This is the result of a question asked by one of my readers. It seemed appropriate to share these lessons for those considering full time living in an RV. (These are the lessons I learned; other full time RVers would report other lessons.)
...The first year is a learning experience. Be prepared. That first year may also be more costly than subsequent years.
...With all the free time to vacation, you will find yourself in "vacation mode" -- trying to do it all. Don't frustrate yourself. For all your working years, vacations were limited to one or two weeks and you filled each day from rising sun to setting sun. As a full time RVer, you have lots of time. You can take days off from exploring -- and vacation. Do the laundry. Go for a walk. Go to a movie.
A word of caution. You can't do it all. You never will. It will take twenty life times -- and more -- to see and experience all the world has to offer.
...Don’t make reservations or commitments. If you do make commitments, say something vague like you “will be at X place sometime in the summer.” Or specify some month. I do make reservations once in a while. However, I find it very stressful to meet those commitments. On some rare occasions, I've made reservations over major holidays. Most frequently, that is July 4th.
...Be prepared to be lost. Full time living on the road and arriving in a new town is like going into a different grocery store. You will have no idea where anything is located. Where is the post office. Where is the cheapest fuel. Actually, you don't even know where the grocery store is located.
...It is less expensive living the nomadic life than retiring to the home in Denver.
...The most expensive thing about retiring early (I was 60) to hit the road is the cost of health insurance (actually it is estate insurance). However, several of my under 65 road acquaintances manage to live without health insurance.
...Investments that allow alternate camping options will prove financially beneficial. A rig that is self contained with solar power and/or generator will allow extended camping on government lands for free or very little cost. A self contained rig is also essential for overnight camping on concrete parking lots such as Wal-Mart. Additional ways to reduce camping costs can be done through campground memberships such as Passport America, a SKP membership, Good Sams (even though they send lots of junk mail), AAA, etc. An Elks membership will allow RV camping at those Elks Lodges where there are RV facilities available.
Finally there is the "time share" solution to camping. Buying new campground memberships can be pricey. There are also used Campground Memberships For Sale. All of the mentioned options have advantages and disadvantages.
Do the research to determine which of the options may be best for your traveling style. To round out your information, talk with other full timers to find out how they address the costs of RV camping.
These aren't lessons, but I have found that...
Nomadic traveling is more fun than I thought it could be. The fun is exploring where ever I am; meeting and talking to people; walking streets looking for photos; checking out local wineries; find that off the beaten path eatery (not a chain restaurant); National Parks; etc.
Retirement to that Denver home would have been a boring existence. I would have gotten a job or found some volunteering position.
All that stuff that was in my home is not missed. In fact I recall little of what I had. And I certainly don’t miss being a slave to a home or even home ownership and its attendant issues. Considering my home was built circa 1890, I was nothing more than a caretaker for the short time I lived there.
We loved this article. Thank you for sharing this. Me, my husband and our 2 children will be in an RV fulltime starting in March. It was only going to be temporary for about a year. Until we could afford our mobile home. Now we are re-thinking this whole thing. Wondering if Rv full time is the way to go. All of us love the idea. Thanks for the inspiration.