As we slowly but surely make our way toward life on the road in an RV, we are constantly questioning ourselves, making sure that this is the path we should be on. The current state of the world economy and the environment are parts of the equation that must be considered.
Currently we do what we can to control our water usage, cut down on the packaging we consume, keep our long driving trips to a minimum, and limit our purchases to products we "need" as opposed to those products we simply "want".
Obviously I am heavily biased towards fulltime RVing! That said I do believe an argument can be made in favor of the fulltime RV lifestyle when compared to our existing lifestyle.
Currently we are two people and a cat living in a 2400 square foot house...waaaaaay more house than we need. We've got to heat and cool and clean and maintain those 2400 square feet as well as take care of the yard.
Currently we own, operate, insure and maintain two vehicles; which we drive to work daily, separately, adding to the congestion of San Diego freeways.
Living quarters in the 5th wheel trailer we are considering are around 400 square feet. These days every time I clean our expansive kitchen counters (and anticipate having to do this constantly while the house is on the market) I can't wait for the transition to a smaller space! So: less to clean and maintain. Less water usage since we won't be maintaining a garden (except maybe a pot of basil!).
Some aspects of life on the road are the same as the stationary lifestyle: we will still purchase and cook most of our food which means when we buy food we continue to do so with the intention of limiting packaging and avoiding waste. We will still be able to recycle packaging, even if it means finding a recycling center.
On the road, we will own only one vehicle. This vehicle will be a large truck, possibly diesel, that will perform dual duty as our tow vehicle and our daily driver when the trailer is stationary. This truck will get fewer miles per gallon than our existing vehicles, but we will be driving together everywhere and we anticipate spending as much time as possible walking, hiking and biking instead of driving. Also, the longer we stay in a campground or RV park the cheaper it is to stay and the less we tow the trailer so we get better mileage!
We anticipate doing some boondocking on the road, that is, camping off the grid, on public land. When boondocking, we will only be using whatever electricity we generate ourselves, and the water in our RV tank.
In our quest for the road we have been purging unnecessary belongings for the past year or so, sending many truckloads of perfectly usable goods to Goodwill and AmVets. This has been a therapeutic process that has me eagerly anticipating a lifestyle that celebrates minimal consumerism (no sense in buying tons of stuff when there's nowhere to put it).
I believe the only way we could retire early and make less of an impact on the environment would be to purchase a small piece of land with the intention of growing as much of our food as possible and limit our exploring to a very small area. At this stage of our lives we don't want to be stationary...one of the reasons for retiring early is to make the most of the years when we are young and healthy enough to go places and see things and get out and explore.
Our goal on the road is to enjoy and explore our country with minimal impact to our wallets but great impact to our souls. I think that can be acheived responsibly, and I'm looking forward to making it happen!