Our Journey From Dreamers To Full-Timers: How It All Began

By:  Kelly Barnett

2nd Nov, 16

Close to 20 years ago (or more), my husband, Michael, and I started talking about buying an RV and traveling when he retired from the Army. Even though I always kind of figured it was a pipe dream we used to tell our boys, who were about 8 and 10 at the time, that when they got older and started buying homes of their own they needed to make sure they had to have room for our RV and water, sewer and electric hook ups would be ideal! I'm pretty sure they thought we were nuts!

We visited RV Shows around the state (Wisconsin) as often as we could, picking out floorplans that we liked, necessary upgrades and even taking brochures home to scour over. We kept the dream alive!

We purchased a used 1970-something pop-up camper from a coworker to get us out of a tent. It was small but in great condition. We took it to our local state campground and enjoyed quite a few campouts in it before we decided something a little bigger and newer would be nice.

At one of the many RV shows we attended we accidentally found the 'something a little bigger and newer'. We ended up purchasing a brand new 2005 popup with much more room than we had in the old one. However, by this time our boys weren't quite as interested in camping with the 'rents as they were when they were younger. Now they had school activities and girlfriends to occupy their time.

In 2008 we moved up to a 29-foot pull-behind. It had a separate bedroom, small galley kitchen, booth style kitchen table a couple of easy chairs and our very own bathroom. By this time, it was just the two of us so we only had to worry about having enough room to sleep the two of us. We really enjoyed our outings in this unit.

The summer after Michael came home from Iraq we took one of our longest camping trips ever….three weeks! We traveled from Wisconsin to Niagara Falls to New York City (stayed in Jersey City) to Washington DC to Williamsburg, VA and back home to Wisconsin. We had such a wonderful time sight-seeing and each night we slept in our own bed, with our own pillows and each morning we took our clothing out of our own closet and drawers. Never having to tote suitcases in and out of hotels was SO wonderful!

This trip was supposed to be a vacation, but we also wanted to see if we really enjoyed 'living' in an RV as much as we thought we would. Up to this point our camping trips were pretty much limited to long weekends with maybe a week-long trip once or twice.

When we got back home after our journey we weren't ready to be done! We had enjoyed our time in our 'little pod' so much that we didn't want it to end and couldn't wait for the next trip. At this point we were about four years away from Michael's retirement from the military….and our dream was alive and thriving!

Kelly Barnett

Kelly Barnett

RV There Yet Chronicles

My husband, Michael, and I have been living fulltime in our 2011 Landmark Key Largo since April of 2011 and LOVE every minute of it. 

When Michael retired from the US Army in October of 2012 (after 29 years of service) we hit the road and haven’t looked back. 

We usually work in the south Texas oilfields in the winter and spend time with our two sons and their families in the summer. We travel and sight-see as much and often as possible.