Stationary RV Life vs. Traveling RV Life with Wander Free and Queer

The Road Diaries

One of the most beautiful things about RV life is that it flexes with you and your lifestyle. Over the past 5 years, we have gone from moving our RV weekly to not moving it at all. We feel fortunate to be able to experience the versatility that RV living provides – knowing that we can move through different phases of our life with our house on wheels to always have as a place to call home.

When we began RVing we wanted to experience as much as we could on the east coast during our first year, before we ventured westward. We were new and fresh to being in a rolling home. We didn’t mind the hassle of packing up, hitching our tow vehicle, and driving for entire days in our Class A motorhome. We covered over 2500 miles in our first 9 months of RV life – and we loved most of those miles. We learned the ins and outs of our particular RV, adjusted to cohabitating in a smaller space, and made nature our backyard most days!

We also got ourselves a Thousand Trails Camping Pass, which got us two weeks at a time in over 250 campgrounds nationwide. This meant that we could camp in a full hook-up campground outside of places like Acadia National Park in Maine, various stops in North and South Carolina, as well as Orlando, Florida. Thousand Trails Camping Pass allowed us to stay for two weeks at a time, and then we would spend a week at a local State or County Park in between our campground reservations. It was budget-friendly and got us through our first year as RVers. Although they do not have campgrounds everywhere, we still tell people who are starting out in full-time RV life to consider getting a pass!

Before you commit to full-time RV life, think about how you would like to travel. This can include places you want to see, a budget for what you plan to spend on accommodations, as well as what amenities you may need in daily RV living! We did quite a bit of boondocking in our first two years of travel because our Class A Motorhome had an onboard generator, but these last three years we have mostly utilized full hook-up campgrounds because our 42-foot Fifth Wheel doesn’t have alternative power sources! It is more expensive to pay for full hook-up sites, but also gives us the peace of mind and conveniences we need to live and travel full-time in our rig.

two queer women with dogs on a hiking trail

Traveling full-time is the most exciting thing Allie and I have ever done! We love visiting National and State Parks, big cities and small towns, as well as experiencing what different cultures and communities are like across the USA. Although we love it, after two years of moving every 1-2 weeks, we realized we were pretty tired from working full-time, starting our business, and trying to cram as much as possible into each location. This feeling of burn out came alongside the onset of COVID, and we knew we needed a change.

We talked for months as our reservations at upcoming campgrounds were canceled and we were quarantining in Sedona, AZ. We started to like seeing familiar faces at the campground, knowing where things were at the grocery store, and finding a favorite local delivery restaurant to order dinner from occasionally. We also found we had more time to make connections and be a part of the community.

These factors played a large role in our decision to get an annual site at Mt. Hood Village. We had stayed at this campground before, loved the access to nature, and enjoyed the energy of the small mountain town. The campground is part of the Thousand Trails Camping Pass, so there are lots of sites where people come and go, but also areas of the campground that have annual sites for long-term stays, tiny homes and cabins where people live. It truly is like a small village inside of the campground.

fifth wheel stationary during winter

We are just about to end our third year here in Mt. Hood Village, and we have come to realize that there have been many benefits of being stationary in our RV for this long. First and foremost is the ability we have had to create and cultivate community here. We have long-term friends, partake in community events, and have been able to grow and sustain our business with the support of the local community. We are so grateful that we found such a welcoming and connected place to call home. We also appreciate that stationary living has given us the ability to unpack and spread out in our RV over the years. We decorate for the seasons, have a small shed for storage, and love our outdoor living room area. 

We also have explored so many parts of Mt. Hood area, but we find we are still building our bucket list! Just last week we went E-Biking at the Mosier Tunnels! There is no shortage of wild, beautiful nature here in the PNW and we feel that being stationary has given us a great jumping off point to explore so many places and experience so many new things. We are within just a few hours from the Columbia River Gorge, Crater Lake National Park, the Oregon coast, and Bend – which are all great places to add to your travel list! Just this year we have gone rafting, hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, tubing, swimming and climbing all around Mt. Hood. Within one hour is almost anything you could need!

two women on a hiking trail

Although it was an adjustment from being full-time travelers in our RV, to stationary small space living, we don’t prefer one over the other. When we were traveling, life was about getting out there and seeing new things. We spent a lot of time in different landscapes and climates, we met friends who were also traveling, and we enjoyed the adventure of moving around frequently. Stationary RV living has been more about settling in, establishing routine, and building community. We love both ways of life, and are planning some big changes in 2024 to accommodate more of a balance of both traveling as well as having a home base for us and our home on wheels!

Read more from Wander Queer and Free:

Celebrating Pride Season with Wander Free and Queer

Running a Small Business from the Road with Wander Free and Queer