Ben, Charity, Dakota, and Trinity DeVries love spending time together as a family and traveling around the country. With their pup and two cats in tow, the DeVries take road trips in their class A motorhome in search of new sights and fun adventures. After 5 years of traveling, over 17 National Parks, and 47 states, the DeVries family still loves living life in their RV.
Meet the DeVries
April of this year marked 14 years of marriage for Ben and Charity DeVries. While marriage isn’t always easy, the lessons learned, challenges tackled, and adventures experienced have been worth pushing through any adversity they faced. Ben and Charity love the life they’ve built for themselves in Florida with two kids, two cats, and an adorable Great Pyrenees named Alaska.
Their son Dakota is 12 years old, and their daughter Trinity is 10 years old. With only 18 months between the two of them, Ben and Charity often get asked if the kids are twins. Although Charity admits life was a blur at the beginning with an 18-month-old and an infant, she’s enjoyed watching the bond between Dakota and Trinity strengthen as they grow up together.
The DeVries family cherishes the time they get to spend together, and when the kids were young, Ben and Charity felt like they had plenty of time to make memories. As the years passed and the kids got older, they couldn’t help but feel as if their time as a family was beginning to slip away from them. With the realization that they only had 18 summers with Dakota and Trinity before it’s time for them to move out and start their own lives, Ben and Charity knew they wanted to make the most of their time under the same roof, but they weren’t sure how.
Feeling Stuck in the 9-to-5 Grind
This realization first began to sink in back in 2015 when Ben and Charity began feeling stuck in the 9-to-5 grind and the life they were dreaming of felt nowhere near possible. At that point, life was ok and the DeVries were settled into their “normal American” routine with “two kids, a dog, the house on the corner and working jobs to pay the mortgage and the bills.” Despite the comfort of their lifestyle, they dreamed of being able to do and see more together with a deeper sense of yearning for something better.
After looking into the potential of traveling in an RV, the family of four took a trip to the local RV dealership in January of 2015. As they were touring different RV’s and dreaming about what RV travel would look like for their family, they found their “dream” RV, a Class A motorhome, and took a photo in front of it. That photo was printed out and stuck on the fridge where they could see it every day as Ben and Charity began taking steps toward starting a business that could be ran on the road.
Two years later, in 2017, the DeVries were still working towards their dream life and while their online business was continuing to grow, it wasn’t to the point where it could replace their full-time income. As the kids were still getting older and the time left to travel with them was getting shorter, Ben and Charity decided they didn’t want to wait any longer to jump into RV Life. The DeVries were ready to spend more time as a family and make memories that would last a lifetime.
Taking the Leap into RV Travel
Ben and Charity began researching RVs that were for sale online and continued their search. While they knew they wouldn’t be able to afford their dream RV, a used and “new to them” one would be the perfect launch point into RV life. In July of 2017, they purchased a 2000 Fleetwood Pace Arrow motorhome and realized that even though they weren’t going to RV full-time, they would still be able to enjoy and have fun with RV travel. During their first year, the DeVries family, admittedly, made many rookie mistakes as they learned important lessons and laughed at themselves along the way.
In 2018, they upgraded to a 2004 Fleetwood Discovery Motorhome. With two younger kids, the cargo capacity and ease of travel days made it easy to stick with a class A drivable motorhome over a towable RV. The DeVries used their new motorhome for the next three years before deciding to renovate and reconfigure some things in early 2021. With their kids getting older, it became more imperative for bunks to allow both Dakota and Trinity to have their own space. While having a entire bunk room would be ideal, the bunk modification has allowed their current RV to continue working for them.
Over the last 5 years of RV travel, through seasons of full-timing and being weekend warriors, the DeVries family has come to love the RV life. As they’ve learned the ins and outs of their RV and gotten handier at fixing minor (and major) issues, they couldn’t imagine traveling without their motorhome. Having a home on wheels to take with them as they travel around the US, makes every bump in the road worth it.
Gratefully Glamping with Battle Born Batteries
In addition to the interior renovations Ben and Charity did within their motorhome to make it a better fit for their lifestyle and family, they also were ready to upgrade their electrical system. Last summer, they were constantly plagued by battery anxiety as they attempted boondocking. The DeVries were monitoring their power consumption and forgoing certain comforts, such as running fans at night, to avoid running down the batteries. There were many sleepless nights spent worrying about having the power they needed to continue with their daily lives.
After some research, Ben and Charity choose to upgrade their old lead-acid batteries to 4 – 100AH 12V Deep Cycle LiFePO4 Battle Born Batteries and accompanying components. The reputation for quality and positive experiences, made it a simple decision to switch to Battle Born. “We worry way less about our batteries and we have the power we need to run our appliances or charge our devices. It’s also given us more freedom to use options like Harvest Hosts without worrying about our power situation.”
Since Ben and Charity work while on the road, it’s essential for their devices to be powered and their signal and Wi-Fi boosters to be running. The DeVries are full-time content creators who also work selling goods on Amazon and run their own digital marketing agency, so having the power to work from (literally) anywhere has been a gamechanger. With all the luxuries of their RV, the DeVries consider themselves “glampers” rather than campers. They love having the freedom to travel and spend time outdoors while still being able to return to the comforts of home.
Raising Kids on the Road
Working remotely has allowed Ben and Charity the freedom of spending more time with their kids. “Being able to spend time with the ones we love is invaluable and we are passionate about cultivating healthy marriages, emotionally intelligent children, and developing critical thinking skills.” As the kids have gotten older, finding good times to travel has gotten more challenging. Dakota and Trinity are in private school and are involved in sports, so traveling happens around school and sports schedules.
Another challenge of being on the road is the kids having to be away from their friends for long periods of time. While they’re able to meet other kids at the different campgrounds along the way, it’s hard for them to make new friends and then having to leave. When the DeVries started bringing their pets on trips with them, they noticed it helped the kids to have a sense of stability and a friend who could come with them. In addition to the benefits of not having to find a pet sitter while they travel and being able to rent out their house, the DeVries are able to have their furry friends with them everywhere they go.
They love the memories they’ve been able to create with Dakota and Trinity and watching their kids tell their friends about the places they’ve been. One of their favorite places to travel to is the beach–they love being near the water. Snorkeling in the clear blue waters of the Florida Keys is an experience they will never get tired of.
Everywhere they go, the family gets to make new memories, whether in the breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park or the awe of being on top of the One World Observatory in NYC, they love the experiences that make them feel so small and the world feel so big.
What’s Next for the Grateful Glamper Family?
Since beginning their travels in 2017, the DeVries have traveled to over 17 National Parks and 47 of the lower 48 states. Throughout their time on the road, they’ve learned many tips and tricks for RV life and love sharing every high and low along the way. They can’t wait to continue to travel new places and see new things together.
Currently, the DeVries family is in Florida, but they’re then headed to Texas and the Florida Keys. After some time at home in early 2023, they’ll be eager to get back on the road, but aren’t sure where they’re headed yet. Eventually, they hope to visit all 50 states and even start travelling internationally. But until then, they’re happy just going where the wind takes them.