Why Full-Time RVing is Not Just For Retirees Anymore - Intentional Travelers
Why Full-Time RVing is Not Just For Retirees Anymore

22 Sep Why Full-Time RVing is Not Just For Retirees Anymore

This is a guest post by our fellow intentional traveler, Alyssa Padgett. Alyssa and her husband, Heath, took an RV to 49 States (and flew to Hawaii) while filming their documentary, Hourly America, on their honeymoon. They have now lived full time in an RV for over two years and have just about convinced us to follow in their footsteps!

Sometimes, I say things like, “I’m a fulltimer,” fully expecting that people know what that word means. But more often than not (and this is especially true when I talk to people in their twenties), no one knows what full-time RVing is. And I can say with certainty that the general public definitely has no idea that there are people out there who full-time RV before retirement.

What is full-time RVing? (And why is it the coolest thing I should be doing with my life right now?)

Full-time RVing, or being a “fulltimer,” simply means I sleep all of my nights in my RV. It’s my house, my only home, and that’s all I’ve got.

How do you get your mail?

This is literally the first question most people ask when I explain full timing. Which, by the way: super boring question. I live on wheels and you want to know about mail. Smh. But I’ll explain it anyway. When you live full time in an RV, most people use a mail forwarding service.

There are three states that are awesome about this: South Dakota, Florida, and Texas (yeehaw!). Before you start RVing, you’ll want a permanent address in one of these places. This usually means setting up a “domicile,” a.k.a. becoming a citizen of another state so you can use their RVing benefits. All of these states have great options for mail forwarding programs.

*If you’re thinking about becoming a fulltimer, you can read an article by my friends over at Technomadia to learn more about this fascinating concept of getting your mail on the road.

Back to full-time RVing.

Now that you know you can get your mail across the country, let me explain a little more about what full-time RVing looks like.

When you’re a fulltimer, you can:

  • Live anywhere you want (In our experience, this has included beachfront of the Pacific Ocean, riverfront, lakefront, mountainside, on a volcano, on farms, in national forests, heck, we even took our rig to New York City–which I don’t recommend)
  • Work from anywhere
  • Not be tied down to mortgages, bills, and the monotony of staying one place
  • Meet new people
  • Spend more time in nature
  • Save a ton of money
  • Basically do anything you want all the time

All this could be summed up very succinctly: Full-timing is the BEST.

Who full-time RVs? (Can RV be a verb?)

In the past two years, I’ve met adults as young as 21 and as old as their 70s traveling full-time across the country. I’ve seen families with infants and teenagers and more kids than I could ever imagine, living in an RV with all their stuff piled into a trailer, traveling together.

Why Should I Full-Time RV?

One word: freedom.

In the past few decades, the world has changed in a million different ways. But the most overwhelming way is this: we have choices that society has never had before.

Your grocery store doesn’t offer great avocados? There’s probably five others equidistant from your house. You don’t like Shell gas stations? You have a hundred other options. Nothing good on TV? Don’t worry, there’s only millions of tv shows and movies you can watch on cable or satellite or the Internet. You don’t want to work from an office? You can work from home or a co-working space or Starbucks or a bar with wifi or an RV on the coast (yeah, I’ve done all of these). We have more options every day than we know what to do with. Living in an RV and traveling full time is just one of them.

And yet, everyone is living in a home with four walls and indoor plumbing. Across the board, most people I know live in what we RVers call a “sticks and bricks” home. Which is great if you’re worried about tornadoes or if you want a stable, predictable future. But it’s not great if you want to get out and see the world and learn and grow and be a better person (all of which are side effects of full time travel).

So you can be like everyone else and sit around complaining about Donald Trump and taxes and how you don’t understand why everyone cares about the Kardashians because you don’t care about the Kardashians, but no matter what, you still end up talking about the Kardashians.

Or, you can try full timing.

I know what you’re probably thinking now:

What about work? How would I finance full time travel?

Money is the biggest hurdle people face when it comes to leaping into the full time travel lifestyle. When we started, we had zero ideas on how we would make money on the road. We figured it would be better to just started traveling and learn as we go. Which, in retrospect, seems a little wild and reckless, but it’s better than sitting around dreaming about “someday.”

Surprisingly, for my husband and I, full timing opened a lot of doors for our business. Since moving into an RV, we’ve visited all 50 states, but we’ve also filmed a documentary, been on live national and international television, filmed a tv show, written books, published a course, filmed a bunch of gigs across the country. And we spend most of our days kayaking, because… why not?

This is the beauty of living in an RV. Your work and play and travel and life are all jumbled together, self contained in your RV, able to go anywhere. You’re always heading somewhere, always looking forward to a new place to visit and explore. It’s a different way of doing life. It’s a way to travel, to learn more about America, to learn more about yourself, to get away from “normal” life, to try something new, to push yourself out of your comfort zone and probably leave you stranded on an interstate in the middle of the desert at least once in your lifetime.

That’s what full-time RVing is.

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  • Kathy @ SMART Living 365
    Posted at 15:44h, 25 September

    Hi Alyssa and Michelle! Thanks for sharing this persective on creating a SMART and what I call “rightsized” life. I agree that we have so many options today and it’s wonderful that some of us can be creative and do it differently . Good for you for taking the plunge and finding ways to finance and enjoy your life. When people ask, “How can you find work while full-timing?” I think that is just a lack of imagination. Most of us have never spent enough time thinking about it. Your example is great. And I also think it is a wonderful way to do “small house.” Living out of an RV fulltime means you can go where you want and in some cases, it is roomier than many of the small houses I’ve seen. Thanks for sharing your story! ~Kathy

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