RV Lifestyle Influencer Spotlight: Big Hearts Tiny Spaces
Posted: March 07, 2022
Categories: Travel & Lifestyle
RV Lifestyle Influencer Spotlight: Big Hearts Tiny Spaces
Sammy and Dustin Seles and their two young kiddos are full-time RVers who originally lived in Florida. With the nature of Dustin’s job in the crane industry requiring constant travel, the couple came to a consensus that residing in an RV full-time would offer a great solution to accommodate their lifestyle.
Since going full-time, the family has traveled to countless destinations and have become remarkably familiar with the RV industry and community, accumulating more than 45,000 followers on their Instagram page that highlights their adventures and lifestyle. In this month’s Influencer Spotlight blog, Sammy and Dustin, widely known online as “Big Hearts Tiny Spaces,” share some of their story with us, and we’re excited to introduce them to you!
Their Journey into the RV World
When Sammy and Dustin were pregnant with their youngest son, Dustin was presented with an opportunity to travel domestically across the US which meant that he would be gone for six to eight weeks at a time. Initially, Sammy stayed home because she had her own business along with their children to look after, and she didn’t know much about RVing at that point in time. They tried to make the distance and hectic schedule work as best as they could but soon realized they needed a different game plan – one that was not stressful for the whole family.
While Sammy has always preferred to stay in one place and be grounded and deeply rooted where they live, Dustin has always been a big dreamer and mentioned a few times about how the family could travel along with him, and one day they decided to go for it and try it out. Within three months, they sold everything: Sammy’s business, their house – everything they could. From there, they bought their very first RV, moved into it, and have been traveling and following along with his job ever since.
The family does not travel “freely” per se, Sammy mentioned, as they go wherever the next job site leads them to. She and the kids do, however, have time for leisure travel to have fun and explore while Dustin works; and during his down time and in between jobs, they enjoy the RV lifestyle together as a family.
Their Transitional Experience
When the Seles family decided to go into RVing full-time about two years ago, the COVID-19 pandemic was just underway which heavily impacted their experience. Many of the places they wanted to visit and explore, such as museums and places with family-oriented indoor activities, were shut down.
While living in Florida and before becoming full-time RVers, they didn’t spend much time outdoors because there was not much to do that sparked their interest besides going to the beach. With the pandemic putting a damper on their plans to visit indoor venues, the family developed a love for the outdoors and doing activities such as hiking, visiting state and national parks, national monuments, zoos, and many other types of places where strict COVID guidelines and practicing social distancing were not as prevalent.
A Few of Their Favorites
Being RV full-timers for two years, the Seles’ have discovered some things they really like. From their favorite place to visit and essential outdoor accessories to their fondest memory of their journey thus far, they shared a few of their top picks that capture their number one faves.
Favorite Travel Destination
As they became more acquainted with the outdoors and traveled to various parks around the country, they found one that became a family favorite – Big Bend National Park located along the Texas-Mexico border in southwestern Texas. They love Big Bend due to its generous size and capacity as it provides enough space for every visitor to feel a sense of freedom without feeling overwhelmed in a smaller, more crowded area. They listed Big Bend as their favorite place to visit because it is “a whole other world with so many great, unexpected things!”
As avid campers and lovers of outdoor cooking, Sammy and Dustin listed the combination of their Solera® Patio Awning and Front Shade Panel, Lippert camping chairs and their Bi-fold bamboo table as their favorite accessories on the road. When they cook outside, which they do quite often – especially during the summer, they mentioned that the awning and front panel keep them cooler, the table is perfect for their smoker, and the chairs are comfortable to relax and enjoy their meals in. “We like to do most of our cooking outside, so these few items present the perfect combination for our lifestyle,” the couple said.
The Seles Family mentioned that their favorite memory took place on their very first trip in their RV when they initially set out on their journey. They stopped at a state park close to home in Orlando in case something happened where they needed to quickly return to their hometown.
Sammy explained, “It was our first time full-blown in the RV by ourselves – we didn’t have a house at that point because we had sold it. We even spent a couple of days at Disney. It was great to feel like we really made it, and seeing the kids thriving and playing outside the RV made it even better. We felt a huge sense of relief and were extremely happy to officially say, ‘we did it!’”
Challenges They've Faced While RVing
Although the Seles family had a rather smooth transition to becoming full-time RVers, they still faced some challenges as they made such major lifestyle changes. They didn’t let that stop them, though – they were eager to find solutions and do whatever it took to ensure that they were well-equipped for the new road ahead.
Sammy mentioned that one of the biggest challenges they encountered going into RVing full-time was becoming familiar with all the maintenance requirements and learning to do those things hands-on by themselves. She mentioned that it was imperative for them to do their own research and really become self-starters to identify issues, fix them on their own and get back up and running quickly instead of having their home on wheels in the shop for days, weeks or even months at a time.
She also noted that one of the biggest misconceptions about RVing is that it is difficult to figure things out because there are little to no resources out there. She mentioned that there are endless resources available, with most being right at our fingertips and easily accessible on our smartphones and other devices.
The family credits social media, particularly Facebook groups and forums along with YouTube, for helping them get so savvy with their RV. “We love YouTube – it has become my best friend with quick resources and videos that people have shared that offer solutions to the same issues we face,” Sammy said.
“We also love the Facebook groups as they offer a great platform to ask questions. There are so many people who either already have an answer because someone else asked the same question or have resources they can provide us with if no one has a specific answer. Utilizing social media has also helped us connect with tons of fellow RVers who we can share advice and solutions with to keep us all safe and moving forward.”
Their Relationship with Lippert
When the Seles family bought their brand new RV, the dealership gave them two complementary Lippert Thin Shade™ window shades. Once Dustin began the installation process, they decided to post a reel of the process on Instagram which ended up generating more than 10,000 views. They tagged Lippert in the post and Lippert left a supportive comment which prompted Sammy to reach out and let them know that they were interested in working with them, and the rest is history!
One of the things Dustin and Sammy love the most about their partnership with Lippert is how it is more like a friendship than a partnership.
“We love how personable the entire Lippert team is – especially Ryan Zerfas, who we work the closest with,” Sammy said. “One of our Thin Shades flew off the bed of our truck while we were driving and became damaged, and Ryan told us that they would be happy to replace it for us.”
Sammy continued, “Our relationship with Lippert has grown much deeper than simply receiving items from them – they check on us and ask how we’re doing all the time, so everything feels more personal, more like a friendship. We even had an incident where we had a blowout and we posted about it on Facebook, and later that day we received a text from Ryan making sure we were okay, so it’s those little things that mean a lot to us.”
Dustin and Sammy are also major fans of Lippert products.
“On top of building genuine relationships, we love Lippert products, too. Our whole rig has been upgraded with tons of cool Lippert accessories, and all of them have been user-friendly enough for us to knock out installation ourselves without any hassle. People stop and ask us questions about our Solera awning all the time, and it’s moments like that that make it easy for us to build relationships within the RV community while learning as we go as well.”
With the Seles family’s unique situation, Sammy has had to learn a lot on her own since she takes care of the kids and the rig while Dustin works. She has gotten more comfortable with driving the RV and has even began taking solo trips with the kids: camping a couple of nights at nearby state parks, taking mini extended road trips to surrounding areas or other states, and even going further and taking trips for a week or two to do some exploring on their own.
Some words of advice Sammy wants to offer others are:
“The biggest thing is to learn for yourself and become self-sufficient – even if it takes taking small baby steps to get there. Sometimes my husband isn’t even in the same state due to having to go to another job site, so it is critical that I learn certain things in case of emergencies when he is not around or able to help. Having that basic knowledge of maintenance and being a go-getter when it comes to learning and fixing things makes a world of difference not only in what you can do your own, but also gives you extra confidence knowing that you CAN do it.”
Follow the Seles family on Instagram @bigheartstinyspaces to keep up with their journey!