Outdoor Connection

Two geeks and an adventure of a lifetime


More from Outdoor Living Newsletter February Outdoor Living Newsletter
 
Keith and Tricia with their fluffy kids in front of their RV.
To have an RV adventure, sometimes you just need to go and do it, like Keith and Tricia.

Many of us who aren't full-time RVers yet often dream of the day when we could just drop everything, get in an RV, and have the adventure of our lives. As we indulge in and plan for these dreams while tackling the commitments that keep us away from our RVs, here's a couple who just went up and did it. Keith and Tricia, otherwise known as The Geeks, have been living their adventure for the last two years. They aren't retired yet and they don't have a trust fund to burn through, but their experiences on the road are probably more enriching than any job could ever be.

Keith and Tricia chronicle their adventures in a blog called Geeky Explorers. They post about the cool things they did and the places they visited are definitely some of the most interesting we've seen out there. They certainly break the stereotype that all geeks do is to sit in a room doing brilliant but incomprehensible stuff in front of their computers without caring for sunshine or the great outdoors. So we've asked them to share a few words with us about how their RVing adventure got started and how the experience has been.

CampingRoadTrip.com: Your life as "The Geeky Explorers" was kick-started by two huge events in your life. What adjustments did you have to make to accommodate your geeky new lifestyle?

Keith and Tricia: One of the biggest adjustments was getting rid of all of our stuff. Another was notching up our communication skills to always try to be on the same page.

How close are you to achieving your goal of 5K in 50 states? And when do you project the completion of that project?

Not very close at all! I have done three states and have had a blast with all three events. My goal wasn't time-based - I could very well be 80 by the last state rolls around! Either way, it has been a good incentive to not only seek out local events, but try to get in shape.

You have an interesting playlist. What makes for a perfect "driving day soundtrack"?

It's starting to depend on where we are. For example, we happened to be in Port Arthur, Texas where Janis Joplin was born, and we just had to play "Pearl." In Louisiana, I was constantly alternating between Harry Connick, Jr. and Marc Broussard. So far for "driving days" in the RV, we are still newbies on the road and prefer not to have the distraction of music.

What is it like to travel full time with fluffy kids around?

It's rather nice! I was concerned with taking the cats because they are in their senior years and rather set in their ways (along with coming with two litter boxes). They've adapted quite nicely and we're glad we can continue to be their couch in the evenings.

It's been a joy to travel with Samantha, as she's always loved going places. Now after her bilateral hip surgery, she is doing even better and seems to be in a lot less pain. That should improve even more in the months to come. Samantha is a bigger dog and in her pre-RV days was always outside when she wanted to be. She tends to get fussy if we don't get her to a park, so that's been an adjustment for all of us!

What do you miss about the regular kind of life?

Not much, really, which is surprising. If I had to give some specifics, I would say our guest room. We used to be able to quarantine the sick person in the guest room so the other didn't get sick. In the RV, we both get the plague. The other thing would be the accessibility of items. We always had a lot of space in our homes, and now items we want to use tend to be packed. This means everything is more of a process.

What is the funniest thing to happen to you while on the road?

We had to pay what we titled a "stupid tax" to Camping World. We were trying to use the propane water heater and the light wouldn't come on, showing that the water heater had started. After the visit, we were armed with the knowledge that the light only comes on when the water heater fails to light.

What has been your favorite place (or places) to visit so far?

We adored Memphis and just fell in love with New Orleans and Louisiana in general. Memphis blew me away with the BBQ and we had the best fried chicken of our life there. We found that people in Memphis were super friendly as well, from restaurant owners, to people we met outside restaurants (to revel in our love of Gus's chicken!), to the people we chatted with after my 5k I did there.

New Orleans & North Shore area struck us as well for the same reason. The amazing food, and ridiculously friendly people made our extended stay in that area the best. I am pretty sure I could live on muffaletta's and po-boy's and sitting down anywhere you were sure to start a conversation with someone.

How have you been finding work while on the road?

We haven't. We had hoped that one or both of us would find a remote position, allowing the other to be a contractor in a location, but that hasn't worked out. We will have to go back to "regular" jobs for a while and do better on creating a location-independent job for the future.

What can you say to people who dream of traveling but do not get around to actually doing it?

Just do it! Really. Our plans haven't quite worked out, we had a lot of things go wrong that drained our savings, and we will be returning to "normal" a lot quicker than we had planned. But we are so glad we took the plunge and tried it. Now we can plan even better for the next time around. We would rather have a plan not go exactly right than to never execute on the plan.

What are your top five tips for someone planning to become a full-time RVer?

  • First, make your own decisions. There is a wealth of resources out there we encourage reading and talking to others about how others do it. But ultimately you have to be comfortable with what you do.
  • Second, read good forums. We've liked irv2.com - it's been chockfull of good information and generally strays from personal bashing.
  • Third, go as lean as possible. We thought we tossed a lot of stuff (and we did!), but we've packed items we still haven't touched. I also haven't worn a fraction of my clothes.
  • Fourth, be flexible with your route and travel plans. As a type of person who likes to make reservations, this was a little hard in the beginning for me. Three months later, I plan on re-planning and don't make reservations too far out.
  • Lastly, get the RV in advance and use it before you leave. We were able to take the RV on several shakedown trips and had the time to let the RV sit in shops waiting for parts because we bought it ten months before we left. It helped make the transition a little less stressful knowing more about the RV and fixing the known issues before we lived in it full-time.

Do you have any tips for our readers on how to handle being on the road for so long and not strangling each other?

Make sure you really like each other. Being in a new city and living a lifestyle with constant changes and decisions can be stressful. It's a lot easier when you like and can communicate with the person you are trapped in a small box with.

Also, be super clear with expectations, both before the lifestyle change and during. This involves a lot of (sometimes) exhausting conversations, but it's important you know where each other is in the process.

We make decisions as a pair, but have also learned when to defer discussions - there is just no room to be mad!

Additionally, allow each other some space and time alone.

Do you have any driving tips for newbies for a Class A motorhome?

  • Watch videos like this (first in a series).
  • Leave plenty of room in front of you and don't be in a hurry.
  • 18-wheelers were one of the scarier things to get used to. Keith used to call truck so I could brace myself. Stay in the middle of your lane, and allow them to "blow" you a little to the right. In no time at all, you will get used to how your RV handles the wind and it will become second nature.

You can read more about Keith and Tricia's adventures on GeekyExplorers.com.

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