Who are these modern day gypsies who spend their lives on the road? What prompted them to leave their former homes and communities for a life on wheels? Each week we will introduce you to some of the fulltime RVers we meet in our travels and those who read this blog.
I decided to post John and Kathy Huggins profile at this time because recent events in their lives reinforce something they and I have preached for a long time – live your dreams now, because tomorrow holds no guarantees.
John, who retired from the U.S. Navy and then was an electronics field engineer and quality director for Honeywell Sensors and Controls, and Kathy, who worked in health care office management, became interested in the fulltime RV lifestyle after spending almost two hours talking with some members of the Escapees RV Club at the Tampa RV Supershow. After researching what would work best for their needs they purchased a Fleetwood Expedition diesel pusher and left their home in Sarasota, Florida to spend over ten years wandering America’s highways and back roads.
They are the hosts of the popular weekly hour long Living the RV Dream podcast as well as the extensive website by the same name. John also founded the Living the RV Dream Facebook group, which has grown to over 21,000 members. John and Kathy are also the authors of So, You Want to be a Full-Time RVer? and So, You Want to be a Workamper? They have also workamped extensively, as well as participating in several volunteer opportunities.
When asked what they like best about fulltiming, John said, “Seeing new territory I used to fly over.” They also agreed a big plus was meeting lots of interesting people who share the same lifestyle. What do they most dislike about fulltiming? They missed their church family a lot.
Like so many new fulltimers, they moved around a lot in their early years on the road. Over time they slowed down a bit, wintering in Florida and traveling in the summer.
John and Kathy share an interest in podcasting and writing, and Kathy creates beautiful jewelry from small seed sized beads.
They are members of the Escapees RV Club, Good Sam, FMCA, and have attended Gypsy Journal rallies, Escapades, and a Good Sam State Samboree, sitting in on many seminars and classes at the rallies. They also presented seminars at Gypsy Journal rallies.
When asked about some of their favorite places they have visited, they said Glacier National Park and all five parks in southern Utah. One of their goals was to see as many National Parks and Monuments as possible.
The three times they had to be towed to a repair shop were the Huggins’ worst days fulltiming. Their best? Rolling up U.S. Highway 83 for the first time heading toward the Black Hills of South Dakota
John and Kathy said they were so excited to finally be realizing their dream that it was not hard to leave their old lifestyle. The best part was leaving the 9 to 5 routine for the freedom of the RV lifestyle. “We go where the wind blows us, mostly without schedules. If we get lost, so what? We just see some new territory we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.”
What advice would they give to a newbie? “We should have started camping earlier so we would have fulltimed sooner. Slow down, you can’t see it all in your first year. If you’ve really bought in to the lifestyle, buy your third rig first.”
When asked to share a few words about their thoughts on fulltime RVing, John and Kathy said, “We would see the big rigs on the highway when we were out and we thought, "Some day, that could be us." We didn’t even know that people lived fulltime in those rigs. When we found out about fulltiming, our eyes were opened to a freedom we had never thought about. Now that we are in it over 10 years, we try to convey that this is a "Lifestyle" not a vacation.”
Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in life. Last week Kathy started experiencing severe stomach pains while they were staying at the Escapees campground in Summerdale, Alabama. Rushed to the hospital, she was diagnosed with a herniated bowel and underwent emergency surgery to remove 95% of her small intestine. She is recovering now, but it looks like the Huggins’ fulltiming days are over. John said they plan to move back to the Sarasota area to be near the medical care Kathy will need. John said they will continue with their podcasts, their website, and a rally planned for next October. And who knows? Given enough time and healing, there may still be more RV adventures awaiting them somewhere down the road.
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Great post, Nick. It’s hard to take all this in about them, and that’s from only really knowing them through their podcasts (although we did meet them and you and Miss Terry at the Tampa RV show). It just makes it all the more important that Sherry and I start our full-time adventures as soon as we can.
Can’t put into words how sorry I was to hear about Kathy’s health issues and that it is going to change their RVing lifestyle–but I know they are thankful to have had so many wonderful years on the road–and all of us are thankful for their contributions. Hope they will continue, even if from a stationary position. Thanks for sharing Nick!
As someone who had unexpected health issues after 5 years of full timing, I can’t encourage people to try this lifestyle enough!!!
Thanks for this post. I didn’t know what happened to her. Prayers are being sent for her recovery and hopefully they will be able to do at least some traveling…and maybe even fulltime again.
Thanks for this post, Nick.
We meet a lot of nice folks in this lifestyle, but none nicer than Kathy and John Huggins. We are lucky to know them and count them as very good friends. We’ll be presenting at their rally in October, but hope to see them sooner.
We are looking forward to seeing you and Terry in a couple weeks at the Escapade!
Thanks for posting this Nick. We are big fans of John and Kathy. Love listening to all their podcasts and have their book. Though we never met them in person, we feel like we know them as they have informed and inspired us in this full-timers life style.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to them in facebook comments, cards and emails.
We tried to get together with John and Kathy while both of our RVs were at Three Flags in Wildwood, Florida. But it didn’t happen since they were busy when we had free time and we were busy when they had free time. Then we heard what happened to Kathy and were really bummed we did not get together.
Monday night when I was in ER due to a belly button hernia I thought of Kathy often. I feel lucky when the CT scan showed it was incarcerated fat instead of an intestine, so once I recover from the surgery I will be back to normal. I can’t imagine what pain and changes Kathy is going through, knowing it is worse than what I am going through.