We are Danella & Allie: a queer couple living and traveling in our 42-foot fifth wheel. We center our lives around travel and immersing ourselves in nature. We love hiking in a variety of landscapes, especially inside of National Parks. Having our home on wheels has been ideal for our lifestyle, since we can be out in nature one week and then parked in Las Vegas the next.
We’ve been traveling this way, full-time, since 2018, and have only recently purchased an annual campsite near Mt. Hood, in Oregon. 2020 was a rough year for travelers (and everyone!) and we decided it would be nice to have a home-base for the weeks and months that we aren’t traveling in different parts of the country. We feel that our Pacific Northwest location is a perfect access point to mountains, forests, rivers, and the ocean. From our campground at Mt. Hood we can take day trips to visit the waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, we can drive the Fruit Loop to buy fresh produce, or we can even spend the day in the city of Portland.
Embracing Our Love of Travel
Our relationship and subsequent travel adventures, began on the other side of the country, in Portland, Maine. Upon meeting each other in person, we went scrambling along the rocks leading up to one of Maine’s many picturesque lighthouses. We continued to spend all of our free time together outdoors, visiting neighboring states in New England. We loved taking weekend trips up to New Hampshire for hiking. We even hopped on a plane down to Florida one winter to explore the warm panhandle state. In 2017, a three month road trip in our Jeep showed us just how important travel is to our happiness.
Discovering Full-Time RV Travel Possibilities
Our road trip brought us to one of our favorite National Parks, Olympic National Park, where we would meet another young couple. We learned about how they live and travel in their RV full-time and we were immediately curious. We laid in bed that night and spent hours on YouTube researching the many questions about RV travel that were suddenly bouncing around in our heads:
- What type of RV is right for us?
- How big of an RV do we need?
- How will we make income remotely?
- Where do we want to travel to?
- How will we have a stable internet connection?
- What kind of hook-ups do we need?
We knew immediately that RV living and travel would be all about accessing nature and outdoor experiences across the country. We were especially drawn to National Parks because of their educational opportunities and because of the preservation of those spaces. We have visited over 25 national parks since meeting, but there are still so many more that we’d like to see some day. Some of our favorites include the Badlands National Park, Acadia National Park, and Olympic National Park. We even got engaged at sunset in Rocky Mountain National Park! Allie promised that we would never stop visiting all of the mountains, in all of the lands, for as long as we have this gift of life. This was the perfect promise to be making to a wandering soul and Sagittarius, like Danella.
Creating Community on the Road
It was important to us that we find a way to digitally keep a record of all of our travels. It was also essential to us that we get and stay connected to other LGBTQ+ couples and travelers. We decided to brand ourselves as Wander Free and Queer and we made an Instagram account to store our memories and connections. The name was chosen intentionally, in order to be visible to our community and allies, and also to encompass what we do: We wander freely and queerly throughout the county in our RV! We have shared our RV adventures from the very beginning and we don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Over the last few years Wander Free and Queer has become a small business where we sell our crochet products, connect with Queer community and promote LGBTQ+ representation, especially within the traveler community. We hope to see WFQ grow and become a business where we bring people together and offer products that bring visibility to the LGBTQ+ community.
Benefits of RVing Full-Time
Just because our RV is stationary doesn’t mean we won’t continue traveling. We want to visit Crater Lake and the North Cascades in summer 2021 and hope to take ourselves to the desert for winter 2021. We love chasing the sun and warm weather. We hope to make it to Alaska someday to explore the many National Parks there! We even call ourselves “DeeNAllie” as a play on Denali National Park. Allie did promise to bring Danella to ALL the mountains, and Denali is the biggest in the USA at over 20,000 feet tall!
There will be times that we will hitch up our RV and take it with us on adventures, but other times we plan to rent a hotel or an AirBnB. This lifestyle is so flexible! We love living in our tiny space, but it’s also life-giving to take a break from having to dump your own tanks and take quick showers. RV life requires that you become more mindful of your day to day lifestyle habits. It can feel like a luxury staying in a hotel room where you can just flush toilet paper right down the toilet without a care in the world!
Someday in the distant future, we plan to have a smaller camper that we can take off-grid and in which we can experience more boondocking. We want to explore the National Parks of Utah and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) lands in Arizona. We honestly don’t ever see ourselves without some kind of home on wheels in which to travel. Once you experience and have an understanding of RV life, it’s hard to step away!
We are grateful that we made the decision, three years ago, to transition to RV living. This lifestyle has taught us so much about ourselves, each other, and the world we are exploring. We have learned to be resourceful, proactive, and adaptable. We continue to choose this life because of the flexibility and accessibility it offers us. We can pick up and go whenever and wherever we’d like (or, at least wherever we can squeeze a 42-foot fifth wheel). We find ourselves comfortable living with fewer material things, especially because those things have been replaced with remarkable experiences, memories, and time together as a little family.
About the authors: We are Danella and Allie of Wander Free and Queer. We live and travel full-time in our Fifth Wheel with our two dogs. We started a small crochet business on the road in 2018 and we enjoy creating products that bring visibility to the LGBTQ+ community. In our travels, we enjoy hiking, rafting and visiting National Parks.