A couple lives part-time in a 320-square-foot RV with their 5 sons. Here's how the family of 7 makes it work.

·7 min read
the walker family eating at a table outside in front of their RV
The Walker family outside their RV. Courtesy of Trent Walker
  • Trent and Siobhán Walker moved their five boys into an RV full-time in 2015.

  • The 320-square-foot RV has a living room with a pull-out bed, a full kitchen, and a bunk room for the kids.

  • Since their oldest son is now a teenager, they settled in Hawaii and live in the RV part-time.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

In 2015, Trent and Siobhán Walker took their five boys on a trip to California, and they fell in love with traveling.

the walker family photo who owns RV
The Walker family. Courtesy of Trent Walker

As a Christian pastor, Trent Walker said he and his family love "doing whatever we can to make the world better," so they decided to take a trip to California. While there, they helped out an organization that gathers fruit and vegetables from farms and sends the products to families in need all over the world.

During that trip, the family caught the travel bug, but they couldn't travel as much as they wanted because they had a mortgage on a house in Battle Creek, Michigan, that sat on a few acres.

"We felt like we needed to see things. We needed to be awakened to life and beauty and nature," Walker told Insider. "My wife and I took a good, hard look at what we're doing with our life, and we're like we would be a bit freer if we didn't have this mortgage."

Walker decided to sell their house and buy an RV for their family to live in full-time.

At the time, they had five young boys. Their youngest was around a year old and their oldest was 9.

The five walker kids who live in an rv with their parents
The five Walker kids. Courtesy of Trent Walker

When they decided to travel full-time and sell their house, the couple had to consider their five children. Walker said his oldest took it the hardest, as he had to leave behind his friends and his baseball team, which he loved.

"It was a little harder for him because he had memory and nostalgia attached to the town that we lived in," Walker said. "He had friends there. That was a big sacrifice for him."

Once all their children were on board, they bought a 1995 Foretravel RV for $37,00.

the exterior of walker family RV
The RV. Courtesy of Trent Walker

Walker said he found the RV on Craigslist and thought it was "too good to be true," so he drove down to Arizona and bought it on the spot.

"It's an amazing machine," he said, explaining that the RV has no slideouts and is only 320 square feet.

When they first set out on the road, they experienced some growing pains and had to remodel.

the walker family RV before renovation
The RV before renovation. Courtesy of Trent Walker

When they first moved into the RV (pictured before the renovation), Trent and Siobhán gave themselves the back bedroom, while four of their boys slept on pull-out couches in the living room. Their youngest slept in a pack 'n play in the kitchen. They quickly realized this setup didn't work for them.

"We felt like prisoners back in our own bedroom because once the kids went to bed, you had to wait in the bedroom until they fell asleep," Walker said. "The growing pains were real, and that's the case for, I think, a lot of full-timers."

Now, the front living room has a couch that pulls out into Trent and Siobhán Walker's bed.

the renovated living room with couch in the walker family RV
The living room space doubles as a bedroom. Courtesy of Trent Walker

The couple decided it would be better for them to sleep in the living room because they have access to the kitchen and bathroom while the children sleep, so they wouldn't feel like prisoners anymore.

They put a single couch in the front, which pulls out into a queen-size bed, but it remains closed during the day so the family has extra space. There's even enough space in this room for Siobhán to do yoga each morning.

The front of the RV operates as a work space.

trent working in front of the walker family RV
The front of the RV acts as a work station. Courtesy of Trent Walker

The driver's and passenger's seats swivel around, and there's a pop-up table. Trent said he uses this space mainly to get work done.

When they sold their house in Michigan, Walker had to give up his job as a pastor. To make money on the road, he and his wife formed a band and performed at churches, cafes, and homes. Eventually, they built up a brand that became the main financier of their nomadic lifestyle.

The kitchen has enough space for all seven family members to sit down for dinner together each night.

the renovated kitchen with green cabinetry in walker family RV
The kitchen is the width of the RV. Courtesy of Trent Walker

The kitchen spans the width of the RV and has an oven, a stovetop, a convection microwave, and a propane refrigerator.

There's also a folding table that fits all seven members of the family.

"We don't actually pull the table out until we're right about ready to eat," Walker said, explaining the space is tight when all seven are in there together.

Through the kitchen is the bathroom, which is also the full width of the RV.

the renovated bathroom in walker family RV
The bathroom has been remodeled. Courtesy of Trent Walker

The bathroom is separated into two spaces. On one side, there is a shower, a toilet, and a sink. On the opposite wall, there is a closet, which is where the Walkers store their clothes and extra pantry items.

Through the bathroom, there is a bunk room, which functions as the children's bedroom.

the renovated children's bedroom with bunks in the walker family RV
The children's bedroom. Courtesy of Trent Walker

The bunk room has enough beds and space for all five of the children. There's also some additional storage space in the cabinets above the beds.

Walker said most of his kids don't remember living in a traditional house.

the children playing in their bedroom in the walker family RV
The children's bedroom. Courtesy of Trent Walker

Today, their oldest child is 15 and their youngest is 6, and all of them have adapted to life on the road.

"People don't quite understand it, but our RV really is our home, especially for our younger children that don't remember [our home in] Battle Creek in Michigan," Walker said. "They don't really remember that being home. Home to them is that machine on four wheels."

However, the family has decided to live only part-time in the RV these days because of the growing children.

mom and son in the kitchen of walker family RV
The family in the kitchen. Courtesy of Trent Walker

In 2019, the family decided to move to Hawaii permanently and only live in the RV during the summer months.

They decided to make this lifestyle change because their family is growing up.

"Our oldest, he's 15, and he's getting to be a man. He's not a small boy anymore," Walker said. "Our children are growing and going through school and relationships. [They're getting] their own social independence."

But they still live in the RV during the summer - the Walkers just left their home in Hawaii to travel throughout the northeast.

the exterior of the walker family RV in front of a lighthouse
The RV. Courtesy of Trent Walker

Trent Walker explained that living in Hawaii during the school year and in the RV during the summer is the perfect balance for them now.

"When we finally got back to the RV, the kids were like, 'Oh my gosh, I don't ever want to go back to Hawaii,'" he said. "I think it's a nostalgia for them."

As the family continues to travel this summer, Trent Walker said he looks forward to further building his community on the road.

the walker family eating at a table outside in front of their RV
The Walker family outside their RV. Courtesy of Trent Walker

Walker explained that he grew up in a mostly white area of Michigan, so he loves experiencing and introducing his children to different races, cultures, and traditions.

"The education on the road is much richer. The [sense of] community is much richer," Walker said. "Many people who are the full-time [travelers] feel like they have a lack of community, but I think when you do it the right way, you actually have a broader community [and] a much bigger expression of what community looks like."

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