This post was hard to write. Sometimes you have so much to say, but words don’t feel like enough. When Tim, Calla, and I started RVing almost a year ago now (wow, time flies more than ever before) we had our reasons for making the leap. We wanted to spend more time together, to have more “want to” moments in life instead of the many “have to” moments in life than we had with our traditional lifestyle. We made the leap, not really knowing what we’d find along the way.
Certainly, it’s been a journey of self-discovery for all of us. That journey continues and always will. When we boil away the “minimalism”, “simplifying”, and “tiny house” buzzwords everyone uses to describe the lifestyle, the one thing we are left with as our main takeaway of this journey is a love of nature. Our RV allows us to stay in nature in ways a hotel never could. From there, our hiking boots (or swimsuits) take us to even more remote, unspoiled places.
Sure, we’ve always loved nature. I grew up with woods and a creek as my backyard. When we were dating, Tim and I used to go tent camping often in the beautiful mountains of Central PA (Go Nittany Lions!). We used to hike fairly often at the county park near our house in Pittsburgh, and enjoyed many hours spent by our koi pond at our house.
But what’s different now is that we have been totally submerged in nature. We don’t get a 2 hour clip of it while we go on a hike then go back home. Nope, we are surrounded, for better or for worse, by nature. Some days this means all 3 of us sitting in the same room all day while it pours outside and the RV rocks side to side in the wind. It means getting woken up by howling coyotes. It means seeing snakes, getting a roach in the RV, and being at the whim of the nightly low and how much propane is left in your tank. It also means desert sunsets, nestling the RV in between the Ponderosa pines of the Kaibab National Forest and not seeing another soul for a week, and a lack of sound that makes your ears hurt.
Getting Closer to Nature
In the past 9 months on the road, our travel style has changed a lot. Boondocking is at the top of our list because it provides the most in-depth nature experience.
Being in a national forest by yourself is completely magical. We have our home with us – so we can sleep in a comfortable bed, make our meals, charge our phones, take a (quick!) shower – we have all of the creature comforts – and outside our windows are unspoiled views of mountains, the desert, pine trees, red rock arches…I could go on and on.
Calla gets to wander freely, and we don’t have to worry about cars. It’s so nice to not have to keep such a close eye on her the way we do at a campground. She seems to like it, too. She can pick up pinecones, overturn rocks, play with sticks. In a paved campground, a lot of the best aspects of the outdoors have been taken away.
We’ve learned to be careful about our resource usage. We can boondock very comfortably, but we do have to have a sense of when our tanks are getting full, and when we are about to run out of freshwater. Between our solar panel and our generator, we don’t worry about electricity, but we prefer not to run our generator that often. We’ve definitely found our sense of confidence in boondocking.
One of the best things about boondocking is how close you can get to some of our best national treasures: national parks and monuments. We stayed 2 miles from the entrance gate to the Grand Canyon. We’re 6 miles from Arches National Park in our current boondocking spot. We just stayed 15 minutes from the entrance to Bryce Canyon.
Most campgrounds are much, much further away – and have a premium price due to their location near the national park. We’ve seen campgrounds over an hour away from the park itself advertise themselves as close to the park! Many times, these locations are remote, so there’s not much around. But that’s what makes it so perfect for solitude and a genuine connection with nature.
How Can We Share?
When you really love something, you want to share it with others. The gears started turning on how we could share these in-depth nature experiences with other adventurous people, even if they don’t have an RV. There is quite a learning curve to RVing (just ask any RV-er about “RV School”) and then a whole other curve to boondocking: scouting out a spot, managing your holding tanks, stocking up on propane and fresh water, and having either a generator and/or solar for electricity.
We want this experience to be accessible to everyone, RV or not. That’s where our idea comes in.
We want to provide off-the-grid RV rentals in these boondocking locations.
Want to go to Sedona, AZ? The Grand Canyon? Page, AZ, home of horseshoe bend and Antelope Canyon? We’ll put a comfortable, well-stocked, off-the-grid RV on a prime section of national forest or public land and give you a quick lesson on how it all works.
What we want you to experience is the magic of being immersed in nature – not visiting nature then going back to a hotel room. Envision yourself sitting by a campfire in one of our national forests, drinking a beer after a long day of exploring. No sounds except the coyotes, and nothing to see except the stars above. Just pack your suitcase and we will do the rest. That’s what we want to provide after experiencing it ourselves over the past 9 months.
So, now that we’ve put it all out there – our idea for how we can share our passion with the world – we have a favor to ask. If this sounds remotely interesting to you, would you fill out the survey by clicking on the image below? Or can you pass it along to an adventurous friend who might be interested? We are trying to gauge interest and refine some details before putting our initial offerings online. It is completely anonymous, unless you choose to share your e-mail address with us.
Whew – a weight has been lifted. This idea that has been in our minds for months now is officially out there. Now please, let us know what you think! Would you take an off the grid adventure with us?