May 25, 2021
Link to Spotify
Welcome back to the BRL Friends & Family Playlist! I’m Jackie Martinez, Food Instagrammer for @chopwithjax and writer for the BRL Coffee Company blog. Each week we feature a playlist curated by one of our friends or family members that helps get them up in the morning. This week we’re chatting with a couple that’s living out your quarantine dreams, RVing around the U.S. of A. and sharing their journey on Instagram: Anette Padilla and David Garcia from @outdoingstuff
Check out their playlist and our conversation about life on the road, encouraging diversity in the outdoor adventure and RV communities, and the struggles of living without strong wifi (gasp!).
Name: David Garcia and Anette Padilla
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Occupation: David (Digital Marketing Agency Owner) & Anette (Corporate Philanthropy)
BRL Favorite & Brew Style: Love$ick, drip
JM: Hi Anette and David! Thanks so much for creating this week’s F&F playlist and sitting down to chat with me. You have been living the RV life since October 2020 and have been sharing your story via your Instagram Out Doing Stuff @outdoingstuff. I have been following you since the beginning and I love your account!
AP & DG: Yeeees! That’s awesome!
JM: To be honest, I wanted to feature you because you’re basically living my dream life lol. I’m also guessing that adventure and escape is also something on a lot of peoples’ minds throughout quarantine and the pandemic. So where are you?
DG: Right now we’re in northern Alabama. As we were driving here, Anette pulled up a map and looked at our location, then zoomed out to see the whole country and was like ‘look at where we’re at’!
AP: It was really trippy to realize how far east we are. We’ve come so far!
JM: That’s cool! Do you have a whole master plan of where you’re going?
DG: No, so when we started out we decided on our destination on a week by week basis. The general plan is to get to Washington, DC where Anette's sister is, but that has been continuously pushed back because our plans are pretty fluid. Also we don’t know the cities we go to so part of this process is researching on Instagram or Google to decide if there’s enough to do there. Sometimes we’ll stay for 2-3 days and sometimes it’s a day.
AP: And the day to day has changed so much. We've visited 9 States, 11 National parks, and countless cities so far. When we started on the west coast only being in nature. We were boondocking, which means there are no electric, water, or sewer hookups for your RV, and we were just in national parks and doing a lot of hiking. Now that we’re going east we’re very city focused. There are so many cities in the US that if you had a corporate job, it would take so many weekends to go out and visit all of them so it’s kind of cool that we can hit up a whole state in a week and then move onto the next.
JM: That is so fun! What's your morning routine been like on the road?
AP: We move every fews days so our morning routine changes too. We’ve had slower mornings recently. The first person to get out of bed alway makes the coffee. We boil the water and by the time the tea kettle goes off, it’s usually a sign that the other needs to get out of bed too. I make breakfast for us which is usually an egg scramble with some combination of veggies and potatoes. If the wifi is strong, we open our computers and get to work in the rig, and if the wifi is weak, we pile into the car and head to a local coffee shop or Panera Bread.
JM: How do you usually take your coffee?
AP: We’ve had a long journey trying to make coffee in our RV. When we first moved into it in October 2020, we learned that we didn’t have enough power to run a regular coffee maker, so we started exploring new methods. We unsuccessfully tried to make pour over coffee for a bit and then we spent a few months making aeropress coffee. We hated it though because it was too much work and we didn’t like making two separate batches. Eventually, someone recommended a large Moka coffee maker which is what we now use. We keep a large bag of coffee and grind it every morning and drink it with a splash of oat milk creamer. We usually pour our coffee into a large Yeti coffee cup and then complain that it does too good a job because the coffee stays too hot.
JM: Do you remember when you started drinking coffee?
DG: We both started drinking coffee in college but have different coffee journeys. I drink coffee more as a morning routine. It doesn’t really do much for me but I like having a warm morning drink.
AP: For years, I only drank coffee in social situations. I never made coffee at home, I would only buy it when I was out with people. Even when I worked in an office which provided free morning coffee, I would mostly have lemon tea or water down the coffee with hot water. (Terrible, I know) When David and I moved into the rig, he started making it every morning so now it’s become a part of my daily routine.
JM: Do you have any childhood memories that include coffee in some way?
AP: We both have memories of coffee being served at large family gatherings. I remember my grandma offering my parents coffee at the end of our visit. Coffee always signaled the end of a visit but for David, it didn’t.
DG: Right, I have a very large family on my dad’s side and we’re all really close. My Dad is one of 15 siblings and I have more than 50 first cousins. When we had regular family gatherings at family members’ houses, it was typical for the host to make 40 or more cups of coffee but it didn’t mean the party was ending. It meant that there were another 2-3 hours of the party.
JM: That’s amazing and wow so much coffee! Circling back a bit, you mentioned work. Can you tell me a little about what you both do for work? Are you working from the RV?
DG: Yes, I run my digital marketing agency from the rig. I’ve been in digital marketing for 10 years working at large agencies. When covid hit, I was a new hire at an agency and was one of the first ones to be laid off. I always wanted to start my own agency, but that was a good opportunity to motivate me to get started. And it’s been going well. Obviously we’ve had some internet issues being out in the middle of nowhere, but at the same time it reinforces the culture that I want to have at my agency. I tell my team, I don’t care if you’re working on the beach with a beer in your hand, it doesn’t matter where you’re at, or if you have purple hair. It doesn’t matter as long as you get the job done. That’s just the way I work.
AP: And for me, before covid hit, I worked at AEG in corporate philanthropy. Leading up to July, I had a feeling I was going to get furloughed and that’s when I pitched the idea to David to buy an RV and hit the road and it happened exactly that way. In July my furlough started and we were on the road by October. A few months ago my company reached out to see if I’d come back to LA to work full time and I ultimately turned it down. I decided to stay on the road. So this is our life!
JM: (Mind being blown) OOOOh my goodness!
AP: It could have been an out, but I decided no this is it! And luckily my boss was very supportive. I told him that I wouldn’t be coming back and he just said ‘you know as a friend I think this is the right choice for you -- you’re making the right decision and you seem happy’. Ultimately working for non-profits and in corporate philanthropy is my passion and I want to keep the same career trajectory going. But I’d like to pivot into contract or part-time, remote non-profit consulting or corporate social responsibility consulting, while also managing our social media. We’d love to start a YouTube channel someday and document our lives more, because it’s also like a travel journal for us. We have all this footage and photos we’ve taken along the way. It’s going to be a project I’ll eventually be taking on.
JM: I’m sure you knew in your heart that staying on the road was the right thing, but must have been really reassuring to have that support from somebody you respect from work. How long do you see RV life going?
AP: This is life now! We’re just going to keep going. We may take breaks to stop and visit friends or family in different cities for an extended period of time, but we’re planning to just get back on the road to keep going and doing loops around the United States.
DG: For the bigger things, we’ll head back home to L.A. We just got engaged and we’re planning sometime in the next year to get married there. Later on when we have kids, we want to be near our family so they and we can enjoy that time together so that’s when we will head back home. But as soon as they’re ready to travel we’ll get back on the road
JM: Congrats on your engagement! I actually had an RV trip with my family when I was a kid. My dad was stationed in Germany so we were living there for quite a while. My mom is Korean and my grandparents from Korea came to visit us so we rented a big RV and took a trip all around Europe and I just remember that it was like THE BEST TIME. It’s great that you are getting to become experts at it now and when you have kids it’s just going to be second nature and even more fun to bring them out there. What’s been your favorite part of RV Life?
DG: There's a lot! Seeing different parts of the country that you’ve never seen previously. We’re constantly having those moments where we’re seeing something completely new or just so beautiful. In the east, we’re constantly feeling like we’re in a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. It looks surreal. That’s the most amazing part for me.
AP: For me it’s the fact that we’re actually doing it that is my favorite part. It’s been a dream that’s been unattainable for so long. And we have so many moments where we’re like ‘oh my gosh I can’t believe we’re actually doing this’. Having that freedom and feeling like we’re taking control of our lives and being able to support ourselves while doing it. It’s interesting coming from the corporate world where you’re kind doing what everyone else is doing. We’re going to go to work, we’re going to get married, we’re going to buy a house, have kids, etc. We can do that but we’re doing it our way and I just find that really exciting.
JM: That is really exciting and it’s so cool to actually see you do it. The way outdoor adventure and RVing is portrayed on social media, it doesn’t feel like a very diverse space. Your account makes me feel more represented and connected to the possibility of doing life in that way and that it could actually be a reality for me if I wanted to try it.
DG: We’ve asked each other when we’re on a hike like ‘when was your first experience in nature’, ‘when was your first experience being outside and hiking’. I mean, I fished for the first time like 2 weeks ago!
AP: And you skied for the first time!
DG: I skied for the first time! There’s a lot of first times happening for us now.
AP: And it means a lot to see people doing it that look like you or just don’t look like the norm I think. Learning from people that look like you can put you more at ease and make you feel more comfortable reaching out because they’ve had a similar experience. We’ve had people share that with us and we’re inspired by other people who we’ve seen kind of pave the way. There needs to be more diversity. Some people might look at the lack of diversity in the outdoors or RV life and be discouraged by it. I think we’re actually inspired by it. We’re going to break that mold and enter the space.
DG: There’s no cookie cutter way to accomplish everything and that’s what we’re kind of trying to get across. I think many accounts out there can be very cookie cutter, sugar coated, and bland. We try to be as real as we can so people realize we’re just regular people [and RVing becomes more relatable to them].
JM: My favorite recent post was when, Anette, you had gotten your second covid shot. BTW I feel like I am completely in your lives right now. Remember when we went on this trip together?! LOL. But it was great because it was just a very real moment. It looks all magical but you’re also having very real moments like vaccine side effects like the rest of us. Do you feel pretty safe on the road?
AP: We’re mostly secluded -- it’s usually just us. It feels like we’re still kind of quarantined. But when we were in New Orleans it was wild. People were out and in the bars. I was so grateful that we had the vaccine. It takes so much pressure off. We were able to go to a concert. It was our first indoor concert since the pandemic. They had social distanced pods and everything felt very safe, but I don't know that we would have done that if we didn’t have the vaccine.
DG: Yeah we are generally pretty secluded. Sometimes we’re in areas where it’s like a 30 minute drive until you see a building. My mom will call and be like ‘mijo are you ok? Is everything ok?’ and I’m like I’d be more worried where we live in Downey!
JM: Oh man that’s so funny! Well I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts so I would be thinking of all the ways I was about to get murdered.
AP: Me too! What’s your favorite one? I need a new one.
JM: I’ve mostly been listening to Crime Junkie.
DG: She says she needs a new one but she just finished listening to one like 5 minutes ago.
AP: It’s true lol.
JM: What have been your top 3 favorite stops on the trip?
AP: Sedona. That was amazing. Sedona just has so much to do. We wanted to stay for a lot longer. We met a full time RVer and they said they’ve been coming back for 10 years and still haven’t seen it all! It was absolutely beautiful. So that’s my first favorite. David, what’s your favorite?
DG: We were talking about this the other day and agreed that the southwest was like our favorite area. Utah had such beautiful parks.
AP: I prefer nature so now that we’re going to more cities I don’t think I enjoy it as much as being in the parks, but I thought Austin was really neat. Austin was a city I could see us living in because the river path was just beautiful and everyone was so active and they’re running and biking and canoeing. We could see ourselves doing that. So Sedona, Austin, and Arches National Park.
JM: What is the thing you miss most from home?
DG: Aside from family, the steady wifi is what I miss most.
DG: Utilities in general -- power, water, electricity, wifi. Those are things you take for granted at home because you just have everything there if you need it.
AP: It just makes you so much more aware of how lucky you are to have everything. So family and utilities are what I miss the most too.
JM: Have you learned anything new about yourselves while you’ve been on this trip?
AP: So much. For me, someone who really appreciates stability, I’ve learned that I can adapt. I’m an enneagram 9 so I need structure, I need things to be stable and harmonious, and this lifestyle is everything but that. The second you get comfortable in one place, it’s time to move. And it takes me a while to get adjusted in a place. Sometimes if we are staying in temporary places when we can't pull out our slide or we don’t have water hookups, I start to get anxious. I need to park somewhere we can make it a home for 1 or 2 days. So what I’ve learned about myself is that I can be uncomfortable and adjust as I go because it’s probably the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been [living in an RV].
DG: For me it’s been learning to check in with each other. Very early on when we started doing this, we realized how much we needed to be there for each other and can’t just do this by ourselves. When you go on a trip or do something out of your normal schedule, you have this constant level of discomfort. Because discomfort is a certainty, we’re always checking in with each other and with ourselves and it’s helped us to learn what we want and need.
AP: That’s true. Even though we’re in this lifestyle and it sort of feels like a vacation, it is our life so sometimes we need to take a break just like everyone else. We still need to take time to rest. While our weekends are a good mix between exploring and relaxing, on a night off, we love cooking dinner, pulling out the sofa, making popcorn and opening up a bottle of wine while we watch a movie.
JM: Is there something you want to do or do more of in 2021?
DG: I want to learn to play the guitar. When we visited home in Los Angeles this January, I brought back a guitar that was gifted to me years ago. We’ve been lugging it around in the trailer but I haven’t picked it up once to try to learn to play it. I’d like to pick up that hobby before this year is over.
AP: I want to journal more. I go through phases when I journal daily but then the habit fades. I feel like we’re in such a unique and special time in our lives- living in an RV, exploring the country, being recently engaged, etc. - I want to remember it later in life.
JM: What inspired you to pick the songs you did for the playlist?
AP & DG: The songs are a mix of different types of music that we like. When we put them together and looked at the complete playlist, we were surprised by how many chill songs we picked.
These songs make us feel good, they inspire us and remind us of places we’ve visited. For example, The Hot 8 Brass Band Song (Sexual Feeling) is special to us because we saw them play live in New Orleans last month. It was our first concert since covid!
Thank you Anette and David for giving us a glimpse into RV Life. For all those reading, DM me if you want to help me buy an RV so I can live out my quarantine dream. We wish you safe travels and can’t wait to see where you are headed next!
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