Texas couple gives up house and possessions to become full-time RVers
Tom and Stacie Langland always have enjoyed RVing, except when it was time to go home.
“Every time we’d go on a trip for the weekend, we’d hate the day we had to pack up and go back,” Stacie Langland said. “So, we kind of set a five-year plan.”
That plan, which came to fruition in November 2018 — the year the Langlands’ son graduated from high school — entailed giving away most of their possessions, selling their Houston home and business and becoming full-time RVers, never again having to face the packing up and going home.
The Langlands document their lifestyle through rvtexasyall.com, a website on which they share YouTube videos of their adventures RVing in the Lone Star State, along with newsletters and helpful tips, information on campgrounds, RV parks and the lifestyle they avidly embrace in their 2017 Tiffin Breeze 31BR motorhome.
The 31.5-foot RV is shorter, squatter and narrower than most diesel pushers, making it easier to get in and out campgrounds like those in state and national parks, they said. Diesel-pusher motorhomes are distinct from their gas-powered counterparts in that they are powered by rear-mounted diesel engines.
With more than 17,000 YouTube subscribers and thousands of followers on social media, RV Texas Y’all has become a rolling advertisement for RVing in Texas and particularly in Galveston, where the Langlands spend extended periods enjoying the seaport city’s rich history, people, restaurants and independent shops, they said.
The Langlands, native Houstonians, enjoyed visiting Galveston as teenagers and the island has become their go-to place, they said.
Over the years, the Langlands have watched the island flourish into an RVer’s dream destination with a growing selection of nice RV parks, they said. They’ve enjoyed stays at Galveston Island State Park and Stella Mare RV Park, they said.
Their go-to island spot, Jamaica Beach RV Resort, this year became a sponsor of RV Texas Y’all.
“We love the fact that the people are fantastic and the weather is good,” Stacie said. “There are so many things to do to live actively — take bike rides on the seawall, put a kayak in the bay at the state park, play miniature golf. There’s something for everybody to enjoy.”
The couple promotes restaurants, museums and other island attractions with their YouTube videos. And they’re part of a growing market sector that benefits tourism economies, especially those providing outdoor recreation.
The RV industry is rapidly growing into a juggernaut with nearly 25 million Americans taking to the open roads each year in recreational vehicles, according to the RVs Move America Economic Impact Study, reported in travelpulse.com.
What’s more, the RV industry has an overall economic benefit of $114 billion and supports nearly 600,000 jobs, according to the study.
The study, released in June last year at the annual meeting of the RV Industry Association, also revealed the industry contributes more than $32 billion in wages and pays more than $12 billion in federal, state and local taxes.
The 25 million Americans who go RVing each year contribute not only generally to the U.S. economy, but specifically to the outdoor recreation economy, which represents 2.2 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
The Langlands’ videos about Galveston have introduced other RVers to the island, they said.
Hundreds of people have visited the island because of those videos and they often run into RVers who tell them so, they said.
“There is a lot of money spent by RVers in Galveston,” Stacie Langland said.
Although they sold their direct mail marketing business in 2018, the Langlands aren’t retired. Technology allows RVers to work from the road, and they’ve turned their love for the lifestyle into a way to encourage others to experience the life, they said.
The Langlands also offer seminars and advice to others who want to adopt the full-time RV life.
Before they became full-timers, they had to become minimalists, resisting accruing things for their 3,000-square-foot Houston home.
“It wasn’t an easy process,” Stacie said. “If you look around your house, there are things you are emotionally connected to — family heirlooms, things we’ve picked up along other travels, so it was difficult parting with some of those things.”
The Langlands gave away important items and heirlooms to relatives and friends, which made it easier to part with them, they said. Some full-time RVers get storage units, but that can eventually end up costing more than the items are worth, Tom said.
“We encourage them, if they can, not to get a storage unit,” he said. “If they have heirlooms, they need to try to give those to family members.”
The Langlands don’t regret becoming full-time RVers or their minimalist lifestyle, they said.
“We have no storage facilities, we see no end date to our journey,” Tom said.
They plan this year to spend some winter months in Galveston, which is about as close to a home for them as it gets, they said.
“Galveston is the place we spend most of our time,” Stacie said. “It’s our home base.”