2020 is here, and that means Fulltime Families is celebrating our 10 year anniversary! In the past decade this amazing group has welcomed over 3,000 families into the community, offering friendship, a helping hand, and events galore.
Of course, Fulltime Families wasn’t always such a large community. Every great thing is born from a single idea, and even the best ideas must be nurtured and grown. In celebration of our beautiful community, here’s a quick peek at the history of the FtF organization from its beginning to the present day.
An Idea is Born
In 2007, Chris and Kimberly Travaglino purchased a pop-up travel trailer. After the pop-up was delivered, Chris cranked up the roof and Kimberly made her first tentative steps into the unit and was struck with an idea: “If we lived in something like this, instead of a house, we could see the world—or at least the country.”
Kimberly immediately ran to her computer to find information about families that live in RVs. Those frantic searches yielded a few blogs about some pioneering families, but there was not a single repository resource available to answer the countless questions one has when looking into the RV lifestyle.
It was during this search Kimberly decided that if she was looking for this information, surely other people were as well. So, she would build what she was hoping to find.
Kimberly learned about roadschooling, RVs, and destinations off the beaten path. She purged unneeded items. The family upgraded their rig not once but twice.
She was ready to hit the road, but Chris wasn’t convinced yet that leaving his steady job and the kids’ awesome schools was such a good idea.
Friends Make All the Difference
Fortunately, Kimberly found that in 2010 a few traveling families would be having a meetup in Cape Canaveral, Florida. She made plans to attend with her family. Chris was less than thrilled with this idea, but he humored her.
This weekend meetup proved to be the turning point for Chris. Once he became aware that “normal families” lived fulltime in RVs, he announced that he was onboard as long as the family upgraded their RV once again, this time to a bigger truck and a fifth wheel.
Fulltime Families Magazine
Of course, in order for the Travaglinos to hit the road, an income stream needed to be established.
Remembering that frantic Google search three years earlier, Kimberly decided to develop a magazine for fulltime RVing families that could provide them with timely answers to their questions about life on the road. While Kimberly worked on that, Chris developed the very first Fulltime Families website, and on April 1st, 2010, the inaugural issue of Fulltime Families Magazine was uploaded to the internet.
Kimberly and a team of 12 other writers would go on to produce 50 issues of Fulltime Families Magazine and sell hundreds of $15 annual subscriptions. Because mobile internet was scarce and expensive back in 2010, many of these issues were produced in Wi-Fi cafés and McDonald’s restaurants across the country.
With an income stream in place, the family was able to jump into the fulltime life. In June of 2010, they moved into their camper, set up camp at a local south Florida KOA, and awaited the arrival of their newest baby. After his birth, the Travaglinos headed up the east coast for the first leg of what would eventually become an 8-year road trip.
Rally Fun in the Early Days
In the winter of 2010, the family headed back down to south Florida and hosted the winter meetup of the RVing families in Cape Canaveral that they’d attended the year before. This was the first ever Fulltime Families Rally and it included:
- The Parade of Homes
- A puppet show by a professional puppeteer
- A dessert pot luck
- A piñata
- “How to make a bomb” science experiment
- A sunrise non-denominational beachside service
After the rally wrapped up, the Travaglinos headed west. They had about six months to get to Astoria, Oregon, the site of the second official FtF rally.
Rounding Out the Offerings
One day in 2011, Chris and Kimberly were selling magazine ad space to a major RV resource supplier when the person on the other end of the phone asked if they were more than just a magazine. He wondered if Fulltime Families might be a full-fledged membership club.
This simple question set the next phase in motion. Right there on that phone call, Fulltime Families became a full-fledged membership club. Magazine subscribers were grandfathered into the roster and new membership benefits were unveiled, including discounts on Passport America, Thousand Trails, Fulltime Families events, and more.
Handing Over Ownership
Eventually, the Travaglinos found themselves wanting to switch directions. However, in order to do that, they would need to pass ownership of Fulltime Families onto someone else. This is where the Denkins family stepped in.
Jill and Dustin Denkins had been traveling the US with their kids for about
6 years when they decided to purchase Fulltime Families from the Travaglinos back in 2018. They saw that the community had grown into something amazing, and saw potential for it to be even more.
The Denkins brought on an entire team of people to help FtF continue to blossom. Under their direction the website was revamped, new branches were added, more events were added to the schedule, rallies in more remote locations (such as Alaska and Mexico) were planned, and membership numbers climbed steadily.
Jill and Dustin poured countless hours into their new project. However, they soon realized that taking the organization to the next level was going to require even more hands on deck.
In August of 2019, Nicole and Dustin Schroeder entered the scene as co-owners of Fulltime Families. The Schroeder Family had been on the road for a couple of years at this point and were active members of the FtF community. They had the energy needed to keep growing the organization, and have been invaluable in terms of improving Fulltime Families from the inside out.
Fulltime Families Today
Today, Fulltime Families is a thriving community. The organization offers its members access to a full 22 branches which allow members to connect with travelers with similar interests—both online and in person.
The Fulltime Families Explorers group gives kids a chance to take part in a scout-like program and is planning several field trips in the new year.
Numerous events have been added to the calendar which now includes
everything from LEGOLAND field trips on both sides of the country and multi-day hangouts in various locations across the country to week-long rallies and even the first ever FtF rally on a cruise!
Members of Fulltime Families also create their own fun by planning to meet up with one another, caravanning from one spot to the next, and spending time in winter hotspots such as Florida, Texas, Arizona, and southern California. They come together to help one another when they see a need, and make a point of celebrating successes and offering support through hard times.
This community is one of the closest you’ll ever find. Many of the friendships forged through Fulltime Families have lasted a decade at this point, and we’re guessing plenty will last an entire lifetime. After all, it isn’t where you go that matters, it’s who you go with.
Fulltime Families Rally Traditions
A Fulltime Families rally is made unique by the many traditions created over the years. Some of these traditions have come and gone, while others have stuck around. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Potlucks — Fulltime Families rallies and hangouts always include potlucks. Dessert and appetizer potlucks tend to work well for the larger groups, while meal potlucks are great for small groups.
- Rally Cash — Instituted in 2014, rally cash is a way to reward rally attendees for participating and helping out. The cash can be used at the end of the week to enter drawings for prizes.
- Kids’ Marketplace — The Kids’ Marketplace is an awesome opportunity to FtF kids to sell their goods and services, make some extra money, and work on their business skills.
- Milestone Badges — Members receive a pin for each year they are on the road. These are displayed on the lanyards that hold their name badges.
- Adult Marketplace — The Adult Marketplace is a great opportunity for adult rally attendees to sell their products and services and promote their businesses.
- Rally Fairy — The Rally Fairy visits each camper during one night of the rally to deliver a goody bag of small gifts.
- Mom’s Night Out and Dad’s Night Out — Each rally includes one Mom’s Night Out and one Dad’s Night Out. These events offer parents an opportunity to connect with one another.
A Timeline of Fulltime Families Rallies and Hangouts
Let’s take a look back in time at all the wonderful rallies and hangouts Fulltime Families has had the privilege to host for the RVing community.
- January 2011 — Fulltime Families / Families on the Road Rally (Cape Canaveral, FL)
- June 2011 — Fulltime Families Rally (Astoria, Oregon)
- June 2012 — Fulltime Families Rally (Lancaster, PA)
- January 2013 — Fulltime Families Suwannee River Rally (Live Oak, FL)
- July 2013 — FtF Rally in the Rockies (Montrose, CO)
- January 2014 — FtF Buccaneer Bash (Tampa, FL)
- March 2014 — World’s Best Roadschool Convention co-sponsored by Fulltime Families and the Roadtrip Teacher (Tucson, AZ)
- January 2015 — FtF Castaway Rally, Tampa, FL
- March 2015 — FtF Boondocking Back to Basics Rally (Las Vegas, NV)
- September 2015 — FtF Not Back to School Roadschool Rally (Branson, MO)
- January 2016 — FtF Cruisin’ Cali Rally (San Diego, CA)
- February 2016 — FtF Sweetheart Soiree (Tampa, FL)
- June 2016 — FtF Superhero Rally (Montrose, CO)
- September 2016 — FtF Colonial Times Rally (Bainbridge, NY)
- October 2016 — 1st Annual FtF Halloween Hangout (Williamsburg, VA)
- February 2017 — FtF Family Reunion (Tallahassee, FL)
- July 2017 — FtF Fourth of July Hangout (Hershey, PA)
- August 2017 — FtF Solarfest Eclipse Hangout (Bend, OR)
- September 2017 — FtF Canada Rally (Manatoba, Canada)
- October 2017 — FtF ABQ Balloon Fiesta Hangout (Albuquerque, NM)
- October 2017 — 2nd Annual FtF Halloween Hangout (Myrtle Beach, SC)
- November 2017 — FtF South West Shindig Hangout (AZ)
- January 2018 — FtF Game On Rally (Temecula, CA)
- March 2018 — FtF Under the Sea Rally (Madison, FL)
- May 2018 — FtF Showbiz Rally (Branson, MO)
- July 2018 — FtF Robotics on the Road Rally (MI)
- August 2018 — FtF Mountain High Hangout (Bend, OR)
- September 2018 — FtF Canada Rally (Ontario, Canada)
- September 2018 — FtF Balloon Fiesta Rally (Albuquerque, NM)
- October 2018 — FtF Destination Halloween Rally (Myrtle Beach, SC)
- February 2019 — FtF Dino-Mite Hangout (Glen Rose, TX)
- March 2019 — FtF Family Reunion Rally (Madison, FL)
- May and June 2019 — FtF Alaska ROAM Rally (Montana to Alaska)
- June 2019 — FtF Down by the Bay Hangout (Burlington, WA)
- June 2019 — FtF Swashbuckler Hangout (Newport, NC)
- August 2019 — FtF Game of Nomes Rally (Bend, OR)
- September 2019 — FtF Canada Rally (Ontario, Canada)
- September 2019 — FtF Fall Back Hangout (Boone, NC)
- September and October 2019 — FtF Balloon Fiesta Rally (Albuquerque, NM)
- October and November 2019 — FtF RSI: Texas Rally (Lakehills, TX)
- December 2019 — FtF Mexico ROAM Rally (Arizona to Mexico)
Fulltime Families has become the most popular fulltime RVing club for families. The organization is an invaluable resource for those hoping to get on the road, and even more important for those who are already on the road and in need of community.
Here’s to 10 years of fabulous fun and friendships! May we see many, many more.
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