View Full Version : Living Full Time on the Road

16th Feb 2013, 22:01
I follow a number of blogs of those that live full time in an RV (Recreational Vehicle/Caravan/Van) in the US. Anyone thought of doing this? I am seriously considering selling up - everything - and doing the same. Got some good equity in the house and I am now single, so, advice?


16th Feb 2013, 22:06

Just consider what possessions you want to keep - will you put them into storage?

Arm out the window
16th Feb 2013, 22:22
Another consideration is what'll happen when you get sick of it and want to buy a house again - if prices have gone up significantly in the meantime you may find you can't get back into the market at the standard you're used to.

Not to put the kibosh on the idea, but I hear of that happening with some of the hordes of 'Grey Nomads' we have criss-crossing the country over here. Of course, there'd be lots of positives too, so good luck if you decide to do it.

16th Feb 2013, 22:22
A lot of people here in the uk live full time in narrow-boats on canals. Quieter than roads, less expensive, and with access to a remarkable number of good hostelries.

16th Feb 2013, 22:32
I'm considering it.
I've lived on a yacht for 8 months and a narrowboat for 4 months.

My best advice would be to get a secondhand RV, something common you can resell easily, then try it for a few months. Make sure you visit lots of places and talk to experienced RVers. You will discover whether it's for you, and what you want in your ideal RV. Then you can sell up and either return to normal life or buy just what will suit you.

16th Feb 2013, 22:43
What do you do when your home/steed needs repair/major service? I see huge motor homes towing a small car to give some mobility when they park the monster somewhere.

Things may have changed, but eons ago the place I worked had field stations which were parked for a year or two in the same place. Initially they used big-box trucks (lorries?). But these didn't survive the long inactive periods and had to have extensive repair before they could be driven again. The outfit switched to trailers of various sorts, which were a lot less trouble-prone.

A vehicle which can pull a large trailer is not what I'd want to use after moving to a new location. I note that one can pay to have a large trailer moved ... and then you'd have a normal-sized car at the new location.

All this in addition to the social/health issues mentioned by others.


16th Feb 2013, 22:51
I would lean towards picking a few nice places to live....buy a small parcel of land at each place. Build a small building at each place and equip it with a Clothes Washer and Dryer, a parking pad for your RV, install RV hookups for water, sewer, electricity, perhaps a patio with Gas grill, picnic table, a fire pit, and perhaps some overhead cover. Then commute between the places taking short side trips when traveling between the two. That way you have privacy, a ready spot, you get to know people and when you get tired of one place....off you go.

Living on the road 365 days a year has its ups and downs....mostly downs.

You have no privacy, have to find a place to park the RV, pay through the nose for your space, utilities, and of course.....spend half you life in laundromats.

If you pick a state that has no Income Tax....that can be a real savings if you are a US Citizen or subject to the US Federal Income Tax.

I thought Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana in the Fall, Arizona or Texas in the Winter, and Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire in the Summer, North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky in the Spring.

Milo Minderbinder
16th Feb 2013, 22:51
theres a word for that kind of life:


16th Feb 2013, 23:07
You have to decide whether you want to move from organised site to organised site or head out into the wild blue yonder where there are no roads.

Do you want any companionship (either occasional or regular) or do you yearn to be completely alone?

Combining the two latter (wby and alone) can be problematical.

Of course you could commission a bespoke 8x8 RV based on a military chassis and hope that it would get you anywhere without getting stuck (until it breaks).

Perhaps you just want a mobile home that you can move every once in a while, perhaps on a seasonal basis?

So many possibilities . . .

16th Feb 2013, 23:13
theres a word for that kind of life:

Gypsy Autism. Ruining lives since 1834.

16th Feb 2013, 23:41
Gypsy ?

I see Gypsy's as not having a real plan, moving from place to place
when moved on or pressured.

Grey Nomads seem to have a plan and do it in style IMHO.
Have always been impressed with the RV's.

17th Feb 2013, 00:36
Depending on your finances, you might consider renting out your present house rather than selling it, to avoid the difficulty of getting back into housing later pointed out by a few posters.

If wheels under your dwelling aren't sessential, try renting out your present house, then using the rental income to rent wherever else you'd like to live. Six months here, six months there - beach, mountains etc. Single bedroom places or 'bedsits', above shop or garage flats etc can often be had cheaply even in high rent areas.

Keep yur car, or swap it for a motorbike or even a bicycle for persnoal transportation and you might find you have almost, the freedom you want and still have a reasonable quality of home life. Living, and especially entertaining in a van has its limitations (I speak from experience!). A large motorhome may overcome that but they are cumbersome and very expensive.

17th Feb 2013, 00:54
Met an old bloke some years ago whose wife had died and family were scattered around. He had a quite well fitted out cabin that mounted on the back of his tray-top chassis. He just drove to where he wanted to, camped there for however long he wanted to, and visited his children.
Didn't seem to lack for company, as he'd offer a cuppa to anyone nearby, and was quite a personable person. When necessary, he'd stop at a caravan park that had laundry etc, but most laundry can be done in a watertight plastic drum as you drive along.

Not my kind of life, but he enjoyed it. Don't know if he'd kept his house or not.

17th Feb 2013, 01:29
Yep, clothes in one screwtop plastic drum, cutlery and hard plastic plates etc in another, arranged so they roll side to side on the floor. Works a treat.

If that bloke's cabin was demountable from his truck, he had it made. :ok:

Loose rivets
17th Feb 2013, 04:47
A shed on the back of a truck? Ooooo . . . now there's a thought.

17th Feb 2013, 06:52
you only live once....go for it

Cyber Bob
17th Feb 2013, 07:05

17th Feb 2013, 07:37
It depends on so many factors, one not having been mentioned is income. Assuming that the OP isn't of retirement age, he will need to be near his place of work and that means a fixed abode. If he is lucky enough to be one of those wizz-kid IT persons who need no more than a laptop and a decent internet connection, then anywhere is good. There's something very refreshing about taking a leap of faith, being spontaneous, etc and it can bring about many unexpected experiences, but that said it might be prudent to 'try before you buy', especially when a) property and money are involved b) a major lifestyle change is involved.

What about family and friends where one is presently living ? Can you, or do you want to spend time alone whilst travelling ? Life is best when shared, despite sometimes conflicting wishes/desires/needs and being on the road can be isolating, so not for everyone. Still at least after becoming too amorous with the waitress at the Puffy Pancake on route 23 you can beat a hasty retreat never to be seen again until next year ;)


Windy Militant
17th Feb 2013, 11:38
Assuming that the OP isn't of retirement age, he will need to be near his place of work
Get A HGV and a job with Stobart as a Tramper, sorted. ;)

wings folded
17th Feb 2013, 11:45
Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen seem to thrive on it.

Brian Abraham
17th Feb 2013, 12:09
Only you will be able to decide if it's for you Ozzy. Did a four month tour in Oz last year, having purchased a caravan at spouses insistence. I was a bit lukewarm about it all, but ended up quite enjoying the venture. As to full time, not for me, but met many people on the road who had been at it for some 15 years. Their vehicles ranged from the salubrious to one woman travelling alone in a panel van fitted out as a camper. She made coin by selling art work at the markets of towns she passed through. Was surprised by the number of women travelling alone, a lot in quite flash rigs.

17th Feb 2013, 12:29
Steinbeck's "Travels With Charlie" would be a good book to read. It recounts Steinbeck travel about the United States with a full sized Poodle named Charlie.

Steinbeck used a Pickup Truck with a slide-in camper for that trip.

17th Feb 2013, 13:04
That house in Beverly Hills will more than pay for a private yacht. Go for it and sail it to the Mediterranean ;)

17th Feb 2013, 13:33

Quite a few aviation-minded folks live this way. They start out the year heading towards Lakeland, FL to volunteer at Sun & Fun, hang around to help tidy up afterwards, then slowly start moving north as the temps warm up & start arriving in Oshkosh from late May onwards. Spend the summer here, volunteering for EAA, (free, or much reduced $ hook ups for volunteers), then start heading out as the temps start to drop again. Winter is spent somewhere warm, touring or visiting relatives and then back to FL in time for spring. It is a great community and definitely a fun way to see the country & enjoy life.

17th Feb 2013, 14:25
Was surprised by the number of women travelling alone, a lot in quite flash rigs.

No reason they can't dress well on the road.

17th Feb 2013, 14:52
Steinbeck invented a great way to do laundry while travelling. I tried it in my motorhome and it worked just fine. Bit splashy on mountain roads, though.

17th Feb 2013, 16:44
My father tried it for a few years. Bought a rather large Motor home and lived in it while traveling the US, mostly the Western half of the country. He'd go north until it got too cold , then in the south until it would become too hot. So he mostly stayed in California. That way he could be close to both temperatures without doing a lot of driving.

Once he came to see us and while he was here, had the motor home tuned up while he stayed with us. After he left he called back insanely happy because the gas mileage had improved from 5.3 mpg to 6.2.

He sold it and bought a house telling us that all that driving was wearing him out and it was becoming a real pain to find a proper recreational vehicle park to stay in when he wanted to stop and spend a few days at one spot. Plus he was becoming bored.

He likened the RV to the aircraft and boats he had owned, rent them.

17th Feb 2013, 19:52
Thanks folks! Great suggestions and advice.

Storage: If things need to go into storage, then I don't need them - so no storage

Keep the house: No, the equity funds the adventure

Buy a house if things go tits up: No, then it is rental.

RV Parks: Would rather boondock. Solar power and free dumping stations etc

Laundery: Yep, need to find the pay per wash ones.

Not into Class A (mega RVs), so would be looking at Class C or B+.

Register in a no state tax state e.g. South Dakota

Maintenance is a concern.

I think I can find freelance work that does not require a fixed abode....hey hey

And wake up with the ocean or mountains out the window...and this is bad somehow? :)


17th Feb 2013, 20:20
the gas mileage had improved from 5.3 mpg to 6.2.

Holy Cow ! My Mercedes-truck-based Hymermobile diesel-powered motorhome did 9 litres/100kms or 30 mpg. Not just easy on the pocket, in those far-off days I had the option of filling the tank in countries where diesel was cheaper and then driving for DAYS.

Bought it new and drove it 138,000 kms in the following five years. Sorry to see it go and sorry I don't have one now. It's a way of life I got used to.

Whiskey Kilo Wanderer
17th Feb 2013, 20:28
JJ Living in his Van (http://www.wagonman2000.********.co.uk/)

This guy has been doing it for a while. I think he might have some land in Portugal, but is mostly wild camping. This is Europe, rather than the 'States, so some aspects may be different. He certainly seems to enjoy life on the road.

17th Feb 2013, 20:38
It's like anything travel related, you get out of it what you put into it.

I just think with an RV you have so many travel options and places to go
but I like the outdoors / camping so ........
Not sure I would like being in one in really hot weather.

17th Feb 2013, 21:03
People living in houses spend thousands on security.

Don't the mobile brigade worry about what's outside at night?

17th Feb 2013, 21:07
Don't the mobile brigade worry about what's outside at night? I guess in the US you'd just carry a gun.

Brian Abraham
17th Feb 2013, 22:59
Don't the mobile brigade worry about what's outside at night? Many years ago a guy went to the local police station to ask for advice on this very issue. Advice given was carry a shotgun, load the first two rounds with salt, if they keep coming, then give them what the manufacture loaded the rounds with.

17th Feb 2013, 23:33
Tried to find a you tube from an early paul hogan show

he was dressed as a swiss country type with the hat and the

short leathers carrying a double barrel

he encounters julie andrews up above him on the grassy slopes

singing 'the hills are alive . . .. '

he looks up sourly , raises the gun and gives her one barrel

she sort of deflates and the song winds down as she

falls back on the pasture, her white dress all spread around

like a huge carnation

but she revives and rises up again regaining full power to the


the second barrel takes care of that.


pardon wandering off like that . . . . (rub the salt in b.a., or


steinbeck's fioo was provided gratis by ford

it is indeed a well spun tale

just like everything he wrote.

18th Feb 2013, 00:40
Don't the mobile brigade worry about what's outside at night?

Nope! What is "outside" is not going to hurt you. It is when they come inside it gets dangerous.

Mind you for many of us....locked doors are not for our safety....it is for those on the outside!

If they open the door....shame on them!

A Percussion Signaling Device will sound....the Plod will arrive....reports will be taken....photographs be taken....and the Coroner hauls off the garbage.

18th Feb 2013, 00:47
Surely not so cut and dried. Quite a few blokes over here are doing time for
defending their lives and property.

18th Feb 2013, 00:57

Yep, because our laws are so stuffed.

Different in the US - and I think in the UK
where I believe they have change the law.

Gertrude the Wombat
18th Feb 2013, 09:04
and I think in the UK where I believe they have change the law
Daily Wail myth - self defence has always been legal, there's been no law change.

Basically you can shoot them in the front whilst they're attacking you, but not in the back whilst they're running away.

6th May 2013, 19:22
The ultimate for any RV/aviation enthusiast: The resurrection of the Bowlus Road Chief.


Price? $100,000 U.S.

Check-out the video. You'll enjoy the aviation connection.

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