I love RV’ing. The adventure, the freedom, the (dare I say it) whimsy of it all. It suits my gypsy soul like nothing else.
In the decades before we bought our first RV, I enjoyed long road trips in whatever car I happened to have. I thought all I needed was my driver’s license, a credit card, the radio, and smartly-positioned drink holders.
But RVs take it to the next level. To have your own bedding, your own fridge, your own shower, and toilet with you, well, that’s just perfection.
But now, consider full-time RV’ing. Consider your RV as your only home. Could you do it? Would you be happy?
I will confess: It was a struggle for me. But please read on because the reasons it was a struggle may not be the reasons you would think. It wasn’t because of the nature of the beast which is full-time RV’ing, but more because of our own personal situation.
We didn’t set out to be full-timers. I honestly didn’t even know that anyone did that, so little was my knowledge.
That first winter, when we started full-timing and stayed in Florida for the entire winter, that felt pretty awesome! It felt so awesome, that we did it for the second winter too. Had you asked me what I thought of full-timing during those Florida winter months, you would undoubtedly have heard rave reviews.
But, at that time, we hadn’t started building the house; it was still in the design phase. And, at that time, the new house was going to be a fairly simple design and build. So I didn’t stress about it at all. In fact, I hardly gave it a thought, as I enjoyed the travel and the building of knowledge that RV’ing affords you.
Here’s the rub. It didn’t take months to build that new home. It took years. (In fact, though we’re living in it, it’s still not “done.”) And it went from what I thought was going to be simple (my innate preference) to extremely complex. So we ended up being full-timers for four years, without even really meaning to. With full-time jobs. With my husband gone much of the time. With two cats and a dog. All while continually writing indecent amounts on checks to contractors and sub-contractors for this house that we were allegedly going to live in one day.
That is not my idea of full-timing.
Full-timing requires a zealot’s embracing of the road and the journey and, perhaps most of all, simplicity.
And I could totally do that. I really could, if I knew that my life was committed, intertwined, married, if you will, to the road. And in the beginning, it was. But as the magnitude and complexity of the house increased and the demands of the house-build weighed on me personally, a wedge was formed between me and full-timing. It was hard to rest in the simplicity of RV life while such unwanted, grueling complexity surrounding the new construction was also going on. (I know that sounds very dramatic — unwanted, grueling complexity — but that’s not even expressing half of how I feel about it.)
But enough of that drama! Let me share with you five reasons why full-time RV’ing COULD have worked for me, because I think in sharing those with you, you may more fully consider if it’s something that you might want to do someday.
Road trips! I love road trips, and I love to drive. I love driving like some people love fishing. It really is something I could do nearly every day and not tire of it. I especially love those long summer days that last forever, and you can drive, and drive, starting off in New England and ending somewhere in the midwest by sundown.
Simplicity! When you live in such a small space, you really have no choice other than simplicity. But whether I live in 10,000 square feet or 500 square feet, I need simplicity. I don’t like clutter. I don’t keep things just to keep them. I want everything I own to be something I need or love. If it’s not, I can easily and without hesitation, send it on its way. (My husband, unfortunately, does not share this same philosophy. So I try to find peace in the fact that I only get to control my own belongings. Doesn’t really work, but I try.)
History! At the risk of sounding like the most boring blogger you have ever met, I could read history books 24/7. I love it that much! I especially love US history and literature. Full-time RV’ing affords a nerd like me so many opportunities to visit the places I read about. To see where John Adams read, where Emily Dickinson wrote, where Mark Twain entertained, where Thomas Edison brainstormed, etc., etc. Nothing is more exciting to me! Tears have filled my eyes on more than one occasion, just moved by the idea that I am seeing something they saw or touched.
A Slower Pace and Flexible Schedule! I possess zero desire for the rat race. I have never climbed a career ladder (probably should have though) or been a Type A personality. Rather, I am a talkative introvert (yes, there really is such a thing), who loves to meet new people (but just one or two at a time, thank you). Many of the full-timers I have met over the years are in no rush to get to their next destination. They may stay for months at a time at the same park. Maybe years. Unlike RV’ing in general, full-timers aren’t in a hurry to get back on the road so they can see XYZ before they have to go back home on Monday. I love this kind of pace and flexibility.
Freedom! RV’ing feels powerfully free to me. You can say: I know you’re 800 miles away, but I’ll see you in 15 hours. No biggie! Want to visit James Garfield’s home near Cleveland, Ohio?? Okay. I’ll just turn this ignition key, with my whole house in tow, and head on over there. It’s so awesome!!
So where does it leave me, now that I’m not a full-timer? Well, I think it still leaves me in a wonderful place — like in our “golden age” of RV’ing — we’re still going to take trips every chance we get. Some of them will be together as a couple; some will be just me and the furry fam. It’s comforting to know that I can still enjoy many of those 5 things listed above despite not being a full-timer. We have our motor coach and camper van ready for adventure at a moment’s notice. I will definitely take full RV Venturer advantage of that!
What about you? Have you considered full-timing or do you think you could? Or, have you full-timed and then gone back to sticks and bricks?? I would love to hear from you! Please share your thoughts and stories in the comments!!
Wonderful writing. You have really thought through the pros and cons of full time versus “whenever I feel the pull of the road”.
I could not be a full time RVer but I certainly could be an extended road trip RVer. I’m more the camper van type. I love the efficient use of space while not scrimping on comfort. The simplicity appeals to me as well.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insights. I look forward to reading more!
Susan, thanks for sharing your life with us!! I dream all the time of doing just as you are!! But along with historical stops I would include visiting my children and grandchildren! ( 4 children-13 grandchildren) I didn’t know you loved history so much. That is my love too! My youngest son has a major in History and minor in Geography! Must be in our blood ?
I am kind of like Bill in that I have a hard time parting with things!! They all have memories and sentiment attached! Deep roots have a hold on me. For which I am grateful!
Please be safe! And be happy!! I love your beautiful smile! ? Love, Sandy
Joni, you and your husband could travel to all the great North American hiking trails in your camper van! Thank you for reading!! ?
Sandy, you could be Grandma on Wheels! Wouldn’t your kids and grandkids LOVE that!! As for holding on to things, Dad is like you too. So hard for him to part with things. Same with Grandma Bea. But I think because I had to dust Grandma’s nicknacks every so often, it turned me off at an early age to having too much stuff.