Working and traveling 24/7

A business consultant lives and works full time in her Travato.

Kate Mullen  |  12.11.2016

Hi, my name is Kate Mullen, and I am a single, female, full-time RV’er. While I am 45, people often think I look younger (in my thirties) and are curious about how I started my RV journey since I am not retired.

A few years ago I had a midlife crisis. It did not result in the stereotypical buy a sports car, have an affair, get some plastic surgery to hold on to my youth kind of thing, but the deep gnawing at you – there has to be more to life, how do I really want to spend the time I have left? I was taught to “succeed” which meant go to college, get a good job, and save for retirement. I climbed the corporate ladder only to find disillusionment with the system. Is it just me or are we so filled with future worry, putting our adventures and dreams on hold; waiting for retirement or the next ‘thing’ to set us free?

I had wonderful family & friends, the Chiweenies (my companions/dogs), a beautiful home, the opportunity to travel a few weeks a year, and was fortunate to have a good paying job. But still, I felt like something was missing. I was so tired of feeling stressed and burnt out, and my health reflected my situation as well. As a business consultant; I was always on alert, waiting for an emergency call or e-mail to triage the next crisis no matter time of day or night. I realized what I needed was to trade the lifestyle of having more stuff for a lifestyle of freedom, experiences, creativity and adventure. I asked myself what would I do if I wasn’t afraid, or worried about all the what ifs, especially money?

The answer? Why not get and RV and take a road trip? Explore America and have the freedom to pursue my creative passions and at the same time get a clearer view of what I want on the path ahead.

Lake McDonald, Glacier NP

Travel broadens your life’s perspectives and challenges common thought patterns that may have become rigid or based on outdated assumptions. Travel offers a reframing of views on life; totally changes and challenges typical day to day routines. At the time, I was in a long-term relationship with my partner, and we planned to buy an RV, take the dogs and travel for a year. When my relationship ended, I thought my dream of RV’ing ended as well, uncertain I could do it alone. I had a laundry list of limiting beliefs:

  • Would I be able to afford RV’ing and keep my house?
  • Would it be safe for me to travel alone?
  • Would I like being on the road and moving around all the time?
  • Would I end up stranded on the side of the road? Would I be able to be by myself the majority of the time?
  • How would I learn all the systems and maintenance needed to operate the RV?
  • And how would I meet people or maintain friendships on the road by myself?

A year passed, and one day my aunt came to town wanting to look at pop-up campers during her visit. I took her to the local RV dealer, and while there I saw a small Class A motorhome, and it immediately reignited my wanderlust and the dream of RV’ing around the country. I went back a few days later for a test drive and thought I could do this – I bought the RV and a toad vehicle to boot!  My maiden trip took me from North Carolina to Florida with a few friends on board. It was in Florida that I was notified my consulting contract would not be extended. I typically do not have a break between client engagements, so I took this as a sign that I should hit the road for a few months to explore RV’ing. I put in a request for a sabbatical and listed my house on a vacation rental site (Home Away) to help cover the expenses but also just-in-case I liked it and wanted to stay on the road. That was the best decision I have made. I’ve been fortunate the rental income has covered my home operating expenses and even provided a little gas money. A few months in, a new consulting engagement came through where I could continue to work remotely, so I was able to turn a “few months” on the road into what has become almost two years now. I didn’t have to quit my job and sell everything, I wasn’t ready to do that being new to the lifestyle. It was a great lesson for me to learn that there are lots of options for jump starting my dreams.

Great Sand Dunes NP

I’ve been very fortunate in my travels; my road angels look out for me whenever I’ve needed assistance. There is a learning curve with RV’ing and working full-time while traveling; the positives far outweighed the challenges.  I’ve been blown away by the kindness of strangers and the amazing RV community. I do travel alone but seldom do I feel lonely. I can choose solitude, spending time in nature, or often I’m invited to dinners, events, and social activities with others. Having a positive attitude, open to meeting others, and believing in the serendipity inherent in life are key to having a positive travel experience.

Room with a view.  My Travato at the Outer Banks.

About a year into my travels, I downsized to a Winnebago 59K Travato Class B RV. I love the size, nimbleness, the modern design, and other great features. Having the Travato has removed a layer of stress for me traveling solo. I don’t have to worry about hooking and unhooking the toad, or find 5-6 open parking spaces that I can pull across to make a stop, I can go down any road without concern about getting into a situation where I am unable to do a u-turn, I can pull over almost anywhere to double check the navigation route. These are huge benefits! Driving the Travato is fun. A surprise bonus is an instant community with the Winnie Bs, our Travato Facebook group, WIT club and Winnebago Outdoors that has emerged for me. I attended my first Grand National Rally this year and subsequently went on the Lake Superior trip, with a subset of the group, tailored for the Class Bs. I’ve formed several friendships, some almost like family, through these groups – I’m so thankful for the experiences and community.

Nova Scotia

For me, I haven’t looked back, this experience has been very empowering, full of self-discovery, and one that I know, I will continue for the near future. I look forward to meeting more folks in the Winnebago community!  I am also starting a multi-year quest to see all 413 units in the National Park System you can follow my journey on my blog www.theroadtoadventure.com where I hope you will find inspiration for your own future RV trips.


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41 Comments

  1. Jamie Kirkland Posted on 12.13.2016

    Really enjoyed reading about how you came to travel full time! What an inspiring story!! Your photography is stunning!!!
    Thanks for the pictures of your RV and how you personalized it, would love to see more!
    How can I follow you???

  2. Bill Fleming Posted on 12.13.2016

    It was very nice to read your story Kate. Maybe our paths will cross again

  3. Joyce Marino Posted on 12.13.2016

    Congratulations on finding your freedom. I love your story and look forward to reading about all of your adventures. My husband and I are new to RVing and are just blown away by the warmth and friendliness of the RV community. Wishing you continued success and “happy trails”

  4. jane Scott Posted on 12.13.2016

    Hi Kate, I know your mom who encouraged me to write you! A few years ago, my husband and I sold our home to hit the road in our class A Motorhome…we are thankful for the experience and the folks we met along the way. After a year of full time driving and seeing the sights, we came home, sold our rig, and can say we did it!
    Best of luck to you on your big adventure!

  5. Karla Winterowd Posted on 12.13.2016

    Great article and great photographs! Very inspiring to me… something to really consider on all levels.

  6. Rosanne Kadis Posted on 12.13.2016

    Hi Kate, Love your intent and message. “What would I do if I was not afraid?” Really gets me thinking. Love your photos, too. Vaya con Dios! Rosanne

  7. Paul Kaplan Posted on 12.13.2016

    I’m impressed you don’t even have a need for a stow-away locker! I have the 59G and learning to downsize my “stuff.” Look forward to following your blog.

  8. Carey S. Posted on 12.13.2016

    I feel completely enchanted by your willingness to move toward your dream and taking the chance of letting go of all the baggage we are supposed to carry as adults. You have inspired me….nothing is promised so why not at least entertain the possibilities. Your photos are really amazing….it is great to hear of a woman setting out on her own. The size of your “home” on wheels looks really comfy and very manageable. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Brenda Zappitell Posted on 12.13.2016

    What an awesome adventure !!!! Thanks for sharing!:)

  10. Linda Calabrese Posted on 12.13.2016

    Brava, Kate! I have no fear your travel will satisfy our zeal to get back on the road. I expect you to inspire us!

  11. Katy Posted on 12.13.2016

    Inspiring!

  12. Robert Bell Posted on 12.13.2016

    Soooo cool!
    If you come through Palm Springs and would like a local guide, get in touch!
    Don’t miss Joshua Tree!

  13. Marie Posted on 12.14.2016

    Kate, How inspiring!!

  14. Ann Brown Posted on 12.14.2016

    Kate, you are not only a superb photographer, but also an inspirational writer!!! Loved reading this!!

  15. Libby Hall Posted on 12.14.2016

    Inspiring to read about your practical and sensible route to living your dreams. RV life has always seemed overwhelming (vehicle size mostly)
    but your Travato appears not only stylish but absolutely manageable. I’d love to know more about how you personalized the interior–a DIY project or outsourced and approximate costs. Sitting here at my computer fantasizing about a life like yours.

  16. Sue Ann Jaffarian Posted on 12.14.2016

    Excellent article, Kate. You are my hero!

  17. Doug Freed Posted on 12.14.2016

    Kate you are a true seeker. Keep up the journey, I am a landscape painter and friend of your mother. You are one brave soul. Beautiful photographs.

  18. Faith Posted on 12.14.2016

    Hah, for some reason I read your blog URL as http.TheRoadToadVenture.com. You *did* say you had a class A with a toad, after all! TheRoadToAdventure works a lot better, though. :) Very cool stuff! Looking forward to meeting you on the road someday.

  19. steve boyleston Posted on 12.15.2016

    If you want to find Freedom you have to look for it., and Kate you have found it., your home is the Earth not just a Town., your pool is that if Lakes., Rivers and Oceans., your Art Work is the living Planet outside your door. You live life not just talk about it., congrats.

  20. Barbara Posted on 12.16.2016

    I LOVED the idea of picking up and heading out, frightening as it may be initially. And your photo’s are stunning. A lot of us could learn from your experiences! Thank you very much!

  21. Ray Posted on 12.17.2016

    Enjoyed your story Kate… I too am considering doing the same & have been for some time. Can we talk sometime?

  22. Frank Grimaldi Posted on 12.17.2016

    Katie – Great story that has many parallels to my own. Cancer was my bugaboo that changed my attitude about priorities in life, It’s just too bad it took me so long to come to the inevitable conclusion that we are here but for a short time and should live each day free from drama, stress and material trappings. Now looking to purchase a travel trailer and hit the road in the spring. Keep up your journey and maybe our paths will cross some day…CARPE DIEM…

  23. Dave Brown Posted on 12.17.2016

    Hi Kate,

    Read your story with interest, it is great to see more than one like minded spirit out there for many of the same reasons. Enjoy your travels, I am looking forward to mine. Love the pictures, I think of all the people in this country that never have seen what you have seen, and are missing on the real riches of life.

  24. Clinton Erickson Posted on 12.17.2016

    I think it is wonderful what you are doing like traveling in your RV to different places, I wish I could afford that Kate.

    Back in the 80s and 2005,2006,2008,and 2009 I and my wife Loraine use to take tours on a tour bus, we use to belong with the Wayne County Bank travel Club.

    In the 80s we went on our own, until lately, my wife went to heaven last month November 15,2006 2:P.M.

    She had kidney diease, just lately this year they were function at 4%, they din’t flush away the fluid away, we found out she had 30 lbs of fluid in her body, the dialysis din’t help much the treatment took away 3 lbs.

    This made her heart pumb to hard, the day just before she went to heaven her heart was beating at 83 beats a minute then at 2:P.M. that was it she went to heaven.

    She got saved and baptized on November on a weekend, we were married November 18,1978

    Keep up the good works keep on traveling, I wish I could do that later on when I can fine another christian women to be with, I’m not going to get married for a long time, maybe in 2 or 3 years right now I don’t know yet.

    It’s hard for me right now , I don’t have no one to have a christmas dinner with, we use to have a free christmas dinner every year at the school house located on 13 street here at Waynesboro, one of the churches gives away a course dinner every year, which is nice for people that don’t have a place to go for a christmas dinner and eat with.

  25. Connie Schwanger Posted on 12.17.2016

    I love the wood plank wall. Could you please tell me how you did it?

  26. Deron Harrington Posted on 12.17.2016

    Rock on ! Enjoyed your story !!

  27. Rosie McSweeney Posted on 12.17.2016

    Huge fan girl of Kate’s! Looking forward to our next meet up. Safe and fun travels, my friend!

  28. John Koenig Posted on 12.17.2016

    CONGRATULATIONS and, WELCOME to RVing! Sounds like you’re off to a good start. If yo haven’t done so yet, find and attend an RV Boot Camp. Mistakes made with RVs are often expensive and, sometimes dangerous. RVBC will explain and demystify all the systems found on modern RVs. RVBC graduates are smarter, safer RVers. Some insurance companies give discounts to boot camp grads too! The Escapees RV Club run an EXCELLENT RVBC, often over a weekend. Other groups offer RVBCs too (sometimes under a different name). If you haven’t joined the Escapees RV Club, I’d recommend you do. GREAT group of people and, the forums alone are worth the membership fee. Although I belong to several RV clubs, if I could only belong to one, it would be the Escapees. Safe travels!

  29. Chuck Etem Posted on 12.17.2016

    Kate,

    Really enjoyed you sharing your experiences. Merry Christmas! :)
    Safe travels and the best of life.

  30. joe peterson Posted on 12.17.2016

    Go Kate you are an inspiration

  31. Kathy Hall Posted on 12.17.2016

    Another excellent resource is RVing Women. Chapters all over the US and Canada hold rallies, and the member directory connects you with local women. Check us out on Facebook or RVingWomen.org. BTW, I have a Travato too.

  32. gilbert r morgan Posted on 12.17.2016

    Kate-You go girl! We have a new Winnebago NAVION 24G WHICH IS SIMILAR IN SIZE TO THE TRAVATO, BUT IS SLIGHTLY ROOMIER B/C IT HAS 2 SLIDE OUTS.THIS IS MOTOR HOME #11. I HATE SLEEPING IN FLEE BAG MOTELS. THE BEST PART IS MEETING NEW FRIENDS.

  33. Clinton Erickson Posted on 12.17.2016

    I’m sorry Kate, I got my year mixed up this is 2016 not 2006, keep up your jorney, and merry christmas. and a happy new year, God bless you and your family, your sisters and brothers , and your mom and dad.
    friend,

    Clinton

  34. Frank Posted on 12.18.2016

    Hello Kate. My wife and I retired in April 2016. We took our first major trip in November, from South Carolina to Fort Bliss, TX. We have a 2016 Via 25P. Wish you the best!

  35. Lisa Posted on 12.25.2016

    Glad to see this. Saw the interviews on youtube and found you interesting. If you start a YouTube channel – I think it will do very well. (forgive me if you already did).

  36. karin Posted on 12.30.2016

    Hello Kate,
    I am rving since 2000 and went cross country a couple of times ,but never stayed to long.Now I down sized from Minnie Winnie(125000miles) to a 2014 Travato..In your Picture and interview I notest you bed a little wider and even across.. How did you do the bed wieder???
    By the way : I agree with you , the RV community is lovely , helpful and a good sense of humor and fun to be with.
    Thank you for your kindness and sharing you experience and journey…
    With Gratitude, karin…

  37. D. CarterBrown Posted on 12.31.2016

    Absolutely loved your article. I am a Travato owner, with a lovely sweet Doberman, widowed, and a traveler. My hubby and I had rv’s from Class A to vans, and this 2016 Travato is the best of them! Way good for my dog and me. And I can work from it as well, although I have a home in Florida. I’m curious, one of your photos shows a bigger-than-single bed, cross-wise in the cabin. That looks like a nice option for me. Did you build it? How do you get to the storage area below? Did you redo the beds entirely? Can you please let me know? Good safe travels to you. Thanks…
    dcb

  38. Donna Gould Posted on 01.13.2017

    Dear Dear Kate, You are my new hero. I am a 57 single female visual artist who is working as a Business Systems Analyst consultant. Like you most people think I am much younger. Just this morning I had an idea that maybe I could travel across the US and still work. I googled the idea and you popped up. I am excited to go to your blog now to learn more about how to get this show on the road. Donna Gould South Weymouth , MA.

  39. Lani Powel Posted on 01.18.2017

    Thanks for sharing such an inspirational story. I knew you would still follow your dreams and aspirations. Love ya’

  40. Robert Posted on 04.22.2017

    After 40 years of RVing in all kinds of RV’s we just purchased a Travato 59K and took a 6000 mile trip in it and loved every minute. I will tell you one thing we did to increase storage space and that was to add a swing out storage box to the trailer hitch. It’s made by Rola p/n 59109 Adventure System with swing out pod, it works fantastic looks great and easily swings out of the way so you can open the rear doors. It also has built in tail, brake and turn signals to further increase safety. I found it on eBay for about $637 then attached a larger diameter sewer hose container to the forward side of it to allow a hose with the fittings attached to fit into it.

  41. Robert Posted on 04.22.2017

    Kate, sorry that I neglected to preface my post with how much I enjoyed your article and photo’s.