There’s a reason we fall in love with travel. It’s why children imagine their treehouse an observation deck deep in the jungle, or the local sledding hill a Himalayan peak. It’s why teenagers plaster their suburban bedrooms with maps and posters, and why so many of us – the very moment we’re able – strike out for places unknown.
A love of travel is born from the magnetism of the new and unexplored. From the next valley over, or just past the bend in the river, from far-off shores or just two states away, the urge to travel rings like a siren song, impossible to ignore, calling us toward the horizon.
The common adage that “travel is the only expense in life that makes you richer” is unquestionably true. Each trip leaves us more complete, more compassionate, more creative, and more eager than ever to chart a new course.
There are plenty of ways to satisfy this wanderlust, from a backpacking adventure to a jet-set tour abroad. But there is perhaps no journey more romantic, inspiring, challenging, or rewarding than to travel the open road. For true wanderers, those who see travel as a path to discovery and enrichment, an RV is the ultimate ticketthat never expires. Here’s why.
Discover: your passion
Whatever you love, you might love it even more from an RV. If you’re into birdwatching, rock climbing, plein air art, music festivals, whitewater rafting, or anything else, an RV gives you easy access to settings others may have trouble reaching.
RVs simplify travel. There are fewer logistics: no luggage transfers, hotels, or rental cars to contend with. In an RV, you’re free to focus on the journey, allowing your passions and curiosities to guide you along the way. A bonus: If your hobby requires gear, you have an RV’s ample storage space at your disposal. This means you can bring everything you need to pursue your passion, whether that’s climbing harnesses, kayaks, photography equipment, art supplies, or all of the above. Try fitting all that into a carry-on!
If you’re not yet sure exactly what your passions are, RV travel can help you find them. The best road trips leave room in the itinerary for exploration. You can stop whenever and wherever there’s something worth stopping for. Use your flexible schedule as an opportunity to try something new! As you pass through cities and small towns, do some research about local goings-on. Stick around an extra day to attend a summer festival, take a climbing lesson on the local crag, or join a birdwatching group for a hike. Seek out new experiences–it’s how passions are sparked and it’s why travel makes us richer.
Discover: your community
By its very nature, RV travel is a group activity — even if you’re going solo. While people who travel the open road tend to be independent and capable, they also form strong bonds with others along the way. Think about it–some of the best and longest friendships are often forged on our travels.
To that end, there’s a vast array of RV meetup groups, clubs, and membership organizations for travelers of all kinds. Bonding over the thrill of the open road, groups like Escapees RV Club and the North American Family Campers Association host massive annual get-togethers. There are online communities like RVillage, a dedicated social network for RV travelers. There are even countless special interest groups like the Tin Can Tourists, who travel in restored vintage trailers, and the National Square Dance Campers Association for RVers who love to, well, you get it.
If you haven’t figured out which organizations are right for you, a good place to start is with the nation’s largest RV club, Good Sam. Members save on campground fees and fuel, get discounts at Camping World and Gander RV & Outdoors stores, share tips and learn from each other, and much more.
Even without joining a formal club, you’ll find that RVing itself is a community — and a welcoming, inclusive one at that. RVers are diverse, presenting travelers with the opportunity to engage and learn about all kinds of people from all walks of life. It’s hard not to make friends as you explore. Whether it’s just fellow regulars at your favorite Good Sam campground, folks traveling the country on a similar route, or a specialty group with a shared passion, RVing is an ideal way to find like-minded people.
These relationships can be valuable, especially if you’re new to the RV travel lifestyle. Wherever you go, you’ll find fellow RVers who are willing to lend a hand, answer questions, and talk about their rig. In short, you’re never truly alone on the road.
Often, the greatest joy of exploring new places is the way you get to know yourself along the way. RV travel presents constant challenges and victories, allowing you to uncover more about the kind of person you truly are, fostering personal growth.
At some point, things will almost certainly go wrong — tires go flat, campgrounds fill up, and very few road-trip itineraries unfold precisely as planned. But learning to be flexible, to problem-solve, and to embrace the unexpected will show you exactly what you’re capable of.
Plus, it’s always worth it in the end. There’s no sweeter reward than making it to a perfect campsite just in time to watch the sunset over an epic landscape. When you’re traveling in an RV, moments like that happen all the time (And no trip is complete without a good story to tell around the campfire!).
Travel of any kind can push you out of your comfort zone, and it can be particularly intimidating to jump into an RV for the first time. But the most exciting thing about travel (and the reason so many of us love it!) is the thrill of the unknown. Find your RV, pick a spot on the map, and go explore. You may discover a new hobby or a new friend. But perhaps your greatest discovery will be what you want your life – and next adventure – to look like.
This article was first published in campingworld.