Bryanna and Craig Royal and their 4 children abandoned the norm most adhere to and embarked on a fulltime RVing journey, aka the Crazy Family Adventure.
Glacier National Park, Yellowstone national park, Florida Keys, Winnebago View
MobileRVing: The Buzz, Your Outdoor Lifestyle Insider, Written by Olivia Richman
RV Lifestyle Opens Up A World Of The Unknown For Royals
The Royals Love Their Lifestyle. It's Plain Freedom. They've Already Been To 30 States in Their Winnebago View As Full-time RVers, & Anxious For More
Two adults. Four children. A couple furry friends. One Winnebago View. That's Crazy Family Adventure. Since 2014, the Royal family has been traveling the world in their RV. And they haven't only learned a lot about different parts of the world, but about themselves.
Bryanna used to be a stay at home mother. She took care of her four children – Carson (10), Melia (7), Cannon (7) and Knox (5) – inside of a “dream home” she and her husband Craig had built on a half acre of property in Wisconsin. They seemingly had everything, including a pool and a playground. They were high school sweethearts living the American dream.
But, the Royals secretly felt suffocated.
“We felt like there was a lot of time, energy and money being put into the house to maintain it,” said Bryanna. “There were so many things we wanted to see and do, but we felt we never had that time.”
That's when they decided to sell everything, simplify their lives and move into an RV.
A drastic change.
The unknown road ahead of them was scary. No longer told when to go to work or when to drop their kids off at school, they had their entire life ahead of them to do what they wanted, when they wanted... It's a freedom many people daydream of, but are too afraid to pursue. And the Royals have to admit: It wasn't all “rosy and sunny” at first.
“It was the idea of jumping off the deep end, in a sense,” recalled Bryanna. “We were going from this stable salaried income and having a house and knowing where we'd be every night... To this world of unknowns. We had to face the reality of day to day life. You're not always traveling and seeing cool places. You're also still raising your family. We didn't know how to prepare for that.”
But it's all been worth figuring out for the Royals.
Since 2014, the family traveled through 30 states in the United States and have visited and stayed at three different areas of Canada. The Royals – unlike some “perfect US road trip” photos will have you believe – didn't have a set plan. They've just done “whatever we felt like doing at the time,” always ending up back at Wisconsin to visit friends and family.
They've been to the Florida Keys. They've gone into New York City. There isn't an exact place Bryanna has dreamt of visiting. She was more looking for the experience of visiting all these places.
One trip they recently took stands out to the Royal family: Glacier National Park.
“It's just so beautiful there,” she gushed. “You see mountains for days. The water is crystal clear. Clear color. You feel like you're in a different world. You drive up to the top of the mountain... Just unbelievably gorgeous. After liking that, that's why we were really excited to go to Jasper National Park in Canada... Just unreal. The water color looks like people painted it. Pristine mountain air. We liked seeing bears multiple times while hiking... The environment is just amazing. We didn't know we were mountain people until we visited those places.”
Just one instance of self-discovery, the now hike-loving family visited Yellowstone National Park. They hiked three miles up a mountain, the first time doing so with their entire family. For Bryanna, it was one of her favorite memories since they experienced that success as a whole family. It was something new. Something different.
The Royals also love the beach and have traveled to Florida Keys. She said: “We get there and smell that ocean air and feel it's right where we should be. We can experience both and not have to choose.”
The children have also expressed their love of Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. Explained Bryanna: “When you go to a lot of national parks, you stay on the trail. You can't climb on anything. But here, the ranger says you can climb on anything you want. I know they love that. You can climb on all these rocks and formations. And they love the beach, playing in the waves and water.”
And it's all thanks to their Winnebago View.
The 23-foot RV is a downsize to their first RV, a 39 foot Newmar Diesel Pusher. While smaller, the Winnebago View has a lot of storage space and the thinner frame has allowed for easier access to various parks, campgrounds and other destinations. They love the color and the way it looks, but the Royals especially love its simplicity.
“We don't even have a television in there,” laughed Bryanna. “What we liked, it's not somewhere we hang out. It's a means of getting where we want to go. There's seat belts for the kids. They put in double full bunk beds in back. When you're in a campground, you walk out the door and you're outside. The larger RV was like a home on wheels. It was harder to feel connected to the campground.”
Currently, the Royals are planning to put a solar panel on the Winnebago, so they can get rid of their generator. They're always looking to down size.
This is where many families start to wonder if the RV life is really for them. Small space? Seeing their spouse and child 24/7? No individual rooms? According to Bryanna, it's a struggle. She admits it's hard at times. But it's been more than worth it.
“I can't be like, 'I'm going to go take a bath.' It's been a challenge. As hard as that is, a benefit in disguise is that nobody can hide their feelings,” Bryanna admitted. “Or hide their reactions. We're all right there. If we have an issue, it needs to get resolved. You can't forget about it. You can't hold it in. It's a benefit for our family. I hope that it will make us even stronger as kids get older.”
The RV lifestyle really opened Bryanna's eyes to what she wants her life to be like. Once a stay at home mother, she is now an entrepenuer with her husband. The couple started their own business, Virtual Power House, doing online marketing for small businesses. They also have a very successful travel blog and Instagram, Crazy Family Adventure. It's something Bryanna never thought would happen.
“We don't have anyone telling us where to go or what to do. We can take a step back and choose what to do for ourselves and our family,” she explained. “It opened my eyes to different things around the country, how they live in different states. All the different activities that are out there exposed to that didn't see in Wisconsin. It's about being more open to the world and people in general.”
And they've also met other RV families. There are rallies with up to 40 families, which are like three days straight block parties. There's Facebook groups and a huge online community. There's always support. Always advice. And always people to travel with.
The Royals traveled with two families for three months, hiking mountains, visiting oceans and taking tours. They have also traveled with Bryanna's parents and her sister's family, both of which decided to also take their lives on the road via RV when they saw what the Royals were doing.
Traveling up to 4,000 miles in six weeks, the Royals have no plans of slowing down. Between working on their business, freelance writing and “unschooling” their children, they have also been planning a trip to Mexico, down the Baja Peninsula. They are hoping to get to mainland Mexico.
The clan always wants to continue to find new places to explore as a family. Meeting their kids needs. It doesn't always have to be the next cool place. It's just about what their interests are. Even if it means staying put for a while. The journey has been an ebb and flow. It's not all rainbow and sunshine. It has not made parenting easier. Surprisingly, it's very much a learning process for the couple. "We constantly push our comfort zone and experience new and different things.” They have really grown as people.
A graduate of East Connecticut State University in Journalism, Olivia has written for Stonebridge Press & Antiques Marketplace among others. She enjoys writing, running and video games.
Make Sure To Check Out:
Crazy Family Adventure on YouTube - whose mission is to help families see how travel is such an amazing way to deepen your family bond. They want to do this by sharing family travel tips during their own takes.