The constant bustle and responsibility that come along with living a traditional life can be absolutely draining at times. Once settled into a years-long routine, days can begin to feel repetitive and meaningless, and a desire for change will begin to grow. While having modern comforts such as a permanent home and a nice car can be appealing, the 'American dream’ isn’t a perfect fit for everyone -- especially not for those with an adventurous spirit.
The dream of shedding an unfulfilling state of being to travel and experience the world is often put off in order to pursue a typical 9-5 job and material wealth; however, changing this and transitioning to a more minimalist lifestyle can have many benefits. For example, studies have shown that people who spend more time in nature are less susceptible to anxiety and depression, and tend to exercise more often, too!
This healthier way of life led to an uprise in outdoor activity and a trend called 'RV living,’ which people are doing all over the world. But is a life on the road really worth giving up the stability that comes along with owning a home? People who live this way are answering with a definitive “Yes!”
RV living comes with many benefits, such as access to beautiful scenery and a sense of freedom; nature is always right outside of your front door. Living this type of rugged, on-the-go lifestyle also contributes significantly to your self-image -- realizing you are truly self-reliant is one of the most rewarding feelings a person can experience.
Living so close to nature will also encourage you to be more active (and encourages your brain to produce more serotonin, which aids in fighting depression), as there will often be trails or bodies of water near your camping site.
While you may be concerned about leaving behind the comforts of home, you can rest assured knowing that most RVs are equipped with everything you would use in a sedentary home, just in a smaller space; a typical RV will have all of the following:
Having everything you could need in a small, portable space is what makes this lifestyle appealing, affordable, and realistic. Most people that are considering making the switch to full time RVing struggle with the idea of simply getting rid of most of their belongings, but don't worry if you start to feel this way - that's totally normal.
There are several options available to you if you want to hang on to your stuff; when starting the transition from a sedentary lifestyle to a mobile one, most RVers opt to rent a storage space in which to keep their nonessential items and keepsakes.
You can also buy a lot and install water hookups, as well as a storage shed, to provide a safe 'base of operations' you can return to at any time; additionally, rather than selling your permanent home, renting it out while you are away is another smart option that will help pay for your travels.
That's the great thing about RV living - you can tailor your lifestyle to anything that suits you.
Even better, living in an RV can save you tons of money - about a thousand dollars monthly on average, in fact - and make paying off debt easier than it would be while paying a mortgage or rent. But just exactly how much money does it cost to live in an RV for a month?
In the United States, the average monthly cost of RV living is around $2,230, a figure which includes all your expected major expenses:
Compared to paying around $1500 monthly for rent and utilities, along with the cost of food, home/car insurance, and other bills, living in an RV is practical and inexpensive.
Before you can get on the road and begin your travels, you'll need to find an RV model that is right for you and can provide for your specific needs. There are three main varieties of RVs available, and prices range from $10,000 to $100,000 based on size and included amenities.
Downsizing and Packing
After you find the right RV for your needs, your next focus will be downsizing and packing. This is the most difficult step for most people on their journey to RV living; after all, if you're going to be moving around regularly, you're going to have to shed about two-thirds of your personal property or find a way to pay for storage.
Everything you carry with you in your RV will be limited to necessities and small personal items, and it can be difficult to determine exactly what items you should take along with you. Here is a basic checklist to help you decide what to take with you on the road and what to leave behind:
- 1A small wardrobe suitable for various climates consists of five t-shirts, two sweaters, two pairs of pants, two pairs of shorts, one hoodie or light jacket, one thermal undershirt, one pair of pyjamas, two pairs of socks, two pairs of shoes (one pair suitable for walking and the other pair suitable for any “formal” situations you might encounter), and one heavy coat.
- 2A selection of kitchen appliances and tools, including one pan or skillet, one medium-sized sauce pot, two washable plates, two glasses, two mugs, two reusable tupperware containers with lids, two forks, two spoons, two steak knives, and a small electric appliance that you are fond of (such as an electric pressure cooker or crock pot).
- 3A few momentos/decorations, such as a favorite painting, rug, or family photo, to help your RV to feel more like home.
- 4Any toiletries you use regularly.
- 5Two sets of sheets, two pillows, and two blankets (one suitable for cold weather and the other suitable for warm).
- 6A small amount of non-perishable food items (such as canned or boxed foods) and a pack of water bottles. Fresh/perishable foods can be purchased as you go.
Of course, just like any other lifestyle, RV living does come with a few more challenges than someone without experience would expect, and spending an extended amount of time in a small living space is one of them. Living on the road alone can be extremely isolating; alternately, sharing such small quarters with another person -- or multiple people -- can be frustrating.
However, on a more positive note, a common theme among many RV lifestyle travel blogs is the strength of the RV community -- most people find that they are more social after transitioning to full-time travel, and that's because they are always meeting people with whom they share common interests. So whether you're outgoing or not, you should expect the RV community to be supportive and welcoming, as well as a valuable resource in times of need (or loneliness!), and a treasure trove of knowledge about RV life.
While the neighbors at your campsite might be friendly, obtaining clean water can be a whole different story -- most parks and camping sites won’t just let you use their water (although some state parks will allow you to use their water connections in lieu of a small donation). That doesn't mean it's impossible to find clean water; you can always find some at a truck stop when you are fueling up, along with oil or any other basic vehicle maintenance supplies you might need. Just like any other vehicle, an RV requires regular maintenance; putting it off can be detrimental to your RV’s health.
What's more, you'll want to learn how to be handy around your mobile home (and empty all the tanks), or paying for repairs could become a burden. You’ll also want to make sure that your RV is well-prepared for the road with a new deep cycle battery and sturdy tires; power and mobility will be your main priorities when living on the go. To further ensure that your RV is ready for the road, you can take it to a local auto shop to make sure it is electrically and mechanically sound, which usually costs under $100.
Making money while RV living is another challenge you should expect to encounter if you adopt this lifestyle because working a regular job requires you to be sedentary; however, in the modern world, it's easier than ever to make money from almost anywhere. In the vast expanse of the world-wide-web, there are almost boundless opportunities to make money. With no experience, you can apply for a range of beginning positions with online companies doing simple tasks (called remote jobs) such as data transcription and customer support. If you are grammatically inclined or have a passion for writing, regular transcription, document editing, or travel blogging may be good choices for you.
Another option for those with creative inclinations is to start an online business selling your own products or doing dropshipping (selling goods from China). Buy a portable hotspot and a signal booster for your phone, and you're all set to make money from your mobile home!
While most people that choose the RV lifestyle sell their homes and extra automobiles in order to live this way full-time, RVing also makes a great hobby over the weekends or during any vacation time you might have.
You can even rent an RV and take it on a trip to help you decide if you want to commit to full-time RVing. An outdoor lifestyle provides freedom, beautiful sights, and unforgettable adventures; if your day-to-day suburban life is wearing you thin, taking some time away to travel and experience nature could greatly improve your quality of life, just like it has for all of those who have already taken the leap into RV living.