A little more than six months ago, we decided to purchase and then move into our 28-foot Winnebago Vista. Why would we do such a thing, you might ask? It all started when Sabrina, who was working as a physician in a hospital-based group practice, decided to make a change in her career.
As with many physicians today, she enjoyed taking care of her patients and working with great colleagues. However, she did not enjoy the mountains of paperwork, fighting with insurance companies, and all the behind-the-scenes requirements that took her time but did not seem to contribute to better patient care.
She decided to reduce her hours to part time and began working as an independent contractor for a Locum tenens company. Locum tenens is very similar to travel nursing, but for doctors. Sabrina loved it! She was suddenly her own boss – choosing her hours, the locations and the duration of her assignments. There was just one catch … we would be apart for extended periods of time.
We did not like the time apart. I could see how much she enjoyed the work though and it was important to me that she was happy. We started to brainstorm ways we could spend time together and keep her new job. We found an answer, but it sounded a bit crazy. I would sell my small business that I had in town, she would leave the hospital she had been at for the past five years, move out of our 1,300-sq. ft. apartment and buy an RV so we could set out on the road. We had already been downsizing for the past year to move into a smaller apartment, so why couldn’t we downsize enough to move into an RV?
Inside our empty apartment, after downsizing for RV life.
We had never owned an RV before and – other than one camping trip when I was younger – we had no experience as campers. So, what did we do? We turned to where everyone learns about anything these days, YouTube! There we found channels of people who were not only able to live in an RV, but they made it look enjoyable. We were hooked on this idea fairly quickly and started to do tons of research.
We had so many questions and as they were answered new questions arrived. What type of RV do we need? What would our physical address be? Who do we owe taxes to? Where do we park every night? What would we do for health insurance? Could our dog safely stay in the RV alone? But as we found an answer for each question, this crazy idea seemed more sane.
We became excited that this could actually work. Sabrina could do locum work full time. I would either workcamp or do online freelance work and we would just move our new home on wheels from location to location.
The Test Run
We thought it would be a good idea to rent an RV for the weekend just to see what we were getting ourselves into. Despite the rental RV itself being gross, having non-working systems and a half emptied black tank upon pick up. We had a blast!
We even caused a “poocano” on arrival to the campground when I did not secure the waste tank hose well enough. We laughed so hard that weekend and had such a great time that we knew if we had this much fun in a rental, we would really love having one of our own.
Now we just needed to find an RV that would fit our needs. So, the hunt was on to find our new home and continue to learn as much as we could about how to properly operate an RV and its systems.
Finding the perfect RV for us proved to be more challenging than we thought. We made a must-have list and that helped narrow it down a smidge. One key decision was that we wanted to stay under 30 feet to make it easy to maneuver and to avoid length restrictions at national parks.
Sabrina and I went to dealers, searched online and attended every RV show we could. After walking though the Winnebago Vista LX 27N we were sold. We ended up taking a special trip to Forest City, IA, and took the Winnebago Factory Tour just to learn more about the brand and workmanship. After several more months of research, we ended up purchasing the Vista.
Now we travel full time with our little dog Belle while we work from the road and see the country. And we managed to fit everything in the RV – we don’t even have a storage unit!