We were full-time RVers for four years, along with part-timing it for several years.

Life is a bit different when traveling full-time in an RV. Now that we’ve returned to a house, I have found some habits from RV life have continued.

The Clothes I Need

In the RV, I had a foot of hanging space, two drawers, and a piece of carry-on luggage that stored my business clothes. I found that I didn’t need nearly as many pants, blouses, and other clothes as I had in the closet at the last house.

It turns out you really only use a few favorite blouses over and over. For jeans and shorts, two or three of each were just fine. Now that I have a closet, I’ve increased my wardrobe a bit, but not much.

After being casual for so many years, I also don’t see a need for dressing up very often. Maybe because of all the hiking I’ve done, high heels have mostly disappeared from my closet.

Why did I keep most of this?


In the old house, I had quite a few knick-knacks along with lots of stuff that I kept because I might need it “someday.” The small space in an RV forces you to reduce to necessities.

Now, the knick-knacks are reduced to meaningful items. Quite a few of the items, like pictures, are from our travels.

After years of traveling without much of that "stuff," it was frankly embarrassing to see how much I kept in storage that I realize now I don’t need. I’m even going through my library (which is my favorite thing) to either read those books that I will read "someday," or give the books away.

Solo hike at Patagonia Lake State Park

Needs vs. Wants

Not quite the same thing as “stuff.” This is more a way of looking at things to see if you really need them or just want them. This applies to both physical items and activities.

When you live in an RV, you have a different way of looking at things. Sure, I might want to see the latest TV episode, but if I was staying in an area without good reception, I lived without it.

I might want the latest 60-inch Ultra HD TV, but how in the world would it fit in the RV? I’m not saying to give up “wants,” but understand they are just “wants” and not “needs”.

Me Time

When I was RVing, I started to get up early and take a hike all by myself. If you are living full-time in a small RV with another person, having some time alone was important.

I also found I had more time to just think when hiking alone. Now, I may not take a hike, but I get up early to exercise or just have some time to myself. It keeps me sane!

Morning at a repair shop in Arizona

Go with the Flow

When RVing, stuff happens that no one can plan. All kinds of things happen that change your plans, like minor illnesses, full campgrounds, or breakdowns. And that’s OK.

We learned to handle whatever happens and experience life no matter what. An illness may mean extra days at a park and the healthy person can enjoy more trails or relax longer.

Full campgrounds mean you can experience other campgrounds or even a Walmart parking lot. Breakdowns mean you meet new people at the shop.

I still remember the flocks of birds that flew over our RV in the morning while we dry camped at a garage. We would have missed these large flocks if our RV hadn’t broken down.

Don’t worry about the path you thought you’d take; enjoy the path you are on.

The Meaning of Life

What do we want to spend our life doing? Is it cleaning house or work? Or is it spending time watching a sunrise or visiting family?

RVing gives you more time to contemplate life. I found this pertains to different things.

  • Listening to news. I found out the world continued without me even if I didn’t listen to the news or log onto my favorite news site.
  • Reading versus TV. At home, there are hundreds of TV channels to watch. While RVing, TV reception can be very limited, so I spent more time reading. I also spent more time thinking when I read versus watching TV.
  • Constant learning. When you are traveling to new places, there are constant opportunities to learn more things. This may include history, natural sciences, or just hearing stories from new people. At home I now keep trying to learn and try new things.
  • Relaxing versus keeping busy. In a home, I found myself doing major projects all the time. In an RV, walking around the campground was just fine.
  • Excitement and trying new things. At home you get into a routine. It is difficult to get into a routine when full-timing. There is always so much to see and do. I now try to get out and do something more exciting than the same-old-thing.

I still haven’t figured out the meaning of life, but I certainly try to do more meaningful activities than just doing busywork.

What have you learned from RV’ing?