In early 2010, the 2 cats, and the dog, Nina and Paul quit their day jobs, packed their lives away and moved into a 40-foot RV to follow their dream of living an alternative life and exploring the USA on wheels. That day Wheelingit was born.
We love the voice of your blog: did either of you train to be a writer?
So nice of you to say! No, I was never trained to write. My whole “previous life” was
in the tech industry so writing in a less formal and more personal style took time to
learn. It’s gotten easier to “find my voice” with practice and time.
What did the RV cost and what are your monthly running expenses?
We bought our first RV for just over $100,000. She was a high-class girl so she was
an investment up-front. While we were RVing in the USA, our monthly running
expenses were around $3,500 which I think is middle-of-the-road for that lifestyle.
The “fixed” part of the budget includes health insurance, RV insurance,
maintenance and such. The “flexible” part of the budget is where you stay (cost &
style of campgrounds) and how far you drive each year (gas), so those two things
influence the numbers a lot. We’ve always preferred public campgrounds (state
forests, state parks, COE, etc.) and have always spent at least part of the year
volunteering or boondocking (free camping). Plus we’ve always preferred slo-mo
travel style and have only driven around 5,000-8,000 miles per year. Our budget
reflects that style of travel.
The numbers can be very different for other RV folks, depending on how they stay
and travel. We’ve known folks who full-time RV for only $1,500-$2,000 per month and
those who splurge at $5,000-$6,000 a month. It’s a big range.
How has this alternative lifestyle changed your definition of ‘happiness’?
Honestly, I’m not sure my definition of happiness has changed, but my experience of
it certainly has. RVing has allowed me to discover new places and people, expanded
my horizons, and bought me closer to nature, which always makes me happy. Travel
is soul-enriching stuff!
Does your lifestyle sometimes conflict with the pressure to update the blog?
This is an excellent question! I think there is always an element of conflict when you
travel and work at the same time. Blogging takes a lot of time, as does other social
media such as Instagram and YouTube. To grow a following you have to blog
regularly, which means time taken away from visiting and travelling. So, we try to stay
places longer and move a little slower.
Is the life of a travel blogger as dream-like as we imagine it to be?
Yes, in many ways it is exactly like a dream. I get to visit places and see things that I
never imagined, experienced nature that’s so beautiful it’s bought me to tears, met
people from all over, and made meaningful, life-enriching connections.
On the other hand, when I visit a place I’m always thinking about how to present it in
a blog, and when I’m not out visiting I’m always at my desk writing and developing
photos! This sometimes takes away from being present and just enjoying a place.
Also “regular life” is part of the deal, whether you travel or not, and that is something you might not consider particularly exciting or glamorous. We still have to do our
laundry and shop for groceries, deal with breakdowns, and medical or mechanical issues.
And when you travel, these things are often more complicated to handle. But the
travel part is amazing and exactly the dream you would imagine. Plus it’s truly a gift
to be able to share that with others through the blog. I love it, I really do!
Some sights during your travels that simply took your breath away
The wild crash of the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon coast, the incredible chasm of the
Grand Canyon in Arizona, winter sunset over the California desert, sunrise over the
Grand Tetons in Wyoming. I could go on and on.
One heart-in-the-mouth experience that still makes you shudder.
Back in 2016, we believe someone pulled the pins on our tow car on a ferry ride,
which then caused the car to come loose on the highway and crash into the back of
the RV. It could easily have had a deadly outcome. Thankfully no other cars were
involved and no one was hurt, but it still makes me shudder to think about it.
Your top tips for our readers on how to travel with pets
- Always be aware of temps. Vehicles can get hot very quickly so if you’re traveling
with pets. In an RV this means travelling to places that have moderate temps or
making sure you have electrical hookups to keep the temp inside your RV
comfortable. In a car, this means never leaving your pet alone unless temps are cool.
- Keep track of medical records. If you travel from place to place with paws it can be
easy to lose track of medical records. So always ask for a print-out of records from
whichever vet you visit, and scan them onto Dropbox for future visits. We’ve had lots
of pet medical issues on the road, and those two things have made life smoother.
Does all that driving and travelling sometimes make you crave a regular home
with a patio?
Sure, there are times you “burn out” on travel and you just want to sit still for a while.
While we were RVing in the USA we often stopped during the summer or winter
months, staying in one place or travelling very little for a while just to recharge and
relax. Then we’d pick up the pace again for Spring and Fall. Right now we’re in a
downtime too. We’ve moved to Europe so we’re re-establishing ourselves here and
resting a bit in one spot before we start travelling again. Mixing periods of intense
travel with periods of rest (or less travel) are healthy and in my opinion the best of
both worlds. Oh, and we still don’t crave a regular house long-term, but you never
know what life brings you….
What camera and apps do you use?
I have two cameras that I travel with. A little pocket camera which is my trusty Canon
G7X and my “big” DSLR camera which is a Nikon D750. I use the little camera most
of the time just because it’s so handy to carry around, and only break out the DLSR
when I have a specific landscape shot in mind. For software, I use Photoshop to edit
my regular photos and Photomatix Pro if I’m working on multiple-exposure shots.
One travel secret for our readers
You don’t need to have a big RV or fly to an amazing location to experience it. We
know folks who travel in teeny vans, folks who just take day trips in their cars, folks
who backpack and folks who just roam the back roads in their neighbourhoods. They
are all travellers and they are all experiencing beautiful things in their own way. Some
of the best experiences we had in the RV were in accessible camping locations, or in spots
that were only 20 miles away. No matter how you do it, travel is a lifestyle that
everyone can access, so I hope you get out there and get the chance to experience
Nina Fussing, from WheelingIt travel bloggers, spoke to Daksh Mudgil from Travel Secrets magazine
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