Why We Decided to Stop Full-Time RVing

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rv for saleIt is strange to be writing this less than a year after getting our RV, but sometimes life changes and we change right along with it. Often, that may mean the path you so carefully laid out is no longer the one you find yourself on. But, that’s okay. It doesn’t mean you failed. It is just life. We take risks, we learn, we recalculate, and we keep moving forward. Deciding to stop full-time RVing took months of long talks, lots of praying and some harsh realizations. But in the end, we had to choose what was right for our next chapter. And that meant giving up the rolling home we lived in for one crazy, amazing, difficult year.

So, what happened?

Why did we decided to give up a lifestyle we raved about mere months ago and made huge sacrifices to pursue? We have many different reasons for making the decision to sell our RV (for a loss, none-the-less). Saying we want to focus on international travel is our much shorter and easier answer (especially when talking to fellow RVers).

winnebago
We got this … right?

For us, RVing was a way to quickly and drastically break free from a life we had grown very unhappy with – of consumerism, desk jobs and limited time to do what we love. It is a unique way to travel and live. Yet, the immense learning curve we created for ourselves when we became full-time RVers felt like a huge weight – not the freedom we were seeking. Trying to learn how to RV, find work, plan travel and deal with life all at the same time, was just really overwhelming. As much as we tried, and as much as we loved parts of the lifestyle, we never really got in a good rhythm.

RV life realities

However, for the first eight months of our life on the road, we honestly felt like it was our best option. And it was. We chose to RV as a way to save money, pursue time freedom, and get to travel to new places without having to leave our beloved cat behind.

RVing really is an amazing way to travel. And it was leaps and bounds better than working 9-5 for the man. But, the day-to-day planning and allllll that driving and the don’t-break-the-RV checklist always in your mind as a full-timer, is very challenging – especially in your first couple of months. Yet, when you weigh your other options, it often still comes out as the winner. Because you just can’t fathom going back to your “old life.”

The big change

My mom asked me often over the last year, “what do you think you will do after RVing?” I always answered, “if it weren’t for the cat, we’d probably live out of backpacks.” Like many people, we got the RV because of our furbaby. We could have saved money and traveled many other ways. But RVing was the only realistic option that allowed us to bring Sugar with us. We were looking for a way for all three of us to escape, and an RV made sense. So, when she passed away unexpectedly, it changed everything.

sugar rv cat
One of my favorite photos of our Sugar in the RV. She loved to sniff the fresh air and look for birds. Beyond thankful for that quality time with our girl.

Initially, we said we would give ourselves another year to really figure out this RVing thing, but neither of us really wanted that. The cat was the only reason we desired a semblance of stability, the only reason we didn’t take more risks. We used her as an excuse to put off the big adventures, the really scary and exciting ideas we dreamed about in some far-off future. All-of-a-sudden, despite our grief, it became apparent that anything was possible. This question hung over us daily, “are you really going to go for it now, or was that all talk?”

So, we sold the RV to pursue travel that suits our personalities and dreams better – with no plans of going back to that dreaded “old life” we left behind. And we have some awesome things in the works to make that happen (but, that’s for another post). Let’s get to what everyone really wants to know …

Why didn’t full-time RVing work for us?

I think it is important to start by saying, we LOVE many things about RVing and think it is a great way to travel. And the RVing community is THE BEST. However, taking a trip in an RV and living full-time in one are very different experiences. While most people would be up for a weekend or even summer-long getaway in an RV (which we hope to still do often!), not everyone wants to live their entire life in one.

Baum RV
Our first week of our RVing in our beautiful Winnebago View, Vik. Look at those cautiously optimistic smiles!

It is a unique and challenging lifestyle that is very hard to prepare for, and you won’t know if you like it until you try. And yes, that is a completely justified reason to go for it! No regrets here. We know now that, if we needed to, we could live in an RV. But, we just want to pursue other adventures now that we can.

Yes, RVing was much more expensive than we expected, RV parks annoy us, moving too often was exhausting, and there is always a chance that something major will go wrong with your home at any time. But, the big problem was us. We had unrealistic expectations, didn’t plan ahead as much as we should have, and had less-than-positive attitudes most of the time.

RVing was a lifestyle, not a quick fix

Thinking living in an RV, quitting jobs we didn’t like, and having complete time freedom would make us happy, motivated people was an idiotic idea. It was a band-aid for much bigger issues. This year was spent overcoming fears, frustrations, bad habits, relationship problems and a lot of painful, unexpected events. If we could have been the people we are today, who know our faults and the personal issues that prevent our own happiness (as well as each other’s), we would have been much more successful RVers. Maybe it would have been a lifestyle we never wanted to give up. We’ll never know, and that’s okay.

We needed this year – the hardest of our entire marriage. We needed to realize that we are the determining factor of whether we have a happy life, not our situation. Yes, there were a lot of things about RVing full-time that we didn’t like or dissapointed us. But we could have had a better attitude about it – we should have. In the end though, even with the best attitude, it isn’t for us right now. Not at this point in our life, anyway.

RVE summit Baums
“Never Stand Still” seems to be our motto. Photo by our talented friend, Joe Hendricks.

Lessons learned from RVing

But, full-time RVing has taught us so much. For the first time in my entire life, I believe that there are far more good, well-meaning people than bad – especially fellow travelers. We have met more interesting, inspiring people in the last year than in our entire lives combined. And we’ve gained an amazing group of friends from the RVing community who we hope we will always remain close to. We are even planning future travel around spending time with locals, as well as new and old friends.

Buddy and I have both overcome many fears and realized that we can indeed make enough money to pay our bills while working hours we set. We have confidence in our skills, our intelligence and more determination than we know what to do with. (I’m even transitioning into being the Editor of WinnebagoLife.com, after starting as a contributor last year – crazy! And 100% not possible had we never RVed.)

Who we are now

Most importantly, we have realized that God has far better plans for us than we could ever imagine and that we have to hold onto our faith that He’s got us – especially when it feels like everything is crumbling. We have been blessed beyond measure and have so many amazing things in store for us. And we are committed to each other in the most raw, open way we ever have been.

last night in RV
Dreaming of what’s ahead on our last night in the RV.

There were moments over the last year that I thought we wouldn’t recover from. But looking back now, shoving ourselves so closely together into this overwhelming, crazy, unpredictable situation was the only way to finally admit to our insecurities, faults and pain that we got so good at covering up. And realize what it will take to overcome that, together.

We will always be thankful for RV life for enabling us to get here – for breaking us at times, so we could be built back up stronger. And we know eventually, the struggles of full-timing and this crazy year will fade in our memory, and it will be a time we reminisce on for long into the future. “That one year we lived in an RV…”

So, what’s next?

Short answer: Everything! Long answer: Coming soon. But it looks a little like this…

subaru-baums
#Subarulife … ?
While RVing is a great way to travel, hitting the road full-time is a challenge. Read why we decided to stop full-time RVing after less than a year - including what happened to make us change course, why full-time RVing didn't work for us and some of the lessons we learned.

15 COMMENTS

  1. That’s one of my biggest peeves about this lifestyle is that not many people talk about how hard it is and how exhausting it is and how much RV parks are miserable loud places! We have been on the road for over a year and like y’all, it was mainly based on our dog…..who died. We have since made some changes, instead of giving up RV life all together we bought acreage in an area we love so we can have an adventure base with our RV. What we have learned is that RVing, traveling, life can be whatever you want it to be. Your life, your rules. If someone tries to tell you that full time RVing is like OMG so perfect and amazing, they are liars. Absolutely liars. They’re trying to sell you something that doesn’t exist. For us, we’re not quite done yet but it’s not the end all be all. You don’t fail by not staying in the full time RV cult, it’s just a chapter in a book. Good luck on your next adventure!

    • I totally understand and so sorry to hear you suffered a loss this year as well. We were always happy to be part of the “RV cult” (lol it is kind of a tight-knit community, huh?) and will always consider our RVing friends as part of our tribe, but I think a lot of people get a really unrealistic view of what this lifestyle is like because everyone tries to only show the positive side on social media, etc. I think that is getting better, but most people don’t pull out the camera as they are crying on their tiny kitchen floor – so most photos will often show the epic, pretty moments, which are usually not the majority. There is good and bad to everything. Anyone who thinks RVing will be a free pass to never having to deal with real life issues again, is sorely mistaken. But, like you’ve seen, it does help you learn to go with the flow a little better and gives you the opportunity to figure out what your best life looks like – whether that is in an RV or not. 🙂 Glad you are making the best of it!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this. We are about to stop RVing most likely, and switch to sailing. I completely understand what you mean about your cat. We have two dogs and chose a big RV so that we could all travel together. Now, we’ve decided not to let them “hold us back” anymore and start sailing. It’s what we wanted to do before, but we chose RV life instead because we thought it would be easier for them. They’re going to come along, of course, and we are still going to make it a lot about them, but we are going to follow our dreams! We still absolutely LOVE RV life though – it’s just been several years so we’re ready for the next thing now.

    • So glad you enjoyed the article and excited to follow along with your journey! Sailing sounds like an amazing adventure. Hopefully, your pups will think so, too. 🙂 Here’s to following dreams!

  3. You both are incredible. Thank you for opening up and sharing your heart! God really does have bigger and better plans than we ever could imagine, and we can’t wait to follow along and see how he continues to work in you both!!

    • Thank you so much, Jordan! You two are such an inspiration to us! We love how open you are with what God is doing in your life and strive to share more of our personal journey to help inspire others, too. Hope our paths cross again! 🙂

  4. So glad you are following the “ever changing” dream! There’s always course corrections, but your path down the RV road is what has brought you to this new detour. I’ll look forward to seeing what the future brings to you!

  5. Loved you both before, and even more now. Seriously, this is so heartfelt and transparent. There isn’t enough vulnerability in today’s blogging. Everyone always appears to have that perfect snapshot worthy life. Thank you for being unmasked and truthful. It is beautiful. It sounds like this was a season that God took you through for a Reason. I wonder what He will do with you in the future. Be encouraged, know that you have true friends and more importantly a brother and sister in Brittany and I. Carpe life you guys and hopefully we’ll get to carpe some of that life with you in the not too distant future..

    With love and prayers…
    ~ Eric, Brittany and #babynomad of RVWanderlust

    • Thanks so much for these sweet words and encouragement. Knowing that we have so much support in this journey really does make it feel like we can do anything. And we certainly try to be transparent, but definitely wait it out until we have some lessons to share. haha Love you guys and hope to see you again soon! 🙂

  6. Hi Brooke – I really wish we could have crossed paths at the summit. I interview couples about their intimate relationship while RVing and it sounds like you understand the crucible that it represents for honing our bond with our partner. I’m glad you both came out stronger and I’m sure you’ve learned life lessons that you might not have ever learned. You can see these interviews on my vlog on youtube at the art of RV harmony. It’s my belief that RVing can be the best thing that ever happened to your relationship if you do the work the opportunity presents. If you go to my blog of the same name I offer a free pdf of all the challenges we faced in our relationship because we RVed. I was completely transparent about the difficulties and their solutions. Look forward to following your new adventure and I hope you keep sharing about the impact it has on your relationship as well.

    • I’ll have to go check out your interviews and tips, Britt! Love that you are sharing all of that, as it can really make or break your experience and either help you grow or pull you apart. Luckily, we are better for it, but couples that aren’t as open with each other could have a very different experience. Thanks for all of the encouragement and support!

  7. Brooke, thanks so much for the honesty and clarity in this post. I think you’re absolutely right that we are predisposed to thinking everything is awesome when we look at social media. Full-timer or not, you’re a great editor and an important part of the RVing community.

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