5th Wheel Wanderers: Where it all Began

Y’all. So. Much. Is. Changing!

Almost a year ago I sat down to write out what I thought would be our story…little did I know that our carefully crafted plan would be turned upside down…

We had this grand-but-small plan to build a tiny house on wheels. The idea crept into our heads one day as we came across Tiny House Hunters on HGTV. It piqued our interest, and soon we were binge-watching every episode. We dove into all things tiny—Tiny House Nation, Tiny House Big Living, Tiny House Builders– anything we could. I joked one day that we should build our own house, and we both laughed it away. We couldn’t imagine giving up a nice roomy apartment for the cramped quarters of a tiny house. Plus, how would it even be feasible with a dog?

But the more we watched, the more we knew we could make it happen. We researched building tiny houses, what vehicle we would need to tow it, what type of trailer to purchase, where to buy build plans, and what materials we would need. I began drawing up design ideas of our perfect little house. We prayed about it. And you know what? Things started falling into place. We decided to start moving forward.

***At the time we made this decision, we lived in Florida in an area we enjoyed with great friends. However, the cost of living was high & we realized quickly that we weren’t making any sort of dent in our student loan debt. We came to the decision that something needed to change***

We had calculated (approximately) that by living in a tiny home for 3-5 years, we will pay off $100,000 in debt, our $30,000 truck, AND have some money in savings. We could not ignore the reality of being able to pay off our debt that quickly. Also, doing this will allow us to travel. We couldn’t imagine anything we’d love more.

Here’s what we did nearly one year ago

1. We bought a truck. A Silver Ram 2500 with a Cummings diesel engine that could easily tow a 15,000-pound tiny house. This was our biggest obstacle. We needed a specific payment per month and we decided that if the dealership couldn’t meet us at that range that we would move on. But we got exactly what we wanted with the exact truck we needed. We both turned in our leased vehicles, and are driving our Ram full-time.

2. We decided there was no way we could live in our current apartment and have enough money to build a tiny house. There was also the issue of where we would build it living in an apartment complex. So we made a tough decision. A really tough decision.

We moved in with my parents.

My parents live on what could be called a small hobby farm with a few acres of land. When we first started seriously contemplating this idea the first thing we did was call up my parents. We were like “Hey…how do you feel about us moving into your basement for while?” I expected a little resistance. I mean, what parent wants their grown kid to move back home, right? Instead, my parents had to hide their excitement. Huh. One more thing checked off our list ✓ The downside? We had to leave our sunny Florida for a cold MN Winter.

3. We sold nearly all of our furniture. Even made enough money to pay back the promotion we got when we leased our apartment.

4. We worked with a builder and designed Tiny House plans.

5. We packed our remaining belongings in a 10ft. long trailer and crammed any extras in the truck, with Bauer in the backseat, & we began the long drive to MN.

Flash Forward to Where it all Changed

The season of waiting was difficult on me. We were waiting on someone to take over the lease in our apartment. Until then, we couldn’t save much. Dustin was still traveling for work, as per usual, and I was back in my parent’s basement again. It was hard to keep sight of the goal when things felt so backwards. Things weren’t going as smoothly as I hoped. For a while, people asked us “why not just buy an RV? Why go through the trouble of building a tiny house?”. For the longest time I resisted the idea—a tiny house was customizable, could be homey, and everything I wanted it to be. But I knew I was being stubborn, so we began doing research to see if an RV would be a better option for us.

I did hours upon hours of research online, looking at every brand and type of RV possible—from 5th wheels and travel trailers to Class A/B/C. I was discouraged. Everything I saw was so dated. Interiors of RV’s aren’t made for people with a modern aesthetic. We would have to do SO MUCH work to make it feel like a home to me. However, even with the work we’d be putting in, the cost would be comparable and possibly even more affordable than building a tiny home.

So I took a deep breath.

And we starting going to dealerships & really giving this a shot.

Then something big happened.

A nearby RV dealership had a tiny home on wheels available for sale. Until then, I had only seen one other tiny home. So we drove ourselves out there, venturing into the cold snowy tundra that is MN (I promise, I am not being dramatic) & we toured the tiny home. Y’all… it was tiny. As the two of us tried to maneuver around, the walls came crashing in on my dreams. I suddenly knew there was no way this would work. On our way out we checked the weight of the house—it was far greater than what we could tow with our truck. I felt so defeated. I was NOT happy. If we wanted to continue our dream of travel and paying off debt, I would have to swallow the disappointment and seriously look at RV’s.

Once we decided on looking at 5th wheels, I began to feel a peace about it. Sure, it wasn’t everything I had envisioned BUT 5th wheels are lighter than tiny homes, we had the options of slide-outs for more space, and I could still make it my own. We decided to look at new models because with the amount Dustin travels, I didn’t want to be stuck with having to fix an old RV that could break down or malfunction.

Here we are today

 

Today, we picked up our brand new Cherokee Arctic Wolf 295QSL8 5th wheel. Hot off the press. We have so many dreams and plans for this thing, but for now, this moment is enough. I can finally share with the world our grand plans & hopes for the future, and WE couldn’t be more excited. Here are our plans thus far:

August: Denver, CO

September: Albuquerque, NM

September: Phoenix, AZ

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2 Comments

  1. Hey Jen!

    This is so cool! Do you have to pay for lots/water/electricity? How does that compare to the cost of renting an apartment when you factor in payments for the 5th wheel/truck? Looking forward to following along!

    • Hey Mindy!

      Because I need good internet access and we need full hookups (electric, water, sewer) we are only staying in RV parks. We look for parks that include everything in a base price, and we get the best deals for monthly stays. We don’t factor the truck into our costs because we needed a vehicle anyways. RV payment and “rent” is pretty comparable to what we’d pay for a 1 bedroom in the cities BUT we get to travel the US 🙂


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