By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Want to open a can of worms? Next time you’re sitting around the RV community campfire, ask your friends how to define a “full-time RVer.”
It’s a subject of great debate. Some say a full-time RVer is one who lives in their RV 365 days a year, and has no other home. The purists among them declare that those who are worthy of the title are those who have no home base, either. They simply move from place to place on a whim (or maybe with some plan), but don’t have anything other than perhaps a mailbox service to identify their roots.
Others aren’t quite so stringent with the title. To them, a full-time RVer is one who, indeed, lives in an RV year-round. But maybe they have a lot or chunk of ground that they return to with some regularity. Perhaps they winter in Arizona, and they park their rig at the kid’s place in Montana when the heat gets to be too much.
How about how you view yourself? Without getting jumped all over, we might be considered by some to be full-time RVers. We have a small travel trailer we tug around the country whenever the hot Arizona heat comes on; and when it cools down, we return to our large trailer (40′) parked on a friend’s lot and winter over. Of course, we get out in the “little trailer” plenty during the cooler portion of the year as well.
Regardless of exactly how much time you spend in your RV, or just where (and for how long) you park it, if you consider yourself a full-time RVer, you know it’s a peculiar lifestyle. A lifestyle that has plenty of rewards, and one that comes with its own set of challenges. And that’s where we come in.
This week we launch the new biweekly series, Full-time RV Travels, a spot here on the Internet dedicated to full-time RVers (however you happen to be defined) and to those who want to join the ranks. Here you’ll find tips and suggestions on how to deal with the challenges of full-time living, from taking care of your home on wheels, to the sometimes touchy aspects of living in close quarters with your significant other. Since many newcomers to the lifestyle are still employed, we’ll also talk about how to make your RV a workable traveling office. Got issues with “where to put it all”? Come on over.
For a start though, let’s talk to folks who aren’t full-timers and wonder if the lifestyle would work for them. If you’re like a lot of folks contemplating full-time, you’ve probably been an RVer for some time already. Have you come away from the end of an RV trip with a sour taste in your mouth? Don’t gauge the full-time experience on a short trip. There’s a lot in play here.
First off, the occasional RV short trip isn’t much like full-timing. If you’re like a lot of “weekender” RVers, you probably hurried to toss everything in the rig and get out on the road. You then spent plenty of your vacation time struggling to find what you needed – with lots of resulting frustration. And of the stuff that was already packed in the rig, did you find some of it either didn’t work right – or not work at all – that, when you finally remembered where you packed it away? Argh – we hate that! And of course, you probably found there were plenty of things you needed that you forgot to bring, and you either had to struggle along without them, or spend time running around to get them.
Weekend and vacation RVing can have rewards, but too often, we come away with the hassles that were involved. That’s because vacation RVing isn’t your normal way of life. Fulltime RVers have the advantage of having established places for the stuff they need, and they know where it is. Because they use it regularly, it’s kept up and operating. Like living at home, when something starts to run short, you pick it up the next time you’re at the store.
Here’s a comparison. Think back to when you moved into the home you’re living in now. You brought in all your furniture, personal belongings, etc., and tried to put them away. The first month or two of living in the new house probably drove you nuts. But eventually, when you established regular places for your stuff, and regular routines for yourself, it got easier.
The same is true for the full-time RVer. When your RV is your home, you have established places for your stuff and established routines for your life. Your ability to enjoy the daily adventures of changing scenery and locations is greatly enhanced. It’s like taking the fun of a vacation RV trip and multiplying it, and shrinking down much of the associated frustration.
When it comes to the full-time RV lifestyle, there’s plenty to be talked about, and we’d like to hear from you. We’d like to hear your questions. We want to share your suggestions. Got a brilliant idea on how to make the full-time lifestyle more enjoyable? Tell us about it. What’s made it possible for you to enter the full-time RVing ranks? Please send us your thoughts by email: Write us at Russ (at sign) rvtravel.com.
Looking forward to seeing you back here in two weeks.
Russ and Tiña