Going Full-Time: Two Content Creators Traveling the U.S. in Their Class C

Feb 9, 2023 | Meet My Rig

Going Full-Time: Two Content Creators Traveling the U.S. in Their Class C

By RVillage

Photo: Liz and Dennis Smith

Welcome to “Going Full-Time,” where we chat with RVillagers who made the leap to live, work, and play full-time from the road. Are you a full-timer with a cool remote job and want to share your experience with the RVillage community? Send a note to askrvillage@rvillage.com and we’ll be in touch.

About the RVer

Names: Liz and Dennis Smith

Occupation: Freelance writer and content creators on YouTube

Full-Timing Experience: 5 years

Rig Type: 2019 Coachmen Freelander 21QB Class C

What made you decide to be a full-time RVer? What previous experience did you have with camping? 

I always had a passion for travel and desperately wanted to live abroad. Dennis mentioned that we hadn’t explored our home country and suggested we travel around the U.S. first. We started researching RVing and found Gone With the Wynns, a young couple traveling full-time in their RV. Seeing someone close to our age living comfortably and freely inspired us to take the leap. We officially set off in our first rig one year later in the summer of 2017.

What type of rig do you own?

We recently purchased a used, renovated 2019 Coachmen Freelander 21QB Class C RV. This is our third RV and second Class C that we’ve owned. Our first RV was a massive fifth wheel toy hauler. Which felt tiny coming from a sticks-and-bricks home. But after traveling full-time for more than a year, we realized it was too big for our travel needs.

We then bought and renovated a 2010 Fleetwood Pulse Class C RV and traveled in that for 2.5 years before we decided to go even smaller.

RV driving down a road with a motorcycle on the back. Trees tower on both sides of the road.
A 2010 Fleetwood Pulse Class C rig. | Photo: Liz and Dennis Smith

Why did you choose this particular RV? 

We loved that this Coachmen had been renovated by the previous owners. They replaced the dinette with a functional convertible couch and work space with added storage. They also did some changes to the kitchen and bathroom that made it feel homier. We’ve made some of our own changes too, including updating the wallpaper and backsplash, replacing the sink, adding a composting toilet, and replacing the roof and fans.

What other RVs did you consider?

We love the look of Mercedes-Benz RVs but the payload capacities of a domestic chassis just can’t be beat if you’re full-timing. Our dream RV—if we were to go part-time—would be a Leisure Travel van. We love the design of the rear lounge Class C RVs.

What was the deciding factor for purchasing your current RV?

The Chevy chassis has a massive payload capacity and can hold roughly 3,000 pounds more than our previous Class C. It has a corner queen-sized bed, which gives us a lot more space than our previous over-the-cab bed. We also have nearly double the water storage capacity, which is great because we love boondocking and can stay in places longer before needing to refill our fresh water or dump our tanks.

RV parked at a site surrounded by red rock formations
A 2019 Coachmen Freelander 21QB Class C. | Photo: Liz and Dennis Smith

What do you do for a living?

Dennis and I started full-time RVing in 2017 and were able to do so because of our real estate investing business. We’ve wound down a lot of our real estate holdings in recent years and have shifted our focus to content creation.

Today, our main source of income is from our YouTube channel, Eat See RV. We earn a living by creating content for travel businesses and other companies we believe in. I also freelance write about real estate investing for the Motley Fool.

What inspired you to take the current job you have? How long have you been remote?

We first took the leap into remote work in 2017 when we hit the road to live full-time in our RV. I’ve always been super organized and good at managing my time, so the transition to being my own boss and working without a strict 9-to-5 schedule wasn’t that challenging. 

I love real estate investing and totally nerd out when it comes to crunching numbers or estimating an investment’s ROI (return on investment). I found my job freelance writing for the Motley Fool thanks to my experience and passion for investing, which I love to share with others. 

We branched out to content creation in 2018. Our videos were terrible the first few years, but we enjoyed sharing our travels with others and inspiring them to get out and explore. Our editing and filming have improved tremendously, and it’s pretty awesome that we can get paid to share beautiful places with others. We also like being able to advocate for the causes we’re passionate about like the environment, sustainability, and travel.

How do you manage work and travel? What’s the most difficult part about working remotely from the road?

Finding consistent and strong WiFi has been the hardest part of working remotely. Thankfully, Starlink allows us to work even in the most remote places.

Work-life balance has also been challenging for us. As content creators who document our lives, it can be hard to turn this part of ourselves “off.” We’re hoping to find more balance, but certainly aren’t there yet. Having a plan before arriving at our next destination and getting more organized about what and when we film has definitely helped.

What’s your favorite part about being a full-timer?

The community is wonderful and there’s something magical about having your home with you wherever you go. We travel with our two kitties and favor healthy eating and cooking at home which would be difficult to maintain on the road if it weren’t for our RV. 

If I had to choose a favorite part about the lifestyle, it’s how often we get to be outside in nature. Being in a beautiful new place prompts you to get outside each day, even if it’s just a walk around the campground or boondocking spot. We love going on hikes as we travel, and the ever changing landscapes keep it exciting.

Woman sleeping in a hammock near her RV by the water
Photo: Liz and Dennis Smith.

What are your biggest challenges with this lifestyle?

We miss our friends and family as well as routine and sense of community. Every time we go shopping we’re in a new store. We don’t have a favorite local spot anymore and catch-ups with friends and family are confined to video calls. Figuring out repairs on the road is also stressful.

What advice do you have for RVers looking to go full-time? What’s something you wish you knew before making the leap?

Make sure you have a hefty safety net set aside. Repairs will happen more often than you may expect. Unless you’re incredibly handy, you’ll likely have to rely on help from others or RV shops to get things fixed—which may mean you have to get an Airbnb or hotel while your RV gets service. We spent way more than we ever thought possible during our first year RVing and wished we saved more.

Also, be realistic about how stressful this lifestyle can be. You’re constantly mapping things out, including where to stay, dump, fill up water, get groceries, wash laundry, schedule repairs, and what to do in each destination. You have to pack up and set up each time you move (which gets tiring). Propane can run out on a cold night while you’re sleeping, tires can blow on the highway, and your tanks can back up from a clog. There’s always something, and it can weigh on you, especially if you aren’t prepared for the lows of this lifestyle.

Where are you heading next? How do you decide where to travel?

We’re heading to Mexico for the winter. This will be our third time spending winter in Mexico in our RV. The plan is to spend 2.5 months in Baja California and 2 months in mainland Mexico.

What are three items in your RV that you can’t live without?

  1. Starlink
  2. Solar panels and inverter charger
  3. Composting toilet

Editor’s note: Some quotes have been slightly edited for clarity.

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