The full-time RVing lifestyle is wonderful, but it can be challenging and is not right for everyone. If you find yourself on the fence about whether or not to take the plunge, here are some things to consider in making your decision.
The process of becoming a full-time RVer requires a lot of research on how to do ordinary things such as how to get your mail, health and car insurance, and so on. Before you get to those questions, there are other things you should consider if the full-time RV lifestyle is going to be a good fit for you.
How good are you at dealing with things happening unexpectedly?
No matter how new your RV is, or how well you have planned, things are going to go wrong—and always at the worst possible moment. Over time you will experience such joys as having a tire blow out on the freeway, your fridge cutting out in a remote location, and finding out that you have a massive roof leak during a monsoon (just to name a few).
If on an average day your coffeemaker breaks, and you head off to work convinced that the day is ruined because you didn’t get your morning cup of Joe, then this may not be the lifestyle for you. On the other hand, if your first response is to boil some water and rig up a makeshift filter mechanism using a sieve and a coffee filter on top of a mug, you might be better suited to full-time RVing.
How well do you deal with less-than-desirable neighbors?
Picture it: You’ve found the ideal spot in a campground. You are facing the ocean/river/mountains with the perfect view. The birds are singing, a fresh breeze is blowing through your open windows, and all is right with the world.
You are inside prepping dinner when you hear a ruckus outside. It’s your new neighbors pulling up. A quick peek out the window and your first thought is that their RV looks more like a clown car than an RV, as people seem to keep pouring out of it.
The neighbors crank up their music (so much for hearing the birds). Next, they start a fire with wet wood that causes smoke to pour into your rig, even with all the doors, windows, and vents closed (so much for the fresh breeze you were enjoying). And if that weren’t enough, you can hear Every.Single.Word. of their conversations until 1:30 AM.
If you tend to be a person who calls the cops at 10:00 PM sharp when your neighbors throw a party that gets a bit loud, then the full-time lifestyle might not be a good fit. If, however, you are the type of person who would shrug and locate a pair of earplugs because you realized that this only happened once every so often, you would have a major advantage in the full-time RV world.
Oh, and if you’re thinking that you are a boondocker who stays out in the middle of nowhere to avoid these kinds of neighbors…a word to the wise: they will still find you. You will be the only rig for miles and miles around in any given direction (or spatial dimension), and these folks will park 10 feet from you. It’s a thing called “herd mentality.” It will happen, so this example applies to you as well.
Can you cope without Internet?
Most of us are addicted to our electronic devices. You will find as a full-time RVer that no matter how much you spend on technology gadgets and data plans so you can follow the dining habits of your closest 500 friends on Facebook, there will be times when these devices do not work. Even if you pay for one of those fancy unlimited cell phone plans so that you can stream as many movies as you want, it will crap out when you need it.
If you are the type of person who goes berserk at home when Netflix has a hiccup, you might want to rethink the full-time RV lifestyle. If your first instinct is to grab the nearest book and pick up where you left off, you will have a much better chance of making the cut.
Are you ok with making mistakes?
While most of us haven’t driven under a low clearance bridge that sliced off the top two feet of our RV, just about every full-time RVer has done something stupid. It isn’t a question of if—it’s a question of when. Stories such as leaving the faucet to drip on a cold night so the pipes don’t freeze, and waking up to a flood because the gray tank was closed are par for the course with full-time RVers.
RVs are not like sticks and bricks houses. They have their own set of tasks that must be done in a certain way or there will be trouble. For all of your checklists and self-idiot-proofing techniques, you won’t get it right 100% of the time.
What this means is that if you’re the type of person who has a problem if the lawnmower runs over the garden hose and destroys it (especially if your neighbor is watching), full-time RVing is going to be a challenge. If your reaction is to rummage through the garage until you find a coupler and some hose clamps and call it good, then you’re going to be just fine as a full-timer.
In short, being a successful full-time RVer boils down to flexibility and adaptability. Things are guaranteed not to go as expected. Things are going to break, and you will make mistakes (usually publicly) that will leave you feeling pretty stupid.
The good news is that other full-timers have all been there, and those of us who have the right mindset and coping skills to look back on those times and laugh heartily. Although there may be things that we wish we wouldn’t have done (like drive off before disconnecting our waste hose), we wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for the world.