Erica Mills writing on geographical independence

“We spend less money on fuel than either of my brothers who just drive to and from work every day,” says Marc Bennett.

Last year, he and his wife, Julie, did 8,408 miles in their recreational vehicle (RV) and a further 11,500 miles in the Mini Cooper they tow along with it. But, that’s less mileage than you might think. In fact, Marc and Julie estimate that they’re not driving as much as people they know back in Colorado.

The Bennetts are among the growing number of Americans who forego living in one place for life on the road. In doing so, they have cut their costs, gained freedom, learned self-reliance, and left the consumer society behind them.

Their journey has taken them to the crashing waters of Niagara Falls…the beauty of Lake Tahoe…and even the Oz museum in Kansas.

Before going on the road, Julie and Marc were the typical, middle-class, suburban couple. They had what most people would call “the good life”— a nice home in Colorado, steady income, and friends they saw whenever they could.

“I had wanted to work from home for a while,” Marc says. “And once I no longer had to work in an office, we started thinking, ‘What is home really?'”

The question caused them to evaluate their whole lives. “American society is so work-driven,” Marc says. “We wanted to go and see so many things.”

They took nine months to research their perfect RV — a 2012 Tiffin 35QBA motorhome that they’ve nicknamed “Rocky.” They have a comfortable living space with ivory, leather interior and English, chestnut cabinets. They also have a second “tow” vehicle—a run-around Mini Cooper convertible that they use for errands or for exploring.

Then, they sold their house and took to the road.

They hike regularly, take their Mini Cooper for long drives in the evening, and have seen the sites everywhere from Washington to Florida.

“When we were in Lake Tahoe, Marc was on Pacific time so he finished at 3 p.m.,” recalls Julie. “We had a whole six hours after work to drive around Lake Tahoe, stop off, take photographs, do a little hike, stop off for dinner, and watch the sunset. That was all on a normal work day.”

Julie has an online income and maintains the couple’s website, rvlove.com.

“This lifestyle allows us to go and see and do so much with limited vacation time. We do it just as part of our regular life,” says Marc.

Though the lifestyle challenges you to be more independent — you have to learn to do things like routine RV maintenance and sourcing local service providers yourself — Marc and Julie have found that people are more willing to help each other out.

After two years living in an RV and traveling the length and breadth of the U.S., they are happier than ever.

“We can live this amazing free lifestyle where we can be in a new address each week without having enormous expense,” Marc says. “Living like this, your life is so full and free.”

Image: ©Marc & Julie Bennett

 

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