Ron Jones with his RV. Photo by Ron Jones.
I am retired—several times. The first was a medical retirement from the US Army in 1970. The second was as a Professor at the University of North Texas. I am also an RVer and have been forever. That is, I have owned several RVs of various sizes and my wife and I love to travel over North America.
We certainly live an unusual lifestyle. I am what is called a “fulltimer.” That’s a term for people who live fulltime in an RV—a recreational vehicle—mine is a motorhome. A true fulltimer has no other home. Maybe they sold their house and want to travel, cut their costs by living in something smaller or less expensive, live closer to their kids, or just decrease the daily/weekly work and costs to maintain a normal house. Regardless, they are now living full-time in an RV. It is their only home.
When discussing “fulltimers,” we are not including individuals forced to live in an RV such as construction workers or insurance adjustors that move close to the job. When insurance adjustors are sent to disaster areas, many of them live in RVs and may be in a single location for a few months. However, living this way may be necessary for the job.
Deciding to Fulltime
The Jones’ on the road with their RV. Photo by Ron Jones.
We didn’t make a conscious decision to “fulltime” in an RV. We made a decision to travel more and liked the RVing option. We had been on many cruises so more weren’t the answer since your destinations are limited. Flying is a hassle and staying in hotels/motels gets old in a hurry and are expensive.
Our major change-in-lifestyle decision took place in 2003—several years before the 2008 recession—and had nothing to do with finances. We didn’t have to sell our house but simply wanted to get away from all the work and costs you deal with when you live in and take care of a big house with a yard. Think about it… you mow the yard and then turn on the sprinklers so that the grass will grow so you can mow the yard again. Is this nuts or what?
We really wanted to travel lots more. After all, we were newly retired so all this was possible. So, Fall 2002, we made the decision to sell our home, purchased a motorhome that December, so there was really nothing to prevent us from traveling. Our home sold in early 2003 and the result was we instantly traded 3,000+ square feet of house for a bit less than 400+ square feet of expandable living space. However, that 400+ square feet could be driven just about anywhere in North America. So we could travel with our household going with us to virtually anywhere—then live there as long as we wanted—but at first, we just didn’t fully realize the freedom we now had.
Why Do You Live Like This?
On the Road with the Jones’. Photo by Ron Jones.
We love to travel. That, combined with a desire to see/visit the gazillion places in our great nation and our wonderful northern neighbor (Canada) make us the perfect couple for this lifestyle. We are not “on the run” from anything, not trying to get away from anybody, not antisocial, and as previously stated, didn’t have to do this for financial reasons. We just want to see North America and what it has to offer plus visit lots of friends and family that we wouldn’t normally visit.
So, why do we live like this? We love the opportunity to visit new places, meet new people, visit old friends, and family. We love the unencumbered, uncluttered freedom, to enjoy being able to keep more of our income, to not be forced to change our lifestyle due to economic fluctuations, can sit in our chairs, know who slept in our bed last night, know what’s in the fridge, and maybe the most important reason… to never have to mow another yard nor shovel snow again.
Seeing America…Photo by Ron Jones.
I absolutely guarantee there are more fun things to do. The good news is that RVing fulltime is an inexpensive way to live. Accurate data indicate that the savings is slightly less than 30 percent. For those on any fixed income, living the same lifestyle at a 30 percent savings is wonderful. Without question, the most common reason we have heard for a couple to start fulltime RVing is so they can simply travel—to be able to see the USA and Canada on their own terms, their own schedule, and have the freedom to go where they want, when they want, and stay as long as they want. We agree completely.
Photo by Ron Jones.
Author Bio: Ron Jones is retired Army, professor, and publisher and has traveled fulltime over most of North America for twelve years. He presents RV seminars, has written for all the major RV magazines, and authored five RV books including All the Stuff You Need to Know About RVing, Fulltiming for New and Used RVers, RVing to Alaska, RVing to Newfoundland, The Best RV Trips in North America (an eBook only) and Wrinkle-Free RV Laundry.
Reprint from Sep–Oct 2014 • Volume 44, No. 5