Bryanna & Craig Royal's RV Road Story
MRV: The Buzz, Your RV Lifestyle Insider. Written By: Kim Pezza
RV Road Stories: Bryanna & Craig Royal
Bryanna & Craig Royal Who Have Been RVing Full Time Explain Blessings & Shortcomings Tied To The RV Lifestyle
Craig and Bryanna Royal, along with their 4 kids and 2 dogs, have been a full time RV family since May 2014. High school sweethearts, they built their dream home in the same city where they went to high school, and as Bryanna puts it, “planned on being there until our kids had kids”. In a short 5 years, they had 4 kids and both Craig and Bryanna had very successful careers. Their life, however, began to feel suffocating to them.
Their decision to home school their children opened a few doors, and then as their dream home began taking up more of their time and money, just through regular maintenance, the family started thinking about downsizing to a simpler life. “We knew that we wanted to deepen our family bond and that there were a lot of places we wanted to visit together,” explains Bryanna. “But we just didn't know how. One...we couldn't afford it with 4 kids and two...my husband only had so many vacation days.” It was this dilemma that got the couple researching and thinking about traveling full time. After coming across other families who had become full timers successfully, they thought they found the perfect solution.
When they first began looking at RVs online, they thought it would be an unattainable goal. But the family was able to find one they could afford. Their first purchase was a Class C motor home, with the plan being that they would travel weekends, vacation days...whenever they could. However on their first 10 day trip to Florida, the family was hooked. They came home, bought a larger Class A motor home that they customized to meet the needs of their large family, downsized to only what would fit in the RV and 4 bins (which are now stored at their parents' basement), sold their 3000-square-foot home, and began their life on the road.
It wasn't easy. Craig still had his job, so they lived for 5 months in a nearby RV resort. However, through discussions with his boss, Craig was able to arrange to do most of his work remotely, still having to return once or twice a month to the office in Wisconsin. So...even though they were finally traveling...he was still working 9 to 5while the rest of the family would go exploring. This wasn't setting well with mom and the kids. So Bryanna began her own media business that they could operate on the road. Soon after, Craig was able to leave his job and join in the business. They were on their way.
Fast forward into 2016. Everyone has adjusted to the RV lifestyle. “We all find it normal to spend a lot of time together in a living room that is about the size of one of the kid's bedrooms in their old house,” explains Bryanna. But while they love the lifestyle, it isn't always the carefree life that people think it is. As a matter of fact, Bryanna wrote a piece on her blog Crazy Family Adventure (http://www.crazyfamilyadventure.com), about a few of things that are some shortcomings regarding full time RVing. For example...not having your own yard. Going from a house with a ½ acre where the kids had their own sandbox, pool and swing set, to living in RV parks has been quite an adjustment. “We have had to change out parenting style in a way that we really didn't want to,” continues Bryanna. “But we had to in order to be living this lifestyle. We still find opportunities when we can let the kids play the way they used to but it takes more planning now.”
There is also the inevitable mechanical problem. “When we have had to do repairs with the RV, we are usually back in our hometown so we can stay with my husband's parents,” muses Bryanna. “We have had a few things happen on the road, but luckily we were able to call manufacturer's support line or Google it to figure out a solution. We get the part and fix it in a parking lot. Being a diesel [vehicle], it is like a truck, so we can usually find what we need.”
So what advice does Bryanna have for those, especially families, looking to live a lifestyle on the road? “Our recommendation for families thinking about living this lifestyle is to really define your WHY. What are you willing to give up to make it a reality? Family travel is not for the weak. It takes dedication and it can be a roller coaster of ups and downs. It also takes dedication to continue to convince yourself that it is OK to be different, that your kids are going to turn out OK, and that this is the right decision for their future and yours. When you get past all of that, you will see what an amazing lifestyle this is. It isn't always easy but it has been rewarding in so many ways that we didn’t even expect.”
“Our kids have adjusted to our life on the road like champs,” explains Bryanna. “Our lifestyle and school style focus on raising them in a way that gives them the skills and a thought process to live their life in that way. We also love that RVing has given them a sense of adventure and has shown them how to live outside of their comfort zone.”
For the adults, the move to full-time entrepreneurs has been scary yet so rewarding. “To feel like our time is totally our own and we can decide when, where, and how we work is amazing,” says Bryanna. “I’d be lying if I said we weren’t still afraid because we are. However, we are learning how to handle it and what we need to do to continue this lifestyle.”
A graduate of State University Of New York At Fredonia with a BA in Creative Writing, Kim is an author for Hatherleigh Press [Random House] and Seaside Publishing. She enjoys camping, cheese making and historic crafts.
Make Sure To Stay At:
Chief Timothy Park, where visitors can see unique geological features as well as many species of
wildlife in Asotin County. The land was once settled by the Nez Perce Tribe,
and the park is named after a tribal chief.