I’m adding my comments on a post Jan made a couple days ago about an article posted on RVTravel.com that concluded that full time RVers are healthier and happier than people their age who live in apartments, condos, and houses. Click on the link to read more details on that research.
In our travels over the past two years we have met a lot of people who have been living this lifestyle for a long time. It’s a really good thing that people don’t challenge me to ask how old they are! I would be decades off in many cases! Some who I thought were in their late 60’s or mid 70’s are often in their late 80’s or mid 90’s. They are so active, and doing so many things, that I just had the impression that they are much younger.
Many full timers go 4-wheeling, belong to dance groups, hike, bicycle, and join some pretty tough work parties. Many are really getting active with pickle ball (we have our own paddles now). They have no problems hitching and unhitching some sizable RV’s, setting up utilities, and dumping sewer tanks.
From my perspective, these are some pretty healthy people! Even those with health issues are quite active. Covid hasn’t slowed down this group one bit! This community, by nature, camps with some distance between them. Sometimes our nearest neighbor is 50 yds away, and often farther. The community also tends to be more health conscious, eats better, exercises, and is careful who we socialize with.
When you spend most of your time in a very small space with your spouse, this is a test to see how strong your marriage is. Quite a few are together after having lost spouses to cancer or other health issues. When you marry when you are over 60, many of us have habits and mannerisms we’ve had for decades. It takes friendship, patience, and understanding to work through our old habits, and develop new ones compatible with a new companion. It’s heart warming to see these couples who have developed very strong marriages, coordinating children from previous marriages, relatives, and friends. We just don’t see a lot of contention in the RV community. We also meet a lot of people who have been very happily married for many decades. At 33 years, we qualify for this group! We see many couples going on dates or group dates, and it’s much fun!
Faith is another uniting principle in this community. Some have none, but many find ways to stay active in churches wherever they go. As members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, when we enter a chapel for the first time, it’s as though we’ve been there before. People greet us at the door, or as we sit down in a pew. We are often greeted by the Bishop or one of his counselors, and always by a member of the Relief Society presidency. A lot of members in our RV community get together and discuss scriptures, relate religious experiences, and just share their faith. This gives us a lot of common ground on which to build friendships. We come from many religious backgrounds and a wide variety of faiths, yet we find common ground to build strong friendships.
Another activity that brings us together is food, be it a potluck, group dinner, snacks around a campfire, or just sharing a meal with neighbors. Choices go from vegan, healthy, sugar free, to all kinds of meats and high carb sugar loads. We just pick and choose. We see recipes from all over the world and cultures. Food is always accompanied by lots of talking and meeting new people. RVers are social people!
”Who do you know?” Is a productive game in the RV community. The new couple you just met may know someone you know, and this happens a lot! For us, between friends from the Navy, family, friends, Church, hobbies, and previous travels, we often find a mutual relationship with new people we meet. It’s always amazing how small this world really is!
“Do you need help?” When someone in this community has a problem, help is often right next to you, or a group post away. Having trouble with a mechanical or electrical connection? No problem! There are probably 4 or 5 retired mechanics, electricians, or engineers in the group, ready to lend a hand. Need repair? Someone will give you a referral to a company that helped them or a friend. Don’t know how to do something on your RV? Experienced people are right there to help you get it done.
There are people in this community just above poverty. A growing number work from the road, some of them also homeschooling 1-5 children. Many live on Social Security. Some are retired middle class. And some are wealthy. However, we all have a couple things in common. We all live on wheels, and we all dump poop tanks! Your RV can be held together with wire and duct tape, or a shiny multi-million dollar coach, we all have at least a half dozen things in common, and that builds our community.
If you feel a sense of belonging, and know you have value, even as you get older, you become happier. Happy people are healthier, and able to do more. I don’t know how long we will be in this lifestyle, but it sure is a good fit for us right now.