What Stores Allow Overnight Parking 2024

What Stores Allow Overnight Parking 2024

 What Stores Allow Overnight Parking 2024?

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Sometimes travel days are long and you need to pull in somewhere for the night.  Rather than finding a campground with amenities or a hotel you just want something convenient on your route.  At this point, you are wondering what stores allow overnight parking.

Over the years, as full-time RVers, we have spent many nights in stores that allow overnight parking.

This article will share what stores allow overnight parking, how to find them, and guidelines for parking overnight. We are going to concentrate on free overnight parking and also offer some alternative places to park overnight.

Stores That Allow Overnight Parking

 

Walmart

So, if you are like most people, especially in the RV community, Walmart comes to mind first when you are talking about free overnight parking. For easy overnight parking, Walmart is our first choice.

We have found Walmart to be easily accessible with large parking lots, conveniently located, safe, and hospitable. When reading reviews you will find not everyone agrees with this.

Some of our friends even find Walmart scary.

If you don’t feel comfortable with the parking area by all means find a different place with free overnight parking.

Keep in mind Walmart is not a campground. You are there for just a few hours to rest and rejuvenate. The vehicle activity may make the parking lot noisy as trucks make deliveries, employees do their night work and customers shop.

Some Walmarts feel like an RV parking lot because many find the stores a safe place to park overnight.  Sleeping in a Walmart parking lot may take some getting used to but for us, it is a welcome location to get a good night’s sleep and stock up on groceries and RV supplies.

One of our best Walmart stays was in Port Angeles, WA near Olympia National Park. The lot was level, not crowded and it was very secluded from general parking.

The bonus was the amazing view of Hurricane Ridge. With permission from management, we stayed 2 nights and explored the National Park and surrounding area.

Video: Can You Sleep in a Walmart Parking Lot?

Cracker Barrel

Overnight parking at Cracker Barrel restaurants is another very popular option for free overnight parking. With over 630 locations the “Cracker” can make a great place for an overnighter.

Convenient locations, designated trucks, and RV parking, not to mention great food, can all make for a great stay.

When considering Cracker Barrel overnight parking keep in mind they don’t have a lot of large parking spots and the spots tend to fill up early. If you are like us with a “Big Rig” Cracker Barrel is not always an option.

 

Cabelas and Bass Pro Shops

Cabelas overnight parking was once one of the top places for free RV overnight parking since many of the stores featured RV dump stations.

Since merging with Bass Pro Shops most of the dump stations have closed but with permission, you can still park overnight at many locations.

Large well-lit lots and endless shopping opportunities make this a good choice.

 

Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards

Home improvement store parking lots are prime candidates for stores that allow RV overnight parking. These retailers have large easily accessible lots that are rarely overtaken by RVers.

As with any place you want to park or sleep overnight you must check with the local management. Give them a call or walk in and you may have a great place for the night.

 

Anytime Fitness, Planet Fitness, and Gyms

Anytime fitness store and parking lot

Gyms may not be your first thought for free overnight parking but for many who park overnight in a car, van, or small RV fitness centers can be just perfect.

With extended hours in many locations, this can be a safe place to park overnight. Also, a national membership provides a place to not only have a great workout, but you can also use the restroom and shower facilities.

 

Costco and Sam’s Club

Many of us have a wholesale club membership to save money on frequently used groceries and RV supplies. We also like the discounted fuel and cheap eats in the snack bars. If it’s time to stock up while on the road keep the clubs in mind as the lots are large with easy access.

 

Pilot/Flying J, T/A Travel Centers, Loves Truck Stops

Truck stop travel center parking lot

Truck stops are definitely stores that allow overnight parking.

Many drivers and RVers find them to be a preferred location for several reasons.

They are easy to access, very public, and have a lot of people. Not only are they convenient to fuel, but you can also eat, shower, do laundry, dump and fill tanks, get propane, air up tires, and sleep overnight for free.

What more could you ask for? Quiet maybe. Busy truck stops tend to be noisy, with the truck’s auxiliary power units and reefer trailer units running constantly. When pulling a toad, you may not be able to back into a spot, making parking more difficult.

Love’s truck stops are notable in that some have dedicated RV Lanes and now they are also adding RV spots with hookups for an additional nightly fee.

StroTip

TSD Fuel Savings Program

Tsd fuel cards savings graphic

Do you like saving money on fuel?

If you travel in a diesel vehicle that can fuel in the truck lanes be sure to use the Open Roads Discount Fuel program for savings from $.30 to $1.30 per gallon. The card is free to sign up for and your fee is a percentage of your savings.

We have been a member for 3 years and saved thousands of dollars with this program.

When you sign up please use referral code RVRS1124.

Camping World and RV Dealerships

You would think that large RV dealers and retailers would welcome and allow overnight RV parking.  Some do. 

Camping World used to be very open and easy for overnight parking but since they have expanded into RV sales their RV parking lots are now filled with For Sale units. 

It doesn’t hurt to make a call to a Camping World that is on your route or any other large RV dealership.  The retailer we purchased from has several locations throughout the country and we have been able to stop in for a free stay as we passed by.

Publix, HEB, Whole Foods and Sprouts Grocery Stores

Rv parked ovrenight in heb store parking lot

If you are in a pinch for overnight free parking consider calling one of the large grocery stores in your area and asking if you can park for the night.  Many of these stores have large lots that can be accommodating and safe places to park.

Free Overnight Parking: Other Places to Consider

 

Maybe you are looking for some additional alternatives other than stores that allow free overnight parking.  Consider these places. 

Rest Areas

Many travelers consider rest areas on the side of the interstates or highways to be a great and safe place to sleep overnight and many times they are.  We have used them often.  Also, we have found in some states overnight parking is not permitted in rest areas.  So be sure and do your research. 

Please remember a rest area is just that, a place to stop temporarily to relax and take a break from the road.  They are not campgrounds, this is not the place to set up and roll out all the slides. 

Accidents sometimes happen.  Parking spaces are tight, and sometimes a weary traveler will fail to “make the swing”.  Just a few inches can make all the difference. 

Horse being walked in roadside rest area 

Some states are very friendly rest stops for RVers with dump stations and sites with hookups for a fee.  Most have picnic areas or walking paths as well as pet exercise areas.  Traveling through the West,  you will even find rest areas for traveling equestrians with corrals for the horses at night.

Sometimes safety is a concern in rest areas.  Please be aware at all times.  We have some dear friends who have been robbed during the day in rest areas.

Malls and Outlet Centers

Although they have huge parking lots, not all malls and outlet centers allow overnight parking.  Be sure to check with management or security.

Some do not even allow RVs to be in the general parking.  They will escort you to a designated area.  Ask us how we know.

Casinos

Rv parked casino parking lot

Casinos are one of our favorite places for overnight free parking.  Be sure to check in with security and ask exactly where they want you to park and you are good to go.

Large parking lots and open areas make for a pleasant stay.  Most also have roving security patrols.  Many casinos also have paid full hookup spots with very reasonable rates.

Casino parking is great for us because they are big rig friendly.  With a choice of onsite restaurants and bars, we can skip cooking for the night and who knows we may win a buck or two!

Fairgrounds

As we traveled with our business, we found many state and local fairgrounds have full hookup sites that are only used during the fair.  You can check and some will allow you to boondock in the parking lot for free or for a small fee you can reserve a full hookup site.

Some of the fairgrounds are in amazing areas and have spectacular views like the Verde Valley Fairgrounds in Cottonwood, Arizona.

City and County Parks

There are a lot of small parks throughout the country that allow overnight parking for free and sometimes camping for multiple days.  When you discover one of these hidden gems it surely makes you thankful.  Be sure to check out our resources below to help you find these great spots.

Beaches

Rv on free beachfront camping

Imagine that!  Some beaches allow RV overnight parking and some are free.  Just so you know we aren’t pulling your leg check out Magnolia Beach, Texas and this isn’t the only one.

Churches

Some RVers exclusively use churches for their overnight parking.  We have been fortunate enough to leave our rig in a church parking lot for a couple days but we haven’t overnighted yet.  It’s on our list.  Be sure to let us know what churches you have used for overnight RV parking.

Street Parking

We have a big rig so this is not something we consider often.  However, we have seen a lot of rigs parked on the street in various areas for way more than an overnight stay.  

This is a judgment call you have to make and research to see whether the risk is worth it for you.

It has not been for us but depending on your rig size and level of comfortability it may work for free parking overnight or nights.

Stealth Parking

What is stealth parking?  You might consider this as being under the radar and parking overnight somewhere without express permission.

This could be in a store parking lot, an empty lot, a scenic overlook, or a sidestreet.  For vanlife and smaller inconspicuous rigs this can definitely be an option.

We aren’t much for stealth camping as our rig is large and we never want to be involuntarily asked to leave.

BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and Public Lands

Rv at sunset in the desert

One of the most incredible parts of the United States is the opportunity to park overnight and many times multiple nights on our public lands.

Our country has some beautiful wide open spaces where you can feel free to spread out and enjoy yourself and the views.  You will find BLM more prevalent in the West.

Forest and Grasslands

National and state forest lands and grasslands have free overnight parking and camping which is also referred to as dispersed camping.

Why Stay Overnight in a Parking Lot?

Some people ask why would you stay overnight in a parking lot? 

The fact that it is free is one of the biggest reasons people look for stores that allow overnight parking. 

Ease and convenience is another major factor.  You pull off the road into the parking lot and it is time to relax. 

You don’t have to make a reservation, you can be flexible with your timing and you don’t have to stop and register and find your spot.  When it’s time to leave you just go. 

A safe place to park overnight is important for road travelers. 

Parking lot security guards, working security cameras as well as other RV travelers provide a sense of security making for a peaceful sleep. 

On the other hand many feel unnerved at the prospect of staying in a random parking lot with people moving around at all times of the night.

Tips and Etiquette for Overnight Parking


Parking lot etiquette graphic

Get Permission! 

Although this seems contrary to the popular belief of some long-time Rvers, overnight RV parking is a privilege and not a right. 

Due to abuse of the guidelines and etiquette we are seeing more government ordinances and corporate policies causing a drastic reduction in free overnight parking. 

Please make the call or walk in and talk to someone who has the authority to allow you to park overnight at their location. 

Bear in mind that it is not always the merchant or business that has this authority.  Government ordinances often prevent overnight parking even though it is private property. 

Sometimes a merchant who is leasing the property (no matter how big or well-known they are) also does not have control over the right to allow overnight parking in their lot.  This control remains with the property owner or developer. 

“It’s better to ask forgiveness than permission” is another prevailing thought in the community.  Really?  This is the real world.  Please show some respect for the merchant.  Just because someone else is doing it or you got away with it one night doesn’t make this a policy or the way to go. 

We were approached by a fellow RVer at a Walmart who was not going to “ask”.  She offered all the reasons and excuses why she should be able to stay the rest of the night if questioned. 

Is that really what you want? The dreaded and scary “knock” on the door wakes you out of deep sleep in the middle of the night.  Now you have to start giving reasons and excuses. 

Not us, if we can’t secure permission we don’t stay. 

Another aspect of this is unhooking your rig.  If you are going to unhook and leave part of your rig in the lot please ask someone if that is okay so they know it isn’t abandoned and needs to be towed.

Video: No Overnight Parking at Walmart!  Is this RV Myth true or false?

Pay Attention to Where and How You Park 

When you are getting permission ask if there is a preferred location in the lot where you should park.  Most of the time it is away from the entrance. 

When you do park, think about yourself, people driving through the parking lot, and other overnight parkers that may be coming in after you.

Conserve your space.

Don’t use more spots than you need and don’t park in the center of the aisle taking up two sets of parking spaces.

Consider the way other rigs may need to park and be respectful of that. 

We encountered a truck camper who backed in a spot where he fit.  He probably thought that was respectful since he only took up one spot. 

However, he took the spot in the middle of a row rather than staying to one side or the other.  This prevented anyone else with a larger rig from being able to park. 

Use your Slides with Respect 

Popular opinion again says that you cannot deploy your slides in a parking lot.  We disagree with this.  If possible we will try to position the rig against or near a curb and just put out our curbside slides.

Other times if we are in the middle of the lot we will park parallel and offset to the side of the parking space and again just deploy one side of our slides.  No one else can use that space anyway.  If your slides make you wider than the space I can see that being an issue. 

Use care when dropping your jacks or levelers. 

Improper deployment can cause damage to the surface.  Make sure you have jack pads, snap pads, or something to protect the surface you are leveling on.  It may take a little more time but it is the right thing to do.

Don’t Set Up Camp


Wonking on rv in store parking lot

This is not a campground or your home.  Keep chairs, grills, and awnings stowed.  This is not the place to repair your RV or do an oil change. 

Just stay the night or ask permission for an extra night. 

Remember this is supposed to be overnight parking, not multiple nights and moving in.  That is what campgrounds are for.  If you need multiple nights you may need to move locations. 

Be Respectful 

Respect the rules of whoever it is that is allowing you to park or sleep overnight. 

If they have rules, comply.  If you can leave the place better than you found it please do, definitely do no harm.  Maybe pick up some trash around you, put your cart back, and maybe someone else’s. 

At the bare minimum pick up after yourself and acceptably dispose of all your trash.  This means not leaving it outside or stacking it by the trash can. 

Plan Your Entry and Exit 

It may be helpful to look at Google Maps Street or satellite view for an overview of whether or not a location will work for you and your rig. 

You should also read and pay attention to the reviews on the sites we recommend to see what other travelers thought of the spot. 

Some lots have low clearance to prevent big rigs at some entrances and some are hard to access, some may be too urban or in a not-so-good area. 

Sometimes you have to read through the lines of a review and make a qualified decision, as most people will leave a negative review more often and let the positive review go. 

Another tip is to plan your exit when you enter.  There is nothing worse than being ready to go and being blocked in.

Spend a Buck!

Full grocery cart in store aisle

Why is it that many feel entitled to be able to have a safe place to park overnight for free and they need to contribute nothing?  Let’s face it most of the places we have mentioned that allow overnight parking are businesses. 

Last time I checked, businesses are in business to make money.  Please respect that and when you can use the merchant and make a purchase. 

Never Dump Your Tanks! 

Ewww!  This is completely unacceptable and unsanitary.  There are places you can dump for free with a little research.  Most overnight parking does not have a sanitary dump.  If they do then by all means use it, if not, don’t. 

How do you find Free Overnight Parking?

The short answer is research.  Where do you look and research?  Here are our go-to’s?  First we will start with the free apps. 

RV Parky

This flexible app will show some recent and some not-so-recent reviews of places along your route that have free overnight parking.
Rv parky logo

Google Maps 

We calculate how many hours or miles we want to drive and pinpoint the area.  Then if we are looking for what stores allow overnight parking we will input “Navigate to Walmart or Lowe’s or the retailer name.”  Once we narrow it down we call for permission.  Also, we use the satellite map type to take a closer look at the location and make sure it is suitable before we arrive. 

FreeRoam and IOverlander

These apps are both good at finding overnight parking.  They will show both paid and free opportunities as well as a lot of other metrics if you use the filters.  They are also very good at identifying street and stealth parking. 
Free roam ioverlander app logos

Paid and Membership Apps to Find Overnight Parking 

This section is for the purists who would not agree that free overnight parking is not free if you pay for an app or membership to find it.  So in true transparency, you are going to have to invest in these apps or memberships to find free overnight parking and camping.

RV Trip Wizard

Plan your route and set it up to designate Points of Interest along the way which can be places that allow overnight RV parking.  We use RV Trip Wizard to plan our trips and overnight stops in addition to several other features.  Be sure to check out RV Trip Wizard and the RV Life program.

Rv life trip wizard

 HipCamp

The Hipcamp program is a valuable resource for finding places that allow free overnight parking and camping as well as paid spots.  Many times they are less expensive than campgrounds and offer some unique locations, experiences, and areas where you might not find a store that allows overnight parking.

Get 10 off your first hipcamp

Harvest Hosts

Rv parked in vineyard

This is a great program if you want to stay in unique locations that could be a winery, restaurant, farm, museum, or golf course parking lot. 

Your unit must be self-contained, stays are normally limited to one night and it is suggested that you make a purchase with the host of at least $20. 

We have been Harvest Host members for several years and enjoy the various venues that are offered throughout the country.

If you are interested in Harvest Hosts click below to save 15% on your membership.

Explore harvest hosts unique rv camping

Boondockers Welcome

Although a sister company to Harvest Hosts, a Boondockers Welcome membership allows you to find hosts that allow overnight parking on their property for a night or sometimes more for no charge.

Our stays with Boondockers  Welcome hosts have been very hospitable, accommodating, and free.

Boondockers welcome ad

Conclusion: Stores That Allow Overnight Parking

Now that you know what stores allow overnight parking, you have a lot of choices.  With such a variety it should be easy to find free overnight parking that meets your needs and comfort level.  

Please be sure to respect the merchants and guidelines so we will continue to have safe places to park overnight while we are traveling.  Without this, we will continue to see availability dwindle and costs increase. 

Send us a message here and let us know your favorite place and what makes you feel comfortable when you are parking overnight.

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!   

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

The stromads, maureen wright and robb strobridge.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Gate Guarding: Work Camping Jobs For Full-time RVers 2024

Gate Guarding: Work Camping Jobs For Full-time RVers 2024

Gate Guarding: Work Camping Jobs For Full-time RVers 2024

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

Are you familiar with Gate Guarding?  This article will provide valuable information, especially if interested in finding work camping jobs for full-time RVers.

Work camping is a term describing how RVers live full-time and earn an income working as gate guards, campground hosts, sugar beet harvest, or even Amazon.  Many work camping positions are seasonal which allows RVers to feed their wanderlust and make money.

While there are many different work camping jobs for full-time RVers, Robb and I decided to give gate guarding our attention.  Through our personal experience and detailed research, we will give you all you need to know about RV Gate Guarding.

 

 

What is RV Gate Guarding

RV Gate Guarding is a term used for RVers who provide entrance security at a variety of different sites.  These sites may include oil wells, construction sites, ranches, solar farms, and even exotic animal farms. 

The main function of a gate guard is to record and monitor the gate traffic at the designated location.

 Types of Gate Guarding

Happy rv couple working as gate guards.

There are generally two types of gate guards: teams and solo.  Both are great jobs for full-time RVers who are looking for a unique work camping opportunity.

2-person RV Team: This assignment is a two-person team who lives together in their self-contained RV.  These locations require one of the 2 gate guards to be awake and responsible for the gate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  

1-person: The security company is looking for a single person for a 12-hour shift.  In this situation normally, the RVer lives off-site boondocking or at a campground at their own expense.  This type of assignment works well for single solo RVers or couples that don’t mind being placed at separate sites.  Normally, these gate guards are given 1 day off as well as an increased pay incentive.  

What to expect as an RV Gate Guard

Male security guard at a gate guard check point.

Each assignment and location is different with its individual nuances.  As a gate guard, you may be required to do the following:

  • Log vehicles and driver names entering and exiting the location.
  • Open and close the site gate once a day or every time a vehicle passes.
  • Monitor and direct traffic as necessary and provide directions to various site locations.
  • Report any safety issues or hazards you observe.
  • Report any suspicious activity.
  • Stay alert and present during your entire shift.
  • Dress in the required uniform which sometimes is fire-resistant clothing, a hard hat, and a reflective vest.

How much does RV Gate Guarding Pay

The daily pay for an RV Gate Guard can range from $175 – $400 per day depending on the assignment requirements and location.  The average pay is $200 for an onsite 24/7 RV Gate Guard team/couple or a solo 12-hour gate guard. 

Each gate guard company has a different pay structure.  Some pay weekly and others are bi-weekly. 

Normally, RV gate guards are independent contractors and not company employees. 

When accepting a position it is important to understand that payroll taxes are not withheld and that you will not be accruing traditional employee benefits. You will receive a 1099, and no state, federal, Social Security, or Medicare taxes are withheld.  You are responsible to pay those state and federal taxes as required by law. 

🔥Gate Guarding?

Ready to take the next step? 

 How to Become a Gate Guard?

Sign reading

The majority of gate guard jobs are near energy company operations.  The Permian Basin in West Texas has many opportunities as does south Texas.  New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, the Dakotas, and West Virginia also have companies hiring gate guards.

To become a gate guard, research and locate gate guard companies in an area you are interested in working or relocating.

Apply online or as otherwise directed. 

Once the application has been accepted, the guard company will inform you of the next steps.  Since some states require guards to be licensed, you may need to take a continuing education course to obtain your certificate or credentials. 

Most guard companies require a background check including fingerprints and drug tests.  Most times, these tests are all done at your expense.

You may also need special clothing, lighting, driveway alarms, and other accessories.  It depends on the company as to what they will provide and what you will be required to supply.

 The Daily Life of an RV Gate Guard

White 18 wheeler water truck.

Due to shift work, the type and phase of the project, each gate has a specific traffic flow.  Some gates will be super slow while other gates may be very busy. 

As the project progresses traffic flow will change, sometimes on a daily basis.  One day there will be hundreds of trucks coming and going and on others, there may only be 10 or 20 workers at shift changes.  

Logging the traffic flow and watching the hours go by on a slow gate, can be boring to some.  For others, the quiet time may provide ample opportunity to perfect a craft, binge their favorite series or work on a side gig.

In between traffic you can watch tv, read or work on your personal business, as long as it doesn’t interfere with traffic flow.  Your first obligation is to do your job as a gate guard.

Huge piece of heavy equipment exiting a drilling site.

For those that get bored easily, fracking sites may be more suitable as they are high-traffic gates.

Some teams travel with the crew and move site to site around every three weeks.  Other teams stay in the same location for months at a time.

As an independent contractor, the choice is yours. 

You have the opportunity to select from available assignments that meet your criteria.  Like other work camping jobs, gate guarding is a temporary assignment.  You aren’t locked into a gate forever. 

Communication with your gate guard company is imperative when it comes to deciding how long you are going to stay at the gate or when you need a break.  

Aside from the traffic, if you are fortunate enough, you will experience some beautiful sunrises and sunsets as well as the moon and stars.  There is little to no ambient light, so the skies are particularly beautiful.

Every RV team is different and you will have to determine and establish a routine that works for you.  If one person is a night owl while the other prefers the daytime, your shift transition will be fairly easy.  Those that have a very structured sleep schedule, may find some difficulty adjusting to this way of RV living.

We have found that getting a power nap in, helps lift our mood and provides an energy boost for the long shift.  

Unless both team members need 12 hours of sleep, then there is plenty of time to spend together playing cards, watching tv, and enjoying a home-cooked meal.  

The greatest advantage to gate guarding is flexibility.  You get to determine and adjust your schedule to meet your needs as long as you cover your gate responsibilities.

Rv life pro banner

Gate Guarding: Pros and Cons

Defining the pros and cons of gate guarding is a biased opinion.  For some, just the thought of sitting in an oil field without a pool or potluck dinner event is enough to say “what an awful job”.  For others, the remote locations, lack of social stimulation, and the sounds of coyotes in the distance is a quick response of, ‘‘when do I start?’’.  

Robb and I find ourselves in between this spectrum.  We will discuss the pros and cons with our opinion and from our experience as gate guards and the research we have done.  

Pros of Gate Guarding

Orange sunset over oil pumps.

Remote Location:  For us, a remote location was perfect.  Being away from the lights and hustle and bustle of a city feels free in a way.  There is nothing to see or do, only be.  In fact, we were a 3-hour round-trip drive to the nearest Walmart.  

Not that Robb and I are unsocial, we prefer being alone in remote locations rather than in a campground.  Even boondocking in the southwest, we’ve had neighbors.  Being alone with our thoughts for an extended period of time is part of what we desired for our RV Lifestyle.  

Quiet:  The still quiet of any location is healing.  Although our post is right off the main road, vehicles rarely pass.  In other words, there is no road noise except the entering and exiting gate traffic.  There was barely any road noise and the drilling site was about a mile away from our post. 

Keep in mind this is not always typical.  You do have the drone of the constant generator running and in some locations, guards are very close to the site with almost constant traffic which can be very loud.  

Get paid:  Although the pay is not overly generous, we do get paid.  The actual time we spend “working” is minimal.  It takes less than a minute to log a vehicle in or out.  Most times it is just seconds.  

Basically speaking, keeping accurate traffic logs are all we do as gate guards.  That’s it.  While one of us always has to be “on duty” , we are free to watch tv, read, or work our online business.  

Sometimes, I am amazed that I am getting paid to sit still and watch the sky.  When was the last time that you were paid for simply being?

Full-hookups:  The security company provides fresh water, power, waste removal, trash pick up, and mail delivery, all within the confines of our RV spot.  It’s like boondocking with full hookups and no hassle to find fuel for the generator, freshwater or dump our tanks.  

Spend more time outside:  Part of the appeal to living the RV Lifestyle is being outside more and communing with nature. 

Before gate guarding, we spent most of our day inside working in front of our computer scenes.  It was much easier to go from the couch to the office than dealing with the outside elements and a computer or notebook.

Now, much of our day is spent outside, enjoying the sunshine and scenery.

Sunrise and Sunset:  With our RV facing south all we had to do was look left or right to see a spectacular sunrise and an even more magical sunset. 

About an hour before sunrise, we could see the moon disappear over the western horizon.  You could look east and see the colors of the morning forming slowly as the sun eased up with an impressive array of colors. 

There is nothing quite like a western sunset.  The main event starts as the sun drops to the horizon before totally disappearing.  Then the magic happens.  The moment the sky is backlit turning colors of reds, pinks, purples, blues, and oranges. 

Purple blue and pink sunrise.

Sitting Still:  For road warriors and constant travelers like us, the time we spent gate-guarding gave us an opportunity to sit still.  Rather than sightseeing, running around, and eating out, we spent time sitting, creating, and catching up on some overdue projects and getting paid.  

Save Money:  Although RV Gate Guarding is not an extremely high-paying job, you can save money by taking this type of position.  

As a team, your RV site utilities are included and there is no cost to you.  Since you are on a 24-hour shift, 7 days a week, your entertainment budget and travel expenses should decrease.

As a solo on a gate even with the cost of an RV site it is still easy to bank some cash.  Aside from a few supplies, groceries, and your monthly expenses, you won’t be spending much at all. 

Cons of Gate Guarding:

Dusty lot and baree field view.

Weather:  The weather can be unpredictable and severe at times.  The looming thoughts of tornados, high winds, excessive heat, and rain are enough to cause discomfort.  Severe weather is always a concern for RVers.  

Since you spend most of the shift outside, you should prepare yourself for all weather types and extremes.  It is not unusual to experience a 30-degree temperature fluctuation in a 24-hour period.

Dust and dirt:  Yes, there is a lot of it!  The wind constantly blows dust and dirt.  There is no way around it.  Rather than dragging the outside dirt into the RV, we try to spend most of our day outside under a canopy. 

Late at night or early in the morning we use our car for shelter.  It makes it faster and easier to get out and record the vehicle traffic rather than trying to stay in the RV.

Traffic Schedule:  Depending on the assigned gate, vehicle traffic comes and goes 24 hours a day.  We never really know when or how long a person will be on-site.  

Need-to-know basis:  There is little communication between the security company, the gate guard, and the company man (person in charge of the site). For whatever reason, the industry works on very short notice and indefinite schedule. 

Sometimes it is due to production difficulties but it seems to have just become the industry standard.  The companies are reluctant to give you an exact start date, or projections because this industry is so fluid.  

Since scheduling is unpredictable most security companies have a yard for those waiting on a gate to stage until an assignment is contracted. 

These yards are normally full hookup sites, some also have a bathhouse and laundry.  There is no charge from the security company while you are waiting which helps to alleviate some of the unknown and potential expenses while you are in queue for your assignment. 

Likewise, while working at a gate, you may not have an exact day that your assignment is finished.

Finally, there may be extended wait times between gate-guarding jobs, causing budgeting challenges.

Pay:  There is no secret that the rate of pay is minimal  A gate that pays $200 a day, equals roughly $8 per hour. 

For some, reconciling the hours required and the pay may be difficult.  However, the actual working time is minimal compared to the time you are committed to the gate. 

Lack of Sleep:  For us, the lack of sleep was the most difficult aspect of gate guarding.  Like many RV couples, we are accustomed to routine sleep patterns and sleeping together. 

RV gate guard teams must adjust to a 24-hour work day and solos to a 12-hour day plus a long commute sometimes.  

Developing a new routine:  Establishing a new routine for meals, quality time, binging our favorite shows, sleeping, and working creates its own challenge. 

My best time for creativity and taking care of business is early morning to mid-afternoon.  I rarely make it past 10 pm at night and wake somewhere between 4 and 5 am.  Normally I would treat myself to a leisurely morning journaling, reading, and meditating, before jumping into my workday around 730am.  

Now, I wake up, grab a coffee and relieve Robb from his post by 5 am.  He then gets to sleep until noonish, when he joins me for lunch, conversation, and plans for the day.  My creative self is normally fried by this time of day.  

Robb experiences a similar situation.  His creative time comes late morning or even later in the evening.  Unfortunately, the midnight shift is not so conducive to his highest production and flow.  

However, we did manage to work within the parameters of the gate schedule and learn to be more efficient in our personal business and endeavors as well. 

Developing a new routine is possible and sustainable for the time we commit to gate guarding.  It just takes some planning and flexibility.

Boredom:  Some would say that a gate guard job is super boring.  Others would say that their gate guarding job provided a perfect balance of working and relaxing. 

Avid outdoor enthusiasts might find the daily schedule limits their adventure time.  It may be difficult or at least challenging to fit in those hikes or kayaking times, especially as a couple. 

Keeping in mind someone has to watch the gate, you won’t have the opportunity to take a sunrise hike or even a leisurely walk together away from your post.

If you are a person who requires constant activity be sure to inform the security company so they can try to place you at a busy gate.

Danger:  RV Gate guarding in itself is not a dangerous job. However, there are safety considerations to take before committing to the position.

You may be on a fast-moving site with a lot of traffic, vehicle interaction, heavy equipment and machinery. Staying alert and aware at all times is imperative.

Some sites and operations do have the potential for danger because of chemicals and possible explosions.  Accidents, although infrequent can be a concern.  All sites have their individual safety protocols.  You will be instructed on what to do in case of an emergency.

Depending on the location, wildlife, including coyotes, snakes, spiders, and insects can cause reason for concern.  However, as an RVer, you are already aware of these factors and know how to prevent unnecessary injury. 

Some locations are close to the border and guards report incidents with illegal border crossings.  Although these instances are unlikely to happen, it is not your job to confront or detain trespassers.  You are only responsible to report to your supervisor and the local authorities or possibly Border Control.  

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Gate Guard Job?

Female gate guard wearing safety vest.

By now you realize there is a lot to consider in taking a gate guard position as with any work camping job.  These are a few common characteristics and personality profiles that complement a gate guarding position.

Flexible, Adaptable, Good Rapport

Good candidates for this position are couples who are flexible as well as adaptable and know they can work together in noisy challenging conditions for an extended period.  Solo guards must be able to deal with consecutive 12-hour shifts which can be lonely and isolating. 

You have to be ok with not knowing or having a specific schedule.  Limiting interactions with the “company man”, workers, and even your security company is appreciated especially when wondering about the progress of the job or when the job will finish.  

Flexibility is a requirement for sure as weather conditions, deadlines, and assignments can quickly change.  Areas prone to severe weather such as flooding or tornados may invoke a quick evacuation protocol.  

For our first assignment, we received a call at 8:30 requesting us to be at the gate by noon.  We arrived around 11 am, and totally unprepared for the 98-degree weather we were about to experience.  The previous day we had only reached the mid-70s.  

Because of the winds, we could not deploy the RV awning and we had no canopy.  There wasn’t much we could do except sweat it out and deal with it until we were settled.  Robb then embarked on a 3-hour round-trip excursion to Walmart to buy a canopy.

Physical Condition and Stamina

Your physical condition should be considered when thinking about a gate guard position.  Being able to perform in a quick, efficient, and timely manner is imperative. 

A gate guard must be able to approach the incoming and outgoing vehicles to obtain information such as name, company, tag number, rig photo, and any other information requested by the client.

Although recording and reporting gate activity is not strenuous, you will find yourself getting up and down frequently to log the vehicle activity. 

The terrain can be uneven, rocky, muddy, or a combination.  The weather can be extreme and rapidly changing throughout the day and if you are in Texas surely there is wind almost all the time. 

Little or no reaction to environmental stressors

For those prone to allergies, or discomfort from wind and dust, RV gate guarding could be very challenging. You also have to be able to manage and adapt your sleep schedule.  However, if the elements and extreme temperatures don’t bother you, then you might be a good fit!

Self-sufficient

If you are self-motivated, have hobbies, or a remote job, and enjoy the solitude of remote living, gate guarding can be a rewarding lifestyle.  There are many gate guards that have been in the industry for years.

Gate Guard is a Good Job for Full-time RVers

Renegade verona with chevy equinox at gate guard post.  

As long as companies are seeking two-person teams there will continue to be a demand for RVers to fill the positions.  Gate guarding jobs can be a great way to supplement your income and even fund your future travels.

RV gate guarding provides a unique opportunity for those wanting to slow down or have some dedicated time to work on personal projects or hobbies and still have an income.

Aspiring entrepreneurs, content creators, or anyone who needs some extra time to develop and build find gate guarding a fantastic job for RVers.  Having supplemental income and dedicated time is quite helpful.

In our experience, there were PLENTY of lulls in traffic that we were able to use to our advantage.

RV gate guard assignments are temporary and they are an independent contractor position, not a job, so you control the length of time you want to commit. 

While some RVers desire a long-term commitment, others prefer a 2 or 3-month position.  For full-time RVers, gate guarding can give you a break from road life and a way to enjoy some downtime, while saving money and preparing for the next leg of the journey.  

RV Gate Guarding: Conclusion

Happy couple wearing safety vest and warm clothes.

For us, RV gate guarding provided us with an income that allowed us extra time to dedicate to some long-overdue projects as well as attend online workshops and a few industry-specific classes.

Since we weren’t going out to restaurants, we saved money and even lost a few of those extra pounds.

Gate guarding also allowed us some time to sit and watch the day go by without needing to explore.  Sometimes it’s good to have that perfect time with nothing going on! 

Was gate guarding optimal for our lifestyle? No.  Was it doable and did it meet our intent and expectations? Yes!

For those of you researching gate guarding, we hope that we have brought you a comprehensive overview.  

While there is plenty of work for RVers, there aren’t many full-time RVing jobs that provide an opportunity to work on your personal projects while getting paid.  Work camping jobs can provide RVers with a good income while living in their RV.

Have you tried Gate Guarding?  We’d love to hear about your experience. 

Click here to drop us a line and tell us!

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

The stromads at night gate guarding

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

🔥Gate Guarding?

Ready to take the next step?

Full-time RV Living For Beginners: Start Here!

Full-time RV Living For Beginners: Start Here!

Full-time RV Living For Beginners: Start Here!

Thestromads. Com contains affiliate links and is a member of the amazon services llc associates program. If you click and use these links we may receive compensation at no extra cost to you!

RV living for beginners can be overwhelming.  Everyone is willing to offer unsolicited opinions and advice.  While people have good intentions, their point of view is not usually helpful.

Robb and I have been full-time traveling nomads for over 7 years.  Before we took the plunge of selling our home, we traveled extensively for 20 years.  Our only regret, was we didn’t start to live the RV Life sooner.  

Why?  We listened to the naysayers.  

Quite frankly, you owe it to yourself to make a quality decision based on your wants, needs, and desires.  Full-time RV living for beginners can be easy and fulfilling when you take the time to cover the hard stuff prior to launching.

This article will take you through a list of questions and situations that RVers face.  With the answers you provide, you will be able to easily decide “Is Full-time RVing For Me”?

 

 RV Living for Beginners: Be Realistic

 

Setting realistic expectations about your full-time RV life is crucial.  More and more people are ditching conventional housing and opting for the RV and nomad life. With RVing being all the rage, it is easy to get caught up in the hype that today’s influencers have us believe.

While full-time RV Living continues to grow,  for some, the dream of travel, unlimited sunsets, and a never-ending supply of s’mores is not their experience.  For others, like us, living full-time in an RV and being a nomad, is the most fulfilling experience!  Why do you think that is?

There are so many reasons that beginner RVers can become quickly dissatisfied with their new adventure.  Surfacing some potential “hot spots” and challenges before jumping into the RV lifestyle will save you time, money, and a lot of stress.

Let’s get started by answering some questions and posing some potential challenges with RV living for Beginners so you can determine: Is Full-time RVing for me?

Cotton candy skies over an rv campground.

Full-time RV Living: What’s My Why?

The WHY question is always a favorite of mine.  In simple terms, your WHY is YOUR motivation for doing anything and everything.  Why am I doing this?

While most articles want to discuss “how to do this or that”, they only provide part of the information.  Unfortunately, those articles miss the bigger picture when discussing RV living for beginners.

Your WHY is the only answer that will keep you going and doing when the road gets rough, and it will get rough.

 There are no wrong answers!

Your answer can be financially motivated or fueled by adventure and wanderlust.  It doesn’t matter.  What’s important is that you know your WHY, and can articulate it.  Every decision you make for living full-time in an RV from this point on will reflect your WHY.

Over and over we have seen RVers quit RVing prematurely because they were unprepared mentally for the journey ahead.  In other words, their why was flimsy and not sound.  Frustration, overspending, and missed opportunities will surface quickly when you make hasty decisions.

Living Full-time in an RV can be fulfilling or absolutely miserable, depending on the choices you make.  We have found that evaluating our options in conjunction with our WHY statement, not only saved us money, it opened up other opportunities.

When your intentions are clear, you will purchase the best unit for your full-time RV living adventure, whether you choose to live a nomadic lifestyle or live full-time in an RV Park.

We want you to be successful!  KNOW YOUR WHY!
Super c rv against the purple, pink and yellow sunset.

What is a Nomadic Lifestyle vs. Stationary Living Full-time in an RV Park?

RVing full-time provides a lot of options and flexibility.  Will you be stationary, nomadic, or possibly a little of both styles?  There is no right or wrong answer to this question.

 

What is a Nomadic Lifestyle?

A nomadic lifestyle simply means that you carry your home with you.

Home can be a hotel room, a parking lot, or even a beachfront camping spot in the Keys.  We travel, and we move often.

For some, the thought of open roads and traveling is exactly why they chose to go full-time RVing.  Living a nomadic lifestyle is appealing to many of us.

Exploring National Parks, boondocking in remote areas, and witnessing ever-changing landscapes are what full-time travelers like ourselves desire.  Most of us don’t mind long travel days, going without a shower for a few days, and spending the night in a Walmart parking lot.

Our wanderlust begs us to explore what’s around the next bend.

Renegade super c pulling a stacker trailer.

What is Stationary Living Full-time in an RV Park?

On the other hand, living full-time in an RV park means that you pay for a seasonal or permanent spot.

There are many perks to living full-time in an RV Park.  Amenities such as a clubhouse, pool, or social events and a sense of community are appealing.

Sometimes, it is more financially affordable to live in an RV Park rather than rent an apartment or buy a house.

Mobile home and rv park near philadelphia.

 

However, the rig you purchase should meet your living expectations.   Some parks only allow Class A RVs, and some have a 10-year-old policy.  That means they do not allow rigs older than 10 years old.  Other parks may prohibit Skoolies or Vanlife.

In fact, we were denied a seasonal lot because they considered our 52-foot professional race car trailer “homemade”.

52 foot white racecar trailer with awning.

 

 What Are My Expectations for RVing Full-time?

 

Becoming clear with your dreams and expectations for RVing full-time is crucial to your longevity.   Taking the time now, before you set off on your RVing journey to define the aspects of RV life that resonate with you, will save you from unwanted anxiety, frustration, and disappointment.

While it can help to follow social media posts, they only give you a moment-in-time glimpse at RV Life.  Of course, we want to put our best foot forward in the cyber world, so we share our Best experiences.  Many of us don’t freely share the downside or negative experiences of RVing full-time.

Comparison between two rvs and scenery

 

You may see photos and reels of couples spending romantic nights in the forest, or waking up with the sunrise on a beautiful beach, but there is a lot more to consider.

Living quarters are small, even in a 45ft, 5th wheel, especially during inclement weather.

Truck stop showers might feel a little creepy at first, but to a boondocker, who has been in the desert for several weeks, it is a luxury to stand under that hot water.

And, what about all of that sand, mud, and dirty laundry?  Those things will surely not wash themselves.

And sadly, at some point, vehicles break down or get a flat tire.  How prepared will you be?

 

Pros and Cons of Full-time RV Living

 

Understanding the pros and cons of full-time RV living is vital to anyone considering an RV lifestyle.

Living stationary in an RV park can be super active and fun. If you enjoy socializing with neighbors and making new friends, this might be a good fit for you.   On the other hand, if you like to be alone away from people, an RV park is probably not a great fit.

Likewise, road life can be tiring.  Living a nomadic lifestyle allows you access to some beautiful locations, far away from the hustle and bustle we become used to.  You are bound to see some magnificent scenery, sunrises, and sunsets in locations that you thought only existed in your imagination.

 Evaluate Your Options

 

RVing for beginners can be overwhelming, with choices, logistics, and everything else under the sun.  As you become clear with your expectations the choices you make will become easier and reflect those decisions.

Take some time and write down your expectations. What does full-time RVing look like to you and those you will be traveling with?  Is it realistic?  The clarity in these answers is your friend.

 

Expectations of rv life: a woman holding a wine glass playing backgammon at a campsite in the woods

 

Does size matter?

 

Only you can answer this question.

Downsizing from an apartment or house to a Sprinter Van can be challenging.  Imagine, thinking the 3-bedroom you are in now is too small.

You may already think there’s no place to “get away” from your spouse or kids.  You need some alone time.  Now imagine living in a space that could be the size of only 1 room in your house or apartment that is combined with your living room, kitchen, and bedroom all in one.

That is where we started.

Small rv kitchen, sink and stove.

Size DOES Matter!

 

Then consider it’s been raining for days.  You, your spouse, your kids, your pet, and all of your “stuff” in this space including your toilet and stove are ALL in this 11 feet.

On the other hand, what if your rig is too big?  Can you tow it, can you manage it, and can you park it?  The cliches “go big or go home” and “ bigger is better” don’t always apply to full-time RV Living.  Sure there is plenty of room for the family and your prized possessions, but can you get to the places that you desire to see?

Size does matter in both cases.  There is a happy medium when considering full-time RV living.  As you develop your plan, and your expectations, you can easily answer the question “Does size Matter?”

Living room and drivers cab of a renegade verona super c.

Downsizing?  Do I Really Need This?

If you are like us, you will agree this is a big question.  We have spent a lifetime collecting our kid’s artwork, tchotchkes, family photos, and linens.  Now, we want to move into an RV and can’t possibly take this stuff with us.

What are we going to do with all of our stuff?

Sure, the process can be overwhelming and even emotional as you start to pack.  However, you can’t take all of it with you, as much as some of us try, when are traveling and full-time RVing.  Space is at a premium in your new living quarters, plus you are also going to need to store your new RV Essentials as well.  

Living full-time in an RV park also challenges us to downsize.  Many places have restrictions on how much stuff you can store outside or in a storage shed.  Realistically, you don’t want all of your prized possessions stacked up with a tarp thrown over them, do you?  

Take some time, evaluate your belongings, and make a plan of action.  What will you keep in the RV, store for a later time, donate or toss?  

Storage unit filled to the brim.

 

Cohabitating?  In This Small Space?

Can I get along with my spouse, housemates, partner, companion, pets, and kids in this small space?

While many of us envision campfires, hiking, swimming, and playing board games with our loved ones, this picture is not always realistic.

Everybody needs space to think, work, and be. Whether you work from home, have kids doing schoolwork, or simply want to watch tv, you will have to be considerate of each other’s personal space.

Is your family unit communal or do each of you find comfort in your own space?

It’s easy to think, ok, we can do this activity outside on the picnic table or in the clamshell tent.  But seriously, what happens when you are in the middle of a 7-day monsoon, kids are bored, everything is wet and you are close to missing a deadline at work?

RVs have thin walls and not much privacy.  In other words, every noise and each movement is easily observed.

Of course, these are extreme examples, yet, they give a good insight into real RV living.   Take some time to imagine what daily RV life will really look like inside your unit in a variety of conditions.

Identifying potential challenges and developing a plan of action can help you determine if full-time RV living is for you!

Happy camping couple relaxing and smiling by the fire pit.

 Are We on the Same Page?

 

As we have discussed, Full-time RV living can have many different styles.  While some like to travel slowly, others are ready to hit the road every few days.

How do you see travel days affecting you and your travel companions?  

Are you going to live by the standard camper rule of 3-3-3?  That is, travel no more than 300 miles in a day, be at your campsite by 3 pm, and stay at least 3 nights.  

Or, are you more of a road warrior like us?  We often drive for 8-10 hours pulling into a Walmart well after 8 pm only to roll out early the next morning so we can get to our destination.

Neither style is wrong, but you do have to be sure that you discuss your travel styles. 

Take some time to discuss logistics and travel style.  Realizing that you can travel anyway you want is part of the freedom that full-time travel provides. 

The key is to be aware of your style, discuss it openly with your travel mates, and develop a plan that is agreeable to all.

Super c rv boondocking in a parking lot overnight.

How Will I Spend My Camping Time?

 

This question might seem a little silly at first.  However, the amount of times I have seen posts about being bored makes this a common problem.

For some, the solitude of the desert or forest is super appealing.  Sitting with nature, hiking, reading, and even working remotely while living as a recluse is our desire.  For others, this scenario is a nightmare.

Likewise, we can understand getting bored, especially if your travel mate either works all day or doesn’t want to play in the great outdoors.  Maybe you are the one that doesn’t want to go fishing every day. 

How do your hobbies and interests align with your new RV lifestyle?  

Take some time to list out the activities that you enjoy alone and together with your travel companions.  This exercise will help you decide whether you are more compatible with living in an RV park full-time or living a nomadic lifestyle full-time or just sometimes.  

RV living is fulfilling when you have realistic expectations and compatibility with your travel partners.

 

Empty camping chairs facing a fire with an rv in the background.

 

Black Tanks:  Am I Ready to Deal with My Sh$t?  Literally! 

Face it, we all poop.  It is a biological fact of life.  People who live in an RV, are no different.  Whether you are a full-time RVer, part-time pleasure seeker, van life, or car camper, you are going to have to deal with your sh$t.

Unfortunately, there will be smells, loose fittings, and perhaps even the dreaded poop pyramid.  You might even experience some yucky spillage.  It’s a cold hard fact of RV living.  

Regardless of your unit type, size, or cost, if you poop in your toilet, you will have to learn how to properly dump your tanks.  It is not always pleasant, but it is necessary.  

Man dumping his black and gray water tanks.

Will I Bend or Will I Break?

 

RV Living  Requires Flexibility.  Will I bend or will I break?

Whether you choose a nomadic lifestyle or live full-time in an RV park, there will be situations that require flexibility. What will you do when you are faced with severe weather threats, natural disasters, health issues, or even new management and rules in your RV park? 

How quickly can you pivot?

Some RVers make long-term plans, a year or two in advance, while others wing it.  How disappointed will you be if you can’t get reservations inside or even close to your bucket list destination?  What is the workaround?

 

Weather Patterns Can Be Unpredictable

 

Weather patterns and natural disasters are common.

A few years back, the wildfires in the West were horrible.  The sky was a smoky grey and visibility was so low.   Areas of several National Parks we planned to visit were closed because of the fires.

Like you, we don’t want to be in danger, so we adjusted our travel accordingly to stay safe.

We have seen campers reluctant to leave the campground even with the threat of hurricane winds on the radar.  High winds and torrential downpours can lead to flooding and hazardous conditions.  Many RVers have lost their units because they didn’t pay attention to the weather forecasts or yield to the evacuation order

Another time, a freak snowstorm in September shut down I-70 and interrupted our travel schedule.  Robb and I are not fans of cold weather, especially when snow and ice are on the roadway.  We had to detour around the storm, again changing our intended plans.

 

Full-time rvers beware of road conditions in severe weather.

Rules Change & Reservations Get Cancelled

 

Lately, the news has been featuring stories about private campgrounds being bought up by corporate entities.  Rules change, prices increase and stationary RVers are forced to comply or leave the RV park.

Sometimes campgrounds are forced to close due to unforeseen threats, like flooding or wildfires.  Imagine Big Sur has been on your bucket list forever.  You have your reservations only to find out, Highway 1 is closed due to landslides!

Situations like these happen all the time.

No Refund Policy

 

In 2020, we were headed to Key West when we got a fateful call that a family member’s health was quickly declining.  We had to go “home”.

Thankfully, the RV park owners understood our situation and refunded our advanced payment.

Refunds are not common for many RVers.  How do you feel about losing deposits on campsites?  Have you read the fine print?

Situations like these can creep up at any time.  None of us like it, but living a nomadic lifestyle requires adaptability.

For us, flexibility is what we enjoy most about our nomadic RV lifestyle.  Several times we made a pivot because something more fun presented itself: a party in the desert or an unexpected weekend in Yosemite.

Be open to the possibilities ahead of you!

 

Will I Be Lonely Living in an RV?

 

Organizations such as Escapees & Xscapers are made up of RVers of every lifestyle and background.  There are plenty of meet-ups, rallies, and community involvement to help keep you from feeling isolated or lonely.  

Likewise, homeschoolers and road schoolers have a strong presence in RVing.  Parents are taking responsibility for their children’s education to a whole new level.  Traveling together in large family caravans helps provide comfort and creates a sense of community that is important for the kids and parents alike.  

There are so many different types of rallies, parties, education, and people living as full-time RVers, that you can find a tribe.  Travel a few weeks with them and then go your own way for a bit.  The choice is yours. 

Group of people at a party in the desert.

RV Living for Beginners:  Conclusion

 

There aren’t many rules to a nomadic lifestyle except maybe the Boy Scout motto of “Be Prepared”.  It’s your life and your lifestyle.

By considering and answering these questions you can feel confident in deciding on a full-time RVing, part-time, or even a nomadic lifestyle.  Taking the time now to surface some potential challenges will save you time, money, and tears.

Robb and I have been living a full-time nomadic lifestyle since 2016 traveling around the country in our Renegade Verona Super C.  People often ask us, is RV Life worth it?  In our opinion, it is the life of our dreams.  We certainly hope you can build the life you desire with no regrets like us.  

Thanks for reading!  Let us know if we’ve helped you with your decision or if you have other questions we can help with.

Travel Safe and Adventure Often!!!

Maureen Wright and Robb Strobridge

The Stromads

The stromads standing in front of their newly purchased renegade verona super c.

Entrepreneurs, Wanderlusters, Constant travelers, and Full-time RV Nomads since 2016.  We are fueled by life, love, and the pursuit of all things good.  Thanks for joining our journey and we hope to see you down the road!

Are you ready to take the next step and select the perfect RV for your lifestyle choices?

We developed a workbook, specifically targeting this subject.  How to Select Your Perfect RV.  The workbook lays out a comprehensive plan so that you can select the perfect RV for you, based on your needs, wants, desires, and financial obligations.  

Couple in front of rv promoting how to select your perfect rv

Buying the wrong unit for the experience you desire is common.

The RV industry LOVES unsure customers.

Why? Because they sell multiple units as you try to find the right one, and the more units they sell, the more money they make!

Whether you desire a park model, a teardrop, or a big beautiful Prevost, take time to decide if a nomadic lifestyle is for you, or if you are better suited for living in an RV park full-time. 

2021 Recap:  We Traveled The World 1.5 Times!

2021 Recap: We Traveled The World 1.5 Times!

Our 2021 recap: We traveled the world 1.5 times and never left the United States!

Do you intentionally sit down and reflect on your past year?  We do and this is what we discovered.  Our 2021 recap: we drove enough miles to go around the world 1.5 times and never left the United States!

What a ride 2021 turned out to be.  Most of us weren’t sure how the fallout from the apocalypse would affect our travel desires, work ventures, and personal relationships.  At times, Robb and I even felt anxious about our future plans and remorse for the things we f’d up.   Thankfully, those low-frequency days are few and far between.

Since expressing gratitude and appreciation are the easiest ways to jump-start your vibe, we took an inventory of our most valuable assets.  Reflecting over this past year, Robb and I know we have so much to be grateful for in life.  Thank you for allowing us the opportunity to share our thoughts with you.

These are just a few of those gratitude entries:

  • Good health allows us the opportunities to hike, bike, kayak, and play with our grandkids.
  • A sustainable income allows us the flexibility to travel and explore.
  • Healthy family relationships let us know our kids love us and support our dreams.  Occasionally, they remind us they still need our reassurance and guidance.  Most importantly, they include us and humor us with meaningful conversations.
  • Grandchildren that think we are the bomb diggity and howl with us every chance we get.
  • Strong friendships that we can count on to lift us and encourage us when 1 through 4 seem to go wacky.
  • Our home on wheels carries us to the most beautiful areas of the country and provides some “off the hook” experiences that can only be understood by an RV enthusiast.
  • Future business relationships that both inspire and feed our entrepreneurial mindset.
  • Our relationship with each other continues to grow and flourish, as we make this next life transition being 55+.  We know that we always have each other’s best interest, even if it feels selfish.
  • Subscribers like you support our vision, our quirkiness, and our social media platforms.
  • Sponsors of our weekly show, “Sipping With The Stromads”.  What really rocks our world are those of you that join us on-air and in person for some tequila tastings.
  • 2021 checked many items off the bucket list with sightseeing, learning, adventure, and experiences.

Click here to check out our experiences on our YouTube Channel

Stromads youtube welcome

In case you missed it, here are some of our 2021 highlights:

  • 2 Roundtrip Coast to Coast Road Trip Excursions
  • Pacific Northwest from Northern California to Washington
  • Central California to Southern California
  • 14 National Parks
  • Wildlife like crazy: Dolphins, Orcas, Manatees, Bears, Elk, Rattlesnakes, Burros, Big Horn Sheep, Condors, Eagles, and Moose
  • So many amazing sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico, The Pacific Ocean, and The Desert
  • Sunrise (Yes, sunrise…The desert has the most colorful sunrises ever seen)
  • Hot springs, hot springs, and more hot springs
  • From driving the lowest US elevation at 282 feet below sea level to elevations of 9300 feet!
  • Hiking, biking, and kayaking!
  • Connecting with the community, old friends, and meeting new friends.
  • Spending time with family on both coasts
  • Campfires, day, night, and late afternoon (our favorite)
  • We danced in the desert, howled with the coyotes, and shared a lot of tequila
  • Started our YouTube Channel
  • Worked on gaining clarity with personal purpose
  • Decided to follow our own dreams and ambitions

 

 

Grandkids

2021, welcomed Grandcub #3 to our family. Margo greeted the world in March, joining forces with siblings, Mason and Maeve.  Grandparenting is our reward for parenting our children.  We now get to have all the fun without too much responsibility.  Teaching the grands life lessons and valuable skills is so much fun!

 

Ask a Better Question

Stretching our time between family, friends and spectacular scenery may seem difficult to some individuals.  However, one of the most difficult aspects I find is answering this question: “What is your favorite place?”.

This question is much like asking which child is your favorite.  Of course, we all have one, or a different one depending on the time of day.  How about you?  Do you have a place that you return to year after year, or are you like us, driven by the need to see different places.

With over 35,000 road miles this year, and 49 states in the books, it is impossible to choose?  Ask us a better question and we will attempt to give you a solid answer.  Here are a few.

  • Describe a desert sunrise?
  • Have you ever seen the green spark in the ocean?
  • What’s the scariest road you have driven?
  • How do the mountain ranges differ between the east and the west?
  • How do you decide where to go next?
  • What are some of your favorite travel planning apps?
  • How do I find a community?
  • Can you suggest a place that has A, B, or C?

Quoting George Strait

Our wanderlust is fueled by the ever-changing scenery, the colors of the sky, and the call of the wild.  Whether we see mountains, ocean waves or even drive a deserted highway, RVing has changed our perspective on conventional living.  Will we stop?  Maybe, maybe not, it is currently what we do, not necessarily who we are.

We never really know what tomorrow will bring.  Life has times and seasons and TODAY is the day we immerse ourselves in and experience.  Living to make memories is almost counterproductive to living in the present moment.  Sure, we share lots of pictures and have fascinating stories to tell, hoping to inspire and encourage us all to dream, travel and do what is in your heart.  The memories we share are a byproduct of our life, not our motivation.

To quote George Strait, “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time”.

We are so grateful you have joined us and just want to say, get outside, explore while you can, and live a life of gratitude.  You won’t be disappointed.  Make 2022 the year!  Be mindful on your journey and inspire some good meaningful conversation.

Please continue to reach out to us with your questions, comments, and encouragement.  We love hearing from you!!!

 

Travel Safe and Adventure Often

Maureen and Robb, aka The Stromads

You Are Going To Need These Three Items In Your RV

You Are Going To Need These Three Items In Your RV

.****As an Amazon affiliate, we may make a small commission from your purchase at NO extra cost to you

You may have heard us say before, buying the RV is just the beginning. There are lots of great gadgets on the market today. Some are for safety and some for comfort.  Before you buy anything,  you are going to need these three items in your RV.  With these three super upgrades, you are on your way to a safer more peaceful, and comfortable RV experience.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Tire failure is one of the most common RV and towing issues I see that can really be minimized by investing in a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  They don’t prevent everything.  If you run over something large at speed and it causes a blowout the TPMS won’t catch that.  However, if you pick up a nail, your valve stem is leaking, or your brakes are heating up, or your bearings are going bad the TPMS will alert you that your tire pressure is too low or it is heating up which is a sure sign of an impending blowout.

Blowouts and flats are no fun anytime, especially on an interstate. 

A TPMS although a pricey investment is so worth it to me for the peace of mind and added safety as its alerts have saved us several times from disaster. Rather than panicking and swerving with a blown tire, we have been able to pull over and get out of the traffic lanes to change the tire. 

 

RV Electrical Management Surge Protector

Preventive measures can oftentimes save your RV from electrical disaster. Electric issues are not uncommon in the RV world.

Progressive Industries 50 Amp Portable RV Electrical Management System Surge Protector, EMS-PT50X, since our coach is 50 Amp.  If you have a 30 AMP system this is the one for you Portable RV Surge Protector Portable EMS-PT30X RV Surge Protector.

Progressive has great tech support and customer service.    They are quick and efficient and very responsive.

 

On-The-Go Water Softener System

Just like at home, hard water is not your friend in an RV either.  The water softness changes considerably as you travel. 

With an on-the-go water softener, you can maintain consistent soft water and experience all the benefits of soft water.

They are super easy to set up and maintain and very cost-effective as well with just a little bit of iodized salt to regenerate them.

 

Although these items are fairly expensive, they are necessary for safety and comfort.  Making the investment now may save you a lot of time, money, and worry down the road.  Command hooks and matching placemats can wait.   Before you hit the open road,   you are going to need these three items in your RV.

Refoam your Seat Cushions Yourself, and Save Big Money!

Refoam your Seat Cushions Yourself, and Save Big Money!

If you’ve had your RV for a while or maybe your couch at home, the foam in the cushions may be losing density and sagging. It not only doesn’t look good, it no longer feels good and becomes uncomfortable.
This DIY fix is easy and can save you a lot of money.

I am going to give you an overview here.  You can check out our YouTube Video also for some tips, and you’ll see how easy it is.  Most of the sites that sell foam will provide detailed instructions for measuring and installing the foam replacements.

Getting started only takes a few measurements and a couple of decisions to order your foam.  It’s best to use a fabric tape measure or string instead of metal to get more accurate measurements.  You will also want to consider the firmness or density. Determining this will help you choose the feel you desire and how long it will last.

You can have custom shapes cut that cost more or have sizes cut and then glue pieces to them if you desire a more economical solution.  Batting or Dacron is an option to consider as well. They will help fill out your cushions and give them a fluffy and fuller look.  Figure this all out and place your order.

Once you receive the order, it’s important to note you need to unpack the foam and let it sit for a day before you get started.  You will need a few basic supplies to complete your project. A measuring tape, a sharpie or permanent marker, a sharp carving/serrated knife or electric knife, a straight edge, and some spray adhesive if you need to glue the foam.  A flat surface or table to work on is helpful as well.

To get started, take the old foam out of the cushions.  As you do this, note anything that you may need to do to shape the cushion so it looks like it originally.  Use the old foam as a template for the new foam, especially if there are unique shapes or sizes.  You can glue any unique shapes to the foam so they stay in place. You may also need to put the special shapes in the cover first and add some batting or Dacron so the cushions fill out correctly. 

The new foam will be a tight fit, and you may have to squeeze and compress it to get it in the covers.  Adjust it as necessary to fill out the shape and add more batting or Dacron to shape things.  Once you are ready to zip up the cushion, it’s easiest to push the batting down under one hand and zip over top of it, so the batting doesn’t get caught in the zipper.  You may have to work and adjust things a little to get everything in place and looking good.

And that’s it. All you need to do next is test it out.  If you are like me, you will be amazed and fulfilled by how easy it was and how good it feels.

For my foam, I used the Foam Factory in Michigan.  Their instructions were clear and provided all the information I needed to make a great decision. The shipping was free because my order was over $75, and the pricing was better than several other sites I checked.

I saved about $175 doing it myself, and it was quick and easy.

Let me know if you have any questions and how it works out if you try it yourself.  Don’t forget to check out the YouTube Video out if you haven’t already.

Better Workdays With Your Spouse are Achievable By Using These Ten Tips.

Better Workdays With Your Spouse are Achievable By Using These Ten Tips.

Better Workdays With Your Spouse are Achievable By Using These Ten Tips.

 

People ask us all the time, how do you live in such a small area, travel and work together.  After 20 years of traveling together and running a business from the road, we have learned some lessons.  Most of our wisdom has come through trial and error, silent treatments, or grumbling.  Sound familiar?  If so, these ten tips will help you have better workdays with your spouse.

Schedule and plan out your week: set regular work hours, yet be flexible.

The world tells us that we have to work for 8 hours a day, 9-5.  As an entrepreneur, you can set your work schedule to fit your lifestyle.  Maybe you want to go on a sunrise hike.  Work the weekend while the crowds overtake Sunrise point.  Be free to enjoy a mid-week sunrise in solitude.

Recognize each other’s strengths.

You both excel in different areas.  While one of you may be more creative and the other may be more operational.   Divide up the workload, ensuring that each one does the jobs they are good at doing.  Evaluate the remainder and make a plan to either hire those tasks out or include training on those items.

Clear your workspace at the end of the day.

Being organized is especially important when living in a tiny space.  For a lot of us, our kitchen table doubles as our desk.  Put your paperwork away, clear the table and hopefully clear your mind.  Don’t bring work to bed.

Allow your spouse some space.

Living in close quarters can easily trigger some claustrophobia.  Sometimes one of you might need some extra space.  Sitting outside, going for a short walk, or even driving up to the store for a bottle of wine can help to clear one’s mind.  There are times that this quick little reset will do wonders for you.

Establish your morning routine.

Do you wake early, and your husband likes to sleep longer.  That’s ok.  Take advantage of those times with a little extra reading or yoga.  Remember, though, to give each other some space when you wake up.  Nobody likes to start their day with problems or issues.  Ease into your morning workload.

Stop micromanaging each other.

In other words, stop nagging.  Set weekly or daily meeting times with your spouse.  Create an agenda and stick to it.  It is healthy to check in with each other about a project’s status or even overcome some challenges you might be having.  The problem comes when we start asking, “did you do this” or “why isn’t this done yet.”  You have to be accountable to each other, and blowing off responsibilities is not helpful.  Set some timelines and stick to them.

Be mindfully grateful.

It might sound corny, yet it works wonders.  At the end of the day and even during your “staff meeting,” express gratitude to your partner.  You are in it to win it.  Face it; there are going to be challenging times.  If you are like most of us, you will experience disputes and uncomfortable confrontations.  Remember why you are in business together, why you chose this life of adventure, and why this project you are working on together means something.  Take a moment at the end of the day and express gratitude.

Promise to NEVER quit on the same day.

Commit and support your spouse during their meltdown.  Hear them out, listen, and respond.  We all have a bad day once in a while.  When we jump in the muck with our spouse and start making emotional decisions, nothing productive comes from it.  We will bicker, use ugly words, and slowly kill our dream of freedom.  When you promise that one of you will hold the fort down while the other melts down, you have the assurance that the company will still be viable after your pity party is over.

Permit yourself to knock off work for a nooner.

You know, a little afternoon delight!  You and your spouse make the rules now.   Once in a while, stay in bed a few minutes longer or take a few hours in the afternoon.  A little spontaneity goes a long way in easing tension in couples’ working relationships.

Openly communicate about your finances, both personal and business.

Finances are one of the top disagreements couples have.  The financial deficit, distrust, and lack of self-control contribute to money woes.  It is super important to review your budget together regularly.  Be on the same page regarding your money matters.  Come to a set of agreements on how you will manage your budget, future purchases, debt service, and entertainment.  Open communication about your financial picture is so important.  Also, be sure to be diligent in keeping your business and personal finances separate.

There are many references, blogs, and self-proclaimed authorities on the subject of relationships.  If you are experiencing difficulty in your working relationship, you owe it to each other to communicate and resolve them.   Information is readily available.

Not every day is a blissful experience in the office.  However, we have overcome so many hurdles.  We are confident that Better workdays with your spouse are achievable by using these ten tips.  Incorporating these nuggets into your daily routine will bring more joy into your workplace

Thank you for reading, and let me hear from you.  What did you try, how did it work, and what would you add to this list?  Drop us a comment or an email to let us know.  Be mindful, inspire conversation and remember to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

Maureen 

Two of my go-to books: 4 Agreements and 5 Languages of Love, are excellent references.  As a couple, Robb and I studied these books.  When there is a conflict, we often refer back to them for answers and resolve.  Maybe they will help you!

Heading to Orlando?  Read this article first!: Here are 14 Orlando area Attractions that we enjoyed beyond the Mouse.  

 

Are we crazy for traveling 20,755 miles in our RV during a pandemic?

Are we crazy for traveling 20,755 miles in our RV during a pandemic?

Are we crazy for traveling 20,755 miles in our RV during a pandemic?

Are we crazy for traveling 20,755 miles in our RV during a pandemic?  To some, our traveling lifestyle may seem selfish and irresponsible.  For us, right now, travel is our life.  We can assure you that we take the coronavirus seriously, social distance, and take precautions.

To begin with, our Renegade RV is self-contained so we don’t need to use public restrooms or laundry facilities.  Rather than eating out in restaurants, we cook at home.  Our social circle is tiny, and before we see our family and friends, we do quarantine ourselves for two weeks.  Finally, we only flew once, therefore limiting our airline exposure

Where do we even start with this recap of 2020?  No doubt it was a weird year.  Yet, 2020 provided us some of the best and worst days we could imagine.

2020 in a nutshell:

Renegade rv life travel during a pandemic

  • Miles Driven:
    • RV: 20,755
    • Equinox (NOT Tow miles) 18,763
  • Flights: 2
  • States 37
  • Countries 2
  • Campgrounds 24
    • Commercial and Private 16
    • State and National Parks 4
    • Harvest Hosts 3
    • Hip Camp 1
  • Boondocking
    • Walmart 12
    • Rest Stops 3
    • Truck Stops 1
    • Other (Bass Pro, Home Depot, Cracker Barrel, Outlet Stores, Casino) 5
    • Overnight RV Service Appointments 4
    • Fairgrounds: 3 for a total of 30 nights
  • Hotel 4 Hotels total nights 7
  • Airbnb: 1 total nights 14
  • Checked off Bucket List: 8
  • Wineries Visited: 9
  • Lessons Learned: Stay flexible. Anything can change in a moment.  Most times, it is up to us to initiate a conversation.  Sometimes that communication is received openly, and sometimes it is opposed.  It doesn’t matter as long as it comes from a pure heart and motive.  Don’t wait.

Let’s talk about the journey

Initially, 2020 started like every other year for the last 20 years we have been in business.  Conventions, marketing, and a kick-ass work schedule entertaining in the fair and festival industry.  By the end of January, we knew our work commitments, and we were ready to fill in our calendar with fun travels.

Fairs in faraway places like Montana, North Dakota, and Texas reached out to us.   Our schedule was fast and tight, without a lot of room for error. Consequently, good planning and logistics are imperative.   We were grateful and excited to be on the road soon.

Robb and I welcomed the New Year in St. Augustine, one of our favorite cities.  Trolling around the alleys, finding unique shops, and sipping sangria are some of our favorite ways to spend the days.  However, as much as we love this little town, we found it too crowded for us over the holidays.

Over the next five weeks, our itinerary included:

  • Panama City Beach, FL
  • Shreveport, LA
  • Galveston, TX
  • Springfield, IL
  • Washington, DC

This schedule was just the beginning.

You are probably wondering: why in the world would we go to Illinois and Washington DC in the middle of January?  We ask ourselves the same questions.  The answer, in short, is work.  Nobody wants to be camping in an RV in Springfield in -3 degrees, much less be driving in icy weather.  Thankfully, our stay in Illinois was short, sweet, and quite profitable.

Next on our calendar was the Washington Auto show, 14 days in downtown Washington DC.  The weather cooperated, our event was successful and we were ready for downtime before our March gig in South Texas.  Our grandkids, Mason and Maeve gave us some much-needed love, and off we went, back to the road.

Bay St. Louis, MS seemed like a decent place to stay a few nights. Much to our surprise, the RV Park was beachfront and very reasonably priced.  The sunrise and peaceful setting were so spectacular we extended for another 8 nights.  To top off our stay, the nearby Silver Slipper casino offered a fantastic seafood buffet throughout the week.

Bucket list destination mardi gras 2020

Bucket List Check

I can remember thinking about how much better can life get.  Then, Robb surprised me with a bucket list check-off to Mardi Gras!   Parades, people, and Pimms Cups made this one of our top 10 of all-time adventures.  As a result, the beads we collected now have their own suitcase, ready for next time.

Our next stop was Mercedes, TX, for the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show.  South Texas is one of our newest favorite hot spots.  Only a few miles away is Progresso, Mexico a fun little border town with $5 Herudurra Tequila, the sounds of mariachi bands, and amazing churros from the street vendors.

The Quarantine

Unfortunately, the looming news of the pandemic was in the air.  The RGVLS came to a screeching halt.  Our other events began to cancel, the border closed for tourist traffic, and the stay-at-home order followed.  Although wanting to come back East to be with family, with social distancing protocols, we found our best option was to remain stranded in Texas, but at least it was warm.

Working and living a nomadic lifestyle is synonymous with missing parties, holidays, and happy hours with friends. Because of our schedule, we have grown accustomed to not socializing through most of the year.  However, the crazy thing was that when most people felt isolated and alone during the quarantine, Robb and I felt more connected to people than in most years.

As we sheltered in place for six weeks, Robb and I hosted a series of virtual game nights with our friends.  At times we had 25 people join us for Dirty Bingo and Trivia nights on Zoom.  In retrospect, the quarantine made it possible for us to connect more often than ever before.

Along with our son Matt, we were able to continue televising our live weekly internet show, “Off The Cuff’.  Each Tuesday at 8 pm we invite members of our audience to discuss valuable life experiences through topical conversation.  You can join too; it’s free and a lot of fun.

This year also brought us closer together with our immediate family.  Our boys, Mike (29) and Matt(25) live on separate coasts, east, and west.  Getting together for weekly or even monthly dinners is nearly impossible, and we all feel the strain in our relationships.   To change our family dynamic, we committed to having a family video chat on Zoom each Wednesday evening.

Family, Connecting, and the First Fish

This is the face of the first fish

Sharing current events, daily life, and even some inside jokes with them are the highlight of our week.  This call is in addition to our weekend calls with the grandkids,  Mason (6)  and Maeve (20 months).  Facetime, Messenger, and Zoom are a necessity for our lifestyle.  Although physically apart, we come together virtually for birthdays, holidays, and even random little chats.

Travel restrictions loosened up near mid-May, and we made our way back east.  Thankfully, we have friends with a farm that welcome our extended stay.  During this time Mason caught his first fish this summer, and ironically, so did his Dad.  S’mores, scary stories, daytime fires, and distanced porch parties filled our summer—what a fantastic time for all of us.

By early July, it became apparent that the rest of our events for the year would cancel.  We were starting to feel stuck.  For nomads like us, three weeks is a long time to spend in one place.  Imagine what we were feeling by now, five months, and no work and no travel.

More Bucket List Checks

In mid-August, our wanderlust got the best of us, and we headed out west.   Yellowstone, The Grand Tetons, and Glacier were at the top of our bucket list.  We met the Jolly Green Giant,  drove the Enchanted Highway, and visited some faraway friends along with those excellent sites.  We were also able to spend 10 days in sunny Southern California with our son Matt.

Dancing in the desert, soaking in hot springs, and answering the call of the wild gave us what we needed.  Hearing coyotes yapping in the distance is a little freaky for sure and yet all so familiar.  Experiencing the ever-changing scenery and natural beauty is what we envision as constant travelers, and this is why we do what we do, right?

After 10,000 miles, we found ourselves home again.  At least now, the humid east coast weather started cooling, and late afternoon firepits became our solace.  We sold some equipment, cleared some space in our storage unit, and had the good fortune of one November event coming through to work in Florida.

On opening night, we realized how much we missed the fair circuit.  Seeing families together, the smells of fair food, and yes, the neon lights of a carnival midway brought us back to some semblance of our normal for a few days.  When the gig ended it was time to head a little further south.

Saying Goodbye

after a few days in the Everglades, we got a dreaded phone call. Robb’s younger brother Randy was in the hospital, and he was dying.  Thankfully, our lifestyle allows for sudden changes in family situations, weather, and impromptu decisions.  We set off, back to the mid-Atlantic.

Randy did pass quietly, and we were there to usher him to his final destination. A  few days later, over 50 friends and family joined us for a virtual memorial service.  Even amid social distancing, and the worst situations, it is possible to bring people together.

By now, the weather was starting to get cold, and restrictions were again being implemented, so, once again, it was time to say see you later to family and friends.  After a few more hugs and kisses mixed with a few dozen tears, we were off to Florida for some warmer weather.

Much to our delight, the weather here is perfect.  Warm days and chillier evenings make for magnificent sunsets on the Gulf of Mexico.  We are getting some much-needed exercise, both walking and riding our bikes.  Creating a new income source, exploring some interesting new tequilas and late afternoon fires fill our days.  As we await our new granddaughter’s arrival in March, we will take this time to, reflect, plan, and enjoy all that we have.  Indeed, life love, and all things good present themselves daily.

Are we crazy for traveling 20,755 miles during a pandemic?

Bucket list check going to the sun road glacier national park

So again, I ask, are we crazy for traveling 20,755 miles during a pandemic?  Maybe so, but we did, carefully. Our family needed us at times, resulting in several thousand extra miles.  2021 may be a different year for travel.   Barring any travel restrictions, we have our sights on a few new destinations and bucket list items,

Like you, we are experiencing change everywhere.  Robb and I are not getting any younger.  Our desire to see beautiful scenery and experience life outside the box may shift at any time.  Expressing more gratitude, learning to live in the moment, and experiencing the beauty of travel is truly a gift.  Enjoy it!

What is your desire?  Hopefully, our share will be an encouragement that you too can live a life of joy and experience, regardless of what is happening in the world.  Sometimes it comes down to a choice and a sacrifice.

Our takeaway lesson in 2020 is to be as flexible as possible.  Every day may not be filled with triumphs, some may be tragic.  With these intentions, be open to the evolution of life.  Love deeply, be mindful, and always be grateful.

Do You Want To Save Money?

Thanks for reading and we would love to keep in touch with you.  Subscribe to our weekly newsletter right now and we will share with you 5 guaranteed ways to save money on travel.  It is the real deal.  Be sure to click here and we will send you FIVE super-saving travel tips right away!

Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

Robb and Maureen, aka The Stromads

P.S.  Would you take just another minute?  Pop over to Facebook and Instagram to give us a like and a follow.  We sure do appreciate it!

Four Tips For Connecting Virtually

Four Tips For Connecting Virtually

Four Tips For Connecting Virtually

 

Are you missing your people?

As more of us transition to working from home and forgoing the usual happy hour meets, we miss our friends, family, and those interactions.  In this article, I will present you with four tips for connecting virtually with an intentional conversation.

As nomads, we have been socially distancing for years.  It is not unusual for Robb and me to go months without meeting up in person with family and friends.  Our tours often take us to rural America, and we spend countless days, weeks, months, and years living out of hotel rooms or in our RV.  Social distancing was our usual way of life, long before COVID-19.

Sure, I feel lonely, isolated, and disconnected too!

 

Needless to say, we found it complicated, to maintain relationships, and even more difficult to develop new ones.  Lapses in spending time together, coupled with the physical distance we experienced, caused our family connections to become strained and awkward. In retrospect, it seemed that the more time and distance we put between each other, the easier it was to stay apart.

 

The feelings of disconnection, isolation, and loneliness would often fill my days.  I was caught in between two different worlds and did not know how to connect them.  Wanderlust called me away, and belonging pulled me back home.

 

How do we bring our people together?

 

Now, more than ever, somebody has to bridge the gap and bring our friends and family together.  If you are reading this article, then chances are it is you.  There is a universal calling to gather your people and create a new way of connecting.

 

How do we do it?

 

It is relatively easy to communicate these days.  We all have cell phones, FaceTime, Messenger, and video capabilities.  One of our favorite ways to bring family, friends, business marketing groups, and clients together is through Zoom.

 

Zoom is an online platform specifically designed for holding video meetings and webinars.  What I like about using this software is that we can switch control of the meeting to one of the other hosts if we want to.  Unlike some of the other video calling software, Zoom allows you to mute guests, share your screen with the group, and even record the call.

 

How about these 4 Tips for Connecting Virtually?

 

1. Family Night:

 

Pre Arrange a video conferencing call with your family.  If it is the first time you are attempting it, you might feel awkward.  We urge you to stay with it.

Our first family call was bizarre.  It seemed we all engaged in small talk waiting for the “meeting” to start.  Weird, right?  Our adult children, spouses, and we had nothing to talk about except the weather.  How could this be?  We have known each other for 25 years or more.

 

The following week, I did something a little different and we use this practice each week.  Now, one of us is responsible for an “ice-breaker” question.  The answers are hilarious, thought-provoking, and allow us to get to know each other in a different light.

 

 

Everyone in the family looks forward to our Wednesday night call.  Honestly, I am not sure why we didn’t do this years ago.  The point is, we make a standing appointment to come together as a family and have meaningful
conversations.

 

 

2. Host a talk show:

 

Pull together some of your friends and interview each other.  Each week, you and your friends take turns as the host and ask your guests an interesting question about their life. Open-ended questions are best for these interviews.  Ask a leading question, something that you want to know about a friend.

 

 

If you are like me, and I bet you are, we want to know stuff.  What makes our friends tick.  This format is a fantastic time to ask your friends, “What do you think about … ?”

 

 

The Conversation Community hosts a weekly show, “Off The Cuff.”  Our guests come together and engage in meaningful conversation.  The topics we explore range from practicing mindfulness to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.  Everyone is welcome to join, and we have outlined specific rules of engagement so that each person has a chance to participate.

 

 

3. Virtual Trivia

Virtual Trivia is a great way to engage in a night of virtual fun.  Pick a host and develop a list of 20 questions.  The host can ask the questions.  Participants write their answers on paper.  After all of the items have been read, reread the questions and let the group answer—Award 1 point for each right answer.  In the end, add up the points and crown the winner.

 

Our group awards a $5 Amazon gift card to our winners.  On our last trivia night, we had 17 participants and a whole lot of fun!

 

 

 

4. Virtual Bingo

That’s right!  What could be more fun than a friendly game of Virtual Bingo?   The Conversation Community has put together an easy-to-implement Virtual Bingo Game for you and your friends.  Play Picture Bingo, Alphabet Bingo, Never Have I Ever Bingo, and even Adult Dirty Bingo.

The point is, to bring your family and friends together.  There is no better time than today.  Act now.  Be creative.  Inspire, motivate, educate, and connect with the ones you love.  Build a community through intentional conversation.  I hope that you will use my four tips to connect virtually.

 

 

As you connect today,

Be Mindful, Inspire Conversation, and Encourage Each Other.

 

 

Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

 

 

Maureen