Chugging along the ruggedly beautiful Maine coastline, I couldn’t help but reflect on how thankful I was for our current lifestyle. In the prior 30 days, we’d been to a family wedding in Asheville, NC, played top ranked golf courses in the countryside of Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, crashed the driveway of college friends in our Nation’s capital, explored the vibrant streets of New York City, beamed with joy as our pup Ella ran alongside us at a dog-friendly golf course in the mountains of Maine, and we’re now on our way to the beautiful Acadia National Park.
A year (or more) worth of adventure in just 30-days. How’s that even possible? Simple. We said yes to full-time RV travel.
Capturing the memory after a round of golf in New York City.
We can’t do this. Or can we?
Truthfully, the decision to take our life on the road full-time – living, working and traveling in our RV – was not an easy one. When my wife Brittany’s free-spirited thirst for adventure initially suggested this nomadic lifestyle, my excitement was quickly squashed by my practical, “sensible” side. Simply put, fear took over.
How can we even think to do this? How will we survive and earn an income? Can my 6’4’’ frame even fit inside an RV? We know nothing about RVs, I’ve never even been camping! Won’t it be dangerous? What will people think of us? No, we can’t do this. No way.
Thankfully, my dream-killing over-reaction was no match for Brittany’s unwavering persistence. Slowly but surely, I hopped off the proverbial ledge and after a few months of research, conversations with current full-time RVers, and facing my fears head on, we made the leap.
If you’re considering a life of full-time RV travel, there’s a good chance you might be struggling with the very same fears I once had. What I’ve found is there’s no better way than facing them head on.
Below are nine common fears, and why they’re really nothing but myths!
1. There’s no way we can financially afford traveling full-time by RV
This is by far the biggest common fear: the finances of full-time travel. Can we afford it? Will we run out of money? How will we make income on the road?
Like everything related to money, a good, well thought-out plan and budget is key. But I’m here to deliver a message – full-time travel is much more affordable than one might think. The average monthly campground / RV park fee is far less expensive than most mortgages or rent, and the varying price points of RVs and travel trailers can fit almost any budget. Sure, a decked-out class A can be expensive, but used travel trailers are priced quite affordably. Our very first travel trailer cost us only $8,000 – try buying a house at that price point!
Also, there are endless ways to earn an income on the road. Photography, writing and other freelance gigs come to mind as the most obvious, but even many company jobs are now location independent. Our accountant is a full-time RVer, while another good friend in sales recently convinced his large corporate employer to let him travel full-time. When he laid out the cost, it was actually cheaper for the company than the monthly airfare / hotel costs he was racking up while traveling a few days each week. The point is, the options are endless.
To create a little extra peace of mind, I’d encourage everyone to save six months of living expenses before hitting the road. I know of many people who set sail with far less, but the extra cushion will alleviate some stress as you find your groove.
2. Full-time RV travel will be so lonely
Months away from family and friends can be scary, no doubt. Though we too worried about missing close ones, Brittany and I actually found that we spend more time with friends on the road. We rarely enter a state without connecting with a college friend, former colleague or relative, and more often than not, end up parking our Winnebago View in their driveway (saving on campground fees, too!).
So not only are we seeing people we know weekly, but we’re able to connect with so many more friends that we otherwise wouldn’t have seen. Also, there’s a growing online community of full-time RVers – so, we’ve made countless new friends who share the lifestyle.
And, trust that when you do steer your RV toward your hometown for a visit, you’ll see a lot more of those friends and family than you ever did when you lived there.
Crashing in friend’s driveway in Houston, Texas.
3. I won’t survive in these tight living quarters
Whether you’re going with the ultra-lean Van Life, the “spacious” Class A diesel pusher, or settling on something in between, one thing’s for sure: you will be downsizing. Yes, your home on wheels is light on space, but chances are you won’t be sitting inside all day thinking about how small it is.
The magnificence of living on the road is that it innately pulls you outside. Whether it be golfing, hiking, biking, wandering a new town’s streets, working from your campsite’s picnic table, or gathering around a flickering fire, we find ourselves constantly outside enjoying the surroundings. And whenever it is feeling a little cramped, or our patience is waning for the other, we force ourselves to go outside and are reminded by that day’s beautiful location just how lucky we are!
Office for the day in Clearwater, Florida.
4. Navigating the day-to-day seems too difficult
Having never driven more than an SUV, I certainly didn’t feel equipped to pull a 30-foot trailer with a diesel pickup truck (our setup last year). But like riding a bike, practice makes perfect. A few hours maneuvering around a Walmart parking lot, getting a feel for turns and backing into empty spaces, and we felt comfortable enough to head out on the open road. It’s always necessary to do an appropriate amount of route scouting in advance to avoid low overpasses or the possible restricted roads, but within a few weeks’ time, pulling and parking the rig was second nature.
We also had some concern about easily locating campgrounds and knowing they were clean and safe. In reality, apps like Allstays make finding, pricing, reading reviews, and ultimately choosing a campground or RV park, a breeze.
5. We can’t travel full-time because we have pets
Nothing could be further from the truth! We too were concerned how our dog Ella and cat Mr. P would handle life on the road. But we quickly learned, they might actually enjoy it more than us! Longer driving days certainly took a little getting used to, but in short time Mr. P loved his spot on the dashboard basking in the sun while Ella reveled in our 20-minute play sessions during travel day stops.
Mr. P basking in the sun during a long driving day.
Further, the outdoor and active lifestyle means lots of hikes through mountains and ball chasing on beaches. Nothing brought Ella (and us!) more joy than ripping around sandy beaches in San Diego, Nova Scotia, and everywhere in between. Lastly, the purchase of a relatively cheap pet camera helped alleviate the fear of leaving them in the RV park alone. It allows for monitoring them on our phones while we’re out and about for a few hours on our own.
Ella chasing down a ball on San Diego’s Dog Beach. One of our favorite spots in the US!
6. We can’t stay healthy on the road
The common misconception is because we’re traveling full-time, we’re constantly grabbing fast food or eating out. After all, it’s how most people eat when on road trips by car. However, because most RVs are equipped with kitchens, it’s easy to do all your own cooking.
We’ve made a habit of planning each week’s meals, prepping all the food on Sunday nights, and cooking throughout the week by stovetop or by bulk in a crockpot. And, that aforementioned invisible force pulling you outside leads to plenty of grilling.
The absence of a gym membership is no biggie either, as the abundance of exploring leads to plenty of exercise! We’ve also stayed in several RV parks that boast small gyms (or pools for swimming), too.
There’s no shortage of exercise while out exploring America! Bar Harbor, ME.
7. I can’t rely on campground internet to run a business
I’d agree. Campground internet is as unreliable as any I’ve experienced, but hotspot options from most major wireless carriers make for fast and reliable internet on the road. Depending on the carrier, it’s generally around $100-$180 per month (for the better networks) and we’ve found it to be very reliable. And, don’t forget about coffee shops and cafes, which offer a good excuse to immerse yourself in the local scene while snagging some complimentary internet.
8. I have no experience RVing; I’ve never even been camping!
Same here! Before we set sail, I had never been RVing or camping. But, imagine if we all said no to everything we didn’t already have experience in – we’d never experience anything new! There are a lot of different things to learn about RVing, but the thousands of YouTube videos always save the day.
No experience, no problem. With window views like this, it’s worth figuring it out!
Anytime we had questions or were unsure of what to do, we turned to the internet. Or, we’d kindly approach a fellow RVer and ask for assistance. It’s amazing how friendly and generous other RVers are with their time and knowledge. In two years on the road, we’ve met some amazing people who have been more than willing to troubleshoot issues or lend a helping hand.
9. What will they think?
I can still recall the nerves I felt when first telling my family and our friends that we bought an RV and would be traveling the country full-time. What would they think?!? There were lots of questions to field, and concerns to squash, but in the end most people were supportive and excited for our new adventurous lifestyle.
Surely, there will always be a few naysayers in the bunch, and you’ll most definitely face repetitive questions like, “When are you returning to the real world?” You’ll soon realize, however, that it really doesn’t matter what others think, so long as you’re true to you.
Brittany and I are now nearly two years into full-time RV travel, and I couldn’t imagine life any other way. Squash your fears, and say yes to your dreams; there’s a big wide world to explore.
Taking in the view after a long (and steep!) sunrise hike at Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.
A dense fog lingers over the bustling Hudson River as the bright morning sun climbs high above the nearby towering skyline. Waves crash gently against the rocky shoreline, with the faint sound of a ferry horn blowing in the distance. Taking a sip of steaming coffee while peering out at the endless skyscrapers, I turn to Brittany and think aloud, “Can you believe we’re here in our RV?”
Welcome to New York City.
One of the many benefits RV life offers is the ability to go most anywhere you’d like – assuming of course, you can drive there. With endless websites, blogs, and social media accounts showcasing beautiful places like Glacier National Park, Yellowstone, and the California Coast, these natural and sometimes remote destinations rightfully capture our attention for RV trips.
But after a recent stop for the Ultimate Golf Road Trip, I’m here to tell you that New York City should be added as a must-see destination – yes, in your RV!
Arriving in NYC in our Winnebago View.
NYC Like a Local
Prior to living and traveling full-time in our Winnebago View, Brittany and I called New York City home for a few years. During our three years of downtown Manhattan living, we spent every chance we could checking off our touristy to-do list, trying any and every restaurant, and soaking in all the unique experiences the great city of New York has to offer.
As you’ve likely heard, there is literally something for everyone. Whether you’re the planning or spontaneous type, the breadth and variety of activities make it more than easy to find things to do. And in some instances, difficult to choose from all the options.
You could literally spend weeks in NYC. However, I think a few days is enough to get a great taste of life in the city. Here’s an inside look at how to plan a long RV weekend in NYC, and some of our favorite things to do during your visit.
Where to Stay: Liberty Harbor RV Park
Without a doubt, the best place to stay in your RV is Liberty Harbor RV Park. It’s nothing fancy and offers just the basic amenities (bathhouse, water/electric hookups, dump station, and wifi), but it does boast a fantastic location in Jersey City, directly across the Hudson from downtown Manhattan.
Liberty Harbor RV Park in Jersey City, NJ, is just a 12-minute train or ferry ride into downtown NYC.
This answers the stomach churning question: “Do I have to drive my rig into New York City?” No! The RV park is easily accessible off Interstate-78 and can accommodate RVs up to 45-feet in length. Though it’s a little pricey ($95/night + tax), it’s a steal when compared to expensive NYC hotels. And because NYC boasts an extensive, safe and cost-effective public transit system, you can leave the RV (and tow car) parked and easily get around the city.
The RV park is a mere 0.5-mile walk from the heart of Jersey City, which has an abundance of great storefronts and restaurants, too. The morning walks are impeccable as well, where you can enjoy a casual stroll passed Liberty Harbor and down to Morris Canal Park. No better way to start the day than this view overlooking the NYC skyline.
Morris Canal Park is a short stroll from Liberty Harbor RV Park. Incredible views of the NYC skyline!
The NYC Commute
There are three good options for traveling from Liberty Harbor RV Park into New York City.
1. Port Authority Trans-Hudson (aka PATH): Take the PATH train from the Grove Street stop (0.5-mile walk from the RV park). It’s our favorite way to get into the city as it’s quick (12 minutes), cheap ($2.50 one way) and easy. Plus, the cards you purchase at the kiosks can be pre-loaded with funds and used on the subways in the city, too.
2. New York Waterway Ferry: A few steps from the entrance to the RV park is the NY Waterway Ferry, which takes passengers directly from Liberty Harbor to Pier 11/Wall Street. Cost is $7 per person (one-way) and the ride across the Hudson takes about 12 minutes. It’s a pretty cool viewpoint of the downtown area and drops you right at the foot of Wall Street.
3. Uber / Tow Car: Cost and time can vary significantly ($12 toll + traffic) when driving into NYC, but it’s always an option should you desire a car ride into the city. Personally, I’d stick to the train or ferry though.
NYC traffic can be frustrating! Park the RV and take advantage of the train and subway systems.
What to Do in the Big Apple
New York City is so expansive, it can be overwhelming to plan a trip. We suggest breaking up your days by location in Manhattan, cutting down on travel and allowing you to pack in plenty of NYC fun.
Day 1: Explore Downtown
Take the PATH from Grove Street to World Trade Center
1. 9/11 Memorial & Museum – Begin the day with an incredibly moving experience at Ground Zero. The memorial is free, but for the best experience, reserve a 60-minute guided tour of both the memorial and museum.
2. Statue of Liberty / Ellis Island – Make the brief walk down to Battery Park, where you can hop the ferry to both the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. Total tour time is 3 hours.
3. Wander the Financial District – Time for lunch! Head to nearby and oh-so-quaint Stone Street where you’ll discover a plethora of great food options. On summer weekends, the street is packed with tables for a fun, vibrant atmosphere. After lunch, snap a picture with the Charging Bull and in front of the New York Stock Exchange, and check out Trinity Church at the foot of Wall Street.
Stone Street during a December 2016 visit. In the summer, this places really comes to life with tables from restaurants lining the street.
4. Towns within a City – Time for your first subway (or cab) ride! Make the quick trip up to do some street shopping on Canal Street, and see what Chinatown and Little Italy are all about. Sample a cannoli or gelato from most any Little Italy establishment, and head to “America’s first pizzeria,” Lombardi’s, for a casual, but delicious dinner. Expect a wait!
Zip back down to Pier 11/Wall Street and enjoy a Ferry ride home.
Leaving downtown NYC, heading back to Jersey City.
Day 2: Discover the Villages
Take the PATH from Grove Street to Christopher Street
1. Brunch at Philip Marie – Start the day right with brunch a few blocks from the PATH stop. Aside from being in our old neighborhood, reasonable prices and big portions make this one of our favorites.
2. Walk the High Line – Stretch your legs along the High Line, a public park built on a historic freight line rail. It takes you through/above the trendy Meatpacking District and Chelsea.
3. Wander the Streets of West/Greenwich Village – With endless shops and charming streets, wandering down Bleeker Street and through the Village is always a favorite of tourists and locals alike. Nearby Washington Square Park is a great spot to rest your feet, enjoy some street music, and take in the eclectic scene.
Wandering the streets of NYC.
4. Shop in SoHo – Explore SoHo, whose quaint streets house everything from high-end boutiques to mainstream retailers. Keep a lookout for local celebs and prepare for crowds!
5. Happy Hour – Time for a beverage? Check out the oldest continuous operating saloon in NYC, McSorley’s Old Ale House, or take in some epic city views at 230 5th Rooftop Bar. If you’re up for dinner, grab a cab to Malaparte, a lovely laid-back Italian restaurant on a quiet street corner in West Village – my favorite spot in the city.
Day 3: Take on Midtown & Uptown
Take the PATH from Grove Street to 33rd Street
1. Empire State Building – The PATH train drops you a mere block from this iconic building. Snag tickets and head to the top floor observatory for awesome panoramic views of the city. Also in the area, pop in Macy’s massive eight-story flagship store and see the historic Madison Square Garden.
2. Central Park – By now you’re becoming an expert, so hop the subway up to Columbus Circle and take a stroll through Central Park, up to Tavern on the Green – the perfect spot for a rest and exquisite lunch. Or for a budget-friendly option, grab a hot dog and a Coke from a street vendor! If you’re into museums, the Metropolitan Museum of Art is not to be missed. It’s a quick cab ride to the northeast part of Central Park.
Sorry Ella, no pets allowed on the Subway! For us people though, there’s no better (and cost-effective) way to tour around NYC.
3. Window Shop on 5th Avenue – Start at the southeast corner of Central Park, and walk south on 5th Avenue, admiring the many beautiful storefronts. Along the way, make stops at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center.
4. Times Square – Brace yourself for crowds, and head to the world famous Times Square. It’s certainly the most “touristy” place in NYC, but it’s a must see. Snap a few images and end your night with a Broadway Show. Lion King and Wicked were personal favorites, but be sure to book tickets in advance.
The always-bustling Times Square in Midtown NYC.
Truthfully, we’re only scratching the surface of all there is do in New York City. And while you’re sure to enjoy the bevy of activities you choose, I promise, there’s nothing quite like waking up in your RV at the doorstep of NYC.
One of the most common questions we receive from interested future RVers is, “Why did you choose a motorhome over a travel trailer?”
It’s a question we’ve contemplated quite extensively, and one my wife Brittany and I also asked ourselves a few years ago before jumping into the RV lifestyle. After a good deal of back and forth, our first purchase actually landed us with a 28-ft travel trailer that we pulled with a half-ton diesel truck.
Our former truck/travel trailer combo, parked outside a Prada store art exhibit (Marfa, Texas)
We lived and traveled full-time throughout North America in the combination for the duration of 2016, before more recently switching to a 24-ft Winnebago View. We also live full-time in the View while we travel across America for our 2017 project, The Ultimate Golf Road Trip.
While we don’t claim to be seasoned RV veterans, our research and experiences traveling full-time in both a small motorhome and a travel trailer have lent us a great perspective to address this common question.
The short answer? It all depends on your wants and needs. Below we take a look at some of the most important considerations and specifically compare a class C motorhome to a mid-sized travel trailer.
Cost: Weighing the impact to your bank account
1) Upfront Cost
Simply put, a class C motorhome is sure to cost more than a like-condition travel trailer. There are a lot of variables that can come into play here (i.e. new vs. used, the need to purchase a vehicle capable of towing the travel trailer, etc.), but generally speaking, a travel trailer can be acquired for less.
For example, we initially purchased a used 2007 travel trailer and a used 2002 diesel truck. Including renovations and a few upgrades, our initial cost was around $33,000. By comparison, our used 2012 Winnebago View was nearly double that upfront cost (although it is a much newer unit).
Comparing a new class C to a new travel trailer/truck combination, you’d likely arrive at prices that are much closer in value, but the bottom line is if you’re on a tighter budget, the travel trailer can certainly provide an attractive price point.
2) Ongoing Maintenance
As you might expect, the ongoing maintenance of the class C motorhome tends to be higher than a travel trailer. In part, because you have both the RV components and the vehicle components (i.e. engine, filters, etc.) to maintain. This cost will fluctuate with the frequency of use (and luck!), but for full-time traveling, we’ve budgeted around $200-250 a month on average for our View, and about a quarter of that amount for the travel trailer/truck combo.
Powered by a diesel engine, we get around 15-16 mpg in the class C motorhome (with no tow car) compared to 10-11 mpg pulling the travel trailer. Though you might see a slight decrease in the 15-16 mpg if you pull a tow vehicle, you could enjoy zipping around town at 40+ mpg with a fuel-efficient car for use once parked.
No truck stop needed with the class C Winnebago View; any gas station will do!
4) Depreciation & Resale Value
We often hear that cars are a “terrible” investment. Why? Well, when’s the last time you sold a car for more than the purchase price!? Both motorhomes and travel trailers sit on wheels and fall into that dark category of a depreciating asset – you will, inevitably, likely sell either for significantly less than purchased.
However, you may experience less (or slower) depreciation in a travel trailer, because it doesn’t have an engine, like a motorhome. In fact, we ended up selling our travel trailer one-year after purchase for a few hundred dollars more than the overall purchase cost. It’s a topic that can be addressed from various angles – for more on how to think about the depreciation and resale topics, check out A Business Approach to Buying a Motorhome.
Travel Days: The experience between destinations
1) Frequency of Use
While full-time RVers like ourselves get their money’s worth, those who purchase for part-time use like weekend trips and annual vacations need to consider how frequently they’ll be out on the road. A class C can be a big investment if it’s only being used a few weeks out of the year, and it may be less painful to see a less expensive travel trailer sitting idle in the driveway.
Consider how often you’ll be able to do trips like this (Fort McAllister State Park, Savannah, GA)
I will note that there are ways to get creative and earn income while you’re motorhome (or trailer) isn’t in use. New companies like Rvshare.com make it easy for RV owners to rent out their units while not in use.
I vividly recall our first “wrong turn” into a crowded Chick-fil-a parking lot while pulling our 28-foot travel trailer. While we did come out unscathed, it was a dicey situation, to say the least! With our class C Winnebago View, we have no issues whipping in-and-out of crowded areas with relative ease.
The compact nature of the class C motorhome allows far greater flexibility than a trailer during “travel days.” It makes the little things like stopping to fill up gas, to more impactful experiences like the ability to drive iconic Highway 1 on the California coast, more accessible and possible than when pulling a travel trailer from destination to destination.
3) Comfort while driving
When you’ve got an all-in-one unit like the class C motorhome, things like napping, bathroom breaks, grabbing a quick snack, and working from the “office” (aka dinette table) are all still possible without a stop required. Brittany routinely enjoys these activities while I continue to pilot the drive to our next destination. These all require a stop when traveling with a trailer.
Brittany’s workstation during travel days in our View. Built in seat-belts make for a safe journey, too!
Also, the compact Class C is very easy to drive (in my opinion, it maneuvers much like a large SUV) relative to pulling the travel trailer. I used to do all the driving (yes, all 20,000 miles in 2016!), but Brittany is able to comfortably drive our Winnebago View, allowing us to split driving time.
One other key factor is driving speed. Though I sometimes see others ripping down the highway with their trailers, we were never comfortable going faster than 62-65 mph – especially in windy conditions. In the Class C, we’re able to drive the speed limit, which comes in handy for those 75-80 mph speed zones you often find in less populated areas of the country. It makes a big difference over the course of a few driving days.
Brittany at the helm of our Winnebago View. The compact nature of the Class C makes for easy driving.
Camping: Enjoying the destination
1) Living space and storage
Although the Class C View has a great use of space, at the end of the day we’re still talking about 150-sq feet of livable area. We’ve gotten used to small spaces, but it doesn’t compare to our 28-foot travel trailer that boasted 275-sq feet. Perhaps the toughest adjustment going from a full queen-sized bed to a much smaller mattress in the class C (especially when the dog and cat insist on joining). If you’re only in your rig for a few days or week at a time, space may not be a big deal. But for longer stays, be sure you’re comfortable with the size.
Room for us, mom and dad? Sometimes we miss the queen-sized mattress offered by our travel trailer.
Before any purchases, head to an RV dealership to walk through various models of both motorhomes and travel trailers. It will give you a good sense of what is doable for your lifestyle.
2) Go-go-go vs. stay and play
Once you arrive at your destination, the set-up is pretty quick and easy with a class C. Pull or back into the spot, ensure you’re level and hook up to water/power/sewer (assuming you’re at a campground/RV park). A travel trailer requires the same steps, with the added step of unhooking the chains, sway bars and hitch.
It’s not a big deal if you’re not moving around much, but for those planning to go-go-go, it’s enough of a burden to quickly make you consider a class C. On the flip side, if you’ll be staying in one location and exploring the area, without a tow car, you’ll need to drive the class C around town. It’s a slight inconvenience, but setup is so quick it hasn’t been a big deal for us. Also, a few bicycles can make all the difference!
No tow car, no problem! Bikes can be a fun way to explore (or run a quick errand) while parked
3) Be our guest
It’s fun to travel or camp with others, but the more people along for the ride means the more cramped living quarters become. Most class C motorhomes sleep 4-6 people, while travel trailers can sleep upwards of 8-10 (depending on layout).
We found that 4 people in our travel trailer were no big deal, however it makes for pretty tight quarters in our Winnebago View.
It’s not as spacious, but entertaining dinner guests in our View is still possible and fun!
So which one trumps the other: class C motorhome or travel trailer? Well, as the old saying goes, it’s all in the eye of the beholder. Evaluate which aspects are most important to you and will best suit your own personal needs. Either way, I can promise that the experiences and memories you’ll create RVing, are well worth the investment.
Nothing beats the experience of traveling by RV (Biloxi, Mississippi)
As I think back to some of my dreams as a young teenager, appearing on the Golf Channel was certainly near the top of the list. So when I was recently asked to be a guest on the Golf Channel’s Morning Drive, it was truly a dream come true. I couldn’t wait to share this year’s project for The Dapper Drive, called the Ultimate Golf Road Trip, with viewers.
Excited? Absolutely. Nervous? No doubt about it. This is the Golf Channel we’re talking about here! I had been interviewed for newspapers, magazines and on podcasts, but never before on live television.
Time to clean the RV
As the day drew near, I spent some time preparing, brainstorming questions that might be asked and thinking through how I’d best answer each. As I was thinking through some questions the afternoon before the interview, I received an email from the NBC producer with the subject line, “Interview in your RV?”
The Golf Channel producers had huddled up that morning and decided they wanted to shoot the segments in front and inside of our Winnebago View. My answer? Of course! What better way to describe our mode of living and transportation than showcasing it front and center during our interview.
So with the new plan in place, my wife Brittany and I frantically spent a few hours cleaning the RV (mostly dog and cat hair!) before heading for the NBC Golf studios in Orlando, Florida. Given we were asked to be at the studio bright and early, and because we travel full-time in our Winnebago View, we were given permission to spend the prior night in the NBC Golf parking lot.
RV park? Well, not exactly! Our sleeping quarters in the NBC Golf Studios parking lot
Sleeping in a parking lot might seems strange to some, but it’s become quite the common theme for us in our 2017 travels. The compact nature of the View allows us to fit into a single parking space, making it ideal to spend the night wherever we need to be the next morning (usually a golf course and, in this case, NBC Golf studios). I’ll admit we get frequent visits from security guards and some strange looks at times, but people generally lighten-up whenever they catch a glimpse of our cat sunning himself on the dash! It’s always a great conversation starter, too.
The Big Day Arrives
After a good night’s sleep in the parking lot, we awoke early to get ready for the interview. The morning started with a quick briefing in the “holding room” before a trip to the makeup area for a little touch up. Relax guys, it’s totally normal! I think Brittany enjoyed capturing this moment – me getting powdered – a little more than she probably should.
National television means a quick stop in the makeup area
Before we filmed our segments outside with Golf Channel contributor Matt Ginella, we toured the facilities at Golf Channel Studios. It was awesome to see the space where it all goes down. I was personally amazed at how compact each of the two studios were relative to the amount of different sets each can handle and how spacious they look on TV.
Capturing the moment with Brittany in the “holding room” before going on air.
In Studio One, where Golf Central and Morning Drive segments are filmed, we had the opportunity to chat with some of the Morning Drive regulars – Paige Mackenzie, Cara Robinson and Chantel McCabe.
Photo opp with some of the Golf Channel Morning Drive crew!
Each were super welcoming and awesome to spend some time with talking golf and travel. A quick stop in Studio Two, where teaching shows are filmed, and it was off to do some filming of our own in front of the Winnebago!
NBC Golf Studio two, where the Golf Channel teaching shows are recorded
Outside, we got the RV into position while the crew set-up their equipment. Due to some audio issues, we had a few extra minutes to get to know Matt Ginella a bit better, while also introducing everyone to our dog, Ella, and cat, Mr. P. To our delight, the entire Golf Channel crew loved these two, and an especially friendly dog-loving staff member even volunteered to look after them so Brittany could capture all the behind-the-scenes action on camera.
The Golf Channel crew prepping, while our dog Ella supervises
Action! Cameras Rolling
Once everything was up and running, Matt and I got into position and the cameras started rolling! We began segment one talking about The Dapper Drive brand, and specifically the idea behind The Ultimate Golf Road Trip – a year-long project where Brittany and I are traveling America in our RV to play Golf Digest’s ranked top 100 public golf courses. The concept of living and traveling full-time by RV intrigued Matt, and the conversation evolved toward all sorts of travel questions from, “Can you cook in this thing?” to “How much will this epic golf and RV trip cost?”After filming segment one, into the RV we went!
Recording segment one in front of our Winnebago RV
Segment two took place with Matt and I continuing our conversation from the comfort of our Winnebago View dinette!It was pretty entertaining watching the crew try to cram several large cameras and accompanying gear into our 24’ living space.
Golf Channel camera crew setting up inside our Winnebago View
Matt and I talked a bit more about the golf specifics of the Ultimate Golf Road Trip, including the Florida golf courses we’d played to date – TPC Sawgrass (watch Episode 1), Streamsong’s Blue & Red Courses (watch Episode 2), and Bay Hill Club (watch Episode 3) – as well as the courses we were looking forward to traveling to in the year ahead. We also tackled pitfalls of life on the road, discussing some of the challenges faced by full-time RVers.
Getting ready to record segment two inside our Winnebago View while laughing at Matt Ginella’s endless off-air jokes
So was it as awesome of an experience as I dreamt it would be? Well, I’d say it was even better. Being able to bring our entire little family in the RV made it that much sweeter, and without a doubt, an incredible day that Brittany and I will remember forever.
Selfie with Golf Channel contributor Matt Ginella. What a day at NBC Studios!
Below are links to each of our Golf Channel Morning Drive segments. Going forward, we will be making monthly appearances on the Morning Drive via FaceTime to provide golf and travel updates!
On a cold winter morning in New York City’s West Village, I sat across from my wife (then girlfriend) Brittany, enjoying conversation over a typical Saturday brunch. We chatted about the prior night’s festivities, the freezing weather, the blueberry stuffed french toast – typical light-hearted banter to ring in the long-awaited weekend.
As it often did, the topic of work arose. It had been “one of those weeks.” 6:00 a.m. wakeup calls followed by intense 15-hour days. Lots of stress, little sleep and even less quality-time together. As I vented about the grind, Brittany listened intently and then asked me the question that changed our lives forever:
“Jordan, what to do you really want in this life?”
Follow My Lead
As a 26-year old capital markets analyst for a large bank, I found myself at the office early, late, and anytime in between. And while I enjoyed the challenge and found the work interesting, banking was not my true passion. It provided a nice lifestyle, but as Brittany had recently found out, there was far more to life than working for the weekends.
Brittany too had spent a few years in the finance, but quickly realized that the cubicles and regimented schedules of Corporate America were stifling her creative mojo. She knew it wasn’t the best fit for her and made the decision to pursue her passion of photography.
Brittany freezing time for a client during a lifestyle photography session
The new photography business venture wasn’t without its early struggles, but one year in and she was finding her groove – booking clients regularly and watching her studio grow. She now understood the exhilarating feeling of waking up each day to chase a profession she loved. And, she wanted nothing more than for me to share that same feeling.
Face Your Fear
So we talked and planned and dreamt about me leaving to pursue a lifelong dream of creating a business around golf. It’s a game I’ve loved from the moment I picked up a club, some 20 years ago. From late nights on the putting green as a teenager, to several mile bike rides to the course (clubs on my back) in college, I’ve always had a true passion for the game.
Rolling putts circa 2002!
We made the move from New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina, where I continued to work, but had more opportunity to move toward making golf a full-time job. However, taking the leap from a steady, well-paying job to an entrepreneurial endeavor turned out to be harder than I imagined.
Letting doubt and fear overshadow the potential for turning my passion into a career, months went by until finally, it was time to face the fear. Time to pursue my passion.
Marrying Our Passions
With a plan in place, I said goodbye to the banking world and ran full-steam ahead toward an exciting new venture in golf. My focus would be two fold: 1) playing professional golf events (think minor leagues for professional golf) and 2) working to grow The Dapper Drive (www.thedapperdrive.com), a golf and travel website we had hatched a few months prior.
Taking a swing at the uniquely beautiful Streamsong Resort’s Blue Course (Bowling Green, Florida)
The Dapper Drive was our way of marrying our passions for golf and photography. Through the website, we share our experiences at the many golf courses and resorts we travel to, offering readers a glimpse at the experience they too can expect. Visual content is a large part of how we share these stories.
Enjoying a stroll down the 17th fairway at the breathtaking Cabot Cliffs (Inverness, Nova Scotia)
Between golf events and traveling for The Dapper Drive projects, we were looking at a ton of time on the road. We tossed around various ideas from temporary housing in frequented regions to buying a Prius (a scary concept for a 6’5’’ guy!), but the prospect of long car rides, expensive airplanes and living from a suitcase didn’t strike us as all that appealing.
Suitcase living? No thanks
And then, as fate would have it, on a long-drive from North Carolina to Pennsylvania, we passed an Airstream. Brittany’s eyes lit as she excitedly proclaimed, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to travel by RV?!” Her free-spirit adventurous side bubbled with joy as I (reluctantly) entertained the idea.
My practical side was searching for reasons to shoot it down, but the more we discussed, researched and explored the idea of traveling full-time by RV, the more attractive it appeared. Cheaper, much better than suitcase living, and most importantly, a means to travel together as a family with our dog Ella and cat Mr. Penelope.
So after months of research, we made the move, purchasing and renovating a 30-foot travel trailer.
Working in our renovated camper under the watchful eye of our dog, Ella, and cat, Mr. Penelope
Mom, Dad … We’re Moving into a Camper
Can you imagine how that initial conversation went!? Six-months prior I had announced I would be leaving my 7-year banking career, and now a decision to travel full-time in a camper? They must have thought I’d gone off the deep end!
As a couple who had never even been camping, to say Brittany and I were “green” is an understatement. Our first months on the road were quite the learning experience, but we found our groove and quickly fell in love with the freedom and sense of discovery felt while traveling full-time.
A last minute detour off-route led us to Teton National Park to meet some fellow photography friends. Some of our best memories on the road are those unplanned!
As the first year flew by, I began shifting focus away from the grind of competing in golf events toward really growing The Dapper Drive brand. We loved traveling to new golf courses and sharing our experience with other travel-loving golfers. What could we do to really elevate our content and continue with this nomadic lifestyle, we asked ourselves? And then bam! It hit us.
Capturing the moment on the 18th green at Bay Hill Club (the late Arnold Palmer’s home club) in Orlando, Florida
The Ultimate RV for the Ultimate Golf Road Trip
To up the ante, we decided to embark on the Ultimate Golf Road Trip (www.thedapperdrive.com/ultimate-golf-road-trip) – an epic golf journey where we’re traveling the U.S. to play each of the top 100 ranked public golf courses. Oh, and we’re planning to do it all in 2017! Beyond golf, we wanted to pursue this year-long project to inspire others and to share an inside look at the people, stories, and tales we experience while discovering America through the greatest courses accessible to all.
A map of Golf Digest’s ranked America’s 100 Greatest Public Courses that we’re aiming to travel to and play in 2017
Logistically, this trip requires lots of travel – 20,000+ miles and 35+ states in just one-year. Because we’ll continuously be on the move, we decided to trade in the camper for the class-C Winnebago View. The compact and mobile View is perfect for life on-the-move, allowing us to park in individual parking spaces (think golf course parking lots), easily dry camp for days, and quickly move from place-to-place.
A few weeks into the Ultimate Golf Road Trip and we’re loving life in our View.
Enjoying a sunset with the whole crew at a winery. We spent the night here, too! (thanks Harvest Hosts www.harvesthosts.com)
The Pursuit of Passion
I often think back to that one moment 4-years ago, in that little cafe in downtown Manhattan, and the question that sparked it all: “What do you really want in this life?”
If you haven’t found you passion, keep searching. If you know what it is, keep chasing. Because the old saying really is true: If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Pursue your passion – I promise, it’s well worth the journey!