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With the cost of living in most areas skyrocketing, more and more people are choosing RV life. I’m hoping to be one of them! In fact, I have a two-year plan to RV freedom mostly worked out, and have been heavily researching to find out if I’m missing any key information.
Why I’m Choosing RV Life
A lot of people think my dream is insane. Why would you choose to live in an RV? It’s cramped and uncomfortable. RVs are just as expensive as houses – how will you afford it? You’re throwing your life and career away!
The Downsides of Choosing RV Life
To be fair, these naysayers do make good points. An RV will definitely be smaller than the 2500 square foot house I’m currently living in. And no, I don’t need that much space, not in the slightest. But it was a super cheap house and I’m hoping to do some DIY home improvement and rent it out once I hit the road. It was an investment more than a need.
But back to the negatives. I obviously don’t know all the downsides because I haven’t embarked on this incredible journey yet. Alyssa Padgett’s Beginner’s Guide to Living in an RV discusses some of them -like cleaning black water tanks and losing your entire home when it needs a repair (she goes into tons of details about what to actually expect with the RV life – get the book here!).
There are clearly other big picture downsides that she doesn’t discuss. My biggest fear in taking the plunge is losing the security of my location dependent job. Others may worry about the lack of stability if they chose to have kids.
The Positives Outweigh the Negatives
Obviously choosing RV life will have its downsides, but it’s all a trade-off. I’m a Sagittarius – and if anyone cares anything about astrology, they will know that Sags have an insatiable lust for adventure. My pragmatism and stability have been slowly destroying my spirit, and that’s just not sustainable. I need to travel, try new things, have adventures, wake up near the mountains, and be free to indulge in all of life’s wonders. Choosing RV life is the first step to that dream life.
Why RV Life?
To be honest, the RV life is a bit of a compromise. I’m super stoked about it, don’t get me wrong, and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. But my end goal is traveling to all four corners of the globe – studying Tai Chi in China, teaching English in Cambodia, going on Safari in Rwanda. Those things aren’t possible for another ten or so years, so why not start with what is possible? And that’s choosing RV life.
Why aren’t those Things Possible?
Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Anything is possible if you put your mind to it. These things are true, but there is a trade-off to everything. I have a menagerie (4 cats and two dogs), and they absolutely are holding me back from traveling the world. But the alternative is to dump them somewhere – whether that be with a family member or a shelter. Although its clearly possible for me to dump them, it’s not something that I’m willing to do. I refuse to dump fur babies that I adopted off somewhere to live a selfish life. I adopted them, so my life is going to include them until their very end of their long and healthy lives.
But this is why RV life is such a great compromise. Cats may not travel well (and bringing pets on an international adventure is probably not the answer) but they can grow accustomed to an RV home. In choosing the RV life, I get the best of both worlds. I get to travel, see a huge chunk of the world (there are tons of National Parks, small towns, and quirky attractions in the US!), and explore one of my own passions (Reading Tarot cards, crafting jewelry, and enjoying the Renaissance Faire circuit). And I get to bring my babies with me through all of it!
The Positives of RV Life
So far, I’ve only talked about the negatives and why RV life is a compromise. Maybe you’re thinking that I don’t have any ideas for why it would be positive – but clearly I just saved the best parts for last.
The biggest positive of RV life (for me anyway) is the freedom that it brings. We can spend the winters at RV parks in Florida or California, and spend the summers gallivanting through the great expanse of the Western Frontier. We can go anywhere, see anything, do whatever we please. If we decide we like it somewhere, we can stay for a few extra days (or weeks), or even come back next year. We can spend our evenings watching the milky way in the Arizona desert. The possibilities that open up to you with life on the road are endless. I can’t wait to get started!
There is so much you can do with the freedom of RV life that I can’t even begin to express it all. Maybe it’s akin to what the first settlers felt when they journeyed across the oceans (but without all the disease and hardship – hopefully). Being location independent will open up so many new worlds for us – places to sell our wares, side hustles we never even considered, photo ops, inspiration, and more. Maybe I’m just being idealistic, but I really can’t wait.
I’ve yet to do an entire cost-comparison between RV life and the traditional stable life, but I know that there are ways to make the RV life super cheap. You can buy a cheapy travel trailer for less than 10K, and a used pickup truck to haul it for only a little more money. If you want to be super frugal about it, you can even chose van life for way cheaper. With either of those options, you can overnight in Walmart, Cracker Barrel, and Truck Stop parking lots for free. You can even boondock for multiple days on Federal Lands for free!
I’d personally rather use campgrounds for the majority of the time, especially for the electric and water hookups. But those only run about twenty bucks a day at the high end, which is $600 bucks a month. That’s cheaper than rent in a lot of places, and you don’t have to pay for a security deposit, utilities, or worry about breaking a lease!
Excited for this Adventure
In my opinion, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Hell, I’d argue that having the freedom to explore the world would outweigh the negatives even if it wasn’t more cost effective! But I have to admit, there’s a surreal aspect to the idea of life on the road. Tons of people imagine it, but few actually do it – because the reality may never be as epic as you imagine. There’s only one way to find out though, right? And that’s to take the plunge and do it. Who’s with me?
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.