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Ever dream of getting away from it? Learn how to prepare and plan your own adventure as Mike shares how he and his wife took their family on an RV trip across the Americas!
Family Adventure: How to Plan for an Epic RV Trip
We've been talking in a series of episodes about travel all this month- how to plan these different types of trips for your family that you'll enjoy and remember for a long time. But have you thought about doing something bigger?
Something where you don't just go away for a week on a vacation or a cruise, but actually take a break from your job, your house, and explore a different part of the world for a while?
Sounds pretty crazy, right? I think most people would have a few things. That immediately come to mind about why it wouldn't work.
- How would we pay for this?
- Would we be able to find a job after we return?
- Could we sell your house?
- If you have kids, how would they deal with things?
They're normal questions and concerns to have. I'd take it as a sign that you're someone who thinks things through. But wouldn't it be fun to shake up things a little?
Mike Heroux of Dividend Guy is on the show to help you go from dream to reality by sharing his story and take on things. He and his wife are wrapping a trip they took as a family five through the Americas.
In this episode, we look into:
- how they prepare their finances and themselves for their RV trip
- dealing with difficulties on the road
- how you can start building some income on the side for your own adventure
Hope you enjoy it!
If you want to see how another family toured the country, check out my interview with Derek and Carrie Olsen.
Resources to Travel More
Thinking about traveling more this year? Here are some resources to check out to get you up and running with travel hacking:
- Best Budget and Money Apps: Personal Capital, Tiller, Mint
- Grow Your Stash Faster: High Yield Savings with CiT Bank
- Jumpstart Your Marriage and Your Money
- How to Be a Travel Hacker
- Credit Cards and Airline Miles – Can You Really Get Free Flights?
- Finding Great Deals on Hotels
- Debt Free Vacations – How It Works for Us
- How to Travel to Exotic, Expensive Cities on $50 a Day
Don't forget to send in your marriage and money questions for our upcoming listener mailbag episode!
Thanks to Our Sponsor Coastal!
Support for this podcast comes from Coastal Credit Union! If you’re living in the Raleigh Durham area and looking to bank better, come check out Coastal today.
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Planning an RV Across the Americas
Elle Martinez: While Mike has always been, as he likes to call it chaotic, this trip wasn't a last-minute or impulsive decision.
Mike Heroux: Yeah, it took us two years to plan it. What happened back then is my wife had a daycare at home. She used to work in a daycare for about 10 years and then when we started have kids she was a stay at home mom for the first kids.
And when we had Calleb, he was kind of like running around with nobody so she opened the daycare and it's a lot of work. She was working like from like six in the morning to almost 6:00 PM at night. And then she was like, you know, I don't want this for the rest of my life.
She started to read about stories about family going for on trips. The the first family we we heard about was a family that went for a bicycle down to Mexico. We started talking about this and I thought it was a bit intense to go like cycling. So we thought how can we do it?
Elle Martinez: The two of them began brainstorming a couple of ideas before finding the right one.
Mike Heroux: The first version was well let's through a world around trips and like live in two, three months in different countries for a year. But with five of us in the family, airplane tickets, renting cars, or going for a five minutes on an Airbnb wasn't was this too much for us.
This is why we started thinking, well, if we can move with her home, then we save on camping. We save on a restaurant. So this is why we decided to buy like a year before a trip to try it out because we never had RV before. So didn't know much what to expect from it. And after a year of practice, we decided that we were good to go. This is how the the project was to place.
Elle Martinez: Okay. So I had to have Mike backup just a little bit because it never occurred to me that there would be such a long training period.. I had this notion that it may be, you need a couple of weeks to learn how to move that thing. Turns out there's much more to prepare for.
Mike Heroux: Well, the thing is, it's a pretty small space for vice people compared to living in a house. So that's the first thing is to get used to like all living in the same space. At home, like kids are very independent, so they cook their own breakfast whenever they want and stuff like that.
But you cannot have this app and in the RV, because like one person is cooking. That person is pretty much taken. 50% of the space available. So you cannot have like kids running around and like going from the bathroom to their bedroom, because it's exactly the same space. Right?
So we needed to know like how to like manage resources. Cause within the RV you have a propane thing you have, like, we had solar panel to be to have. Yeah all the time. We had to learn how to manage all the sources of powers and stuff like that, how everything works.
This is why we wanted to do a little practice. And especially when you pack up for a year, you have a lot of stuff in.
This thing is not like a sport car when it turns everything moves inside. So then you learn that it has to you have to lock everything, all the cabinets and stuff like that has to be attached or something because things are flying across the RV when you turn. So those are the kinds of thing that we need to learn before we leave.
Elle Martinez: In the meantime, the two of them were working on their finances. If it were us, I'm pretty sure my husband would want to save up the whole amount before. But that's not what they were thinking.
Mike had another idea. He was looking at what he wanted to do for income after the trip as well. So he came up with a plan.
Mike Heroux: A few months before the trip. Cause I used to work in the financial industry as a private banker and I was working like evening and nights on my websites. Because we didn't like we didn't have time to save, like whatever it's going to cost me. Maybe like $70,000 for the year. We didn't have time to save for that in two years.
What we did instead of like trying to save as much as possible is I worked as much as possible. So three, four days a week, I was working from 8:00 PM to 2:00 AM in the morning. Keeping my data, but at the same time.
This is now I've built my online income in the meantime so I was making enough when we left to support most of the trips. And so far, I mean, we're coming back home in six weeks now and I will have to I've board like $15,000 for the trip besides like what my online income cannot support. So that's, that's pretty much like what act in there and. What did we decided during the trip is I really like what I'm doing online.
Even though right now, my my website date, it doesn't, it doesn't make enough to support my lifestyle at home for now, but I decided to quit my job anyway and just work full-time when I, once I come back.
I realized that one day I'll be waking up like being 50 or 60 and realized that I really regret not trying to build my company online. I decided, right now is the time. I've been doing that as a sideline for 10 years and each year I had a good excuse of not quitting my job. Like I have the pension plan, the paycheck is good.
And I pretty much like my job, you know, you, you keep hearing stories about people that they were struggling or hitting their job or not happy because their boss were on them.
But I had a very good job and I was good at it. I want to move forward. I want to do my own stuff. I want to, I want to own my company. And when I work, I want to work for myself and right now is the right time to do it.
Elle Martinez: Okay. So you heard that right? He was a private banker making really good money. And he's planning on switching to an online business. I admit it might sound risky. But you have to understand that this wasn't an impulsive decision.
Mike Heroux: No, it's not a gamble because you know, when I was working more for that 18 months before we left, the income started increase.
I've kind of like tried it, there's a, there's a correlation between the number of hours put into the website or any, any kind of ideas of business ideas you can have and the outcome of it. So what I decided to do is once I come back in July, I'll be working between 50 to 60 hours for at least six months before I know that the online income will pick up and then I'll be able to like, just work normal hours after that.
But I know this is what it's coming for for us in the next six months or so.
Elle Martinez: If you thought about making more money on the side now would be a good time to start because you can develop and hone your business before you start to rely on. Mike had some great tips for those starting
Mike Heroux: out. Well, at the beginning, I would say not to have high expectations. I mean, you can expect to make a lot of money on the run. But results are not happening overnight. So you need to work a lot of hours for several months in a row before you can see something happening.
Don't go for the short time, win. Try to think about what's going to happen in six months in a year and three years, and this is how you should your business.
For example, right now I'm making more emphasis on getting people subscribing to my free newsletter, because I want to build the biggest audience I can, and then I'll be able to grow my membership website. The secret I think is to have your own product so then you're, you're in full control of that part.
Now that we have our own products since 2013, well, it's our own product. So we manage it as we want. As long as we offer quality for it, like clients are still in on board and they're willing to pay for that membership or yearly a membership website.
I think this is the the most important thing is to think about the longterm. So. I will try to make money within the first six months, but I think how you can make a lot more in a year or two.
Elle Martinez: Yeah. This podcast isn't about quick wins or people becoming millionaires overnight. It takes a lot of. But speaking about expectations. Mike had some wonderful stories and advice about life on the road.
Mike Heroux: The way you expect your trip to be and the way it's happening. It's two different things. You know, at first we thought, oh, you know, my wife will do school in the morning.
I'll be like an activity or something, or a visit like a museum. That's probably never happened. Like in 300 days of travel. I was quite surprised because we really had like three different reaction.
My oldest my oldest son is William. He was 10 at that time and you kind of became an adult very quick. He was very helpful. He really enjoyed having this Liberty of like, not going to school every day and like doing his stuff whenever he wants. He was helping a lot while Amy, my daughter, which was nine her was like, she was kind of I've been at loss, I would say because she's used in a structured environment going to school and having, you know, deadlines and stuff like that.
Now, like, especially the first month, we were pretty much just, like we wake up one day. We like it. We don't like it. We just like up and leave somewhere else.
So she was kind of lost kind of environment so it's kind of funny because she has very good grades at school. And now she was like the one that had that, that having the most arguments with my with my wife about school, because she didn't feel like she was, you know, like with rules and stuff. So she was a bit lost in that.
My third one was probably like the easiest one to manage because it was, Caleb was four when we left. So basically is the finishing of life is traveling across the world. so he just accustomed very quickly because you didn't know, you know, he didn't have much friends back then because he didn't have it go to school and everything.
So it was very easy for him to just up on board and just settle across the world.
Even though for the most part, things went well for their trip. They were still times were a, got stressful as a couple and a family communication can make a huge difference.
We're kind of on a same pace and, and what I've learned because we met a lot of other families traveling with like on their trip and.
It's important to to be a very good team together because you go through all kinds of emotions and all kinds of like amazing situation. But, you know, sometime it's amazing and sometimes very bad and the bad situation are like 10 times worse than they were at home because you're not in your country and you're not in control.
If you're not part of a good team, if you don't communicate to each other, and if you're who led the other person, like about your emotion and what you think? This is, this could turn very bad.
We just tell the editor, you know, like I don't like this way, so I'm not comfortable and, or my day was crap. You don't have to worry about like, like not saying things, because I think this is the worst part that could have been for for anybody traveling.
You need it in, it needs to get out like automatically. And at first way we did with the kids is we used to add like one supper per week where we would discuss what happened during the week. What did we like? What we did this, like, and what can be done for next week to be?
I mean, your kids are part of that trip too. It's important to remember. It's not their decision. They have to follow you, but it's not their decision so it's important to like make them part of the process.
Elle Martinez: Mike really wanted this trip to be an opportunity for all of them to bond and share this experience together. And in one case that meant being stuck with two forces of nature .
Mike Heroux: Or way to Costa Rica in November, we were in the character left for about. Two weeks at the same place. And we were basically waiting until December 1st because we rented a house in Costa Rica. And what I've been there is there was that you retained Odo that was coming to hit either Costa Rica or Nicaragua.
So we were not sure what's going to happen at that time. Okay. Wasn't quite sure if the RV would survive a tropical storm or hurricane. And on the day that the storm was supposed to hit where we were during the afternoon, we were having lunch and then the owner of the hotel comes comes to us.
My new there's no camera on in the cargo. So you have to park like in the hotel, parking lots and stuff like that. So we were on the beach and the owner says, well, it's no biggie right now, but I heard on the radio that there was her squaking El Salvador creating a small coming on near I got post.
Yeah. So then at first we're not that alarm, cause he said, well, worst comes to worst. We're going to have like a wave of like maybe one or two foot high. So it's not that bad, but I mean, just want to warn you guys. And then 15 minutes later, the siren goes on and it was like, it was incredible. Cause you, you hear like all the people upping in pickups, screaming veterans.
Women and children and dogs, and they were telling me like, it was screaming, like get in your RV and get out. So we had to drive for like five miles to make sure that we were on a safe spot and thank God nothing happened on that place. That's sending me hits like 25 miles up north. And then, so we, we came in.
And we were just like, okay, now we have to wait for their urine cane to hit like later on today
Elle Martinez: in a hurricane
Mike Heroux: on the same day. So that was like quite demanding for us on emotional perspective. So we just like, you know, and it was like, wow. Get this anatomy. So let's get past that. I have wine and then wait by the beach. See what happens.
The night where I went on very smooth and it's kind of funny because we had wrapped up the whole RV had like. I huge plastic, like I made a huge plastic bag out of it. So it was all wrapped up to make sure that there was no leak possible.
Finally, the, the tropical storm hits like 75 miles south of where we were. So the next morning we woke up and we just realized that, you know, in life, you don't have to worry about what could happen and you just have to live through it.
If bad things happen, they will happen. And if they don't, they don't, but there's nothing, you know, you have to learn how to let go of that control because you're not the one in control and those kinds of situation.
Starting at that moment, we kind of felt that we were in invincible in a sense that we were not afraid of anything anymore, because we just realized when you go forward most likely good things will happen to you and for the rest of it. Well, you just have to deal with it, but there's nothing but she can do about it.
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This episode was originally released on May 2017. Show notes have been updated May 2022 .