When we told our friends and family we were leaving to travel by RV around the U.S. and into parts of Canada, their reactions easily fell into one of three groups:
- those who didn’t bat an eye because they knew us well and expected unexpected ideas like this. I suppose that’s a good thing?
- those who were surprised but genuinely excited for us
- those who freaked out! What if we were robbed, murdered or mauled by a bear?
It’s been over four months now and while there are parts of the journey that have been challenging and trying, I’m extremely thankful for being able to make this crazy idea a reality. At the risk of sounding cliche, the only moment we’re guaranteed is the one we’re living in right now. Life is full of “could’ves” and “should’ves” and I was intent on ensuring this crazy idea wasn’t relegated to a pile of regrets.
And so far, there have been no regrets, only lessons and realizations:
You’ll learn adaptability
Tell that to someone like me, who’s a consummate planner. While I haven’t broken my habit of researching and creating itineraries (and lists, I love lists!) completely, I have learned to be more flexible and patient on this journey. And that’s really been key.
That’s because this journey, (and its really been a journey in all sense of the word), has thrown a few curve balls my way: we’ve encountered hiccups in our plans, our generator broke down for a couple of hot days in Texas, my dog Misty got sick for a couple of weeks, we visited places that I thought would be interesting, but which turned out not to be so, and vice versa. Allowing some flexibility in our plans has enabled us to custom fit the places to us and not the other way around.
You’ll appreciate the slower pace
Life moves at a breakneck speed. When planning this trip, RVing was a good fit because I was drawn to the idea of slower travel. Rather than fly from location to location while spending countless hours in airport terminals, I now spend countless hours behind the wheel. (Haha, just kidding, if only a little) 😳.
Yes, it’s true that the long drives can take a lot out of you, but there’s something to be said for seeing the scenery change from the red rocks of Arizona, arid deserts of Texas, humid bayous of Louisiana, turquoise waters off the Keys to the rugged coastlines of Maine. It’s awe-inspiring watching the landscapes unfold while trying to commit those views to memory. Plus, now I’ve learned to limit the drives, to 2-3 hours, wherever possible.
You’ll have the comforts of home with you (and it’ll be the most affordable vacation home, or even primary home, you’ll ever buy)
While I’m no fan of setting up and tearing down upon arriving at a new campsite, it’s comforting to have some semblance of normalcy living in the RV. I have my favorite well-worn t-shirts, comfort foods, my own towels and bed sheets, and of course, my two partners in crime with me wherever I go.
Add to that the fact that my traveling home is a beach bungalow, lakeside cottage, mountain cabin and desert hideaway, all in one! If we want to spend a week at the beach then a week by a lake, we can, with little hindrance. Unlike a timeshare, we’re not forced to pick a week out of the year to enjoy a vacation either.
You’ll build a community wherever you go
The bonds of community within a vagabond campground are tenuous and temporary, but even so, they’re there. Contrary to what some of my friends and family feared, I’ve encountered fellow travelers who are helpful, kind and funny. People have brought over food to share, regaled me with fond travel tales, and readily given up tips and hidden spots to visit. They’re all now woven into my travel memories, and I’m happy for that.
You’ll be in a constant state of exploration
Of course the main reason we love RVing is because it gave us an outlet to our wanderlust. People forget that there’s so much to see in our own backyards. For starters, our national parks are awesome! And yet, there are too many of us who haven’t visited them. But with an RV, you could go out and explore — get sweaty on a good hike, a little muddy from a bike ride or damp from a kayak session — then come back to a hot shower and warm bed. ☺
But in addition to exploring the great outdoors, this slower form of travel also leaves room for inner exploration. Whether it’s during a 2-hour drive or while sitting outside watching the light fade away, you’ll likely start contemplating some heavy stuff: what you want, where you’re going, what you hope to accomplish. You might even deliberate the meaning of life, or at least, the meaning of your life. And then you’ll do what most other travelers do when they’ve got some free time — decide where to go next.