Hi there! I’m Cindy, and I’ve been a full-time RVer with my husband Barrett and our two cats Squirt and Vodka for a little over one year now. Before taking off on this journey, I lived in many big cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Austin, Pittsburgh, Metro Detroit, and more! Eventually, though, my husband and I started noticing that we were getting most excited about our trips out of town, to smaller, more scenic places. We began to ponder, why couldn’t we live in an RV and explore these places that were calling to us more often? After all, these days you can work from anywhere and go to school from anywhere. So why not also live anywhere!? So we decided to take off in search of a spot that felt more fitting to us to live in. And decided that along the way, we’re going to have as much fun as possible exploring every lake, trail, and town! I can wholeheartedly say that after one year on the road, these are the five best parts that keep us chugging along to the next spot, searching and adventuring along the way.
#1 – Freedom to live wherever you choose.
We have parked in some of the most beautiful spots that the United States has to offer at a fraction of what it would cost us to actually put down roots there. It’s quite wonderful to wake up surrounded by peaceful and stunning scenery, sometimes even with waterfront views, for a daily rate much cheaper than that of any of the small apartments I ever had in Austin, New York, or Los Angeles. And then, the icing on the cake is, once we reach the point where we’re ready for some new scenery, we can merely pick up and leave!
Another bonus that comes along with freedom of location is getting to follow the good weather. Too cold, you say? Time to move south! Too hot? Time to move north!
Every once in awhile, though, the location independence aspect of RV life can become a double-edged sword. Since our RV more mechanically resembles a car than a house, it can have breakdowns. And these breakdowns can occasionally cause us to end up stuck somewhere a bit longer than we originally anticipated.
#2 – Less time traveling, more time experiencing.
Big city living used to mean long car trips or plane rides to get to the USA’s best outdoor excursions. Now, new grand ventures are generally right outside our front door. For example, we’ve been parked at Lake Mead, and one morning we wanted to go for a bike ride. There was a path, circling the lake, located right in our campground. Off we went! No time spent driving to the bike path.
Another way we save time is by having the opportunity to go do things when they’re not as crowded. We went to a restaurant on a Saturday night a few weeks ago. There was a 2-hour wait, so we left, went back on a Wednesday afternoon, and were seated immediately. We also just experienced going to Death Valley National Park over President’s Day weekend. On President’s day, the park was packed. The day after, not so much.
There’s always a trade-off, though. And on the topic of time, RV life cons show themselves in some simple life tasks that used to take no time at all.
- For example, getting mail is way trickier, more expensive, and more time-consuming. And since we move so often, it is not rare to end up having to re-route and forward packages.
- No dishwasher in here! We have to actually wash every dish we use.
- In our RV, we handed our shower area over to our cats. So getting to campground showers can be a bit more time-consuming. Sometimes the shower area can be a bit of a walk or car ride away.
- While the traditional homeowner or apartment dweller is used to the toilet and sink wastewater taking care of itself, we have to monitor and dump both regularly, and then also add in new water.
- And the process involved with staying connected is a bit more time-consuming. Often once we’ve relocated to a new area, settings on our electronics (such as wifi, Netflix, and TV) must be reset. Or, your antenna could just fly off your roof one day (as ours did), and then there’s no more antenna to adjust or worry about! We’re done with watching any local channels for a while.
I still consider all of those cons insignificant, though. Those minor life adjustments are well worth the trade-off of being close to new and exciting life adventures all of the time.
#3 – Work Flexibility
The third best part is getting to choose my work schedule. In our society, we’re often asked to put our job as our number one priority, sometimes even before our families, and given no control over our schedule. We do not have to operate this way in RV life. We can work during the times that fit us best.
In the winter, I often work during the dark hours so I can be sure to get out when the sun’s out. And in the summer, when the days are long, instead of working a full day and then going out for dinner or a short outing, I frequently choose to have a full day of work, so the next day can then be a full day of experiences!
As an added bonus, when we’re working, we get to be immersed in beautiful surroundings while we do it. I also get to work with my spoiled little cat bums on the daily, which brings me great joy.
Oh, and one more work-life bonus that also serves as a time-saving bonus is not having to endure rush hour traffic. Every so often, we actually forget about rush hour and find ourselves traveling through a big city right around the time everyone is clocking out. Less time in those rush-hour drives means more time finishing up work and then adventuring on.
Being in control of your entire schedule is tiring. I am always planning. When’s the best time to work? When’s the best time to play? Where do we want to explore next? Where are we going to park ourselves next? No one else is going to answer these questions. Luckily, I’m an avid planner, but even I can get worn out from time to time from arranging all of these logistics over and over again.
#4 – Live More Simply
We buy fewer things. I actually can’t even come up with a con for this one. When we spend, it’s almost entirely on food, fixing the things that have broken or on experiences, not stuff. This is partially because we don’t have room for anything new, but we’ve also realized we simply don’t need many more things beyond what we already have.
#5 – Self Growth and Exploration
The complete lack of regularity and pattern in RV life continues to stretch the boundaries on what is considered comfortable for us. We are now continuously put in new predicaments, with new people, in new towns. Which is fun and enlightening, but also challenging. We do feel though that the more new people and things we encounter, the stronger it’s making us as entrepreneurs, citizens, and just plain old humans.
We are also growing as significant others. This is because when relationship problems arise, we have to get through arguments faster than people in a more traditional lifestyle. There are no separate offices to drive off to. We are less than 300ft away from each other 95% of the time. Staying mad for an extended period is not a feasible option. Working through our problems ultimately keeps us close and happy with each other!
It really is tiring to be stretching the boundary of what is comfortable all of the time. Self-care and patience are crucial for surviving RV life.
I hope these inspired you to consider RV life! As always, please feel free to email me with any RV life questions you may have! And to see more about our RV journey, head on over to cinderstravels.com.