“Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”
~ Andre Gide.
Who hasn’t dreamed of packing up their belongings and hitting the road, unencumbered by daily responsibilities and free to travel, at least once in their lifetime?
That’s exactly what my family did almost exactly four years ago today.
We bought a 31-foot, Class A motor home, packed up our house, gave away nearly all of our belongings and put our few treasured, can’t bear to part with, items in storage as we embarked on an incredible adventure of ups, downs and memories that I wouldn’t trade for anything.
For nearly 18 months, we were full-time RVers, nomads with hopes of exploring the US one state at a time. We experienced torrential rainstorms where we didn’t leave the camper for weeks, two tornadoes (thankfully not directly in our path), a blast of hell when our air conditioner quit working in the middle of the summer in the very hot, humid south, a power surge that took out our refrigerator and crippled our converter box, a crazy campground with carnival workers and finally a terrifying night with some kind of creature pacing around our camper.
We also experienced the freedom of traveling until we got tired and pulled over in a rest area or Walmart parking lot to eat or sleep. The awe of waking up to a beautiful mountain or lakeside view. And the comfort of home away from home, surrounded by our own belongings.
We also discovered that most people will go out of their way to be helpful. If we ever had a question, all we had to do was ask and someone in the campground knew the answer or had a solution to our problem. We met many people that had given up a home base in order to be able to see more of the US, people who understood our dream. And in them, we found a sense of community.
Steps to life on the road.
1. Begin to make plans.
Hitting the road as a full-time RVer takes a fair bit of planning.
How will you support yourself and your lifestyle? Do you have enough money saved or will you need to work on the road?
Where will you bank? Where will your mail be sent?
How long can you realistically afford to stay on the road?
Do you have children? How will they do their schooling? If you homeschool (or plan to) make sure you know the laws and regulations for your state of residence.
If you’ll be traveling with pets, make sure you have all the appropriate licenses and paperwork from your vet.
Make sure your entire family is in agreement- especially with older kids and teens. Unless we were heading somewhere really exciting, at this point, my kids’ would probably prefer to stay home.
2. Pick out your RV.
Be realistic about your needs and have a firm budget in place.
In our eagerness to hit the road, we almost made a huge mistake by choosing a 24-foot Class C camper for our family of five. I can’t even imagine how much of a nightmare that would have been. Instead we looked a little bit longer and found an RV that was much better suited to our needs, in our budget.
Do your research before you head out to buy your RV. Research online or ask a friend for tips so you know what to look for. You should also consider having your camper inspected by a mechanic before you make your purchase.
3. Pack up, sell or donate your belongings.
You can seek out self storage in your area, sell your belongings in a garage sale or on Craigslist, or donate your unwanted possessions.
4. Set out on your adventure and be flexible.
Our experience wasn’t at all as we had originally planned but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t an incredible experience.
My husband and I would love to spend another year on the road and hopefully our kids’ will join us.
Have you ever considered life as a full-time RVer? What do you think would be your biggest challenge?
This post is linked to Friday Daydreamin’ with R We There Yet, Mom?