An Interview with a Fulltime RVer

Airstream DreamingWith fall approaching fast, many RVers start dreaming about ways to extend the camping season.  This time every year, our thoughts start turning toward a life on the road.  Curious about what the fulltime lifestyle was like, we decided to ask our favorite fulltimer Rebelstand a few questions.  She was more than happy to oblige and we found her answers quite enlightening.  Do you think that fulltiming or becoming a snowbird is something that you would like to try?  Read on to get some insight into becoming a fulltime RVer. 

What made you decide to start fulltiming?
I like to say it was accidental but really it was cluelessness and restlessness coupled with a why not attitude.  We were tired of Oklahoma City and big cities in general.  Shawn’s current job allows us to move anywhere so long as we get internet access and we’d moved every two years for the past six years.  We didn’t have a house to worry about.  We’d already decided to homeschool the kids until we were sure we’d settled down for good.  We had absolutely no idea where we wanted to live and still don’t.  We’d bought the RV so we could take our pets (ever paid to board two dogs one of which was a Great Dane for a week?) and control my son’s environment (severe allergies) while on vacations.

Somehow and I am not sure it was a conscious choice, we decided to dump most of our earthly possessions in storage and hit the road in an Airstream.  Two adults, two kids, & two dogs livin the dream.

What surprised you most about living in your RV?
I was honestly surprised by how little you actually need, how addictive the lifestyle can be, how easy it is to disconnect from world events, how small your utilities bills are in an RV.

What do you miss most about not having a “real home”?
Without a doubt, having my own space.  I am the single person who, during the day, doesn’t have a place to retreat to.  I have to be honest, as a quilter I miss my treadle sewing machines.

The biggest thing I miss is having a stable community although it took me about 15 months to start missing it.  When you move once or twice a week you are always the “new” guys.  Sure I have friends from past places I’ve lived but our “normal” is so different from theirs that understanding and communication is sometimes hard.

What do you like most about living in your RV?
I like the ability to change my backyard whenever it pleases me, the economy it teaches you both in money and space.  The absolute truths you learn about yourself and your fellow travel companions.

What advice would you give to your fellow campers who are thinking about a life on the road?
Try out extended trips at first.  Maybe try living in your RV at your house for a month or two.
Make sure you choose trips with rain, cold, and extreme heat in the forecast because at times you will be stuck in your RV.

Did you have a list of “must see” destinations before you started your travels?
Yes and no.  We had a few vague  ideas of seeing this or how we really wanted to do that but it wasn’t until trip planning started that the list came together.  Over half the destinations changed along the way due to weather, when we could or couldn’t get reservations, how long it would take to get there, and level of interest.

When your family and friends found out that you were planning to live in your RV, what were their reactions like?  Positive?  Negative?
Depends on who you ask as to the reactions.  One set of grandparents thought the opportunity was a good one but the other not so much.  All our friends were supportive but some were also jealous.

What should a prospective fulltimer look for when choosing an RV?
On this I would have to say functional space and layout.  Think about these things –

How do you live in your house?  How would this translate into living in the floor plan you are standing in?

How many times are you going to open that cabinet door?  Is it in a convenient location?

Is there enough pantry, closet, bathroom storage space?

Will it drive you crazy to prepare a meal in this kitchen?

How difficult is it to make your bed?

Stand in the shower and make sure it’s not too short or too narrow for you.

People might think your crazy but spend at least 20 – 30 minutes in a unit you think you’ll like.  Open doors, move around, walk in and out a few times, just piddle around like you do in a house.  If something drives you crazy now, just wait until you live in it.

Don’t listen to what the dealer tells you that your truck can tow.  Check the number yourself and it’s not only the GVWR you want to look at.  You also need to factor in the weight of the people, pets, all cargo AS WELL as the GVWR.  Ask yourself one question “Just because I can, does that mean I should?”

If a person is not retired or independently wealthy, are there ways to earn a living on the road?
Yes but I don’t really know the specifics.  I do know that it is a bit easier if you work in the technology industry BUT there are other ways.  Many people do something called work camping at campgrounds.  There is also a large migrant worker population (oil, gas, agriculture).