Living in one place, in one home, isn’t as “normal” as it once was

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By Chuck Woodbury
An idea that has bounced around in my head for a long time is that living in one place, in one home, isn’t as “normal” as it once was. The fact is, every day the number of people who sell their homes to travel full-time with an RV grows. Just observe the traffic along a busy highway. Notice the numbers of “big rig” RVs passing by. These folks are not on the way to the Grand Canyon for a week of camping. Many are on their way to yet another temporary home base where they will stay a week, a month or maybe a season. Others are headed for someplace to self-isolate in pleasant locations — where it’s warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Have you been inside a big Class A motorhome or fifth wheel trailer recently? If not, visit an RV dealer and take a look. Check out one of these RVs with its slideouts extended. They’re “houses,” aren’t they? They have virtually all the amenities of a traditional home. They’re not made for “camping” — they’re made for living.

The fact is, if you are the type of person who loves to travel, who gets restless in one place, who doesn’t need a lot of “stuff,” then you may find that the life of a full-time RVer is incredibly stimulating (and ultimately addictive).

In today’s environment, when economic uncertainty is on most people’s minds, the idea of living in a small, mobile home is appealing and in most cases far more affordable than living in a traditional sticks-and-bricks home.

I can envision millions and millions of happy, wandering nomads exploring the nooks and crannies of wherever a road leads. And what do they give up for this life of freedom and exhilaration? Not much. In their rolling houses, they have cell phones, computers with Internet access, televisions, DVD players, and all the amenities of any home — bedroom, bathroom with shower, heater, coffee maker, refrigerator and, yes, even a kitchen sink.

Anyone who is possessed with wanderlust who travels by RV even once is in serious danger of catching a bug — the travel bug. It gnaws at you. It won’t go away. It makes you question why you continue to live in the same place and do the same things over and over. You start to feel like you’re rotting. You need to “air out” — to get away — to see something new — to have adventures. Life is short. You begin to fear that day by day, week by week, you are letting your life slip away.

Those of us possessed by the travel bug look at a map and go crazy. We see names of towns and rivers and lakes, and we see thin, twisty blue lines that are roads. We want to get on one of those “blue highways” to see where it goes.

Will there be more people on the road full-time in RVs next year than today? I think so.

photo: punk toad on flickr.com

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Steve
24 days ago

Well, this discussion could go so many directions. I know FT’ers love the life style, but aren’t you and the “seasonal” folks also those who fill CG’s. I grew up with snowbirds who fill CG’s in the southern states. People buying RV’s to avoid Covid-19 and those who are buying cheap units because they cannot afford a S&B home fill CG’s. CG’s who prefer seasonal RV’ers or want to sell annual sites are also reasons we cannot find space when we travel. Can’t blame them as it is their income.

I think the issue is we have not developed the regs. to allow new campgrounds. We also need to push to get existing CG’s cleaned up. I have seen sites with a 20 years old dilapidated camper rusting away, and it is taking a space. The need is for more camper sites.

Let’s face it – CG’s are becoming the new apartment complexes. I don’t have the answer, but I am sure there are many ideas. I am interested in see how these self-service overnight “CG’s” work. They may well be how us daily movers will camp when we are on the road.

Peace and good luck to all!

Peggy Coffey
24 days ago

We have been full timing for nearly four years now. We sold the house and gave away the stuff we didn’t want, no storage unit for us. I guess we are the unusual ones, we find a place we like, stay for a month or two then move on. I don’t understand people who spend all the money to buy an rv and then park it, or only use it sporadically. We love the small towns, the beautiful river and beaches and the amazing land we are living in. We are going to see as much as we can before we can’t.

Digby
24 days ago

We get antsy about one month after sitting in one spot (5 years fulltiming) unless we’re work camping.
We have also seen a rapid growth in ‘all year’ campers who cannot afford a sticks and bricks and / or don’t have time or the desire for lawn maintenance and such.

Captn John
24 days ago

Not all that inexpensive at times. Certainly not as fun as it used to be. We stay at the s&b June July and August as CGs are crowded. Certainly proud of the behavior of my children when they were young compared to that of those today. I’m thankful for the expensive CGs as the behavior of adults is much better there.
I’ve seen drug use excessive drinking and all kinds of behavior in the last 10 years that wasn’t seen even 10 years ago. It’s becoming more relaxing and even safer to stay at the s&b.

Carson Axtell
25 days ago

Unfortunately, not everyone sees the appeal of the nomadic life, and not everyone thinks the siren call of the road is a good one. As a result, more communities are passing restrictions on RVers existing amongst them. And the rotten apples among the itinerant don’t help the movement by leaving areas where they’ve camped trashed. The community of like-minded nomads needs to make sure its interests are fairly represented by associations and lifestyle groups who keep an eye on legislation that hinders the freedom of responsible RVers to roam and stay where they please. The problem is that a community of independently minded people like nomads is as difficult to keep organized around even their common interests as trying to herd cats…

Gene Bjerke
25 days ago

“living in one place, in one home, isn’t as “normal” as it once was.” Living in one place was not normal for me as a child; I never lived in the same place or went to the same school for more than a year until I was sent off to boarding school in my teen years. And no, I wasn’t a “military brat.” They usually spend two years in a single place. Now I live a very settled life, but I still get the wanderlust a couple of times a year. However, after a couple of months on the road we point the nose of the motorhome toward the farm for some rest — and to recoup our travel expenses. To me it looks like the best of both worlds.

Tom Irwin
25 days ago

Chuck: Your article was spot on. Some 20 years ago my bride of now 60 years and I retired, bought a class A gasser, put our “stuff” in storage, sold the house and started seeing the country. After about 3 years of being nomads, my wife wanted to see what her “stuff” looked like. So we would buy a house, sell the rv and try being “normal.” That would last maybe two years and then the itch to travel came back. We did this routine for nearly 17 years. Three years ago we hung it up permanently. We bought a house in a retirement community and sold our MH. Although I don’t regret hanging up the keys because I knew it was time, not a day goes by that I don’t think about it. So, why is it that even though I know we will never return to rving, I cannot stop looking forward to getting your newsletters and reading about all that used to be? Because, as you implied, full time rving is addictive. I just can’t get it out of my system. So, I read your great articles and am able to vicariously still smell the pine trees, see the flowing streams, wonder at the many small town museums and remember the amazing fellow rvers. Yes, it is addictive… and like all addictions, I still need to get my weekly fix.

Roger
25 days ago

There’s definitely an attraction, but I have never been so thankful for my little “sticks & bricks” homestead as I’ve been since COVID-19 hit. We’d been on the road for a couple of months at the time roaming around Florida. So glad we didn’t have to scramble for a place to ride it out. Nice having access to our long-time medical providers as well. Now, as we watch anarchy spread through one city after another, I’m even more thankful for it. So, I’m happy for those who enjoy the FT life and wish them well. We’ll stick to our 6 months or so on the road each year roaming the U.S. from our home base.

Don
25 days ago

I’m afraid you’re right, Chuck. But our observation from hundreds of nights spent “on the road” in the last few years is that the large majority of “full time” RV’ers aren’t moving every week or month or even every season. Most of them park the rig and just live in it, for extended periods of time. RV Parks have become this century’s mobile home parks. And they’re not much fun to visit, let alone live in. I’m afraid you’re right, but I sure wish you were wrong…

Carl J
25 days ago
Reply to  Don

Spot on observation. Those folks aren’t rV’ers but trailer park residents that are too lazy to take the wheels off and set the rig on cinderblocks.
Re: sticks n’ bricks vs. RV’s: As recent events clearly demonstrated, a little virus combined with panicked govt. officials (or is that overlords?) showed how quickly a FT RV’er can find themselves kicked out from their current rented plot of land and absolutely no place to go.

Tom Smithbrother
25 days ago

It is by far cheaper to live in a little place on your own plot of land than to be on the road and have to RENT a place to park. I am talking , at least , of a home base, where one does not have to pay rent.

Many of us travel and stay months at a time w/o a huge rig. I am a snow bird and stay months in a 13 foot Scamp brand camper. Of course I am alone. I had a class A and it was eating me up in maintenance time as well as parts, not even counting the huge fuel costs. I am so very grateful to no longer have that anchor around my neck. Oh well, each to their own.