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When we started talking to friends and family about full-time RVing, most would look at us like we had three heads and ask us “Why would you want to do that.” At first, our answer was to travel but as we have spent more time living in our RV we have found many more reasons why we want to keep RVing and why you should start too!
Some of the reasons came as no surprise while others we never thought would be a motivator for continuing our nomadic life.
1) You Get to Travel
This is the main reason most of us decide to start RVing you get to travel everywhere with your home, kind of like a turtle. We started our romance with the nomadic life years ago by exploring Australia in a little campervan. Since then we have always wanted to explore North America the same way but with a slightly bigger vehicle.
The US and Canada are such big places that it’s difficult to see everything. Exploring in an RV lets you take your time discovering new places. When you find a place you enjoy you can stay longer and really live like a local. You can find all the neat spots or just choose to stay somewhere because it’s breathtakingly beautiful.
The reverse is also true. If you have been checking out a city and decide you the mountains are calling instead you can just go. You have the freedom to get out of dodge if dodge isn’t where you want to be anymore.
2) You Become Less Materialistic
Preparing to downsize into an RV is a serious task. You go through everything that you own and either sell it, give it away, take it with you or store it. Once you have gone through this process, purchasing new items to go into your RV requires serious consideration.
Marie Kondo’s approach to decluttering is probably a good one. If it doesn’t bring you joy get rid of it, though you might not want to apply this concept to everything. You could end up tossing your waste hose, because honestly, who gets joy from emptying your black water tank?!
Becoming less materialistic is more of a by-product of RVing since you have very limited space. Once you’ve gone through the process of downsizing you’ll be very hesitant to bring new items into your RV. Likely you’ll continue to donate unused items or clothes along your journey or purchase new items that have a dual function. For everything, you bring into your RV at least one thing will have to go.
You are also less subject to our societies consumerist mentality when you full-time RV. We no longer have a TV so we never see a commercial and Amazon shopping takes a bit more planning since we don’t have a mailing address. Most purchases now are carefully weighed and considered which greatly reduces the impulse buys.
Most full time RVers are also living on a strict budget since they are developing non-traditional income streams to help them continue to travel for as long as possible. Tight budgets give you less room for non-essential purchases.
3) You Learn to Roll With It
We started off our RVing journey with a regimented plan of where and when we were going places. We had to do this because we had to be somewhere on a specific date for a medical appointment. We mapped out our route and how far we had to drive each day with a little buffer built-in to make our cross-country trek in time.
We quickly learn this was not the way to travel. We found so many cool spots that we would have loved to have stayed longer at but had to move on to stick to our timeline. These are now added to the list of places to go back to.
Traveling on a strict schedule is also much more draining than rolling with it. It can be stressful knowing you have to be somewhere for a certain date if you are on track and how far do we need to drive tomorrow.
After that appointment was out of the way, we were able to take a much more leisurely approach to our travels and enjoyed ourselves so much more. Speaking with the other campers around you will give you so much insight on the places to go and things to see that you will be happy that you are schedule free.
You also won’t be as stressed when hiccups occur. Repairs and maintenance are all part of life whether you have a brand new RV or a 25-year-old one. When you are delayed on your travels due to a tire blow out or unexpected maintenance you hopefully won’t be as stressed about it since you are traveling on your time.
Everyone’s method of traveling will be different but it’s important to find the balance that works for you and your travel partner. Diane still likes to have a general idea of where we are heading but Beau prefers the go where the wind blows us approach. We rarely make reservations for campgrounds unless it’s a holiday weekend or we are going to an extremely touristy area during high season.
4) You Become More Social
While it might seem that by selling your home, moving away from family and friends, not having coworkers to speak to daily, you’ll become isolated but nothing could be further from the truth. RVers are some of the friendliest people out there.
It’ll take some getting used to though, at least it did for Diane. But just go out and meet your neighbors. Strike up a conversation, find out where they are from, where they are going, where they have been, if they are just on vacation or if this is real life. You can gather so much information about someone by asking a few simple questions.
All travelers love to tell you about the amazing places they’ve been and the little gems they have found along the way. You’ll likely get some great info on where you are headed to next or else decide where you are going based on that conversation.
There are also a ton of different RV meet-ups out there from ones catering to families to ones specifically for couples to ones specific to the make of RV. We are a part of one specific to Safari Treks, the make, and model of our RV.
Attending some of the full-time RV rallies is the perfect way to meet other like-minded travelers who are doing the same time as you. It can be difficult at a campground to pick out who is a full-timer and who is a weekend warrior. Rallies and conventions draw together other full-timers and you can spark friendships that will last a lifetime.
5) You Spend Less Time Online
We have found that we spend so much less time online once we started RVing. Yes, we still are online to work on our website, do research and connect with friends and family but our usage has drastically been reduced.
Part of this is because we are too busy enjoying life and exploring, part of it is due to bad internet. When you spend your day exploring a new city or going on hikes you just don’t have the inclination or the time to mindlessly scroll Facebook.
Same goes for in the evening, we spend our evenings just enjoying each others company, investigating the next leg of our trip or socializing with fellow campers.
And while most campgrounds have WIFI you can’t depend on it to be very good and forget about streaming. You can get cell plans with tons of data or data only plans for mobile internet but we’ve been in plenty of places where we have had little to no signal.
Take Yellowstone National Park, good luck finding a signal there and the odd place that has WIFI is just saturated to the point the internet barely works. So get used to unplugging and getting off your screen but if you are like us you will rarely miss it.
6) You Can Get Away From It All
When you get tired of exploring cities, making new friends at campgrounds and just generally interacting with the world, it’s easy to get away and go chill in the woods somewhere.
Boondocking is one of our favorite ways to really unplug and reconnect with nature. If you don’t know what boondocking is, it’s staying somewhere off the grid for free. You are allowed to do this on BLM land in the US and there are many sites dedicated to helping you find free places to stay.
We also find it so much easier to unplug from the world when we are staying in the wilderness. I personally prefer to zone out in front of a sunset than in front of my phone. On the plus side if you have poor cell service you don’t need to worry about modern distractions like Facebook and Youtube.
We love boondocking and have found many great free or cheap places to stay. Our two favorite spots have been just outside National Parks or Preserves.
7) You Discover Place You Didn’t Know Existed
Part of the fun of traveling in an RV is stumbling upon places you never knew about. This has happened to us multiple times during our crosscountry trek.
We would be ready to make camp after a few hours of driving and just start searching for somewhere to stay nearby. We use Google, Freecampsite.net, Campendium among other resources to find places to stay. One particular instance occurred in northern Michigan. Diane found a state park that was a little out of the way but we took the detour on a whim.
Turned out the Fayette State Park was a beautiful gem of a spot. There was an immaculately kept pioneer village that we explored on our bicycles and enjoyed the fabulous scenery. We never would have known about it if we hadn’t been looking for a campground at that time.
As mentioned before, talking with fellow travelers is one way to discover hidden gems along your route. Another great tactic is to talk with the locals. They are sure to know of places you need to visit in the area that may not be on your radar.
While it’s great to visit all your bucket list destinations we have found the places in between to be just as good if not better than the intended destination.
8) You Connect with Your Travel Partner
Living in a tiny space with your travel partner has its ups and downs but overall we have found a deeper connection with each other. You end up spending a lot more time with your partner than ever before and we mean A LOT.
Gone are the days of spending a minimum of 8 hours away from each other at work. Not to mention the possible commute time. For better or worse you’ll be spending most of your time together in a small space.
What we have found is our communication has improved so much. We are more present when talking to each other. And are better at working through issues since it’s hard to storm off into another room (we don’t have another room).
We find we actually have fewer issues since we have to pick up after ourselves, cooking is more of a joint task and cleaning only takes a few minutes. There are fewer arguments about money since we no longer have a mortgage to worry about. Although on driving days there is probably more tension due to navigating a 25′ RV.
But we will admit you need a little alone time now and then. This is a great time to go for a walk by yourself or maybe sit outside on your own while your partner is inside. Time on your own is just as important as your time together but now that time is on your terms, not because you have to go to a 9-5.
9) You Spend More Time Outside
Ahh, the great outdoors. It will become your personal gym, workspace, getaway and spot to spend with family when you go RVing.
If you are like us then you spend a lot of time hiking and walking. Part of the fun of RVing is staying in the forest. So many beautiful state, provincial, and national parks have great campgrounds that give you great access to local hiking trails and walks. Getting outside and hiking is one of our favorite past times while RVing and is something we do so much more than when we were location bound.
If you aren’t into hiking or nature, chances are you still spend a lot of time outside while exploring different cities. Half the fun of investigating a new city is wandering the streets and enjoying the cityscape.
Our favorite city to do this in, and we might be biased from our time living there, is Savanah, GA. The iconic town squares with massive oak trees and hanging Spanish moss are so classically southern its hard not to fall in love. Not to mention you can do this wandering with a beer in hand!
Back at your campsite you’ll find yourself spending more times outside than in. When we have some work to do on our sites, we enjoy setting up at our picnic table with our computers, though we do have to be strategic with glare and boost the brightness of our displays.
It’s also a great spot to just sit, relax, and take a little time out for yourself away from the hustle and bustle of your family. It’s important to take a little time to center yourself since living in a small space with other people can be a bit overwhelming sometimes.
We also spend more time outside now that we have kids. Once the little one has gone to bed we are forced outside since our small RV only has one room. But there are much worse places to have to hang out once the kids have gone to bed, assuming the mosquitos aren’t too bad.
10) You Will Eat Healthier
While many people expect you will eat out more while living on the road we have actually found the opposite. Since we travel on a budget there isn’t a lot of extra money for dining out so we tend to pick and choose where we are going to eat and avoid fast food preferring to save for a nice treat.
With an RV, you are traveling everywhere with your full kitchen within arms reach so it’s easy to whip something up for lunch. We personal do a light lunch of hummus or guacamole with crackers, cheese, cucumbers, pickles, and olives. It’s easy to put together, pretty healthy, and also packs well on the go.
Eating more or less the same thing every day for lunch may seem a little boring but it’s so much easier than trying to decide on the fly what we will eat.
As for dinners, we found once we have set up camp somewhere we prefer to stay put and make dinner at home. Homemade dinners are generally so much better for you than anything you can get at a restaurant.
Also, the small fridge and freezer space in an RV reduces the amount of prepackaged and processed food you can buy. But with so many awesome onepot quick and healthy meal ideas it’s easy to whip something up in your little kitchen.
Not to mention the fact you didn’t have to slough through traffic to get home starving and exhausted from a day of work. Making meals becomes a family affair where everyone can participate and you can even cook outside!
11) You Become More Organized
When you live in a tiny space you have to become organized and put your stuff away. We were terrible for this. Any flat surface became a dumping ground for whatever we had in our hands.
Since we started RVing we have had to quickly lose this bad habit since there is only so much surface space available. Once something comes out of a drawer it needs to go back into it when you are finished.
Not surprisingly this helps us find things when we are looking for them since ideally, everything has a place and everything is in its place. Just make sure you and your partner agree on where things should go.
When you break camp you actually have to put everything away since you don’t want any loose objects floating around while driving. These can be a major hazard and at best just distracting.
Nothing is worse when you leave a campground, take that first corner and the dishes you forgot to put away go careening off the counter onto the floor. After the first incident like that you end up double-checking everything is properly put away and secured.
12) You Become More Resourceful
We’ll be honest here, as awesome as RVing is, stuff breaks. To be fair stuff breaks all the time in a brick and mortar home too. The issue with RVs is it can be a lot harder to have things serviced. At least that’s what we have found.
In your typical house, when something breaks you call someone to come in to fix it and more or less go on with your everyday life while it gets repaired. With an RV when something breaks you need to take your RV in somewhere to have it fixed, which is a huge pain in the butt so you almost always start off trying to fix it yourself.
Google is our BFF when it comes to researching and troubleshooting issues we have run into with our RV. We’ve had mechanic problems on the road and Beau has been able to do some research on the fly to see if he can fix it himself. This is where those communities we talked about earlier are a HUGE help. Especially ones that are specific to your RV.
You become a lot more resourceful and dare we say MacGyverish when things go wrong. Sometimes it’s just duct taping or zip tying things in place till you can make it to a garage. Sometimes it’s finding out how you can use chewing gum and foam insulation to make a long term, temporary repair until you can purchase a replacement part.
We learned how to do many things ourselves during the renovation process because let’s face it, there aren’t too many people you can hire to renovate an RV. Youtube was an awesome resource and we both learned many new skills during the process.
Learning the basics of your RV systems and having some basic tools with you will help you reduce the time your home spends in the shop which is extremely inconvenient.
These are the 12 reasons we not only started RVing full time but reasons why we have continued our nomadic lifestyle and don’t plan to stop anytime soon.