RV No More – The End of an Era

Goodbye RV

Goodbye RV, it was fun while it lasted.

It was almost exactly four years ago today that we took possession of our first-ever RV. It would be another couple of months before we spent our very first night in a campground. We then proceeded to live in the thing almost every single day since.

During these last 1,394 days, our motor home has taken us to the rugged shores of Maine; backed up to the shocking blue waters off Key West; discovered things we never knew existed; climbed the Rocky Mountains; survived the Badlands; drove the Pacific Coast Highway; and made some 241 other stops along the way. Last week, our motor home made its final stop with us as its owners.

This was always the plan, if only loosely. We never intended to live in a motor home forever. We didn’t move into one solely for the love of the RVing lifestyle. In fact, when we decided to do this we had zero first-hand knowledge of what that lifestyle even entailed. No, for us the motor home was always a means to an end – a fantastic mobile apartment we could put virtually anywhere we wanted.

Wherever we stopped we’d get the same question from long-time friends and first-time acquaintances alike: “How long do you intend to live in an RV?” Up until recently, we’d always answer exactly the same way: “We’ll do it until we’re done.”

Toasting our last night in the RV

Toasting our last night in the RV with our last glass of a hard-to-find Kentucky Bourbon we discovered on the road.

The truth is we never really knew what that meant. I guess it’s like the old saw about pornography – you know it when you see it. In this case, it was more of a feeling. We would know it when we felt it. And suddenly we did.

Finishing our excursions to Hawaii and Alaska mostly settled things for us. Once we returned from those destinations, we had pretty much completed our exploration of the U.S. Sure there is more to do in our home country. It’s true you can never really get everywhere, even just once. But after four years of near-continuous domestic travel, we’re ready for more distant shores.

As versatile as they are, RV wheels can no longer take us where we want to go. It’s time to move on. So we are.

Sticker Shock

O.K. we won’t miss everything about living in an RV.

Unburdened by our 35-foot bus of a home, we’re now making our way back to New York where one-way tickets to Madrid, Spain, await us. We’ll spend the spring traversing the Spanish and French Mediterranean, the summer in England and Ireland, and the winter somewhere in the southern hemisphere (this year’s unusually cold winter – 11 degrees in Texas ???? – settled that for us; hell, we no longer even own winter coats).

While we’re a little sad to leave the familiarity of our RVing ways behind us, we’re even more excited about what lies ahead. And as much as everything is changing for us, some things remain the same. When asked how long we intend to live out of backpacks we’ll still respond with the tried and true – we’re going to do it until we’re done.

41 Comments on “RV No More – The End of an Era”

  1. iarxiv January 27, 2014 at 9:50 am #

    Good luck in your RV-less life!


  2. Liz January 27, 2014 at 10:03 am #

    Wow, should have seen this coming! Best of luck. Hope you get into Scandinavia at some point.
    Wondering how the sale of your RV went? Did you sell privately or to a dealer?
    Will look forward to continuing reports of your adventures.


    • Brian January 27, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

      We’ve been to Sweden but only for a week or so. Getting back and doing that part of the world justice is definitely on our to-do list.


  3. Robin January 27, 2014 at 11:24 am #

    Ant thought given to renting RVs overseas?


    • Brian January 27, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

      We’ve given it some thought and decided not to – at least not for Europe. One thing we don’t like about RV travel is the difficulty we have exploring cities. You pretty much have to day trip into large metropolitan areas. We find that there’s just something missing to the experience when doing that. And in Europe, we’re really stoked about exploring all their great cities. We want to drink them in morning and night without needing to retreat back to a campground on the outskirts somewhere.

      Now when we head to New Zealand or Australia, we may well want an RV again.


      • Robin Jones Beerbower January 27, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

        We are the opposite; we want to explore the country and not really interact with the cities that much, which is why we’ve thought of RV’ing. However, I’m not real crazy about driving in a foreign country, even if it’s in a small MH.

        Have fun; can’t wait to hear about your further travels!


        • Brian January 27, 2014 at 6:44 pm #

          I think you’ll find that driving in Europe isn’t really any different from driving in the U.S. Throughout continental Europe they drive on the right side of the road just like we do. And even if you Chunnle over to the U.K., you’ll get the hang of left side driving pretty quickly.


  4. barbstruestories January 27, 2014 at 11:35 am #

    Good luck in your next chapter. Such unique opportunities you have made for yourselves.


  5. Chieffallingleaf Walter Skold January 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

    Congrats! I am hoping to take a 75-day trip around the Western US visiting poets’ graves. I’ll be sleeping in Dedgar The Poemobile, my spruced-up solar Sprinter, and I wonder if you could post a link to the most reliable site that will easily help us to email ahead to RV-camp/hookup locations for our journey? Thanks if you can, and I hope you’ve got a book coming out re: your 4-year odyssey.


  6. vannillarock January 27, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    happy travels in europe! you are going to LOVE madrid. if you can, take the trip up marquis de riscal, in the rioja region at el ciego- you will not be disappointed.


    • Brian January 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Thanks! We love recommendations. 🙂


  7. Anne-Marie January 27, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    How exciting! Looking forward to continue following you on my “old home continent” 😉 – Europe. And, of course, gas is even more expensive in Europe.


    • Brian January 27, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

      Good thing we don’t expect to be buying much gas in Europe. Mostly trains, planes and buses for us from now on.


  8. brissioni January 27, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Your wanderlust is our good fortune. Can’t wait to see Spain.


    • Brian January 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      I like it. (BTW, we can’t wait either.)


  9. mytimetotravel January 27, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Congratulations about moving on. I’m still working up to selling my house instead of just leaving it empty. But that was one BIG RV! You may find European digs a bit confining in comparison.

    Have you posted on what you’re doing about an address for forwarding mail, voting, medical insurance etc? Is it the same as for your US travels?

    Bon voyage!


    • Brian January 27, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

      We’re right at home in tight quarters. Our current ~144 sqf room in New Orleans’ French Quarter is all we really need – a comfy bed in a good location.

      We have written in the past about how we deal with addresses, mail forwarding, voting, insurance, etc here https://everywhereonce.com/2011/11/14/how-to-become-a-global-citizen/

      Nothing much is changing for our overseas travel.


  10. Hali Pope January 27, 2014 at 8:44 pm #

    What about the cats??! (or maybe I’ve missed some posts in between?)


    • Brian January 27, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

      You didn’t miss a post because we never wrote one. Our first cat died before we even moved into the R.V. Our second cat died about a year later. Both were older, so I guess it’s not completely unexpected – but we bought a freaking R.V. for them. We kind of thought they’d be with us a bit longer. 😦


  11. nigemate January 28, 2014 at 2:53 am #

    You mention southern hemisphere – I’m an Aussie living in Africa and I’d recommend either one! We’ve travelled far and wide in Oz in a campervan and then in a ute (that’s a pick-up to you) with a slide-on on the back. Neither as much comfort as your ex-RV but perfect for travelling town and country (hint: get a 4WD version if you do this option – needed for the more Outback areas for an extra bit of freedom). Africa (living in Namibia) has also proven a fantastic self-drive destination. Check out itinerantmemes.wordpress,com to see my blog and also to see Hilda, our bakkie (that’s a ute, or a pick-up!) These are the standard issue rental for much of southern Africa.

    Can’t recommend Namibia enough if you like wide open spaces, amazing scenery and wildliife. Safe, good roads, great people, and English is the official language.

    Wherever you go, I’ll be reading your posts, so good luck, enjoy and safe travels.


    • Brian January 28, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      Thanks for the tips and for the language lesson (love the term bakkie). Namibia, and Africa in general, is definitely a possibility for this coming winter. We’ll let you know as soon as we figure it out.


      • Nigel January 29, 2014 at 1:11 am #

        Hi Brian, I’m always happy to share travelling tips for Oz and Namibia if you do end up heading to either. 🙂


        • Brian January 29, 2014 at 10:13 am #

          We’ll be sure to take you up on that!


  12. heyduke50 January 28, 2014 at 7:22 am #

    Sharon and I have been discussing a similar exit strategy so it will be interesting following your travels…


  13. Deano January 28, 2014 at 10:21 am #

    Good luck with the next RV-less leg of your journey!


  14. Allison January 28, 2014 at 11:31 am #

    While in Europe, will you be posting more in real time? Readers want to see what you’re seeing, at least I do. I’m really looking forward to your trip. Will you be discussing what it’s like to back pack and what your days are like and how does one do laundry and that sort of thing? Husband and I think about doing this, but we don’t have the luxury of too much more time to get it done. I am always interested in the logistics of travel.


    • Brian January 28, 2014 at 12:14 pm #

      I think we’ll probably be somewhat more current but we’ve always struggled a bit with trading off quality for speed. It’s difficult (for us, anyways) to write something thoughtful, or interesting, with quality photographs on a moment’s notice. Being current also means being pressured to write when there isn’t much to say (which is another quality consideration). Today, for example, we’re in New Orleans where it’s cold and rainy. We’ll probably just stay in and do some work – not exactly the makings of scintillating storytelling.

      So the blog, I think, we’ll never be completely caught up. But what we will do is start posting more regularly on Facebook. If you don’t already, you might want to follow us there as well: http://www.facebook.com/EverywhereOnce


  15. Reveries of Forevers January 29, 2014 at 3:35 am #

    I hope that you will not have RV withdrawal symptoms. Enjoy Spain and the rest!


    • Brian January 29, 2014 at 10:13 am #

      Ha, detox is going rather well.


  16. Garrulous Gwendoline January 29, 2014 at 7:07 am #

    Enjoy your next travels. If memory serves me right, you first picked up on my blog when we were travelling in Europe for three months. And now I am posting about road trips we have done in NSW, Oz. You might get some ideas and hints from those. Your RV looks fabulous, and I do know some people who use those in Oz, but more commonly a smaller camper van would do the trick here.


    • Brian January 29, 2014 at 10:13 am #

      We’d do a campervan, too, for a limited duration trip. We got our particular RV because we intended to live in it for an unspecified amount of time. That ended up being four years, but would have been longer if our pets were still with us.


  17. hermitsdoor January 29, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    Now, you two are planners, so I’m sure you have a scheme lined up. Some years ago, we did some narrow boat trips on the canals and rivers in England (run by British Waterways). You would love this. Kind of like an RV on water (boats are 7 feet wide, and range from 30 to 70 feet long). In a conversation with an owner of a narrow boat, they mentioned that they narrowboat in summer, then go to Spain to caravan (aka RV groups) in winter. At that time, narrowboats were not well known in the USA, so you are really among the locals along the canals. I’ll be checking back on your status.


    • Brian January 29, 2014 at 10:07 am #

      Thanks for the tip. We’ll check in to the boat trip (could be neat) but right now we’re just planning on busing and training it from place to place.


  18. nativetotheplace January 30, 2014 at 12:04 am #

    Congrats to you. Best of luck on this next chapter. Will be in touch soon.
    – Lynell


  19. Geeky Explorers (@GeekyExplorers) January 30, 2014 at 7:47 am #

    Congrats on the end of an era & a plan for more distant shores! We too view living in our RV as it’s good until we’re done. We have loved furry kids now which keep our travels in the US but long term our plans are to head anywhere but – I look forward to seeing where you go!


  20. Georgina January 30, 2014 at 10:30 am #

    That’s exciting! Looking forward to hearing about your time in Europe…


  21. White Postcards June 30, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

    Found your blog and I’m enjoying jumping from one informative post to the next. While we are planning and prepping for our one year RTW trip (two years to go still) — already I’m envisioning making it a full time lifestyle. Your blog is an inspiration how to make the dream a reality. Best of luck as you enter the next stage of your travel adventure.-Ginette



  1. 8 Favorite Destinations, Year 4 | Everywhere Once - April 30, 2014

    […] our domestic travels largely completed, we traded in our motor home for a couple of backpacks and set off to see the wider […]


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