It is rare, but there are some people you meet along your joinery who you are instantly inspired by. That special, kinetic energy was felt when we we sat down with Jason and Kristel of Exploring our Compass. This duo has been on the road for eight months and soaking in every moment. With their trusted greyhound along for the journey, this couple says their favorite part of living on the road is waking up to a new backyard every day. That’s something we can get behind. Below we chatted about finding the best RV for your lifestyle (where they encourage you to go through as many as you need to find the perfect fit), RVing with pets, favorite campgrounds, their YouTube channel and so much more. Check out the interview below!
La Mesa RV: Tell us about yourselves! What do you do for a living? How did you meet?
Jason & Kristel: We are Jason and Kristel and we met in downtown Savannah, Georgia. She was with a group of friends and he was driving his old 1970 Volkswagen Thing. The car caught her attention and we kept in touch until eventually turning it in to an intimate relationship. Jason has worked in aviation since 2003, when he joined the Army. He has worked on anything from AH-64 Apache helicopters to Gulfstream G650 private jets. Kristel currently does most of the work camping requirements that allow us to stay on campground properties for next to nothing.
LMRV: What got you interested in the RV lifestyle? How long have you been on the road?
J&K: We have both been interested with living in an RV and traveling for years now and we actually started doing shorts trips in a 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon. The thought of being debt free, escaping from the normal every day stresses of life, and seeing places in this country that we have never been too is what really got us interested in this lifestyle. We both come from divorces where our significant others didn’t have the same goals and aspirations as we did. We have been on the road for eight months now and loving every second of it!
LMRV: Which RV(s) do/have you owned? Why did you choose the rig you have now?
J&K: We have been through so many different RVs in our goal to find the current rig. We started like anyone else, in a tent! We upgrade to a 1980 Volkswagen Vanagon that had no A/C or bathroom and then moved to a 1996 Popup camper that at least had A/C but the canvas leaked like crazy during rainstorms. From the popup camper, we upgraded to a 2021 Keystone Bullet bunkhouse that we quickly grew out of once we really went full time. We now own a 2021 Grand Design Solitude 382WB-R and absolutely love everything about it! Front living, two pull out couches, residential fridge and oven, huge bathroom, and our bed is on a slide! We could not have asked for anything better!
LMRV: Where are you currently and what destinations are on the horizon for 2022?
J&K: We are currently in Florida fulfilling a work camping assignment while Jason continues his aviation career in Miami. Destinations for 2022 include Charleston, South Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee. The ultimate goal for us is to head out west but we’re not sure if that’s going to be in our cards for 2022.
LMRV: Run us through a day in the life of living and working on the road.
J&K: We begin our normal days waking up to our greyhound begging for food! After feeding the little rascal, we enjoy our coffee while talking to each other about random nonsense. Kristel’s work day starts at 9 am when she begins here shift at the KOA we are currently staying at. Most of her day consists of answering phones, helping campers with any issues, and making sure the facilities are clean. Jason’s day as an aircraft maintenance manager usually depends on either the flight schedule or what type of maintenance is due soon. Depending on what’s happening with the aircraft will depend on if Jason needs to go in to work or not; some of his assignments can be completed via remote.
LMRV: Top 5 favorite things about your RV?
1. That backyard always changes!
2. If you don’t like where you’re at, you can up and move!
3. The rig is super spacious but easy to clean.
4. Our bathroom has double sinks.
5. Our residential appliances make it a lot easier to live the full time life without sacrificing certain things.
LMRV: What are you tips for RVing with pets? Any must have items you bring along?
J&K: Always make sure to have some type of monitor in your rig, such as a Waggle or MarCELL. We use the MarCELL and it allows us to always see what the temperature and humidity is in our rig at all times. It’s a great tool and gives us a peace of mind when we are out adventuring in parts of the area that aren’t dog friendly. We also make sure that we always have our dogs health and shot records on us. We keep them in a book bag that is always ready to go, so if we are out hiking or site seeing, we have them readily available if an emergency should arise.
LMRV: What made you decide to start your YouTube channel?
J&K: Our YouTube channel was an idea that we had to help friends and family keep track of where we are at any given time. However, what has actually been our favorite part so far is the ability to look back at all the fun we have had with each other over the past eight months. It’s like a little time capsule that we can always go back and look at when our full time RV life is said and done (whenever that may be).
LMRV: Do you have any projects on the horizon?
J&K: A solar install on our rig is one of our biggest projects that we would like to tackle sometime soon! The only downside of having a residential fridge is that it doesn’t run off propane so boondocking is a little hard for us right now. Solar would greatly increase our ability to venture out!
LMRV: Top 10 tips for newbie full-time RVers?
1. Things are going to break and issues will happen, so just know that going in to it and you’ll be that much less stressed.
2. Learn as much as you can about your rig; YouTube and owners manuals are the best resources!
3. Your first RV might not necessarily be your last. It took us a few before we realized what we needed/wanted.
4. Learn how to do as much maintenance as you can on your own, this will help in situations where things break.
5. Never be afraid to ask a fellow camper for help, most are MORE than willing to offer advice!
6. Always know the height and length of your trailer. This will help when towing under bridges and reserving camping spots.
7. A mail forwarding service is super helpful when traveling and well worth the money. Research which state is the best choice for you when setting up your domicile.
8. Don’t be afraid of the unknown, we have all been there!
9. Take your time when setting up and breaking down camp. Safety first and going to fast causes accidents.
10. Remember, the only difference between an adventure and an ordeal is attitude!
LMRV: What is your favorite campground you’ve stayed at to date?
J&K: Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee without a doubt!! We had the most fun ever there. There was so much to do. Between the hiking, waterfalls, and random water areas to swim in, we just couldn’t get enough! The wildlife there is abundant and they are NOT scared of people. We actually took a selfie with a deer that walked up to our campsite not once but multiple days out of the week we were there. The park also has access to a small lake that allows for kayaking and paddle boarding. Fall Creek Falls has easily been our favorite campground to date and it’s going to be hard to beat.
LMRV: Anything we missed that you’d like to share? Please do so here!
J&K: We would just like to say how much we absolutely love this RV community and the people in it! We have met the nicest families since we have been doing this lifestyle and we really feel that we are lucky to be a part of it. Almost everyone you come in contact with on a daily basis is so friendly and people will literally give fellow RVers the shirt off their back if that’s what needs to be done! We jumped in to this life quickly and were a little nervous about the transition but this community has been amazing and we feel more at home now than we did in our sticks and bricks!
Ways To Follow Jason & Kristel’s Travels:
Looking for more RV explorer inspiration? Check out our interviews with RVers across the country by clicking here.