Welcome to Abundant RVing!
If you’ve found your way here to Abundant RVing, you probably have some interest in traveling in or living in a motor home. Let me tell you a little about our experience with RVs and introduce you to us…
We are Bill and Gina Graves, originally from Crown Point, IN. We bought our first motorhome in 2003. It was a Holiday Rambler Imperial, 33 feet, from 1984. A real “lemon” from the start! Boy the stories we have from this one!
Bill had plenty of RV experience before this. He had worked for many of the big Class A manufacturers as a sales rep. These included Newmar, Gulf Stream, and many others.
I, on the other hand, was an attorney. I thought of RVing as no different than camping, something I considered “roughing it” and that I would just never, ever want to do! My ideal of a “real vacation” was traveling first class, staying in a Ritz Carlton hotel.
So why did we end up with an RV? Well, in 1996, 3 years into our marriage, I was involved in a serious car accident that left me in a hospital bed or wheelchair for nearly 10 years. The accident caused major damage to my spine requiring reconstructive surgery. The first back surgery (a 4 level spinal fusion) resulted in an incurable infection — one of those “super bugs” you hear about on the news. The next 9 1/2 years had me going thru 9 back surgeries in all, more than 44 operations total.
We bought our first RV so that I could be more comfortable traveling from Crown Point to Loyala University Hospital in Chicago, IL and to Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, OH. Without the RV, we’d have to stop every hour or two and I’d have to stay in hotels where I couldn’t even lay in the bed. With the RV, I had my own recliner any time I needed it to rest.
I loved the experience from the start! I could go places that I couldn’t travel to by car! My life suddenly had freedom again! I had hope that I could lead somewhat of a normal life even!
But by January of 2005, the doctors realized that I had contracted yet another incurable infection. This time a fungal infection causing little balls of yeast to form in my heart, lungs, and blood. As the infection was heading toward my brain, the doctors gave me only 12 to 18 months to live. I was only 40 at the time.
I wanted to see the country before it was time to die and RVing made that possible! Bill quit his job the day after we got the “news” and went to Elkhart to find a more reliable RV for us to head out in. Within 2 weeks, he’d located a 1994 Newmar Kountry Star, this time 38 feet long with a slideout room in the front. Wow! I thought we had died and gone to heaven staying in this one!
We left home on January 29, 2005 expecting to have about 8 to 10 months on the road before coming home to die. We headed down the east coast, stopping in Pennsylvania, Virgina, and the Carolinas. By Easter, we had landed in southwest Florida where we spent a few weeks with my aunt and uncle while we had repairs made to the Newmar. In early May, we headed west on a southerly route, with the destination being Sedona, AZ.
We arrived in Sedona just before my 41st birthday. Bill knew that this would be my last as my health was declining even faster than the doctors had expected. So he booked a massage for me on my birthday, hoping that I would get some pain relief to have the best birthday I’d ever had!
That massage therapist gave me a piece of advice that foreer changed my life… She told me that if I could remove the negativity from my life, I wouldn’t die as soon as I thought. At this point, I had nothing whatsoever to lose, so I researched what she said and applied it to the letter.
Within 4 1/2 months, I had stopped 42 pills per day, 4 continuous IV’s per day, gone from a wheelchair to a walker to a cane to walking with no assistance at all! I had lost 68 pounds without ever going on a diet! My hair had come back. My nails had come back. And not only was I no longer dying, I was completely well!
When we realized that we could have a long life together, we both frowned as we realized that we might have to go back home. So we put the house up for sale and stayed on the road permanently.
Its now been nearly 6 years for us as full time RVers and there isn’t anything we can think of that could make us want a “traditional” life in a hosue again. We plan to stay on the road for many, MANY years to come!
About 3 years ago, after we sold the house, we upgraded the RV to a 2003 Monaco Dynasty, 42 feet long with 3 slideouts. It was our “palace”. This year, we upgraded again to a 2005 Beaver Marquis, 45 feet long with 4 slideouts. This time we have a real “castle”. Pretty appropriate since people online know me as “The JV Queen”, but more on that in the next post!
Since my miraculous transformation, I’ve had a number of big mindset shifts. Most importantly, I feel like I’ve been given the biggest gift you could ever get — the gift of life! And I know that I must repay this gift to show my gratitude. That’s why today, my mission is to help 1,000,000 learn to live the life of their dreams as Bill and I have! The vehicle that I use to do that is to teach people how to build businesses that use the power of the internet. That way you can live anywhere, do anything, and go anywhere you can dream of!
You’ll find my completely free program through the “30-Day IM Challenge” (soon to become the “30-Day Passion Challenge”) at http://www.30DayIMChallenge.com. It will help you discover your dreams and your passion, and then show you a way to use them to design a business that can allow you to live your life on purpose in a fulfilled way!
Bill will be taking over the Abundant RVing blog. He plans to share our stories, our experience, and his knowledge about keeping these finicky little beasts moving on down the road! There isn’t much that we haven’t experienced in the last 7 years on the road — from dropping our drive train in traffic moving at 70 miles per hour to engine issues that derate the engine (meaning — you can’t go more than 5 mph no matter how hard you try) to slideouts popping out while doing 65 mph on a highway to tow dollies become detached at 60 mph allowing the car to pass the RV on its own! We’ve done it ALL!
Bill will show you how to buy an RV for this lifestyle (we get ours from brokers that let us get AMAZING deals that are unheard of!) He’ll show you how to keep your RV maintained. How to keep it organized. And how to deal with all the repairs that are inevitable. From time to time, I might even pop into the discussions here. But for the most part, I plan on continuing my work as Dean & Founder of Directions University at www.DirectionsU.com.
When you have questions about the lifestyle or something you’re having trouble with, feel free to leave a comment! Bill or I will gladly get back to you with an answer based on our experience! Bill’s really looking forward to having a place to share his stories with folks. You can also find him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/abundantrving and on Facebook (he’s under “Bill Graves” there).
To Your Abundant RVing Success!
Gina Gaudio-Graves (“The JV Queen”) and Bill Graves (“The Abundant RVing Guy”)