Some of us know we’re nomadic from early on, constantly feeling the call of the wide and wonderful world around us. There’s simply so much happening on this beautiful globe of ours, and when you’re stuck in one place, you can only see and experience a small slice.
If you’ve always been the type to have “itchy feet,” or a constant need to move to the next place, the next project, or the next best thing, RV living might just be the perfect solution. Full time RV life allows you flexibility and location independence, as well as a sense of freedom you simply can’t replicate in a sticks-and-bricks house. Of course, it isn’t all wild abandon and perfect mountaintop sunsets, either. Living on the road presents a unique set of challenges, and it isn’t for everyone. And if you’re the kind with a color-coded, down-to-the-minute agenda, the unpredictability of road life might prove to be just a tad more stressful than liberating.
But if you’re curious about trying out life on wheels, you’re in great company. And as more and more remote work opportunities open up, greater numbers of full-time RV nomads are hitting the road — and no, they’re not all in their seventies.
Here’s what’s awesome about living in an RV year round, and why we’re convinced you’ll fall in love with it if you try it.
How to Live the RV Life
Life on the road in an RV comes with a certain mindset. Along with your mortgage payment and solid concrete foundation, you’re giving up a whole lot of living space — which means living minimalistically is key.
In an RV, you don’t have as much room for all the things it’s so easy to accumulate in our day to day lives. That means you’ll need to learn to be really intentional about what you bring along for the ride and purchase along the way.
But living minimally isn’t all bad. In fact, it might just prove to be a very good thing. When you give up feeding into the cycle of consumerism, you could find that you don’t need all that much after all, which will save you money, space, and time spent working toward unachievable, unrealistic goals. Instead, you can put your money and your energy toward creating incredible moments and memories to share with the people around you. Money becomes a tool rather than an end in itself.
Life in an RV
Since you don’t have much room to work with, RV organization ideas are key to come up with ahead of time. As your mother probably told you once, “Everything in its place” — well, it’s even more critical when you don’t have very much space to speak of!
There are many resources providing RV life hacks and tips and tricks for making the most out of limited space — here are just a few of our favorite ideas to get you started. Although it may seem intimidating at first, we think you’ll find this aspect of motorhome life rewarding, as you’ll be intimately familiar with each and every square inch of your living space, including all the items you fit inside it. That way, you can make sure every single thing you devote space to is actually serving a purpose, and quickly decide to jettison those things that no longer serve you.
RV Life on a Budget
Another exciting aspect of full-time RV living is how much freedom it allows you when it comes to controlling your costs. Of course, not every RV lifestyle is frugal — there’s no such thing as an “average” cost of full time RV life. You can choose to spend tons of cash on cushy resort campgrounds, powering a hefty and gas-inefficient Class A motorhome, and eating out for every meal… or you can live a cheap RV life by picking a smaller rig, doing a lot of boondocking, and getting really creative with ramen. When it comes to planning your full time RV budget, it’s important to keep in mind what kind of lifestyle you’re used to at home. Becoming a full-timer won’t automatically change who you are, so it’s likely you’ll replicate something similar to whatever you’re used to.
That said, there are some factors that make it relatively easy to live a frugal RV life. For instance, if you find yourself short on cash for some reason, you can rachet back your gas bill by simply choosing not to travel so far for a while. You can also save money on accommodations by finding cheap and free campsites, or extending your stay at private sites to score long-term parking discounts. Finally, if you buy your RV free and clear — which, of course, is always recommended — you’ll do away with the constant drain of paying a lease or mortgage payment. Imagine the relief of not having to worry about making rent every month! RV living makes that dream a reality for some people.
Pros and Cons of RV Life
Although RVing is a wonderful lifestyle, it does have its drawbacks. Here are a few of the basic pros and cons to consider when you’re asking yourself, “Is RV life for me?”
Pros of RVing:
- RVing combines travel and comfort. You’ve got all the freedom of the open road, but you still have all the comforts of home — including your own bed — along for the ride.
- RVing helps facilitate a minimalistic lifestyle which can re-focus you on the most important things in your life.
- Although it isn’t necessarily cheaper than living in a regular home or other forms of travel, RVing gives you the power to control your finances by making decisions about how far you travel and what kind of camping lifestyle you lead
- RVing allows you to travel while keeping your pets with you, which can be crucial for those of us who simply can’t abide without our furry companions. If you’re still in the process of finding a pet to adopt, however, be sure to take into consideration which are the best dogs for RV life — some ar better suited than others!
- RVing lets you see more of the world and incorporate adventure into your day to day lifestyle. You’ll also meet all sorts of people from every walk of life.
Cons of RVing:
- RV living can be unpredictable, which can be a serious detriment to this way of life especially for beginners or seniors. For example, when you don’t have a steady home base, it’s hard to create a working relationship with a physician or learn which local mechanic is the most reliable and honest. Even finding the best pizza place requires a lot of dependence on others’ suggestions!
- RVs pretty much always have some sort of repair issue, since they’re basically subjected to earthquake-style vibrations and extreme temperature swings all the time. So even if you’re saving money on your monthly mortgage and other fixed expenses, it’s important to set out with a well-cushioned emergency fund for the issues you’re sure to encounter.
- Although you’ll meet a lot of people, it’s hard to form a long-term base of friends when you’re constantly moving. That means full time RVing can be lonely, especially for those traveling solo. However, as more people take to the road, inventive nomads are creating ways around this — for example, the social media network RVillage, which connects campers through their mobile phones.
In the end, of course, only you can decide if RV living is right for you. But being able to wake up every day with a new adventure ahead of you is a special privilege, and one we’d encourage you to take advantage of if you’re at all curious. For many full-time campers, RVing is a life-changing way to live a lifestyle they’d only dared to dream of. And better yet, there are lots of us out here waiting to help you on your way.