Living the RV lifestyle opens up doors for many exciting opportunities, but it also raises lots of questions. Will I miss family and friends? How do I get mail? What about visits to the doctor, dentist, and medications? How do you find a loyal mechanic?
These are just a few questions you may have about life on the road. There is not just one straight forward answer to all these questions. As RVers, we all find our way with what works the best for us. One thing that has answered a lot of our questions is having a home base. Having a home base location as an RVer has been very beneficial to us, but does have its pros and cons.
One thing is certain in the RV lifestyle. Maintenance and projects are not something you will escape on the road. Just like living in a sticks-and-bricks home, having a house on wheels has its upkeep just in different ways. Having a home base location is the perfect place to perform these activities. Yes, problems happen while on the road, but some projects can wait until the next home base visit. This makes things so much easier because we have local handymen, mechanics, or just an extra set of hands when needed. This allows us to hire people we know and trust, and this provides peace of mind. We love to batch all our RV projects and vehicle maintenance while we are at our home base.
Family is a huge part of our lives, not just our little family, but also our extended family. Both of our families live in the same area in Tennessee, which is really nice when you are choosing a home base. One of the reasons we travel back to our hometown so frequently is because we love visiting with family and friends. We don’t want our RV lifestyle experience to be isolated from the ones we love the most. We enjoy meeting new people on the road, but not being around family years at a time is not a situation that will work for our family.
Some of you may have family throughout the country, and this lifestyle will let you see family more often. For us, because they are mostly in the same area, traveling back to spend time on these relationships has been an important part of our travel journey. Our children get to spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends which is very important to all of us. We can enjoy sitting on the porch drinking coffee with moms and grandmas while we laugh and catch up on life. We can attend birthday parties, weddings, baby showers, spend time with friends, and do all the things we may miss while traveling.
One of our favorite parts of a home base is the familiarity of it. While traveling, you are always figuring out directions, where to shop, where to eat, and everything is new. Having a home base is a great break and allows us time to recharge. It has really helped break up that sense of newness with comfort. Being in a familiar place is comfortable and allows us to have a schedule or a routine, which is something we do miss at times while traveling. Some people love routine and others hate the monotony. We have found having this mix of constant adventure and the mix of familiarity has been a great blend.
Making the decision to travel was a leap of faith, but we felt like it was the right decision for our family. We love our home church and not being able to attend there on a regular basis was a tough decision to make. Although we do miss it while traveling, we have enjoyed visiting new churches on the road. It is a great way to grow and meet new people. Coming back to a home base has allowed us to remain involved and connected. It is always nice coming “home” to our church family for a bit.
More affordable Lodging
Being at our home base is very affordable. While we are parked at our home base, we are able to save money on lodging compared to the expenses of traveling.
One of our favorite advantages of being around family is DATE NIGHTS! Being on the road has pretty much eliminated going out for a night on the town as a couple. There are babysitting services, but we are not sure if that is a route we are comfortable with at this time. Letting our children spend time with family is always a peace of mind that they are in good hands, and we don’t feel guilty because this is quality family time for them.
The biggest downside of a home base is the obvious one….driving! Having a home base that you travel back to often means you are doing a lot of driving. We had a family wedding one summer and made the drive from Utah to our home base in Tennessee to attend. Our next adventure was set for Montana, which is only a short drive from Utah. Tennessee was not a short detour, but it was great getting to spend time with family, friends, get projects completed, and do all these things we love about a home base. Driving long distances is not what you call fun, especially with young children, but you adapt the more you travel. Traveling has become a part of us and we have adapted to long rides. The drive time and cost of gasoline are worth our home base visit.
Not in a New Place to Explore
If you are living the traveling lifestyle, then traveling is in your blood. Staying parked in your home base can cause the travel bug to hit hard. We have found a month is generally a good amount of time for us to recharge. After a month we start to get the itch again. When we come back during the holiday months, we are usually parked two months for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Come January we are squealing tires to get back on the road. Since we follow other travelers on social media, we start to get travel envy when we’re stationary too long. Not exploring is a nice break, but challenging at the same time.
Life Gets Hectic
If you choose to do a home base to batch everything together, be prepared for life to get hectic. When we travel back to our home base we lump together doctor appointments, dentist visits, visiting family, friends, projects, and different work-related tasks. It can get CRAZY! We cram a lot together that needs maintenance including the vehicle, RV, relationships, and our bodies. It is a very productive time for us.
Those are some of the pros and cons of having a home base while living the travel lifestyle. We hope that helps answer some of your questions. If you wait until you have all the answers, you will never set out on this amazing journey. It takes planning, sacrifice, and faith, but in the end, we wanted no regrets. There’s no looking back and wondering, “what if?” We had followed our dream and having a home base has been a great addition to our journey on the road.