A Year of Fulltime RV Living: RV Podcast #365

 A Year of Fulltime RV Living: RV Podcast #365

This week on the RV Podcast we meet a couple who have just finished a year of fulltime RV Living. They share their adventures, challenges, and tips for making a successful go of the fulltime RV Lifestyle.

Our guests are Eric and Jeanne Anderson, who have spent the past year or so traveling all across the United States.

Here's a Video Version of the entire podcast.

Besides being available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and all major podcast apps, you can also listen to the podcast right now on your computer or device by clicking the audio player below.

Table of Contents

The route the Anderson's have taken for fulltime RV living
This is part of the route the Anderson's have taken so far in their year of fulltime RV living
  • Welcome and update from Mike and Jennifer
  • Congrats to the winners of our latest giveaway!
  • From our followers: A helicopter toad – RV towing a helicopter
  • From our followers: Hot Rod RV – A combination vintage car and trailer
  • The RV Calendar of Events
  • The RV Interview of the Week: Eric and Jeanne Anderson talk about a year of fulltime RV Living
  • RV News: Couple and dog attacked by black bear on Blue Ridge Parkway
  • RV News: Thor Industries reports the most profitable year in its history
  • RV News: The problem of missing National Park Hikers
  • RV News: Goats used to clear fire hazardous weeds in Colorado
  • RV News: Huge diamond found in Arkansas State Park
  • RV Question: Automatic levelers for Ford Transit Chassis RV
  • RV Question: Winterizing and black tank concerns
  • Hidden Campground Gems: Myrtle Beach, SC

A Year of Fulltime RV Living: Transcript

A Year of Fulltime RV Living: RV Podcast #365 1
Eric and Jeanne Anderson, with Hershey, have had lots of adventures through fulltime RV living

Here's an edited transcript of the interview with Eric and Jenne Anderson on their year of fulltime RV Living:

Mike Wendland: Joining us right now from Moab, Utah, in their RV, is Eric and Jean Anderson. Guys, it's great to see you welcome to the podcast.

Eric Anderson: Great to see you.

Jeanne Anderson: Great to see you again.

Mike Wendland: Now, I mentioned earlier that we ran into you guys at a camp next to you. We met you back in the spring, over by Natchez, Mississippi, and got a chance to get to know you a little bit.

And then we've been following you on our Facebook group. So many people, as you probably know, want to be in your shoes and live the lifestyle you have been. So after you began this, you've been a little over a year doing this, is it worth it? Any doubts?

No Regrets after a year of fulltime RV Living!

Eric Anderson: Absolutely. I always tell people that we have zero regrets so far.

Jeanne Anderson: I was nervous. I didn't know if this was going to work out, but I'm telling you, no regrets, no regrets.

Mike Wendland: Let's start with the backstory. Tell us about yourselves and how this all came about, this a life of a full-time RV.

Jeanne Anderson: His boss. His boss had said, go ahead.

How it began…

Eric Anderson: Well, I've been in human resources, vice-president human resources for 32 years. And Jeannie has been a registered nurse and a nursing supervisor for decades as well. So I worked in the assisted living industry.

And gosh, I guess it's going on more than five years ago now, my boss, Mary Ellen, and I were talking one day at the end of a pretty grueling day. It was just one of those tough days. And she said to me, “Eric, you know what we should do?

We should just buy a Winnebago and travel around the country and just forget all this stress.” So we laughed about it. I went home, I told Jeanne what Mary Ellen had said, and we laughed. And a Mary Ellen said it like two more times over the next couple of weeks or so.

And I mentioned to Jeanne that's Mary Ellen had said that again about buying an RV and traveling across the country.

And Jeanne said to me, “Eric, do you think that's something we could do?” And I said, “I have no idea.” I didn't even know.

We'd never had an RV before and didn't know anything about it. Didn't know it was a thing to travel full time. So I started to doing some, some Googling and researching found you and Jennifer and many other full-timers out there and found that it's a whole community. And it sure was a thing. So the more we talked about it, the more we got excited about it and we made the decision that that's what we wanted to do.

They made a plan for Fulltime RV Living

Jeanne Anderson: We put in a four year plan, we didn't just up and leave. He's a planner. So, we put in a plan and we just followed that plan.

Mike Wendland: What was step one on that four year plan?

Jeanne Anderson: Saving money? I guess, yeah.

Eric Anderson: Well, creating a plan where we'd wind down our careers and financially put ourselves in a place where we pay off all of our debt. And interestingly, we had planned on waiting to buy the motor home until about a year before we left.

And we were going to buy like a three-year-old used motor home, but then we kind of made the mistake of going to the Hershey, Pennsylvania RV show.

Jeanne Anderson: It wasn't a mistake, was it ultimately?

Eric Anderson: But we went just to look right. And cause we'd never really…

Mike Wendland: I've heard this story before from other people and see what's happening. Yep.

Eric Anderson: We thought we knew what we wanted for three years down the road, but we went to the Hershey, PA show and lo and behold, the next morning we woke up in the Hotel Hershey and we had a purchase order in front of us.

The best decison they made

A Year of Fulltime RV Living: RV Podcast #365 2
Nothing like it.

Jeanne Anderson: Did we just buy an RV?

Eric Anderson: Turned out to be the best decision ever because, we had it sooner rather than later, we made some great memories with our grandkids.

Jeanne Anderson: The grandkids. Yeah. That, that was one of the things that the grandkids got to come with us on the island and they enjoyed it so much. And then we bought a brand new one and then this way he did a lot of safety issues in the RV. So we knew exactly…

Eric Anderson: Safety modifications.

Jeanne Anderson: Yeah, exactly. And he knew we didn't have to worry about what other people did to the RV prior to us buying it.

Mike Wendland: So this is your second RV, right?

Eric Anderson: No, no, no. This is our very first.

Mike Wendland: Okay. It sounded like it was. So this is the one that you bought in Hershey, that you're in now. And why don't you describe that to everybody?

Meet their RV

the rv the andersons use for fulltime rv living
This is the Anderson's fulltime RV Living home

Eric Anderson: Oh, it's Thor Motor Coach, Windsport 29M so it's 30 feet and we specifically chose the 30-foot mark so that we could make sure we could get in any site restrictions, especially national parks, state parks and places like that.

And that's actually paid off for us, the length. So it's not too big, it's not too small. And we tow a Honda CRV behind us as well. It's worked out great.

Mike Wendland: And you were able to use this, Jeanne, you said with the grandkids, you were able to kind of learn a little bit about RV?

Jeanne Anderson: Three years of having the grandkids come with us on, most on the island, definitely on the island. That's where there…well, I have six grandkids.

Mike Wendland: So we talk about the island. You're talking about where you used to live?

Jeanne Anderson: Long Island.

Mike Wendland: Long Island in New York. Yep.

Not going crazy in a tiny space

Eric Anderson: It was an opportunity to see if we thought we could actually live together in 240 square feet without going crazy.

Jeanne Anderson: We get along pretty well.

Mike Wendland: So that was step one, is getting yourself ready for it. And then buying one, walk us through the other steps of your plan, your four year plan, that was really only one year. What were some of the other things that you did to prepare yourself for this?

Eric Anderson: Yeah, just a ton of research. I mean, along with doing the modifications for the RV, putting a solar system on the roof and many other things, and a lot of safety features, just doing a lot of research about what it would be like, potentially, to live full time in an RV on the road, going around the country because neither of us really had a clue.

So we watched an awful lot of YouTube videos, visited a lot of websites. Joined a lot of Facebook groups as well.

The day fulltime RV living became reality

Mike Wendland: So the time came, a little over a year ago to do it. Jeanne, what were your thoughts that day you pulled away for the first time?

Jeanne Anderson: Yikes. Yikes. I think my biggest thing was the grandkids, really. That was it. But I have to say I did better than I thought, I really did. There's FaceTime now, so I get to see my grandkids, but that was the saddest part was leaving the grandkids.

But everything else, you're surprised that I did as well as I did.

Eric Anderson: Did much better than I thought.

Jeanne Anderson: I mean, really, if you think about it, this is a once in a lifetime chance. And I loved my home, but I guess I wasn't as attached to it as I thought I was. We'd been selling things bit by bit, I was sad, but really just grandkids. I FaceTime them all the time.

Fulltime RV Living is a once in a lifetime opportunity

A Year of Fulltime RV Living: RV Podcast #365 3
Looks good.

My granddaughter just came in May, I think it was, when was it? When we went to Colorado to visit my cousin, we flew her down with my sister and my brother-in-law and they came to visit and the memories are priceless. Totally priceless.

Mike Wendland: What were some of the early lessons that you learned about a life of full-time RVing?

Eric Anderson: Definitely not to rush.

Jeanne Anderson: Yeah, that's good.

Eric Anderson: And that's where, us having a four year plan, and doing all that research with folks like yourself, helped out a lot, because we had heard that a lot of folks who jumped into full-time RV, they just go, go, go, go and see so much.

And it can get exhausting. So we made up our minds early on that we would…

Warning: It can be very tiring

Jeanne Anderson: Before we even left. We said, it's not a vacation. It's our lifestyle now.

Eric Anderson: So, let's take our time.

Jeanne Anderson: Take our time.

Eric Anderson: We set that was comfortable for us.

Jeanne Anderson: I think so too. I think so too. I really do.

Mike Wendland: Describe that pace. And, as you do, walk us through some of your travels and memories of the past year and the things, the setbacks and the good part and the bad part. Paint us a real picture.

You can't see everything…at least not all at once

Jeanne Anderson: Yeah. Well, a lot of people make suggestions as where they thought we should go and “Oh, you can't miss that.” And it was like, okay, we're going to have to miss some things because we just don't know.

I guess the very first place that we really took our time with was Michigan. And that's one of my favorite places, Mackinac Island. So when we thought about places like that, the Upper Peninsula, we took like a month. We put that in as a month and other places we thought, “Okay, we don't need to see something in another state,” whatever.

So places like that, we took our time with. And, so usually when we're going to take our time somewhere, it's going to be at least a month, other places a week or two. And then there's other places that was just a night to get us through. But so that's how we kind of planned it. And Michigan was definitely one of my favorite places. Yours, too. The Upper Peninsula.

Eric Anderson: Beautiful.

Jeanne Anderson: And yeah. So when we really felt like, okay, this is a place we want to stay a little bit longer. We usually make it a month stay. And that's how we…

Their fulltime RV Living journey

Mike Wendland: Where have you been now in this past year? We know you went to Michigan and I know you went to Mississippi because that's where we ran into you. And I think you were coming to Mississippi from Florida, if I remember right.

Jeanne Anderson: That's where we stayed the winter.

Eric Anderson: Yeah, because we started off in Long Island. We went up into New England and crossed over and went up into Michigan and all. And then we just kind of did this route down south until we headed into Florida and spent some time in Florida.

We have some relatives and friends there. And then we ended up spending almost three and a half months, almost four months in Destin, Florida.

So we enjoyed it. I have an old high school buddy, and his wife live there and he actually owns a Ben and Jerry's ice cream shop there in Miramar Beach, Destin.

Mike Wendland: Oh, really, I’ve had ice cream there.

Jeanne Anderson: I worked there over the winter, he gave me a job.

Eric Anderson: She worked there over the winter and she was a scooper.

Mike Wendland: Oh my goodness. So then you went up and you've been all out in the west, I know.

Eric Anderson: Yeah, actually, one of the things we like to say is Hershey has actually sniffed, peed, and pooped in 31 states so far.

Meet Hershey…the Pup!

A Year of Fulltime RV Living: RV Podcast #365 4
Hello Hershey.

Mike Wendland: Oh. And we didn't tell them about Hershey, the name of your dog, Hershey, named after Hershey.

Jeanne Anderson: Well, my granddaughter named him when we said we were going to get a puppy, which is a couple of years prior. And I said, “What do you want to name him?” And she flat out said, “Hershey.”

Mike Wendland: Ladies and gentlemen, meet Hershey.

Jeanne Anderson: Well, did we get them from Hershey, Pennsylvania? That's what they do. Yeah.

Mike Wendland: What kind of a dog is Hershey

Eric Anderson: He's a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, he's two and a half. Yeah. And then he's kind of had his own following on the internet. Whenever I put up my post, if I don't have a picture of Hershey in there, I get in trouble for that. People say where's Hershey. It was funny. We were in Bryce National Park and from behind me, I heard somebody yell out “Is that Hershey?”

And I turned around and this couple were part of the same kind of camping cavaliers Facebook group. And they recognized Hershey. They didn't recognize me, but they recognized Hershey.

Mike Wendland: Yeah. That's happened to Jennifer and I with our dog, Bo, a couple of times. So what other pieces of advice obviously, that you would give other people is to make a plan and spend some time doing the research. You mentioned, take your time.

Don't rush. What other lessons about a life of full timing that people could learn from?

You must pace yourselves for Fulltime RV Living

Eric Anderson: Well, along with the planning, because as she said, I'm definitely a planner, I've had to learn to be flexible. And I've heard other full-time RV owners talk about the plans being set in jello because they can always squiggle and change at one moment's notice.

So I've had to become much more flexible and, learn how to go with the flow more because things don't always go as planned when you're on the road.

Jeanne Anderson: Well, can I just tell them about the situation with Yellowstone and stuff? Eric is, definitely, he's a go getter can go all day. Go all night.

Okay. I personally can't so when we were in Yellowstone, we were there for like 10 days going, going, going.

And I was just like, I'm exhausted. I am so tired right now, lost five pounds in nine days just from walking, walking, walking. We had to come up with a plan because I was getting, I was getting antsy and I just said, I can't do this much longer because we went to…where did we go?

Jeanne was worn out

Eric Anderson: The first place, Glacier National Park.

Jeanne Anderson: Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Teton. I was like, I'm exhausted.

So we had to come up with a plan where I'm a four-hour-a-day girl type of thing. And so we had to come up with a plan where all right, I have to stop when I have to stop, but I will not stop you from going back out and continuing with your all-day plan.

So I did actually have to take a break. This is the first time in 14 months where I had to take a break. He flew me out to Colorado.

I was with my cousin for about three weeks. I just got back two days ago. And not that everyone can do that or whatever, but when I came back, we made the plan that, okay, four hours for me, bring me back home, that I can't go all day.

You (Eric) can, I can't. And let's just come up with a plan of how this is going to work because it was really the first in 14 months though that I was like, I need a break.

You just kind of have to be not on the same page that you have to do what I want, but if I'm getting four hours a day was enough for me, sometimes five and just, yeah.

Eric Anderson: That's where we've learned how to communicate often.

Communication is essential for fulltime RV couples

A Year of Fulltime RV Living: RV Podcast #365 5
The things you see.

Jeanne Anderson: And we're pretty good at communicating, we really are.

Eric Anderson: That's helped a lot and give each other our space, her space. She's more of a homebody, so she can be happy in the RV, just curled up with a book with Hershey on her lap. And I'm more of an outside cat.

Jeanne Anderson: Tree hugger, he's a tree hugger.

Eric Anderson: So I can go hiking. So I can be out there hiking for, eight, nine hours or so. And, so that works for us that we recognize those differences.

Jeanne Anderson: I also want to be more of an outdoors girl. I really do. Not that, I mean, I love to go outdoors, but I just can't be out there for nine, 10 hours and stuff like that. And we've learned that.

The finances of fulltime RV Living

Mike Wendland: That is such a great lesson to share with other people. One of the other questions that I think is important that we should talk about is, this is not an inexpensive lifestyle, even though you can be frugal, it is not inexpensive. And, there's a number of our viewers who think that the lifestyle is cheap and it's not, unless you choose to live like a nomad.

Walk us through the reality of finances on the road. Even if both of you folks are retired now, so you and you had saved some money.

Eric Anderson: Yeah. So we have a bunch of savings, but we were too young for social security and not touching our 401ks for as long as we possibly can. And, we pay for health insurance out of our pocket now and, food and gas and insurance and all the rest of it.

The RV and the cars all paid off, we were able to leave debt-free. So that helps tremendously, obviously. But also just the day-to-day living expenses aren't a whole heck of a lot different than they were back in our sticks and bricks. We try to be frugal, certainly, and we don't eat out a lot. You know, we prepare our own meals, mostly.

Jeanne Anderson: Lots of salads. Go ahead.

Eric Anderson: And we do take in some of the attractions and things like that to spend a little bit extra. But, but it does all add up. So I mean, absolutely we're saving a tremendous amount of money compared to what we were paying with our mortgage and property taxes and all that on Long Island, New York. But like you said, it's not cheap.

Well, my full-time retirement lasted all three weeks because my, my boss asked me before I left “Eric, there must be something you can do for us while you're on the road.” And so I thought about that and I actually hooked up with our vice president of marketing.

Eric has a partime remote job

And when you call a company, you could have had an initial recording, “This call may be recorded for quality assurance purpose.” I'm that guy now who listens to the call.

I do it part-time, 15, 20 hours a week or so. We have 26 assisted living facilities on the east coast and folks call to make inquiries and talk to our directors of sales and marketing. Those calls are recorded. And when she and the puppy go to bed at night, I'm a night owl, I put my headphones on and I listen to those calls and I provide feedback to them as well.

Jeanne Anderson: That money is good for the gas and the food.

Eric Anderson: That's helping us out, right? Gas, insurance, all that.

Mike Wendland: You have embraced this lifestyle. You've been sharing it. And many of Eric and Jeannie's photos appear almost every day or every other day on the RV Lifestyle Facebook group. And hopefully, many people can check those out.

And we'll put some in our video version of this podcast too, from your posts. But looking ahead now, you've certainly adapted to the full-time life.

You have thrived under it. You've become better communicators. I know you've become closer together as a couple. Where do you see this going? How long do you see yourselves living like this? What happens when you guys grow up?

They have no plans to come off the road

Jeanne Anderson: Well, we really don't have a timeline, which is nice. We're just looking for places that feel like home to us. I have to say that the three places that I would consider, first of all, I thought I was going to be a person with the heat and the water. Close to water, beaches but totally different. I'm a mountain girl. I like the cool air. I completely changed from what I thought I was going to be… To completely being to a mountain girl.

My three places that I'm looking so far was Michigan, Colorado, and Montana. Those are the places that are really catching my eye for, maybe, a homestead, but we still have places to see and what? Yeah. And I'm a mountain girl. I thought I was going to be a beach girl. I'm a total mountain girl.

And so we still have places to see and we're looking. And, but as of now, I think we're both, and we're usually on the same page for where we think. So far, Colorado's number one, Montana would be number two and Michigan would be number three. So, but we still have places to go people to see.

Eric Anderson: A lot more to see. Yeah, we're going to spend winter in Arizona this year for the first time. So that'll be different for us. And then next year we're going to work our way up the west coast and then maybe across Canada and back to the east coast.

And all along the way, as Jeannie said, we've been kind of taking a look at places to evaluate them, to see if they'll be someplace that we want to settle down again someday.

Jeanne Anderson: We might be snowbirds. One place, Colorado in the summer and see where we'd want to be in the wintertime.

Mike Wendland: Well, what a great story and great inspiration for so many people who are thinking about, it's just crazy out there, let's see if there's a different way to live. And Eric and Jeannie Anderson has shown us that there is, and life is always better with a dog. Isn't it?

Jeanne Anderson: Oh, yeah.Absolutely.

Mike Wendland: It is good. So keep, keep posting pictures on our Facebook group. We will put the link up to that. And Jennifer and I look forward to meeting you guys on the road again, over the next a year or so someplace.

Jeanne Anderson: Tell Jennifer we said ‘hi.'.

Mike Wendland: I will, and people can get ahold of you guys, they can see your posts on the RV Lifestyle Facebook group, and it's great. Keep posting them, we've just so enjoyed your year of full-timing. Eric and Jeanne Anderson. Thank you for spending time with us. Thanks.

Eric Anderson: Thanks, Mike. Take care.

Jeanne Anderson: Bye.

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Mike Wendland

Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road at RVLifestyle.com. He and Jennifer also host the weekly RV Podcast and do twice-weekly videos on the YouTube RV Lifestyle Channel. They have written 10 books on RV travel.

2 Comments

  • Excellent interview – thank you.

  • That was one of my favorite interviews. What an interesting couple! Thanks!

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