RV lifestyles come in two major forms: seasonal full-time RV living and life on the road. The first can include a stationary setup in one location for fall and winter or winter and spring and a stationary setup in another location for the other two seasons.
We’ve found that by combining the two types of RV lifestyles, with seven months on the road and five months in a single location, we get the best of both worlds.
Nomad on the Move
Most of the year, we travel the country to see destinations and visit loved ones along the way. As Bob likes to say, “Throw a dart at a map of the U.S., and we might be there.” He’s right, as our itinerary changes every year — sometimes on a monthly or daily basis.
That’s one of the things we relish about RV life: the flexibility. If friends and family at an upcoming stop have to leave town suddenly, we can quickly change plans and reroute our course. If our planned travel day looks iffy because of rain and storms, we can pivot and stay put for a few more days or even a week.
In this nomadic lifestyle, we typically move to a new location every week or two. In doing so, it becomes second nature for us to pack and close the trailer, hook it up to Gulliver, spend hours on the road, park, and set up camp. Lather, rinse, repeat.
While in a location, we try to make a point to investigate our surroundings and get a feel for the area. That’s part of the adventure. Each stop holds a sense of intrigue and mystery. We immerse ourselves in the locality and try to find off-the-beaten-path things to do — as well as some popular things to do, such as visiting national and state parks.
When we’re not moving every week, we live a completely different life. Bob equates it to taking off one jacket and putting on another, much like Mr. Rogers did.
With months in one location and a reprieve from regularly packing and setting up the trailer, we enjoy more leisure and get comfortable in our home. We feel freer to leave things out, such as my puzzle table and in-process projects, and we notice bare spots that could use decoration. This can lead to accumulation creep, something we have to guard against.
While stationary, we tend to live the way we would if we had a sticks-and-bricks home. Bob goes to the Commemorative Air Force three days a week to put his aircraft mechanic degree to work on WWII bombers, and I get into my daily work routine. We habitually frequent the grocery store, and our calendar fills up with activities and get-togethers.
Being static also gives us ample time to address maintenance, issues, and needed upgrades on our truck and trailer.
The Human Perspective
Because we have traveling to look forward to when we’re stationary and an end of travel in sight when we grow weary of being on the road, we really do have the best of both worlds. It keeps life exciting and fun — as does meeting amazing people, which happens in both RV lifestyles.
I think of the trucker we crossed paths with in Michigan, who graciously gave us diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) at a rest area when we were about to run out. Without that in our truck, it would have slowed to a painful 5 mph.
The trucker wouldn’t take money in exchange for the DEF, so I suggested we pay it forward. A few minutes later, another trucker pulled into the rest area with a flat tire and no way to fix it to move on. We offered the use of our 80-pound air compressor, happy to help. While we were assisting this second trucker, another RVer pulled up and asked if we needed help.
We also met a young couple early in their RV life and were able to share some tips and advice. At a boondocking spot, fellow RVers gave us guidance based on their RVing experience. And another RVer lent us a water hose to add to ours so we could fill our water tank without moving our trailer.
Stationary RVers are just as friendly and welcoming. We regularly exchange greetings and conversations with our seasonal neighbors. And they’re always quick to give us a hand if we need it, just as we’re eager to help them if we can.
The RV community is one of people helping people. We’re thankful to be part of it.
You might also like Confessions of a Full-Time RVer.
This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.