When set out on our RV adventure, we committed to the lifestyle for at least a year.
Even if we hated the entire experience, we had to finish out that year. If we loved RV living, then we could continue for as long as we wanted.
Well, we just celebrated our three-year nomadiversary this month. So I guess you could say we love the lifestyle! 😁
And since every time I talk about living full-time in an RV, I link to the one and only post I wrote about it—our announcement—I think it’s past time for an update.
Let’s Sum Up
For those of you who are new, Joseph and I sold our home and the majority of our personal items in November 2018. We hit the road in a new-to-us 2005 Jayco Fifth Wheel in March 2019 after renovating the inside to our tastes and adding solar panels up top.
In the last three years, we’ve:
- Visited 47 states and 29 major national parks
- Seen more friends and family than ever before
- Made new “road-life” friends
- Hiked over 240 miles
- Been stranded on the beach and paid a subsequent $700 towing bill
- Transitioned to a plant-based diet (partly because of our travels, actually)
- Soaked in hundreds of sunsets and sunrises
- Seen far more rattlesnakes, cows, tarantulas, and coyotes in our “backyard” than we’d like
…and learned how little we truly need to be happy.
Our main reason for adopting this lifestyle was to give us more time to travel than just a week or handful of weekends throughout the year. As a homebody with a serious case of wanderlust, RV life was perfect. I always had a familiar home to come back to after a day of exploring…and we could now take that home anywhere we wanted.
So What’s Next?
I’ll start with the question everyone wants us to answer.
“Are you done yet?“
We honestly thought that 2023 would be the year of looking for a home base—a place we could live for part of the year and travel during the other months. But every time we think about putting down roots, we break out into a cold sweat.
- For one, we’re afraid of feeling stuck. A sticks-and-bricks home that doesn’t move feels too permanent right now. We really like the nomad lifestyle of exploring an area for a couple weeks then moving onto something different.
- We don’t know exactly where we want to settle. Florida, Utah, South Carolina—the area must be warm and sunny enough to help lighten my depression as well as give us plenty of opportunities to recreate outside. But it also needs to be a place my parents are willing to move to when the time comes.
- We still have so much to see! One of my bucket list items is to visit all of America’s major national parks (we’ve done 29/62 so far). That includes trips to Alaska and Hawaii. We also want to hit a few more spots in Canada and have even talked about doing van life in Europe or Australia for a couple of months.
So I think we have at least a few more years of travel ahead of us.
It’s just looking a little different for us now than at the beginning of our adventure.
FOMO pretty much defined our first year of traveling.
We crammed so much into our itinerary (often moving every 5-7 days!) that we barely skimmed the surface of all the places we visited. Remember how we had committed to RV for at least a year? We were so afraid of missing something during that year that we barely gave ourselves enough time to breathe between work, travel, and adventure days.
As time progressed, we realized that we needed more margin. So we stretched out our time in one area to 10-14 days.
After spending six months in Phoenix, AZ for the winter, I can confidently say we want two weeks to be the norm.
Slowing down so we can go deep rather than wide fulfills our souls in so many ways. We don’t feel rushed. And if we miss the one place that Aunt Margie said we had to go, so be it. We plan to savor our surroundings wherever we are rather than worry about all the places we might be missing.
A book that I highly recommend on this topic is The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. It will “wreck” your life in the best of ways!
There Are No Guarantees
My grandmother asked me a few months ago why I didn’t wait until retirement to see the world.
The thing is—no one can guarantee me a retirement. We don’t know what the future holds! We might not have the funds when we retire. Or we might not be physically able to travel and explore by the time we reach that age.
I think too many of us wait until the conditions are just right to do x, y, or z, and waste potential opportunities in the process.
One of my favorite experiences of RV life was hiking 22 miles and summiting 8 mountains on the Presidential Traverse Trail. It was an incredible hike! But it’s probably not something I would have chosen to do at 65, and as a result, it’s an experience we would’ve missed.
So whatever you want to do, go do it! You don’t need anyone’s permission. You can achieve all of your dreams in a practical way. << (shameless book plug)
Just because your path looks different doesn’t mean you’re lost.
In other words, some people won’t understand your desire to live differently.
We occasionally receive mean comments from others who think we mooch off the land and don’t pay our taxes. (Which is just silly—we generate almost all our electricity from the sun, pick up litter left by the side of the road whenever we can, and are Florida residents who always pay our taxes).
We’ve simply created a life we don’t want to run away from, and there is obviously something deeply troubling these people are experiencing in their own lives. Hateful words are the only way they know how to express it.
As we continue to RV (whether that’s for one more year or ten), I’ll continue to remind myself that I control my own experience of the world. I’m so grateful that Joseph and I can continue to expand our view of it in this season of life.
Do you have any burning questions about RV life?
I’ll answer as many as I can in the comments!
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