5 Life Lessons from Buying an RV with Pat Kennedy

Happy Friday, Tribe, and welcome to September! We’ve got some big news in the Kennedy household, which is why my guest today is my husband, Pat! 

Guys, it’s official: We are selling our beautiful home. I can’t believe it! We thought this would be the home in which we brought a family into this world, but we’ve got some exciting news. Pat is quitting the job he’s had for 12 years — and we bought an RV! We are going to travel the entire United States in this RV (Pat likes to call it a motorcoach). 

It’s been an incredible experience deciding to sell our home and move into an RV. We're going to share with you the story of how we got to this place and what will happen next. We're officially going to be hitting the road probably at the end of October. We are so excited to share this whole adventure with you all! 

#VanLife Pat: How This Crazy Adventure Started

When I met Pat six years ago, van life wasn’t this glamorous trend the way it is today. Ever since we started dating, Pat had been interested in living with a van with a dog. He even showed me pictures of what he wanted his life to look like. At the time, I was like, “No way in hell is this going to happen.” I was working full-time as a teacher [and] Pat worked at a ski resort — it didn’t seem possible. 

“I wanted to have an adventure vehicle and adventure rig ready to go. A 4x4 van, and built out on the inside so you could go spend a week to three, four months in it. If you wanted to travel for the whole summer, it was packed and ready to go.” - Pat Kennedy

Fast forward to a year ago, when we started to have a conversation about possibly moving. We were thinking to ourselves, “What's the kind of life that we want to live?”. We live in a beautiful suburban neighborhood in Michigan. We're both born and raised in Michigan, and our families are all close. But the reality is that in Michigan, winter isn’t that fun. We wanted to be closer to nature and to outdoor adventure.  

When we looked at what we both value, what we both enjoy, and what we both wanted our lives to be, we realized, “Whoa, this environment doesn't actually align with being in nature and being outside more.” The life that we wanted was more active and more outdoors. We weren't necessarily getting that here in Michigan. 

Then we considered the practicality of it all — if Pat was going to stay at his job, where can we possibly go? We narrowed that down. That’s where we got stuck about a year ago — and then COVID hit.

Following Your Intuition

Pat and I looked at so many different cities: Santa Barbara, Asheville, Austin, Bozeman, Park City, Big Sky, Brighton, someplace outside Seattle. I was trying to let my intuitive side guide me, to see if it would tell me where to go next. Meanwhile, my logical side was like, “Okay, well, what do we want our life to be?” 

“We were kind of frustrated. I think frustration is the right word because we were excited that we wanted to make this move to someplace where we're going to feel more aligned. But, how were we going to find a place that's going to have the activities we want and the city we want? We were just unable to say, ‘Okay, this is the place. Let's go there.’” - Pat Kennedy

When it all clicked for us, we were on a trip to Sedona with our friends. One of our friends was telling her husband she wanted to get an RV. Pat had this fireworks moment. 

“Sedona was important because we had committed to putting our house on the market when we came back from the trip. We needed to make a decision. That's when all the pieces came together. I realized, wait a second. We want to sell our house. We have no idea where we want to live. A motorhome means we live everywhere. Holy shit. Let's buy a motorhome and travel the country.” - Pat Kennedy

In that moment, I looked at my husband who was the most lit up that I've ever seen him since our honeymoon. I saw him so lit up and I realized, “Oh my gosh, Jenn, this is it.” Truly, a motorhome checked a lot of our boxes. But, before I could say yes, I needed to sit in some of these motorhomes to see if I could work optimally. 

It’s a long story as to how we chose our RV –– tribe, there are so many options on the market! We ended up going to General RV three different times, armed with more information and knowledge each time. When we finally landed on the right RV for us, I’m not even going to lie to you guys, I cried because I knew that it was perfect

I want to be honest with you guys, the price of this RV –– It was hard to swallow. But Pat ran some numbers, and it turns out the amount of money that we're spending each month in this RV — even if we add in gas and campsites and oil changes and all the other stuff — actually comes out less than what we planned to spend.

Tribe, this whole adventure has been so complicated. I don’t even want to get into how many decisions we had to make about buying an RV. If you want the lowdown on all the different RV options, definitely DM Pat on Instagram –– @prkennedy84. He loves talking about this stuff! We really learned five big lessons throughout this journey that I want to share with you today. 

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Some of you are probably sitting there thinking, “Oh my God, I couldn’t do that. I could never invest in that program, I'm not that type of person yet, or I'm not ready yet financially.” I don’t mean just about buying an RV –– in life, where is fear holding you back? 

If Pat and I had let fear stop us, we wouldn't be sitting here in this amazingly dreamy, beautiful, incredible RV. We wouldn't be set up for massive success in all areas of life.

We can afford it. Not only can we afford it, but we’re actually going to be saving money. We started to realize we are ready for this. This is actually so incredibly doable. When we met with our financial advisor, they told us that this is probably one of the best financial decisions that we’ve made.

Make sure when something comes up –– investing, moving, dating, whatever it is –– analyze the pros and cons. Don't let that fear hold you back. Stop and say, “Thanks, fear.” Then move on! 

Take the Leap and Commit

We took leap after leap, action after action, to make this vision come to life. Sometimes, you just have to commit! 

“You just have to be creative, open, and flexible. We committed ahead of ourselves. We didn't do the steps in the order in which they should have been completed. We picked our goal ––  what we wanted to accomplish –– which was we're moving this fall. We knew we were going to move out, make a change, but we didn't have all the other pieces filled out yet. And they worked –– they came together and they worked themselves out, we made them work out.” - Pat Kennedy

That’s all it is! Sometimes you just need to take the leap, even if you don’t have everything all together yet. 

Design Backward

Another big lesson we learned was to start envisioning the life we wanted and then to work backward. When we were considering where to move, we asked ourselves, “When we walk in the park together, what do we want life to look like? What about our future?”. For us, nature kept calling. 

“I always had the intention or the mindset that we would go somewhere for 12 months, and then we might go somewhere else for 12 months ––  see a little bit more of the country, check out more cities. The other part of backward design for me is I actually like to make decisions without knowing how it's going to work. I don't need to know how it's going to work. I just need to know that that's what I'm going to do. Then I'm going to just figure it out.” - Pat Kennedy  

Tribe, I am not like that. I needed step one, step two, step three. I need to know the bigger picture. I need to know the ways to get there, whereas Pat can work backward from a big picture. Both ways are awesome! But, especially if you are backward designing with a partner, it’s so important to ask things like, “What are your values? What's important to you? What are my values? What's important to me and how do we move forward with that?” 

Find Your People

Guys, we’ve talked about this before but it is SO important –– you have to find your tribe! We have plenty of people who think what we're doing is crazy and don't want us to do it. 

But we also have our tribe. We have our people who support us and who are going through it as well. We're surrounding ourselves with more of those people.

“Because we're so clear on our vision, not everybody can see our vision. It’s not up to us to make everybody see our vision. It's just up to us to make sure that we can live out our vision. And that's why it’s so important to find your people because you do want support and you do want help.” - Pat Kennedy

It’s not your job to sell people on your vision. It’s your job to keep going, keep your head up, and the people who are meant to be in your life will support you. 

The Sky Is the Limit

Guys, my final lesson from this whole experience –– the sky is the absolute limit. I want you to really, really, dream big. Wherever you set your dreams, your goals –– that’s where will eventually be your reality. 

If you’re sitting there wanting to do something, but doubting yourself, call your team. Crunch the numbers. Face your fears. The joy of taking control of your finances and taking ownership means that fear will no longer hold you back. 

That’s it, tribe! That’s what we’ve learned from buying an RV. We're officially going to be on the road mid-October and we will be working on the road. It's going to be amazing and fun, and we’re going to bring you guys along for everything. Pat's going to be on the podcast more! We are going to be showing you guys how we work from anywhere and how you can travel and run a thriving business. 

You can follow our wild ride along on my Instagram (@thejennkennedy), on Pat’s Instagram (@prkennedy84), and on our brand new adventure Instagram, @thehousekennedy. We’ll see you on the road, tribe! 

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