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Have you ever thought about RV living and what it would be like to live full time in an RV?
To just be able to pick up and go wherever your heart takes you?
I’ll bet you’ve seen those posts on Facebook where folks talk about selling up their homes, getting rid of the Stuff and seeking a simple life full of travel and adventures.
I know. Me too.
About 5 years ago we decided we wanted to travel in the US and Canada more and were looking at how to do that with our then three dogs*.
We wanted adventure, comfort and it needed to be affordable.
Why an RV?
As kids, my brother and sister and I had many wonderful adventures in our little travel trailer that my Dad pulled with his Ford Mercury – or something like that.
We were little vagabonds, and while I can’t imagine it was much of a vacation for my Mom, it was magical for us.
And my Dad loved to drive! Hours and hours at a time. Looking back I expect this was because he only had a couple of weeks’ vacation to fit everything in, but of course I didn’t understand that then.
I do remember the night that man landed on the moon, though. We were in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and just setting up the trailer.
And Dad came in and with a voice full of emotion, told us. “Well, man has landed on the moon. Isn’t that something?”
This is the first article of a three-part series about Simple Living, and explores the possibilities of full time rv living, the adventures of full-time RVing, as well as a guide on how you can incorporate living simply, living happily into your life.
So when I shared these stories with my city born and bred sweetheart, he was eager to experience the same.
And we did it.
At first, we kept the bricks and mortar, bought a huge diesel-dually truck and a great 5th Wheel RV trailer. These two things sealed the deal on our great adventures for the next two years.
Now when some folks talk about RVs they often refer to motorhomes – you know where the engine and trailer are all one vehicle?
Well RV does in fact stand for ‘recreational vehicle’ so I will use the term “RV’ interchangeably and it can mean anything that
a) has wheels
b) is driven or pulled by a truck.
Our maiden voyage was trip to the South Carolinas, to visit friends, go to the US Open, vacation for two weeks, and then another two weeks on Canada’s east coast, as we headed north and then east to our beloved Prince Edward Island.
PEI will always be my ‘second home’ no matter where I roam. The tiny island’s location just can’t be beat.
I hope you get there some day. We haven’t been for three years, so I think we’ll be heading there soon.
But the big takeaway from this trip, and our first (well first for Mark) RV adventure?
We were hooked on RV living, and wondered out loud, why on earth we needed to keep slaving away to pay for a huge (but lovely) home in a subdivision that required a three hour a day commute for each of us.
We had just spent an entire month living in a 32’ RV that boasted a comfy queen sized bed, air conditioning, a microwave, flat screen TV, and a comfy sofa and recliners.
A roomy bathroom with a shower that could be cleaned in 10 minutes flat. What more did we need?
Time. To. Pack.
If this sounds romantic, well it can be. But no bones about it, life is full of challenges no matter where you live, and what you live in.
RV Living is no exception. The first time your black water tank gets plugged you’ll know what I mean!
Or you have a tire blow out in the middle of nowhere. Cue roadside assistance!
To help you decide if you think RV Living would work for you and your family, I’ve put together a list of sorts, on why I think full time RV living is superior to living in a bricks and mortar house.
33 Reasons Why Full Time RV Living Beats Living in a House Hands Down
1. Easy to clean – Instead of hauling my central vac up and down the stairs of our former 2500 square foot home, vacuuming the RV takes about 5 minutes. 10 if I dawdle.
2. The dishes are always done without a dishwasher! With small space living, you need the countertops!
3. No property taxes, huge utility bills, and home maintenance costs – Gone. When traveling, utilities like hydro and water are included in your lot fee. You can even save more if you join an RV club like Good Sam or KOA.
4. No debt – the mortgage is gone and typically your overhead is very low. We had an investment that matured, so used that to buy our 5th wheel. No monthly payments.
5. Minimalist lifestyle – you will be so surprised at how your stuff disappears!
6. Simple living – relaxed
7. You will discover a sense of community – to celebrate, to help each other out….we have more friends, people we’ve met on our travels, and closer relationships with our neighbours now than we ever did living in a subdivision.
8. Unplug – but know that technology can keep you connected while you travel. We video chat with our kids and grandkids regularly.
9. Carefree – wherever you can drive – that’s where you can go!
10. The freedom to travel. Our Full Time RV lifestyle has allowed to travel to wonderful places like Italy, Florida, Southern US, and Quebec and the Maritimes in Canada!
11. More money in the bank. RV Living means a lot less stuff. When you see that shiny object you want, you will think “where will we put this?”
12. You will learn how to be organized
13. It’s easy to work on the road and is great for freelancing – like starting a Blog!
14. Your expenses are so much less – perfect for living with a reduced income, like retirement.
15. You will be happier, and discover Hygge – the Danish of concept of being happy!
16. You learn to adapt quickly – like when you get a flat tire and have to boondock for two days while being repaired. (Read about our experience here!)
17. You will learn a whole new vocabulary like boondocking
18. You really can live a rich life on so much less. RV life is simple living at its best.
19. Your focus will change. You will focus on experiences and really living your life. Savoring the moments. Your need for stuff will diminish.
20. You become closer – to your partner, spouse or pets, and appreciate the importance of teamwork.
21. You learn to get along with the neighbors – if not, you can move!
22. RV’s are so much easier to afford, and renovate if you don’t buy brand new!
23. No commitment to the property – don’t like where you’re parked? Just move!
24. Frees up money/budget to enjoy other things – like golf, fitness memberships or take up a new hobby.
25.You learn the importance of road side assistance!
26. You learn how to make s’mores and other campfire treats
27. You no longer need a Costco membership – no storage!
28. You reconnect with Mother Nature. Nothing beats walking the dogs at night and gazing up at a full moon, that is so big and bright you can almost touch it.
29. Meal planning is a breeze, and you learn to use your slow-cooker, pressure cooker and other small appliances! Eating out becomes much less important
30. You will have less stress and sleep like a baby
31. You become resourceful and learn how to troubleshoot maintenance issues. The importance of good black water tank maintenance, keeping the A/C filter clean, and checking the levels on your propane tanks.
32. You will have more time.
Seriously, you will! Remember that 3 hour a day commute I had? I’ll bet you have something very similar right now. I’ve used the time to reconnect to some hobbies I’ve always loved, like decorative painting, and knitting.
33. So I’ve saved the best to last. Can you get what it is?
— It’s that wonderful sense of peace and balance that is restored to your life.
That feeling you get when you are not beavering away to keep all the balls up in the air, to pay the bills, to continue your sleep deprived life of working to pay the tax-man.
I have yet to meet one person who lives in their RV full time that isn’t happy with their decision.
Last year we decided to trade our beloved 5th Wheel in for a Destination Trailer. So we are now parked in Ontario, Canada for 8 months of the year, with a plan to head south for the winter as soon as I retire*.
We still don’t know what that will look like, be it a motorhome, or an RV park like we live in now.
We know for sure that it won’t be a house, condo, or anything that resembles home ownership.
We have neighbors that embrace RV living here in the park full time in their RV’s for 8 months of the year, and then travel to the southern states.
One couple goes to Arizona, where they work for their keep for the winter.
One man heads for Nevada with his dog and a wonderfully restored vintage motorhome!
Another husband and wife have a home in Ireland and that’s where they winter for four months.
Just two lots up are a much younger couple who also pull a 5th wheel, and travel all over the US in the winter. They are freelancers and told us they hit 44 states last winter!
You can see the possibilities are endless.
And for us?
We’ve not had one regret. People ask if I don’t miss living in a house, or my big kitchen with the granite countertops.
I really don’t. Not one bit.
We are just so much happier with our chosen lifestyle.
I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I have writing it for you! We’ve had an incredible journey so far, and it’s far from over!
That’s the beauty of RV Living. There is always a new adventure just around the corner.
There’s a favorite saying of mine, that I’ve seen many times during our travels and now here throughout the park. For me it says it all..
*Canadians cannot spend more than 180 days in the US or they may be considered residents, and required to file a tax return. Equally important, depending upon the province you live in, there is a requisite number of days that you must be in Canada to maintain universal health care, and pension benefits. You can read all about that here.