RV Lifestyle Influencer Spotlight: Adventure Endeavor
Posted: May 16, 2022
Categories: Travel & Lifestyle
RV Lifestyle Influencer Spotlight: Adventure Endeavor
Since they were young, Melissa and Jesse Azarva have always been into the outdoorsy lifestyle. From hiking and backpacking to road tripping frequently on weekends, they enjoy expanding their horizons and seeing what the world has to offer.
The Turning Point for their Lifestyle
In 2017, they experienced and survived a life-changing event that altered their perspective on the pricelessness and true value of life, resulting in major lifestyle changes that helped catapult them into the RV lifestyle.
“A few years ago, we survived an event that made us desperate to clear our minds,” Mel stated. “In October 2017, we attended the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas. What began as an enjoyable weekend listening to music with friends ended with the largest mass shooting in modern history. Our weekend of fun left us running for our lives and narrowly surviving major injury––or worse. We were beyond lucky to manage an escape, sustaining only minor physical injuries, yet the mental and emotional toll was immediate and intense. The feelings and memories of that day took much longer to heal.”
“As difficult as it was to move past, this event eventually became the catalyst for significant positive change in our lives,” she continued. “Over the following year, we began processing and coping with the effects of this trauma. We were proactive about our well-being, going to therapy, quitting drinking, changing our diets, and kicking up our exercise routines. Still, the sound of a balloon popping or live music playing triggered us and was sometimes too much to handle.”
After that life-altering event, they shifted their mindsets to really value experiences which contributed to their decision to take a road trip just short of the year anniversary of the incident. They spent two weeks on the road; and during their trip, there was a point where they had freed their minds and didn’t think about the tragic shooting at all.
“Up to that point, it had been at least once a day that we thought about it, were reminded of it, or experienced some trauma related to it,” Mel stated. “It was just hard to get it off our minds, but we made this trip part of our healing journey and really focused on changing our perspectives and lifestyle. From then on, we tried to get out on the road as much as possible. We started working towards turning my job into a remote job and downsizing our belongings, looking into buying an RV, etc. It was around nine months later that we actually hit the road for good, and we haven’t looked back since!”
The Azarvas have now been on the road as full-time RVers for three years and counting, and have stamped their digital footprint by being known online as “Adventure Endeavor” by their 6,800+ followers on Instagram and 13,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Favorite Travel Destination and Memory
Mel and Jesse are avid “boondockers” which they defined as “camping out in the boondocks; being further away from town, self-reliant and, essentially, dry camping.” For reference, according to Boondocker’s Bible, the term is defined as “camping the more traditional way of being in nature, deep in the woods, the desert or up in the mountains, away from town and without public utilities to hook up to. This term specifically tends to be used with vehicle-based camping, like in an RV or van.”
As boondockers, the western side of the country is their favorite area to visit and camp due to the multiple locations of open and public land. They also love it out west because of the beautiful scenery, especially the mountains. Their overall favorite place to be is near the Rocky Mountains.
Aside from the breathtaking mountain views out west, their favorite memory and destination thus far took place on the East coast. Mel and Jesse listed Acadia National Park in Maine as their fave because of all the wonderful things the park has to offer along with their incredible experience watching the sunrise over Cadillac Mountain.
“Acadia National Park is located on the total opposite side of the country from where we’re from. We spent a whole week there exploring as much as possible and checking out the various corners of the park, and it all took us completely by surprise,” Mel said. “We watched the summer solstice sunrise on top of Cadillac Mountain which is one of the first locations to see the sun rise in the United States, and it was such a special experience. We highly recommend going in the summer for that reason.”
The Freedom of the RV Lifestyle
When it comes to RVing full-time, Mel and Jesse really love the simplicity and ability to go anywhere they get from this style of living. “Being full-timers gives us more freedom and free time,” Jesse stated. “We don’t have to worry about doing yardwork, we’re not constantly working on a house, and we also have the ability to travel when we please. We move approximately every ten days, give or take, and being able to change locations and ‘live’ in an area for a couple of weeks then moving on to the next location is very enjoyable.”
The couple also mentioned that they appreciate the money they save from being full-time RVers. “Being a couple that likes to frequently travel, the amount of money we would spend if we were taking trips to all the places we visit by flying or using other means of transportation would add up very quickly,” Mel stated. “We appreciate having the ability to travel freely and find our own pace. We also love getting to enjoy places as if we live there and being able to stay as little or as long as we want without worrying about a time limit.”
One of the other parts of the RV lifestyle that Mel and Jesse enjoy the most is going off-roading. Since their RV is a travel trailer that they tow, they have a pickup truck as their tow vehicle that is also fully decked out for off-roading.
Last year, they bought an old Jeep that they fully restored and built up for off-roading, so they both have a vehicle they can enjoy the activity in. “We go off-roading quite a bit – especially out west where we can do it right from our boondocking spot,” Jesse said. “We love exploring trails and really seeing what’s out there. We’ll drive separately as well so we can both get the full experience – Mel takes the truck and I drive the Jeep,” he continued.
The Initial Challenge of a Limited Social Life
As a couple that spends a ton of time on the road, Mel and Jesse listed missing their friends and family back home as one of the biggest challenges they faced when they switched to being full-timers. They also mentioned that building community was a challenge at first as they had to be intentional about making social time and connecting with other travelers.
“We didn’t think much about that during our first few months on the road – we were busy focused on traveling, seeing places and doing things, then one day it hit us and we began missing our social life,” Mel stated. “We started to seek out friends and met lots of people on Instagram and through an RV club we joined, and now we have tons of friends! We are now at a point where we could take a trip, and within a day’s drive we could meet up with friends and caravan, hang out and do other fun stuff we enjoy.”
They also give credit to Lippert Scouts for helping them build their community and connect with other RVers all over the country.
Becoming BFFs with Lippert
Mel and Jesse’s relationship with Lippert started when they reached out to Lippert inquiring about Mel’s favorite RV accessory: the Lippert Solid Step® Premium RV Steps. Mel has always been intrigued by the Solid Step and its capabilities, so they were curious to see if Lippert would like to work together and use that as a starting point. They stated that once they reached out, they were able to hop on a call with some of the members of Lippert’s Customer Experience team, and things took off from there!
“Lippert decided to take a chance on us and sent us the product and we made a video about it, and they really liked the video,” Mel said. “We personalized it with lots of jokes and by being extra silly and just being ourselves. We started there and then it naturally developed into a really good partnership.”
Jesse added, “Kim and Ryan are awesome! We admire our partnership with Lippert because of the relationship-building aspect that they emphasize strongly. They also give us the freedom and flexibility to create whatever type of content we want around the products, and that allows our personalities to shine through, which we really appreciate.”
Favorite Lippert Accessories
As mentioned previously, Mel’s favorite Lippert accessory is the Solid Step, which is an RV step designed to add more stability and safety when entering and exiting an RV. She stated that they can go up and down the steps quickly without feeling it throughout the whole trailer, which is a huge plus.
“When we were initially looking to buy our first RV, I always knew that I wanted those steps,” Mel said. “Finally, one day we decided to just reach out and ask for it, and that decision to reach out blossomed into an awesome partnership with Lippert. So, my appreciation for the Solid Step is not only rooted in it being a great product, but also for the relationship that it helped build.”
Jesse stated that his favorite Lippert accessory is the Screen Defender, which helps protect RV doors from damage while also helping ensure pets cannot damage, break through, or escape from the screen door. He and Mel have two dogs, one of which will let himself out through the screen when he wants to go out, they noted. Jesse said that he really likes the Screen Defender because it prevents their doggy from letting himself out when he so pleases, prohibiting him from causing unnecessary hassle.
Adventure Endeavor's Advice to Other RVers
As they’ve transitioned into the full-time RV lifestyle, Mel and Jesse have learned quite a bit along their journey. Below is some of the advice they have to offer to others out there who are curious about their experiences thus far.
Essential Items for Boondocking
When asked what some of their essential items on the road are, Mel and Jesse didn’t have a list of specific items per se, but they did talk about a couple of must-haves for a successful boondocking experience.
“Two of the most essential items for boondocking are reliable internet connection and solar power. When we’re boondocking, we don’t use campground Wi-Fi because we don’t typically stay at a campground, so we have to have our own internet source. We also have a full solar setup, so we have a good amount of power without the need for a generator. We also have a water bladder, so we can bring extra water with us or go get it if we need it, and we would definitely recommend that as well. So, ultimately, our essential items consist of off-grid camping type accessories that it would be hard to boondock without,” Jesse stated.
Why Boondocking is a Great Way to Camp
Mel and Jesse are very passionate about boondocking and have lots of great insight to offer about the unique camping experience it provides.
“Boondocking is nice because it’s typically free,” Jesse said. “Most of the places we visit out west allow people to stay for up to two weeks at no cost. It’s also great because you don’t have to make reservations or book anything – you simply go out, find a spot and just camp.”
Mel added, “Boondocking is great because it’s deeper in the great outdoors. That allows you to choose your neighbors more easily, and there are also fewer restrictions as well. Of course, there is general etiquette and specific rules to follow depending on the specific location, but we love that you don’t have to show up or leave at a specific time. There’s so much flexibility that allows you to truly make every boondocking experience uniquely yours.”
Mel's Advice to Other Women
Once they realized that they were going to engage in this lifestyle full-time, Mel made it her mission to develop the skills of towing the RV herself and becoming comfortable with doing so, and she believes that other women can do the same thing.
“After the experience we went through in Vegas, I didn’t want to find myself in a situation where something has happened to Jesse, emotions are running high, and I have to figure out how to hitch up and drive, so I wanted to develop that skill and become comfortable with it - and it’s not nearly as scary as I thought it was,” she said.
“My advice to the women out there is that you’re more capable than you may think you are, and you might even surprise yourself,” she continued. “Although it’s a lot less common for women to be the ones driving the pickup truck and towing the RV, as soon as you get out of your comfort zone and break through that barrier of fear, anxiety or whatever’s holding you back, you’ll realize ‘I can actually do this’ and you really, truly can!”