Our 2018 RV Life Year In Review

2018 was a pivotal year. In our prior corporate lives, each year blended into the next without much distinction, but we think that 2018 will be quite memorable. And not because it was all stellar either—we had our fair share of AFOG moments (that’s code for Another F****** Opportunity for Growth). Here are the highlights, and even some lowlights of our year.

While this post is about our year, we hope our journey will inspire you to live out your journey. We included some resources and links that you might find helpful as well.

Quarter One – Meet-ups, New Endeavors, and Marriage Challenges

We kicked off 2018 in the Anza-Borrego Desert in California with some of our RV friends. Our friends, Denny and Veronica (the RV Outlawz), can magically transform their rig into a riotous dance party. If you love RVing, I encourage you to boondock in the middle of the desert with a bunch of great friends on New Year’s Eve. Click here to read more about Anza-Borrego and surrounding areas.

Anza Borrego Desert

Anza-Borrego, CA, NYE with friends.

But after the high came a crash in a big way. Bryce and I hit a real marriage low at the first of the year. We have a longstanding issue that has been difficult to resolve and is made more complex by living in an RV. If you read this blog then you know that I talk about the RV Emotional Journey. This is part of our emotional journey. We have since improved our communication, empathy, and understanding. But we still have growing to do.

You can read about the 7 Challenges and Coping Tips for Full-Time RV Living, here.

Another highlight was attending the Xscapers Big Bash in Quartzsite, Arizona and American Girl Mine in California. The Xscapers Bash is a real highlight of the year and one of the best RV events we attend. I presented to a group of aspiring bloggers on how to grow a blog into a business. Click here to learn more about the benefits of the Xscapers community.

Escaper's Big Bash

Speaking about turning your blog into a business at the Xscapers Big Bash.

Bryce started to write more blog posts in the first quarter as well. He completed his George Custer and the Little Bighorn series, and then published a two-part series on famed photographer, Ansel Adams. If you love epic tales, check out Bryce’s work. His posts are like mini-novels that take you on soulful journeys. 

Bryce also completed his first stock options trade! After spending a great deal of time studying strategies, he finally jumped in and then continued trading throughout the year.

I’m not going to try to explain options trading. It’s a stock market thing where you buy and sell thingies and leverage thingies to earn more thingies. Here’s an article about options trading for beginners if you want to learn more.  It’s supposed to be for beginners, but made my head nearly explode. He’ll be writing more about his experiences trading options in future articles.

In February we attended one of our other favorite events, the RV Entrepreneur Summit in Fredericksburg, Texas. This annual event is organized by Heath and Alyssa Padgett. I had the opportunity to present on blogging again, this time with my blogging buddies, Liz Wilcox, Lindsay McKenzie, and Julie Chickery. We teamed up to deliver Blogging CAMP—a framework for turning a blog into a business. 

By the end of March we had made it all the way to Tallahassee, Florida. With a wicked sinus infection, I still managed to officially launch my online program Remote Work 101: Work, Live, and Travel Where You Want. Almost 50 people enrolled in the very first beta course and I was on Cloud Nine!

Then, another lowlight—I stepped down as the project manager from the RV Nomads documentary film. It was a tough but appropriate decision that left me feeling powerless and saddened. We stayed on as cast members; I’ll share more about the project later in this post.

Quarter Two – Filming for the RV Nomads Documentary Film and a Near Death Experience

April was spent in The Carolinas and Atlanta, Georgia. We tend to travel fast and despite saying, “We’ve got to slow down,” that never actually happened.

I flew home to California to visit family and friends during this time. It’s important to me to return to my roots a few times a year. Bryce stayed back and started freelance blogging for Campanda, a peer-to-peer RV lending company. He also climbed Brasstown Bald, Georgia’s state highpoint. Upon my return, we headed to the tiny Texas Panhandle town of Wellington for the filming of the RV Nomads movie.

RV Nomads Bryce and Camile.

Our poster from the RV Nomads documentary film.

It was quite the experience! If you are unfamiliar with this project, it was a team of novice filmmakers, RV YouTubers, and bloggers coming together to produce a full-length documentary film. 

It was in the 90s and 100s every day in Wellington, with high humidity—hot, hot, hot! This was the hardest working crew I’ve ever worked with and total professionals (not that we star in movies or anything but I have been in a few stage productions).

Hats off to Tom Morton (Director), Jesse Ingram (Director of Photography), John Hebard (Cinematographer), Audrey Callahan (Audio Engineering and Narration), Shane Snyder (Audio Engineering), and Caitlin Morton (Events and Logistics). There are others, too who bent over backwards for this project, but this is the crew we primarily worked with for our shoots, and we are incredibly grateful for their hard work and determination.

And then I almost died from heat stroke—okay that’s a little dramatic, but here’s the deal: we went hiking on a sweltering day in The Grand Canyon of Texas, Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Despite getting an early start, I knew something was wrong on the last mile coming down. I was so overheated that I was stopping every minute or so, and trying to hide under low shrubs to escape the sun. I just couldn’t get cool and my heart was beating rapidly. I became very tired and just wanted to stop, but Bryce coaxed me to keep going.

Luckily, we made it to the trailhead parking lot where I desperately poured my remaining water on my head. I jumped in the car and blasted the air (thank goodness we had air). I took this barely recognizable selfie.

Camille heat exhaustion

On the brink of heat stroke.

Even though the hike was only a few miles, as an avid hiker I should know better than to hike in such high heat (it was 100 degrees when we finished). I was sick for the next three days. Lessons learned: don’t hike in exposed areas on hot days, go really early, cover up, and bring plenty of water. Or stay home, watch Netflix and chill.

We made our way to New Mexico for some recovery time. Oh how we looove New Mexico! We revisited one of our favorite places in Santa Fe, Meow Wolf, an interactive art installation that never gets old.

Then we discovered a new, favorite place—Taos. We enjoyed great weather, music, a spiritual visit to Taos Pueblo, met new friends, and I even kayaked on the Rio Grande River! (photo). Bryce scaled another state highpoint, 13,167 foot Wheeler Peak.

I also successfully relaunched my Remote Work 101 course in June, and this time I had help from several affiliates, which are partners who help promote your products and services. I’m thrilled that over 150 people enrolled in my course in 2018, and so many have landed remote jobs, launched freelance careers, or started a blog.

Shortly thereafter, I established a partnership with a staffing agency to help my Remote Work 101 students find the career opportunities they deserve. I’m currently building up my network with recruiters and employers, and am excited about being able to further help my students.

Bryce has been handling a lot of our business administration functions. And in May, we formalized our business by establishing a California Limited Liability Corporation (LLC). He’s also insisted on completing our tax returns—which have changed dramatically in our two-year transition from corporate employees to small business entrepreneurs. He’s really enjoyed this learning process.

Bryce Cripe RVer

Bryce diligently writing, trading options, and doing our taxes.

After New Mexico, we headed to Colorado to catch another Xscapers convergence in Pagosa Springs. It was a smaller convergence, which we like because we can get to know people better. We had bonfires, potlucks, mini-golf outings, and tubing down the river! While there, Bryce got to reconnect with two old friends from his cycling days in Pasadena, California over twenty years ago.

Quarter Three – Backpacking, Blogging Camp, and Speaking at Nomad Summit

We continued our Colorado tour all through the summer, starting in Alamosa, where a big fire scorched the area and knocked out cell phone towers. We were still able to see come cool things though, like the UFO Watchtower, Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad, and Great Sand Dunes National Park, where we hiked and hung out with our friends.

Hiking with friends Great Sand Dunes National Park

Hiking at the Great Sand Dunes, National Park with Marshall Wendler, Kelly Beasley, and Nadia and Daniel Meinhofer.

Bryce and I were able to continue our tradition of running in a Fourth of July 5K road race—this time in the funky, new age mountain town of Crestone.

Then we hit up some of the beautiful mountain towns Colorado is known for: Gunnison, Crested Butte, Ouray, Silverton, Telluride, and Cortez. Bryce tried to bag his first Colorado 14er, Mount Sneffels, but was forced down by thunderstorms within sight of the summit.

Colorado National Monument

Colorado National Monument

We wrapped up Colorado and headed to Orange County, California. Bryce was heading out on an epic Sierra Nevada backpacking trip (an annual event he used to take with friends), and I was going to a conference for online marketers, plus visiting friends and family—hooray!

While home in Orange County, I teamed up again with Liz, Lindsay, and Julie to launch Blogging CAMP. We enhanced the content that we delivered at the RV Entrepreneur Summit in February and delivered it online. It’s something that folks had been asking us for, and we were jazzed to do it. We ended up with just over 20 students in our first launch. And what a great group we had, too. Here’s an example from one of our students, Kelsey Henry from Positively Delighted.

After Bryce returned from the Sierras, having reunited with friends and climbed 14,032 foot Mount Langley, he turned right around and headed out on another trip with his brother, Andy, to backpack the Timberline Trail around Mount Hood, Oregon. It rained (and snowed) every day, but they still had a great time.

Sierra Backpacking

Miter Basin, Sequoia National Park, California

You’d think Bryce had earned some downtime after those trips. But nope, I talked him into driving with me to Las Vegas, Nevada to speak at the Nomad Summit Conference. It’s an annual conference for people seeking to live a location independent lifestyle. It was my first non-RV conference for nomads, and it was really fun and educational. Here’s the video for my Goodbye Cubicle, Hello Open Road presentation, if you want to check it out.

One more thing to mention. While home in Orange County, we met up with our friends Paul and Denise Fejtek. They invited us on a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. We’ve always wanted to visit that part of the world and immediately said, “Yes!”

The very next day, I got an invite to go to Thailand to co-facilitate a retreat for women launching online businesses, and it was scheduled for just days after I’d leave Cambodia. Weird timing, right? Hello, Universe I’m listening—so of course, I said, “Yes” to that, too!

I have a bit of a shiny-object syndrome if you haven’t noticed.

Quarter Four – NomadFEST, Southeast Asia, and Full-Time Freedom Week

The fourth quarter felt like a SpaceX rocket launch—a ten-second countdown to a blast into space (we just saw a SpaceX launch, but you’ll have to wait for 2019 review to read about it). 🙂

We journeyed from California, through Colorado, and back to Wellington, Texas for NomadFEST and the premier of the RV Nomads film. The festival turned out to be pretty epic. I’m smirking right now because Epic is kind of a slogan in the Nomad Life brand. The crew pulled off an amazing event, despite a soaking rain, and with limited time and resources. You can watch the whole movie here.

It was amazing to see it all come together, and the film turned out to be much better than expected. The movie and festival were well-received, and the event is doubling in size for 2019 with a sequel film on the way.

During the festival, I got to present from the main stage of the beautifully restored Ritz Theater (built in 1928), this time with the Xscapers to talk about working from the road, and Julie Chickery for Blogging CAMP. At the end of our talk we announced the biggest online summit for RVers—Full-Time Freedom Week—again in partnership with Liz, Lindsay, Julie, and myself.

In case you haven’t heard of it, Full-Time Freedom Week is a weeklong online event we created with over 30 speakers and industry professionals sharing their knowledge and resources about all things RV-related. I’m really proud of the lineup we put together and the event itself was quite amazing. We had an incredible, engaged, and supportive audience, fantastic sponsors, and fabulous speakers.

But all those commitments I made for travel and conferences in the summer caught up with me. By taking the digital nomad thing to the next level and traveling halfway around the world, I had spread myself way too thin. And Bryce had run himself pretty ragged handling the travel arrangements for us.

Needless to say, the whole trip was a dream come true for us. In addition to seeing this wonderful part of the world, I got to live abroad for a month and experience cultures that were new to me. And the Pad Thai is to die for!

Bryce will write a separate article highlighting our memorable experiences in Southeast Asia. Also, we went through a company called The Clymb, who put together an incredible and ridiculously low cost 11-day vacation package for $750 (minus airfare).

Hanging out with elephants at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary in Chang Mai, Thailand.

But running a retreat while also trying to support Full-Time Freedom Week was tough. The digital nomad thing can work, but it’s extremely challenging when the people you work with are working hard at 3:00 am my time.

Additionally, the retreat was a new concept and trying to nurture it, and Full-Time Freedom Week at the same time proved very difficult. Thankfully, I have very talented partners and the event was a huge hit. Lesson learned, though: Stop overcommitting.

I flew “home” to Dallas, Texas from Thailand—a 32-hour journey with a brutal eight-hour layover in Shanghai, China—had one day of rest before we drove to Savannah, Georgia in five days for another Xscapers convergence. I must’ve had a bad case of FOMO (fear of missing out) because it’s hard to say no to stuff that sounds so fun!

I’m happy we went to Savannah, though. We met up with our friends William and Porter Trinkle, and so many other new and old friends, who welcomed us with open arms and hearts. But still, a little much with the travel—right?

Lastly, Bryce and I decided to enroll in a business development program and we’re looking forward to working together to learn how to better serve our audiences and grow our businesses. More on that in 2019.

So there you have it. A huge year with lots of growth. I launched courses and online programs; spoke at a number of events; we were in a documentary film; Bryce started trading options, expanded his writing, and went on epic hikes and backpacking trips; we traveled to Southeast Asia; and we continued essential work on our marriage. Whew!

Our Theme Word for 2019

Every year I pick a theme word. In 2018 it was Clarity, which had everything to do with picking the right business model. By the end of the year I got all the clarity I needed, but not about a business model. It was about life. I got clear that I’m wearing myself out by saying, “Yes” to way too many things, and not staying focused on the right things.

I also experienced a handful of situations in which I felt powerless or disempowered. Therefore, my word for 2019 is Powerful. To me, it means that I am in control of how I think, feel, and act at any given time. It also means that I have the power to positively impact a lot people, but only if I focus on the right things.

Bryce has chosen a word this year, too. His word is Fulfillment. Its definition is to be satisfied or happy because of fully developing one’s abilities or character. He’s focused on his actions having purpose, meaning and intention, and is planning a year of learning, development and accomplishment.

What’s Your Theme Word?

Do you have a theme word for 2019? Please let us know and drop it in the comments below.

If you’re looking to transition to full-time RVing or extended travel, click here to get the Wanderlust Transition Plan to help guide you through the process of getting on the road.