Few places are as full of adventure and opportunity for life-altering experiences as Alaska. Ben and Rebecca are two people who have experienced this first hand. They came to Seward, Alaska, from California in 2008 seeking “a life less ordinary.”
The two of them were nice enough to get on the phone with me to discuss their lifestyle and how their RV fits into it.
The lives they built for themselves in Alaska, America’s last true frontier, were definitely less ordinary. Ben became a Fishing Guide and Rebecca worked with the native population as a Physician Assistant.
To be fair, the couple was far from ordinary to begin with. Before their marriage, Rebecca traveled extensively abroad and Ben was busy with engine driven action sports. Their love for new, exciting experiences only further blossomed once they got married.
The couple’s choice to move to Alaska was the beginning of a long list of adventures they would have over the next several years and continue to have today.
Their First RV
After being in Alaska for some time, Ben and Rebecca ended up going to Anchorage on a regular basis for business trade shows and other needs. Seward, the town they moved to, is small and secluded.
“Our town is not city Alaska,” Ben said. “We’re 125 miles away from city Alaska up one of the most beautiful and dangerous highways in the nation.”
During the winter months, going to Anchorage and getting a hotel wasn’t such a big issue because rooms were affordable. Once the weather warms, though, Anchorage hotel prices jump considerably. With prices being so high in the summer months, Ben and Rebecca decided to buy an RV.
“For 12 nights in a hotel during the summertime, we could pay for an RV for the year,” Rebecca said.
The couple bought their 1999 32-foot Tiffin Allegro RV in 2010. They named it Nellie, after Nellie Lawing (a famous Alaska frontierswoman). Not long after purchasing it, Ben and Rebecca started to use the RV for more than just Anchorage trips. They explored Alaska and focused on discovering new locations and having new experiences.
“There’s really not a road left unturned in Alaska that we haven’t driven down,” Rebecca said.
During all this, Ben and Rebecca were filming and posting videos to their YouTube channel His & Hers Vlogs. Their travel-focused channel is an honest look at their adventures. It covers the highs, the lows, and everything in between. Ben and Rebecca seek to give people accurate, practical advice and present everything in a genuine way. Their channel garnered them quite a following.
Ben and Rebecca didn’t stop with Alaska. They visited the lower 48, too. In the fall of 2015, they drove all the way across the country to Maine. Then they chased the leaves all the way down the East Coast and spent Thanksgiving in Florida. They had to be in Arizona for a wedding in January, so that was their only real location commitment. The rest of the trip, they explored whatever they wanted.
“It was more of a bucket list trip,” Ben said.
During the trip, they visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, got lobsters in Maine, went scuba diving at the Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and so much more. Ben said they tried to check off as many things as they could along the way.
Eventually, they took their rig down to Mexico after checking off many of their bucket list items in the States.
The couple spent time in San Felipe, Mexico, and their videos inspired other RVers to visit the location. There’s now an Xscapers Convergence (run by the Escapees RV Club) to the same area. The organizers of the Xscapers Convergence know Ben and Rebecca and saw their videos of the location.
“Our ultimate goal is to make the world a better place,” said Ben. “I think that’s an example of a time we have because we inspired people to visit a new place and experience a different culture.”
After Mexico, the couple spent the spring going up the West Coast and back to their home base in Alaska.
The next year, they toured the western U.S and a few other places to see friends and family. The year after that, they stayed mostly in California and made their way down to Mexico again.
Their adventurous spirits still going strong. Ben and Rebecca decided to sell Nelly and move on to a different kind of vehicle, a Mitsubishi FUSO 4X4 Expedition Vehicle.
Goodbye to Nellie, Upping the Ante
The Mitsubishi FUSO is smaller than Nellie and provides an opportunity for overlanding (self-reliant adventure travel to remote destinations). Their FUSO is still a camper. It allows Ben and Rebecca to stay on the road and camp basically wherever they want.
Their rig is equipped with a kitchen, bathroom, and a dining and sleeping area, though they obviously have far less space than they did in Nelly.
They have taken advantage of the features of the FUSO, too. They traveled around Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, back up through the states to Maine, and then up to the Canadian maritime for a month before heading back down the U.S. East Coast.
Ben talked about the need for them both to keep having new experiences as they continue on.
“It wasn’t until we got this rig that I realized there’s a distinct pattern of having to up the ante in our lives,” Ben said. “First, we moved to Alaska, then we had the desire to travel around in the RV, and then that got to be old hat. Then we spent winters touring America in the RV. Now, we have the EV so we can explore more places. Next, we’re going to up the ante and go to Europe. Then African, Asia, and Australia.”
Ben said the FUSO allows Rebecca and he to live the lifestyle they want. Rebecca said she loves being able to take their home with them.
“It’s a place where we know we can go and be comfortable and get solitude when we need it,” she said.
That said, the FUSO isn’t necessarily like living in a Class A like they were before. The size alone is a big difference.
“It’s a significant adjustment for us,” Rebecca said.
Both Ben and Rebecca talked about how small the rig actually is and how only one of them can really move around it at any single time. That said, neither of them seemed to be unhappy with the FUSO. It works well for their needs.
A Home Away From Home
Ben and Rebecca said the thing that keeps them going is experiences they have traveling and the lifestyle itself. They enjoy meeting new people and making friends on the road.
“You meet kindred spirit-type people out here,” Rebecca said. “With a lifestyle like this you don’t always fit into the normal tracks anymore, and the people you meet out on the road are amazing.”
Ben said he doesn’t think they could ever go back to what most people would think of as a normal lifestyle.
“I just don’t know if we could do it,” he told me.
Just because Ben and Rebecca have the RV as their home doesn’t mean they’ll give up their place in Alaska.
“I think it’s good to ground ourselves every once in a while,” said Ben. “You do get exhausted if you’re traveling hard enough.”
This year, Ben and Rebecca’s focus isn’t on hitting as many spots as possible. It’s more about taking their time and enjoying the places they visit.
They will continue on with their YouTube channel, and share more of their travels and travel tips and experiences while on the road. You can expect to see videos from a faraway country and culture soon.
Ben and Rebecca’s lifestyle is a unique blend. One that provides the ability for full-time RVing while still allowing the couple to have a home base to go back to.
It’s stories like theirs that remind me of the true value of RV ownership. The possibilities are endless, and you can build the life you truly want no matter what that looks like. Full-time, part-time, weekend warrior—it’s up to you.
What do you think of Ben and Rebecca’s story? Leave a comment below.