We’re the Sweetlanders

We are Mark, Sarah, August, and Phoebe Cates (the cat) Retzloff. We have been traveling on the road since May 2015, in our 29’ Class C Motorhome (Callista) learning and growing and trying to figure out what the hell we’re doing. It’s been real.

From the time we got married in 2006, we talked about living on the road when we retired. In 2012 we said, “Why wait?” and committed to an idea – to renovate an RV and live on the road full-time.

This meant rethinking our entire life — how we worked, how we educated our son, how we spent our time and money, what we did with our stuff, and a thousand other things. We started out in a 1400+ sq foot, fully furnished, three bedroom house, and ended up in an RV just under 200sq feet — our dream home (for now).

Wanna know more? Check out the FAQ below (mostly a list of questions we’ve made up).


Hi, I’m Mark. I was born and raised in Texas. I like cheeseburgers, great design and getting my hands dirty. I have a soul patch; everyone hates it.


Hi, I’m Sarah. I moved from Kentucky to Texas when I was 15. I like breakfast, sniffing books, all the little details, and Mark’s soul patch.


Hi, I’m August. I was born in California but moved to Texas as fast as I could. I like Asian food, drawing in my notebook, and Phoebe Cates.

Phoebe Cates

Meow, Meow meow Phoebe. Purr meooow meow. I love you meow. Meow meow meoooow. Wet food. Meow, meow. The boy.


Do you work from the road?

Yes. Mark makes the mula through design, marketing and consulting services for ministries and non-profits.

What does education look like on the road?

Amazing. We are all three learning through our experiences. We do a little homeschooling/unschooling fusion for August. We follow August’s passions and interests and never really take off our teaching caps. We learn through firsthand experience, on location. If we are curious about or interested in something, we pursue it.

How long have you been on the road?

We’ve been living in the RV since January 2015 and on the road since May 2015.

How long do you plan on being on the road?

When we set out planning this dream we agreed that we would give it at least a year. It takes a lot of work, time, toil and money to get this kind of thing up and running. With an investment like that we wanted to be sure to give it a fair chance. We have found that not having a plan for being on the road has been the best plan for us.

We do know this, we don’t want to rush it. There’s just too many things we want to do and really spend the time to savor. We’ve set up a lifestyle that gives us flexibility and freedom to come and go as we please. Maybe we’ll spend a season stationary and maybe we’ll bee line for Alaska.

Do you have a travel plan/route? Do you know where you’re going?

Sort of, not really, actually, no. We have ideas of where we’d like to go but have no idea how we’ll get there or what we’ll detour to see along the way.

What kind of motorhome do you have?

We live in a 1998 29’ Class C, Calista Cruiser by Carriage. It had 42K miles on it when we bought it. The engine and coach were immaculate but very, very dated. So we gutted it and renovated it. New paint, new laminate flooring, new counter tops, new sinks, new shower, new compostable toilet, new window coverings, new upholstery. You name it, it got renovated.

What does your day-to-day look like?

The perception of the full-time RVer is that we’re just driving around all the time, like we’re crossing the country every week or so. That’s not it at all, at least not for us. We’ll spend as much time in each destination as we want. There’s no rush, no deadline, no expectation.

On driving days we’ll spend 2-3 hours on the road but more or less time if needed. We’ll research and plan destinations from the road and stop as often as we need for gas and food.

On parking days we’re either working inside or outside the rig or exploring where ever we are.

Is it cheaper to live on the road?

If you want to eat all your meals at home and never do anything, then yes, yes it is. We started out thinking we’d be saving cash left and right, living this way, but between fuel, RV park fees, new and exciting attractions and local flavor (we like to eat), we find we’re breaking even. We’re coming from Houston, TX though, where the cost of living is already pretty low. So, sometimes yes and sometimes no.

What did you do with all your stuff?

Kept it, stored it, sold it, donated it, gifted it or trashed it. Of the things we kept, they are either in our RV or in a 5×5 storage unit in Austin, TX. These are the things that are either essential to everyday life or the things that simply can’t be replaced.

Do you have pets?

Our cat, Phoebe, travels with us. Our sister and her new husband adopted our dog and gave him a happy home and big backyard in Austin, TX. More on that here.

How do you stay connected?

As much as we’d like to think we’re “off the grid,” we are completely and totally plugged into the grid. We have several iOS devices, laptops and an Apple TV. We look for RV parks, coffee shops, Target stores and other businesses that offer free wifi. If we’re in a pinch, we have a 30GB data plan on our iPhones with AT&T. We can tether any of our devices to the iPhones for access, as long as we have signal (which isn’t 100% of the time but we get by). I’ve downloaded and uploaded files, held Skype calls, streamed movies and surfed all through the tethered connection.

Where do you typically stay?

We boondock (camp unplugged for free) about 40% of the time. We have on board fresh water, a composting toilet, propane for the stove, heater and fridge, and a generator for electric needs beyond lighting. That said, it’s not the best setup for off-grid camping for long periods of time so we still rely on private, state and national parks with full or partial hook-ups to keep us going.


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