By Bruce Murray
The other day my brother in law accused me of having “itchy feet.” I of course immediately denied his accusation but upon further reflection have concluded — he may have been correct.
We have always liked to travel and since we retired 4 and a half years ago we have lived full-time in our RV — summers in Alberta and B.C., and winters in Arizona and California.
It is interesting to note, the response of others when we announce we live full-time in our RV. Many people say they envy us and hope to be full-time RVers when they retire. Then the questions begin. What kind of RV do we have? Where do we spend the winters and summers? Don’t you miss your house and stuff and most importantly — Do you like it?
In hopes of helping others who are contemplating retiring to an RV, let me share a little of our experience.
Like most men, I focused on the practical things — What type of RV should we have? How big? Gas or diesel powered? A motorhome, a pull-trailer or a fifth-wheel trailer? In retrospect, that decision was one of the least important. They all work fine, it’s just a matter of personal preference.
The more important decisions I discovered, were about life style. For example — How did we want to spend our time? What hobbies did we want to pursue? How would we look after our health and how would we stay in contact with our extended family?
Perhaps the most important issue was — Would my wife and I remain friends after spending virtually all our time together? So far so good.
These issues have had far more impact on our happiness than what type of RV we used. Yet, I spent little time considering them before we made the decision to sell our home and move into our RV.
By the way, we have a 32-foot fifth-wheel trailer with three slide outs pulled by a diesel pickup.
Choosing an RV lifestyle means learning to compromise and simplify. You can’t keep everything you have accumulated over the past 40 years, some things have got to go. That cleaning out of things can be very painful and can strain relationships. It’s also a great time to involve family and pass on those keepsakes to the next generation.
My advice, start the process early, don’t wait to the last minute and remember it’s just things. There will be some special items you want to keep, so decide where they can be safely stored.
To many the RV lifestyle seems exciting, seeing new places and meeting new people — and it can be. However, it is also challenging.
Equipment must be maintained and finding space for your clothes, hobbies and other items can be tough. My wife says learning to cook in a small kitchen was a big one for her. She still won’t light the oven. It is also a great opportunity to work on your relationship with your significant other, as the word “compromise” becomes a part of the daily routine.
We have stayed in beautiful RV parks and dry camped in the Arizona desert. We have dealt with blown motors, flat tires, driving through large cities pulling the trailer and survived. We have also viewed beautiful desert sunsets, incredible ocean vistas and magnificent mountains.
Do we enjoy it? Absolutely. Would we make the same decision again? Yes, without a doubt.
We have made wonderful friends we look forward to meeting each year, as we return to favourite places and have grown closer together as a couple but I think it’s time for a bigger trailer.