Family standing in front of new travel trailer RV.

Top Reasons One Family Stopped Full-Time RV Life

We traveled for 17 months across 36 U.S. states, 5 Canadian provinces and visited 15 United States national parks.

Folks, it has been an RV adventure of epic proportions…by our standards, at least. Especially considering that this was actually our FIRST RV experience, period. Quite a start.

Honestly, it is still a little hard to believe that this part of the adventure is over for our family. But it was specifically for the overall health and well-being of our family that we made the decision to settle back down in the Austin, Texas area in October 2018.

The beginning of our adventure.

And sure, I feel a bit nostalgic about it all and part of me will most certainly miss the incredible experiences that we had across this fascinating continent. But all in all, I feel really positive about this new season of life and am ready to jump in with both feet.

But, you must be wondering what exactly motivated us to leave behind that life of adventure and breathtaking experiences that we were enjoying. Well, let me tell you what that looked like.


Why We Stopped Full-Time RV Living

As I mentioned, this decision was all about family. The decision to hit the road in the first place was also about family. Funny how that works out, because needs and desires constantly shift and you have to be ready and willing to adjust as necessary.

The Need to Launch Our 19-Year-Old

This entire decision to settle back down for a while started innocently enough.

You see, our 19-year old son had been with us for our entire journey since graduating from high school right before we launched. This was his “gap year” (and a half) to try and decide on the best direction, and he knew he was not ready to make the commitment to college immediately.

So, he spent some of our journey learning some computer coding and another portion of it beginning to build his own travel blog and hone his photography skills and writing skills.

But the time had come for him to take on this wild and wonderful world on his own terms.

In order to make that happen, we had initially decided to make our way back to the Austin area and stay put for a few months while he got his feet under him. After he got settled in, we were planning to head off into the sunset toward the West Coast and continue with our travels.

We truly thought that’s what we all wanted. But…we have another son.

3 reasons we stopped full-time RVing

Related Reading: The 5 Hardest Things About Full-Time RVing

Social Needs of Our Extroverted 14-Year Old

As we were working through the details of the “launch plan” for son number one and soaking in the beauty of Glacier National Park in Montana, we began to notice a significant shift in the spirits and demeanor of our youngest kiddo.

Since the summer had ended, and the kids had mostly vanished from the RV parks, he had grown increasingly agitated and withdrawn. And it was reaching a fever pitch.

That shift sparked a conversation with dear old dad (me) in an effort to try and get to the bottom of whatever was stirring inside of him. And that conversation quickly revealed his internal struggle with feeling isolated and his excitement at the thought of returning home to some normalcy.

I was as shocked as anyone that he seemed to warm up so quickly to the idea of returning to the same area and the same school and the same friends. You see he has had a serious case of “wanderlust” almost from day one (at age 5 he told us he was going to be a tourist when he grew up).


So it spoke to us loud and clear when he couldn’t stop talking about getting back into school and hanging out with friends and going to football games and getting a job and getting his drivers permit in a few months.

Our conversations at that point shifted to finding a long-term RV park in the Austin area and staying put for the rest of the school year to see how he responded to a stationary life. We didn’t want to be too committed to stability…

But a strange thing happened inside of us at that point that we truly did not expect.

Why we stopped full-time RVing

It Was Time for a Change of Pace. And Space.

I can’t describe to you how grateful I am for the experiences that we have had on the road, for the things we’ve learned, for the sights we’ve seen, for the people we’ve met, for the struggles we’ve faced. It has all been beyond words and I would not give back a second of it.

Consistently throughout our travels, Julie and I would turn to each other during surreal moments and simply ask, “Can you believe this is our life?” It just seemed too good to be true. And I still feel that way.

And yet, maybe it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

It wasn’t that we couldn’t stand the idea of hanging out in another national park or hiking another scenic trail. Not at all. It was more about the pace at which we naturally moved while on the road. That pace was fast, and it was taking a toll on us.

So when the tide started shifting back toward a stationary life for a short period of time, it opened the door into that part of our souls that was actually craving routine and schedule and “boring”.

Stopped Full-Time RVing

Oh, and SPACE. Everything about our tiny space started getting more difficult to handle once we had this idea of settling down in our minds. It was suddenly messy and annoying and unreasonable. Human nature is an entertaining thing.

Could we have chosen to slow down and make things work? Well, possibly. If the first two issues with our sons didn’t exist. But taking it all as one big ball of wax, slowing down would probably only have made things more challenging across the board.

Related Reading: Fears That Almost Kept Us From Living the Full-Time RV Life

Next Season of Life Takes Shape

As we let this stationary idea settle in, we quickly came to realize that trying to stay in the RV for several months would not be a reasonable option. It didn’t seem like a healthy situation for everyone involved which forced us to consider the more permanent housing alternatives available to us.

These alternatives had several other benefits hidden inside as well: We would be just a few hours’ drive from our daughter in college so we could visit and provide support for her as needed.

We could use the routine and schedule to give us a solid and consistent focus on building a new business and providing a stable foundation for the next season of life, whatever that might look like.

We could also give some time and attention to friendships and community we had left behind in order to pursue this dream of travel.

And so the excitement continued to grow and the uncertainty and hesitation faded into the background as we researched apartments back in the Austin area.

Finding a New Home

We found the right one (2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms) that seemed to be a perfect fit for the season of life ahead of us. It is a 5-10 minute drive (or less) to just about everything we need, walking distance to our favorite grocery store and to a Walmart, and simply a good fit all around for us.

Now, here we are. About a week into this apartment dwelling existence as I write this and still in awe of the space and comfort we are enjoying.

Stopped full-time RVing

Related Reading: Our Post-RV Life: A Return to House Living

Our Future Travel Expectations

We initially planned to keep the trailer and join the weekend warrior crowd of RV owners. I expected that we would take longer RV trips during school breaks in the spring and summer.

But, we ended up selling both the truck and travel trailer and started saving. We’re currently shopping for our next rig, which will be something smaller than our travel trailer. There are a few things I will do differently the next time we RV, including more dispersed camping.

And we are continuing to develop other travel opportunities, outside of the RV space, that we will be able to share with you as well.

This, my friend, is our new adventure. And it’s exactly what we needed.

Until we are on the road again, we have many glorious memories of our prior travels.

Stopped Full-Time RVing

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  1. That’s awesome that you had the chance to RV full-time with your family. It’s always good to try something new! Wish your family the best!

  2. It’s so great to have the option to choose what to do with your family, and it definitely allows you to choose what’s best for them, this totally makes sense.

    1. Thanks Blythe! There is not doubt it has been an adventure, but the best is always yet to come. We will keep you posted!

  3. I didn’t even have to read your three reasons after I looked at the posted photo and growing children. It’s hard enough to get teens to go along for the weekends and RV vacations, let alone adapt to full-time RVing.
    It was great you have the memories and even better you’re not giving up the RV.
    Weekends and vacation make it more exciting anyway.
    It’s like living at the beach. What do you have to look forward to at vacation time?

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. Reading from Nairobi, Kenya. We dont have rv’s here. Can only wish to live a week or a month of that life experience some day.

  5. Tough decision (almost) everyone has to make at some point. Congrats on those 17 months! We just got to Austin 2 weeks ago and have been bouncing around the state parks system (and Walmarts) while enjoying everything your city has to offer. Best of luck in 2020!

  6. I think the reason is obvious. Your boys are looking for someone to share the rest of their lives with. At 19yo a boy is well into his dating life and at 14yo a boy is just starting to get the urge. I’m surprised this was not considered before the lifestyle change was even contemplated. What did you think was going to happen? Your boys were going to live their lives with mom and dad on the road for how long? How would they meet a future spouse on the road? I’m glad you made the right decision. When your boys get settled and move out from mom and dad that’s the time to revisit life on the road. Good luck to you.

    1. Hi Edward,

      Thanks for your comment. You seem to assume that we were completely clueless and blindsided by the social needs of our children. We were not. The only uncertain part going into it was the timetable. We all committed to one year on the road with a giant question mark after that. We just knew we had to have the experience, even if it didn’t continue for years.

      We considered every aspect of our decision going in, and most specifically how it related to our children in every possible way. There was obviously the possibility that our 19 year old could launch out on his own without us needing to leave the road, and that was seriously considered until the 14 year old decided he was ready for a “normal” life in high school. (He may be slightly questioning that decision at this point.) Believe it or not, not all full-time RV kids hit that point; we met many families that stayed on the road through their kids’ teen years and had a fantastic experience. Their kids built lifelong friendships and dated as well.

      Bottom line is that each family, each situation, is different. For us, it became clear that the best thing for our family as a whole was to end that phase of the adventure. But yes, we are definitely planning for the next phase which will likely just be the two of us, and that will be a completely different experience indeed.

      Happy trails to you!

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