Five years ago I never even knew what an RV was…

I was thinking about the journey of life today….and by extension the journey of RVing. I’m not sure if it was the fog or the long, still walk we had on the beach but thoughts turned inwards and I marvelled at the twists and turns of life. Five years ago I’d never even heard of an RV, and although I’ve always travelled I’d never have imagined being fulltime in a big ‘ol 40-foot beast on the road. This journey has been amazing, enlightening, sad and joyful all at the same time (kinda like life really), but it’s also taken surprising positive twists that I never expected. It’s those very twists I what to share with you today. Here’s three turns in the road I never expected when we started out:

1/ RVing Is So Darn Social!!

Friends on the road. Polly poses with RV buddies Tally Ho’s pooches on a hike in Eugene, OR

I’m a natural-born nomad so travelling and being a happy (albeit very outgoing) loner is in my blood. When we embarked on this journey I totally expected it to be a fun, but undoubtedly very solitary experience. The reality was so very different from what I expected. In the short 3 years we’ve been on the road I can honestly say we’ve met more people and made more friends than we ever did living in an apartment. Interestingly enough the folks over at Tin Teepee blogged today with a quote that exactly mirrored my thoughts “when you buy a house, making friends in a new neighborhood is hard, when you roll into a RV park everyone is your friend.” Not only has this been our experience, but many of these folks become firm buddies, and we’ve managed to stay in touch and even meet on the road again.

On a hike with our caravan buddies Alex & Ellen in Lone Pine, CA

Last year we met a lovely couple in Eugene and ended up caravaning with them (another thing I thought I’d never do). This past winter we joined up with a group of young RVers in San Diego and reconnected with folks we’d met boondocking in the desert, and next month (Sept) we’ve made plans to re-meet with some RVing pals we met last year. And that’s just a small selection of the many interesting people who we’ve met and interacted with along the way. This is all without ever having joined a RV rally or been to a group meeting. Who’d have thought?

2/ Blogging Can Be Inspirational

Soon-to-be fulltimers Lisa & Hans over for a glass at Cape Blanco, OR (they bought the wine too!)

When I started this blog I had a dream that one day, in some way it might serve as inspiration to others seeking this lifestyle. Deep down, however, I didn’t really expect that to happen. As the blog has grown however, it’s managed to touch a few folks and it tickles me no end of joy when I find out that’s true. Just these past 2 days we’ve had visits from 2 sets of RVers whos’ fulltime journey was somehow, in some small way, helped along by my little blog ->; Trent & Barbara who just started fulltime RVing a few months ago and came by to meet us at the lighthouse, and Hans & Lisa who we met earlier this year in San Diego, have just sold their house and are planning to go fulltime in a few months. We may not have been the bridge, but we were a stepping stone along the way of their own journeys and THAT is so very cool!

3/ There Are Many Ways Of RVing

Who’d have ever thought we’d end up spending 2 months on the OR coast?

I guess when I first started RVing I didn’t really think about how exactly we would do it. Our first year we were so very excited about travelling that we just wheeled out like crazed chickens across the US spending little more than a few days at each location. Exciting! Our second year we settled down to a more relaxing pace extending stays to a week or more but still did alot of miles. Cool! This year we slowed it totally down, taking it really easy by spending several months in one spot (something I never expected when we started) and happily escaping the entire USA inland heat with a lovely cool summer on the coast. Perfect!

Choose your own path & your own pace….

The point is there is really no “right” way to RV. You’ll find folks that love moving, snowbirds that only drive in winter, summerbirds that only move in summer, workampers that stay in fixed locations for many months, couples that only do luxury resorts or people who boondock 100% of their time. All are RVers and all are valid variations of how to enjoy this lifestyle. As we progress we see ourselves continuing this slow pace. We’ve already decided to spend this winter knocking around the SW desert and next summer we’ve already decided to come back as lighthouse hosts in Oregon. Who knows what we might decide to do after that?

Three things I never expected, yet all three were positive and fun surprises. I guess the moral of the story is the same as life -> there ain’t no roadmap, but as long as you’re open to possibilities and the journey is fun, wheel on…

58 Responses to The RV Journey -> Three Twists I Never Expected When We Started Out

  1. mllowe says:

    This is a perfect segway to my next blog, about your point no.2 . We had been following you before we started full timing and we were and still are inspired and continue to learn a lot from you. So we have nominated you as a Very Inspiring Blogger .
    Check our blog at :
    http://lowestravels.com/2012/08/17/the-lowes-rv-travels-nominated-for-an-award/

  2. It’s a wonderful lifestyle of freedom! So true what you said about the social difference . . . a campground/RV park has no fences, no boundaries . . . it’s a wide open front porch where everyone greets you as if you were the prodigal son!

  3. Janna says:

    Nina, thanks very much for the link–we toy with the idea of going full time but love our home here in Montana–it’s paid for and costs us very little to keep so for the time being we will remain “part timers.”

    • libertatemamo says:

      I enjoy everyone’s journey, no matter whether they part or fulltime. Your home is Montana is lovely and I sure understand your roots there.
      Nina

  4. Daveave says:

    Couldn’t agree more, I have yet to meet an enemy at a campground. And after staying at 31 different locations in 16 weeks, being parked for a month at one location has been invigorating. Godspeed.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Goodness…31 locations in 16 weeks…no wonder a little breather was invigorating! Good travels to ya too!
      Nina

  5. LuAnn says:

    We totally agree with you Nina. When we first ventured out I must admit to a little trepidation on my part but now I am totally into this lifestyle, loving both the landscape and the people we meet. You and Paul have taught us so much with your blog posts and we feel blessed to have had the opportunity to meet. Looking forward to our paths crossing again down the road!

  6. Your learning experience has been so very similar to our own, we won’t go into the details. Two things we’ve learned: (1) Plans are carved in Jell-o; (2)It’s all part of the experience. If you’re going to be in the great southwest desert this winter, and if you’re going to be in southeastern Arizona, we’d be proud to meet you in person. We hunker down in Benson, 30 miles east of Tucson, and we’re only an email away at any time!

    • libertatemamo says:

      Haha…SO TRUE about the jello plans!! We might well try and pass thro’ Benson this winter. Our plans so far are loose and woobly so plenty of time to change them :)
      Nina

  7. Jim says:

    In our 4 years on the road we have experienced the same feelings as you. The best and most surprising part of fulltiming has been the great friends we’ve made along the way. We, too have slowed down quite a bit, but no matter how you do it, it’s a great lifestyle.

  8. Lisa says:

    Yes indeed, the blogs of RVers have been inspirational and educational to us. We researched and prepped for this next phase of life for at least two years and blogs such as yours which is so detailed and enjoyable to read have been veritable guidebooks to the lifestyle!

    It was great seeing you two again the other day and learning about your hosting adventures. I’m looking forward to the day we can meet when we are actually in an RV too! Only a month or so to go…!

    Lisa (and Hans)

    • libertatemamo says:

      Lookin’ forward to following you on your travels. And I agree that I’ve been inspired by so many other bloggers too.
      Nina

  9. John says:

    Hope we cross paths while you’re in the Southwest this winter. Really enjoy your blog!

    • libertatemamo says:

      I do too! Love to meet folks on the road. I’ll try and post our path when our plans firm up a bit more.
      Nina

  10. Stephen says:

    I fall into the category – “among the inspired ” – will never forget entering a search term along the lines of “rv lifestyle” and almost immediately finding you two – have been following you ever since

    now full timing several months – loving it all. have used your “how to’s”; site reviews; been in your footsteps; and have enjoyed all your storytelling and photography – have tried to create a blog that will inspire to…

    thanks for all your stories and all you share

    safe travels – hope to cross paths one day – now in Yellowstone but headed this fall towards Oregon etc – take care

    • libertatemamo says:

      Wow…so very happy the blog has helped you on your way. Thanks so much for the lovely words. Enjoy your trip to Oregon!
      Nina

  11. Richard & Vivian van Dijk says:

    We’ll be at Anza Borrego this winter; will we see you folks there?

    Ginger/Richard

    • libertatemamo says:

      We are definitely thinking about it. Love the area and can totally see going back. If we do we will definitely look you up. I want to see all those fabulous interior mods you made with my own eyes!
      Nina

  12. Jim says:

    Love the idea of staying on the Coast during summer…this is our first year on the road and we are doing way to much driving…lol.. but we r catching up on family that is scattered all over….we also kept the house, all paid for so for now going to hang on to it… we will finish 6 months on the road, with 8000 miles covered, and all Grandkids caught up on…lol be safe you 3..

    • libertatemamo says:

      6 months and 8000 miles is definitely a good number of driving miles :) It’s great that you’ve been able to see the whole family. Yet another bonus of RVing!
      Nina

  13. Sherry says:

    Count me among the inspired. You have given me some beautiful places to turn my tires toward and some great ideas as well. Since I really don’t like to drive or ride, I’ve always been a slow mover. If I only spend two nights somewhere that’s unusual I must be on my way to someplace which I try not to do too often. I just want to wander into cooler temperatures in the summer and then into warmer temperatures in the winter and be in gorgeous natural settings while I do it. 5 days is my preferred minimum and a more than a month means this is a really special place. But now, I think I might manage even more than that at your Oregon Lighthouses.

    • libertatemamo says:

      So happy to have inspired you!! Are you also thinking about becoming a lighthouse host? We’ve signed up for next year already so perhaps we’ll see you here!
      Nina

  14. You have inspired us and we are following your advice on everything! We’ve just started full timing and love it very much. I got my blog started and would love to catch up with you sometime to get some technical lessons from you on blogging. We call our home The Bear, so our blog is “Bear Tracks”. The address is http://www.beartracksblog.wordpress.com. This is fun! –Linda

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh I love to hear that feedback! And thanks for the blog link. I will look in on it and hope to meet up on the road.
      Nina

  15. I loved your post today!! It totally hit home for Jerry and I. Now don’t laugh, but we have been full-timing now for exactly 8 days. That’s right…8 days. We left Phoenix, where we both have lived for decades, and picked up our brand new 40′ Heartland Landmark last Friday in Elkhart, Indiana. We are now on our way to Coffeyville, Kansas, where we will be working at Amazon for 3 1/2 months.

    It took us 18 months, but we sold our “bricks and sticks” home, sold everything inside of it and made the decision to experience life. We are still young (in our mid 40s) so we definitely will be working while doing this. By profession, Jerry owned a photography business and I owned a graphic design company, but on the road we will be doing seasonal work. We don’t have human kids, but we do have a miniature dachshund “kid”.

    We have a blog too. It is cr8ingthelife.blogspot.com if you are interested! Again, we love following you guys and we have already experienced a taste of what you wrote about today, even in our preparation for hitting the road.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Congrats on the new lifestyle!! Pretty soon those 8 days will turn into 8 months and then who knows…8 years? Enjoy your time on the road. Looking forward to reading about your experience at Amazon.
      Nnia

  16. Carol Kerr says:

    As always I enjoy your perspective. I don’t recall when I found your blog, but I especially enjoy the blogs of folks who are not the traditional retired fulltimers, since we fall in that category ourselves!

    • libertatemamo says:

      So happy you found us! I do think there are alot more non-traditional fulltimers on the road these days. We’re still a small group, but it’s a strong one. I find we have alot in common with other RVers.
      Nina

  17. Aubrey Blalock says:

    Nina,
    We love your blog and the inspiration you share. We have learned so much from you about the RV experience. Your writing style and humor is such fun and your photography is a real bonus. You are really skilled in both facets.

    We bought our own “beast” and have the house for sale, but, I am still working. My wife retired from teaching after 25 years. We are in the oft read about phase of just doing it regardless of financial status.

    Your blog is truly a call of the wild and I can hardly wait to start full timing.

    Please keep it up. I look forward everyday to looking to see if you have posted again.

    Safe travels and Peace Be With You,

    Aubrey and Dianne

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment! Congrats on the new “beast” and good luck with the home sale. Wish you guys all the best on the road!
      Nina

  18. Hector Lopez says:

    Hi Nina and Paul, your three year reflections and your fantastic blog are an inspiration for us. I am writing this sitting in an almost empty house and after 5 years of planning the time has finally arrived for our planned 3 year walkabout. We are moving into “Island Girl” next weekend and will join the family of full timers! Work doesn’t end until October … so the adventure isn’t quite fully underway yet. But soooo close. Thank you again for sharing so much of your adventure …

    Hope our safe travels cross paths.

    Hector and Brenda

    • libertatemamo says:

      Oh how exciting!! Congrats on the upcoming fulltiming!! Here’s hoping you get many fabulous experiences on the road!
      Nina

  19. DeVora Clark says:

    I get so excited when I read all of these positive comments and blogs! I pray that I too, will be able to become a full-time RV-er, as soon as I can retire from teaching in 3 years. I dream of living in an Airstream so I can sing all over the US with my music. Don’t know where the money will come from to buy my dream Serenity 25-footer, or the truck to pull it, but my dream gives me the strength to believe for it! http://www.devoraclark.com

    • libertatemamo says:

      Every great step in life starts with a dream, so here’s hoping yours comes true!! We’ve met so many different people on the road with so many alternative lifestyles (and incomes). It IS inspiring and I hope your path leads down that same road!
      Nina

  20. jil mohr says:

    I think the other thing about rving is that one meets people they probably would never had met if they stayed in their “city” life….at least that has been our experience…we have been full timing now for 10 years and each year has been different…..I remember when we met you and the connection we had…although we haven’t seen you since…I still feel we are connected…that has been true with many of my rv friends….I love this lifestyle and all it has to offer…glad you do too…

    • libertatemamo says:

      So true Jil. I also find it amazing that we met so briefly yet forged such a close connection in Singletree…we WILL meet you guys again. Maybe in Benson this winter?
      Nina

  21. snybe says:

    We really enjoy your blog and have actually used many of your pointers already on our fulltime RV adventure. We are a family of eight who sold the house and are going to tour America and Canada. While preparing for our fulltime lifestyle, your blog was a big inspiration.

    Thank You,
    Donald & Misty Lively with six kids.

    Visit our blog at:
    http://livelyrv.blogspot.com

    • libertatemamo says:

      So happy my blog has helped you along. WOW….an RV with 6 kids, now that is something!! I’ll be checking out your travels.
      Nina

  22. Shirlene says:

    Hey Nina, your post inspires me to respond to you. I have been following your blog for about a year now, every day, or every blog you write. I find your advice inspiring and very helpful and I print it up and put it in a file when I find something that I think I can use down the road. You see, my partner and I are planning on full timing..not quite yet, we need to sell everything, my property, her property and retire. Because of blogs like yours, we are looking forward to our own adventure. Because of your inspiring words, and great advice, I hope we get to hook up with you at sometime along the way. We live in So Cal, so looks like it might be possible at some point if you are still fulltiming by the time we hit the road. Which leads to the question…how long do you think you will be a nomad?. I hope to live out the rest of my live in my home on wheels and meet everyone I can and see everything I can. Happy Trails to you until we meet (again).

    • libertatemamo says:

      Thanks so much for your lovely comments…and following us along on our journey for the past year!
      As for how long we’ll be on wheels…I really don’t know. I’ve always loved to travel and see myself continuing to do so for the rest of my life, but whether it will be on wheels or not I don’t know. As long as RVing is still in our blood we’ll be out here, but when other paths call to us we’ll probably move on. It’s a wishy-washy answer I know, but then so is life :)
      Nina

  23. Reminds me of, “You Can Plan the Plan”… Perhaps our paths will cross this Winter – we will be traveling the SW as well. Travel Safe.

  24. Jim Brown says:

    I can understand why you have had so many comments. In the year that I have been a full-time RVer, I have had the exact same experiences. I knew that I would see a lot of beautiful country but it has been the people I have met along the way that has been the most pleasant surprise.

    • libertatemamo says:

      Totally agree…I think every RVer ends up having this experience. It’s a great bonus of the lifestyle!
      Nina

  25. I totally concur on all three points, they’ve definitely been true for us as well.

    Our first year on the road we came back with a ton of photos of pretty places. We kept forgetting to take photos of the amazing people we were able to connect with, and we just couldn’t properly sum up the experience of being on the road. Meeting others in our travels has been the definite highlight, for sure!

    6 years and we’re still at it – and the people are definitely where it’s at for us. And darn it.. one day we will rendezvous with you guys! It’s been awesome to be able to connect with our fellow non-retireed RVers via blogging.

    • libertatemamo says:

      I agree that the people make this lifestyle so much more interesting. I LOVE the fact that you guys have recorded and posted about various couples you’ve met along the way on your blog. It’s so fascinating to read about the diversity of folks out there. Yours was also one of the blogs that served as inspiration for us when we started our own journey.

      And yes, we WILL meet one day :)

      Nina

  26. Lynda says:

    After 17 years of full-time RVing, our friends are comprised of the many folks we’ve “met along the way”; those who share our sense of adventure, boondocking in beautiful locations (like the Anza Borrego Desert), following the sun to the Pacific Northwest (but only in August), then moving on. We find that now we return to a lot of the same locations, just because we love them so much… Lynda

    • libertatemamo says:

      I can totally see that after years of RVing we would want to spend more time in specific areas that we love. Amazing that you have been on the road 17 years…fabulous!
      Nina

  27. Dave says:

    Hi Nina, I have been following your blog now for two years and have enjoyed it immensely as well as learned many things. My wife and I retired last fall and have spent 9 of the last 12 months in our 5th. wheel and are loving it. Thank you for the inspiration.

  28. [...] more emphasis on the importance of having social connections in retirement. Not too long ago Nina posted about this unexpected surprise for [...]

  29. [...] latter only illustrates to confirm my view that RVing is, rather surprisingly, one of the most social activities we’ve ever done. Not only did we make some fabulous friends at the spa including Sue & [...]

  30. […] many times before on the blog that RVing has been one of the most social activities we’ve ever done. This was a total surprise to me and something I never expected when we first started out. Who […]

  31. […] we’ve had in a while. I absolutely love how social RVing is. In fact, it’s one of the things that surprised us most about this lifestyle. But we also love our solo-time and having spent a particularly social winter […]

  32. […] Since we’ve been on the road we’ve had more easy, instant social encounters than we ever had before. We’ve meet people in a campground and ended up in their rig (their home) chatting for the night. We’ve made blog friends over the internet and invited them to stay at our boondocking sites (or visa versa). We’ve struck up conversation with couples and then ended up RVing with them for several weeks at a time. In the RV world all of this is totally normal and it’s a fascinating phenomenon. It may be the common bond of travel that we all share (I’ve had similar experiences backpacking, for example), or simply the openness to adventure and new things. Whatever the reason the barrier to friendship is lower and bonds form with an ease which I never experienced before. RV folks are just different and that’s part of what makes this a surprisingly social lifestyle. […]

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