Becoming a Full-Time RV Family – It’s all Just Stuff Honey!

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I laid in bed last night discussing this crazy journey that we're preparing for with the husband. While he's on board with becoming a full-time RV family, there is a part of him that truly didn't understand it. You see, Tom and I lived very different lives as kids. Where he was raised by both his Mother and Grandparents, I was raised with both of my parents. His family attended church but weren't overly religious; my father was a preacher. Where I grew up dirt poor in a trailer park, he grew up in what 10-year-old me would have considered rich. His vacations as a kid involved cruises and places like Disney. Mine involved 4 or 5 hours at the state park where my Dad would grill out and we'd swim in muddy water labeled a “beach.” Where my father never made over $20,000 in a year, he was raised by people making six figures or more.

Feeling like you're drowning in "things?" It's all just stuff honey! See how becoming a full-time RV family can help you live more with less!

Needless to say, the differences in how we were raised were vastly different. Most days the differences in how we were raised and our experiences until we got together don't even come up. Sometimes they can cause misunderstandings though as we have been working through for the past few weeks. When he asked me last night to explain it “Barney style” (i.e. explain in very simple terms) why I want to travel full-time, those differences had never been more glaring.

“Do you know what it is like to have your entire existence defined by three or four counties?”

I know. I'm a 34 year old woman who is perfectly capable of going out and doing whatever she wants within reason, but we all know that the experiences that we have as children shape who we later become as adults at least in some ways. While he had a childhood filled with experiences, I did not.

I remember going to DC with the school. I was 11 and can still remember how small the Washington Monument made me feel. I once went to Chicago with a church group. For whatever reason, we ended up not spending much time at all seeing the city and instead spent most of the trip at the family restaurant of one of the church leaders.

Another time I went on a college visit near Myrtle Beach. We never left the campus. In 2015, I traveled to NYC for businessbut since it was a business trip, we didn't see much other than the hotel and where the conference was held.

In short, I've lived an extremely sheltered life. And I want different for my daughter.

When he asked, I explained – in painstaking detail  that I'm sure made his man-eyes roll into the back of his head and his brain shut completely down – that I want her to be able to stand on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, yell her name and listen for an echo; for no other reason than to be able to say she did it.

I want her to be able to dip a toe into the Pacific and get some sun on a beach in the Atlantic.

That I want her to pan for gold in Oregon in a river or stream because really, how many people can say they have done that.

That I want her to understand the history that surrounds the Native American culture and why it is important to not only know, but remember it.

That she needs to see the beauty of the Painted Desert and understand that beauty like that really does need to be nurtured and protected.

That I wanted her to learn about the War Between the States not in a book, but standing on a battlefield imagining that she can smell the cannon smoke and hear the musket fire.

but then?

I laid it bare. My main reason for wanting to become a full-time RV family.

Because I am not ready to plant roots. Honestly I'm not even ready to plant the seeds that will someday become roots. I simply haven't found that place that is home to me.  I grew up in Southern Ohio. While my family is still there and it will always be home for that reason, it isn't my home.

I once lived in Northern Iowa. It isn't home either.

We've lived in Texas for almost six years. It is home for him, but it will never be “right” for me.  I have nothing against the State of Texas and in fact, I do quite enjoy it here, but this isn't the place that I will spend the rest of my life.

It was at this point that he started to connect the dots and “get it,” but I wasn't done. I want simple. I want more…but at the same time I want less.

We currently live in a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with a loft and 2 car garage. Every room in my home and the garage has stuff in it. 70% of it – at the very least – is stuff we don't need.

I work 12 hour days. Most weeks I work 7 days a week. 4,368 hours each year of my life devoted to sitting behind a computer so that I can make money to buy more stuff. I won't lie. I earn a very nice income for working that hard, but the truth is?

I would give it all up to be back in that trailer park in that thirty year old trailer. 

Why? Because at least that trailer park and trailer was honest. There wasn't anyone trying to pretend they were wealthier than they are. There was no keeping up with the Joneses. There was no debt since the majority couldn't afford to have debt. There were no homes filled with rooms upon rooms of endless stuff.

It was honest.

We live in a society that is so full of lies that – even when they're right in front of us – we have trouble seeing them. The fancy home full of stuff makes us look as if we're not drowning in debt. The flashy car that gives the impression that we've got more in our savings accounts than we really do. Where family dinner is no longer a priority and our public education system – for whatever reason – is failing our children. Where video games have replaced real life and where debt reigns and appearances mean everything.

Personally? I'm tired of it and if you are feeling the same way, I would urge you to really consider downsizing.

Planning to pack or sell everything you own, move into a 30 foot RV and travel full-time is a truly scary experience. You will experience a wide range of emotions and I am not ashamed to say that I am going through those same emotions right now. There will be fear. The unknown can be a very scary place. You will change your mind at least one-hundred times and then change it back again. There will be a need to hold onto everything that you own because you needed it when you bought it. Your decision may weigh on you like baggage that you're carrying through the airport. You will make it through the doubt.

Yes. I want the experiences. Yes, I want my child to have those same experiences, but really? I just want to live more with less.

After all, in the end? It's all just stuff.


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Stacy Barr is the face and brain behind the frugal living and lifestyle blog Six Dollar Family. A true gypsy soul, her newest blog, Unsettled Hearts, chronicles the journey of her family to become full-time travelers. By the age of 30, Stacy had overcome an alcohol addiction, a drug addiction, divorce, survived domestic violence and had built a life for herself and her daughter after spending 10 months in a homeless shelter. Stacy is passionate about homeless advocacy and addiction education.  Her first book, also called Six Dollar Family is available on Amazon.

Click here to learn how I made over $100,000 blogging in 2016!
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  1. This! So very very this! I’m feeling the weight of “stuff” dragging me down, and it’s more than I care to deal with. I’ve had so many life changes in the past few years that were out of my control and now I just want less. Less stuff, less stress, less room…..more life. Good luck in your journey toward following your dreams. I’m excited for you, and eager to follow along and read about your adventures.

  2. Denise Carrell says:

    I just came across your blog yesterday and I feel like I have found a like minded person! My husband and I very impulsively did something similar to this less than 6 months ago. We had a huge yard sale, put the rest of our stuff in storage, bought a pop up camper and hit the road. Half way through our adventures our four legged child passed away. We had perspective before we left but now we REALLY have a different take on life. We knew that Washington would always be our home but this adventure has solidified that for us. Circumstance has dictated that he must go back to work an we will again (sort of) settle down and find a rental. The feeling of “settling” overwhelms us and so we are beginning to pursue outlets to set ourselves up for a very small home base (possibly, this changes by the day) and purchasing an RV that is self contained, larger and easier than a pop up to once again take on the RV life on a more permanent basis. We are both relatively well traveled but realize that the more you see, the more there is to see. I love reading about your adventures!

    • Denise, my best friend launched very similar to you. She and I (literally) brought the idea up to each other at the same time in a conversation and less than 9 months later they were on the road. I’m a bit more analytical though so it has taken longer for us. If you’re having to settle down again, you absolutely can do so in a RV that is stationery. I know quite a few people who have done so for whatever reason. Good luck and I hope things work out for ya’ll!

  3. Stacy! Love the ending of this! Give me the trailer over Surburbia any day sista! Good luck! We are in the same boat. Currently living in our 5th wheel stationary, but will be hitting the road in less than 2 years (military husband has to wait out the contract.)

    • I have heard of a lot of military that live in RV’s stationary. Seems like it’s a great way to save money!

      • Yes! We are saving a ton of money! Rentals can be expensive and it seems silly to buy a house when we have no idea how long we will be somewhere. This has seriously been the PERFECT solution and has shifted our perspective on just about everything!

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