Welcome to “Going Full-Time,” where we chat with RVillagers who made the leap to live, work, and play full-time from the road.
About the RVer
Names: Liz and Jake Chafik (and their cat, Lucy)
Occupation: Customer service representative for Roadpass Digital
Full-Timing Experience: 7 years
Rig Type: 34-foot Grand Design Solitude fifth wheel
How do you go from zero RVing experience to cruising the U.S. in a 40-foot Class A motorhome? Liz Chafik shares how she and her husband Jake made the leap into the full-time RVing lifestyle—plus, how they work from the road, choose their next adventures, and why they made the switch to a fifth wheel.
Your Guide to Full-Time RV Living
What made you decide to be a full-time RVer? What previous experience did you have camping?
We had no experience RVing. Neither of us even grew up camping or RVing. It was something that came up when we talked about what we wanted to do when we retired, and one day my husband said, ‘Why wait until we retire?’
I was burned out from my other job and living in Rochester, New York, which is very cold in the winter. Jake had a co-worker who was already RVing full-time, and he helped us immensely in the beginning. He was a great information source for all of those things you didn’t realize you needed to know to start RVing.
What type of rig do you own? Why did you choose this particular RV?
We started with a big Class A because my husband’s co-worker had a Class A and he guided us in the purchasing process. It was a 40-foot used Class A from the ‘90s that was within our budget, and it was big enough that we knew we could live in it
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When we changed to the fifth wheel we have now, we were nervous about switching to a different rig type. We knew Class A RVs and diesel pushers well at this point, and we’d never driven a truck or backed up a trailer. There’s been a big learning curve for us backing the fifth wheel up—but like anything, we’ve been patient, and we’ve learned.
We switched to the fifth wheel because it fit comfortably in our budget for an upgrade. We knew we didn’t want to live in an older RV anymore. We like to have guests and family join us on our trips, and the old rig wasn’t supportive of that. We looked at new Class As but they weren’t within our budget—so we sold our Class A and Jeep and bought a truck and fifth wheel.
What was the deciding factor for buying your fifth wheel?
One of the things we felt strongly about with the fifth wheel is that there’s only one engine to worry about. We don’t have issues sourcing parts when something breaks, and so many things are under warranty. We’re able to enjoy our RV now, instead of worrying about something breaking down.
We also have a bedroom with a door and a separate bathroom. The bathroom in our Class A was inside the bedroom, making it awkward for people to use it when we were sleeping. The location of the pull-out couch is out of the way in this rig too, so it’s easier to host guests. This rig really feels like home, and it’s so much more modern.
What do you do for a living?
I’m a customer service representative for Roadpass Digital [which owns RVillage], and Jake is a web developer.
What inspired you to accept the current job you have?
I was looking for something remote once we started RVing full-time. I was unemployed for about 1 month, and my husband stumbled on an advertisement in an RVing community for an RV mobile internet company. This became the first remote job I had on the road. I got in with them and slowly built a new skill set.
But while I was doing that I met Brian and Leigh (the co-founders of Campendium, also owned by Roadpass Digital) in line at a campground dump station. They happened to be looking for help at the time for their company, and now that’s turned into a full-time job with Roadpass.
How do you manage work and travel?
I get up in the morning and check my messages and start assisting customers. I help customers troubleshoot issues, so their experiences are better, and they can better understand our products. In the evenings, we head into town or check out nearby destinations. Our schedule is pretty typical of a normal work day.
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What’s the most difficult part about working remotely from the road?
The internet … Even though we know a lot about mobile internet systems, we still run into issues. That does limit our travel sometimes. We don’t go deep into national parks unless it’s a weekend or we’re off work because of the connectivity.
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What do you like and dislike about your RV? Have you made any modifications to your rig to accommodate full-time living?
The oven burns everything, and there’s no convection microwave. We just have a regular microwave, which for us, isn’t as useful.
We haven’t had to make any major modifications to our new rig. We have a cat, and we decided to put her litter box under the bed to keep it out of the way, so we cut a side door for her to go in and out underneath the bed.
We did little updates to our old Class A like changing the valances and other minor updates—but it still looked like an RV from the ‘90s.
What’s your favorite part about being a full-timer?
Every weekend we have the option to check out someplace new. You’re always seeing and experiencing new things. We both like running, and our running views never get old.
What advice do you have for RVers looking to go full-time?
Don’t move too fast. When we first started we scheduled out the first 6 months and booked a ton of sites. We quickly learned that it wasn’t a vacation, and we needed to stay longer and slow down. If you’re staying somewhere and you don’t like it, leave. Also, when something goes wrong, don’t panic. The problem probably isn’t as big as you think it is.
Full-Time RVersJoin the conversation
Where are you headed next?
We’re actually ditching our RV and flying to Italy for a month, but as far as RV travels go, we will spend Christmas with family and then drive down the East Coast.
How do you decide where to travel?
We don’t reserve spots anymore, instead, we try to live by finding cancellations. If you’re willing to book last minute, you can usually get a great spot. Otherwise, we move our rig and stay at each site for a week or two and go on adventures from there.
What are three items in your RV that you can’t live without?
- A non-electric coffee system—we use a pour-over coffee maker.
- A reliable internet arsenal. We have an unlimited hotspot data plan in a router, a Starlink system with unlimited data, and the option to add a hotspot data plan from another phone carrier if needed.
- An RV GPS system. We always use two systems if we’re navigating far from a major highway. We’ve had success combining Garmin’s RV GPS system with Togo RV’s GPS system.
Editor’s note: Some quotes have been slightly edited for clarity.
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