened was pretty crazy. I mean honestly, it wasn’t on our minds much at all before we bought it. But you know, it’s not the first time we have made a big decision on a whim.
(ahem – the time we sold it all and quit our jobs to backpack around the world…but that’s another story)
** Originally posted in 2017 but updated in 2021 **
Blame the Beauty of the San Juan Mountains
After moving to Colorado after living overseas for years backpacking, traveling and working, Josh and I were really enjoy exploring new parts of the State that we’d never seen before. Of course, we’ve been to the main areas off I-70 and just beyond, such as Breckenridge, since it goes through the heart of the state and connects to Denver. We’ve also been just south of Denver to the Colorado Springs area and this summer we went north through Rocky Mountain National Park and beautiful Steamboat Springs.
However, neither Josh nor I had ever been to the southwest part of the state — home to the San Juan mountain range and popular destinations such as Telluride. I’ve always wanted to go to Telluride, but it’s kinda out of the way. But one weekend in September we just got the urge to go explore (as we tend to do). So we packed up the car and Hana’s dog bed, got comfy and took off on a 5+ hour drive to the San Juan’s.
A while after having turned south off I-70 at Grand Junction, I was disappointed at the flatness of the landscapes around me. I told Josh “there must be mountains ahead somewhere because Telluride is a ski resort…but where are they?!?” Puzzled, I just sat back and trusted that something was up the road a bit further.
Then suddenly, there it was. We crested the top of a small hill and the landscape ahead of us was just breathtaking. Both Josh and I gasped out loud at the panoramic sight of jagged mountains cutting up into the sky. We were in awe, partially because they appeared so suddenly, and because the reddish hues of the mountains in the evening were contrasting with the blue sky incredibly.
Staying in Ouray Instead of Telluride, Near an RV Park
Rather than staying in Telluride (because wow – it’s pretty expensive), we decided to stay in a quaint town that I had heard of while doing some research — Ouray (pronounced you-ray). It’s dubbed the “Switzerland of America” due to it’s location at the base of snowcapped mountains. I head heard really good things about this town because it and has loads of recreation options, as well as waterfalls and natural hot springs. Plus, it’s less expensive to stay here than Telluride.
Our weekend in Ouray was our first “family vacation” since adopting Hana. It was a much needed getaway, and a chance for all of us to hang out together, escaping the city and constant work. The three of us played in the park together, went on hikes to visit waterfalls, explored the old town, and enjoyed nightly dips in the hot tub and gazed at the starry-sky.
We found this great little hotel along the river that actually had some dog-friendly cabins. We loved the cabins because it felt more like we were staying in the mountains and being alongside the river was nice to hear at night. Plus, there was a great walking trail that took us into town along the river.
We walked the trail along the river many times up to town. And right next to where we were staying was actually an RV park alongside the river. I remember walking and mentioning to Josh what a great park it was, and that those people staying there had some of the best camping spots along the river!
The last day of our trip we made our way to the other side of the mountains to explore the popular resort town of Telluride. We discovered that Telluride is actually split — there is a local downtown area, and a resort area which are all connected by gondola. The great thing about the gondola is that it’s not only free…but dog-friendly! Yes, we were able to take Hana with us as we explored the town!
Sad to Leave, How Can We Stay Longer?
We were really in love with this area of Colorado and did not want to go back home. On our way back to Denver we had a lot of time to think. We enjoyed our time exploring the San Juan region, but we only took 3 days for this long weekend getaway and had to get back home to work. There was so much more to see and explore around this part of Colorado, we really hated to take a long drive back to Denver just to plan another trip out in the future.
We Wanted to Travel Slower, Longer & Work In Between
It’s funny, because this logic sounds similar to the reasons we decided to leave the States and take a 3 year trip exploring and living around Asia. We felt like we could have really enjoyed the area more if we had more time. We didn’t want to split it into so many trips, we just wanted to be able to stay and enjoy it all — even if we had to do a bit of work here and there during our visit.
Our Job Was Already Remote
I guess Josh and I still have a bit of the “digital nomad” bug sometimes, because our conversation turned and we started to talk about how lucky we are that we can work anywhere. As digital marketing consultants with clients around the world, it doesn’t matter where we live. That’s part of the reason we chose to move to Denver – because we could choose anywhere.
But now we were starting to think back on our time backpacking around the world. From New Zealand, to Thailand, to China. We were able to work anywhere. And technically, our jobs were remote…so why did we have to go back to Denver???
Staying in Hotels Can Get Expensive
Then we began to talk about how we could have brought our computers with us and stayed the rest of the week – and mixed a bit of work and fun. But unfortunately, hotels (especially nicer comfortable ones) tend to get a bit pricey. It was fine when we were staying in great place along the river with walking trails and a nice hot tub – but a whole week would have cost a lot more.
Not All Hotels (or Airbnbs) are Dog Friendly
And then we started thinking about the dog. The hotel where we stayed in Ouray was wonderful (it was actually a cute little cabin) but they had a rule that we couldn’t leave the dog unattended in the room. Not that we would leave her for long periods of time. But sometimes we wanted to go do a little something like going to the hot springs for a few hours, or even out to dinner at night. Not all restaurants are dog-friendly, so it was a bit of an inconvenience to wander around a small town trying to find a place with an outdoor dog-friendly patio as well as a menu we wanted.
So we were trying to think of what options we had.
How could we continue to travel and know we could find a place to stay that was pet-friendly, with the freedom to leave the dog sometimes and know she was safe and comfortable, be able to work if we needed to, and not spend a fortune on hotels?!?
Then it hit me.
Why Don’t We Just Buy An RV???
Years ago when Josh and I were dating we had gone car & tent camping a few times. We enjoyed it for the most part just because they were small trips — but we had also discussed that if we wanted to travel more and longer that we could upgradeto a towable pop-up tent trailer that we can tow behind a car.
I started thinking more about that idea of having a tow-behind trailer for camping. However, having grown up in a family with motorhomes all my life (even most of my extended family all have RVs & motorhomes), thoughts started popping in my mind. I really do love traveling in an RV!
Plus, recently I had been chatting with my parents to arrange their visit with us in Denver. They were planning to stop by at our house in Denver in just a couple weeks, as they set pass through from Idaho to Florida. They are retired, and live in their giant RV in the winter in Florida. In fact, Josh and I got a sample of the RV lifestyle before we left the states a few years ago, when we went with them on a trip in their big class A RV.
Josh had joked that he could really get used to the scenery and having the freedom to travel and stay as you please in the comfort of your own little “home” on wheels.
I pondered the possibilities in my head before I said it out loud to Josh. I didn’t want to blurt out a silly idea. But the more I thought about it as I drove that long highway back to Denver, the more it made total sense. So finally, I said it.
“You know what…we should just buy an RV?!?”
Josh looked at me with surprise, but then smiled. We talked more about the pros and cons, and how it would fit our lifestyle. We could still have our house in Denver, but then take longer trips when we wanted to. Hana would enjoy it more than a hotel room, and we could work from the RV with internet if we needed to.
As we drove a few more hours back to Denver we continued to talk about it. The more we talked, the more we really thought an RV would be perfect for us. In fact, we were wondering why we didn’t think about it before! This particular trip to Telluride and Ouray would have be even better with an RV – and it would have been exactly what we wanted!
So the next day, we bought an RV! (yes, the very next day…)
The Crazy Thing Is…It Really Didn’t Seem Crazy
As mentioned, this isn’t the first time we’ve made a spontaneous big decision like this. But it’s worked out for us before, so we figured if our hearts were in it, that we should just go for it. Luckily for us, we found the perfect RV right away. I promise, we did shop around.
I’ve seen thousands of different types of RVs in my lifetime, and my parents have owned like 4 or 5 themselves. So I had a really good idea about what RV features would work best for us. But we really weren’t expecting to find it so fast.
However, the actual process of buying an RV is a different story.
The funny thing is, the two of us don’t regret our purchase one bit. Even though it was a total spur of the moment thing, we know in our hearts that buying an RV was the perfect decision for our family and our lifestyle. Little did we know all the adventures it would take us on! From the Redwoods, beaches of California, Yellowstone, and even the Florida Keys!
UPDATE – Looking Back Years After Buying our First RV
As I update this blog post here (originally posted in 2017 and now it’s 2021), it’s so amazing the journey we have been on. I have to say that every reason we bought the RV was correct. We were able to travel so much and so easily at the drop of a hat. And traveling in an RV with our dog is way easier than traveling and staying in hotels. Plus, she really seems to like the RV a lot more because it feels like her home rather than an unfamiliar hotel room.
We were also able to spend more time in places and explore at our own pace. Even though we had a home base in Denver, we were able to spend weeks traveling up and down the California cost. That’s a long drive and it would have been terrible if we had to rush it because we needed to get back home to work. Instead, we were able to mix in some off days and long weekends with working in the RV – and it turned out just great!
Going Full-Time RVing & Upgrading!
After a few years of owning the RV and traveling so much, we realized that we were rarely home in Denver. So money was just being wasted in rent. So after a lot of thought, we decided to ditch the house and move into the RV full-time! Full-time RVing was an amazing experience and we loved it. However, our original RV started to get a little tight so we decided to upgrade to a Class A (bus-style) RV because it gave us a ton more space – especially for storage and for working!
RVing Brought Us to Florida and Our New Home Base
After a couple years traveling and living in the RV full time, we were spending our winters in Florida (as many RVers do) and we happened to find a cute little beach town on the Gulf Coast. We fell in love and decided to buy a house here to serve as our “home base” in between RV trips. It’s funny because honestly, it seems like this is where we are meant to be at this time – yet, it would have never happened if we hadn’t have bought that first RV on a whim because of that trip to Telluride.
Just go with the flow — things always work out!
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