We’d now working on our fifth year of living the RV lifestyle and are as excited as we were on that very first trip. We’re no longer newbies and now find ourselves answering the same questions and to people seeking the same help we were when we started out.
We spend about half the year on the road. And as we’ve made our way all across North America checking off our bucket list of “must visit” parks and places, we’ve realized that the bucket list never shrinks.
It only grows as we hear about new places.
Five years is not a long time, of course. But we’ve noticed some changes. Here are the five things that we think are what is most different today that when we started out.
1) Technology – When we first started out, the two house batteries on our first rg meant that except for a couple of hours, we needed to be tethered to electricity if we expected to use all our appliances like the microwave and air conditioning. Yes, we had a generator. But it was so noisy that we only would run it for a few minutes. Now, thanks to a rooftop of solar panels than constantly charge a large bank of lithium batteries, we are basically energy independent. This has opened up the whole country to us. We can boondock pretty much anywhere, as long as we want.
2) The Internet – When we started out, I thought I had retired from a life in the media. I had no idea that this RVing lifestyle would become my new job. But it has, what with the Roadtreking blog and podcast Jennifer and I do each week. It doesn’t feel like a job of course, because I love it so much but the now universal availability and reliability of 4G LTE Internet connectivity means I can post my stories, podcasts, photos, videos and answer email from anywhere. I use a Verizon MiFi data card that makes my own WiFi network in our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL, a cellular booster with an external antenna and have never missed a deadline. The first year or so, there were many stretches of the country where I couldn’t get online. Now, connectivity is just a given.
3) Communications – That’s the other thing that has changed that is related to the Internet. Over the past couple of months, Jennifer and I have started doing live video feeds broadcast over Facebook. We do this with our smartphone and the quality is amazing. Not only can we show and tell about the areas we’re visiting, users can post comments and questions that we see in real time and can answer. Five years ago, I would never imagine such a means of connecting and communicating with my audience would exist. In my TV days, it took us a microwave truck with a 40 foot mast or a satellite truck with a huge dish and a whole bunch of support people to manage a “live shot.” Now, it can all be done on my smartphone and my audience can watch and interact with us on their smartphones. From anywhere. Anytime Amazing.
4) Community and Friends – Common interests bring people together. I guess I always knew that but it wasn’t until we started living this RV lifestyle that I realized that there really are a lot of wonderful people out there. When you listen to talk radio and watch cable TV news, you get a pretty depressing picture of a nation polarized, bitterly divided, angry, rude and intolerant. But when you go out across the country, slow down, meet people in campgrounds in parks and small towns and really get to know them, you realize that the world is really full of nice people. Our circle of friends has mushroomed. And they are so different. We have met fellow RVers in red states and blue states, from very different religious, political and lifestyle persuasions and never had an unpleasant encounter. We’ve found we are not nearly as polarized as the pundits picture us. We’ve learned a lot from all those we met and are now part of a very diverse and vibrant community of friends.
5) RVing is now an “in” thing – Over the past two years, we’ve noticed a lot of new RVers. There’s a whole genre of RV and Travel blogs, TV shows and major media coverage now devoted to the romance, adventure and fun of RVing. We’re seeing more communities embracing and warmly welcoming RV travelers and we’re noticing younger people out there. Several times in the past year we’ve run across whole families on the road, with the kinds being home schooled in the RV. This is more than a pastime. It’s a major trend.
We had no idea how our lives would change when we began this adventure nearly five years ago.
We can’t wait to see what the next five will bring.
See you out there!