The freedom of travel calls to all of us. We want to explore, to be creative, to experience, to learn. And what better way to achieve these aspirations than to hit the open road…leaving behind the life we know, for a chance to live the life that we don’t know.
“We generally change ourselves for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation.” -Jim Rohn
Generally, people don’t just wake up one morning and say to themselves, “Self, today I will become an RVer”. Typically, people have reasons in their lives that have gradually led them to the idea of RVing. The reasons that people choose to RV are as varied as the people themselves (fulltimers, snow birds, weekend campers, roadtrippers, resort dwellers, etc.). Spending a little time on the road will expose you to so many RVers, and most of them are open, kind people who want to hear your story and share their story as well.
Let’s take a look at the main reasons for RVing (from our 1.5+ years of experience), and you can evaluate them for your own life…
TRAVELERS WANTED. ADVENTURERS NEEDED. EXPLORERS WELCOME. This reason definitely falls in to the inspiration category. These RVers are motivated to experience life in new ways, learn about our country, explore the national parks, traverse from sea to shining sea, seek the highest mountain peaks, experience the diverse cultural foods, walk a day in someone else’s shoes, have the best of city and country, see the world with the newness of a child’s eyes, and so on. These people have a desire for more for their lives, and they know that RVing will get them there. It is a practical, economical way for people to travel, especially for more long-term or full-time RV living lifestyles. I love that these reasons are motivating more and more young families to hit the road over the summer, or spend a full year on the road to be able to share the newness and diversity of RV living with their children.
TO SAVE MONEY (for fulltimers). Living in an RV can be a much more economical option than renting or owning a home. That being said, I think it is unrealistic to think that you can live for Free in an RV for an extended period of time. Nothing is free. Even boondocking comes with sacrifices. Chris and I subscribe to debt-free living (with a mortgage exception), and we do believe RVing to be an opportunity to assist people in getting out of debt, if they have an income. Getting out of debt takes an income and hard work – while RVing may help, you will still need to work hard at it and also be committed to staying out of debt in the future. I can not say we have met a single actual RVer on the road who’s main reason for RVing was to save money. There are still not that many younger, working-age people on the road; and of those, our experience has been that saving money is secondary to their desire to travel. Also, RVs are not like a house, where you may be able to build equity with your investment; for the most part, RVs are bad investments – it is sad, but true. Think of them more like a vehicle, as soon as you roll a new one off the lot, you lose money on the purchase. I don’t mean to be a downer, but debt is serious business. If you are considering full-time RV living, our biggest advice is to buy an RV/vehicle that YOU CAN AFFORD TO PURCHASE OUTRIGHT! Do not add to your debt, or choose a payment plan for something you can not afford. Click here to learn our actual, detailed full year of RV living expenses, so you can compare for yourself.
LIVING LIGHT. We call it stewardship, my grandmother called it Depression living, and a lot of people are now calling it minimalism. What do I mean by stewardship? Chris and I focus on being sure that we can care for the things that are given to us in this life. If we can’t take care of it, then it is time to remove it from our lives and give it to someone who can. Also, we recognize that a lot of stuff is a distraction to us that keeps us from maintaining relationships well, making healthy choices with our activities, etc. Like-minded people recognize that things are not as important as relationships and experience. RVing forces people to live with less, as a matter of the physics of space. It is much easier to evaluate the value of a purchase when you have limited space. What are you willing to give up in order to make that new purchase? And if you are going to be in a different area of the country a week from now, will you still need the item there? Living light was a reason that Chris and I embraced when we decided to become fulltime RVers after living in a 2,800 sq. ft. house on 10 acres with a pool.
FOR WORK OPPORTUNITIES. Yes, if you are a professional videographer or photographer, then working on the road is obviously a great boost to your creativity and marketability. But, most of us (even as fulltime RVers) are not professional media producers. We just have regular jobs. We have taken our skills and found a way to produce income on the road. We may not work for National Geographic, but that doesn’t mean that we can not relate to the benefits of working on the road. Our network grows, we can follow a temporary job market around, and so on. RVing can actually help those who WANT to work. We met a middle-aged couple in remote Northwestern Nebraska at a small, somewhat ramshackle RV park. They were from Oklahoma, and they decided to hit the road when the husband was laid off. He was an electrician, and when he lost his job, he made the decision that rather than go on unemployment, he wanted to work. So, they sold their house, bought an RV, and now they live where he obtains contracted work. Doesn’t this couple’s story resonate with so much of the idea of what America is? All of our ancestors who came here as immigrants looking for opportunities? All of the pioneers who set out on the Oregon Trail looking for a better life? The 49ers who just couldn’t live with themselves unless they gave striking it rich a try despite the overwhelming odds against them? A chance to trade in what you know for what you don’t know and the hope that it will be better? And while the vehicle has changed over the years from the Mayflower, to the prairie schooner, from the first continental railroad, to the RV; the desire remains the same: work opportunities for a better life. Yep, America is a great place with great people willing to take risks and work hard. Gosh, I love this country.
TO SPEND RETIREMENT. This is going to be an interesting reason for RVing to pay attention to over the next few decades. Retirement will be looking a lot different for the younger generations as pensions, having the same job for 30 years, social security, and the reliability of retirement after 30 years of hard work are becoming more elusive. But for now, we find a lot of RVers who choose to spend their retirement on the road. For a lot of them, they have been planning to RV for a long time, and it is memorable to see the joy on their faces as their tirelessly worked for dreams come to fruition. We have met many who are choosing the adventure, and some who are choosing the opportunities of work-camping, such as working with dolphins in the Gulf. No matter how they choose to spend it, RVing is a mode for them to enrich their lives in retirement.
TO BECOME A FAIR WEATHER FOLLOWER. Now let’s refer to that strange species better known as the “Snow bird”. His feathers get ruffled at the onset of shorter days, and they become positively frazzled as the mercury drops below 50. But not to worry about our fair weather friend, for he has a plan. He uses his RV to fly south for the winter. He may use the RV for short camping trips during other parts of the year, but avoiding the winter is his RV’s time to shine. Forget scraping the ice off of his windshield, he will be wisely enjoying sunny walks on the beach instead.
Now that you have been given a snapshot of the main reasons that we have found that actual RVers are on the road, we hope you have gained a reason for yourself!