Living the RV life
Earlier this year, I visited my Dad who lives half of the year in an RV park in northern Florida near Lake City. He has a trailer that he parks there and lives the rest of the year near me in a suburb of Chicago.
As a backpacker, I am used to sleeping in unusual places. I have slept in cheap guesthouses, in little huts in the jungle, on people’s couches and floors, in a tent, in a hammock in the middle of nowhere Guyana, and earlier this year I added an RV park community center to my bed repertoire.
It was perhaps the coldest night of the year in Florida. It was so cold, they shut down Three Sister’s Springs in Florida because there were so many manatees packed in avoiding the cold ocean waters. Initially, I planned on camping in a tent, but this did not seem the optimal choice with temps plunging into the lower 30s. I have winter camped before, but it just did not see right to camp in 30 degree temperatures in Florida.
Fortunately, The RV park was nice enough to let me sleep in the community center floor, which had propane heat and cable TV. I watched a Miami Heat game with Lebron James before turning in.
Over the next three nights I made the RV park my home while visiting my dad. It was interesting to get a feel of the RV life while I was there. It is similar to the travel lifestyle in general.
Different varieties of RV
Some people who live in a trailer are nomadic while others stay in one spot. There are also a lot of RV dwellers that are snowbirds who live in Florida for half of the year and up north the other portion of the year. My dad fits this category as well as a friend from Canada that we visited this summer in his summer residence near North Bay, Ontario.
The good life
People who live in an RV park have some great options for social interaction. The community center I slept in had dances and other social activities. There were two community fire pits where people could gather for campfires. It seemed each night there was a happy hour celebration that seemed to change from trailer to trailer.
It is a great place to meet people with mutual interests. My dad found several people who love to canoe, and several times a week they are off to one of the several Florida rivers for canoe trips down the Ichnetucknee, Hillsborough, or Weeki Watche. The famous Suwanee River is another favorite and flows only a mile away from the RV park.
After my visit to the RV this year, it made me optimistic and almost look forward to the future. Growing old not only does not look so bad, it looks like a lot of fun. I cannot wait till the day I am in the market for cheap RV rentals in the USA and joining the ranks of the nomadic and semi-nomadic people who enjoy the RV lifestyle.
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I have never thought of myself as an RV’er but never say never because it does allow an affordable way to travel as one gets older – and it sure beats sleeping in a tent all the time.
I have a trip to Florida planned in early February and hoping it’s warmer this year as we want to swim with the manatees in Crystal River.
Leigh recently posted..Travel News from Around the World: October 24, 2014 Edition
It usually is not that cold in Florida and this was December, which is the coldest time. You will be fine. Can’t wait to see your adventure down there. Florida is awesome.
Your dad has it right Ted, I lived in an RV for four years living like a nomad moving about the country and it is the highlight of my life thus far. I loved living in all the different campgrounds all over America, got to meet tons of wonderful people too! Trust me on this one Ted, living in an RV is the way to go if you love the nomad kind of life.
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My dad is only half nomadic. He has a trailer that stays put, but he loves it there and has no desire to move around. I would love to drive all around the country in an RV. That would be the life.
I have read your travel blog posts for four days straight — I drink up the words you write and the places you share with us via your blog. You are right about living the dream through RVing. Your dad seems to have made the right life choices for his self in his retirement years. My husband and I are “Seniors” and have been full-timing the RV life style for 18 years! We have a home-base in Georgia and keep our 32 ft Gulfstream there. It is a nice size for daily living in a stay-in RV Resort or Private Campground. For our travels, however, we have a 20 ft Airstream trailer pulled by a full size Chevy Conversion Van with the EXPLORE Van Company Package. This is a great combo for Federal, State, Local Parks and public camping on public lands (BLM and USFS lands). The Airstream/Chevy combo is a perfect length that can take you about anywhere without the worries of length restrictions or when needing to turni around instead of backing out when you need to — size matters. Lastly there is the Chevy Conversion Van as a great day-tripper and urban stay-cay for exploring nearby towns or cities — it’s our tiny weekender option. While having two RVs and a full sized Conversion Van might seem a bet over-the-top to a non-RV it really is not. Things break and repairs are need to be done on sight at a repair shop. Believe me, it’s nice to park one RV or Van and stay in it (rather than a costly motel) while the other rig is being worked on. Think of it like a back-up tent when day hiking 🙂
So here’s to your dad! Being a Modern Day Nomad has never been easier and the options are plenty, there’s something offered up to everyone who seeks out and finds their own RV Lifestyle.
Thank you for your story, TravelingTed,
Spending the last three years in USA, Canada & Mexico as solo traveller in 13’Scamp trailer have been the best! Met so many interesting people! And the history, theater, music performances, geology, astronomy, bicycling, hikes, lakes & rivers to canoe! Great beauty & joy! Life is a gift!
Hello Vi Lam,
Thank you for reading. Glad to hear you had a great experience.
Great story indeed.