This week, we began of our 5th year living full-time in an RV! Reaching these kind of milestones usually comes with a little bit of reflection and nostalgia, so I decided to share with you all a few things are we learned since we got on the road.

I honestly can’t believe how quickly the time has flown by. While writing this post, I was going through all our old photos and there’s just so many stories to share and so much that we saw and did. It’s hard to narrow down life’s lessons into just a few blurbs, but I’ll give it a go.

Mike and Vim at Mount Thielsen, OR | ©2015 by Valerie Spencer. All Rights Reserved.
Mike and Vim at Mount Thielsen, OR
©2015 by Valerie Spencer. All Rights Reserved.

You are not alone.

It’s easy to fall into the mindset that just because you’re a gypsy, you don’t need a tribe. Well, as the years and miles roll by, full-time RVing can become a very lonely life if you let it.

The entire experience of living full-time in an RV is so much richer and more colorful when you surround yourself with like-minded people (even if you quickly part ways.) Plus, you never know when your paths might cross again! Technology makes it so easy to stay in touch these days and it’s great when your friends come visit you—wherever you might be.

Over the years, we have been incredibly fortunate to cross paths with interesting people from all walks of life. The easiest place to start is by simply getting to know your camp hosts. Not only are they usually a great resource for local information, you’ll find that camp hosts makes your stay in a campground feel more like a home rather than just another stop on way.

There’s a deep sense of camaraderie in this lifestyle. Once you embrace it, you’ll benefit in so many different ways. From security to friendship to adventures you might never have taken. It’s an amazing feeling to roll into an area and (without any expectations) and suddenly you’re reconnecting with people you met thousands of miles back! It makes the expanse of this huge beautiful world feel a little less lonely.

Mike's handy-dandy water thief filtration system! | ©2015 by Valerie Spencer. All Rights Reserved.
Mike’s handy-dandy water thief filtration system!
©2015 by Valerie Spencer. All Rights Reserved.

You never know until you try.

After 4 years, the snow finally caught us (a few times.) Repeatedly researching certain topics—like how to stay warm in your RV and how to reduce moisture on your RV windows—does eventually pay off. These topics run on on loop starting as early as September in all the RV blogging circles, forums, and groups.

This year, we tried out one of the strangest but most common suggestion: bubble wrap! The gist is that you get large bubble wrap and stick it to your windows. This creates and air barrier that turns your single-pane glass into double-pane glass.

I felt like a crazy woman the first time I put it up. Not only did it reduce the moisture on our windows significantly, bubble wrap helped us stay warm even when the temperatures dropped to single digits for more than a week straight. Plus, it allows natural light to come in without losing privacy! I thought it was nuts idea until I tried it. Bubble wrap is my new best friend.

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If you don’t give those crazy ideas a try once in a while, you’ll never learn anything new! That goes for everything in life. Of course, you’re not always going to like every new experience. At least you’ll have a valid first-hand opinion. In the end, it can always end up being another funny story to tell around the campfire.

Dipping a finger in Lake Huron, MI | ©2014 by Valerie Spencer. All Rights Reserved.
Dipping a finger in Lake Huron, MI
©2014 by Valerie Spencer. All Rights Reserved.

It’s okay to be disillusioned.

One often thinks of ‘disillusionment’ as a negative experience. We’ve come to find that it doesn’t have to be that. The only negative in experiencing disillusionment is one’s attitude about it. You’re going to see a lot when you travel. The expectations that you carry and the things that you care about will invariably tint your experience in some way or another.

We live in a world where the majority of second-hand knowledge has been carefully cropped, captioned with the perfect keywords, and spun to meet some monetary end. When you’re living full-time in an RV and traveling from place to place, you get the opportunity to plug directly into the source. You are out there seeing and experiencing things for yourself.

Let yourself become disillusioned. Let life surprise you. In this lifestyle, adventure is arriving in its rawest form. You’ll see a lot of beauty and a lot of ugliness—in the landscape, the people, and in yourselves. How you process that experience will determine whether you choose to remember the trash or the treasure.

Crater Lake National Park, OR
©2015 by Valerie Spencer. All Rights Reserved.

They’re never going to understand your way of life.

When we hit the road, everyone we knew thought we lost our minds. We heard it all: it’s dangerous, you’ll be lonely, a family needs roots, you’ll miss your stuff… Endless. Over the years, only a few friends and family members have truly changed their tune. The acute concern for our mental health has waned overall, but you can tell that they don’t really get it.

Since then, we’ve seen every corner of the country, camped in 48 different states, and met people from all walks of life. With every passing mile, we miss our things less. We’ve find that our friends and family are our roots and they spread farther and run deeper than for most people. The world is dangerous whether we stay in one place or not. If you keep dwelling on the pothole you just hit, you’ll never appreciate the road ahead.

Acadia National Park, ME
© 2016 by Valerie Spencer. All Rights Reserved.

The adventure is worth it!

I personally can’t imagine the kind of person I would be if didn’t live full-time in an RV. Honestly, I can barely remember the kind of person that I was before it all happened. All I can say is that the road has changed us. We both have never been happier or more comfortable with ourselves and each other. We’re truly grateful for the opportunity to experience this lifestyle every day and cannot wait to see where the road leads us next.

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5 Comments on "What We Learned After 4 Years Living Full-Time In An RV"

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a.cole
a.cole

so beautiful that you choose a lifestyle that was not only out on a limb but totally aimed at your dreams and you both succeeded! you’re inspiring a new way of life that echos that mystical ancient lifestyle of early ancestors. techno nomads.

Nathalie
Nathalie

How do you get income to maintain that lifestyle…gas, food, etc…

Lev Leetian

This is so inspiring! You’re actually the first person I know who lives in an RV. Your apps are also really useful, even just to keep track of finances. Do you ever miss staying put in one place, or do you see yourself living in an RV for even more years to come? 🙂