It’s hard to believe that professional football player, Keith Sims, had never camped in an RV until after retiring from the NFL. It wasn’t until Sims returned to tailgate at his alma mater, Iowa State University, that he saw how much fun an RV could be. With a thick “Iowa chop,” in hand and a heart full of college pride, he embraced the comfort and camaraderie of the RV lifestyle while savoring the energy of pre-game festivities and new friends.
But, Keith Sims attributes the family’s brave jump into the RV lifestyle to his wife, Tia. He said “I totally blame my wife for getting us into the RV lifestyle.” After attending many RV shows, Tia hooked Keith on the idea of using an RV as both a mobile office and a family rig. Sims says of his wife’s idea, “…I’ve got to give her all the credit in the world since we love it so much.” Her wise encouragement prompted them to invest in a Class A motorhome, which they now use to travel for work and for pleasure.
When Camping World recently sat down to talk to Keith Sims about life on the road with his family, he said:
“I wish I had known how great this lifestyle had been when I was playing in the NFL.”
Today, the family continues to travel in their RV with their three young boys while blogging about their adventures along the way at Soulful RV Family. The travel enhances the young kids’ homeschool education but also proves to be stimulating for Keith and Tia as well. Today, Sims says of RVing—“Once you get into this lifestyle, it’s hard to remember what life without an RV was like.”
Watch our interview with Keith Sims in the clip above as he joins the Camping World Team for a chat at 2021’s virtual Ultimate RV Roadshow.
Keep reading to see why former footballer, Keith Sims, continues to love traveling in an RV after more than 7 years on the road.
Traveling like a Pro Athlete
After 25 years playing football and more than a decade playing pro, Sims had traveled a fair amount. But, he explains how that travel was unsatisfying — hopping from airplane, to bus, to arena, to hotel in an endless loop. Sims didn’t really see the destinations he visited. In an RV, he can dive in and explore a place at his pace.
Today, Sims says he has football players reaching out to him inquiring about the lifestyle, curious to try it out for themselves.
Roadschooling Three Boys
RV travel pairs well with Sims’ youngest children’s homeschool education. He explains how even during the pandemic, the family safely experienced a visit to the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center where the boys’ lessons on the solar system and space were enhanced with tangible learning.
Another trip to Providence Canyon in Georgia proved eye-opening for Keith and his young boys, as they learned about erosion and geology. It’s not just the kids who are learning on the road— “we [Keith and Tia] get to learn and experience these things just as much as the kids do.”
Despite relatively tight quarters inside the RV, Sims says the family grows closer during their trips together. In fact, his boys often ask for sleepovers in the RV even when the family isn’t camping.
Certain soft skills learned on the road, like communication, compromise, and social-emotional learning can add to a rounded roadschool education, even bringing families closer together.
Choosing the Right Rig for an Offensive Guard
It’s no easy feat finding an RV to fit a 300 lb., 6’ 3” former NFL player. When looking for the perfect family RV, Keith had two main requirements:
- A big shower
- A King-size bed
The family found comfort and space in a Class A Motorhome. Both Keith and Tia take turns driving and backing the 43” foot coach. Sims has simple and straightforward advice when it comes to driving any RV: “Know your rig. Practice with your rig. Trust your co-pilot.”
Keith Sims’ Advice for First Time RVers
“A little planning goes a long way with a Class A,” says Sims. His preferred way of travel is to plan travels months in advance, researching fun things to do and, and reserving campgrounds ahead of time. With a big rig like his, a little extra planning makes for a smoother, less stressful trip.
But nothing really beats the help of the RV community, which Sims describes as an “inclusive community willing to help everybody and anybody.”
Sims’ convivial energy and passion for RVing is contagious as he reminisces about his favorite tailgating moments. Watching his son clinch the football state championship is one he won’t soon forget. Having the comfort of his motorhome nearby while entertaining friends and family with barbeque is forever “seared,” into his mind, he said, no pun intended.
Tell us your favorite tailgating memory below.
Learn more about Keith Sims and his traveling family at Soulful RV Family.