On the road with Olivia and Kyle from Drivin' & Vibin'
Common among full-time RVers is the desire to make a change, both personally and on a broader scale. Olivia and Kyle from Drivin' & Vibin' are very conscious travelers, living deliberately and minimally in their awesome Fiber Stream camper with their adorable pooch River. Their YouTube channel is a hit in the RVing community – probably because they're equal parts likeable, knowledgeable and fun, as we discovered when we interviewed them. Read on!
How would you describe your full-time RV life in three words?
Minimal, flexible, enlightening.
Minimal: For obvious reasons, it's a very minimal lifestyle for us: tiny house, tiny budget, limited resources (water, gray water, storage) – everything is reduced to the essentials. There is very little room for superfluous or luxury items. The items we do have usually serve multiple functions, and we tend to focus on experiences rather than things.
Flexible: This lifestyle requires some flexibility and a good sense of humor. There are no guarantees, and plans tend to change. We like the freedom to pick up and leave when we want, or stay longer if we want to get to know an area a little more. Everything is a first time for us right now. We haven’t re-crossed our tracks yet, so there are a lot of unknowns going into a new place. There's also unexpected repairs and weather to take into account. So we have to stay flexible and adjust accordingly.
Enlightening: I think it’s an enlightening experience because we continue to learn so much about ourselves, the environment and the communities we visit. It also quite spiritual; we feel very connected to the natural beauty that surrounds us.
Where are you now?
We are in the redwood forests of northern California. There's a big storm rolling through, and we’ve been hiding out in our camper and watching lots of Netflix. The sun is supposed to come out in a few days, and we look forward to stretching our legs and exploring the area.
What does home mean to you?
I think 'home' has developed different layers of meaning for us – our camper is home, the area we’re camping in and experiencing is home, and our family back in Alabama is home, too. Whether it's gazing up at redwood giants, seeing a storm roll in across the grasslands, watching an orange sun sink below the desert horizon or sinking our toes into the Gulf of Mexico; it all feels like home to us.
Your mission is full-time RVing and mindful living. How does mindfulness factor into your everyday full-time lives?
Since we have a tiny space, it makes us very aware of what we consume, how much waste we produce, and what kind of mark we’re leaving on the world. We strive to make deliberate and mindful choices in all areas of our life. We live on a small budget, so we don’t eat out very often, and it motivates us to make healthy, home-cooked meals instead. We eat much healthier now that we’re on the road, and have transitioned to a plant-based diet with as little processed food as possible. We love to support local communities and buy local produce and products whenever possible. We also try to be mindful of how our words and actions affect one another. Living in close quarters with someone isn’t always easy, but we try to create a happy space and be honest and open with one another.
You fund your travels through your Etsy store. Can you tell us a bit about the business, and how much time you put into it?
Our Etsy shop is called The Wooden Earth, and we sell antique maps and prints. We like old and peculiar things, so we have an eclectic mix of items from skeletal, botanical and solar system prints to vintage advertisements. We put in a lot of up-front work listing items, and like to have around 3000 items in our shop. This sometimes takes days, but the rest is easy after that. We package up our orders in the morning and drop them off at the post office when we go into town that day. This process usually takes 30 minutes or less. We won’t list new items again for months. We love how convenient it is for traveling – our items don’t take up much space, and there's a post office in even the smallest towns.
What are some things that you’ve discovered about full-time RVing that have exceeded your expectations? Anything that’s pleasantly surprised you?
We were really surprised by the community we’ve found on the road! We thought we would be loners out here and that it would be hard to make friends, but thankfully we were very wrong! Social media has made it so easy to connect with other full-timers on Facebook groups and on Instagram. We can ask questions about Rving, see where people are and arrange meet-ups! Joining the RV group Xscapers really helped us to meet other working-age full-timers, and we’ve made some great connections.
What is the very best thing that’s happened to you in your travels?
This is a hard one. We’ve had so many great experiences, but I think the best thing that has happened to us is finding out what we’re capable of when we put our mind to it. There’s nothing I don’t think we can handle. We will find a way and make it work. This whole journey has proved that dreams can come true, but we had to be proactive, work hard and set goals. We dreamed and saved and planned for a year to make this happen, and we achieved it. This life is the best possible reward I could have imagined, and we will gladly tackle any obstacle that comes our way, because this is what we signed up for: a world of unknowns and adventure.
How about the very worst thing?
Probably just truck repairs. We had the same (expensive) mechanical problem fixed three times in a few months, before the repair shop finally found the real (inexpensive) problem. C’est la vie!
River is a ridiculously adorable dog. What’s her favorite thing about the RV lifestyle?
River loves traveling! She loves car rides and going hiking, but I think her absolute favorite thing is the beach! As soon as her paws hit the sand, she starts running and playing and dragging us around to every shell and bit of seaweed. She wants to smell and inspect all the salty wonders of the ocean.
How long do you plan to stay on the road?
As long as it feels right. We have no end date in sight and are perfectly happy with our life on the road; however, we can’t speak for our future selves, and want to allow this lifestyle to grow and evolve naturally. I think we would like to do this in some fashion for the rest of our lives. I guess we will just have to wait and see where this adventure takes us!
Who would play you in a movie about your full-time RV life, and why?
Kyle has been told by one of our YouTube followers that he looks and sounds just like Mark Ruffalo. He was pretty flattered, so I guess that would be his go-to actor. I can’t seem to think of a female actress for myself. I keep coming back to Edward Norton; I just think he would get me. Seems like an unlikely storyline though, Mark and Edward traveling the country together in a 16-ft camper...
Kyle was a full-time musician before we hit the road, and [I, Olivia, am] a huge Stephen King fan!