By Abigail Epperson

First, let me start by saying I love our life on the road and I wouldn’t change this journey for anything. I also want to fully acknowledge that I didn’t go into this adventure with both eyes open, rather one eye was open and the other was still closed and dreaming. Both eyes are open now.

Most of the time, full-time travel is an amazing adventure, and for the longest time I was really hesitant to share the rough patches, mainly because I was shocked to find so many.

Amazing Adventures at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota

This isn’t the world I’d seen on YouTube, read about on blogs, or listened to in podcasts. I kept wondering if we were doing something wrong. “Did we make a poor choice converting a bus?” “Did we jump into this too soon and should have really given it more thought?” “Why is this so hard for us?” The rough edges are rough, and those stressors often feel magnified when you deal with them in a city you don’t know, often without any nearby support system. So, they were secrets I held on to, secrets that for the last two years I’ve kept pretty hidden. When people tell us how amazing our life is, how awesome it is we are out doing this, and what a life we are giving our kids, I often smile, agree (because I do agree), but silently I’m thinking “if only you knew what it was really like most of the time.”

I’m clearly still reeling from the bus woes we experienced back in November and tonight, as I sit here after hours and hours of dealing with another bus repair, thankfully one we could do ourselves, I’m damn exhausted. I’m exhausted of pretending like this life is #InstaPerfect and I wonder if there are others out there feeling the same?

Latest bus maintenance was thankfully one Jason could handle.

Recently, I drove myself into complete physical and mental exhaustion moving us back into the bus after almost 3 months of being out. I was trying so hard to make our world perfect. I was obsessed with a space that looked glossy, bright, clean, modern and social media ready. That’s not our reality and it took a complete breakdown to realize that we live in a beautifully chaotic and messy world, and there is nothing wrong with that. I spoke about this experience on episode 80 of the RV Miles podcast, so I won’t go into too much detail here, other than to say it was a real eye-opener. I haven’t been living an authentic life, and it is going to drive me into the ground if I keep on keeping up with the Joneses.

Trying to move us back in the bus. You can see how tired I was, unfortunately, I wasn’t listening and kept pushing.

So here it is. Things go wrong around here. A lot. We are often overworked, exhausted, stressed, unsure of where to go to next, and wishing there were more hours in the day. Wander Bus always looks lovingly lived in with toys, books, shoes, dirty dishes, and laundry hanging around. Do I love clutter? Not really. Do I wish we had an Instagram perfect space? Of course, I mean, have you seen how sunny and clean those RV’s look? Do I want to put that kind of time into making that happen? No. I know what it takes to make those Instagram pictures perfect, and I’ve spent that time, and that is time I no longer want to give. I can’t. I’d rather give it to my kids and my husband, I’d rather give it to growing our business’, to interacting with others both face to face and on the interwebs, and to reading more books. I miss reading books.

I didn’t realize going into 2019 that it would be the year I focus on peace and acceptance, but here we are.

What Bussie really looks like on the inside

We may not always be glamorous around here, and we may even ask ourselves, “why the heck are we doing this?” but we will always be real. It’s too hard to try and be anything more than what we are, and what we are is a group of humans just trying to live life and face the day with as much positivity as we can. We don’t always succeed, but we are trying.

Nomadic life is a gift, and I feel blessed that we are living out a dream, but it’s not without it’s challenges, and for anyone thinking of going on this crazy adventure, I can’t encourage you enough to go into with both eyes wide open. It’s a much better position to be in, trust me.

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Coffee drinker, skoolie owner, partner, roadschooler, and parent. Along with Jason, Abby is the co-host of the RV Miles Podcast and America's National Parks Podcast. When not talking National Parks and RV living, you can find Abby talking theater as the managing editor Of PerformInk. Find her on Twitter @abigailtrabue or search Our Wandering Family across all social media.


KEZ · February 14, 2019 at 9:34 pm

Oh, Abigail, I still think you’re awesome for giving your kids this experience! They are learning how to roll with the punches, and how, when life gets you down, you can communicate with your family and get through all the rough patches. Along the way, you meet a far more diverse sampling of people that you might encounter staying in one city. You are brave. You are strong. You are not Insta-perfect, but that’s perfect to me!

Cathy · February 16, 2019 at 4:07 pm

I think being real is far more important! I may not have a million followers but I have great memories with my kids and Frank!

Dawn Gagliardo · February 19, 2019 at 7:25 pm

I actually just found your podcast today, and now I am even more of a fan. My husband and are are full-time wanna be’s and just started our own business at the beginning of the year. We are planning to get out for a couple months next year and eventually go full time. We have been immersing ourselves into the culture and lifestyle through podcasts, youtube videos and just about any other medium we can get our hands on. I’ve really been craving something more than the overly Instagramed facade. Thank you for being brave enough to be vulnerable and share your point of view. I am a Mom of 3 boys as well (17, 13 and 11) and I can run a fairly tight ship, but even on our best day we’d be an Instagram Fail – and that is OK! We are busy, happy, healthy and we have fun! Looking forward to catching up on your podcasts. Thanks for the inspiration!

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    Abigail · February 21, 2019 at 11:14 am

    Dawn, I’m so glad you took the time to leave a comment and share your story too. What a brave adventure you and your husband are on starting a new business and considering full-time travel. It’s such a leap of faith, but one I would encourage anyone to do if the desire is there. It will challenge you and change your life! And know this, I am a big fan of anyone raising three teenage boys! My oldest is just a year away from the start of his teenage years and I fully admit I’m very nervous. You never stop being a first-time parent to your first born child, do you? Thanks again for stopping by and keep in touch. I’d love to hear what you all decide to do! InstagramFails unite!

Ryan Poges · March 2, 2019 at 5:13 am

You cant go off the #instaperfect nomadic posts. Plain and simple your not going to have that pristine rig with flowers on the table. Those “eat a burger off the floor” clean floors. THE IMMACULATLY clean cabinets and counters. The RV lifestyle is far from that. And anyone who is a hardcore camper, fulltimer, or a true nomadic knows this too well. Including the ones portraying the perfect. Those pictures are staged pictires for the sole purpose of social media and garnering instagram likes. And in my opinion, anyone who claims it is always perfect, is doing a discredit and is setting alot people up for dissappointment when/if they go the route. And on to my point,(i know, finally right). Its not about how clean your rig is, how gorgeous or “tacticool” your setup is. Its about the is it functional, does it suit your needs, and does it assist you and make life more manageable(keyword here). Rv life is about equal part journey to equal part destination. And all about menories both positive and not so much. But turn the negatives into positives and learn from them for next time. Its not about the clean photogenic rig getting 40m likes on instagram. Its about making memories. Having fun. Learning and failing along the way. And most importantly, being YOURSELF and doing it the way YOU want to do it. Not fitting the mold of whats expected of you visually.

Donella · March 7, 2019 at 2:53 pm

Enjoyed your blog and keeping it real!!! We are full timers too and wish we had done this when our kids were you but we just didn’t have your courage!!! Happy travels!!!

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    Abigail · March 9, 2019 at 9:36 am

    Thanks, Donella! Whatever the life season, full-time travel is so incredibly rewarding. Hope you are having a great time on the road and thanks so much for the comment!

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