Ready to take the leap to RVing full-time but don’t quite know how to get started? New La Mesa RV owners, Newstate Nomads, are an envy worthy couple who have done just that. The two met while working separate divisions for amusement park operations, have been adventuring together for years and recently got engaged in July. Today they live, work and play from the road with their two pugs Piper and Ella in tow.
We sat down with the power-duo to talk all things RV living. From their choice to live on the road, the transition and the day-to-day realities of road life, to their tips for budgeting and favorite spot to camp across country, we cover all the important topics. For all your wanderlust inspiration, enjoy the full interview below.
All photography provided by Newstate Nomads
Hi guys! Tell us your story! How did you meet?
Newstate Nomads: We’re Howard and Katelyn. We’ve been together for several years and just got engaged in July! We met over a shared love of thrill rides when we both worked for different divisions of one of the largest amusement park operators in the world. We crossed paths at the grand opening of a record-breaking roller coaster in Charlotte, North Carolina.
What made you decide to RV full-time?
NN: We just recently began our RV adventure in August, but had been talking about living life on the road for a while. It was more of a long-term goal/dream. The decision to take the plunge on full-time RV living was driven by our new found freedom to work remotely. We didn’t want to hold off on such an exciting adventure, and since the stars aligned, we jumped at the opportunity. We were living in Miami Beach at the time so we just put everything in storage and hit the road! The past couple of months have been amazing. We are both loving RV life.
What do you do for a living?
Howard: I’m a Chief Technology Officer for a virtual reality medical training company. Before moving into the world of tech, I spent several decades working on high end TV, film and music video projects around the world. Working on amusement parks brought me over to technology (where media has become more interactive), so I jumped into new and emerging tech like augmented reality, virtual reality and interactive ride systems.
Katelyn: I am a Social Media and Public Relations Consultant. In my prior work life, I spent several years as a TV News Reporter & Anchor in Richmond, VA covering hundreds of stories. I then made the transition from reporting to PR and led Communications at an amusement park outside of Richmond. Our clients are spread out across the country, so working remotely is no problem. As long as we both have internet, phones and computers we can work from anywhere!
Has travel always been a part of your life or is this a new venture?
NN: We’ve always loved to travel. Most of our relationship has been centered around travel and exploring new places. When we began dating we were long-distance, so oftentimes meeting at a location was easier. One of our favorite trips we’ve taken together was to the Canary Islands of Spain. Our next overseas trip is to Germany and Croatia! One of the best things about traveling for us is experiencing new things and learning about new places and cultures, which is why it was so important for us to find the right RV to get us close to the action!
What are your 5 tips on saving/budgeting while RVing full time?
1. Only buy memberships when you need them, and only right before you need them! There are so many clubs and memberships now and it’s so easy to join them instantly. The promise of reduced or free camping (along with other benefits) seems appealing, but you want to make sure you do your research.
2. Download the Gas Buddy App. It’s worth it to go a few extra miles off the interstate (particularly with diesel) to save a good amount per fill up.
3. Remember you have a kitchen on board! Groceries will always be less expensive then eating out for breakfast, lunch and dinner. On travel days we check that we’re stocked with items to make sandwiches and quick grab-and-go snacks in our pantry.
4. Skip the bottled water and buy a filter. We bought an in-line water filter that connects to our water hose and we have one beneath our sink. Hello double-filtered water!
5. Compare all your options for camping! Don’t just stick to the clubs you already have, because sometimes smaller campgrounds, state and national parks have fantastic rates. We totally shop around and some of our favorite spots have been state parks!
What’s the best part about living on the road?
NN: We’ve already found so many great things about life on the road, but the flexibility to spend as much or as little time in a location has been wonderful. We spent ten days in Richmond, VA working and visiting friends and family. Then, we were ready to go explore areas of the north east that neither one of us had visited before. Because of the length and overall size of our Class C Winnebago Navion, we have close to zero restrictions on where we can go and stay. Stopping in a city is an easy reality and we don’t have to tow a car. That was really important for us when choosing our home on wheels.
The hardest part?
NN: The hardest part for us was actually getting our lives ready to transition to life on the road. Living this way is the fun, easy part! It was challenging to pack up our apartment, find a storage unit large enough to “shop” for what we needed, set up our RV insurance, find a mail service… the list goes on and on. The research we did was a tremendous help in setting us up for success. It was 100% worth it, but there was a lot work involved in making sure we tied up all loose ends first.
Favorite spot/part of the country you’ve visited so far in your RV?
NN: We have driven our little home on wheels from Ft. Myers, Florida up to Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada! A few of our favorite stops have been St. Augustine, FL (there is so much history there and an all around beautiful area to sight-see) and we loved spending time in Acadia National Park in Maine. We highly recommend the driving loop of the park if you’re short on time. Canada was also wonderful! Cape Breton Island was full of adventure. We enjoyed live music, delicious food and truly friendly people. We are also really excited to head west this fall and winter!
How is it traveling with your furry friends?
NN: Our pups are Piper & Ella, two puggle sisters from the same litter who just turned 5. They love it when the RV is parked. We are working through some anxiety with Ella on travel days. She just recently got used to the car rides, and is finally adjusting when the RV is in motion. Being able to spend so much time with them is wonderful. They’re our fur-children and we love watching them experience new things. One of their favorite activities is running as fast as they can up and down the beach, so we always search for dog friendly beaches along our routes. We recently took them to Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park for sunrise. Ella loved it! Piper didn’t understand why we were up so early. Haha!
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to RV with their companion?
NN: If you’re planning to travel with your furry friend, definitely invest in a webcam with a temperature sensor in it. Ours will send us an alert if the temperature inside rises or drops to a certain predetermined level. I also like having the ability to check on them periodically when we are away because I am an obsessive dog mom. We made sure to give them a designated spot in the RV that could be their little area with their bedding from home and their toys. Just like at their previous home, when it’s bedtime, they know where to go and seem to feel comfort having their own space. Lastly, always travel with their up-to-date shot records. Most state parks will require a copy of a rabies vaccination. Keep these in a location where they are easy to get to quickly.
Are you new to the RV lifestyle? We want to hear from you! Leave us a note in the comment section below and check out our Top 10 Spots to See The Changing Leaves this Fall.