It’s a doozy of a question, isn’t it?
“Should I drop everything I know, leave it all behind and embark on a nomadic, adventurous journey that will leave many people wondering if I’ve completely lost my marbles?”
You have found yourself tempted by the wanderlust-laced lifestyle of full-time RVing, and I want to try and help you out a little bit by walking you through some important considerations before you bite the proverbial bullet.
You see, I’ve been there, my friend.
In early 2017, my family and I stood on the edge of this momentous decision. And the weight of that decision pretty much fried my circuits and left me incapable of communicating for a while.
Nope, I am not exaggerating. I found myself reduced to staring and nodding.
It’s HEAVY stuff, I know. So let me help you walk through it with some experience-guided perspectives and some penetrating questions to take you to the core of this hairy thing.
And maybe, just maybe, we can keep your circuits intact.
Is Full-Time RV Living Right For You?
Ultimately, the answer depends on several key pieces that we are going to explore here. But it all starts with this one question:
What’s Your Why?
I believe we often choose not to examine our whys very closely because something in us, in a place we are not even consciously aware of, knows that process will take us directly into the heart of our deepest fears.
And that is exactly why it must be done. So let’s start with these questions:
- What, if anything, are you choosing to run away from with this decision?
- Do you believe you will escape something by choosing the RV lifestyle?
- What positives are you expecting to find in this life that you are not currently experiencing?
- How do you feel that you are “wired” for this lifestyle and/or will adjust very
quickly and naturally to it?
These questions are designed to assist you in seeing more clearly, to help you understand your situation and your motivations before moving forward. There is nothing more important than that at this point in your journey.
— If you’re interested in the full discussion on “What’s Your Why?”, you can grab my ebook – Is Full-Time RV Living Right For You? – for only $6. It walks you all the way through this decision-making process and provides far more detail. —
The Important Conversations
Once you’ve worked through these questions, it’s time to turn your attention to important conversations with loved ones.
But brace yourself, because I have some news for you that might be difficult to hear: Some people might think you have lost your friggin’ mind for even considering the full-time RV life.
I know. It’s shocking, but true. And even crazier is the fact that those “some people” may be the ones you love the most.
Now, this next statement may seem rather obvious to you but I feel like it is important enough to mention, just in case. Before you decide to hint at this RVing life “dream” with your boss, or even your best friend, take some time to really talk through the idea with your immediate family first.
You will be tempted to do this backwards, but trust me when I say that starting to toss this full-time RVing idea around in public before you have even fully discussed it with your immediate family members is just a bad idea. Really.
If you have kids, start with some questions like these to get a feel for where their heads are at:
- How does it feel to think about not seeing your friends for several months?
- Does it really bother you to think about leaving behind your church group / sports team / social club / community group for several months at a time?
But most importantly, understand this: A good question, surrounded by space and silence, will be your biggest ally in this process.
— If you’re interested in a complete list of suggested questions, you can grab my ebook – Is Full-Time RV Living Right For You? – for only $6. It walks you all the way through this decision-making process and provides far more detail. —
Dealing With Your Piles O’ Crap
After you come face-to-face with your deepest why and you start the conversations with your loved ones…it’s time to get real.
It’s time to talk about your stuff. Your precious, ever-growing piles of stuff. (No judgment here. I had them also!)
The reality is that nothing can move forward while you are still drowning in those piles. It is a hurdle that you have to clear, whatever that looks like for you.
Now, you might be thinking that it is too early in the process to be dealing with this issue. But listen to the voice of experience on this one, friend. You NEED to start this process now. It is bigger, hairier, more time-consuming and more physically and emotionally draining than you can now imagine. You have to trust me on this.
And so, let’s get the ball rolling with a game! It’s called the 30-day minimalism game courtesy of theminimalists.com .
Basic idea of the game: On Day 1, you donate or sell 1 item.
On Day 2, you donate or sell 2 items.
And on it goes for 30 days.
At the end of the 30-day period, you will have rid your life of 465 items and created a little much-needed breathing room.
— I’ve got plenty more to say about this topic of thinning out your possessions in my ebook – Is Full-Time RV Living Right For You? – and you can grab it for only $6. It’s nearly 40 pages of assistance to help you decide what is best for YOU as you stare down this question. —
And Now You’ve Got A Decision To Make
Other than the topics that I’ve touched on above, the RV Living ebook also covers Expenses on the Road and Location-independent Income, two topics that absolutely must be a part of this decision. If you don’t have a solid understanding of what your expenses and income will look like before you strike out on this route, you just can’t reasonably expect that things will end well.
So here are a few highlights of the book to give you a better idea of what to expect:
- The simple process for discovering your “WHY” for RV living
- The questions you must ask your loved ones to avoid regretting a decision
- Who to discuss this possibility with first to avoid HUGE headaches later
- The magical 3-Stage Filter to help you finally deal with your piles o’ things
- The ONE thing you must remember when projecting your finances on the road
- The biggest mistake to avoid when it comes to your location-independent income
Full-time RV living is absolutely an incredible adventure that will give you the opportunity to see more places than you ever have before and check many items off of your bucket list. But that doesn’t mean you can assume it’s the right path for you. And maybe it’s the right path, but not the right time.
I truly hope that this experience-guided perspective has been helpful for you and I hope you’ll consider going deeper with my RV Living ebook if you are determined to get to the right answer.
If you have any questions, please comment below and I will be happy to provide whatever insight I can into your situation. But for now…
Keep on TREKKN!
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Todd Bonner loves a competitive game of table tennis, a breathtaking hike and simply exploring new places. He spends most of his time sharing information about RV travel and safety, RV accessories and tips, and the National Parks he has visited and still desperately craves. When he’s not busy working on TREKKN, you will often find him staring at pictures of Glacier National Park (probably his favorite spot on earth) or creating new products for Clever Camper Company.
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Tuesday 31st of December 2019
My husband and i are empty nesters, all 5 children live out of our home state. We miss them and the grandchildren. I fly for visits all yr long. We have thought of selling the house, and stuff and buying a truck and travel trailer so we can see family all over the country. But it's frightening to think of not having a house anymore. Any advice for us?
Friday 3rd of January 2020
Hi Dianna and thanks for your question. It sounds like you have a life situation that would be a pretty good fit for the full-time RV lifestyle, from this outsider's perspective.
The reality is that you don't necessarily have to sell the house to make this happen. Many full-time RVers choose to rent their house out and potentially make a couple hundred bucks (or more) of income per month to actually help fund their RV lifestyle. If you're renting for a year at a time, the potential downside diminishes greatly and the upside of seeing family might easily cancel out any remaining fears.
I don't know if that fits well with your current situation, but it's something to think about for sure. If you have any follow-up questions to that, feel free to ask. We wish you nothing but the best whatever you decide is right for you and your family. Take care!
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Billie Sue Patrick
Tuesday 8th of October 2019
I think that many people focus on the romantic, glamorous aspects of full time traveling and fail to realize how much work and expense are involved. When your home is on wheels, you have to actively acquire all of the basic ammenities that you take for granted in a conventional home. Most basic is where are you going to park this sucker, and believe me, most campgrounds don't deliver the stunning views that you see in the pictures touting RV life. Furthermore, every moment of every day you have to make running water, electricity, and sewer happen so that you can accomplish all of the actvities of daily living like personal hygiene and meal preparation. These activities will be performed in far less space and far less conveniently than you are used to. Unless you have a very large and expensive rig, there will not be a washer and dryer. You'll have to find a laundromat fairly frequently because you won't have room for the amount of clothing you are used to having. Cell service isn't a given, and obtaining wifi is complicated at best. Then there is the issue of being cooped up in a small box with your significant other(s) 24/7. The only way to have privacy or personal space is to go for a walk. Speaking of walks, if you have a dog, you will have to walk it several times a day. Sometimes that's a pleasure, but depending on weather and location it can be a real chore.
If you are considering a RV lifestyle, I recommend two things. First be aware on a daily basis of all the things you do. Then ask yourself how you would do it in an RV. Remember that electricity and running water aren't a given. Then rent an RV for at least three weeks. Anything less than that is just a honeymoon. In three weeks you will start having to deal with some of the trickier and more annoying aspects of RVing. If you still think you want to pursue this full time, start considering the broader implications of life on the road. How will you get your mail or have those Amazon purchases delivered? How will you pay your bills and stay in touch with loved ones? Where will you obtain health care or have your prescriptions filled?
In other words, do your due diligence and be honest with yourself about your capabilities and limitations. Don't rush into selling an appreciating asset (your house) and sinking all of your capital into a vehicle (because that's what an RV is) that depreciates significantly with time and mileage. Full time RVing may be the right choice for you, but if it isn't you will have made and expensive and life altering mistake.
Wednesday 9th of October 2019
Thank you very much for sharing your perspective on this, Billie Sue. I agree that full-time RVing is not a decision that should be taken lightly, and there are many questions that need to be answered honestly before taking this leap. The truth is that in our situation, we did sell that appreciating asset (house) and sunk it into depreciating assets (vehicles). And it did cost us when the time came to sell those vehicles after 17 months on the road. I'm never one that's crazy about "losing money", but I do not feel that that money was actually lost. It was well spent on creating an adventure, a departure from the norm, a foundation for living a life less dictated by the fear of "what if", and memories with my family that I guarantee you we will all treasure for the rest of our lives.
This quote by Helen Keller has been with me for many years, and I guess it really sums up our approach to making the decision about choosing to live full-time in our RV: "Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
That quote may seem like nonsense to others, it may not resonate. But we were craving that "daring adventure" and were willing to pay the (unknown) price to make it happen, knowing that we could and would recover. Tim Ferriss uses a powerful question, that I have also learned to use in my life, to help me make difficult, life-altering decisions like this: "What is the worst case scenario here, and could I recover from it?" I have found it helpful, and maybe others will as well.
Now, I'm the first to tell you that it was tough on the road dealing with all of those issues that you don't deal with in a home: utilities, cell/internet connection, constant route planning and reservation making, etc. It's no walk in the park. So really, all of this does come down to just being honest about what you value, what you need, and what you are willing to give up...because there are definitely trade-offs of life on the road that you must be aware of and prepared for, and I think you have done a great job of detailing some of that.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this with TREKKN readers and I wish you nothing but the best!