For many years, living and traveling in an RV has been a typical choice for retirees. Now more than ever, however, the freedom that life on the road can bring is attracting people of all ages and from all walks of life. Hundreds of thousands of people, not just retirees are living full-time in RV’s – working, traveling and adventuring from the road.
We hit the road full-time in April of 2017 because we were seeking something different with our lives. For us, the typical “American Dream” wasn’t working, and we needed to rediscover our purpose and our passions. Full-time RVing has undoubtedly changed our lives for the better.
Now that we’ve been living the lifestyle for almost two years and our blog has continued to grow, we continually get questions from our readers asking if we think full-time RVing is the right choice for them. This is a complicated and challenging question for us to answer, but we always give the same response…
If you’re seriously considering RVing full-time, chances are good that you will like it
We say this because we believe most people don’t find the idea of living in an RV particularly appealing. If you’re someone that has spent time actually considering living in an RV, and you still think it’s a good idea, then most likely, you will find the lifestyle enjoyable. You’ve already thought about the confined spaces or the lack of stability associated with RVing, and instead of that being a turn-off, it’s something that entices you.
That being said, there are 5 questions that you should ask yourself to decide if full-time RVing is right for you.
1. What is it about RV life that’s attractive – why do you want to do it?
Our favorite thing about full-time RVing is that we are constantly getting to see new places. We’ve been to many of the country’s most beautiful destinations and visited more towns and cities then we can count.
But, there is more to RVing than just continual traveling. Perhaps, you’re more interested in avoiding the cold weather or being closer to your family. Before you choose to RV full-time, you should clearly identify your “why”. When times get tough, remembering and focusing on your “why” will keep you going and give you the strength to make it through.
2. What are you unhappy with regarding your current situation?
We chose to live in an RV because there was a nagging feeling inside of us that we couldn’t shake. We felt unsettled and unfulfilled. There had to be more to life than the suburban routine we had created for ourselves. After learning that we couldn’t medically have children, we decided to follow our detour and start living the way we wanted and not the way we felt we should based on others. We were determined to see what would happen if we started choosing to do more of what we love and stop doing the things that left us feeling discouraged.
What about your current situation is making you unhappy? Do you feel like you have little or no time for anything but going to work and going to sleep? Are you not getting to spend quality time with your family because you’re always working? Do you want to travel more but can’t because you have too much debt?
Think about your current situation and what’s leading you to full-time RVing.
3. What is causing that unhappiness?
Identifying what is making you unhappy is important. But, it’s equally important to determine what’s actually causing that unhappiness.
Full-time RVing is a great remedy for many things, but it is not a magic cure for all of your problems. It would be naive (and inaccurate) to think that your problems will disappear or instantly be solved simply by going full-time.
Lindsay and I believed that a lot of our problems would be solved via RVing. We knew the daily monotony that we had been experiencing would be gone once we hit the road. We knew we’d spend less time doing things that we didn’t enjoy like sitting in traffic and we knew we’d get to spend more quality time together.
If our problems or our unhappiness had stemmed from problems within our relationship, for example, simply moving into an RV would not cure that. If anything, it would probably have made it worse.
Try to really think about what is the cause of any unhappiness in your current situation and honestly evaluate whether or not going full-time in an RV will have the ability to change that.
4. Are you willing to make sacrifices?
Living in an RV is not always as glamorous as it appears on social media. Although it’s a wonderful lifestyle, you must be willing to make sacrifices to make it happen.
We had to make many sacrifices and changes to get on the road. Lindsay had to quit her job and find a completely new way to earn an income. We had to sell things and move our belongings across the country into storage. We had to stay with family members while we got our RV ready to launch and so on.
Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make your full-time dream happen? If not, then it’s full-time RVing is nothing more than a dream. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it if its what you really want.
5. Can you handle the following…?
Similar to the point above, living in an RV comes with a few sacrifices that may be challenging for some people. It’s important to think through the “negative” sides of RV life and how you’ll handle them before making the leap.
How well will you handle living in a small space?
For most people, the living space provided by an RV is significantly less than what they are used to. Downsizing and living in a smaller space can be one of the toughest adjustments for people transitioning from sticks and bricks into an RV.
How do you think you are going to handle this? How do you utilize your space currently? Do you have a special area that you go to relax or to focus? Do you find yourself shutting the door and “getting away” from others?
You can’t know for sure how you’ll respond to living in a smaller space until you actually do it, but if you are someone that needs to have “your space” to be comfortable, a shrink in square footage could be challenging.
Can you handle living with less “stuff”?
It’s not a secret that you won’t have room for as much “stuff” once you move into an RV. You’ll likely have to forego some of your favorite modern conveniences. Do you think you can live without a dishwasher, washing machine, clothes dryer, or bathtub just to name a few? What about your clothes, shoes or record collection? A garage full of tools and toys?
For most people successfully full-timing, reducing their possessions and living with less turns out to be one of the greatest benefits. This is definitely the case for us. Living with less actually allows to experience more because we are not “weighed” down by our things. But, that might not be the case for everyone, and it is important to think about how important your things are to you beforehand.
Are you someone that thrives on routine?
Full-time RVing comes with plenty of surprises and each day can be different from the next. We love this about RV life because every day is new and exciting, but there are days where the instability and constant change wears on us. It can be hard to get in a routine while traveling full-time, even for simple tasks like cooking dinner.
How do you respond to change or instability? Do you consider yourself patient and flexible? These traits are very important in order to be successful with full-time RVing. If you’re not flexible and patient and you want to live in an RV, it’s time to start practicing these behaviors!
We absolutely love RVing and we will forever be advocates of the lifestyle. It’s truly a unique experience and such a fantastic way to see and explore this incredible country. Almost every person that we’ve met and talked to on the road has nothing but great things to say about full-time RVing. For the right person, it really is wonderful. That being said, it is really important to think about everything that comes along with full-timing prior to hitting the road. Doing this will give you the courage to chase your RV dreams and the confidence to know that you’ll love the lifestyle as much as we do.