Robert and Susan, a yoga instructor and a former school teacher are both forty-nine (49). They began RVing in 2010 at the ripe ages of forty-five (45). Rob explained “At the time, we were living on the fourth floor in a condominium complex with an aging dog that was having troubles making it downstairs. We came up with the idea to get an RV so that she could be closer to the outdoors.”
Rob and Susan went on to tell me that they lived for months in the RV with their dog and fell in love with the lifestyle. They said that they found themselves “dreading” going back to the condo. They enjoyed the oceanfront RV parks in their area. Susan said that living close to the elements and nature, hearing the rain, feeling the wind, having deer and ducks and eagles as neighbors was marvelous.
Rob loved the freedom, simplicity and adventure. He said that they did not have to work as much as they did not consume as much. “We were able to live a healthier, more balanced lifestyle than before when we went to work fulltime. We had more freedom and time to travel.”
Currently Susan and Rob live in an RV park with an entry gate which makes it hard to have friends just drop by. This is a disadvantage for Susan. Rob doesn’t like clutter so time needs to be spent each day tidying their small space – a thirty-foot Bighorn fifth wheel trailer with three slides. Susan would like a bit more space for entertaining and having guests, especially indoors during the colder times of year.
It was Susan’s family that inspired the couple to RV. “My parents retired and sold their big house and have been living in park model RVs in Florida and Ontario. Other friends and family seem to feel sorry for us. They seem to think we are down and out.”
There can be a stigma that goes with living in an RV. Larger society has a hard time understanding the minimalist, mobile lifestyle chosen by many today. But Susan advises “Skip the rat-race and get out while you can! Don’t let yourself get caught in the traps of big houses and big mortgages, two weeks of vacation a year where you spend the entire two weeks trying to make up for working the other fifty.”
“Moving into an RV is one of the easiest first steps you can make to living a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle,” says Rob. “You might be amazed at some of the newer RVs that are available.”
A piece of advice culled from their own experience along with the stories they’ve heard from many other fulltime RVers – “Don’t bother putting your furniture and stuff in rented storage bins. A few years will pass by like the blink of an eye and any perceived financial value that your things may have had will be offset by the storage fees. Sell what you can and give the rest away. This is part of the adventure! You can always buy more stuff later if you need to.”
Author Levonne Gaddy’s book “This Restless Life: A dream chased through California parks in an RV” chronicles her relocation adventures from the Southwest to Central Coast California during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. They encounter many twists and turns including a dead body found near their camp hosting camp site, problems finding work and multiple threats of floods. @Levonnegaddy
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