When someone chooses to take up the RV lifestyle, many of their friends don’t fully get it. Without experiencing it themselves many make assumptions about the lifestyle based on bias or media representations. Whether you’re an RVer or a friend, let’s take a look at some of the most common misrepresentations of those who choose this lifestyle.
Sometimes, People Don’t Understand the RV Lifestyle
Since most of the information people get about the RV lifestyle comes from Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube, they won’t have a clear understanding of what it’s really like. They think it’s all nature hikes and photos atop cliffs overlooking canyons. That’s what travelers post daily.
Whether you’re a weekend warrior who takes the camper out every chance you get or a full-time RVer who has sold their “sticks-and-bricks” home, the RV lifestyle is rewarding as well as challenging. Spending so much time in 300 square feet or less with your spouse or an entire family may sound more like a nightmare than a dream come true.
There is also the resource management that goes into RVing. Mobile power, water, and septic may not be someone’s cup of tea. The extra awareness and thought that goes into setting up and taking down camp might also not be worth the effort or vacation time.
But the RV lifestyle is so much more than picturesque landscapes captured for Instagram followers. There’s a daily routine that most RVers have that involves schooling, work, running errands, doing laundry, washing the dishes, prepping for meals, and cleaning. That sounds a lot like a traditional life inside a house, doesn’t it? Except with the added complexity of travel days.
So why in the world would anyone choose to spend so much time in an RV?
Conclusions Your Friends Have Probably Made
If your friends follow you on Instagram or keep up with your posts on Facebook, they have some idea of what your RV lifestyle entails. As a result of this information, they’ve made some interesting conclusions – especially if you’ve adopted this lifestyle full-time. Let’s take a look.
1. You Have an Unlimited Amount of Money OR You Have No Money at All
When it comes to money, your friends may think you either have it all or nothing. From your social media posts and experiences, it might appear that you never work and have somehow inherited a lump sum of money. Perhaps you perfected your gambling technique and won a lot of money.
Or, your friends may conclude that you have no money and travel around like a hobo. You may see stunning landscapes and hike amazing trails, but they may think it’s not worth it because they assume you have to eat Raman noodles every night. Besides, if you had the money, wouldn’t you also have a house?
What’s hard to explain sometimes is that traveling by RV can be as expensive or frugal as you’d like. The RV lifestyle is not restricted to one economic class of travelers; free camping and boondocking are as just as available and popular as luxury RV resorts.
2. You Are Basically Homeless
Especially if you’ve sold it all to venture out across the country in an RV, your friends may conclude that you’re homeless and a traveling vagabond. You have to roam around finding the next place you’ll sleep for the night. If you don’t own a structure like a house or apartment, you don’t really have a home. Then they follow up their conclusion with the question, “So when are you going to settle down and buy a house again?”
Even for the part-time RVer, friends may not understand being able to spend so much time outdoors without a permanent structure over your head. Camping to some may seem like chosen temporary homelessness.
These small moving boxes may not seem like much on the outside, but RVers know that all you need to be happy and healthy can reside inside.
Pro Tip: Make sure you get the perfect home on wheels for you with these tips on How to Determine the Best RV to Live in Full-Time.
3. You’re Always on Vacation and Wake Up to Beautiful Sunrises Every Day
If your friends think you have unlimited money, they probably also think you’re on a long vacation. You’re just spending money freely on whatever you want to do.
Few people post their workday images of sitting at the computer on social media. But RVers do post lots of pictures of sunrises and sunsets. So, your friends may have concluded that you grab a coffee cup every day and sit outside watching the glow of the morning rays creep over the horizon every day without a care in the world.
This misconception can create tension among friends. Assumptions can create resentment and a breakdown in communication. It can be tough if the RVers have bad days and need support from friends who are unprepared to give it.
In truth, RVing can be hard. You may be pushed out of your comfort zone with challenges or need to perform the daily grind of chores and work the same as anyone else.
4. You’ve Checked Out of Society
Since you’re a traveling vagabond, your friends may assume you must not care anymore about the real world. Your friends might even consider you’re living a life of irresponsibility and laziness. They may predict that you’re not up-to-date on current events or paying attention to the state of the economy.
However, thanks to advancements in connectivity technology, RVers can stay connected pretty much anywhere they roam. Full-time RVers can even still get mail and vote! From your RV travels, you are contributing to the travel and tourism sector of the economy.
Additionally, you’re probably bringing commerce to areas of your state or country along your route that may really need it.
5. You’re Just Crazy
This is probably the most common conclusion, especially if you chose the full-time RV lifestyle. It goes back to the question of why you would ever move out of 2,500 square feet of space into 300 square feet. You must be simply crazy. Additionally, what financial sense does it make to sell something that appreciates and buy something that depreciates as soon as you drive it off the lot?
If you have kids, your friends see you as even crazier. After all, what kind of childhood is a vagabond lifestyle? It may be hard for them to think your kids can learn outside of a traditional school setting or make friends while moving from one place to another.
However, part-time and weekender RVers also get some heat. The cost of an RV compared to the number of trips and what you do on those trips just might seem crazy to a non-RVer.
Sure traveling around seeing the red rocks of Arizona and the Badlands of South Dakota sounds adventurous, but it’s not real life. It’s also a huge undertaking and a whole lot of work.
But rest assured, even if you’re friends think you’re crazy, you know the payoff is worth it. Life is meant to be full of crazy adventures. Time spent camping and traveling make up some of the fondest memories of children and adults alike. In fact, regular doses of the great outdoors might even make you less crazy.
Questions Your Friends Still Have
Despite those five conclusions about your RV lifestyle, your friends still have a handful of questions – especially for full-time RVers. They probably have lots more, but these are the most common. Have you been asked any of these questions before?
1. Do You Ever Get Tired of Living in a Small Space?
The answer to this question is almost always yes. Of course, you get tired of living in a small space. Whether your RV trip is a weekend or 3 years, close space can get on anyone’s nerves. But the great thing about RVing is the great outdoors is right outside. If anyone needs some extra space, your living space sprawls outside, too.
Plus, the lifestyle of experiences over things makes it worth the sacrifices everyone in your family has to make.
2. Will You Ever Go Back to a House?
Another common question for full-time RVers stems from the conclusion that you’re basically homeless. Tradition says that Americans live in houses and apartments, not RVs. So when are you settling down and joining mainstream life again?
Most full-time travelers don’t live forever in their RV. Eventually, they do go back to a house or retirement community because they’re ready to get off the road. But many RVers just travel until they’re done traveling. They don’t necessarily have a plan of when they’ll go back.
Pro Tip: New to RVing? Make life easier by avoiding these 17 Beginner Full-Time RV Mistakes.
3. How Do You Never Fight With Your Spouse or Kids?
Your friends will also wonder how you get along with your spouse or kids 24/7 in a small shared space. Staying in a tiny space means being close to each other all of the time. For some people, this could drive them crazy.
The reality is that RVers still fight with their spouses and kids. They just have to deal with their problems instead of shoving them to the side. There is no escape from the spouse you’re mad at. Kids can’t just run into their room and slam the door if you tell them no – there is no other room or door to slam.
Problem-solving and relationship-building skills are important to the success of RVers. But it doesn’t mean they never have scuffles.
4. Is It Cheaper to Live in an RV?
Lots of people wonder about the cost of living in an RV. Depending on your lifestyle, this will vary from RVer to RVer. Stationary full-time RVers won’t spend as much as traveling RVers because they aren’t moving from place to place, spending money on gas, attractions, and campground fees.
Full-time RVers don’t always go into this lifestyle to save money, though. The purpose is to experience new places and make memories. Sometimes that requires more money. But there are also traveling RVers who live on a tight budget and save money through memberships, boondocking, and traveling less often.
Let Them Wonder As You Enjoy Your RV Life
Your friends and family will make conclusions and have questions no matter how much explaining and sharing you do. So let them wonder.
Just live your life enjoying the adventure. Laugh when they make ridiculous assumptions. Explain when they ask genuine questions. But don’t worry about getting your traveling lifestyle approved by others. Sometimes people just won’t understand.
What are some funny comments you’ve heard about the RV lifestyle? Tell us in the comments!
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Joyce and John Barnes
Thursday 14th of April 2022
John and I love the videos, etc. that Tom and Kaitlan provide. We especially enjoy watching their Alaska trip. Keep,up,the good,work. No we don’t think,you’re crazy. You provide adventure, history, and just a chance to see places that we’ll never get to see in person.
Thursday 14th of April 2022
We have found that the most common question we’re asked (and one which we think is strange) is “What do you eat?”, as if we are some sort of cavemen or just eat hotdogs and s’mores over the campfire…. 2nd most question is “What is your most favorite place that you’ve visited?” How can that even be answered? So many beautiful places.
And, by the way, we live in only 170 square feet—much like your Lance camper was, minus 1 slide out.
Love following you two. Almost ran into you at Organ Pipe.
Mortons on the Move
Saturday 23rd of April 2022
Lol, it's funny what people think when they haven't experienced it.