After years of tent camping, the McLaughlins knew they wanted to find a more permanent way to spend time in nature and explore the country together. Eventually, they purchased a truck and trailer and began going on small adventures close to home. They realized that life was too short not to pursue their dreams, and in 2020, they took the leap into full-time travel. Now, Dawn, Kevin, and their daughter Kaitlyn are traveling around the United States on an adventure of a lifetime.
Meet the McLaughlin Family
When Kevin and Dawn McLaughlin first met, they connected over a shared love for the outdoors. They both grew up in California and fell in love with nature at an early age. After they started dating, most weekends were spent tent camping, with just the two of them and their motorcycle. Whether they headed up to the mountains or down to the beach, they were simply excited about the fresh air and stunning views.
As their family grew, Kevin and Dawn continued camping. With their daughter Kaitlyn along for the journey, they switched out the motorcycle for an SUV and upgraded to an air mattress and a larger tent. At the time, Kevin was a professional pilot and flight instructor, and Dawn was a management consultant. Both were working full-time, and as Kaitlyn got older, their lives got busier and busier, but they still made time to go camping.
Many four-day weekend trips to Yellowstone were just enough to keep them dreaming about spending more time on the road. As the McLaughlins began thinking about what they would do “someday”, they found themselves caught up in their hectic lives. Stuck in the corporate world with a mortgage and car payments, their lives revolved around work, school, sports, chores, and their electronics. Kevin and Dawn knew something had to change, but they weren’t sure where to start.
After tossing around a few ideas, they borrowed a friend’s truck and trailer and went on a two-week vacation. During this trip, the McLaughlins truly experienced RV life and what it felt like to live off-grid. It dawned on them that this would be the next step. Soon after this trip, Kevin and Dawn purchased a new truck and bought their own trailer from Facebook Market Place.
Nuttin’ Adventured Nuttin’ Gained Hit’s the Road
“We stepped outside our comfort zones and reached for someday.” With their new truck and trailer, they were ready to get out and start adventuring, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. As the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the McLaughlins decided to spend quarantine doing what they loved most. At the end of quarantine, they had spent 42 days camping, only nine of which were in a campground.
Spending extensive time on the road showed Kevin and Dawn that this lifestyle truly could be sustainable. They immediately began transitioning to being on the road full-time. Dawn got a new job, and the McLaughlins left California and spent 6 months in Sun Valley, Idaho. Their time in Sun Valley was incredibly eye-opening. Kaitlyn excelled in a much smaller school, and Kevin and Dawn loved the increased amount of time they were able to spend as a family.
After their time in Idaho, they spent the following summer in Yellowstone and decided they were ready for full-time travel. “So, we did it. We took the plunge and stepped outside our comfort zone. We took a chance and followed our dreams of living more simply, spending more time as a family, and finding more freedom. Why wait for retirement when you can start making memories with your family today?”
Finally starting their life on the road was a dream come true for the McLaughlin family. Kevin and Dawn love “seeing the world through their windshield.” They’ve met some incredible people, gone down roads less traveled, and changed the way they see the world. Experiencing the rich history and stunning beauty of the world, in-person has been an unmatched experience.
Nuttin’ Adventured Nuttin’ Gained Upgrades to the Power of Battle Born Batteries
Life on the road was everything the McLaughlins hoped it would be, but it also brought its share of challenges. After working through some unexpected mechanical issues, they began struggling with unreliable power. Eventually, their lead acid batteries died completely, leaving them reliant on generators and campgrounds.
Searching for a better solution, they looked to the YouTubers who first inspired them to travel full-time. Since long before they had a trailer of their own, Kevin and Dawn enjoyed watching Marc and Trish from Keep Your Daydream and seeing their life on the road. The McLaughlins saw how much Marc and Trish enjoyed their power upgrade with Battle Born Batteries and began doing research. This led to Kevin and Dawn meeting some of our team and officially deciding to upgrade.
They quickly gathered their components and contacted Steven Lewis from Five Star Nomadic to help them with their install. Their upgraded electrical system is comprised of
- 3 – 12V 270Ah GC3 Battle Born Batteries
- 2 – 150/100 Victron SmartSolar Charge Controller
- 1 – 3000 w Victron MultiPlus II Inverter
- 1 – Cerbo GX
- 1 – Victron SmartShunt
- 1 – Victron GX Touch 70
- 2200 watts of solar
With their new Battle Born Batteries, the McLaughlin family is enjoying increased peace of mind and endless amounts of power. Instead of worrying about the “numbers game” and calculating their electrical usage, they’re able to relax and simply use the electronics that they need. Kevin and Dawn also love that they were able to place the batteries under their bed with no worries about off-gassing or thermal runaway. Not having to rely on their generator or be bound to campgrounds with electrical hookups has truly been a gamechanger for the McLaughlins.
Experiencing the Freedom of Life on the Road
After moving on from their first used trailer, Kevin and Dawn upgraded to a 2022 Alliance Valor 43V13. The primary consideration for the change was the need for extra space. As Kaitlyn entered her teenage years, Kevin and Dawn wanted to ensure that she had the privacy she needed. With their Valor, Kaitlyn has her own bedroom and bathroom. This gives the McLaughlins the perfect mix of family time and personal space.
Another important consideration for their new home on wheels was a reliable internet connection. When the McLaughlin family started traveling full-time, Kaitlyn switched to online school, Dawn began working remotely as a management consultant, and Kevin works on their social media. Getting Starlink was a major improvement for their nomadic lifestyle. Plus, with the addition of their Battle Born Batteries, they no longer had to run the generator to get an internet connection.
For Kevin and Dawn, switching to remote work was an easy transition. As long as they were connected to a stable internet signal, they loved working on the road. Having the flexibility to travel anywhere they choose while still being able to work full-time allowed the McLaughlins to live the travel lifestyle they desired.
Additionally, Kaitlyn has loved the transition to online school. Being able to learn at her own pace has allowed her to feel more relaxed and empowered. Kevin and Dawn loved seeing how much she’s grown through a more individualized school setting. They also enjoy getting to watch Kaitlyn learn through real-life experiences. Rather than simply reading about history, she’s able to set foot in the places where it actually occurred, bringing her learning to life in a practical way.
Nuttin’ Adventured Nuttin’ Gained Trades Things for Experiences
While on the road, the McLaughlin family loves spending time outdoors as a family. Whether they’re out boondocking on public lands, at Disney, watching animals, or attending air shows, they love how much time they have to spend as a family. Instead of having to set aside a few times a year for a family vacation, every day is a new adventure for the McLaughlins to experience together.
Their love for the outdoors and helping others has encouraged them to start a movement through their social media following. “It’s a great feeling to be able to enjoy our public lands and their natural beauty. It’s our responsibility as humans to keep our playgrounds clean and enjoyable for the next person to enjoy.” They’ve started the “Pack It In, Pack It Out, Pack a Bag” campaign to encourage others to leave outdoor spaces better than they found them. They hope to encourage others to do their part to preserve the natural beauty of outdoor spaces.
One of the best parts about life on the road for the McLaughlin family is getting to trade an abundance of things for an abundance of experiences. Whether they’re kayaking in key west with sting rays, at an RV park on the beach, in a US campground in Yellowstone, or simply just enjoying sunsets and sunrises across the country, Kevin, Dawn, and Kaitlyn love collecting these magical moments.
Although the McLaughlins wouldn’t trade their life on the road, they do miss some of the stability of having a home base. Something that has allowed them to create a greater sense of home and stability in their RV is bringing their two cats, Willomina and Stormy, along. The McLaughlin family enjoys bringing the cats along and watching them explore the places that they visit.
What’s Up Next for Nuttin’ Adventured Nuttin’ Gained?
Looking forward to their upcoming travels, the McLaughlins will continue following that 70-degree line. They love spending summers in Yellowstone, winters in the south, and everywhere in between. No matter where they are, Kevin and Dawn plan to continue enjoying every moment that they’re given. Rather than waiting around for “someday”, they want to encourage others to start today and live a life that brings them joy.
“We work hard to play harder and enjoy being in nature and exploring this beautiful country and all it has to offer, including old towns and less traveled backroads. We have seen some pretty astonishing things; we didn’t even know existed, and we guarantee you will too!” The old saying that “Nothing ventured, is nothing gained” originally inspired Kevin and Dawn to take the leap into full-time travel. They came to the realization that to achieve anything, they have to be willing to take some risks. So that’s exactly what they did.“We took a chance and followed our dreams of living more simply, spending more time as a family, and finding more freedom.”