It was two years ago today that we drove away from our home and started our journey as full time RVers. Wow! Two years already? Where does the time go? Over the past few weeks, Bruce and I have done a lot of reflecting, both on our own and with our family and friends. The questions they asked us are similar to many of the questions that we get from our fellow RVers when they learn about our lifestyle. Since the same questions often come up, I thought I would take some time to share our answers with you.
Do you ever regret your decision? If you had the choice to do it all again, would you?
Regret our decision? Not in the slightest! Well… Maybe that is stretching the truth just a bit. We do regret not being able to spend more time with our family and friends. The holidays are particularly difficult, since togetherness is such a big part of those times. If we could bundle them all up and take them with us, that would make it perfect.
What has surprised you the most about living full time in an RV?
The most surprising thing to us was that ‘everyday life’ still happens while you are on the road. Many of our friends think of us as being on a 365/24/7 vacation. The truth is not so glamorous. Over the last two years, we have had to deal with a medical emergency, and the death of both a family member and of a pet, all while far away from the support network of family. I have to admit that when we started out, we felt like we were on an extended vacation too. Slowly though, we settled into our new routine and now most days are just normal everyday life in a much smaller space.
What do you like most about living in an RV full time?
Bruce and I both agree that One of the main advantages of living in an RV is the opportunity to see places that we may not have otherwise seen in our lifetime. We also have the luxury of doing so on our own schedule. Not being tied to a schedule allows us to meet so many interesting people who share our passion for RVing. We can stay in one place long enough to see the sights, but at the same time we don’t feel the need to cram everything into a tight timeframe. That gives us time to be neighborly and get to know the folks we are parked next to. The only travel schedule that we hold ourselves to are the seasons. Even though we started our journey in Minnesota, neither of us likes the cold. Not at all… Not one bit! Being mobile means that we can head south in the winter, and north with the spring thaw. Try that with a sticks and bricks house!
What do you like least?
Getting from point A to point B requires one or more travel days. Seems like a no brainier, right? After all, we do live in a home on wheels, and that means those wheels need to turn sometimes. Well, bad weather and poor road conditions can tend to make some travel days rather stressful. Travel days also mean that we need to ‘return our seat backs and tray tables to the upright and stowed position’. Over the last two years we have learned what we need on a day to day basis, and what we can live without. This knowledge helps us decide what to leave in storage and what to bring out, depending on the length of our stay in a particular location. Travel days also mean departure days, and that means we have to leave our newfound friends behind us. It often seems that just when you start getting to know people, you have to leave them. That leads us to our next question.
After you leave, do you ever see the people you. meet again?
For the most part, so far the answer is no, although we do still keep in touch with many of them via email. There are some exceptions though. During the winter we tend to stay in the same place for an extended period of time. We have also been able to return to the same RV parks during the cooler times of the year. Many of the RVers in these parks are snowbirds, who also return each season. so despite our roving lifestyle, yes, we have been able to form some long lasting friendships out on the road.
What has been the most difficult adjustment for you as a full-time RVer?
Bruce and I have different ideas when it comes to this one. The most difficult adjustment for me has been holding down a full time job when I am surrounded by people who are either retired or on vacation. Don’t get me wrong. I love my work and I am thankful every day for the opportunity I have been given by the company I work for. It just takes a lot of self control to keep the nose to the grindstone when everyone is having fun.
On the other hand, Bruce retired when we hit the road. He has done an amazing job adjusting to taking over many of the jobs that I lovingly call his ‘househusbandly duties’. These duties range from things as mundane as shopping, laundry and tending to the stinky slinky, to the thing that is key to our life on the road: driving the RV. It isn’t surprising then, that one of his most difficult adjustments was getting used to the idea of moving us, our fur babies, and everything we own down the road while ensuring our safe arrival at our destination.
How does the cost of RV living compare to life in a ‘real’ house?
First off, let me start by saying that for us, our ‘Homey’ is a real house. That being said, the answer to the question is a ‘definite maybe’. It all depends upon how frugal you are and what you are willing to live without. Bruce is retired, but as I mentioned, I still work full time. This provides more income than other retired full-timers may have. While we no longer have a mortgage and utility bills, we do have an RV payment and the fees for campsite rental, so that part of our budget is a wash. What we save on commuting to work with two cars, we spend on gas moving from place to place. We still need groceries and household items, so that hasn’t changed either. Where we definitely save money is on impulse purchases and other items that we ‘couldn’t live without’ when we lived in a sticks and bricks house. So is it possible to save money as a full-time RVer? Yes. By making careful choices about where to stay, a full-timer can save money. Savings can also be made by staying in one place for a longer period of time. When you are in one place, you aren’t spending money on fueling the RV. Most campgrounds also offer a reduced rate for longer stays.
Is it hard to find a place to stay?
There are lots of campgrounds and RV parks out there. What takes some work is finding a campground that suits our needs, in the area we want to stay, that also has a site available when we want to be there. Bruce does lots of research, planning out where to stay both along our route and at our destination.
Well, that is what we have learned in our last two years in a nutshell. We have seen and learned a lot and expect to continue to do so. Are you a full-time RVer with some additional words of wisdom to share with those who are planning to start out on their journey? Or maybe you are preparing to be a full-time RVer and you have a question? Leave us a comment. We’d love to hear what you have to say!