The Adventures of Reba


Why small living?

Caryn grew up sailing and spent a year traveling the Pacific Ocean with her family while in middle school, and always dreamed of sailing again. Beau has ridden his motorcycle around the country and to Panama and back. He has long dreamed of owning a tiny home. In 2016 we bought a sailboat, s/v Emmylou, and sailed her from San Diego to Seattle. We lived aboard for 4 years, mostly day sailing around the Puget Sound. We quickly learned that boats are expensive and time-consuming, and we spent more time at the dock than we would have liked. Plus docking is hard and Beau tends to get seasick. In 2021 we sold the boat and bought an RV, hoping to finally travel like we’d been dreaming of doing!

Why now?

Caryn has been an oncology social worker for 10 years, working mostly with cancer patients that were facing end of life. Some were young people just starting their lives, some were older and just about to retire. We would explore their regrets and missed opportunities, their hopes and bucket lists. Because of that work I resolved long ago to make my dreams happen now and not wait for someday. Luckily, Beau shares this perspective on life and adventure! Additionally, working in medical and technology fields during the COVID-19 pandemic we also experienced significant burnout and exhaustion. It brought up a lot of questions for us (and many other people) about work-life balance and our measures of success. We’ve made significant changes by cutting back our hours, taking a sabbatical, buying the RV and hitting the road, trying to focus on mindfulness and rest.

Why is your RV named Reba?

We named our sailboat Emmylou after Emmylou Harris and a childhood nickname that Caryn had. When choosing a name for our RV we decided to stick with the female country musician theme, picking Reba, because why not?! Beau, the King of Puns, likes to call her “RVeba McEnTIRES”!

What do you do for work?

Beau has worked remotely for many years as a software developer and now CTO. Caryn has worked part-time remotely since 2021 as an oncology social worker.

How long do you plan to travel? Where do you plan to go?

For as long as possible, we have no set end date! While we have general goals and plans (drive to Alaska, see everything, etc.), most of our travel plans are only made a few days or weeks at a time due to weather.

Where do you stay? Will you stay in my driveway?

We have stayed in private and city-run RV parks, state and national parks, and on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) dispersed campgrounds. We’ve stayed in a few driveways and residential streets too! If your driveway or street can fit our RV, let us know and we’ll reach out if we’re in your area. To stay in your driveway we will need at least 28’ x 8’ of space. Helpful, but not required: an electrical plug, water spigot, shower, laundry. Please do not take offense if we aren’t able to take you up on your offer to host us while we’re in town this time. Hopefully we’ll see you next time!

Why did you buy this particular RV?

We spent several months researching RV sizes and brands, from Class Bs (vans) to C+ and 5th wheels. We felt the B+ was the right size to accommodate our space needs (i.e. hobbies) while still allowing us more mobility than many larger RVs get. To us, rigs from most manufacturers we saw felt like being in a cardboard box. We were impressed by the LTV reputation, but had never seen one in person because few dealerships had any. Mid-pandemic the wait time for new orders skyrocketed from 9 months to 2+ years, meaning if we wanted one sooner than later, we would need to buy used. With a lot of luck we found our LTV at the Rec Van Show in San Diego, allowing us to see the RV before buying it, and knew immediately that it was the right one for us! We were initially leaning toward the rear twin bed (RTB) or rear lounge (RL) models because they had two distinct living spaces, which was important for us because Beau is a night owl and Caryn an early riser. Luckily the island bed (IB) also fit this need and we’re very happy it’s what we ended up with! The IB has the most exterior storage of all the LTV models and the walk-around bed has been an unexpectedly great feature.

How do you get mail?

Not having an address really cuts down on your ability to just hop online and order whatever you want or need (it’s a pro and a con sometimes)! We use a mail service called Dockside Solutions where we’ve had an account since living on the sailboat. We also get a lot of help from friends and family along the way acting as our post office.

Do you have a YouTube channel or TikTok or (fill in the blank)?

No, we are not monetized in any way, we are not influencers or ambassadors, and we try to minimize posting fatigue and social media overwhelm. We have an Instagram account and this blog, that’s it! The content we create is minimal and mostly for our own memories and to share with our families and friends.

Do you eat out a lot?

Not very often, mostly we eat food we fix in the RV. We have a two-burner stove, a convection microwave, and a 3-qt instant pot.

Do you shower in your RV or at the campsite?

We mostly use campsite showers. While our RV does have a dry bath (shower is separate from the bathroom), we don’t use it very often. We don’t use city water (we fill our fresh water tank rather than staying connected by hose) because we don’t like the hose taste of water and don’t want the weight of filtering systems. We also have a macerator, so we don’t use a stinky slinky and don’t stay connected to sewer. To minimize fresh water tank fills and grey water dumps needed, we use campsite showers instead.

Do you tow a car?

No, we don’t tow. There are only a handful of places we haven’t been able to take the RV because of height / length restrictions, and we were okay with missing those places. We figure it takes equal or less time for us to pack up the RV and go exploring as it would to unhook and hook up a tow vehicle. And with a tow we would likely have to unhook more than needed because you can’t reverse a toad. We have two e-bikes and that’s been enough for our needs!