Who We Are
We are the Taylor family – Russell, Ashley and Birdie. We are full-time RVers who travel and live in our RV year-round with our young daughter.
From Hobby to Lifestyle
Back in 1993 when we met, Russell was an experienced camper after spending most weekends traveling and camping with his parents in their motorhome. Soon, we had invested in the tent camping gear we needed to begin our life together as avid campers. From 1993 – 1999, we tent camped in beautiful developed parks and primitive, makeshift campsites alongside the bodies of water which we have always been drawn to.
After a camping season in 1999 marked by particularly bad weather and the inevitable discomforts brought on by getting older, we decided it was time to invest in an RV. Our first camper was a 13′ 1960′s Camper purchased early in 2000 for $1000. We never did know the exact brand or model year of our first camper. It didn’t have a bathroom, but that didn’t cause us a minute’s hesitation. We diligently worked on our camper by adding a roof air conditioner, an awning, a small electric refrigerator, new upholstery, new curtains, new exterior paint, new running lights, etc. We outfitted our 1990 Jeep Cherokee with a hitch, leveling bars and a sway control system, and we were off on new and even more exciting adventures. Obviously, our days of primitive and makeshift campsites were over, but we didn’t mind. We were staying cool or warm depending on the season, but most importantly we were staying DRY.
Our First Camper 2000-2005
After camping for 5 years in our 13′ camper, having a camper without a bathroom lost most of it’s charm. We knew we couldn’t tow a larger camper with our Jeep Cherokee, so in 2004, we bought a 1998 Dodge Ram 2500 Diesel for the sole purpose of towing our future camper. We knew we wanted an RV that would last a long time, be as lightweight as possible and hold it’s value. Therefore, we had to have an Airstream. We searched Ebay, Craiglist and local ads for almost a year before we finally found our dream vintage 1966 Airstream on Ebay. We were lucky that our Airstream needed nothing but a new awning. Everything worked beautifully as far as appliances and systems went. The only downside of the Airstream was that it didn’t have a built-in grey water tank, but we didn’t care. We just used one of those blue portable waste water tanks. The Airstream towed beautifully, and we loved this camper almost more than words can express. We fully expected this to be the camper that we would keep for the rest of our lives.
Our 1966 Airstream 2005-2010
In late 2008, after nearly 16 years of marriage, we joyously welcomed our daughter. Our daughter brought with her profound changes in lifestyle, priorities and dreams. Shortly after we knew we were pregnant, we began to seriously plan for what was once just a dream – living and traveling as full-time RVers. Luckily, a lot of the mechanics for accomplishing this dream were in place, and we were financially and emotionally ready to leave behind a way of life that had become tiresome and less than fulfilling. We worked through the multitude of steps toward accomplishing this dream during the first two years of her life. I quit my job. We sold our over-sized burden of a home, and used the proceeds to buy 2 moderately sized houses which could provide rental income. We rented one and lived in the other while we worked on researching and purchasing a camper that we could live in.
We tried to imagine a way that our Airstream would work for our full-time living needs for more than a year, but after wracking our brains and our nerves, we finally had to accept the fact that it just couldn’t be done. That began a new research adventure on what type of camper would suit all of our needs – for living space, quality and durability while keeping key factors like towing, weight, wintertime suitability and affordabilty in mind. In mid-2010 my husband decided on a Sunnybrook Sunset Creek 298BH as the camper that would best suit our needs. We didn’t find the right one to buy for the price we could pay until September 2010.
As soon as we got our Sunset Creek home, Russell began spending all his spare time converting and customizing it for our needs. We set a date for departure in early May 2011, and worked our butts off for the next 8 months to meet the deadline. We modified our camper in ways too numerous for the purpose of this Who We Are page, but you can see all of our modifications by visiting our blogwww.thisrvlife.com
May 2011 finally rolled around, and by some miracle, we were ready to go. Living full-time in the RV is probably the best decision we’ve ever made. We’ve spent a deliriously happy first two years, and looking forward to (hopefully) many years of happiness, health and travels ahead of us.
Our Current Camper 2006 Sunset Creek 298BH
2010 – ??
For the last 20 years, Russell has been lucky enough to make his living as a freelance Linux Systems Administrator, scripting language programmer and Web Developer. More recently, he has become a proud United States Patent Holder.
Before the birth of our daughter, Ashley spent most of her working life as Owner and Photographer of First Light Photography in Corinth, MS. While she enjoyed shooting weddings, families and children, she is, perhaps surprisingly, most well-known for her portraits of family pets. She was a devoted and long-time volunteer and Board member of the Corinth Humane Society Animal Shelter. She served long terms as President of the Board of Directors and a term as Executive Director. Since the birth of our daughter, she has been a happy full-time Mom while keeping her love of photography alive by documenting our family travels and our daughter’s life. She still does portrait work for family and friends.
Birdie is a bright, happy 4 year old. She likes books, animals, babies, playgrounds, arts, crafts and Dinosaur Train. She loves the beach and all water-related activities. She never meets a stranger, and has an inspiring love of all babies and children.
We have been married for 20 years. We are best friends, kindred spirits and devoted to our family in every way.