Bid Bend

Why More People Are Choosing the Freedom of Living Small & Mobile

Imagine if home was where you parked it and your backdoor opened up a world of possibilities. What if instead of sparklers and champagne on New Year’s Eve you laid down and stared up at the Milky Way?

Welcome to the world of full-time RVing. Meet Kate Veltkamp, an Instagram sensation, documenting her families travels in their RV and Nancy Moore, an American RV customer, using their RV as a summer get away.

Living full-time in an RV means many things. First, that you’re spending a majority of your days in an RV as opposed to a traditional home. Second, that you’re willing to give up some of the luxuries of a traditional home, like 24/7 indoor plumbing, unlimited closet space, and probably the amount of room and privacy many of us enjoy.

Sound difficult? We talked with Kate and Nancy to get some insights as to why people choose this lifestyle and why industry leaders say it’s on the rise.

The definition of full time RVing takes on different meanings for Kate and Nancy. For Kate, her husband Scott, and their two children, it means travelling across the country in their RV until they’re ready to slow down again. For Nancy, it’s a creative solution for their restlessness – staying in a long term park during the summer and returning home in the winter months.

“Halfway through that first summer, we decided to try going to work from the campground instead of going home during the week,” says Nancy, who purchased a Montana Mountaineer fifth wheel from American RV in February.

“After the first week, we knew that we wouldn’t be going home for the rest of the summer. Here we are, five years later, still living at the campground during the summer. In fact, when we retire, we plan to live in our RV full-time, year round.”

The decision to pack the family up into their RV was an easy one for Kate and her husband, who bought their fifth wheel RV second-hand from a friend. The decision to join the ‘small spaces’ movement, wasn’t, however, without sacrifice. “We ended up getting rid of about 80-90 percent of our belongings. Our big house and all the stuff in it we didn’t need were stressing me out,” said Kate. “It was one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done.”

For Nancy, the decision to live in their RV for the summers was a slow process. “We started out with a pop up because I wasn’t sure that I would like it and we didn’t want to have something with a large payment if we decided we weren’t going to use it. The next summer, we bought a travel trailer and used it almost every weekend.  Within two years, we decided to purchase a fifth wheel because it was a little easier to tow.  We are now on our third fifth wheel and don’t plan to stop camping any time soon.”

One of the main misconceptions Kate and her husband faced when it came to the RV lifestyle was travelling with their children. “Our kids have been nothing short of amazing on this trip. They have expressed increasing zeal for travel and outdoor activities like hiking and biking. They love exploring new cities…wherever we go in our travels, they have made friends.”

The goal for Kate and Scott was to create memories for their children through the beautiful landscape of America. “They’ve swam in the Pacific, hiked on Mt. Shasta, kayaked the Columbia River Gorge, gazed up in wonder at El Capitan, gotten poked (too many times) by cacti…But perhaps more important to them than all of these beautiful spots has been the deepening connection we have as a family.”

Both Kate and Nancy received increasing support from family and friends. For Nancy, living in her RV during the summer meant family and friends had a beautiful vacation destination. And for Kate and Scott, living in an RV that travels across the US means they get to visit with family in different states throughout the country.

For many Americans, living in an RV is their own version of Tiny House lifestyles with one exception – the world is your backyard. “RVing is a lifestyle, for sure,” Kate said. “To me it means that your living space is smaller but your backyard is infinite. That seeing the world is a reality instead of a dream. We chose to take this opportunity to show our kids the beauty of this country and to spend quality time traveling with them for the brief moment they are under our roof.”

If you're interested in learning more about Kate and her families adventures, check out their website at http://veltkamper.com/ or follow them on Instagram at @kateveltkamp

We’re excited at American RV to be a part of this movement and can’t wait to see each and every one of you posting pictures of your RV lifestyles.

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