RVing and Family Ties – How We Make It Work – Full-Time RV Life

We get many different reactions when we tell people we live and work full time in our RV and travel around the United States.  There’s the horrified reaction, “I could never get rid of my stuff!”   The resistant response of, “Oh, no.  Not for me.  I’d miss the grandkids too much.”  The popular,  “I’m a homebody, I have to be where my roots are.”  Most of them, though, say this: “Go for it!  What a life!”  My favorite is the latter, but I also understand the nay-sayers’ point of view.  This lifestyle is not for everybody, but it’s working out perfectly for us.

Often people view the nomadic lifestyle as an escape from society or family ties with pictures in their heads of a lone camper in a desert.  Of course, that would be wonderful, but it isn’t always the reality.  For us, it’s a way to be close to our loved ones.  We have family members scattered around the United States, and it’s such a blessing to spend a few weeks close to our parents, our kids, our cousins, aunts and uncles.  Since we also have genealogy research in our repertoire, we even meet new relatives in our journeys.  It actually enhances our ties to family.

Since my blog is an account of memories we make along the way, of course it involves family members.  In Austin, it was Mike’s parents and siblings and meeting a cousin I’d never met in person.  In Dallas, I got to visit with my goddaughter and my sister.  In Oklahoma, we caught up with a childhood friend.  In Branson, it was our oldest daughter.  In Jacksonville, we got to see the lovely faces of Mike’s beautiful girls:

Mike and Ally
Mike and Amanda

While we were in Asheville, I got to visit my brother, Sean.  There’s nothing like a tight hug from a loved sibling.  I may be the oldest, but he will always be the tallest.

My “little” brother, Sean.

I drove down to Columbia to visit my Great Aunt Margie and her daughter, Tracy.   Aunt Margie is the only living sibling of my grandmother–she’s spry, quick-witted, and a tiny little spitfire.  I love her growing-up stories and tidbits of information on my great grandparents.  Meeting my cousin, Tracy (her first name is my great-grandfather’s family name), was a delight and pleasure.  I loved our visit and can’t wait to get to the Columbia, South Carolina, area to visit these sweet ladies again.

Tracy and Aunt Margie (known as Cookie by her loved ones)
Tracy and Aunt Margie going through family photos.

Mike also got to meet a first cousin while in Asheville.  Anne came to the campsite to meet and spend some time with us.  She was family at the first instant.  Good food, smooth wine, and excellent conversation.  Don’t worry, Anne–what happens at the campsite stays at the campsite.  What a great time!

Anne and Mike

We are on our way to Michigan, so this afforded us a very short stay through Ohio to visit my mom, sister, nieces and nephew.  The trip was too short and during the work week, so I’m hoping to see my brother, Russ, and his family, my Jones siblings and their families, and other close friends on the next trip through.  It’s hard to “go home” (the place where I grew up) and be able to see everyone in one fell swoop unless it’s a family gathering of some sort–especially when everyone is working.  Here are some fun times we were able to squeeze in:

My nieces–Meredith and Veronica
My Mom
Had to get my sister hooked on geocaching–Jeannie and Meredith enjoying the new addiction,
Picking green beans with my niece and nephew–Nick, Meredith, and Veronica. Even spending time working is fun with family.
Meredith, Nick, and Veronica
My Mama cooking us something yummy for dinner.

Family is important to us, even though we live a life that takes us from one exciting destination to another.  It is so much easier for us to cherish the everyday moments in the lives of our family members when we ‘live’ nearby.  Before, visits were during vacation and trying to fit in as much as we could in an abbreviated amount of time.  This way is much sweeter.  It’s very cliche’, but we are enjoying the journey.  Every. Second. Maybe that’s simply because we don’t have a specific destination in mind.

Meanwhile, we are soaking in the time we have with our loved ones.  It’s a moment in time that will never be repeated–only relived in precious memories.

Are you living every second to the fullest?  Do you find this lifestyle to be helpful or harmful to family ties?

Safe travels, Dawn


  1. you have inspired me to write exactly what it is like for us, rather than only about where we go. As our blog is about life of a full time RVer, why not write about how it affects us. Good job, Dawn.

  2. So happy for you guys. (Maybe a little jealous too!). Sorry we missed you guys when you were here. Next time! Love ya.

  3. This has been a very happy benefit for us as well. Since we’ve been on the road, we’ve met up with friends we hadn’t seen since college and even high school, and gotten to spend real quality time with family. It’s been a nice change from the old days of long weekend visits every 8 or 12 months, if we were lucky. Things are certainly going to get more complicated when we start heading west, since most of our family is on the easy coast, but we figure going to all the big national parks will likely prompt friends and family to come out and visit us. Either way, we’re definitely spending more time with family these days than we were before. Looks like you have had some great times with loved ones and that really is a huge benefit to this lifestyle.

    1. I agree! We are going to slowly make our way west, too, with the same hopes that family will come to see us to join the adventure. If we get really homesick for family or there is an emergency, we can pick up and go where needed. I love the flexibility. Safe travels!

  4. While we have only traveled part time a big plus has been seeing family and friends. I was so excited to see my grandmother’s brother on our trip to Delaware…. and he died a few months later. He was 103. We had a great visit with his daughter and grand daughter while there. One of our sons lives in NY and we’ve made two trips to see them. On one of those trips we spent time with my best friend in NC, and our former pastor who is now in PA. We’ve also visited family in northern IL and have plans to see many more when we head to the west coast. We are planning to go fulltime soon. Our kids have been accepting of it and we do have a place to park when we are in our hometown so that is a plus. However only 3 of 6 kids are in the area so being able to travel when and where we want is a big plus to us. Great post!!!

  5. We’ve always found (in sticks and bricks life) that living away means that when you do go and visit everyone makes the time to come see you, unlike living close where just knowing your there is enough for everyone. The time you spend with family/friends is that much more special when your not ‘just down the road’ all the time. So looking forward to meeting you guys (and Paddy) somewhere down the line too – 35 days to go!!!

  6. Looks like you made some great memories! Since we just started out, we haven’t made a trip back to NH yet, but Steve will have to when our house finally sells. And we are lucky, my dad is still able to drive and will be coming to visit us this month.

What are YOUR thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.