Full time travel in an RV is an alternative lifestyle I stumbled across about a year ago. Amazingly, the idea had never previously occurred to me. This is a practice that has become increasingly common all across the United States in the last twenty or so years, and there are now hundreds if not thousands of “full-timers” as they’re called scattered throughout the country.
The subject is by no means obscure, because with all those full-timers comes a slew of related online literature: personal websites, blogs, travel logs, and forums to name a few, all of which contain a wealth of information for those curious about the subject or even considering it for themselves.
The idea has appealed to me since I first heard it, and I have plans to embark on my own full-time adventure in the very near future. Until then I’ve been reading up on the subject (which I believe to be an invaluable, even essential, practice for anyone looking into any major undertaking or life change.
One of the main things to realize about full-timing are the sacrifices involved, which not everybody will be able or willing to live with.
By far the most apparent for those of us used to living in spacious, multi-room homes and apartments. What this means is much less personal space (more important if you’re traveling with a spouse, children or other companion) and many, many fewer possessions.
I have personally always embraced a minimalistic lifestyle – I always travel superlight, get antsy if I have too much useless junk piling up in closets or other areas, and like to be able to pick up and go at a moment’s notice. Many people identify with their homes and possessions, and it can be psychologically traumatizing to have to “give them up.” Such people are likely ill-suited to the full-time lifestyle, and it will no doubt reflect in other areas of their personalities as well.
The title of this category applies to loved ones and friends, even acquaintances and familiar faces in general. Some people do not do well with solitude. (Note that solitude does not equal isolation – isolation is a willful withdrawal from all contact, whereas full time RVing allows plenty of room for potential interactions and friendships.
Given, however, the nature of the lifestyle there is a greater deal of obligatory alone time than stationary living.) Separation from family is common as children grow up and move away or parents retire and head to Florida. It is equally common for people to deliberately maintain familial closeness, and be unwilling to trade this for anything.
Transient by nature, you have the option of staying wherever you want for however long you want, yet for many the appeal is in the constant exploration and experiencing of new things. Not for everyone, though. Lots of driving, relocation, the constant leaving new friends and wonderful places newly discovered – this last can be the hardest for some, and yet adapting to it can be the most redeeming and liberating thing one does within the span of a lifetime.
There are many other things to consider about full timing before you even think about committing to it–finances, obligations, personal needs, etc–but I believe that personal compatibility with what is essentially a gypsy lifestyle to be the most fundamental and important. The best thing you can do is to be as honest with yourself as possible in determining how you feel about all the different aspects of full-timing and how you’ll likely react to the reality of it.