By Denise Krenning
May 3, 2016
Years ago, (like many years) we met a couple at a Rocky Mtn National Park Campground. We were camping with the kids just for the weekend since we are fortunate enough to live 1 hour away. This couple, Jack and Helen, had setup camp and came over to chat over a few drinks about their travels. They had left California and were planning on going coast to coast to visit as many National Parks as they could in the next year. As we spent the night with them over s’mores, visions of camping and traveling full time sparked in my mind along with the campfire. They were the pioneers in what is now known as Rv’ing full time and they were doing it with a pickup truck and topper.
Currently, we have a 36′ ft. Outback trailer pulled by a Ford 150. Starting in Feb of each year, I pull out my trusty road atlas and favorite internet road trip planners and dream, “Where should we go this year?” The anticipation and planning keeps me sane while cabin fever and the snow swirls around me. However, at the end of each vacation, as we pulled back into our driveway, depression and sadness overcomes us. While we still have our summer camping weekends at our favorite camping spots and our 2-week road trips, it’s never enough. Jack and Helen, we often talk about you on our trips and becoming you, doing what you so bravely did. Selling everything and seeing the USA.
So, this year we’ve decided to commit to becoming Jack and Helen. Our talks are now actions but instead of jumping into Rv’ing full time, we’ll get our feet wet first. We’ve got the McMansion house up for sale and have a contract started on a tiny 1300 sq ft maintenance free home. There’s lots of furniture to sell and boxes still to go through but we’re committed to our dream of Rv’ing more than 2 weeks a year.
So, our plan is to have a home base in Colorado and travel 6 months out of the year, you know, the winter/spring months because spring in Colorado usually is 2-3 heavy wet snow storms and I can live without those, really. We’re planning on two stepping it to test the waters on living in our trailer full time.
Downsizing the house was our first step to this goal. I’ve been following blogs and in all of them, the consistent theme of Rv’ing full time is this, “I wish we would have done it sooner.” There are no regrets but then if it didn’t work out for some, I’m pretty sure that blog isn’t out there to find. But rest assured, there are hundreds of blogs (and marriages) to back up living the RV lifestyle.
According to the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s most recent ownership report, the fastest-growing cohort of RV owners are 35 to 44 years old, which is just slightly less than the industry’s largest cohort of owners, which are between 45 and 54 years old. The average American RV owner was 50 in the 1980s, and today that age is 48 and falling. With remote jobs on the upswing, working on wheels is a hot trend and many younger couples are opting out of the typical life roles. Also with the mobile internet connections, there are lots of ways to home school the kiddo’s. More families and all their members (Flurry and Fiddo) are all watching the road go by especially Fiddo who is happily marking his spot across America.
What I’ve gathered from all these blogs is this. You can live full time in your house on wheels and the size doesn’t matter either. In fact, smaller is better because you can still experience National and State Parks nature instead of having to default to parking lot RV parks. You might have to dry camp (no hookups) but anyone can rough it a few nights in exchange for the stars of the Milky Way.
We recently met two wonderful ladies at a RV trade show who have been Rv’ing for 20 years in a tiny travel trailer. They’ve seen most of the United States and Canada. The thing that stands out most about them was their happiness while talking about their travels. We only chatted a short time but what an impression they left on me. Could life really be that simple and stress free?
But is the RV lifestyle for us or for you? How do you determine if a fun trip for two weeks a year is a lifestyle you can do every day?
Let’s start by breaking it down by best and worst scenarios.
- You will see amazing placing that only road trips will reveal.
- If you don’t like your neighbor, you can just start the engine and move.
- It will get you out of your comfort zone and off your couch which is scary and exciting all at the same time.
- You move with the sun so the weather is beautiful and warm every day of the year. Time your travels well and it will be 76 degrees somewhere.
- You don’t own a lawn mower or snow blower so already you are lighter in “things”.
- Your weekend chores are walking the dog and sitting by a fire while reading a best seller.
- You have actual “real” friends on Facebook and share best practices and campgrounds while planning when you can hook up again.
- You choose when to visit family and when to wave by-by.
- No one can move back in. The house is a moving address.
- You sell your RV and buy/rent a condo and fill it with things.
When we look at the worst case scenario, we decided buying that small no maintenance house in Colorado was our answer. If we get tired of the live the RV lifestyle, we have a place to go home to. If we love Rv’ing and want to do it full time, we have rental income to support our life on the road.
If you have wanderlust, dream of seeing the USA by RV, then do your homework first, make a plan and DO IT! As you can see, the worse that can happen is you’ll find another couch in a place you fell in love with on your road trips.