Living Life to the Fullest: Full-time RV Travel

Camping season is officially on and there’s no better time to share the story of the Saffles family and their inspirational full-time travels. We started the Home of Wool Features series to share the beautiful real-life stories of our small but extremely powerful Home of Wool community.

Being with us from the very beginning, Kate Saffle has a lot to share. On motherhood, on life-changing decisions, on traveling, and on living on wheels, in an RV. As a founder of the Happier in Motherhood podcast (previously called The Streamlined Life) and life coach, Kate is helping moms all over the world get back to their happier selves and feel good in motherhood and in their career. So, meet Kate Saffle and the Saffles family.

HoW: Living life to the fullest, on wheels! Was it always a dream? Or was it a needed shift in life?

Kate: I never really thought about traveling full-time until my second daughter was a few months old, and I watched a video about a family traveling the United States full-time in an Airstream. It truly spoke to my soul, and I felt gripped by the desire to travel the country as a family and make memories together. My husband and I felt stuck in the grind of life, working to support our lifestyle, but have very little quality time together as a family. Although I grew up in the country and had extensive freedom and playtime outdoors as a child, we were living in a city, and it would be difficult to give my own children the same. We saw the travel lifestyle as a way to live our values and change our story (and future) as a family. 

HoW: What’s the greatest challenge you face in your tiny home – full-time traveling, working, and taking care of the kids at the same time?

Kate: The greatest challenge is noise and creating space for everyone to get their work done. My kids are often homeschooling, while I’m coaching clients or creating content, and it requires a lot of coordination and respect to make this lifestyle work. Although our space is small, thankfully, we all really love being together. However, my husband and I definitely long for date nights and quiet time for conversation. Sometimes we’ll let the children watch a movie or listen to an audiobook while we sit outside and talk. This isn’t the easiest lifestyle – or the right one for everyone – but we are grateful for it, challenges and all.

HoW: What would be your best tips for not only surviving but enjoying life on wheels with kids? Any practical life hacks in terms of time management or living area organization?

Kate: Yes! My husband and I wake up several hours before our children to get our most important tasks out of the way– we do our journaling and mindset work, work out, and get the camper set up for the day’s tasks. Our children (ages 4, 7, and 10) each have a task list that they complete in the morning before homeschooling, which includes making their beds and putting away their clothes.

Good habits go a long way when you live tiny!

We use lots of open baskets to store toys and personal items, and each child has a basket with a handle to use for collecting and storing their treasures. We also have hooks strategically placed to store certain items vertically, like the dog’s leash, clothing that can be worn a second day, and jackets. We have whiteboards all throughout the camper, which are great for making lists and posting reminders versus going through lots of paper.

In general, we don’t own a lot of items, but what we do own reflects our values: lots of good books, puzzles, games, outdoors items such as our kayaks, and a small selection of family movies. You can’t take everything with you – so choose wisely and only bring items that support the life you want for your family!

HoW: RVing in good weather is fun, but how do you help yourselves embrace bad weather? What are your favorite family activities for bad weather?

Kate: We love reading books aloud together, doing 500 piece puzzles, cooking a fun new recipe, taking naps, and watching movies. We also use rainy days as a time to catch-up on organizing tasks, cleaning, and decluttering.

HoW: The Saffles’ RV is one of Home of Wool’s first RV projects. Why did you decide to bet on wool mattresses for the RV and for your family as a whole?

Kate: I have loved and used Home of Wool products since our first “small” home, our 675 beach cottage we bought in 2016. At that time, we were really interested in functional and healthy body movement as well as having as natural of a home as possible. I saw how my health issues and that of my oldest child were impacted by toxins and conventional products, and we wanted as clean of a home as possible. We started with a wool shikibuton for my husband and I, which within a few months, cleared up our back pain. When I became pregnant with my youngest, we bought him a wool crib mattress and pad. Then, when we began traveling full-time, we were so grateful to switch out the conventional RV foam mattresses in the kids’ bunks for all-wool ones from Home of Wool.

We see using wool as a way to support our health long-term, and we’ve seen the benefit in our sleep and how we feel daily.

HoW: What is the motivation behind your work as a life coach and behind the Happier in Motherhood podcast – helping so many new mamas and families out there?

Kate: In my early motherhood journey, I experienced depression and loneliness. At the same time, I felt disconnected from my values and trapped in the commotion of modern life. I could see what I wanted for my family, but it felt really hard to get there. So I started self-experimenting and changing my life, one small decision and habit-shift at a time. I had a podcast for several years with a friend called Cohesive Home, and we shared our journeys to living simply and by our values with our families. From there, moms began reaching out to me for support so they could make similar changes. It was a natural progression for me to become a life coach and help others to create a happier life for themselves and their families.

HoW: What is the common denominator, the most common reason for so many mothers feeling stuck and lost in motherhood and life as a whole rather than enjoying it? 

Kate: The biggest problem I see is a disconnection between what is happening daily and the values she wants her family to live by. In other words, many moms struggle to see the big picture of their life story as a family and to make the changes that make it possible. So because she doesn’t see what is possible or doesn’t think it is possible, she gets stuck in a pattern of overwhelm and feeling lost. Her daily actions don’t have meaning behind them, and it can feel a lot like going through the motions.

The truth is that once you see what’s possible for your family and believe it, you can create a plan, and take the small steps that will change your life. This is possible for anyone!

HoW: If you had to choose 5 tips or 5 self-care rituals that are most helpful to mothers what would they be?

Kate: I highly recommend that moms do each of these daily, even if only for 5 minutes per practice:

  1. mindset work and self-reflection
  2. movement
  3. deep breathing and grounding outdoors
  4. meditation
  5. playful activity: laughing, dancing, and reconnecting to her fun side

I do these daily myself and see these as the most supportive self-care a mama can do. Personally, I love taking a nightly hot Epsom salt bath, but a bathtub doesn’t fit in an RV! I’ll instead run my diffuser with clary sage and lavender essential oil and take a hot 5 minute shower, breathing in deep and clearing my mind of the day’s worries and thoughts.

The Home of Wool Pop-up Q&A

HoW: How many miles have you traveled since the beginning of the year?

Kate: We have traveled about 25,000 miles or 40,233 kilometers since September 2020.

HoW: Most memorable place?

Kate: John Pennekamp State Park in the Keys: Key Largo, Florida.

HoW: Favorite place in the RV?

Kate: My bed! It’s the coziest spot, and I love reading at the end of the day in it.

HoW: The easiest breakfast for 3 kids on the road?

Kate: Yogurt bowls with fruit and granola

HoW: What’s the book on your nightstand right now?

Kate: “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne

HoW: Top 5 songs you listen to at the moment?
  1. “Step Out” Jose Gonzalez
  2. “My Own Soul’s Warning” The Killers
  3. “Into Happiness” Phantagram
  4. “Time Stands” Nathaniel Rateliff
  5. “Roses” Saint Jhn and Imanbek
HoW: Favorite podcast?

Kate: Anything health hacking. One I’ve been loving lately is “The Light Diet.”

HoW: Where would you like to travel (internationally) when the world opens up?

Kate: Costa Rica. My husband and I went as newlyweds, and I would love to take the kids there.

HoW: What’s your superpower?

Kate: My intuition: feeling into others’ emotions and thoughts in a way that makes them feel so seen and heard.

Thank you, Kate, for sharing your inspirational story with our Home of Wool community!

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