9 Years In – My Biggest Full-Time RV Living Mistake

When we started this RVing adventure 9 years ago, I had no idea I was making my biggest full-time RV living mistake before we even hit the road.


If you’ve been with me for any length of time, I’m sure you have figured out how independent I am. I don’t like to ask for help and I certainly don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I love knowing I can take care of myself. Unfortunately, things have changed and I’m realizing my mistake.

My Biggest Full-Time RV Living Mistake

I failed to prepare an exit strategy. Heaven knows, I don’t want to exit this lifestyle I love so much but for the last few months, I haven’t been able to travel because I can’t afford it anymore. Prices have increased on everything so much but the increase in fuel costs was the nail in the coffin for this year.

KOA publishes The North American Camping Report each year with a lot of information about RVers, like who we are, how we camp, and the future of camping. I find it fascinating.

Aside from inflation, campgrounds are so full these days getting a monthly rental site is next to impossible and getting more expensive by the week. We just don’t know what fallout is still to come.

I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet but it’s been on my mind so much lately.

Why We Jumped In So Quickly

Rob (my late husband) and I were living in Olympia in our beautiful home but he was sick, very sick, and wouldn’t get better. We had been living with his illness for years and I knew I would lose him sooner or later. He hadn’t been able to work for several years but I was still working.

full-time RV living mistake
Rob and I in London – 2001

Rob was getting depressed and at times I was afraid of what I’d find when I got home. I left my job as a project manager in Seattle and took a huge pay cut to work in Olympia. It was much easier and less stressful being just 15 minutes from home when he needed something. Eventually, I came to the realization that I was going to have to stop working to be with him all the time.

Our First RV – 2015

In March of 2012, we decided to sell everything and travel the country in an RV. Neither of us had ever had an RV much less driven or towed one but we were certain we could and would make it work. We pulled away from our home on September 9th, 2012, and never looked back.

Our Second RV – 2016

During our nearly five years of full-time RV travel, we visited the entire lower48 states, saw Rob’s family on the East Coast numerous times, and had some wonderful adventures.

Rob and I in Key West – 2016

We had a fantastic run but on December 22, 2017, Rob passed away. Do I regret any of these decisions? Absolutely not. I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat. I ran into one of Rob’s doctors shortly after he died and she told me she’s sure he lived longer because we tried so hard to make those last years the best we could.

What Would I Have Done Differently?

The only reason I’m sharing this with all of you is that I don’t want any of you to make the same mistake I made. The one thing I’d have done differently is to have a place of my own to land when my full-time RV travel is done. I don’t mean a house. I’d love to have a little piece of property with hookups somewhere. Nothing big or fancy but mine. That’s all.

We consulted a financial adviser and had all of the appropriate plans and documents in place but for whatever reason, we never found out that a widow or widower cannot collect surviving spouse benefits until the age of 60. I was 55 when Rob died and I’ll be 59 in a couple of months.

A Welcoming and Generous Family

I”m very lucky in that I have a wonderful family that truly loves to have Murphy and I stay with them. My brother and sister-in-law, and my daughter and her husband have been so welcoming when we are home from our full-time RV travel. On occasion, I joke about them having a custody battle over me.

My Airstream at My Brother’s House

A Possible Solution

What you’re probably not aware of, is that I work 40 to 60 hours a week on my online business endeavors. I know it will eventually pay off but for now, I’m staying put and keeping my nose to the grindstone. Hopefully, when that starts to pay off, I’ll be able to secure a place or two of my own in different climates so I can feel a bit more independent and secure.

So that’s it, my only full-time RV living mistake. It’s the only regret I have but I still wouldn’t change a single thing. It’s been an incredible adventure so far.

You might also like; 7 Easy Ways to Keep Cozy and Warm in Your RV Through the Winter.

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15 thoughts on “9 Years In – My Biggest Full-Time RV Living Mistake”

  1. You might give some thought to workamping. I supplemented my income by spending summers working for Grand Teton Lodge Co. in Wyoming and winters volunteering for Everglades National park in Florida. I’m sure you could come up with a similar plan and still work on your online buisness.

    1. That’s a great idea and I would love doing it. I doubt I would do an online website. There are so many good ones from creative people!

    2. Hey Yankeeflyer! I’m not sure if you’re solo or not but do you find you have trouble find workamping gigs as a single? It seems so many want a couple.
      I’ve considered it. Thanks

      1. Yes a lot of workamping employers would prefer a couple,however that is not a prerequisite. Give HR a call at GTLC.com see what they have to say.They have many different kinds of jobs available in the most beautiful place in the U.S. Also, many other employers looking for seasonal workers.Visit my web page, Somewhere Over The Rainbow.

  2. I don’t know exactly what your financial situation is, but I have checked out purchasing land out West, and you can get some nice plots of and, up to an acre for less than $5,000. Now do they have water and electric? Probably not. But you may be able to find something that is set up for a camper by using Google. I someday want to live in Vermont and while I was looking for land for sale in VT, I found a great lot for sale with electric and water hookups in place, with a cement pad. Those kinds of places are out there, you just need to do some detective work, and keep on doing whatever you need to until you can support yourself…you are almost 60, so you don’t have much longer to go. If I had land, I would totally let you stay on it for free. I love following you and Murphy and living vicariously through your adventures!

    1. I’ll definately be looking for something like that in the future. It’s not something I can do right now. You’re sweet and thank you. I’m doing great where I am. Counting my blessings and trying to use the time to make progress.

  3. I hope everything lines up perfectly for you in the future. I think it will because you appear to be a planner. You have a wonderful family. I hope one of these days to cross paths with you.

  4. I so enjoy following you and your adventures. After my husband passed (6/11/21) the first thing I wanted to do was go back to RV living. We had 8 wonderful years together seeing the USA. And I wouldn’t trade any of it. I’m waiting for my Airstream to get here (October hopefully) and will be hitting the road. I’ll still watch for you. You’ve been such a strong independent inspiration.

    1. Sheila,
      Thank you and I’m so sorry for your loss.
      I can’t wait to hear about your adventures with your new Airstream. Hope it arrives on schedule. I’ll be back out on the road soon and maybe we can meet someday.

  5. What I have done is outfit my trailer with both Solar (4# 100w panels) & a 3800w Generator (runs on both propane & gasoline), both of which charge 6 Deep Cell Marine/RV batteries. That way the Generator charges the batteries during inclement weather when it’s being used, during which time I also use a cooler instead of my refrigerator.

    I also have a portable toliet & inside the plastic catch bag I use 2 cups of wood pellets (get at feed store) which do a fantastic job of soaking up every drop of urine while masking the odor. Then just toss it in the dumpster.

    As an added suggestion. All BLM land in the U. S. is free to camp on. Just remember to packout you trash.

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