Full Time RVing: Living in a Van Down By the River


Here’s a wry spin on our full time RVing lifestyle. In the 90s Chris Farley did a series of skits on Saturday Night Live playing his character, Matt Foley, a motivational speaker. Hired by parents to motivate their teenagers into making something of their lives Foley described, with exaggerated enthusiasm, dire situations and outcomes. These escalated to the most devastating result, the epitome of failure, which he delivered in a red-faced, screaming rage, “… you’ll end up living in a van, down by the river!”

It became an ongoing joke in our family. We’d warn our daughters that if they didn’t do their homework they’d end up living in a van down by the river.

Who could have guessed that “living in a van down by the river,” viewed then as the ultimate symbol of failure, would soon become the full time RVing lifestyle of envy. “How so?” you ask. Over the course of these blog posts, I’m going to share some wonderful, and well-kept secrets about living in a van, down by the river.

If you’ve never considered full time RVing, you’re in for a treat. You have no idea what you’re missing, and that includes wonderful stuff, like a very healthy lifestyle. If you are dreaming of full time RVing but have had doubts whether your own or those of skeptical friends and family, I just want to say there’s lots of good news.

This may be the fastest growing lifestyle change going on right now and not just in the U.S. With all the attention being given to survivalists and preppers, not that many people can go off the grid in the ways popularized by “reality” TV shows. But, more and more people are making the change to full time RVing or at least a half-time RV lifestyle.

Living and traveling like nomads is a world all it’s own, and is rapidly losing the stigma of belonging only to the homeless and social dropouts. Our full time RVing community is made up of thousands of other wanderers who, like us, have chosen not to have a fixed place to call home. It wasn’t long ago that we’d have been tagged as the crazy Boyers for selling everything and moving into our travel trailer. Now, people ask us for advice to help them make the transition to the full time RVing way.

Some of the perks of going nomad include:

• You can live just about anywhere you want.
• You can leave any time you want.
• It’s very affordable.
• It’s easier to make a living on the road than you might think. I make mine teaching people how to make theirs (http://www.adhocgroup.net.)
• Your home can be fancy or simple, economical or luxurious.
• You can still have two vehicles.
• You can have your pets.
• You can change jobs easily because moving is no problem.
• You don’t have to wait until you retire. Homeschooling makes this lifestyle possible from any location.
• You don’t have to stay in motels. Space is usually abundantly available (except for popular events where everything is booked.)
• You have more time with your family.
• You can work from home (many jobs are available.)
• Life is simpler.
• Food is simpler, and cheaper. You learn how to buy in smaller amounts, use everything, and can buy organic and more nutritional foods for about the same as you’re paying living a traditional lifestyle.
• You don’t have to manage an excess of possessions (they really do possess you more than you do them.)
• Full time RVing folks are friendly. They’re neighbors. They’re helpful. It’s like going back to a simpler time when neighbors knew neighbors and looked out for each other.
• You can still have a vegetable garden while full time RVing, albeit, a smaller one.
• There are plenty of community activities for kids in the towns you visit.
• Your kids will make friends all over the country. These friendships may benefit them for the rest of their lives.
• Your kids will get a great, first hand exposure to other cultures, traditions, history, foods, climates, wildlife, plants and much more as they see and learn by experience.
• TV isn’t so important anymore. Relationships rule.
• Kids are less exposed to peer pressure, and more involved with family.
• Activities are more outdoors style, fishing, hiking, and using skills to make things work.
• There’s much less attention on possessions, having the newest gadget or appliance. There are fewer people to impress or keep up with, so you’re more easily focused on what’s important in life.

Breaking The Ties That Bind Us

Only after I entered this world of best-kept secrets did I realize just how free and unburdened a full time RVing lifestyle could make someone feel. I was no longer tied and bound to things I owned (and had little time to use.) I was far less influenced by people who had more control over my life than I ever imagined – People like those at the Homeowner’s Association. I no longer had to live up to other people’s expectations. There was no mortgage tying us to a minimum income requirement. I was free to do the work I preferred, as our biggest need for income disappeared.

Give Up and Get

So, about that “living in a van down by the river,” here’s something ironic. One of our favorite parks was named, “By the River RV Park,” where we stayed for about a year, in a trailer (that resembled a van,) and in a space right ON the river (bank.) Spend a night there next time you go through the Texas Hill Country. It’s in Kerrville, on the Guadalupe River. Find out how wonderful the full time RVing life can be.

What a wonderfully peaceful place that is. Waking up each day to see a still, glassy river lined with trees, hearing birds and watching the fish and turtles swim around in the clear water. Yes, I could see them from the bedroom window. And who could forget Lucky, the duck who’d trained all the fulltimers in the park to hand-feed him?

It was such a refreshing change from the urban rush hour traffic, fast pace and “multitasking,” that invaded our life. Our full time RVing life, living in a van (of sorts) down by the river is heaven. We’ve spent priceless summers with our granddaughter, who’s gotten to travel many states with us over the last several years. The price of letting go of things I once couldn’t live without, bought freedom I’d have never known otherwise. Best deal I ever made!

I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to spread the news about long-term RVing and our full time RVing lifestyle. Thank you for checking out this blog. Next time I’m going to talk about RVing with disabilities, and how to spot a disability-friendly RV park.

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Michele Boyer
Fulltimers in spirit since 1999. We've worked from home since 1977 and have plenty to share about that. As a full timer, the ability to work from wherever we take our RV is a survival tactic. Our travels our funded through writings, Udemy.com courses, Shoestring Startup™ business books, teaching courses in working from home or RV, courses in genealogy, and our affiliate sales of similar materials. Our resource pages are accessible through http://www.adhocgroup.net. Everyone can do something, and we'll help you live healthier by making a living from whatever it is you do, naturally. Full timing was the best decision we ever made. We enjoy a healthier lifestyle and time to give and take according to the opportunities life presents us.