RVing is different for everyone. For some, it’s a weekend getaway or short vacation. For others, it’s an entire summer or season, crossing terrain and following the weather. And then you have those that make it into a full-time lifestyle.
Bryanna and Craig Royal of Crazy Family Adventure fall into that last category. For the past seven years, their family of six has lived full-time in an RV – traveling the country and growing as a family, without putting down any roots. The couple recently sat down with Camping World to discuss their full-time RV life and how they turned their RV into a family home.
To RV or Not to RV
“There was no ‘Aha’ moment,” explains Bryanna Royal regarding the decision to full-time RV with her husband, Craig. They seemingly had it all – a newly built home with four young children (ages at the time of 6, 4, 4, and 2) and a steady job. However, something was missing. “We wanted to do more, travel more, see more,” says Bryanna. They saw other people, including extended members of their family, living full-time RV lives. The two toyed with the idea of RVing as a family and began to question if it was something they could really do.
The answer evolved into a resounding “yes.” The Royals decided they could always pack it up and go back to their “regular life” if the lifestyle didn’t pan out, so they had nothing to lose. They were already homeschooling their children, so schooling on the road wouldn’t be too much of an adjustment learning-wise for the kids. Luckily, Craig’s career in the tech field allowed him the flexibility of working remotely. So, with all the initial boxes checked, they took the leap in May 2014.
Seven years later and still RVing, it’s safe to say the Royal family is a fan of RV living.
Some RV DIY
As a party of six, plus two dogs, Craig and Bryanna knew it would be tricky to find an RV on the market that would fit their family perfectly. Bryanna adds, “We couldn’t find a model with four beds for our kids.”
That’s where DIY and interior customization come into play. They purchased their first RV, a 39’ Class A, and immediately set to work making modifications – adding bunks, sleep areas, baskets, and storage space – to fit their family.
“Some of the renovations were done out of necessity, but some because we wanted to do it, to make it feel more like home,” says Bryanna, adding, “This is our house. Of course, we want to paint the walls and make it our own.”
Finding the Right RV
Crazy Family Adventure has had an adventure indeed just trying to find the right RV for their family. They started their full-time RV life in a 39’ Class A, but later downsized to a 23’ Class C, and then again to a 21’ travel trailer. This might seem bizarre for a family of six but they had their reasoning.
“We wanted to be more flexible in our travels, get to some places that allowed smaller rigs like national parks,” Craig explains. The smaller RV also allowed them to go south of the border to Mexico, which with its smaller roads, would have proven difficult in a 39’ diesel pusher.
The family eventually grew tired of “roughing it” and upgraded to their current rig, a Keystone Montana. This has proven “just right” for the Royal family, providing some luxuries they were hungry for including a residential fridge, bedroom areas for each child, and a bedroom just for the parents. It was important that the kids each have their own space to decorate how they wanted in order to feel the stability of a home. One of the biggest perks of RVing full time is having your home on wheels. Consequently, your home is stable yet your backyard changes constantly.
Craig and Bryanna still did some DIY and reno projects to make their fifth-wheel a perfect fit. They removed the dinette and sofa and added a couch that could accommodate more members of their family.
They chose to replace the dinette as they don’t often eat inside, but rather at picnic tables at campgrounds. The Royals experienced their fair share of renovation blunders like a kitchen backsplash fail and a new couch that lost a wrestling match a mere month after purchasing it. There will always be some setbacks on the RV renovation front, but those stressful moments always make the best memories when looking back.
Full Time on the Horizon
Despite starting their full-time RV adventure with a little hesitation, Craig and Bryanna don’t see any other way of life for their family at this point. It required some growth, some fixes, some paint, and some personal touches, but now their RV perfectly fits their life and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
They love that driving across the country allows them to see more than simply flying from point A to point B. For example, parking and staying in Yellowstone is much cheaper and more thrilling than staying at a nearby hotel. As a result, they’ve met (and continue to meet) some amazing people within the RV community.
“RV camps are more like the old school neighborhoods,” says Bryanna. “Back in like the 80’s when we would just run around barefoot and you’d get out in the morning and wouldn’t come back until night.”
Their kids get to meet other kids from all over the country, while Craig and Bryanna get to chat with other adults around the campfire. The biggest bonus to the RV lifestyle is the RV itself. When you’ve explored all there is to explore in one space or you’re not liking the surroundings, move. Every day, every stop is a new adventure.