Accidental Snowbirds

Story about RV living and society views of it (A Story)

To me, RV living and society is an interesting mix, many people hear that I live in an RV full time and they get excited to ask me questions about it, they seem eager to know how it happened, what caused me to do that lifestyle change or even how I sustain it. After answering all their questions, there’s a common comment that is shared by them all: “I don’t think I can do that. I like my (enter specific square footage) house/apartment.” 

Every time I hear that comment I chuckle. It is funny to me to see humans in their comfortable habitat and how they are ok with having a large house full of stuff that they rarely use. When did society get to this level? What happened to live as a minimalist?

I know, I know, you’re probably thinking, “Oh no, another one of those minimalist people.” But, trust me, I am not going to preach at you about it. I am just going to share in the next few blog posts some funny stories from people’s view of my choice to live the full-time RV life.

Are you ready for story one? Here we go.

Story title: How Long Have You Been Homeless?

I used to live in Washington state, and to be more specific, the Stanwood area. Are you guys familiar with it? It’s about 30 miles north of Seattle. I loved living there. I was on a private lake with a wooden dock and far away from civilization. Loved it.

Lake, summer, sun, rv, dog
Beautiful summer day on the lake

Now, I live in a ‘99 Citation Supreme 29-foot 5th wheel. It is perfect for me my wife and our dog, Z, but it is missing a washer and dryer. So all my laundry is done in a nearby wash and fold facility. One day I packed up all my laundry and headed to get my weekly chores done.

rv, lake, green, grass, hookup, WA
First Hookup for the RV
Snow, winter, wa, rv
The beginning of the WA snowy days

 

On the same day, Snohomish County was conducting a survey to assess and tackle the homeless problem in the area. One of their surveyors was in the laundromat for the day. I walked in not knowing what the surveyor is doing.

The owner of the laundromat, Keith, also lived in a motorhome, so he and I always talked about our experiences and what tips and tricks we had learned the previous week. I waved at Keith on my way in and proceeded to get my laundry done with headphones on enjoying a podcast.

Funny Conversation: 

In the corner of my eye, I see this person hovering around me with a clipboard. I tried to ignore her and get my laundry done but she kept getting closer and closer until she got so close that I could read the paper on her clipboard. Man, she was socially awkward! Anyhow, I removed my headphones and asked her if I could help her.

She stated her name and that she is conducting surveys about homelessness in the area. I told her, “I am sorry I can’t help you, I am not homeless.”

She then asked me if she can ask me a few questions. After looking at her trying to figure out if she just didn’t listen to me, or just ignored me, I decided to chuck her actions to her awkward social interaction and said, “Sure, why not?” She asked me the basic questions, name, age, DOB and such but then the conversation got interesting in a weird way:

Her: Ok, the following questions are mostly yes or no, I just have to check boxes here. Where do you live?

Me: That’s not a yes or no question, but I live on a lake about 6 miles away.

Her: Do you own or rent?

Me: I kinda rent.

Her: What do you mean “kinda?”

Me: I rent the land that I have my RV on, so in a way, you can say I am renting the land.

Her: Ohh so you are homeless. Hmmmm!?!

Me: No ma’am, I live in the RV by choice.

In the corner of my eye, I can see Keith chuckling in the background as he is listening to our conversation. I snuck a look at him and he gave me the “everything is great” hand gesture and laughed out loud.

The misconception of the RV lifestyle:

The survey lady is still writing on the board, more than just checking a box. I glanced at the clipboard board as she’s writing “homeless” at the top.

Me: I am not homeless; I am living in the RV by choice.

Her: I understand sir.

Me: Then why did you write it on the paper?

Her: Oh, It’s just for my record. 

She continued asking: How long have you been homeless for?

Me: Again, I am not homeless, I live in the RV by choice so, I can’t answer that.

Her: Sir, I understand you’re not homeless, but really you are. I am here trying to help you and see what resources I can provide you with.

I looked at her with a raised skeptical eyebrow and asked, “What kind of resources do you mean?” She was eager to share her resources, she handed me a few booklets:

“Shelters List”, “Jesus, Lead the Way”, “Homeless and Diseases” I stopped reading the rest of them after that one and I said,

“Ma’am, none of these resources are useful to me. You might want to save them for someone who needs them.”

I walked away from this individual as I am saying,

“Sorry, ma’am I am not interested in your survey. Thank you for your time.”

This is one of my favorite stories about full-time RV living. People don’t understand the RV lifestyle due to it being a kind of an enclosed community lifestyle.

This story solidified the belief in me and allowed me the opportunity to work harder on educating others about the Fulltime RV lifestyle, instead of shutting them off as I did in this case. 

stanwood, WA, RV, lake, snow
The Stanwood, WA lot, where I parked my rig for a few months

One challenge that I noticed as well:

People who are living a conventional lifestyle are not interested in hearing why you chose your path; They are always willing to learn about new things, a new lifestyle and a new way of thinking. What are your thoughts?

4 comments on “Story about RV living and society views of it (A Story)

Mary-lifeunderway

That is an amazing story…you were more patient than I would have been! So far everyone we’ve told, young and old, have had this reaction: oh my god, that’s my fantasy! I want to do that but I cant because (job, spousal objection, kids, can’t bear to part with all my crap, what would people think…)

My two adult stepchildren think it’s awesome, and siblings are envious. My 85 year old Mom wanted to do this but when she finally could, she developed health problems that made it impossible. None of us knows what lies ahead for our health, which is one of the big reasons we’re doing this now instead of waiting until we retire. Which will be sooner now that we live in the RV!

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I feel some of the hang up with your survey lady can be where you were. The news is spinning some great stories about folks on the left coast moving into RVs as a last resort…whether true or not…and cities are in a fight with RVs on their streets. I know plenty of people that have lived in a RV on property before building or moving on where I’m from.

I dig the idea of full time life. I just don’t think it’s gonna be for us. So there’s at least one partial sticks and bricks dweller out there that gets you.

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Lil & Larry

That’s hilarious! But I have to say, it’s true. People don’t understand how wonderful this lifestyle is. Even I didn’t understand it fully until we did it. Would I ever want to go back to the brick house…nope! Just today we were having a conversation with Rodney about how content we are living this way. If this is homeless we’re sold on it. However, family do seem to be in wonder as to why we’d ever choose such a thing. We’re called Vagabonds, and we love it!!
Great story Lance! Can’t wait to read more.

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OurAdventureStartsNow

I loved this story! You are correct, people don’t want to know the why. We’ve had people look at us and make comments about being rich, while others pity us for being poor. On a side note, I do like to embarrass my kids so when I send them mail, in the return address line, I write something like… Your Homeless Parents…. Living behind a black truck… Anywhere, USA. But the reality is we AREN’T homeless. We bought a home, we sleep in it, cook in it, chill in it. It just happens to have wheels! Thanks for sharing a great story. I love hearing other RVrs stories!

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