Making the Transition from RV Life to Apartment Life

Making the Transition from RV Life to Apartment Life

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Shortly before finding out we were pregnant, Heath and I sat down with a blank sheet of paper with two words at the top: Texas and Tennessee.

As you may (or may not) know, our next big business plan is to buy or build a campground. We knew this would mean halting our travels for a while and settling down in one place to go all in on the campground.

Which led to one major decision: WHERE?!

We had at least narrowed down the entire country to two possible states where we wouldn’t mind living for a while, but deciding between the two was impossible, hence the blank sheet of paper.

We listed out the pros of each place.

Texas is more central.

Tennessee has gorgeous mountains.

Texas gets a lot of snowbird traffic.

Tennessee has less extreme temperatures.

A few days after working on our list (and not at all coming up with a clear winner), we were thrilled to find out about our daughter and all our plans promptly went out the window. We went from shopping for a campground to searching for a home for our family.

It felt foreign.

Heath and I have never lived anywhere together other than an RV.

We started our marriage in a Class C, upgraded to a Winnebago, rented a campervan in New Zealand, and borrowed a Leisure Van in Canada. Our entire marriage has been built on wheels and while we were already looking for a place to slow down and get out of the RV for a little while, it didn’t make the transition any easier.

Houses felt permanent (and massive!).

Apartments felt like taking a step back to when we were in college.

Staying in the Winnebago was an option, but since we’ve been focusing on more international travel, we wanted a real home base. Some place that we could leave and come back to without having to pack everything up and put it in storage while we were gone.

Plus, after four and a half years of RVing and visiting all fifty states twice (except you Alaska, we will be back for you!), we’ve been itching for someplace new. RVing in America was comfortable, and Heath and I aren’t ones to hang out in our comfort zone for too long.

So the search for a new home continued until Heath found a new apartment being built in downtown Denton, the same town where I grew up. With my sister also pregnant, family nearby, and the added bonus of already knowing who our local doctor would be, Denton was quickly becoming the best place for us to slow down for a year.

The apartment building was the biggest selling point for Heath though. It’s an old low rise bank building right on the town square that was currently being renovated into apartments, so we couldn’t even look at pictures of what the apartment looked like yet. Even still, Heath was determined: this was the place.

“I’ve always wanted to live downtown and you know how much I loved living on 6th Street when I was in Austin. Being able to walk places, having stuff always going on around us, being in a place where people would come visit us. If we are going to be in one place, this is the place,” Heath proposed.

What Heath was really saying was that after years of camping in beautiful places out in nature, we needed to live in a space that would still inspire us. A space that was beautiful, with big windows and tall ceilings and a view of the town. In an area that was alive, where people were always outside and enjoying themselves and where it felt like everything was growing and thriving.

We Aren’t Full-Time RVers Anymore

For most people, RV life is a season. Maybe it’s six months, or a few years, or a decade. But for most, it isn’t a forever thing. In fact, I remember getting increasingly frustrated during our first year on the road when people would ask me “Do you think you’ll just full-time RV forever?”

Of course not!

Life happens in seasons. Some seasons are great for RVing. Some call for a home. Some take us across the globe.

Our season of full-time RVing is coming to a close and we are excited about the next chapters: parenthood, international travel, navigating airport security with a crying baby. A new set of adventures.

For years, we’ve been full-time RVers. It’s been a huge part of our identity, our blog, our business, our lives. I’m avoiding re-writing the About page on our website because I know I have to delete the phrase “full-time RVers” and that feels a lot like I’m losing something.

When you travel full-time, it’s easy for that thing to define you.

Hi, I’m Alyssa and I travel full-time in my Winnebago.

As we started telling people we were moving into an apartment, they were shocked and confused. But you live in an RV! You’re just going to live in an apartment now?

I honestly think they were more shocked that we were doing the “normal” thing of having a baby and in an apartment more than they were that we spent years in an RV.

Living in an Apartment is…

Weird.

Luxurious.

Shocking.

We’ve been living in our new place for two months now and time has flown by. I could blame the holidays, but living in one place has easily sped up time. Without picking up and moving, the days all run together and all of the sudden it’s mid-January!

I think this has been the biggest adjustment to living in one place. Less variety, more of having the same view out of my window.

This is something we’ve gotten a few emails about this year. While there are tons of posts on the internet about getting into RV life, there are very few about transitioning out. For what reasons do people stop RVing? And what is it like going back to living in a stationary place after years of moving?

While I’m not the expert, I have learned a lot in these past few months. Some things I expected, like having more time to devote to business now that we were adventuring less. And some things I didn’t expect, like awkwardly navigating elevator small talk.

In today’s post, I want to share some of the biggest adjustments to moving into an apartment after RV life. The good ones and the bad ones.

I love that I don’t have to worry about “putting my house in storage” when I go away for a week.

There is nothing more annoying than figuring out how to leave your RV behind when you need to fly away for a few days. Especially when you’re leaving it in below freezing temps or when you’ll be gone for over a week. When we booked our flights to New Zealand, we initially planned on just selling the Winnebago to avoid needing to prep it for storage for three months (and also because we wanted to downsize rigs).

But we would need it for the summer so we held onto it, storing it in Texas before we flew down under.

Returning back to Texas after three months of travel abroad was rough. And not just because we went from winter to triple-digit heat.

Our clothes and belongings were in random places—split between closets at our parents’ houses or still in the RV, based on what we thought could remain unharmed in a hot RV for a couple months.

After all that travel, we wanted nothing more than to be home and to sleep back in our own bed. Instead, we were trying to track down all our belongings, re-pack up the RV, prep it for the travel, and hit the road.

It was exhausting! Those three weeks of running around were when Heath and I decided for sure that our biggest priority was finding a home base (which at the time meant a campground to own).

I love now that when we fly away for a few days or when we leave for the month of March to host the Summit, our home will be here right where we left it.

I own furniture now.

Going straight from college apartments to the RV had a lot of perks. Heath and I owned seriously little and what we did own went to younger siblings or was given away when we moved out. It made downsizing ten times easier.

Now we are on the opposite end of the spectrum, trying to buy a couch for the first time ever. All I could think as we shopped was I’m going to own this couch for the next ten years. That is terrifying.

Buying furniture felt a hundred times more permanent than signing our lease. We’ve never owned furniture before. It all just came built into the RV. What am I going to do with a couch when Heath and I decide to live in Europe for a year? (Just speaking this dream into reality over here.) I do not care for this level of responsibility.

Endless hot water 😍

The first month we lived here, I burned my hands so many times forgetting that we have on demand, endless hot water. What is this luxury?!

(PS We did have the Truma Aqua Go in the Leisure Travel Van and that thing is a GAME-CHANGER. We’ve used a lot of different hot water heaters over the years, that one is the clear winner for fast hot water.)

We aren’t beholden to the temperature.

When it’s cold and overcast outside, it’s cold in the RV.

When it’s hot and sunny outside, it’s warm in the RV.

Despite heaters and A/C units, the weather plays a huge role in the comfort level inside your RV.

Now that we are in an apartment, I have to actually check the outdoor temperature before I get dressed. In the RV, I could always just tell. It’s sunny, but cold and windy. Or it’s overcast, but warm and humid.

This is one of the sillier adjustments. More than once I’ve seen sunshine and assumed it was warm since it’s warm indoors only to find it’s 40 degrees and windy.

And while I don’t miss waking up to the RV being a brisk 50 degrees, I find myself actively missing feeling in touch with the weather.

We spend less time in nature.

Having the world right outside your door is one of the biggest draws of the RV lifestyle. Now to go outside we walk out our door, get on an elevator to the lobby, and then walk outside. There’s a park a couple blocks away that we like to walk to, but we do miss that constant connection with nature.

Like when we could walk out our door with coffee in hand and take in a view of Grand Teton National Park. Or when we woke up to the sound of waves crashing on the shore. I so so miss that constant beauty and grandeur that travel always provides.

This past weekend we flew out to the Xscapers Annual Bash in Arizona and rented an RV. We woke up to views of the sunlight on the mountaintops and were hit again with how much we miss being constantly surrounded by ever-changing beautiful views.

The thing I missed most while RVing: a bathtub 🛁

Every time we had a hotel room, Heath and I loved the extravagance of a bathtub. And if you asked us while we were RVing what we missed most about living in a home, a bathtub was it (Heath might say wifi, but I secretly know he loves baths. You can’t fool me).

I haven’t had to consider dumping my sewer in months.

There’s a lot of mental energy that goes into RVing. Every day there’s a checklist:

  1. Clean up RV
  2. Empty tanks
  3. Fill up with fresh water if necessary (are we boondocking? do we have enough water for the next two days? are we driving through mountains and shouldn’t add water weight?)
  4. Unhook water and electric hookups
  5. Bring in slides
  6. Retract jacks
  7. Hook up tow vehicle
  8. Triple check that we did everything
  9. Accidentally drive away forgetting to lock bay doors, which conveniently swing open as soon as you turn out of the campground

So much mental energy and time.

We’ve gained so much of our time back now that we are out of the RV.

We have more time with friends and family.

For the first couple weeks we were in Texas, I wanted to hang out with people every day because I felt like we’d be leaving soon.

Now that we are in one place for a while, we’ve had more chances to randomly go out to dinner or spend an afternoon watching the Cowboys game with family. Plus, being in one place and easy to track down, we’ve had quite a few RVer friends pass through town and visit us too! Heath loves being able to play tour guide and show off our new home to visitors. (If you’ve seen any of our Youtube videos, you’ve probably learned that Heath loves playing tour guide, so having a home base to show off to people is one of his favorite things right now!)

The next chapter…

The first five years of our marriage were exactly what we wanted them to be: filled with adventure, travel, and building up a business that could support our family.

Image result for taylor swift gif the next chapter

Like Taylor Swift, Heath and I have a lot of big plans for the next chapter—including finding that perfect spot for a campground and also spending time abroad. We’ve been asked by some (ALL) of our friends if we’ll hit the road after our daughter is born and right now we’re leaving the exact plans up in the air. We don’t know yet and we’re okay with that. We’re going to soak up the next few months and then see what happens next.

In the meantime, we’ll keep writing and posting here on the blog, Heath will host podcasts, we’ll travel to Alabama for our Summit (!!!!!), and get ready for our girl. 🤰🏻