One Family’s Post-RV Life: A Return to House Living

Before I talk about transitioning out of our RV life, I need to make sure you know what I mean when I say RV life. Let me provide a synopsis on how we got into RV living in the first place.

Here is a quick summary of our lifestyle during the past couple of years:

  • In Feb 2017, Julie (my wife) had an “epiphany” about a possible life in an RV.
  • In Mar 2017, we purchased our first RV: a brand new 26-foot travel trailer affectionately named Haully. We had never before lived or traveled by RV.
  • By May 2017, we had sold our 2,300 sq ft home in the Austin, TX area. We had also sold or given away most of the stuff that filled the house. We bought a 3/4 ton truck (we had also never owned a truck before). Then we hit the road full-time in our new adventure capsule.
  • For 17 months, our family explored the U.S. and Canada. We experienced every single national park we could find along the way. We saw some absolutely mind-blowing stuff and met some wonderful folks along the way that will be friends for life.
  • In Oct 2018, we abruptly (because that’s how we roll) made the decision to leave the full-time RV life. It was a tough decision made for the well-being of our entire family.

In a nutshell, we moved into an RV life in about 100 days. We shifted to a post-RV life even faster. After our initial discussion in Montana it took 45 days to move out of our RV and into an apartment. We were back in Austin where it all began.

All caught up with our crazy life? Ok, let’s move forward and talk about the factors involved in this whole process. This is what life looks like for us nearly five months after we moved back to a “normal” lifestyle.

Our Life After Our RV Life

As you can imagine, this was not an easy decision to make. Despite the fact that we made the decision fairly quickly, we struggled with a number of challenges. But, we knew one thing for certain. Our RV life could no longer provide what all members of our family needed.

The three biggest issues we faced during this transition were housing, school, and income.

Issue #1: Housing

The first big issue we needed to resolve was sort of a two-part question. Specifically, should we focus our search on a house or an apartment? And, should we rent or buy our new home?


Ok, to be honest (and I am), the rent or buy question was not a question at all. We have purchased homes twice in the past. Overall, we had positive experiences. The equity from the sale of our last house helped us get our crazy RV lifestyle dreams off the ground. (Thank you Austin housing market.)

After more than a year on the open road, we couldn’t fathom the idea of buying a house. We didn’t want to be semi-permanently locked into one location.

We felt very deeply that our life moving forward still had plenty of adventure in store for us. Most likely, that adventure is a few years down the road. We will wait until our youngest child (15 years old) leaves the nest. But purchasing still made no sense with that timeline in mind.

Truck with many stickers from US National Parks
This is our truck and the many souvenir stickers from our RV life. It’s a reminder of our great adventure.


I’ve got to say, I have NO desire to have the heavy yoke of yard work hanging around my neck. And that would have been a thing whether we purchased or rented a single family home. Not to mention home repairs and maintenance.

On top of all of that, our youngest was extremely excited by the idea of living in an apartment. He had never experience apartment living and thought it would be the best thing EVER. (He’s not so gung ho about it now but, whatever.)

All of this added up to one inevitable outcome. We signed a 14-month lease on a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,200 square foot apartment in an ultra-convenient location.

I’ve got to tell you that it still feels like SO much space even after acclimating to it. It’s a great fit for our family. We have all the creature comforts and are grateful we made a good decision that works well. For now.

Boy inside apartment chosen for a life after RV life
Aaron checking out the apartment before we moved in.

Issue #2: School

Before we headed out on this epic adventure, Aaron (yes, the youngest) had been homeschooled for a few months. And obviously, he was homeschooled while on the road (we like to call it “road schooled”).


But when we returned, that option was 100% off the table. He needed friends and crowds. I believe he needed space and freedom. Above all, he needed some independence.

This left him with two options. He could return to the small charter school across town he had attended before homeschooling. Or, he could jump straight into a high school of 2,000+ students around the corner from our new apartment.

We expected him to opt for the big, scary high school even though we knew it would be a huge adjustment. He chose to spend the rest of his freshman year in a comfortable environment. He returned to the charter school with friends he already knew. I think it worked out rather well.


Now, after five months, he is more than ready for the big school for his sophomore year. He is even toying with the idea of trying out for the basketball team next year. I sincerely hope he does.

One of the pros of a stationary life is enhanced socialization and development.

With driver’s permit in hand, a world of energy, and more friends on the horizon, the future is looking bright for this outgoing young man. Stationary life offers him increased independence and an expanding social circle. We are extremely excited to watch him become more of himself.

Issue #3: Income

For me, the numbers guy with an analytical brain, the questions about our income were the toughest to navigate. It was very similar to our move into an RV lifestyle.

Everything else seemed to fall into place with this move. But, I wasn’t sure what the future held for our income. That’s never a lot of fun, but we had been there before and survived.


We had reduced our savings considerably to make this transition a reality. I sat down with Julie and told her that it was time for me to look for a job. It seemed like the only reasonable path that would provide us with some financial stability and peace of mind.

This was not an easy decision by any means. I had been working from home for over three years at that point, not punching anyone’s clock. That type of freedom is great and it allowed so many beautiful things to enter our lives in that period. It allowed me to be more available and more involved than many dads can dream of.

Boy resting on sofa as family looks for furniture for new apartment
Trying to find the perfect couch for our new home


Life is about seasons. I felt strongly that this season was about rebuilding stability. So naturally I will do whatever it takes to make that a reality. Now I needed to find out how Julie would respond to my perspective.

Well, she let out a sigh of relief. The anxiety of the income question had also been weighing heavy on her.

Within a few weeks, I landed a job that allowed me to be “on the road” and experience some adventure. I became a delivery driver for Amazon.


For a few months now, it has paid the bills. It has taken a toll on my body. I have shed the body fat I had accumulated in our travels. Honestly, I’m not sure how much longer I can keep it up. (I have days where I wonder if it’s the end.)

But for this period, it has been good for my soul to do some very physically demanding work. It helps me get out of my head. I have enjoyed the work despite my body not always being 100% cooperative.

Essentially, it is exactly what we needed on all fronts for this season of life. I am extremely grateful for this season, despite the difficulties we have faced.

White car parked on street
Our 19-year old’s new to him car.

When the “Honeymoon” Ends

Over the past couple weeks, Julie and I realized the honeymoon of stationary life was coming to an end.

We have both felt a bit down the past week or two. Seemingly for no good reason. The doldrums were also accompanied by an increase in anxiety for no particular reason, without any particular source.

Of course, we went through this same process, more or less, when we moved into the RV. That first summer was adventure and laughter and excitement, with everything brand new, all the colors brighter. And then as fall came around, the overall atmosphere shifted in that travel trailer. We were into the more mundane reality of life on the road, if you can call it that.

Mundane Reality

Now, two years after we launched our family adventure, we navigate the reality of a mundane stationary life.

We sat out on our balcony and chatted for the first time in a long while. It helped us realize that we had fallen back into the bad habits our outdoor adventure helped us escape. And we had been grateful to escape those habits.

The view from our living room.

Time Spent Outdoors is Medicine for the Weary Soul

For instance, we don’t spend as much time on the balcony as anticipated when we moved in. A few great trees hover over the front of the balcony. We have a great view of the sunset. It’s a restful place to enjoy some time outdoors.

Instead, we have allowed our evenings to devolve into TV sessions that last a bit too long. (Of course, I blame that on my physically demanding job. But still.)


The bottom line is that we are, after all, creatures of habit.

Routine and mundane is the substance of being human. The only way to effectively deal with it is to stay present in each moment.

In each moment, joy, fulfillment, and excitement is available regardless of the lifestyle we are living. But, you have to be present enough to look for it. Make any changes that seem appropriate along the way to access the treasures in each moment.

This is one of our tasks for this season of life. We are up for the task. And, we’re thankful for the opportunity to once again navigate new things. I know we will learn more about ourselves through the struggle and frustrations.

The world is a wonderful and mesmerizing place. Take the time to experience that for yourself. We will do so from our current stationary location.

What’s next for us? Absolutely no idea. Don’t be surprised if our next (empty nest) season involves a return to the RV lifestyle with more time on the road.

Only time will tell.


What's life after RV life like?

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  1. I love all of your outlooks on simply rolling with life. It’s refreshing and inspiring! At least you picked a fun town to settle back into. πŸ™‚ Good luck on your fun, new phase!

  2. Austin is a great place to enjoy the outdoors and the weird in life, so at least you all can still enjoy that. Although, I’m sure it doesn’t compare to live on the road. I hope you all find a happy medium between a home base and the RV life.

    1. Thanks Blythe! We’re definitely working on that happy medium. When we were traveling, we missed the comforts of a home base. Now that we have a home base, we miss the adventure of full-time travel. But I think it’s all about being grateful for whatever season of life you’re in.

  3. Good call on renting. Part the whole western society idea of having “made it:” or “being successful” is home ownership, but the reality it unless you plan on living in the same place for at least 15 years, owning a home really doesn’t make sense. Although I am sure Quicken Loans and Wells Fargo will say that I have no idea what i am talking about…

    1. Hahaha! Yes, I’m sure they would. πŸ˜‰ But yeah, we had the ‘American dream’ once and it wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And today, instead of Todd spending his Saturday doing yard work, he’s enjoying his day off!

    1. That is great to hear, Jalisa! Very glad it has helped. It is absolutely like a different life, and at times it can make you feel very disconnected from “normal” life…and those living it. Very important to be intentional about staying connected to those you love while out there on the road, but not always easy to follow through on.

      Thanks so much for your comment.


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