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Thoughts on a first try at full-time RVing

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My decision to adopt the full-time RVing life seemed like a logical step. I would carry on with plans my late wife and I made. The idyll of the freedom of the road was alive. It was a time in the spring of the year after she died. I got busy moving out of the townhouse and prepared to hit the road, this time with Bebe the Labradoodle as co-pilot.

We got off to a rough start.

Moving from a home we had lived in for many years was unexpectedly taxing and stressful. I got COVID, then underwent surgery just days before the official moving day at the end of July. The daily temperature reached 106°. We arrived at our first camp at the end of the day on July 31, exhausted and already questioning the move to full-time RVing.

I was ill during the first week-and-a-half in camp. As mid-August approached, it was already time to solidify plans for where to travel for winter. As I focused on the task, my mind seemed fixated in “what if” mode.

What if Bebe treats rattlesnakes and scorpions like friends, as she does other animals?

What if we cannot find camp spots? The RV industry buzz at that time was all about campground shortages and crowding. And what if the only campsites we can find are the $100-a-night kind, and I spend $16k on campground fees through the winter months?

What if we cannot really boondock in the little 17’ trailer?

The “what ifs?” never stopped. I attributed this to more than forty years of professional airline flying, where the ability to anticipate problems was a prized trait, but it will drive you insane in the RV world. But I kept on in this vein until mid-September. I was dreading decamping from Idaho and embarking upon the trip south.

October 1, I called “enough” and decided to remain in the Northwest through the coming winter. That would mean an interruption in the full-time RV plan. In the spring, we’ll start again with a better plan—a plan better suited to a man and his dog, without the stressful uncertainties.

Takeaways from first attempt at full-time RVing

The takeaways from this experience might interest other RVers contemplating full-time life or already engaged in it.

  • Do not bite off more than you can chew. Don’t sell the farm, house, or condo until you have spent several months on the road and in camp in the RV you plan to live in full-time. What works for summer vacation camping may not be suitable for full-time.
  • Have a plan for each season and, if possible, campground reservations or at least an understanding of where you want to go.
  • Just because you camped in tents and lived in tiny spaces when you were 20 doesn’t mean you will enjoy living in a 17-foot travel trailer permanently.
  • If you do not want to travel to the Desert Southwest in the wintertime, choose a true “four season” RV that will allow you to camp in colder climes without concern for freeze-up. More on that here.

Bebe and I hope to hit the road again in March. We’re looking at “four seasons” options.

We’re not giving up; just taking a time out.

##FT2.41

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Rosy
1 month ago

Bless your heart for trying! Your fulltime RV life will happen when you are ready. Don’t rush the ready part! One of the biggest keys to success is the ability to change plans at any time and for any reason. You just successfully navigated your first change of plans. Enjoy your journeys wherever the roads lead you.

Joe Allen
1 month ago

Don’t give up, this is a great lifestyle and enjoy the beauty of America! Have a plan and don’t be locked into it. Things change and you have to adapt! Full time for 9 plus years now and have no regrets. Save money by purchasing used campground memberships and join Escapee’s, Passport America and Thousand Trails Parks. Makes life less stressful and enjoy your time with your pooch! Good luck and safe travels!

Jimmie W. Crawford
1 month ago

My experience is a bit different. I don’t know how long or how much you planned but I expect that made a difference for me. For ten years or more, I was committed to retiring after getting the kids out of the house (divorced single dad) and traveling to see all the places that I could only dream of while working and raising 2 kids. I went to every RV Show, talked to every salesman about the pros and cons of every RV and made every decision over time based on how it fit into my plan. Every story I read about a place, I placed a star on google maps as a place to visit. I chose a motorhome with lots of storage because I wanted to have room for my stuff. I tow a Jeep because I didn’t want to drive a big truck around town exploring. With some time to plan, heal, recover and get ready for the future, I’m sure you will enjoy yourself come spring. Find you tribe! Join lonersonwheels.com and other single clubs so you have people to travel and socialize with. Escapes SOLOS travel all winter.

Ellen L
1 month ago

What a compassionate and practical reply! Thank you for sharing your journey, advice and empathy.

John Koenig
1 month ago

I understand the “call of the road” but, just jumping into the “deep end” of RVing at the start is, in my opinion, a VERY poor choice. May I suggest that, come spring, you start out with a less ambitious plan? If you can, on your property, set up “camp” in your driveway or back yard. See if you can live in your RV for two ~ four days without having to go back inside your house. Keep detailed notes as to what works for you as well as what you need to change / adapt to. When you’ve got that down pat, do it again but in a campground a couple of hours away. A trip or three like that and you should be VERY familiar with just how your set up works. I would also recommend you attend an RV Boot Camp ASAP. RVBC is a weekend of intense RV education that will give you a GREAT RV education in as little as a weekend. Escapees RV Club, FMCA, RVSEF and other groups offer this important educational experience. Just do it; you can thank me later. 😉

T G
1 month ago

Randall; Thank you for a real human account. Your advice is wise. I look forward to reading about your second attempt.

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