It never gets old. Every time I meet someone new here’s how it goes:
Them: “So, what do you do?”
Me: “I work remotely as a writer and website developer, live in an RV with my family, and we travel the country at our leisure.”
Them: …blank stare…
Half the time what follows is a barrage of questions and thinly veiled jealousy, and the other half of the time they try to extricate themselves from the conversation as quickly as possible so as not to be seen with the weird RV guy.
To the first half: let me just say that just about anyone can live the fulltime RVing lifestyle. Now getting there isn’t easy, it took us almost 2 years of intentional planning to be in the position we’re in, but it’s possible. There are a couple of pieces to the puzzle to put together: income on the road, dealing with your current sticks-and-bricks house, downsizing your over-sized pile of belongings, and surviving the well-intentioned worries of friends and family are some of the biggest sticking points.
But you can do it. You can. One day at a time, one step at a time, you’ll get there.
To those who think I must have lost my ever-lovin’ mind to live the way I do, I offer the following in defense of my decisions: RV living makes a heck of a lot of sense once you consider the benefits.
So without any further belaboring, here they are, the top benefits of fulltime RVing according to yours truly:
RV Living Increases Financial Flexibility
Everyone’s budget (whether they keep one or not) consists of two types of costs: fixed and variable. Variable costs you can squeeze and flex when dollars are tight, but fixed costs you can’t do a whole lot with.
Your rent is what it is (and it’s too damn high!). Your house payment is what it is. Your utilities may vary a little, but you aren’t going to get away from them. Any other debt you have accrued must be serviced unless you’re ok with the bank taking your toys away.
When you live a fulltime RVing lifestyle you are trimming some of your biggest fixed expenses. Heck, if you’re willing to boondock you can move some of those fixed expenses on over into the variable column. This means that, if you can maintain your income, you’re adding a lot of flexibility to your budget when you go fulltime.
Let’s consider rent. The last house I rented in Fort Worth, TX was $1,400 per month plus about $300 a month in utilities. That’s $1,700 a month in fixed housing costs. We paid cash for our 2010 North Trail 32QBSS travel trailer, and we stay at campgrounds for at least a month to get a better rate. Typically we have to pay electric in addition to our site fees. On average, site fees plus electricity over the last 7 months since we moved out of that rental have been approximately $600 per month.
$1,700 vs. $600 a month. A savings of around $1,100 per month due to fulltime RVing.
RV Living Can Increase Free Time
I’ve owned two houses. When you own a house your weekends are eaten up by mowing the grass, getting the leaves out of the gutter, general yardwork, and a thousand other things. While keeping up an RV does require some maintenance, my experience has been than the time demanded by RV maintenance is far less than what is required by house maintenance.
The homes I’ve owned have all been pretty small, between 900 and 1600 square feet. However, even in those modest spaces, cleaning the house and just cleaning up at the end of the day have taken considerably more time than cleaning our 300 square foot travel trailer.
When you live in an RV maintenance and general daily cleanup just take less time. The result is that you spend less of your day cleaning and maintaining, and more of your day doing the things you want to do.
Increased Appreciation for What You Have
When you only have 300 square feet to work with every single thing you elect to bring into your home matters. As a result I’m much more thoughtful about what I need and what I use than I ever was while living in a house or apartment.
Most people have to go through extensive purging of unnecessary items prior to adopting the fulltime RVing lifestyle. As a result, every single thing they keep has meaning. This has the dual effect of reducing your attachment to material things, while simultaneously increasing your appreciation for what you have. I know that might sound contradictory, but just go with me on this one. Living the fulltime RVing lifestyle will make you realize how little you actually need, and also give you a greater appreciation for the things you do choose to bring into your life.
You Get to See New Things & Cool Places
This one’s obvious.
As a fulltime RVer I get to see more cool stuff than you do.
Sorry. I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just the way it is.
As far as fulltime RVers go, we aren’t the most wanderlust bitten, and yet in the past year seven months we’ve been to more beaches, nature preserves, state parks, and local attractions than most people make it too over the course of seven years.
Fulltime RVing isn’t for everyone, and it does have it’s drawbacks – a topic that will be up for consideration in a future post. However, drawbacks considered, fulltime RVing is an amazing way to live, and one that offers both tangible and intangible benefits that anyone can appreciate.