It’s that time of year again. This week we are celebrating three years of full-time travel. Three years! Can you believe it? In past years our anniversary posts have celebrated the places where we have traveled. Year one we focused on the places we had been, and the places we wanted to return to, and Year two we shared some of our very favorite places. This year we thought we would try something different. Instead of remembering places, we going to share some of lessons we’ve learned in the past three years.
1. A Little Planning Goes a Long Way
Can you travel in an RV full-time and never make any plans or reservations? Maybe, but you’re going to need the luxury of a flexible schedule and realize that without a reservation you might not get into some of the more popular destinations. It’s taken three years, but we seem to have finally reached our optimal balance of planning and spontaneity.
In general, we make a loose plan for the next 3-4 months. We make some reservations ahead of time at places that we know will fill up (especially during holiday weekends and school vacations), and then we leave other times open to whatever comes up. Since we have work obligations that require set hours during the week and a consistent Internet connection, our travel days and times are limited, which means some planning is a necessity.
2. Campground Variety
There are countless ways to go about this full-time RVing lifestyle. Some people would never dream of camping anywhere without full hook-ups, while other prefer to always be in the wild with no neighbors and no camping fees. For us, it’s all about variety. Typically we enjoy the space and privacy of public parks or boondocking locations, but if we want to explore an area and neither of those options are available, we have no problem shelling out for a private park. We like to mix it up, and enjoy that we have the freedom to choose from such a wide array of places to call home.
3. Everywhere is Somewhere Good
We started this journey with a some preconceived notions about the “good” and “bad” parts of the US. There were areas we knew we would love, and areas we were sure we wanted to avoid. Much to our surprise (and delight) many of those notions have proved wrong. Do we love everywhere we go? Of course not. But we’ve found that no matter where we end up, it’s easy to find something good. Sometimes it’s a cool hiking trail next to the campground, a gorgeous beach down the road, a fun free concert in the park, a local brewery, an unexpected meet-up with some new friends, or the opportunity to visit with family. We’ve learned that by keeping an open mind and throwing those preconceived notions out the window, we’re far more likely to enjoy ourselves and make new discoveries.
4. Sometimes You Gotta Roll With It
Adaptability is the name of the game when you live in an RV. Not only are your always faced with new places, new situations, and new people, but quite often things don’t work out as planned. Sometimes the weather is crappy, the campground is crowded, your neighbors are obnoxious, you have to leave because the internet sucks, things break, or you end up sleeping in your house on the side of Interstate. The list goes on and on. We’ve learned that you just have to roll with it. We’re never shy about canceling a reservation, or leaving in the middle of our stay to find better weather, better Internet, or better neighbors. In the past three years we’ve learned to be more adaptable and go with the flow when things don’t go as expected.
5. You Can’t Do It All
This is an on going lesson and something that we have to remind ourselves of on a regular basis. The fact is that we are not on a permanent vacation and we don’t have unlimited time, money or energy. We do our best to explore the places we visit, but more often than not in the process of checking things off our wish list, we end up adding more. And we love that! We love arriving somewhere and discovering more things to do, see and explore than we could possibly hope to accomplish in any amount of time. We love to leave a place knowing that we could return again and again and always find something new.
6. Community is Out There
When we left our friends and family behind to travel full-time we had no idea if, or how, we would meet people. Would it just be the two of us all the time? Would we meet anyone our own age, or would we end up playing shuffleboard with the oldies? It took a little while but we did discover a community of like-minded individuals. Full-time RVing is rapidly increasing in popularity – by people of all ages – and through our blog and social media we have met an amazing amount of people. People from all over, with different back grounds and interesting stories. People who we never, ever would have met in our small, secluded town in rural Vermont.
7. We Really Like Each Other!
One of the questions people asked us when we first announced our intentions to live in a 25′ x 8′ trailer was, Won’t you get sick of each other? Well…we’re happy to report that after three years, the answer is no. Honestly we weren’t too worried to begin with. We’ve always been one of those couples who spends a lot of time together. Does that mean we never get annoyed with each other and need to spend some time apart. Of course not! But it does mean that we are okay with spending most of our time together, and that we genuinely enjoy each other’s company, even when we camped in remote location and don’t see another person for days.
8. ‘Stuff’ is Over Rated
We honestly don’t miss all that stuff we got rid of when we moved into our RV. Sure, there is the occasional tool or kitchen appliance that would make life easier, but for the most part we never feel like we are going without because we have a limited amount of things. A simple life is an easy life, and even in our small space we have plenty of room for all the necessities.
9. It’s a Big Wide World Out There
We used to think that after a few years of traveling around the U.S. we would be ready for something new. Maybe we would visit other countries, or maybe we would want to settle down. Well a few years have come and gone, and we’re not nearly ready for either of those things. In three years we’ve visited a total of 30 states. That’s only 10 new states a year. There is so much more to see. The U.S. is not only a big country, but it is an incredibly diverse country with an amazing array of landscapes, and communities, and people. It’s hard to imagine that even if we traveled for another 10 years we could ever see it all.
10. We Love Our Airstream
Our decision to buy an Airstream was almost entirely based on aesthetics. Since our RV was to be our full-time home we wanted something that was pleasing to look at both inside and out. We wanted comfort, but we also didn’t want to live in a white box with swooshes on the side and the name of some fierce animal scrawled across the back. So we bought an Airstream. It didn’t take long for us to realize that we love Airstreams for far more than their looks.
We love being part of the long standing Airstream community, we love knowing that our trailer is worth more now than when we bought it, we love the quality (we have done only a small handful of repairs in the past three years), we love that our lack of slide-outs and short stature means we can squeeze into places others can’t, and we really love all the improvements we’ve made to our little home on wheels.
Lately we have been seriously discussing our next RV. We are in desperate need of a dedicated desk space, and know that the only way to achieve that is to move to a larger RV. We have talked round and round about what the next RV will be. The discussion always comes back to another Airstream. It may not be the cheapest option, there’s no doubt that we could get more space for less money with another brand, but at this point it seems unlikely that we will break away from the Airstream brand.
We don’t have a long term plan for what comes next. But we do know that we want to keep traveling full-time. We might mix things up over the next few years with short term house rentals, alternate modes of travel, or the addition of a furry traveling companion. One thing is for certain though – we love the freedom this lifestyle allows and are committed to pursuing adventure and exploration wherever we go. Here’s to another three years and beyond!