This Woman Quit Her Job To Live In An RV And Travel. Here’s How You Can Do It, Too

Jenni Edwards spent much of her adult life climbing corporate ladders, running through airports on business trips and accumulating houses, cars and designer clothes. But no matter how much outward success Edwards achieved, she never felt satisfied. “I traveled in style. It looked like I was living the American dream, but it didn’t feel like it. I didn’t have time for me, my family or my friends. I wanted something more,” she says. Now, at age 53, Edwards has traded in the boardrooms for a simple life on the road—living life in an RV. She is the author of Bumping Down Highways, which has reached millions of people with the tales of her tiny-living journey. She also works as a courage consultant and dream life architect, helping others get past their fears to live their best life.

It all started when Edwards was going to be temporarily displaced from her beach condo and decided to take a road trip from Florida to Oregon—just her, the dogs and what would fit in her SUV. With the dogs in tow, Edwards had to stay in little cabins that had no running water or bathrooms—a far cry from the ritzy hotels she was used to. Turns out, it wasn’t so bad. After that first night, she changed her plans, taking detours and taking her time to truly slow down and see the United States. “I fell in love with the simple life,” Edwards says of that summer.

From there, Edwards bought a little Shasta Airflyte Remake camper, thinking she’d spend the rest of the summer on a lake, taking more road trips. But it didn’t take long for that plan to change, either. Despite having zero experience with RV life, she decided to jump in with both feet. “I traded my Pradas for flip-flops and hit the road in an RV, traveling the country by myself,” she says.

A drastic shift from her corporate days, Edwards found a community of people on the road who didn’t care about her success stories or income. “They only cared about helping each other, sharing their stories and listening to mine,” says Edwards. “This was the life I wanted.”

Today, more than six years later, Edwards continues her life on the road, but also inspires others to take charge of the life they dream about. “Today, success for me is spending the majority of my time helping other people or trying something new,” Edwards explains. “Some days, it’s making it over a mountain in one piece or finding a hidden waterfall. My mission is to serve and help create difference makers who will positively impact the world.”

What Inspired Me: There wasn’t just one “aha” moment. It was a series of finding that “something more” I was searching for. I was 47 when I took that first road trip in the spring of 2015. Mostly it was the community of people who RV that I found. It was the relief of not feeling like I needed to keep up with the Joneses. It was about working less and living more. I didn’t have to impress anyone. I could just be me and enjoy every day as it came.

People’s Reaction to My New Adventure: Many people said I couldn’t or shouldn’t do it, but my can-do attitude proved that no matter how crazy it may seem, you can do anything. When I first set out, too many people wanted me to call them every day to let them know I was safe. But if I did that, I would never have time to see anything, so I compromised and told them that I would post a story about my day along with pictures on social media. Those stories, along with my daily journals, became my book, Bumping Down Highways.

Where My Travels Have Taken Me: I have RVed through 47 states and only have three to go (North Dakota, Alaska and Hawaii). This past summer I was supposed to make the trek from Florida up through North Dakota and Canada to get to Alaska. On my way back south, I would have traveled down the west coast and parked my rig in Oregon before flying to Hawaii. I wanted to ship my RV over, but the cost did not make sense. Because my goal was all 50 states in an RV—and the word “fail” is not in my vocabulary—I was determined to find a way. I found someone that rents little VW camper vans and an RV park. Where there’s a will, there’s a way—or so I thought. Covid happened and closed the Canadian border. I waited and waited, but so far, it hasn’t opened. Maybe next summer.

What Happened Instead? Well, I didn’t run out of toilet paper because the general public never thought to shop at camping supply stores and they had plenty. Covid gave me something I never dreamed of.  I booked a beautiful river site at North Carolina’s Murphy/Peace Valley KOA for a few days and fell in love with the owner. This has become my home. I now help him manage this pretty little riverside KOA. I still take trips and my consulting work has evolved into helping people get out of debt so they can live the life they dream about. The best part is teaching women how to RV by offering retreats and one-on-one consulting.     

What It’s Like Living in an RV: Have you ever looked at a travel brochure with a picture of an RV on it and wondered what it would be like to just climb in and drive away? Well, it’s amazing. I can leave for a trip at a moment’s notice and don’t have to decide what to pack, because everything I own is in it. It’s small in the beginning, but you get used to it. I spend less time doing chores and more time living. It only takes me about 30 minutes to clean my “house.” I get to see amazing sights and make incredible friends. I spend less money because I don’t have room for random stuff. If I am going to buy something, I have to already know what it is replacing. But life isn’t always roses. Things break, you run out of propane for heat, you have to give up some of life’s creature comforts that you took for granted before (like plumbing). But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade my RV experience for anything.

How I Became an Author: As I shared my travel stories on Facebook, I wanted people to feel like they were with me on my adventures. I wrote such detailed descriptions of the places along with my emotions in them. People started telling me I should write a book, but I didn’t know the first thing about writing a book and really didn’t want to share all of my fears and mistakes with the world. About three years in, I had a conversation with God: “Hey, God, it’s me, Jenni. I appreciate the opportunity to have seen so many beautiful places and meet so many amazing people, but I feel like I am just wandering. I am going to run out of money soon. What am I supposed to do?” I’d like to say that there was this big booming voice that answered with instructions, but that didn’t happen. Instead, that night I had a dream. I don’t remember seeing any faces, just hearing lots of voices saying, “Write the book. Write the book.” I tried to ignore it, but the dream came back every night for about a week. Finally, I got mad in the dream and yelled, “I don’t know how to write a book.” One voice quietly responded, “You didn’t know how to RV either, but you did it anyway.”

Making the Dream Happen: When I woke up, I got online to post one of my travel stories on Facebook and the first thing I saw was an ad for a free webinar that day called Best Seller Blueprint. I remember thinking, “Okay God, I am listening.” I signed up for the webinar and completed it in a month. But everyone I talked to told me that as a first-time author, I would have to self-publish. I looked into it but didn’t have the time or money to do all that it entailed. Then someone introduced me to a woman that had publishing experience who said I should write it and send it to her. I pulled out my journals and started digging through my social media posts. I started writing and words just poured out. It only took me two weeks to write Bumping Down Highways. This amazing woman, Debra, showed me how to write a pitch and submitted it to Post Hill Press. In less than a month, I had a signed negotiated contract and books hit shelves just seven months later. For every reason I had to not write this book, a solution was immediately sent to me. Now I get messages from people who have read the book, thanking me for inspiring them to step out of their comfort zones to do the things they dreamed of doing.   

Lessons Learned: I have learned that there are things in life way more important than a big job and material things. I have learned that there are a lot of amazing people out there. I have learned that courage is not the absence of fear but doing the thing you are afraid of in spite of the fear.

What the Future Holds: I have three states to RV through in my near future. I would love to do a TV show or documentary film on this trip. I will continue to help others live the life they dream through my consulting business. Then, who knows?

My Solo Travel Safety Tips: Safety should be a number-one priority. These are some general safety tips I follow when I’m on the road:

  1. Drive for short periods of time each day. Don’t push it when you are tired. It’s not worth it.
  2.  Make sure someone always knows where you are. Consider getting the Life 360 app and invite a few people to your circle. 
  3. Keep your phone charged and carry it with you everywhere.
  4. Always be aware of your surrounding day or night. If you pull into a place and it doesn’t feel right, leave.
  5. Always park in well-lit areas.

My Best Tips for an RV Life: Above all, meet your fears head on, take the scenic route and don’t be afraid to ask for help. But practically speaking:

  1. Buy the right RV the first time. I have had four in less than five years. I learned what was important and what wasn’t. If there had been someone to tell about their experience, maybe I would have bought the right one for me the first time and saved a lot of money.
  2. Join RV groups on social media. People on social media always responded immediately. When something went wrong, I didn’t know how to fix something or needed a little extra encouragement, that community came to my rescue.
  3. Keep in touch with the people you meet on the road. I have met some of them over and over again as we traveled around the country. I have found lifelong friends that have become like family.

Favorite places: There are so many. Each for their own different reasons, but here are my top 10:

  1. Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls, Idaho
  2. Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida
  3. Flamingo Lake RV Resort in Jacksonville, Florida
  4. New Bern KOA and the little town of New Bern, North Carolina
  5. Mystic, Connecticut
  6. Covert/South Haven KOA in Michigan
  7. Yellowstone National Park
  8.  Murphy/Peace Valley KOA, North Carolina
  9. Asheville, North Carolina
  10. Cracker Barrel!

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