Life with the Royals: RV living with a family of six
Imagine life on the open road. Mountains, rivers, beaches and hiking trails at your fingertips daily with no ties to hold you down. Now imagine that life full-time in an R.V. with four energetic children and two dogs; sound ideal or maybe a bit crazy? Meet the Royal family of Kenosha, Wisconsin. Husband and wife team Craig and Bryanna, eight-year-old Carson, five-year-old twins Cannon and Melia, three-year-old Knox and of course loyal dogs Indy and Odin.
The nomadic crew call their journey the "Crazy Family Adventure," and are currently staying at Camp Gulf enjoying their 18th month on the road.
“The key thing for us was to spend more time together as a family,” said Bryanna. “Travel is an awesome way to do that.”
“We want to make memories with them as they are growing up,” added Craig. “Sometimes we are so far out of our comfort zone with this, but it helps us to see the value and that it is worth pushing ourselves to grow that with our kids.”
So what made the Royals decide to give up their roots and embrace the nomadic lifestyle?
“We built a house, it was 3,000 square feet with a pool and everything. It was where we thought we would have our grandkids come someday,” said Bryanna. “But we found we were always looking to the weekends and all our money and time was going to maintaining it. We thought, ‘We have the American dream but something is missing.’ We felt there was something more we wanted to do.”
So last May, the Royals sold their house and moved into a 39-foot long, 300-square-foot mobile home and they haven’t looked back. In fact, their move inspired other family members on Bryanna’s side to do the same.
“My sister and her family started doing this with us at the same time,” said Bryanna. “They will be meeting us here the last week of November, and my parents are camping with us too.”
The couple said that the most common question they are asked is how they able to fund the trip.
“I talked to my boss about full-time remote,” said Craig, who works in Information Technology at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. “It was a hard sell because nobody did it at the school, but we were able to talk them into it with one condition; that I had to report once a month for a week at a time.”
After a few months on the road, Craig said that his time in person was lessened to every eight weeks, and eventually he was free to roam full-time.
As for Bryanna, she has a growing business as a virtual business assistant.
“I focus on social media, blogging and email marketing through my business Virtual Powerhouse,” she said. “There are so many opportunities out there, the key is to be consistently looking for them.”
The second aspect outsiders are often curious about the two said, is education of their children.
Inside the R.V. a chalk board displays the alphabet and a map of the United States of America is prominently displayed in near the children’s toys.
“We use a process called un-schooling,” explained Bryanna. “It is not curriculum or test based. We are actually using our traveling experiences as educational opportunities. It’s so easy to teach when you are going to amazing places with so many hands-on experiences and they are still are so young, learning so much through play.”
Craig and Bryanna said they take turns reading to the kids at night and together take them to as many aquariums, museums and historical sites they can. However, they stressed that they know this lifestyle is not for everyone, and even they still have their doubts.
“The first thing is parenting is hard,” said Bryanna. “You are never 100 percent sure, but you just have to except the unknown. When we sat down to talk about it in the beginning it was really hard, there were tears. But in the end, we decided we did not want to look back 10 years from now and say, ‘We should have done it.’”
So far, the Royals have visited 19 states with hopes to visit Mexico and Canada and eventually even go overseas. But when it comes to favorite campsites, the couple said Camp Gulf in Miramar Beach is by far their favorite and dubbed it the “holy grail” of beach R.V. spots.
“We're total beach people, so last year we were looking for a campground right on the beach somewhere,” said Byanna. “Beachfront campgrounds are pretty rare so when we found Camp Gulf's website we made the reservations. This was our second major stop after hitting the road, and as soon as we parked the R.V. in our site here, we were in love! The white sand, the emerald water, and us being so close to that had us hooked. We can hear the ocean at night with the windows open.”
As the family travels, Bryanna and Craig document the journey through photos and blog posts. They said they will always put the needs of their children first and if ever the traveling doesn’t seem to work they will reassess, but for now, they are enjoying the moment and the memories they are creating together as a family.
“When you look at the awe in our kid’s eyes and the awe in our own eyes,” said Bryanna, “travel just puts you in the moment.”
To follow the Royal family and their crazy adventures visit www.crazyfamilyadventure.com.