Hey there! I'm Briana.RVer • Wanderer • Hiker • Photo-Taker • Dog-Mom • Happy Hour Chaser
Fun facts about me…
I’ve traveled to 49 states (I’m coming for you, Alaska!). Wanna know what my Top 3 picks are? Colorado, Oregon, and South Carolina (yes, you read that last one right).
My home base is Denver, CO. But I still have an RV and hit the road with my hubby and our fur-baby Saucy (a 7-lb vicious maltipoo) any chance we get, though it’s not as frequent as we’d like. And no — I didn’t settle down in the Mile “High” City for the pot. Haha! I’ve actually never smoked anything in my life, believe it or not. Wanna know why we picked Denver? Here are the Top 3 Reasons We Chose to Live in Denver.
I’m determined to become a digital nomad by monetizing my blog and then help others do the same for their financial independence, so they can hit the road too.
How it all started…
This story starts all the way back in 2013. The hubby and I were living in the Los Angeles area at the time and paying nearly $3,000/month to rent a 2-bedroom townhome. Ouch! My ah-ha moment happened when I was watching a House Hunters episode on HGTV.
A young couple was looking to buy a house in Manhattan Beach, just a few miles from where we were living at the time. They ended up with an 800 square foot, 1 bedroom, 1 bath home for… wait for it… $950,000! Right then I knew we’d never be able to buy a house there.
We had been thinking of moving out of California due to the high costs of living, never-ending traffic congestion, and high taxes. That House Hunters episode sealed the deal for me. So we knew we wanted to leave SoCal, but we had no idea where we should move to.
We weren’t moving for jobs, so our options were limitless. How were we going to figure out where we wanted to live? There were places we hadn’t been to yet that sounded nice. So we started looking into flights, hotels, and rental cars to visit them.
Once we realized those costs were going to add up though, we figured a road trip would be more economical and allow us to visit more places. That’s when we thought about RVing. Originally, we were going to rent an RV. But then we found out it would cost about $5,000 to rent an RV for a month.
It was at that point that we decided we might as well just buy an RV, and then we could sell it when our road trip was done and we had settled down somewhere. We started mapping out places we wanted to check out for potential future homes.
As were looking at the map, we saw other nearby places we wanted to see, such as. historical sites and National Parks. What started out as a plan for a month-long road trip quickly became a goal to see all 48 contiguous states on a 6-month cross-country RV trip. We figured we might as well do it all! Why not, right?!
It took about 6 months of hard-core planning and preparation, and by May of 2014, we were finally ready to hit the road! We quit our jobs, sold everything we could, and put what few items we had left in storage. For our RV, we decided to go with a Travel Trailer and a truck to tow it with. If you’re wondering why we chose a Travel Trailer over all the other RV types, you can read all about that here: Why We Chose a Travel Trailer.
We ended up buying our RV in Michigan instead of in California. Come to find out, they’re much cheaper out by the factories where they’re manufactured than they are on the West Coast. On June 1st, 2014, we hit the open road heading out to Michigan to pick up our RV, and by June 6th, we had our new home-on-wheels!
As first-time RVers, there was a pretty steep learning curve for us with RVing. But we figured it out as we went along and really got into the groove of RV life. We reached our goal of seeing all 48 contiguous states in a little over 7 months (see our route here). And we did it without getting divorced or murdering each other (both an added bonus…haha)!
After traveling through all 48 contiguous states, we made it back to California still not knowing where we wanted to settle down. One place we were interested in that we hadn’t actually got to explore was Denver. We had every intention of visiting Denver and even made it there, but we didn’t get to stay because something crazy happened to us there. You can read all about our traumatic night at Cracker Barrel here.
So we decided to go back to Denver and hit up a bunch of National Parks along the way. The second time around in Denver was much better than our first experience. In fact, we fell in love with Denver and Colorado in general. It was exactly what we had been looking for (a big city with plenty of outdoor activities close by)!
Denver made the top of the list for where we wanted to live long-term, and we decided to make Colorado our new home base! If you want to know why we picked Denver, check out my Top 3 Reasons We Chose to Live in Denver.
Our original plan of traveling for 6 months turned into more than a year of full-time RVing by the time everything was said and done. Truth be told, we were burned-out from constantly being on the go with our full-time RV life and ready to settle back down.
Settling down in Denver…
Once we figured out that Denver was where we wanted to settle down, we headed back to California where we sold both our truck and Travel Trailer as a package deal and got what few items we had left out of storage. We were homeless (literally!) when we got to Denver on July 24th, 2015 with nothing but a moving truck and everything we owned in the back of it! We didn’t even know where we would live when we reached Denver.
We pulled up to apartment complexes asking if they had any units available. When they asked how soon we were looking to move, we pointed to our moving truck and said, “Right now!” Luck was on our side, and by July 26th (less than 2 days later), we had found an apartment and moved in! We’ve been living in Denver and loving it ever since!
We were officially back to the real world, which also meant we needed to get back to work. Long story short, we decided to work for ourselves. I became a Realtor, and my hubby became a mortgage broker with his own brokerage. Business has been good for us, especially considering that we moved to Denver not knowing a single person!
It wasn’t easy starting over though. You can read all about the challenges we faced with readjusting to the real world again here: Life After Full-Time RVing. We were focused on our businesses, getting established, and replenishing our funds. But nearly 2 years after settling down in Denver, we missed having an RV and got the itch to hit the road again.
We realized the best situation for us is to have an RV and a traditional home. That way we can take the RV out when we want while still having a place to come home to when we need a break from RV life. Why can’t we have our cake and eat it too? It’s all about balance!
This time though, we wanted a shorter/smaller set-up, something that would be easier to tow and get around in. So in May 2017, we opted for a smaller set-up for Next Destination Unknown version 2.0 with a Chevy Colorado truck (fitting since we live in Colorado now!) and a 22-foot Travel Trailer.
We’ve taken our new RV out a few times, including a long-haul trip to several more National Parks (27 and counting!) and out to the East Coast. When we got back from that journey, we got to work on making another goal of ours a reality – buying a home.
We wanted to make Colorado our official home base by putting down roots! After living here for 3 years, we finally made that goal a reality in the summer of 2018. We bought a house and moved in on July 4th, celebrating our freedom from renting and apartment life! First, we upgraded from a 35-foot Travel Trailer to a 700 square foot, 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment. Then, we were ready to upgrade to a larger house with more space.
Buying a home was a momentous dream of ours, but especially for me since I had never owned a home before. After moving about a dozen times, renting for years, and full-time RVing for more than a year, we longed to have a [full-size] home of our own.
When we set out on our full-time RV adventure back in 2014, RVing was never meant to be long-term for us. We had no idea that RV life would become a lifestyle. Besides seeing the country, the main purpose of our extensive road trip was to find the next place we wanted to live. We reached that goal, but we also fell in love with RVing and the freedom it allowed us.
Sometimes, I feel like an RV failure for not full-time RVing for years on end as other people do. But, we realized it didn’t have to be one or the other – RV living or stick-built home. We can have the best of both worlds! We now have an RV to travel and explore when we’re jonesing to hit the road. And we also have a house to come home to when we get burned out from road life. Life is good!
What I’m up to now…
We love our Colorado home, and we’ve done very well with our businesses. We are incredibly grateful for our success. But, health insurance for two self-employed people is not cheap. Not to mention, my real estate deals/paychecks were very inconsistent. And on top of all that, I thought (keyword: thought) I missed the stability and routine of a full-time job.
So I decided to get a traditional job going back to work full-time while still doing real estate here and there. Easier said than done though with actually getting a job, let me tell you! Nobody told me that a gap in my employment history would make it nearly impossible to get an interview, let alone to actually get hired!
Eventually, though, I did finally get a job in medical sales, which is what I was doing back in California before we left. I started my new full-time job in March 2018 while still doing real estate on the side. I was relieved and excited, but that quickly faded, and I became resentful towards my job.
I was being paid salary + commission, but I ended up only earning HALF of what I was making back in California 5 years ago. Ouch… that hurt! But I tried to tell myself it was better than nothing. I stuck it out for over a year, but it just wasn’t worth it. I was making the same if not more in real estate and had more free time with real estate.
Plus, I realized that I simply didn’t want to work a full-time job anymore. RVing full-time for more than a year ruined me in a sense while also freeing me and opening my eyes to a completely different lifestyle. Not working while we were full-time RVing and then going into business for myself made it practically impossible to work a full-time job for someone else again.
I hated living for the weekends and having my weekdays completely consumed once more, not to mention the commute time with my job on top of that. Sometimes it took me 2 hours to get home! That’s no way to live, at least not for me. On top of my full-time job, I was still working in real estate. Between the two, I was spread thin and utterly drained. Something had to give. I was tired of trading my time for money. Do you know what I realized?
I can always make more money,
I can’t make more time.
So in June 2019, I quit my full-time medical sales job. I’m back to just real estate full-time, but I’m also focused on this blog and my goal of monetizing it. I hope to someday soon make a full-time income from this blog, so I can become a digital nomad to travel and work where and when I want.
I don’t just want to be location-independent, I also want to be time-independent, doing things on my own schedule. I want to boycott the 9-5! Let’s start a movement! I want to help others do the same by showing them how to start their own money-making blog.
Are you with me? Are you sick of the day in, day out grind working 5 days a week, trying to make the most of your 2 days off? Let me know if you can relate and where you’re at in your journey. I would love to hear your story along with some fun facts about you! Leave a comment below!
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