To the outside world it may appear that Full-time RVing is all rainbows and butterflies, a constant adventure and permanent vacation. What may not be evident are its complications and challenges, yet these too can be opportunities for honing one’s skills and growth. Now that we are no longer newbies and have some time and experience to reflect on our journey, here is our list of the pros and cons of this lifestyle.
- Campfires – For recreational campers, building a fire at the campsite is a part of the experience. For full-time RVers, campfire smoke is like dense pollution that quickly fills every square inch of the RV with little escape, minus a strong breeze in the other direction. Sometimes the smell is only removed after a few days and a couple loads of laundry.
- Mildew and mold are common. In very small spaces, one begins to realize how much moisture we, as humans, put off. In certain climates it is not uncommon to wake up with all the windows inside and much of the walls covered with a moist dew. This turns into mildew or mold if preventative measures and diligence are not taken.
- Smells seem amplified in such a small space. The “off gassing” of two humans and two cats in a tiny space is a regular assortment of interesting and usually undesirable odors.
- Things break a lot – RVs are houses that are subjected to the abuse of highways and roadways at 60+ mph. Many of the systems in RVs are of questionable quality to begin with, and after a decade and 50,000 miles things fail with some regularity.
- Noisy weekend campers are out to party and get away. This often conflicts with the full-timer wanting a normal quiet night at home. This can be avoided by staying away from public parks by large population centers, especially on weekends.
- Tiny shower – RV bathrooms are tiny with minuscule showers. They are so small that simply turning around is an exercise in balance, control, and spatial awareness.
- Inside traffic jams – If we are both moving around in the RV at the same time, we are with certainty going to be in each other’s way.
- Gas costs when travelling. We bought an RV to travel, but at 9 miles per gallon at $4/gallon, it not hard to visualize dollars flying out of the tail pipe.
- Creepy Bathrooms – Sometimes using the facilities at campgrounds is not unlike walking into a horror movie. Restrooms and showers at campgrounds are rarely well cared for and can be down right creepy.
- In such a small space, clutter and mess are as easy as a few things being out of place.
- With nature comes bugs, expect to have visitors and the occasional welt.
- Maintaining a budget – With fluctuating costs it is very difficult to maintain a regular budget, though we do try.
- Lack of regular community – We do miss being a part of a regular community. Having lived in the city in a particularly social neighborhood, we miss the connections.
- Unfamiliarity with local service providers – Finding a good mechanic, hair cut, notary public, medical and dental care and just about everything else can be a challenge. Luckily with online reviews the troubles are lessened, somewhat.
- Generational Gap – The traditional full-time RV’er is retired and for younger full-timers there can be a generational gap and sometimes a subtle hint of ageism.
While the cons to full-time RVing are tangible, the pros, on the other hand, are less so, yet much more profound.
- The travel – Seeing and experiencing new places is exciting!
- Meeting new people – part and parcel of the travel experience is meeting new people and learning from each one.
- Personal growth – This might be the most important and significant and every man’s journey is his own.
- Serendipity – realizing after the fact, all the things that led you to a place.
- Volunteering/free camp – there is something joyful about volunteering, when there is no money exchanged, there is just appreciation. Living rent free is a dynamite perk.
- Easy clean up – It takes only 10-15 minutes to entirely clean the inside of the RV.
- Simplicity – the lifestyle demands simplicity which leads to less stress and a lack of want.
- Communication – increased communication with spouse or travel partner and with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. This can easily be a con too, hopefully this is known before hitting the road. We have seen relationships strengthened and fall apart.
- Nature – regularly being connected with nature develops an appreciation for the natural world and nourishes the spirit.
- Lack of routine – we find that by breaking out of routine and the comfort of familiarity, it opens us up to growth and by regularly having new experiences, life tends to slow down.
- Less stress – As result from a lack of want and reducing responsibilities, anxiety is at a minimum.
- General over sense of well being – responsibly breaking from convention to really experience life and develop awareness results in a sense of peace.
- Learning and education – The opportunity for experiential learning through travel is tremendous. We learned more in a year of travel than we did the previous decade in our “normal” life.