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Family’s Transition to Full-Time RV Life

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Crissy and Brian have five children, and while the idea of traveling in an RV together had sounded attractive for a while, it wasn’t until the three teenagers moved out that it seemed feasible space-wise. They were ready to start spending more time together and more time outdoors, and their life in a toy hauler allows them just that!

They purchased the RV new and have made some improvements to make it fit their needs. Enjoy a photo tour of the space below, and hear from Crissy about why they went tiny and what they love most (and find most challenging) about this lifestyle.

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Nomad Family’s Full-Time RV Life: Parents & 2 Kids Exploring the Country in their Travel Trailer

We’d dreamed of simple living and RV travel for many years, but with a large family (we have 5 kids, 3 of whom were teenagers at the time) the timing just didn’t seem right.

By early 2021 all of our teens had grown up and moved out, so transitioning a family of 4 into a tiny space felt much more doable!

We were also all working and schooling from home because of the pandemic so taking that setup on the road was an easy idea. Our dream was to refocus our priorities.

Rather than spending all of our time running in different directions to the obligations that come with traditional living, we wanted to spend time together as a family… traveling and experiencing new places and adventures together. Our time is now more of our own!

We live in a fifth-wheel toy hauler RV. We purchased it new and have made adjustments along the way to tailor it to our specific needs.

We aren’t quite finished, but then again, I’m not sure if we ever will be! We continue to modify the space as our needs change. We love the flexibility of the toy hauler garage space. We don’t actually haul any toys so we have a big blank slate to use as we wish!

I would say that for the most part, this lifestyle has changed us for the better! There are definitely hard times as a result of our choice to go small and travel, though. It’s much less convenient for sure! Sometimes we get frustrated by the inconvenience… cooking dinner?

In our setup, you can’t always just reach into the cabinet or walk into a pantry and easily grab what you need. It involves getting a stepstool, climbing up to a high shelf, and moving 5 things out of the way so you can grab the one in the back that you need…

BUT – sometimes I think we’re better for the inconvenience. It’s taught us to slow down and practice patience.

We’ve also become much less focused on material possessions. We no longer feel like we’re missing out because we can’t own every little thing we want. We literally don’t have space! It’s made us really think about what we want and need and prioritize what’s most important.

We also spend a lot more time together. When we had a large house, everyone would retreat to their own space (and we’d still have areas completely empty!). There’s not as much room to spread out so while we do find time to ourselves, we are much more often all together sharing space and sharing life!

I (Crissy) was working remote full-time when we launched. I worked for a non-profit as Senior Manager of People & Culture. Brian had to quit his job when we hit the road because his work was in person as a master service technician (on copiers and printers).

He has taken on various roles over our years of travel, from work-camping to call center technical support. I recently resigned from my remote job, so I’m focusing on my Enneagram Coaching business, Virtual Assistance, and Content Creation.

Our current challenge is finances. There is a misconception that everyone who lives tiny or travels by RV is debt-free and living cheap. That is not the case for us! We have an RV payment, truck payment, insurance, internet, credit card debt, etc. We have almost as much monthly expense now as we did in the house!

Living tiny also means missing out on some of the affordability of living large – like buying in bulk, storing and reusing seasonal items, and not paying for storage. Financing this travel life is currently the hardest part.

The most rewarding part of this is experiencing life TOGETHER. We travel together, adventure together, and spend most of our time together. Living tiny also means spending more time outdoors (and travel means being in places you can comfortably be outside!) and the more you are outside of your home, the more opportunities you have to meet others.

We hardly knew any of our neighbors when we lived in a traditional home near Houston. Everyone was doing their own thing in their own home and it was too hot and humid to be outside. 

Now we meet our neighbors, spend time chatting, and it’s not unusual to find yourself sitting around a campfire on a Tuesday evening getting to know strangers.

We found the transition easier than we expected! There was a moment during the purge (where we got rid of 90% of our material possessions) where I realized I was much more attached and defined by our “things” than I realized.

But we all got through it and it’s very rare that I miss any of that stuff now. It’s ok to mourn what was – take a moment and allow yourself that. Acknowledge that this will feel different and every transition comes with moments of awkwardness.  It might not be easy at first but once you adjust, living tiny can bring such simplicity to your life! We are now so busy living the life that tiny living provides, that we don’t miss the traditional way of living at all!


  • This family had considered tiny life for years, but it wasn’t practical with 5 kids (three of whom were teens).
  • When the teens moved out, they had already moved to homeschooling, so it was easier to go tiny as a family of 4.
  • They live in a fifth-wheel toy hauler RV!
  • While they are living smaller, their living expenses are still on the higher end.
  • They love all the time this life has given them together — and all the extra time spent outdoors.

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Our big thanks to Crissy for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.
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