Back in 2015, Emily Burton and her husband started feeling the travel itch. Her husband wasn’t happy with his job, and the RVing lifestyle was particularly intriguing.
So, the couple started binging on RV YouTube channels, podcasts and blogs, learning all they could about living in an RV.
“We started out with weekend RV trips,” said Emily. “It was nice to jump in our RV and just get away from it all with our dog and our son.”
But then, her husband got a job doing sales for a trucking company. Emily had an Etsy shop, which she’d nourished for seven years. With two remote incomes, the family decided to go for it.
They got rid of stuff, rented out their house in Savannah, and started full-time RV living.
The family’s move to full-time RVing
Excited about their newfound freedom, the Burton family set off on a whirlwind adventure across the United States. They saw a lot of awesome sights, but decided the pace was just too fast.
Now, the Burtons moves slower, spending a month or more in different places. They often go and visit family members in Miami, Savannah and Connecticut. They also overnight in gorgeous RV campgrounds.
“We just started working for a company that makes maps for campgrounds, which is a great opportunity,” said Emily. “We stay at a campground for two weeks, make the map, and get a free site.”
Emily loves traveling to different places and changing their scener on a whim. They love the simplicity of less stuff.
They homeschool their 9-year-old son and get to spend a lot of time in nature, and with each other.
For the Burton family, life is awesome.
How Emily makes money online through Etsy
A big part of what funds Burton’s nomadic RVing lifestyle is her Etsy shop, The Paper Giraffe.
Emily is a top 1% seller on Etsy, with over 1,400 reviews.
She sells invitations, banners, wall art and signs that people can buy, download and print. It’s the perfect mobile business as it involves no inventory.
“The instant downloads are passive income. Once I make it, the printable keeps on selling,” said Emily. “But the other part is orders I have to fill. I personalize the printable for the customer. I’d say the business is 30% passive and 70% active income right now. My goal is to have more of it be passive.”
Emily started her Etsy shop years ago, a side hustle to her regular employment where she worked as an administrative/executive assistant.
“I love designing things, so this is a perfect job for me,” said Emily. “I purchase clip art and then design the overall invitation.”
Now, her business plays a huge role in her family’s ability to travel full-time, but she still doesn’t depend 100% on her business.
“We’re happy we have the campground maps project. We get paid based on each individual map,” said Emily. “With Etsy and the campground maps and other small, odd jobs, it’s enough for us to live comfortably on the road.”
Growing an Etsy shop does take time and patience
If you’re interested in starting your own Etsy shop to make money online, don’t expect it to explode right off the bat. Starting a new business takes time, effort and patience.
Emily says its the perfect side hustle.
“There are so many things you can do on Etsy. Even if you just want to make an extra $100 per month,” said Emily. “But if you really put in the time and treat it like a full-time job, you’ll get full-time job results.”
She recommends reading all you can about running an Etsy shop, that there’s all kinds of free information out there. You can even reach out to Emily if you have any questions.
Just send her a message through The Paper Giraffe Shop.
Emily’s advice to others who want to RV full-time
If you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge into the full-time RV lifestyle, especially with kids, Emily does have some advice. She said it hasn’t always been easy finding other traveling families, or kids for her son to play with.
“With full-timers, we see a lot of retirees on the road,” said Emily. “When we meet other families, at first its usually through Facebook or Instagram. Then, we arrange to meet them somewhere on the road.”
She also recommends joining Facebook groups, listening to podcasts and finding some good YouTube channels to watch.
“Camp a few weekends in a row and then just do it,” she said. “Don’t think too much about it. I like the idea that we’re renting out our house, so if we change our mind about RVing, it’s still there.”
She thinks its an amazing opportunity for young people fresh out of college, who aren’t ready to settle yet.
Seeing the open road, experiencing new people and places, spending time in nature is all incredibly life-changing.
Here are links so you can follow Emily’s journey and browse her amazing paper shop:
Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.