We certainly live an unusual lifestyle. We are called “fulltimers.” That’s a term for people who live fulltime in an RV—a recreational vehicle—ours is a motorhome. We love to travel in the USA and Canada.
A true fulltimer has no other house, apartment, condo, or dwelling. They typically do not own or rent anything “permanent.” Maybe they sold their house and planned to travel, wanted to decrease costs by living in something smaller, live closer to their kids/grandkids/old friends, or just decrease the daily/weekly work, expense, and minutia needed to maintain any permanent residence. Regardless, they are now living full-time in an RV. It is their only home.
I have been RVing forever (since 1962 but not always fulltime). I have owned several RVs of various sizes. A few were towables and the rest were drivable.
Deciding to Fulltime
When we were newly retired, we wanted to travel—to simply get away more, see new places, visit distant friends and family who had moved away, and all this was possible. So, Fall 2002, we made the decision to sell our home, purchase a condo (something smaller to live in that would also be our “home-base”), get an RV (a motorhome for traveling). There was really nothing to prevent us from doing this.
I admit, we didn’t make a conscious decision to live or travel “fulltime” in an RV. We made a decision to travel more and liked the RVing option since it was an efficient, convenient, and cost-effective way to travel. By that time, we had been on several cruises so more of those weren’t the answer for us since your destination choices are limited. Flying is a hassle and staying in hotels/motels gets old in a hurry—plus, they are expensive since you are forced to eat out and we both believe that the “comfortable” motel chair has not yet been invented.
Our major change-in-lifestyle took place in early 2003—several years before the big recession—our decision had nothing to do with finances. We didn’t have to sell our house but simply wanted to get away from all the work, costs, and structured lifestyle you have when you live in and take care of a big house with a yard. Think about it… You mow the yard and then turn on the sprinklers so that the grass will grow so you can mow the yard again. Is this nuts or what?
Our home sold in March 2003 and the result was we instantly traded 3,000+ square feet of house for about 400+ square feet of expandable living space (a motorhome). However, that motorhome could be driven to just about anywhere in North America. So we could travel to virtually anywhere with our “household” going with us—without packing and unpacking multiple times—then live there as long as we wanted and sit in a comfortable chair—but at first, we just didn’t fully realize the freedom we now had.
Why Do You Live Like This?
We love to travel. That, combined with a desire to see/visit the gazillion wonderful sights in our great nation and our wonderful northern neighbor (Canada) make us the perfect couple for this lifestyle. We are not “on the run” from anything, not trying to get away from anybody, not antisocial, and as previously stated, didn’t have to do this for financial reasons. We just want to see North America and what it has to offer plus visit lots of friends and family that we wouldn’t normally visit because they lived far away from us (sometimes they moved away and sometimes we moved away).
So, why do we live like this? We love the unencumbered, uncluttered freedom, to enjoy being able to keep more of our income, to not be forced to change our lifestyle due to economic fluctuations, can sit in our “normal” chairs, know who slept in our bed last night, know what’s in the fridge, visit anyone without imposing, and maybe the most important reason… to never have to mow another yard nor shovel snow again. I absolutely guarantee there are more fun things to do.
The good news is that RVing fulltime is an inexpensive way to live when compared to owning and maintaining a home. The first three years we lived in our RV, we carefully tracked our costs. Accurate data indicated that the cost-savings was just under 30% for us to live the same lifestyle. On any fixed income, living the same lifestyle at a 30% savings is wonderful and significant.
Without question, the most common reason we have heard for a couple to start fulltime RVing is so they can simply travel—to be able to see North America on their own terms, their own schedule, and have the freedom to go where they want, when they want, and stay as long as they want.
We agree completely.
As I write this, we are starting our seventeenth year of fulltime RVing and are both surprised that it has been that long. We continue to travel over the USA and Canada, we visit old friends and family that we would likely never see if we were stuck in a house somewhere, and we both thoroughly enjoy this lifestyle.
While everyone has to stop at some point. My personal “joke” has been that my last drive in the RV will be to the nursing home where I will park it, hand them the keys, and they can help me go inside!
Contact the Author…
Ron Jones has written feature articles for all the major RV magazines, 9 RV books, 9 eBoooklets, presented seminars to RVers at every major venue in the USA, and operates a “How to” website for RVers. Ask him about RVing.