RV Living

13 Things I’ve Learned in 2 Years Fulltime RVing

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Hey there, it’s my 2nd nomadiversary! This day snuck up on me and was never something I expected to achieve. When first starting this journey 2 years ago, I had no idea what was in store, other than a bit of adventure. My goal was simply to travel the states with my dog by my side while still being able to work.

Adventure was calling – but what I got was so much more.

I’ve been broken down on the side of the road. I’ve taken business calls from the tops of sand dunes. My RV has been pushed by a bear.. with me in it. I’ve gained more technical and electrical knowledge than I ever thought possible. I’ve gathered with hundreds of other RVers to connect built a real community of nomadic friends. I’ve been to places most people will only hope to see.

Some things I have learned on the road in that time…
 

You control your life and your lifestyle. Period.

I have met people from every walk of life imaginable while traveling on the road. Every single one of them had to make big decisions and take big action to build a successful nomadic life. When I began, I expected to meet mostly retired snowbirds and young broke millennials. What I actually found was a mindblowingly diverse population of working adults, determined to live their best life now without waiting for the right time.

No matter what you do for a living, you can find a way to design your perfect life, period. Full stop. No excuses. If you think you can’t do (insert thing you want to do), it’s just an excuse. You are selling yourself short. I know an electrical engineer. A pharmaceutical consultant. A software tester. Numerous bloggers. An RV flipper. A project manager. An accountant. All who live the road!

Whether you want to live in an RV or become a neurophysicist, you can do it.

 

….And if you aren’t doing something to create the life you dream of, you are wasting your days.

Still sitting around making excuses? Why? Nobody is going to make life happen for you. Stop wasting time!

 

Our society values the wrong things.

I’ve written about this a tiny bit on Medium, and may have already known this to a degree before fulltime RVing, but now I know more than ever how wrong our society’s values are. We value being busy over being happy, we value having money over experiences, and we value following the rules over creativity.

That’s why I started the Rat Race Rebel… I want to help others break free of the traditional rat race expectations and be able to make an income that supports their life, instead of having a life that revolves around making income.


 

Life is short.

We all know this already, but let me explain. 2 years may sound like a long time to live in a vehicle to outsiders. I thought the same thing when I began. But truth be told, the time has flown by at the speed of a cracked out kamikaze. I have, for the most part, only explored the western US, and I get anxiety thinking about all of the things I still want to explore!! Yes, even after 2 years! It has passed by so quickly.
 

People are good and want to help each other, no matter your differences.

Once you get out of the city and onto the road, you realize that politics don’t matter – survival and community do. Politics that divide, in my opinion, are a symptom of disconnected communities colliding with disconnected greed. Connection and community is the missing factor. I don’t know if we’ll ever, as a world, get back to a place where we can communicate with, understand, and care for each other, but I know that you can easily find this type of world in a bubble on the road. I’ve become friends with and received help from people I would’ve never met or connected with in “the real world” and it has permanently changed the way I view the world.

 

Nobody is alone in this world. We’re all in this together.

See above… even if you are living the house life, feeling totally alienated and disconnected from everything happening around you outside, even if you feel like you are all alone, it is simply situational. Maybe it’s the demographics of your city. Maybe you need a different friend group. Maybe you need to get out into the world into a situation where people depend on each other (like RVing!) – the fact is nobody is alone even when it feels that way. I’ve encountered a lot of problems on the road, and have never been alone in solving any of them.

 

You can do more than you think…. Even if you already think you can move mountains.

I am not one to doubt myself. From a young age, I had family members telling me that I could do anything. Basically, they brainwashed me into really believing in myself. And while they hoped that it would result in me becoming a lawyer, doctor, etc… what it really did was turn me into a nomadic RVer. 😛 Thanks, ya’ll, and sorry not sorry! Heh heh.

The real point is that even when you think you can do a lot, you can still do a lot more. Things you thought you’d never learn. You just have to be put into the right situations to learn those things! Friction creates growth. Get out of your comfort zone.


 

You don’t need much to be happy. In fact, you probably need less.

In house life, we all get caught up with collecting things and trying to set things up in a way that makes us happy. What I’ve found is the less you have and the less you complicate things, the happier you can be. The catch is it comes from within. No amount of new furniture, new makeup, new cities, new cars, bigger homes, etc can make you happy if you aren’t already happy within. I’ve experienced both want and excess. I have never been happier than laying in a gravity chair in some beautifully remote place in nature.

Really with me, it comes down to having enough coffee and sunshine. 🙂 Much more than that and things become blurry as they become overcomplicated.


 

Technology is amazing… and the US is behind.

When you move into an RV with plans to live off-grid, you begin thinking of life differently.
Every sticks-and-bricks home comes pre-wired to the grid with electricity and water in a very standard way. They are all the same. They have the same toilets. They have the same lightswitches. They have the same inefficient lightbulbs.

In RV life, you are starting from ground zero and thrusted into a whirlwind of creativity out of necessity. How will you get power? How will you save that power? How will you get water? How will you make that water last as long as possible? What will you do with your waste?

Living off of solar power has taught me a LOT about electricity, about efficiency, about my own needs, about what appliances need more juice than others, about how incredible LED lights are, etc etc. Hands on experience is a great teacher. (The same has happened with water and waste.)

Designing your own electrical system instead of being handed a standard inefficient one is also mind-bogglingly eye opening. You realize there are possibilities for new technologies that haven’t been used in a widespread manner yet.

All of this has been eye opening in comparison to the standard American home. It is impossible to climb back into the matrix and forget about what you’ve learned once you go off grid. Normal life feels sickeningly inefficient and laissez faire. It’s crazy that the US is not primarilyrun off of renewable energy already, and even crazier that current political powers are actively, purposefully hindering those advancements. This all is a topic for another day because there’s too much to say about it, so I’ll stop there.


 

We’re destroying our planet.

On that note, you get a horrifying dose of reality about how much excess waste we create when you move into an RV, because you have to handle it all yourself. You don’t get to simply throw something in the bin and never think about it again anymore. You have to carry every single piece of packaging, fast food cup, and plastic wrapper with you until you can find an appropriate place to throw it away.

And then you begin to think…. I am only putting this into the trash so it can go live somewhere else forever inside of my RV. And I’m only creating a tiny amount of trash compared to what I used to, now that I live in an RV. What are we doing to the planet?! *cue spiraling panic*

 

The RV industry is a shame.

I’ll get straight to the point here – the RV industry makes really shitty vehicles at a really high price, and they depreciate very quickly. Newer does not equal better, sadly. There are very few that are worth what you’ll pay for them new. Mine is 27 years old at the time of writing this article and I am lucky it is, because the newer ones are not built as sturdily. They all have most of the same technologies that they did 27 years ago, just with different finishes and a few more electronics.

After attending RV shows as a fulltimer, I was shocked at the poor craftsmanship, shoddy materials, and outdated designs. Even if only using these vehicles recreationally as intended, I don’t see how any of them would last more than a couple seasons without constant repairs (as is a fact of RV life) – which would be fine if they were priced appropriately, but right now in my opinion it all seems like a scam.
 

Our public lands are a treasure that many other countries can’t match.

They can’t even come close. About 28% of our country’s acreage is public land. ‘Nuff said. (I have some opinions about why this is, maybe I’ll put those into another post soon.)

 

Some of the most incredible sights are right in our backyard, and most people are missing out on them.

On that last point, most people are never going to experience the beautiful sights right in our backyard. Do you know how similar Wyoming is to Iceland? Probably not, because everyone likes to think of our remote areas as derpy, backwards, and redneck instead of recognizing them as the amazing areas of natural beauty that they are. That’s fine with me.. More space for me to enjoy. 😛 Never would I, the rocker city girl, have ever imagined “Wyoming” would come up i conversation as one of my favorite places to be. But it is!

Quit making assumptions about your country and get out and explore.

That’s it for now. I’ll try to blog more regularly as there is a lot to say. For now, sign up to the email list or follow along to get updates on new posts. Thanks for reading! <3

Hannah

Hey I'm Hannah, aka The Curly Nomad. Thanks for stopping by, don't forget to leave a comment!!

18 Comments

  1. Bob Ide says:

    Enjoyed reading your blog. A lot of information with some humor and levity

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Bob! Hope you and Sasha are well. 🙂

  2. Benny King says:

    Thank you for being you and living the dream that so many are simply afraid of even trying…don’t stop now !!!

    1. Hannah says:

      #can’tstopwon’tstop 🙂

  3. Mark says:

    Well said…great points. I just read your 13 points to my wife. We are in our late 60’s. And totally agree with you…on most all of your points. Safe travels!

  4. Pat Whalen says:

    Hi Hannah, cool blog. Thanks for the inspiration. 🙂

    Pat

  5. Shirley Gauthier says:

    Springfield, Oregon here saying “Hello.” If your ever in my area give a “shout out.” I have full size shower, laundry facilities, internet and a cold beer!

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks so much, Shirley!

  6. John Tomaszewski says:

    Wow, thats about all that I can stutter out right know! But good for you and please keep on being you! Your free spirt is contagious, you could definetly sell it if only to bottle it.

  7. Awesome post. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Great stuff. I too am a nomad since being widowed. Gave house to son and family and off from Europe via freight ship to Canada across to Alaska and back. Back in Europe now but maybe 2019 back across the pond to explore more? facebook.com/smallhomebiggarden

    1. Hannah says:

      Europe is a dream of mine, enjoy!! xx

  9. Linda L Schultz says:

    Hi from beautiful SE Minnesota! Your posts speak to me…an original g
    gypsy girl too! Had 13 wonderful years traveling with the hubs…now going on 6 years missing him but loving the lifestyle. Anxious to read more on your travels, trials and tribulations.

    1. Hannah says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Linda. I hope to keep sharing <3

  10. Love reading about your adventures!! I’m so proud of everything you’ve done – I think it’s odd to be “proud” since that’s more of a parent thing, but ya, proud is the right word – you’ve accomplished so much all through your own willpower and decision to do it and to figure out what you don’t know. I think it’s amazing and inspiring you’re awesome for making the world bend to your will and finding a way.

    I have to disagree on one thing though…. Wyoming isn’t like Iceland 🙂 Yes they both have geysers and waterfalls, and hot springs and geothermal pools etc., and Wyoming is beautiful… but it’s not Iceland. If Wyoming were coffee, Iceland would be cocaine – it’s just on a whole other level. You should absolutely visit, I think you’d be blown away 🙂

    1. Hannah says:

      Thank you so much, girl!! None of this would have been possible without your constant friendship and encouragement in LA. <3 <3 You're spot on that Wyoming might not QUITE be like Iceland.. but I still want to encourage people to visit their backyards even if they can't do international trips yet. Haha. At least they can get a lil' somthin somthin that way!

  11. Lisa says:

    Found you from Wobbly and Wibbly’s adventures. Been contemplating doing the same with my wife. Still working out the logistics of employment and vehicle.

    1. Hannah says:

      That’s the hard part, but once the logistics are settled, it’s free sailing. Good luck!!

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