Why We Traded The Full Time RV Life For Part Time

PublishedJanuary 27, 2021

Here goes...

We want to always be as open and honest with you as possible. We think it's important to be transparent with this news of a big change.

Marshall and I officially ended our 'full time RVers' status! We are now part-time. I bought a landing pad/house in Arizona.

From Travel Buddies To Roommates

It was time to stop. We both wanted to. And we get along so well, why break up the unit? I offered for Marshall to become my roommate, and he said yes.

Never thought I would have a roommate again, but it works!

He's been a fantastic roommate and partner in crime. So far, we are compatible with this setup.

How Long Had We RV'd?

For Marshall, he'd been at it, mostly full time boondocking for 6.5 years.

For myself (Kelly), it had been 5.5 years of full time boondocking. And I LOVED it!

Until I didn't.

What happened? Did I intend to live in an RV full time forever? (no) I simply never had an exit plan until about mid-2020.

Trixie dog lying down in front of Kelly's RV outside of Glacier

Before that, I had zero idea when it would hit that I once again wanted a landing pad.

Well, after about 5.5 years, it finally hit.

Here are our reasonings (that you may resonate with if you're full time) that finally pulled us out of the full time RV life.

Yes, The Pandemic Played A Part

Ok, so the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't the main reason, but it certainly contributed to new difficulties and took away a big part of what made full time RVing so much fun and so awesome:

Friend gatherings.

Many of our boondocking friends hunkered down in campgrounds, bought homes, or got temporary digs. Because of this, we didn't get to see as many people as often as we wanted.

Total bummer. I don't care to be parked out on public lands all alone and with nobody hanging around. We did have friends parked with us here and there. But many couldn't join us.

And since there weren't as many people on the road still, the options of 'where to go' were less. (We typically go places based on who is around to meet up with.)

And the Xscapers convergences are done with until COVID isn't a big threat anymore. But mostly, just not being able to see this person or that person because they were needing to quarantine... well, it sucks.

Group of RV friends celebrating a birthday at Shavano in Salida, Colorado

What fun would full time RV life be anymore without these fun gatherings with friends?

For the first 5 months of the pandemic, I was in Florida to help out my mom. But when I got back out West, COVID was in full swing and getting worse.

This made it more uncomfortable going to new local grocery stores, we wondered if public lands be closed, would states shut down travel, it was just harder than usual to RV full time.

Though my style of RVing was the PERFECT solution to a pandemic. I was mostly out where no other people were nearby. Except friends parked with me/us.

Still... everything was an unknown for a while there. We had talked about getting tired of the hardship side of full time RVing and BOTH happened to start feeling (at the same time) like it wasn't so fun anymore. We were getting tired.

If you don't know, boondocking takes a LOT more work than staying for longer periods of time in campgrounds.

Apparently 5.5 and 6.5 Years Of FULL TIME Travel Were  Enough

So it wasn't just the pandemic. I think we had both started feeling a little bored and frustrated with the lifestyle around the end of 2019.

Kelly rig at sunset on Pump Station Road in Marana, AZ

Just another incredible Arizona sunset while boondocking.

For me, it felt like life became just 'work, then socialize/play'. I wanted something more. Something, anything else to do.

Some type of project to be working on. And Marshall felt the same. We both wanted opportunities to do things in the community that weren't possible when one has to keep moving on.

At the very least, a house provides projects galore. I've contemplated investing again in real estate (rentals). Maybe taking classes of some sort somewhere. Can't do that when you have to leave the area in two weeks.

Again, Marshall felt the same way. Moving to the next spot was becoming a chore. A 'must-do' instead of a 'can't wait!' type of thing.

Often we would visit the same boondocking spots over and over. Why? Because boondocking only HAS a number of appealing places and spots.

This is especially true when you need to have good cellular connection at your spot. That becomes limiting as well.

Kelly and Marshall's RVs at Sauls Creek in Bayfield, Colorado

Pretty, yes. But this was the fourth time I had been there. 

Therefore, each 'new' spot often wasn't new anymore. SO, It just, well, it changed for me. The time for a new chapter had come.

More Options Feels Better

It's not like we can't travel anymore. Either of us can leave tomorrow and go wherever we want. Having the OPTION to go or to be still is great! It's not like either of us are getting a job here and won't be able to be mobile. Nope.

I/Marshall can hit the road in an hour if the urge strikes. Having the option to move instead of being required to move is great. Right now, we are tired. I want to hang here for a bit.

Where Did We End Up?

Welp, as I mentioned before, during our conversations about stopping the full time life, I decided I wanted to buy another house. I asked Marshall if he'd want to live there, too, as my roommate.

He did. We get along so well, and it helps to be together to run the business, that it just seemed the natural thing to do. So far, so good!

In December of 2020 I bought a house on about 4.5 acres in Avra Valley, AZ. It's south of the Phoenix area and Northwest of Tucson.

It makes for a great winter place as we are forced down here every winter ANYWAY, but this way I/we don't have to move to the same old boring spots basically waiting it out for spring to hit.

Rainbow over house and rigs at home

My new landing pad! Complete with a rainbow.

Our travel trailers are parked on the property and I have room for farm animals/horses if that day ever comes where I want them and I have someone to take care of them while I am away.

More Time For Camp Addict!

Oh, no worries, we are NOT quitting Camp Addict. Quite the opposite.

Moving days, which as a boondocker, happen right around every two weeks, take up a lot of our time. Then, refilling up on water or propane while there also takes up time.

So does figuring out (or remembering) where the dang slivered almonds are at the nearest grocery store.Even figuring out where to go next takes time.

It all takes time. We realized that without having to move so often, we would have more time to work on Camp Addict.

We could have parked in a campground somewhere to do this, but if you know me/us, you KNOW we despise campgrounds.

Our rigs with friends at Cattle Tank Dispersed camping

Our very last boondocking spot, with friends, before moving in.

And why pay as much or more monthly each for a campground when I could invest my otherwise barely-interest earning money into real estate and pay less and not deal with all the crap that comes with campgrounds?

It was a smarter decision than campground life (barf!), one that worked for myself and for Marshall as well.

Camp Addict will only benefit from this. We have plenty of content ready to teach others about what they want and need to know in order to have safe, fun times while RVing.

And heck yes, we plan to keep RVing!

Oh, The Glorious Comforts Of Sticks And Bricks!

So, as much as I have LOVED the full time RV life, one does start to miss the benefits of living in sticks and bricks:

  • Not feeling every gust of wind and hearing every rain drop during a storm.
  • Staying cleaner/less dust on things or mud/dirt on shoes.
  • Getting to know the local wildlife.
  • Not needing to be SO frugal with water usage.
  • Being able to use ANY appliance (and not limit time using) with this endless 120v power!!
  • Having a washer and dryer.
  • I have a DISHWASHER!! Holy cow, I hadn't had one of those...ever, maybe?
  • Having tons of storage space. 
  • Utilizing a nice outside space (covered) to sit and enjoy sunsets and/or to work.
  • Getting to use a real kitchen! Also, I have an oven again!
  • RELIABLE INTERNET!!!! 

We have been here about a month- and YES it has been nice! Have I missed my RV? A little bit.

But for the most part, I've been enjoying the comforts of a house life.

Kelly's RV at the back of house on move in day

Moving in!

We had CRAZY storms yesterday, so bad that I was a touch nervous INSIDE THE HOUSE! Was very glad not to be in the RV.

It's things like that. It's not why I/we stopped full-timing. We just very much enjoy having these things again. 

It's glorious!!

When Might We RV Again?

Well, probably not until this spring or summer (of 2021). But we shall see if I or Marshall have ants in our pants by then or not. (And if the Arizona heat drives us out!)

Kelly and Marshall sitting on deck at home

All moved in and settled! Time for happy hour.

It's hard to say or know. I do feel called to the mountains, as always. But not during snow and freezing cold times.

I'll be a fair-weather RVer! LOL.

A few of our good full time friends also purchased properties, most of them in Colorado. Likely I/we will be visiting them unless they hit the road at that time, too.

Kelly and Marshall's trailers parked at home

When, oh when, might these two go out again?

So it willlll be hot in the summers. I think this is when we will be hitching up and heading out.

For now, I am looking out the window at my backyard. The backdrop is all the snow on the Catalina Mountains and Mt. Lemmon. Glorious!

Best of all? I/we don't have to move in two weeks, unless we want to.

Kelly Headshot

He-llllo. I'm the co-founder of Camp Addict, which my biz partner and I launched in 2017. I frigging love the RVing lifestyle but in December of 2020, I converted to part-time RV life. Heck, I lived in my travel trailer for over 5.5 years, STRICTLY boondocking for pretty much all of it. Boondocking is a GREAT way to live, but it's not easy. Anyway, I'm passionate about animals, can't stand campgrounds, I hardly ever cook, and I love a good dance party. Currently, I can be found plotting and scheming whether or not to start collecting farm animals (or plotting my next RV trip!) at my beautiful new 'ranch' named 'Hotel Kellyfornia', in Southern Arizona. 

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  • I enjoy your articles as we are first time RV’s. We were tent campers and decided that we were too old for sleeping in a tent with no amenities. With the help of your articles we found what we think was the perfect RV for us and are starting to explore our beautiful country.
    Thank you for the insights that you provide.

    • Hi Gary,

      This is AMAZING!!! 👏🏻 It’s so cool to hear we played a part in your new RV life!! Here’s hoping all is going well and you are having a superb time camping.

      Thank you so much for letting us know a little about your story!

  • I’m getting old and camping is hard . I want to get a small camper that can be pulled by a Subaru. The tent trailer I had was not suitable in a wind storm. So I’m saving up $$$ and doing research. Thank you on the part time RV’ing article. It has inspired me to keep going.

    • Hi Linda,

      Yes, we agree. Camping is hard. And we’re no spring chickens anymore. When RV camping, there’s a lot to do, to remember, to manage, and to maintain. I just got back from a 2-week trip myself, and found I have leaks in my roof seal, and found a tire on the trailer that is wearing unevenly. My airbag pump stopped working. There were a few things I forgot to pack. My trip home took TWO hours longer than anticipated!

      Where did I go wrong? LOL!! So yep, camping isn’t a walk in the park. It’s still a fun, amazing experience and one of the best ways to explore other cities or Mother Nature.

      Keep going, girl. You will find the right setup! Thank you for the sweet comment- it keeps us going!

    • Hey Margaret,

      So, you’re not full-time anymore? I wasn’t sure from your comment. I am currently on a trip, solo. It’s nice to be in the forest and among trees after 4 months in the Sonoran desert in Marana, Az!!!

      Hope you’re loving your new life, if I interpreted correctly!

      Cheers, and thanks for the comment. : )

  • The best if both worlds! Good on you guys!! Plant your palo verde trees deep & water long & deep vs often & shallow. Have a GTHO plan for June-Sept or you’ll melt just going to the mailbox. Congrats!

    • Hi Tammy,

      Hey, looks like I am doing things right, lol!! Except I planted a couple of Velvet Mesquite trees… hoping they don’t die when I initiate the GTHO plan during some hot months! 😜

      Thanks! Planning trip number uno now.

      Cheers!

    • LOL! Peter M coined it. It stuck. Hotel Kellyfornia it is! “You can check out any time you like but you will have to leave”. LOLOLOL!!!! XOXO

  • Grats on purchasing your acreage. I do miss our horses. We are only RVing spring till fall now ourselves. We rent the basement from our daughter for winters as we can’t go south for winter with Covid-19. Enjoy your new place

    • Hi guys!

      Thank you very much! I love it here. So far, at least.

      I got acreage so I could have animals in the future. Problem now is I still want to part-time RV. Can’t do that with a small farm. Wahhhhh!!!!!! One day, maybe. I want horses as well. Hope you get horses again someday!

  • Part-time RVer, or part-time house dweller? Or both? Keep us informed, statistically, as to how many days you spend traveling and how many days you are at home each year.

    • Is the glass half-empty or is it half full? It’s pretty much the same thing, right? Our friends at “Long Long Honeymoon” call themselves “part-time fulltimer’s”. They travel about 6 months and stationary about the same.

      I don’t know what we will become just yet. We have only been stationary for 2 months and much of that was just moving in and also taking a breath.

      Likely we (at least I) will head out for the hot monsoon months (July through September) and also for other trips- Xscapers convergences, trips to national parks, etc. We shall see how many months of the year we are out.

      I sure don’t want to miss fall color, mountain air, and everything in between. Winters are normally (well, always) spent in Arizona and it got fairly boring and monotonous having to move every two weeks only going to the same places that work for us, avoiding the cold, simply due to stay limits (and weather). This solution fit the bill very well.

      A big part of the reason we wanted a landing pad was to focus more energy right here. It has already paid off as we both have been much more productive after getting all settled in.

      I’m guessing Marshall will keep tabs on how many days we are out! He’s a spreadsheet kind of guy.

      We shall keep you informed as the months progress! Thanks for checking in.

      -Kelly

  • As always, your articles are well thought out and always makes sense.
    Full timing, and especially boom ducking, is a difficult lifestyle. I commend you on being able to make a major change. And we all wish u well. Keep up the good work

    • Thank you so much, Peter! And wait- BOOM DUCKING!!!!??? I love it! Doesn’t matter if it was auto-correct or something you like to call it. I’m stealing. LOL! Cheers!

  • Good for you to recognize the need for a change and acting on it before it turned into negativity. We are part time RV’ers and always will be, so we get what you are feeling. Even though we love taking many road trips a year, we knew from the get-go that giving up our log cabin which was hand built by ourselves 40 years ago, was never going to happen. We look forward to hearing about your future adventures

    • Hi Beverly,

      Hand-built cabin? Sounds dreamy!

      Yes, it’s kind of weird to be ‘off the road’ for the first time. I still claim to be an RVer, and I am… but it feels different. Almost like I am cheating. LOL! At the same time, STAYING full-time was never a goal nor a challenge. It was just how I chose to live, as it turns out, for 5.5 years.

      But now I FREAKING LOVE my new house and the land that surrounds it. Still, looking forward to the first trip in my trailer!

      Thank you for following along and we hope you have many more road trip adventures to come. : D

  • Written from the heart…as they say been there, done that! We just finished a complete rebuild on a 56 airstream and can not wait to get out on the road for at least 6 months. Its been 20 years since we did the “On the road again” tour. Love your site!

    • Awe, thank you so much, Terry! Your kind words go a long way. And WOO-HOO! That sounds like an excellent plan! Funny I get excited for others’ adventures, too. Enjoy, hope you get to go everywhere you want to, and thanks again!

  • Kelly,
    How do you acquire a camp addict sticker like your trailer one or smaller ?

    V/R
    Terry
    PS. Would be willing to pay

    • Simply send us your mailing address at Kelly@CampAddict.com and we will be happy to send you a sticker!

      We used to have a page for ordering a free sticker but then some site advertising everything free got a hold of it and we had hundreds of requests from non-campers every day, so we had to take it down. Boo.

      (Kelly@CampAddict.com or Newsletter@CampAddict.com)

  • You got me again! I had to read this as you are a great storyteller. Good luck with your sticks and bricks and learning to stay out of each other’s way. 😉 I can’t imagine ever full-timing as we have too much crap and like our home in Boise but soon, we will have wheels to get out and boondock. There is a lot of space in Idaho when you’re ready to hit the road again!

    • Hi Joyce,

      Oh, Idaho is SO beautiful! I love it there so much. Ketchum has one of my favorite boondocking spots of all time!

      Yeah, full-timing is not for everyone. I eventually had issue with not enough ‘to do’ as far as projects, room to create things, etc. Still, I absolutely loved it while it lasted and have zero regrets.

      Thank you much for the encouragement. It’s a new chapter for sure! Good luck with your new wheels. And let us know if we can help.

    • You got that right! What’s the saying? “The only thing you can count on is change”?

      It was definitely time for a change for both of us.

  • Congrats and welcome to the neighborhood. We’ve been in NW Tucson for 2 years now. If you have any questions about where to get the best slivered almonds just ask.

    • Hi Elizabeth,

      LOL, thank you! Actually, what I didn’t mention in the article is that I seem to suddenly be allergic to nuts! I love eating slivered almonds by themselves, but I can’t eat too much or I get a stomach ache. (Boo!)

      But I do love the bigger Fry’s around here! Like a mini Wal-mart!!!

  • I had friends who lived in their Airstream for five years. Then they moved back into a house, and go RV’ing each summer. Your comments were their comments.

    • Hi Donald,

      Yes, not surprising to hear. We have SO MANY friends who all seem to have stopped full-time life at the same time. It was never a ‘goal’ to do it forever. I and Marshall simply had no exit plan. Until now!

      We are very happy with our decision. : )

    • Thank you, Lynn! We are excited to be here, I’m excited to be a homeowner again (projects galore!), AND I’m excited for my first trip as a part-time RVer. : D

      Best of luck to you and thank you for the note!

  • Hey Guys….Its your neighbor over the hills to the south. We’re over by Saguaro N Park West. Welcome to the SW. Gosh sounds like you will still have plenty of adventures for sure. I usually leave from June-Sept. to go to CA to do landscape work and visit family.
    So our plan (which has been in the works for 4 years) is to sell the house in 2022 and hit the road in a toyhauler. We already know we want a small property somewhere. So we can plop down and stop moving every 14 days. Think its all very exciting for you both. I subbed last year and cant wait to see the future content. Well cheers to your new home~
    Jenny

    • Hey neighbor!

      I love hearing people’s plans to hit the road! Even though I have done it and for a loooong time (in my book), it STILL sounds exciting to just think about hitting the road and going to some new destination!

      I’d love a small plot of land in Colorado with utilities to it where I could be and park during summer. May happen in the future. Meantime, I have a lot of friends who have land there now. So also can go stay with them.

      Sounds like a sound plan you have there! Maybe just rent the house out if you can cashflow it? Options, options, options!

      Good luck with your new adventure! One more year…

  • I guess you know hot HOT it will be in Marana starting, oh, say, in June. That would be a perfect time to head north. Work your way up through Utah, Idaho, and Oregon to Washington State. And if the Canadian border ever opens again, to B.C. and Alberta. There is a lot to be said for being “part timers”!

    • June??? Heck, it’s JANUARY now and we have already had some days that felt pretty dang warm!!!! LOL.

      Yeah, we are in a house and do have AC, but it will still be interesting to see if we stay through summer or not. THEN the issue is getting high enough in altitude to not sweat in our sleep while GETTING to the first boondocking spot! We only boondock and don’t have AC unless (I) use my two generators. I have never done that all night.

      And Marshall doesn’t have AC capability. Unless he gets a second generator.

      Then the usual issue is getting to a place where it’s cool enough. Even the highest mountain boondocking spots can get really hot in summer.

      So yes, it will be a tricky thing to leave when it’s hot! Unless we stay in (barf!) campgrounds for shore power along the way!

      Thanks for the comment! And I’d love to see Banff and Jasper again! And Marshall has never been!!!!!! If the border opens again, like you said. (Sigh)

      • You might be able to run your AC on one generator if you install ‘soft start’. I’ll do that maybe this summer if I get my ‘Eye Ball’ camera for my birthday. I’m a part timer with small travel trailer. BTW I’ve a purchased a few things you recommended and you have been spot on.

        • Hi Kent,

          Thanks so much for using Camp Addict to find RV products! It’s nice to hear that you agree with our selections.

          Kelly actually does have a soft start installed in her roof air conditioner. Which, as you mentioned, should make it possible to run the AC off a single generator.

          We’ve only tried running the AC off a single generator when we were at higher altitude. When we first installed the soft start, we were in Salida, Colorado staying at something around 8,000 feet in elevation. The soft start doesn’t work on a single generator at that altitude due to the generator not being able to make rated power at that high of an elevation. (We tended to be up high during the summer, when the AC is needed.)

          In fact, the soft start will only work on a single generator closer to sea level, where the gennie can make rated power.

          That does beg the question if we could run her AC using a single generator at the new homestead, which is about 2,000 feet in elevation. We really do need to try that out…

          Thanks again for checking out Camp Addict! Kelly and I greatly appreciate your support!

    • Hi Susan,

      Thank you for the sweet comment! We aim to be forthright in EVERYTHING we do with Camp Addict. Trust is earned. Not expected! That’s our aim- to be the most trustworthy RVing site out there… one that you guys know you can count on.

      And we don’t see (AT ALL) stopping full-time RVing as any kind of failure. There was never a goal for it to be something done until death. It was a REMARKABLE life to live for that long. It just lost its pizzaz for both of us.

      Looking forward to summer trips and planned trips to planned places- I still haven’t seen Yosemite! That may be on the list this year.

      Camp On!

    • Thank you, Steve. It sure is! I’m already looking forward to some trips this summer!

      Meantime, we have buckled down at the house working hard on the site. It’s amazing how much time moving every two weeks or more takes up!

    • Hi Bob,

      Awe, we are sorry to hear you go! Part of the reason we wanted to stop full-time traveling was so we have MORE time for Camp Addict with less distractions.

      This decision will benefit the site. Heck, I have already produced WAY more content in the last couple of months than I was while we were full-time on the road.

      Trips will happen. Long trips, even. But this way, we can do it when we decide to instead of being on one long, LOONNNNNG road trip.

      There are plenty more educational posts and pages yet to come!

    • LOL! Actually, I now follow the whole ‘if it’s yellow, let it mellow’. Traditional toilets are so wasteful of water! But YES, to not have to ration the heck out of water is really nice! Not to mention having a washer and dryer HERE, available at any time!!!

      Honest to god, I worry about water running out still. I mean, we are on a shared well with 6 other houses or so… and this IS Arizona. I know it’s probably not going to run dry, but even so, I still conserve!

      Thanks for the comment, it was pretty funny! (“wild abandon”, LOL!) : D

  • Nancy and I were just talking last night. When we purchased our Escapees lot in AZ, we did not know we’d be using it the way we are now, (Thanks C19) but SO happy we have a place to hunker down, enjoy the company of fellow Xscapers here. and actually, build a patio, work on stuff etc. We think this will be our winter Home Base, but as anyone who knows us…”We are subject to change without notice”. We are getting ourselves ready for a trip to Alaska this summer (fingers crossed), but if we can’t go there, we’ll still be somewhere fun.

    • “Subject to change without notice” is the BEST!!! That’s pretty much how it goes. But we have the freedom to do that! I hope you get to do your Alaska trip this summer. Stupid COVID. LOL!

      Also happy you guys have some community there! Are you in Benson?

  • Good story. Sounds like a great adventure and still lots of freedom for more fun ahead. Thanks for sharing and congrats on the new pad!!!

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