We've included this information for those of you who might be thinking
of giving up your home and going full-time in an RV.
A few years back, after emptying our family nest and selling our home, we began planning to build a smaller house. The more revisions we made to the blueprints, the more we decided that building a home from scratch is a never ending nightmare. All the decisions and all the potential cost overruns had us seeing red and our contractors seeing green.
So, for better or for worse, we decided to nix the 'sticks & bricks' home altogether and bought a 43-foot motorhome instead. Not only was it cheaper, it made picking out the wallpaper & drapes a lot easier. Plus, the idea of owning a home we could move was very appealing.
Some friends and family thought we were nuts (probably still do) but we had absolutely ZERO regrets. Instead of seeing the same view every day from the windows of a conventional home, we enjoyed seeing new places (like the photo below) through our RV windows. (This picture was captured by our dash cam.)
From reading countless RV blogs on the Web, we knew that a lot of folks start out loving the full-time RV lifestyle but, later, give it up due to any number of reasons — health, financial, personal preference, etc. Our situation was a bit different.
Becoming ‘sans home’ was neither a spur-of-the-moment idea nor a lifelong dream for us. We had owned motorhomes before and had enjoyed camping, off and on, for all of our lives. We were thankful to be able to do it again. Also, we weren't planning to travel full-time in the RV, just live full-time in it. Plus — this is very important — we planned from the start to build a fully enclosed garage to protect our coach for the many years we would be living and traveling in it.
Admittedly, when our 'home' was in the shop for maintenance we were not quite as enthusiastic about this living arrangement. Watching our 'home' on wheels drop in value year after year in the NADA Guides didn’t make us happy either. (Yes, we realized that RVs are depreciating assets while houses will appreciate — supposedly.) But not even those drawbacks made us regret our decision. The enjoyment of our part-time RV adventures and all the memories we made outweighed any of the costs or inconveniences of the lifestyle, at least in our opinion. We were also fortunate to have friends who also adopted the full-time lifestyle and enjoyed traveling with them from time-to-time. As any seasoned RVer will tell you, good traveling buddies — whether they be your significant other, a furry friend, or the human kind — make the lifestyle all the more enjoyable.
Our #1 objective in buying a big motorhome was that we needed an RV big enough to take the place of our house. Our 43-foot coach was perfectly suited for this. It was not perfect, however, for maneuvering in some of the more compact and tree-lined parks we love visiting. And it simply didn’t fit into most of the typically short camp spots you find at many federal & state campgrounds and national parks.
Unfortunately for us, those campgrounds are the ones we like best. The solution? Buy a second, smaller RV. Which is exactly what we did. Absurd? Perhaps, but it worked for us.
One weekend, while traveling by car to one of our favorite spots along the Blue Ridge Parkway, we both had an epiphany of sorts. We decided that while the news media tells us every day that the world is going to heck in a handbasket, the RVing lifestyle is proof positive that it is not. Besides, we thought, there are only so many hours you can sit at home and watch 'talking heads' argue on television.
The smell and sound of campfires being enjoyed by friends & family, the soul-renewing magic of a gently flowing mountain stream, and the quality of people you meet while RVing ... all these things and more make us feel better about ourselves and the world around us. We concluded that a second RV would expose us to more of the 'good' in life, and therefore keep us from becoming grumpy curmudgeons in our senior years. (Isn't it amazing how easy it is to justify something you really want?)
Lucky for us, we had saved enough by not rebuilding a 'stix and brix' house after we decided to 'downsize' our home — and by getting such an exceptional deal on our first RV 'home' — that we could consider a second, smaller one.
Moral of this story: If you are buying an RV to live in, get the biggest one you can afford. If you are buying one to travel in, get the smallest. If you're somewhere in between, prepare yourself to accept some compromises. In our case, however, there simply was no single RV that could fully satisfy all of our requirements.
Not really. Compared to conventional, middle class housing, it actually costs less. But the depreciation costs are, of course, much greater. But who says you have to buy a new RV? New is nice, but a lower priced, used model will work just fine. Some folks prefer to buy a used model to avoid the ‘depreciation shock’ after purchase, and to make sure that all of the new rig, ‘factory flaws’ have been worked out.
Whatever your preference, if you shop carefully and aren't in a hurry to buy, if you have a home in which you have some equity, and if you have some retirement help from working all of your life, full-timing in a nice, big RV is doable. Just be sure not to 'over-do' it by buying a rig you can't afford in the long run. The day will come when you will likely again desire a home without wheels — most often due to health or financial reasons, or perhaps you'll tire of being a vagabond. But, whatever the reason, after living in less than 400 square feet for a while, your housing requirements will be much more modest than they were in your pre-RV days.
Ron's mom and dad — seen in this photo (the guy in the middle is a statue) — RVed all of their lives. 'Mom & Pop,' as they were affectionately known, never full-timed but were responsible for introducing us to the RV lifestyle. Their love for each other and RVing indelibly etched those values into our minds and hearts. One of mom's best friends once remarked that 'Mom & Pop' were the main reason she and her husband tried RVing themselves and never regretted it.
To us, Mom & Pop's legacy is the roadmap for where we are striving to go in our own lives — no regret, well-lived years full of RV adventures shared with family and friends. We dedicate this site to 'Mom & Pop' and hope it will encourage others who visit here to consider RVing as well.
So, back to our story. After spending a year in an RV on the lot where we once were planning to build our home, we confirmed that living in 400 square feet isn't really that confining. In fact, it's quite cozy provided you are willing to get rid of nearly everything you own.
After taking a few trips in our RV, including a cross-country trek, and after building a garage for our new RV 'home' and living in it for a couple more years, we were more thrilled than ever with our 'full-time' RV decision. That's when we knew we had to build one more thing — this website. Why? To share the exhilarating rush of freedom that one feels when one finally parts with that china hutch that holds those dishes that nobody ever used.
And so, RVmatters.com was born. We hope you find it useful.
Want to know more?
Learn about our FIVE big concerns before we decided on ‘full-time’ RVing.