The Durell family is a family of 5, plus a dog, that has been full-time RV-ing for the past year. They have 3 little boys ages 11, 4, and 2. Brooklyn is a travel nurse who works 13-week contracts in the Pediatric ICU. As a family, they do a lot of traveling in-between her contracts in their 42-foot home on wheels! They post a lot about their adventures as well as pictures of the inside of their RV on their Instagram. You can check it out @Durellsdownsize. You can also connect with them on GAFFL.
Why We Became Full Time RV-ers
We became full-time RV-ers in November 2019. We started traveling in our RV to spend more quality time together. Before our RV life, we were both working full-time jobs and the kids were in daycare and school all day. Our weekends were spent doing chores around the house, sports for the kids, birthday parties, etc. These were all of the things we thought we were supposed to do as adults. We bought what we thought would be ours forever home. We had 2 car payments, student loans, and credit card debt. We would take our yearly summer family vacation to the beach. We both had good jobs, a family that lived near us, and great friends. Unfortunately, it never felt right for us. We always felt like there had to be more to life than just working and paying bills.
My mother and father-in-law had recently purchased a motor home and decided to hit the road after retirement. We thought it was the coolest thing ever! We would joke about buying an RV and traveling around the United States with them. We started to find families on Instagram that were living full-time in their RV and followed along their journeys. After watching them travel from place to place with their kids in tow, we realized that it could become a reality for us too if we really wanted it! We talked about it on and off for about 2 years before one day finally saying “LET'S DO IT”!
So, within the month we found a realtor, put the house on the market, and started looking at RV’s! We probably looked at over 100 RVs before deciding on a 5th wheel. Ours has a bunkhouse that allows each of our boys to have their own bed. They also have their own bathroom, with a tub! We have a washing machine and dryer, a king-size bed, and a huge residential refrigerator! We sold both of our vehicles and purchased an F350 dually to pull the 5th wheel. We had multiple garage sales and ended up donating a lot of our belongings. We put in our notices at work, I found a travel nursing job, we pulled the boys out of school, and hit the road!
We now full-time RV! We do not know how long we will be doing this, but we don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. So far, we have visited 8 states, been to 14 National Parks, and have spent more than just weekends together as a family. We also get to be part of our children’s education now. One of our biggest accomplishments since switching to RV life has been paying off all student loans and credit card debt! We now have fewer monthly expenses. We got out of our huge mortgage and now have more spending money to travel and explore.
We Purchased Our RV Brand New
We purchased our RV brand new. We had no clue what we were doing! Thankfully the dealership we purchased ours from spent hours going over everything and teaching us what to do, and what NOT to do. The price range varied between all of the RVs we looked at. Ours was in the 50K range. Our monthly payments are actually really affordable. Now that we have been living in ours for a year, we have learned a ton about maintaining and operating it. We decided to purchase new because the dealership offered a pretty good warranty, and since we were brand new to the RV world, we thought it would be nice to have. Thankfully we have not needed any major repairs done to our RV. I would suggest to first-timers to do as much research as they can about maintaining an RV, and knowing what to look for when looking at used ones. They are prone to water damage, so it’s good to know what to look for. When we were looking at used RV’s they were much cheaper, some in the 20K range, but we didn’t know enough yet to know if they had been properly maintained.
The Make and Model Of Our RV
We have a Forest River Sabre 38DBQ. I always recommend this one to families that have multiple kids! We purchased ours from Bob Ledford’s Adventure Motorhome in Spartanburg, South Carolina. If you are a first-timer purchasing an RV I would recommend going through a trusted dealership. They almost always do a walk-through with you and teach you how to operate your specific model. Make sure you get some type of warranty as well!
We have done some remodeling in our 5th wheel. Even though it was a new RV, it is fun for us to paint and make it feel more like us! Our 2 older boys sleep in loft beds in the bunk room. We replaced a couch in their room with a crib for our youngest. We even added shiplap!
Where We’ve Traveled To So Far
We are originally from South Carolina. My first nursing contract was in California, so we took a few weeks to drive out West. We were able to visit Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico on the way. Between contracts, we spent a month in both Utah and Arizona. We are headed back to California for another 13-week contract soon.
Our goals are to visit all 50 states, visit all of the National Parks, find as many hot springs as we can, visit lots of state parks, and find cool boondocking spots. Our big goal is to make it up to Alaska once the border opens back up.
I believe that the best places for RV travel are the free, hard to get to spots. The views are always amazing. While I do like to have full hook-ups, it’s always nice to be out in the middle of nowhere to let the boys run wild and free!