If you don’t take a risk and follow your intuition, you’ll never know what you’re capable of. For years, I worked hard to have the “American Dream”, which led me to living in a busy city juggling all the hats I had. Often, I would feel burnt out and not have the energy to do the things I loved most. I was comfortable but also stagnant. It got to the point where I dreaded going to work and commuting, which I knew wasn’t healthy for my mental or physical state.
Feeling the Need for Change
At home, I had a cat named Indigo, a sweet black cat I rescued 8 years ago when she was a kitten. While I was at work, all she could do was stare out the window, which faced another apartment complex. This resulted in her being bored a lot, even when we played. I felt bad that she was stagnant at home and in a lot of ways, I felt that way too. Deep down I wanted a better life for both of us. Something had to change.
While I was figuring out what the next chapter of my life would be, I was exploring art and making watercolor paintings as a form of therapy. The art I would create was all based on self love and doing the things you loved. Organically, I started showing my paintings, then vending at art shows and live painting. This gave me a sense of purpose and joy by sharing my art and my story. It also gave me the opportunity to travel to shows across the country in my little 2002 Toyota Corolla.
Connecting to Life on the Road
When I drove out of my city and into the unknown, I felt a scene of freedom and adventure. I would sometimes camp out in nature and go on solo hikes. This first taste of being temporarily nomadic was pure bliss. I also enjoyed that the reason I was traveling was for my art. I was confident in myself to explore on my own and make opportunities for myself no matter where I was. And sure, I wasn’t making as much money as I would be in my regular job, but the fulfillment I felt after each adventure was worth it.
That’s when I had a gut feeling, I wanted to have my home with me while I traveled. And to have the opportunity to have my cat with me and explore the world together. I knew it was going to be a huge risk and learning curve, but it was a risk I was willing to take.
Making Dreams a Reality
For the next 4 years, I kept my dreams alive by writing and creating vision boards. The act of turning my thoughts and ideas into something physical really helped me stay focused on my dreams. Especially during those moments of stagnation. I would also visit RV dealerships and see RVs to get a feel for what it’s like to be in one. Also connecting with other solo Female RV Nomads that I could relate to through their videos and group chats videos helped me feel like I wasn’t alone.
The most challenging part of the process is letting go. I knew I couldn’t have it all and I knew my limits. I would have to sacrifice some comforts in my life and be uncomfortable. If I wanted to live this dream, I had to let go of stuff – physically and mentally. The biggest one was letting go of my house. I had my house for 6 years and was a landlord. I took time to make that choice, after weighing out the pros and cons, seeing if I could juggle both. But I knew deep down inside I wanted less stress in my life and less things to worry about. Once I did let go of my house I felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. It gave me more flexibility to manage my time and resources. Less monthly bills to worry about the more time I had to focus my energy on my second home, my home on wheels.
I know this isn’t the path for everyone, but for me, it made the most sense. To this day, I don’t regret making this choice. I know I can always go back to being a homeowner if I wanted to, but with more knowledge of what I want and don’t want in a home.
Finding the Perfect RV by Renting First
Before I set out to invest in the RV I wanted, I rented the RV I was looking to buy. Renting an RV gave me a realistic idea of what I wanted and didn’t want in an RV. I could see how well I managed driving, parking, cooking, dumping and even cleaning. It was also a priority to see if I had enough space to put my art studio and still have room for Indigo. A lot of unknowns became clear once I rented.
January 2020, I bought my dream RV, a 2016 Majestic 19g from Cruise America. I fell in love with this RV the moment I stepped foot in it. It was the perfect size and fit for me and Indigo. It was easy to drive, I loved the layout and because I rented I had a clear vision how I wanted to modify it.
Embracing Growth and Change
The risk of letting go and flowing my bliss paid off. Living in my RV fulltime was nothing like I expected. It comes with challenges like any home, but it also gave me the freedom and flexibility I’ve always dreamed of.
The most rewarding part of seeing this dream come true is seeing Indigo enjoy this lifestyle as much as I do. She loves looking outside the windows, going on walks with me and cuddling with me at night. Her personality has come out so much since living in an RV. In a lot of ways, I feel like I did this for her. She’s living the best life now and it’s been a joy watching her personality shine every day. It feels so good being with her every day and creating a special bond with my travel companion.
Following the call to do something new is never easy. It can feel scary stepping into the unknown with no real idea where it will lead to. But by following your dreams it will lead you to possibilities you couldn’t have imagined was possible.
About the author: Vanna Mae is a visual artist and influencer, traveling around the country in her 19ft Class C RV with her cat Indigo. Keep up with their adventures on Instagram @vannamaeart and on YouTube.