I knew I would have to come back to Austin for the remainder of my pregnancy. I knew we were going to need to stay for Caspian’s vaccinations through six months. But I didn’t understand how long 11 months in one region would actually feel.
We’re now in our fourth year of full-time travel, and it’s in my blood. Our routine of moving every two weeks has become as natural as the Circadian. Mess with the cycle, and everything gets off-balance.
I have the utmost respect for everyone who lives in an RV full-time, but isn’t a full-time traveler. Some people stay in one place out of necessity. Some stay because they’re actually where they want to be. But full-time RVing without travel is not what I signed up for. As our departure date is finally within grasp (June 1!), I’m reflecting on the past months, appreciating the ability to travel more than ever.
Here are a few reasons I prefer full-time RV travel.
1/ I’m stuck in a rut.
When you live in one place, life is full of routines. You have your grocery store, your favorite restaurant, your movie theater, your route between locations. There’s comfort in familiarity, to be sure. It feels good to get somewhere without having to use GPS.
It can be a pain to arrive in a new town and not know where anything is. But there’s excitement in the unknown. I love stepping into independent coffee shops for the first time, and making discoveries on our daily walks–like that little donkey in Jacksonville, FL we named Cowboy.
Over the past 11 months, I’ve ended up doing what I wanted to get away from when I started RVing. I repeatedly choose the familiar and the comfortable. When I travel, I have no choice but to try something new. It’s fabulous, no matter the occasional inconveniences.
2/ Emphasis on things over experiences has crept back in.
There’s something about sitting still that has made us do more shopping. I can’t fully explain it, but it’s like we have more time to look around and come up with things we “need.”
Three years of full-time travel taught me otherwise. I want to invest in experiences, not things. When I buy something, there’s another something that’s suddenly required to supplement or maintain the first thing. It’s an endless cycle.
I prefer to simplify on the outside, which clears up my mind to enjoy my surroundings and focus on my family, the natural world, and making memories that don’t rust or break.
3/ I miss the perspective of distance.
No matter where I roam and what unbelievable sights I see, Austin will always be the place I come home to. When I’m away, I miss it. Yet, I have so many responsibilities here that it can become overwhelming. After 11 months, I am burned out and in need of a reboot.
This may be my favorite part about travel: the emotional perspective that physical distance affords me. Wherever I am, I have all the tools I need to accomplish my duties. But it’s a lot easier to unplug at the end of the day and leave work behind me until the next morning. Here in Austin, I feel constantly surrounded by the projects and to-do’s that aren’t done yet.
4/ I have to wait for family and friends to come to me.
In three+ years, Eric and I have used our RV to travel to two weddings, one graduation, and multiple holidays with loved ones. We’ve seen my brothers’ new homes as newlyweds. We’ve reunited with childhood friends we hadn’t seen in decades, getting a chance to meet their children.
When you work a job with two weeks of annual vacation, you have to pick and choose. We have the luxury of designing our travels around the people who mean the most to us.
5/ Life is short.
The worst part about traveling extensively is that you find out what you’re missing when you don’t travel. I’ve spent 11 months watching RV friends post incredible photos of breathtaking landscapes, wishing I was there. (Not to mention the international travel bug I’ve been feeding in my pocket for a while now.)
I don’t look down on full-time RVers who don’t travel. Far from it. From experience, I know life is made up of seasons, and certain seasons require adjustments. But I don’t want to spend my life in a rut, acquiring meaningless possessions, stressed about work and missing out on time with family and friends.
There is a difference between full-time RVing and full-time traveling. I’m glad I’ve had the chance to experience both because it makes me appreciate the abundant blessings in my life. I haven’t done anything to deserve the gift of travel, but the least I can do is keep from taking it for granted.