My husband and I took annual vacations and weekend trips in the past, but when we started full-timing we slowly changed our way of looking at life. The choice of living in an RV and traveling the country opened us up to new ideas and ways to see the world. You may have seen these changes in yourself.

More knowledgeable

You can read books or watch documentaries to learn about history or nature, but the knowledge by visiting the actual sites and living among nature stays with you more. We understood the difficulties of battle more by visiting Gettysburg in Pennsylvania or the Chalmette Battlefield in Louisiana.

Walking through the doorways of ruins gave me a feel for the height of Native Americans and the size of the rooms. Taking a coal mine or iron mine tour gives you a feel for the atmosphere and the work involved in mining. Seeing mule deer in Utah versus white-tailed deer in Florida vs. black-tailed deer in northern California makes me realize the variety of animal life.

Having to pull out cactus spines of the Teddy Bear Cholla from my body made the plant unforgettable. The best part of all of this information you pick up is that you want to keep learning more (but not the feeling of cactus spines!).

Antelope Canyon on our first kayak trip

More exercise and experiences

It is very easy to sit back and watch TV for hours when you are living in a home in one place. When you are traveling the country, you want to get out and see the area before you move on to the next spot.

Hiking trails can start literally at your front door or the view outside your window draws you into a short walk around the campgrounds. You aren’t going to visit Zion National Park and not take at least one of the various hiking trails. When you are visiting a place like Page, Arizona, taking a four-hour raft trip down the Colorado River or a kayak ride or paddleboard up Antelope Canyon is a must.

More adaptable to problems

Living in an RV full-time means problems are going to show up. Maybe the roof leaks or maybe a tire blows. Perhaps it is driving a narrow winding road while you are pulling a toad. Sometimes the campground you plan to camp in is full or even underwater after the most recent rains.

Sometimes it is just the issue of how to handle paperwork when you are on the road. Over time, you learn how to handle most situations. Even more, you learn that none of these problems are a catastrophe, but they will make great stories … after you’ve solved the issue.

A bicycle is a “want” but it is very nice to have!

More understanding of needs vs. wants

We used to think a big home, two cars, a closet full of clothes, and the latest toys were “needs.” You learn you can enjoy life with just what you carry with you in your RV. We found that having fewer things simplifies our lives and reduced our stress.

More unconventional

When we announced to our friends and family that we were selling our home and traveling the country, there was some jealousy but mostly it was disbelief. How could we live without a homebase? How could we survive without all the stuff in a house?

People couldn’t understand our desire to travel like this and we were termed the vagabonds and gypsies of our families. After a few months, we realized we would survive quite well. It was OK to live differently from most people.

More contemplative

It is hard to see a sky full of stars and not wonder about the universe. Sunset at the beach makes you think about the beauty in this world. The view from the top of a mountain makes you step back with wonder. Even an evening sitting outside your RV with a beer and watching birds and deer allows you to slow down and enjoy life.

We’ve moved back into a home now, but full-timing has changed us … and in a good way.