It sounds romantic.
Ditch the home and weekly commitments. Git rid of all your stuff so you can live in an RV and travel the world.
Who wouldn’t want to do that?
Sounds like a dream life, right?
Well, I’m no expert at full-time RVing but I’ve been living in one for the last 100 days with my wife and three kids. And we just returned from a 2-month trip to Southern California.
And I’ve decided the nomadic life is not for me.
Advantages of the Nomadic Lifestyle
I’m not saying it’s bad or that it wouldn’t be perfect for some families. There are a lot of benefits to living in an RV full-time, including:
- The ability to travel and experience new places.
- More control over your monthly expenses (mainly a fixed mortgage vs campground fees). If you need to save a few hundred bucks then go to a cheaper park, dry camp for a week or stay with friends or family.
- Getting outside a normal routine can help “clear the slate” in our lives and help us figure out what we really want to do versus all the things we think we should do.
However, those reasons are not enough for me.
5 Reasons Why the Nomadic Lifestyle is Not for Me
1. I Love Routine
Whether it’s good or bad, I’m a routine person. The ironic thing about this is that I don’t like to do the same thing forever. Take my morning ritual for example.
I like to design a new ritual and stick to it for at least 30 days and then decide if I want to continue it or improve it. Usually it’s the latter. Living in an RV makes having any kind of routine difficult. Not impossible, but a lot harder.
2. I Love Home
What is home though? Is it a house you bought? That’s part of it. But we have never owned a home so we’re used to renting a place for a year and then moving.
So it’s not “the house” I miss. It’s the place.
For me that place is Battle Ground, WA. I moved there in 1999 when I was a Sophomore in high school and it’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place my whole life. As a kid my family moved almost every year for about 18 years. So having a place I can actually call home means a lot to me.
3. I Miss What Our Motorhome Used To Be
When we first got serious about doing this full-time I reached out to a guy named Paul Kortman after hearing his story on a podcast. He also had 3 kids and worked in marketing and lived in an RV full-time. So I wanted to talk to him.
We talked and he asked why I wanted to do this and I said, “Man, I just love the feeling I get when we get in our motorhome and go camping. It’s one of the only places I can really relax.” He told me that living in an RV is entirely different than vacationing in an RV. “You’re trading the stress of one life for another,” he said.
And he’s right. While I’ve had fun on this trip the truth is I don’t think I’ve entered into that deep state of relaxation I remember when we’ve gone camping. Probably because I’ve been working full-time still!
4. I Love My Own Space
I’m a total introvert. And I love having a place I can retreat to when I need a quiet place to read, write, think or pray.
When you’re one of five people living in a 35’ motorhome it’s hard to do that. So what I do to compensate is either: a) go for walks or b) go to a coffee shop.
But depending on where we’re parked at it’s not always easy to do those two things. For example, the last park we were at in Lakeside, CA didn’t have any walking trails. And it was kind of stinky outside. So it’s hard to walk and think when you’re constantly thinking, “What the heck is that nasty smell?”
And if you walk around the RV park you’re around all these other people. And if you’re in extrovert you probably think So what? People are great!. Yes, people are great. But in order for us introverts to appreciate the greatness of people we have to go recharge our batteries. Alone.
For example, I was taking a walk right before I sat down to write this post and a guy looks at me and asks, “So, how many miles do you walk a day?”
I quickly realized I probably walk more than I think I do and apparently other people notice (creepers). So I said awkwardly, “Oh, I uh just walk because I like to walk and think.” (Apparently I didn’t understand his question!).
He asked about how much weight I carried in my backpack (another question I wasn’t ready for). I explained I’m a freelance copywriter and that my work is on my back. And that I walk around to think and then write. Of course he wanted to know what kind of writing I do, where I was from and we even had a short philosophical discussion about “spontaneity vs planning.”
It was a good talk. But now I had to walk longer to recharge my introvert battery even more!
5. I Want to Live a Life of Purpose
Man, it sounds cheesy writing that for some reason. But it’s true. I have a strong desire to live a purposeful life. One of my greatest fears is wasting my life. Maybe it’s because I used to think I was going to die before I was 30 back when I did enough cocaine each night to potentially kill me. I was depressed and hopeless. So ever since I was born-again in 2004 I’ve had a real live hope in my heart for the future.
So I feel like I’ve gotten a second chance at life and I don’t want to blow it this time. Yes, I want to be a loving husband and dad. And I want to run a profitable business so I don’t ever have to go back to a normal job.
But I also want to change the world. I want to see transformation happen not just in my life and my family but also in my church, city, state and nation.
And I don’t see how I can have that kind of impact living as a nomad. I believe I’ll need my roots to go down deep if I really am going to make a difference in the world.
So that pretty much sums it up. Those are my top five reasons I decided not to be a nomad. Again, I think for the right person or family it could be a wonderful life. So I don’t think it’s bad. It’s just not for me.