J. Dawg Journeys

The Joys of Being a Sometime RVer

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On my porch at Home playing my mandolin

Several of the travel blogs that I follow are written by people living full-time in their RV.  I’m not talking about trailer park living.  These are folks who, as part of a plan (not necessity), sold their house and most of their possessions and live a life of what seems like perpetual travel.  Their RV is their home and many say Home is where they happened to be parked.

It’s fun following their adventures because many times they’re moving around, having new experiences, and seeing different parts of the country.  Some of these bloggers have large followings.  I guess lots of folks may like to follow people who are living a different or unique lifestyle – one that appears to be filled with constant adventure.

I’ve been a traveling RVer now for 4+ years.  Along the way, I found my RV / travel lifestyle.  I’m what I call a “sometime” RVer.  I’m different from the full-timers.  I still have a stick and bricks home, a permanent residence, and I’m not always on the move.  But I’m away traveling in my RV for what equates to about 1/2 the year.  Sometime RVing is more that just taking short RV vacations now and then.  It involves being gone for weeks or months at a time.  Its a way to live two different lives – the at-home life and the travel life.  Same person, but changing my habitat when I want.

Day of Departure and a Week Later at Siesta Key

At Home in the Winter, In Florida three days later

I like my sometime RV lifestyle.  I get as much adventure and go to the same places that the full-timers go.  I may not stay as long or travel as often, but I figure I’m having just as much fun.  And I don’t aspire to change it or be a full-timer.  I’m very happy doing just what I’m doing.

Many of the full-timers blog about their travels and lifestyle, but I don’t see as many sometimers doing the same.  I think there are some advantages to my sometime RV lifestyle so, I figured I’d write a post about the joys of being a sometime RVer.

I Still Have a Place Called Home

As a kid, I moved a lot – about every 2-3 years.  It was because of my Dads job working for the Federal government.  When I got married and had kids, I didn’t want that for my family.  I wanted to find a place and job where I could put down roots.  I was lucky with the job, found the perfect small town, a nice chuck of land, and I built just the house I wanted.  I hammered many of the nails and cut many of the boards.  My wife and I planted several of the trees and bushes, did the landscaping, and made it our Home.  Its become our Tara.

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Tara

Owning a place can be a lot of work but having a Home is important to me.  It’s mine, I built it, and its the place I’m most comfortable being at.  Its a place where I can rest, recuperate, and recharge.  I know I’ll have to trade it someday soon for a smaller place, but It’s not something I would ever give up for a 5th wheel trailer of a Class A bus.

I Get to Live Multiple Lives

As I mentioned above, I get to live different lives.  Part of the year, I live in rural New England.  Its bucolic.  My neighbors are cows, corn, and trees.  The nearest store is 3 miles away.  There’s one yellow blinking light in my town.  It’s life in the slow lane and I live as a country gentleman.  When I travel, I get to leave it behind for a time and go live a different life.

Rv in Florida

Home in Florida

When in Florida, I stay in a busy beach side town, where tee shits, shorts, and flip-flops are the normal daily attire.  I can live the life of a beach bum where I’m constantly surrounded by people and all the convenience of eateries, shops, and night spots.  It’s a nice change of pace.

When I take a road trip, I can be gone for a week of a couple of months.  I can be a wanderer or explorer going from place to place and staying in places with beautiful scenery.  When I’ve had enough or need a change, I don’t need to find a new place.  I just go Home.

I Get to Go When I Want, Come Back When I Want

Full-timers get to do part of this.  Vacationers, not so much.  If I’m home and there’s a few days of good weather, if I feel like taking a road trip, or if I just get bored, I can easily take off and hit the road.  My RV stays parked in my yard and is kept fueled up, packed, and ready to roll.  It works the same in the other direction.  If the weather turns bad, the RV is acting up, I get sick or bored, I can just head Home.  I don’t have to worry about where to head or making a new reservation.  Just select the Home choice on my RV’s GPS and drive.

I Have a Less to Worry About

I like to focus on the positives and try to tune out the negatives.  Think about all the good that will happen and not worry about the bad.  I am an old Boy Scout and follow the Be Prepared motto.  When I’m RVing, I’m prudent and try to be prepared for the small stuff and don’t worry about the big things that are out of my control.  Like what will happened if the RV had a catastrophic failure (engine, tranny) or what if it’s damaged by weather or an accident.  As a sometimer, my RV is just another vehicle, something replaceable.  It’s not my home and it doesn’t hold any treasured possessions.  If something bad happens to it that can’t be fixed on the road, I’ll call for a flatbed and just head Home.

Its Easy to Take A Break from Traveling

When I was really sick in 2011, I didn’t go to Florida for the winter or travel at all.  I was pretty ill and just didn’t feel like going anywhere.  Going to doctor appointments was the only travel I did. Luckily, I got better and when I felt confident and good enough, I started traveling again.  Bad shit can happen to anyone and at anytime.  I’m not sure what I would have done that year if I was a full-timer.  That’s one thing I like about being a sometimer.  I don’t have to travel.  I can park my ass at Home and take a break anytime and for as long as I want.

I Can Stay Married

My wife is also a sometime RVer, but she’s more in the once-and-awhile category (like a vacationers).  She likes going to Florida for the winter and maybe will join me on a beach stay-put vacation.  But that’s it.  Her type of adventure is a girl’s game night or a day shopping at a new outlet mall.  She needs to be rooted somewhere, have friends / family around, and doesn’t like wandering or always moving.  And that’s ok.  It’s no fun traveling with someone who’s not happy.

San Carlos RV Park

Happy Wife in Florida

We’ve been married for 38 years and she’s fine with me going off and doing my traveling thing.  I just have to keep coming back to her and keep checking in with her.  Keep the bingo hall babes, pole dancers, and cougars out of the RV and leave her the check book.  She’s happy, I’m happy.

I Have a Place to Go When It’s All Over

I see my RV lifestyle as temporary.  Maybe it’s not a joy but it’s something I’m at peace with and comfortable knowing it will have an ending.  RVing is something I’m doing now, I’m really enjoying it now, but it ain’t gonna last. Some may not agree or look that far out and that’s ok.  I’m not a fatalist, just a realist.  At some point, I know that I will either lose interest in traveling, lose my confidence, or just lose the physical ability.  Some times I joke that we’re all one doctor’s appointment away from a calamity.  One bad test result can change your life.  I’m not at all focused on that and I’m taking each day as it comes.  But when it does happen or if I get sick, I want to know I’ve got a place to go and deal with it.  I’ve got doctors and specialists who know me and I know the good places to get care.  And I can just park the RV and forget about it. I don’t have to worry about finding a place to park or a place to find care.

And for me, that is what’s good about being a sometime RVer.  It’s not better than anyone else’s RV lifestyle.  Just what I like about mine.  I get to go when I want, come back when I want, stay put when I want, and I can easily give it up when I want.  And I’ve still got a wonderful place called Home.

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24 thoughts on “The Joys of Being a Sometime RVer

  1. Cathy

    Our travel habits are something like yours except that we can’t spend our winters in the South; my husband still has to show up for work. He gets pretty good holidays, though, and we often take off on weekends. It sometimes seems that we spend all of our time at home just catching up before we take off again. Thank you for sharing your perspective.
    Cathy recently posted…Quick Travel StopsMy Profile

  2. Angela

    I love your post, and more importantly, I love your perspective.

    I have wanted to become a full-timer, down to selling the house and buying a Class A (I even have the exact model picked out!). I have been with my amazing husband (and best friend) for 14 years and we have two young sons, who I happen to homeschool. My husband has a great career, and he has no interest in full-timing right now. He says it would likely only happen if/when one of two things happen: we win the lottery (lol) and/or when we retire. We all love traveling and we RV at least two weekends a month and two full weeks a year (for vacations). But my desire to become a full-timer seems extremely distant and the chances slim. I would never take my husband away from a job he enjoys going to every day, although I know he would leave it all at the drop of a hat for me.

    However, now that I’ve read your post, I am siding with my husband. You made so many valid points, and you are entirely correct. In another life (lol) I also want to homestead…but that would be impossible as a full-time RVer (if my choice came down to homesteading or RVing, I would choose RVing). We live in a suburb on Florida’s Space Coast, but we–yes, WE–would love to have a plot of land in the north-central area of the state with a small house, room for gardening, and plenty of space for our boys to be boys.

    With the lifestyle of a sometime-RVer, both is possible. We absolutely love traveling because we can escape from the suburbs and traffic, explore new places, and–best of all–get outside. We hike, bike ride, canoe, fish, geocache, explore historic sites, photograph, bird watch, and seek out animals and edible plants. But my husband really wants the security of a permanent home as well.

    Thank you for this post…and helping me see the light. This is the best option for me and my family, and it’s the perfect way for my husband and I to meet in the middle. 🙂

    Happy traveling!

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad my thoughts helped you out. The allure of full-timing can be strong when you see or read what some of the folks are doing. But you have to find what’s right and what works for you. I know for me, when I’m gone for 2-3 months, I get a strong pull to head home. I love living in my RV but Home still has a pull on me. Here’s another blogger who is a sometimer: kimbopolo.com She travels in a Class B while her husband still works.

  3. Bernie

    Thanks, J. Dawg. Love your approach to life. It’s a place I need/want to be. Must float it by DW. 🙂

  4. Linda

    Thank you so much for the post. It really help me see both sides. I think we will do it your way. Maybe down size the home a little.

  5. sandra

    Have loved following your blog, seeing so many places. What I hope is some info on Yellowstone. We are going Aug.17 with 2 other RVers.Staying in Cody @ Ponderosa Campground

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Thanks for reading. Cody is a great place to visit. The Buffalo Bill museum is great. Also, the Cody Rodeo is great fun.

  6. Melinda

    Great post!

    We have lived both lifestyles and loved them both. When we first retired, we chose the full time approach with the big diesel pusher and loved our 6 full timers years on the road. As we aged we also became realists and acknowledged that we truly are “one doctors appointment” away from a big change in life. Thankfully we both still have our health, but we also now have a new stick built house close to our kids for a resting place between travels. We both love the nomadic lifestyle and can still have that with our 20 foot travel trailer, but we love to come home and tend our gardens as well.

    So thanks for your post. It was well written and describes our “Sometime RVer” lifestyle perfectly!
    Melinda recently posted…RV Campground – Giant Whitepine Campground Clearwater National ForestMy Profile

  7. Steve

    Thanks for the great post. It really helps seeing what the hold up is with me selling my house to travel fulltime. As my blog shows, I’ve spent years changing my mind … lol. I think what you wrote in this post really explains why I am still in a house in the midwest. There is great weather though 6 months out of the 12, plus a lot of other good reasons.

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Thanks for your feedback, Steve. I guess you just have to determine what’s important and then try and find what fits best. Know that you can always change.

  8. Roxanne

    Several years ago we sold out and bought a diesel pusher class A to go full-timing in. After about 2 1/2 years I wanted to settle down again in a stick and brick near our kids. We are now out on the road again and I have regrets of quitting the full time life style. I have a daughter and her husband that I truly miss when we are out and it is because of her that I can’t go back to full timing. What I am saying is be careful what you wish for because you might get it and be sorry afterwards.

  9. Suzanne

    I do often think you “sometimers” have the best of both worlds. But for me, after having lived in 6 different states, none of them ever felt like “home,” I finally had to embrace my gypsy bloodlines. I do have to say, if the Winnie weren’t such a comfortable home and so easy to drive, I might not have jumped into the deep end of the pool so quickly, going from never having owned an RV to selling it all and full timing now for over two years. Nothing has ever felt more “right,” but then if I had the skills you have to maintain a sticks and bricks in a place that felt like home, I might feel differently. I think you’ve got a nice life!
    Suzanne recently posted…Up There…Where the Air is RarefiedMy Profile

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Suzanne. I am enjoying my life right now. I’m also enjoying following your blog recently. I was in Ouray in June. Based on reading your posts, I’m making a list of all the places I need to go back and see next June.

  10. Jackie

    Love following your blog. I’m getting ready to be a part timer also. I’m a retired single female wanting to explore. I have a home in a small town and planning on keeping it for now. Your blog gives me confidence and a glimpse into part time traveling.

    Thank you,
    Jackie

  11. Allen Hu

    Very enjoy reading your story. Sometimer RV. I like that. Just wondering if you have thought about exchange your RV with someone’s in different country? Like New Zealand, Australia or Europe? I’ve done that 2007 with a couple from Holland and we had a very nice traveling experience. ~from New Zealand

    1. J. Dawg Post author

      Thanks for reading my blog, Allen. I’ve never considered the exchange idea. Sounds interesting. There’s much to see in the US and so far I’ve only scratched the surface.