Seven years ago we attended the RV -Dreams rally and gathered together with a small group of like minded individuals, many of whom we are still in contact with. As a data scientist, I have tried to keep in loose contact with these folks and tracked our journey throughout the years. I should say I am always a little bit hesitant to write this particular post because there were 140 people at that rally (and more in the 2014 fall rally) so I in no way have kept track of everyone we met. I have even lost track of some people in this picture, so over the years the post has turned into more of a series of impressions rather than true hard data about their lives.
Still I feel it is worth the effort, because for those thinking about starting this life if gives a picture (albeit a small slice) of what this life could look like over time. For those in the Class of 2014, as always, please forgive me what I get wrong.
Seven years have seen a lot of changes for this group, but a surprising (at least for me) amount of folks are still RVing fulltime. The biggest trend I have seen over the last couple of years has been folks buying a piece of land and creating a home base to travel from. Some have downsized their bigger rigs into smaller models for their travel, but most (if not all) still own some sort of RV and continue to travel in some way. It’s hard to give it up once you have caught the bug 🙂
Another sadder trend has been the illness of a parent. Many people in this group have dealt with the serious illness of a parent and this has changed (at least temporarily) how they travel. For some the creation of a home base is partially in response to a parent’s needs and for others they found the place they wanted to settle. In general though this tends to be a restless group, and many of those who have “settled” for awhile talk about changing that location again sometime in the future. Others though are perfectly content in their settled space and are creating really cool home bases.
That leads me to one other trend that also has impacted travel. At least six of us have become first time grandparents in the last couple of years. Balancing seeing our grandchildren and travel have definitely slowed down the miles the six of us are putting on our RVs, but oddly (or maybe not) these three couples are all still 100% traveling without a permanent home base. What that looks like in future I have no idea, but personally since we are about to have grandchildren in two different states the traveling lifestyle is actually more appealing as a way to spend more equitably distributed time with the grandkids.
Which leads me to working. Yeah I know I am all over the place…its early 🙂 The reason this group of people appealed to me so much was several people intended to keep their corporate jobs while on the road. Seven years later this is not such a shocking idea, but back then for most of us it was uncharted territory. Two of the three people I knew have kept their same corporate jobs through all the twists and turns of the lifestyle and I actually left my corporate job and then 5 years later went back to the same company in an almost identical position. That I think is a good story because it tells people there is opportunity for some people to work from the road. It is certainly not without its unique challenges, but it is possible.
So where does that leave us? As best as I can cobble together of the original 11 couples:
- One couple has sold their RV and solely live in traditional sticks and bricks housing
- Three couples live in sticks and bricks but have an RV for traveling
- Four couples live in an RV but have a home base
- Three couples live in an RV and have no home base (as a side note these three couples are the only three that are still in their original RV. That’s probably a coincidence but its interesting.)
Overall, I think its a fair sample of how things have evolved for the larger group, but again it is just my very small sample. Still after talking to Kelly and Bill (who are with us right now) to make sure I got my facts straight they agree. We have made many friends over the last several years who also went on the road in 2014 and the trends seem similar.
Speaking of that I would like to mention an outlier, and I say that in the most wonderful way. Two of our extended RV-Dreams family have moved to Europe and are full timing there. I have been completely fascinated by their journey and if you would like to read about how they did it their blog is here. In addition here are the blogs of Kelly and Bill and Deb and Steve who have been with us from the beginning.
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