Our RV Lifestyle Love Story – Mike & Jennifer
This is how Mike and Jennifer Wendland came to embrace the RV Lifestyle and start their RV travel blog, RV Lifestyle YouTube Channel, RV Podcast and RV books and newsletters
This RV Lifestyle blog is a labor of love by us – Mike and Jennifer Wendland. It started as a hobby back in 2012 when I left a long career in journalism.
Now, this blog and our many different platforms have become what we really believe is a calling. So let me explain. This is the long version “How'd you end up doing this?” If I could have had a quarter for every time we've been asked that about our RV Lifestyle blog we could buy another RV.
Here's How The RV Lifestyle Started
This RV Lifestyle blog is a dream come true for us. Decades in the making, but now being lived out like one giant movie, seen through the wide expanse of our RV's windshield as North America rolls on by. We can stop anytime, explore anywhere.
And we do, sharing it with you on this blog, the RV Podcast, our RV Lifestyle YouTube channel, a weekly RV Lifestyle Newsletter, and through very active social media groups. And we also have written a series of 18 books and travel guides about the RV Lifestyle.
It's all very much serendipity. Serendipity means a “happy accident” or “pleasant surprise,” something fun and useful and enjoyable that was discovered by happenstance along the way. That's a perfect description of what we find every day in this new wandering life in an RV.
It started when my wife Jennifer and I bought a used Roadtrek Class B campervan-type motor home in early 2012 after years of dreaming. When we did, I started writing a blog about seeing North America, enjoying our RV, and the interesting stories about the people and places we came across.
See, as a journalist, I had traveled everywhere. Across the U.S. and Canada, even overseas, chasing wars and rumors of wars. I've covered presidents, the Pope, even the Queen. I've attended the big political conventions of both parties and worked for big city newspapers, television stations, even NBC News.
At one time, I traveled so much that my newspaper at the time took out an advertisement in a trade publication promoting me as “one of America's Most-Traveled Reporters.”
But that kind of travel is what we call “parachute journalism.” We drop into an area, focused on just one story, and then head out to the next. Sometimes after just a few hours.
When I left daily journalism, I wanted to go back to many of those places to see what I missed. So I bought an RV and, with Jennifer and our Norwegian Elkhounds, we've been traveling and sharing our adventures ever since. Our first dog was Tai. When he died, we got Bo, who since as a puppy has been traveling in RVs.
We want to share our RV Lifestyle adventures
The goal then and now is to share our RV lifestyle. I have to admit I am not very mechanical. It took me an orientation session with my RV dealer to find out where the gas, ah, make that, diesel fueling point was on that first vehicle. This blog is only partially aimed at tinkerers and mechanics. It's about the RV lifestyle and the great things to see and do out there on the open road.
We live the RV Lifestyle 24 x7, but travel 3/4 of the time
So, about half to 3/4 of the year, we travel North America discovering the interesting people and places I didn't have time to meet when I was a news reporter working for newspapers or TV stations. Technology, like the RVs we have owned, is a big part of my life, and being able to try out new tech toys and stay connected while on the road makes every day an adventure. You can read about my tech gear here.
Right now, we have two RVs: A 2024 Montana High Country 311RD Fifth Wheel from Keystone RV that we tow with a 2021 Ford F-250 Lariat 3/4 ton pickup, and a 2023 Leisure Travel Vans Unity FX model, a Class C motorhome built on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter chassis.
Why two RVs? We use the 35-foot Montana Fifth Wheel as a sort of cabin on wheels, keeping it for extended stays on five acres of property we own in Tennessee and on a 10-acre parcel we recently bought in Michigan. Those properties are in locations we love to visit, surrounded by natire and with lots of recreational opportunities. We use both properties as private RV retreats.
We use the Class C Unity FX for exploring and shorter RV trips all across the country. With it, we frequently “boondock,” or stay in remote places, off the commercial power grid, typically in national or state forests, National Parks, or wilderness areas.
We began this blog in March 2012. Since then, we have traveled over 300,000 miles. Typically, we mark out a route, identify a few spots we want to be sure to visit, and then take off, stopping when we want or find something that interests us. An old editor of mine once told me that “every person has a story to tell.”
My journalism career has shown me that to be very true. It's the same with most places. Places have stories, too. So we like to wander, chat up the people we meet, and start taking photos and videos. Usually, we return with more stories than we can do.
We travel year-round, even to cold, snowy places in the winter. We have driven RVs to Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the North Lake Superior shore of Minnesota in the month of January, where we found a winter wonderland that most people never see.
I remember one night when there were 28 inches of snow on the level ground and deep in the wilderness, it got down to -21 degrees F. It was an awesome experience. We slept snug and warm inside our RV and realized winter is no excuse to put the RV in storage.
The RV Lifestyle has grown so fast!
Truth is, though, that if I'm not careful, RVLifestyle.com could become all-consuming. The blog has been growing so fast that we also started a weekly RV newsletter. Our Facebook Page has 525,000 “Likes.” Some 250,000 people are members of our Facebook RV Lifestyle Group. We're also active on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.
And then there are our RV travel guide books – 18 of them! We've written travel guides to various parts of North America, how-to books on various aspects of camping, and instructional books on how to save money while enjoying the RV Lifestyle. Check them out at https://rvlifestyle.com/books
My son, Jeff, has pitched in to help run the “enterprise” so I can concentrate on traveling, content development, and reporting. Daughter Wendy helps with the newsletter, social media and the podcast.
We're on our 12th year now of traveling and I can honestly say we enjoy it every bit as much as we did when we began. Maybe more.
We have no plans to quit anytime soon and look forward to each trip like newbies.
So that's our story. It's still unfolding.
We hope to meet you on the road someday!