Current Location? On the road --Mike & Steph’s full-time RV traveling as a travel nurse family

Current Location? On the road --Mike & Steph’s full-time RV traveling as a travel nurse family

By Mike and Steph
Mike and Steph
renogys blog Jul 25th 2022

All photos by Mike and Steph @lifererouted

Married in 2013, Mike and Stephanie have been RV traveling for great adventures in their 2018 Grand Design Imagine 2600RB all over the U.S. from the west coast to the east coast and occasionally out of the country on trips prior to 2020, with their lovely pet, a rescue dog Khali, who was adopted in Greenville, South Carolina in 2019 and now really enjoys the exploration of the world as well.

While traveling, Steph works 12 hour shifts three or four days a week as an ICU travel nurse. Describing themselves as getting the travel bug, they are really addicted to traveling and love the feeling of being on the road. Today, let’s walk into their life as an off-grid travel nurse family.

(Mike and Steph jump high five in front of their RV.)

1. What inspired you to choose a full-time RV lifestyle?

Mike: It is the same question that we asked ourselves before.

Steph: Though we were happy living in our big house before starting traveling full time, we realized there was a whole big world out there that we would like to see. So, after we went on trips for a couple of years moving from Airbnb rentals, we were tired of packing up stuff and constantly changing rentals during traveling so we decided to choose a camper, a smaller shelter that can go everywhere with us.

Mike: “Taking our house with us” also provides an opportunity for us to travel with our friends on the weekends.

2. What is your first DIY project for the RV?

Mike: It was the upgrade of batteries from Renogy. Before we transferred our batteries from lead-acid to lithium, we had to upgrade our converter for the first step since it didn’t support lithium batteries. It was our first DIY project. We’re always learning and not running our lead-acid batteries below 50% is something that we did not learn until a couple of years into living in this camper.

3. What is the proudest design of your RV?

Mike: We took the dinette out since it took up the entire area and we rarely had guests. So, my wife and I designed and built a desk area for us to edit videos for YouTube, providing a work area for us, which made more sense to us. Besides, the main reason we bought this particular camper is for the regular size bathroom, which is actually huge for an RV, and we were satisfied with that. On the other hand, though our biggest concern about RV life at the beginning was that we were going to lose a lot of space, we’ve gotten used to it and even felt big thanks to the big size of the bathroom.

4. Could you introduce a typical day for you to us?

Mike: It depends on whether Steph works twelve-hour shifts for three or four days a week as a travel nurse. When Steph goes to work, I usually edit and do a lot of household stuff, like flushing the tanks, laundry, etc. When she is off work, we can go on adventures together and explore the world, such as going hiking and shooting videos.

5. During the progress of the setup or installation, is there anything surprising or unexpected?

Mike: The biggest thing that I realized is that as I did more research I realized we could become more self-reliant. When I upgraded the batteries, I researched a lot and found being off-grid is not as impossible as it seems. Components are much more accessible from companies, which provides various options to make it easy. I really never would have thought four years ago that I could master these skills and become self-reliant right now. It is phenomenal to me because I love the off-grid lifestyle and enjoy the feeling of doing my own things, like creating my own power instead of depending on plugging in.

(Steph installs new Renogy Bluetooth Lithium-ion Phosphate Batteries.)

6. Talking about your future planning. Are there any plans to move back to the city or restart an on-grid life?

Steph: When we started traveling six years ago, our plan was two years, but right now it has been six years and we have sold our house, so “anything is a possibility when you are living on the road.”

In their view, rather than moving back to a big city or a big property in the future, they would prefer buying a small dwelling if necessary, but are now addicted to their fantastic way of traveling, so they do not think about doing that as often.

7. Are there any favorite places or experiences you would like to share with us?

Mike and Steph: There are many places in the U.S. that off-griders could go and boondock, such as Sedona, Arizona, Nevada, etc, mostly out west. Even in the desert, there are many RV boondocking opportunities. Among them, their most impressive place is Wyoming where they did not need to worry about electricity or water and enjoyed the peaceful and open environment without the disturbance of cell services. Moreover, their lovely dog Khali also enjoys running wild while boondocking.

It can be seen obviously that they became more excited when talking about their impressive experiences as they really feel passionate about traveling.

(Mike cooks with griddle using RV power.)

8. When was the first time that you came across Renogy products or why did you choose us?

Mike: When I started looking into upgrading our battery system a couple of years ago, I discovered some off-griders were doing Renogy projects and got to know that Renogy is a highly-recommended company with a warranty and great customer service, which makes it easier for customers dealing with technical problems. In addition to that, with the whole battery system provided, it is possible for us to stick with one company for all the components, like the batteries, inverters, and solar panels, not only saving time but satisfying our requirements of integrity and aesthetic.

Mike: “Taking our house with us” also provides an opportunity for us to travel with our friends on the weekends.

9. What special advice do you have for someone seeking to go off-grid or want to start their boat/van life?

Mike: Before you prepare an off-grid system, the first thing you need to do is to figure out what you want out of your power system. For example, you need to make sure whether you would like to live completely off-grid or get 80% of your electricity from self-reliance. By identifying what you want to achieve, then you can research the best way to do that and how to make that system work.

We are not experts, but our original intention of doing our YouTube channel, Lifererouted, was to share our lifestyle with people and make people feel like they can do it themselves as well. We do hope we can give power and confidence to our audiences to live more off-grid or just spend a weekend in the mountains.

During our conversation, Mike mentioned that he loved to use Renogy DC Home app, which is not only a Bluetooth connection app to monitor the batteries, but also provides a community for enthusiasts to share their stories. Mike also posted videos on it to share with others and the points received can be used to buy Renogy products. Our app is continuing to be improved for a better user experience.