People ask us repeatedly why we gave up everything, our livelihoods, jobs and house with everything in it, to live in an RV full-time. To be quite honest, we sometimes ask ourselves that same question but we always come to the same answer we did back in 2014. Though it was a challenging and downright scary time for us, we’d do it all over again. Here’s why, for the time being, RV living is so much better and easier than in our former sticks and bricks. Let’s see why.
We all have our own personal reasons for doing the things we do. How we map out our lives. Why we choose this house over that house. When the best time to go on a particular vacation. Where we choose to put down roots. And so on.
Not saying our lives are any different than any others, we just take a different approach to what makes us happy. But the more we chat with other full-time traveling RVers, we find that we’re not all that unique in our reasons for buying an RV and hitting the road as full-time nomads.
Maybe this compilation of our perspectives will give clarity in why we choose the RV lifestyle.
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Why We Chose RV Living over Home Ownership
If you’re contemplating selling it all to seek your own adventure or entering into your own journey as full-time RVers, here’s what sealed the deal on chasing our dreams in an RV.
Table of Contents:
Same old dull routine
Not that we weren’t happy with our home or what encompassed it but we admit, we fell into the whole same old dull routine. We call it the doldrums of life. Get up, get dressed, drink coffee, go to work, come home and cook dinner, watch tv, go to bed and wake up the next morning to repeat the cycle. It’s like in the movie Groundhog Day.
When we found ourselves plummeting into the depths of pre-determined schedules, we started going on motorcycle trips. Weekend trips turned into week-long trips. And, our excursions elongated into month long adventures. We loved being on the road. There were very little expectations. And adventure was around every corner and bend. Everything was always new to us.
But, when we’d return to our house, we faced that same old dull routine again. Though we loved our home, we loved being on the road and adventuring more.
Let’s just say it won’t hurt my feelings to never pull the cord to a lawn mower ever again. Or, firing up a chain saw or weed wacker. And raking leaves? Or weed gardens ever again? Yeah, not us.
Now, we get to watch people do that as a job at campgrounds and RV parks instead while sipping our coffee or cocktails. Because unless we’re living on our own property, RV living will devoid us of doing those outdoor chores. And, we still get to enjoy the beautiful grounds and smell the fresh cut grass.
Snow and cold weather are two of the biggest reasons why we prefer RV living! RVs have wheels, steering wheels and gas pedals and are meant to go!
We have been bit by cold snaps a few times while RV living however, if there’s nothing holding us to that latitude or temperatures, we pull out our RV atlas and point our compass heading to where the mercury rises. There’s no reason on God’s green earth why we need to see the ground turn white unless it’s to make way to beautiful white sandy beaches or the desert sand dunes.
I have to admit, one of my most loathed chores is housecleaning. Though I am very good at it, to the point of white glove cleanliness, I simply hate it. There’s better things to do in my life than scrubbing on my hands and knees or vacuuming cobwebs from rooms we didn’t even use in our 3600 square foot home.
Now, RV living allows me more time playing instead of cleaning! It literally takes me no more than an hour to field day (military phrase for “thoroughly clean”) our motorhome from stem to stern. When we were in our former fifth wheel, it took no more than 2 hours and I was done. This means even scrubbing the floor and polishing everything that’s shiny. No lugging that big monster vacuum cleaner up and down stairs, dusting four bedrooms, laundering curtains and washing umpteen million windows, scrubbing floors, and constantly wiping knick knacks.
We can have the bed made, dishes done, bathroom cleaned, deck swabbed, pillows fluffed, lateral surfaces dusted, etc. all in the course of…*drum roll*…ONE HOUR.
Can you imagine?!
Crap and clutter
One thing we’ve had to deal with right from the start is controlling our crap and clutter. Simply, we can’t be collectors of stuff anymore. We don’t have the room in our RV and most importantly, we have to be mindful of our GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is basically the maximum total safe weight of your vehicle).
But even RV living for over 6 years, every few months we still purge; getting rid of crap and clutter we’ve not used or consumed since our last purge.
We buy very small or disposable holiday decorations. When the holiday is over, we donate them and only pack what sentimental items we want to keep (what can fit in a plastic gallon-size zipper bag). Anything we just want to get rid of but feel their to good to throw away, we’ll place them in the campground laundry rooms. What’s one man’s trash is another’s treasure!
And for everyday things that didn’t work for our lifestyle or clothes that we tire from, we donate or pass them onto others who may want them. If we’re near or camping at military FamCamps, we give them to donation centers on military posts/bases where young Servicemembers and their families can buy our contributions for just pennies on the dollar.
We can now say we’ve also become masters of organizing and storage in small spaces!
Furniture nobody sits on
Raise your hand if you have furniture that no one sits on? Well, we were those too. It’s not because they weren’t comfortably, it’s because we just tried to fill space with items that look good.
In an RV, whether a motorhome or camper trailer, it comes completely outfitted with furniture and even decor. And, it’s all secured down to not move during transit.
The only thing we’ve added were a few pieces of wall art and decorations for the table. Oh and yes, we’ve had to replace the existing crappy mattress but that’s it. We typically buy less expensive decor so we don’t feel bad about getting rid of it when its time to switch it up or change decorating themes or color schemes.
And since we’re only decorating less than 300 square foot of living space, it sure is nice to save what’s in your wallet for experiences and adventures instead!
Taxes, taxes and more taxes
This is probably the #1 reason why people give it all up to go live their dream on the road…taxes! Seriously, when we sold our home in Kentucky, we subtracted over $4000 in debt each year just from property and incidental taxes. Think about that for a moment. We did that same song and dance for most of our adult lives so now, we don’t feel bad about shying away from home ownership. We paid our dues with three different houses.
Why pay big bucks in taxes for a house that we’d rarely visit. The tradeoff of using it as a write-off vs. paying the taxes wasn’t worth the hassle or investment. And, let’s not forget the strict HOA regulations we’d have to keep up on if we rented it out. No thanks!
Don’t think we get off scott free; we still pay federal tax on Dan’s military pension, my income and contract work. We also pay sales tax on purchases, taxes on fuel and road tolls, and RV and vehicle registrations. But seriously, we don’t miss having to set aside hundreds a month for real estate taxes for a house that just sits.
Obnoxious cable bills
When’s the last time you looked at your cable bill? It’s monstrous, right? It’s probably more than your utility bill. Well, we cut the cord because, for one, there’s nothing really compelling to make us sit in front of the boob tube while stuffing our faces. And second, the cost as mentioned above.
And, while some RVers may choose to have those alien-looking gray disks on their roof or out on their campsite, we opt out of that kind of entertainment. Even after 6 plus years of RV living, we still don’t wish to have one. Instead, we stream movies. And if our WiFi signal isn’t pinging well for us, we have a backup plan; our case full of DVD movies.
But who needs TV anyways? There’s a huge sky full of stars and campfire sparks reaching up to touch them. Hard to believe but we’ve gone weeks without even turning the television on. We spend our time exploring, playing board games, visiting friends and family or just enjoying the quiet around the campfire. If we’re trapped inside, well, there are other things to do.
Being resourceful has become on of our biggest learning curves but we’ve mastered it quite well since our RV living. From conserving and monitoring our water usage to using the sun’s rays to help power our RV, our carbon footprint has diminished greatly.
Rarely do we throw food away because we simply don’t have the pantry or refrigerator space to store them. We don’t need to do monthly grocery shopping trips anymore or buying bulk at our favorite Costco. We now plan our meals each week and shop for provisions accordingly.
Oh, and we don’t cook for an Army (er…Coast Guard) anymore. Unless we’re batch cooking before heading out for extended off the grid boondocking, we only cook for just us two.
Since our RV living, we don’t get our bills in the mail because we went paperless. First, this allows us to have access to our bills at the touch of the keyboard. And second, by not owning a house, we’ve been eliminated from every house repair marketing material and catalog known to man. So, no longer are we sorting through a huge stack of. mail everyday.
To read about how we handle our physical mail, read our blog piece You’ve Got Mail.
Living in an RV and traveling place to place, our backyard is ever-changing. Our views vary from beautiful lakes, mountain peaks or desert sunsets. One cannot say that when owning a home unless you pay dearly for those million dollar views. But, while our former sticks and bricks did have a nice wooded view, others aren’t so lucky. Some have views of their neighbors backyard, an unsightly lot or an ugly building.
Oh and not just about the views, our neighbors change also. If it’s not us that’s relocating, it’s them. And yes, while homeownership doesn’t allow us to pick our neighbors, RV living enables us to!
So, if we end up with boring scenery, weird neighbors, barking dogs or we just yearn for more appealing scenery or warmer temps, that’s why RVs have wheels!
After reading all of our reasons why we think RV living is better than living in a house, we appreciate that most may not appreciate the appeal of not being homesteaded. It’s okay. Different strokes of different folks. No longer are we having to work our butts off the pay for that vacation or compete with fellow coworkers for time off. Because even though we still work, we still get to enjoy our adventures.
Instead of shucking out money for things tied to homeownership, we’re socking away our money for bigger adventures down the road. Our time is filled with exciting adventures like exploring, hiking, kayaking, bicycling, visiting friends and family, playing tourist, etc. We stay busy. Grass certainly doesn’t grow under our feet or tires. And even on our stay-in-our-pajamas-days, we’re researching where we’re going to head next.
Our days still start early (just kidding!) and our nights., well, that’s the beauty of the RV lifestyle. While it may seem like we have all the time in the world, we seem to run out of time before miles. We’ve learned how to truly LIVE and enjoy RV living instead of working endless hours for and taking care of that McMansion.
5 Necessary RV Life Skills Before Hitting the Road
How to Downsize for Van Life and Tiny Living
The Basic Costs of Full-Time RVing
How we got rid of our stuff to go RVing!
How We Find RV Parks and Campgrounds
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