Living the RV Life – San Antonio Magazine
Patty and Shane Gill always talked about traveling the country when they retired, but they figured it wouldn’t be until they were in their 60s or 60s.
Then COVID-19 hit in 2020 and the San Antonio couple decided they might as well go. They took several months to sift through their business, holding several garage sales and Facebook Marketplace sales. Once most of it was gone, they sold their 3,500 square foot home and bought a 2018 Grand Design Solitude 375 RES, an RV that hooks up to the back of their truck.
“We had talked about it before COVID and once it hit we were like, ‘Let’s do it. Life is short. You never know what can happen,” says Patty, 48.
The couple met while Shane, 53, was stationed in the Air Force in Patty’s hometown of Georgia. They have been married for 27 years, have two adult sons and have spent much of their lives traveling the world with the military. When Shane retired from the Air Force, they returned to his home state of Texas and landed in San Antonio, where Patty worked as a civilian for the Army for eight years.
It was a great experience, says Patty, but with 13 years abroad, they felt like they hadn’t really taken the time to discover their own country. Now they are.
The couple spent their first winter in Florida and plan to return there in the coming months. The location allows them to travel to the Southeast while being close to Patty’s family in Georgia, from whom they have always lived far away. Along with Georgia and Florida, they have already explored Tennessee, North Carolina and Arkansas, a state which they say surprised them with its beauty and fun. While there, they stayed in Little Rock and explored the city by bike. They also parked at a friend’s house in Big Fork and hiked and visited waterfalls in the Ouachita National Forest.
Typically, they stay somewhere for at least a few months, allowing them to really explore the area and drive to nearby towns and attractions.
They are not just on vacation. At an RV park, the Gills “workamp”, meaning they are campers who work part-time for the RV park. At the site where they are staying in Texas, for example, Shane takes care of pool maintenance while Patty handles social media and helps with work events. Sometimes she works in the office, helping to check in other RV visitors. While traveling, Patty also teaches online and works on social media for a few RV companies. The jobs give them the best of both worlds, they say, as they only work a few days a week at the RV site while still having the freedom to go hiking on a weekday morning if they choose.
The RV is definitely smaller than their house, but Patty says they have everything they need, and more. “We still come across things that we realize we don’t need,” she says.
Their RV features a kitchen with an island, pantry, stove, and dining area, as well as a living room with a TV and fireplace, a bathroom, and a bedroom with a closet to store their washer and dryer. their dryer. Organization is key to making it work, they say, and they rely on lots of bins, tags, and bags to keep things in their place (board game boxes are too big to travel, for example, they have therefore transferred the games they like in Ziplock containers).
They still have several states and stops on their bucket list, including Big Bend National Park. Since they started decades before they thought, the possibilities for travel seem endless.
“That was awesome,” says Patty.