An extended road trip or a satisfying life?

Mesquite Sunrise . . .


What makes a satisfying life on the road?

Living a satisfying life on the road is more than discovering beautiful places to camp, maintaining the rig, and knowing when to empty waste tanks.  Sure, practical knowledge and skills are important.


Part of the vagabond life is the avoidance of physical discomfort. 

Don’t run out of propane, keep the fridge stocked, make sure the drinking water is fresh and clean, find a place to dump trash, inflate the tires properly, angle the rig for sun in the morning and shade in the afternoon, etc.

Mental comfort is important, too.

Exquisite sunsets and breathtaking panoramas give little joy to a worried mind.  Stars have no sparkle when seen through eyes of fear.  Perfect silence loses its restorative power if loneliness has its way.


Worry, fear, and loneliness derail happiness.

Maybe that’s a topic worth writing about, but I’m not going into that today.  So what is it that brings satisfaction — or fulfillment, if that’s a clearer term — to our daily lives on the road?


What makes this way of life more than an extended road trip?

I suspect every full-time RVer would answer differently.  When I try to list what it is that makes my life full, I’m overwhelmed by the task.

Let’s see . . .

Bridget and Spike provide laughter and comfort every day.  Writing this blog, sometimes making people laugh, learn, and reflect, and helping people realize their dream give me purpose.

Exploring nature and learning more about the natural world enriches my days.  Books and the internet stimulate my mind.  Photography reminds me to stay aware of the world around me and serves as a means for creative expression.

Friends and acquaintances warm me with their personalities and kindness.  And, of course, there’s freedom.  Freedom to roam.  Freedom to live my own way.  Freedom to be me.

Most of all, my life on the road is satisfying because of gratitude.

Everything is a gift!

What’s on your list?



About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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111 Responses to An extended road trip or a satisfying life?

  1. Very well said. Points to keep in mind. Thank you.

  2. Sandy says:

    You are so poetic….Really enjoy keeping up with your travels and thank you for sharing….Looking forward to our mini-trip this long weekend and looking forward to the day when we are free to roam….Happy Easter!

  3. Carl Hartup says:

    Enjoy your posts !! We too someday will join you on the road.

  4. Rik Skelton says:

    Beautifully said, I would add the beauty of quiet. When I lived as you I would describe my life as “Living a Zen Life” quiet, peace, puposeful, great friends along the way and never lonely in my oneness. I always traveled with a cat so, had good companionship and a lot of laughs.

  5. earthdancerimages says:

    What a nice way to view life in general Sue. When I was alone on the road almost 30 years ago, like you, I never felt lonely. I had the birds singing songs to cheer me, the wind in the pines to soothe me, the big boulders I could lay on and soak up the sun. It is a very good life Sue, I am so glad you have found the path less traveled and share it with us daiiy!

  6. Larry Timothy - Pensacola, Fl says:

    Wow, Sue! and you frequently do “Wow” me. Some of the seemingly trivial thoughts you provoke are really not so insignificant. Your words; “Mental comfort is important, too”. Is that not the single MOST important? If so, then what yeilds that for us? hummm,,,, you have again “provoked” me.
    Tim – Presently in Fl. Panhandle

    • Chuck says:

      Tim, where are you on the panhandle? We’ve lived in Eastpoint and Apalachicola and are coming back this fall. Wee love Apalachicola!!!! Chuck n Geri in NM

  7. Leading the simple life is what it is all about–finally got that through my head after all these years of thinking I needed “stuff” to make me happy. Now just want to get rid of the stuff that has possessed me. As always, dear Sue, lovely thoughts that provoke me and make me think.

  8. Jason says:

    To many people think he who dies wit the most stuff wins! I think you have already won Sue!
    Jason – in NY

  9. Cathy S says:

    I love this quote:” Do you know why angels can fly? Because they take themselves lightly!” How profound on many levels. You have found the secret to flying!

  10. Rhonda says:

    Thank you for your beautiful thoughts and pictures in the blog. Keep smiling.

  11. Denise says:

    I’m looking forward to my time on the road when retirement comes my way in 3 more years. Just reading about your contented life is such an encouragement! It’s time to start learning more about RV’s so I’ll be ready for the road.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Learn what you can, but it’s okay if you aren’t completely “ready.” I wasn’t!

      • Caroline, Seattle area says:

        Wow, THAT comment really surprises me! I only found your blog last month … then went back to the beginning to catch up. It seemed like you were very well prepared … hardly any hiccups at all. Things just fell into place seamlessly. In what ways do you think you could have been better prepared?

        • rvsueandcrew says:

          I guess what I meant was… It’s one thing to know the steps for dumping, it’s another to actually do it! You’re right. The early days on the road weren’t as hard as I thought they’d be. How could I have been better prepared? Well, I could have camped for one night! Ha! (I never camped before I picked up the BLT.) Turns out it didn’t make any difference.

          • Caroline, Seattle area says:

            yeah, I thought that might be the case; you weren’t giving yourself enough credit for all your hard work and planning. I have to say …. it is a little odd that someone who has never camped before would jump into full-timing. You must admit … it IS odd and maybe more than just a little! Serously though, you invested a lot of time and money; what is it about the lifestyle that made you KNOW it would work for you ?

            • rvsueandcrew says:

              Caroline . . . I saw Tioga George’s blog and had an epiphany. It fit me perfectly — travel, natural surroundings, independence, seclusion when I wanted it, and simple living. Plus it’s a lifestyle I can afford. I knew in an instant it is what I would be happiest doing.

              • Caroline, Seattle area says:

                That DOES sum it up well! Thank you.
                But I’m not letting you off the hook … it still took courage and confidence to forge ahead.
                BTW, I really do enjoy your blog … thanks !

      • Old Fat Man says:

        Well Sue, I met you not long after you started THE LIFESTYLE and I disagree about your readiness. You lacked a few minor skills that can be easily learned but YOU were ready and acted. The thing that hurts more folks than anything else is that they are not personally ready for the extreme freedom and delight of RVing. They may have all the skills of set up, dumping etc but not reallybe ready. My take on you back then was that you were very ready, your head was on correctly about your new lifestyle and that is the largest and most important part of joining the RVer world. It is no surprise to me to see how well you have done and grown with your freedom. Congratulations.

  12. D.J. Pruitt in W. Texas says:

    Just curious, did you take the black and whites or did you find them somewhere? I copied one of the birds for a gigsaw puzzle and called it “Waiting for lunch.”

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Those photos are mine. The bird photos were taken at a pull-out along the road as I was driving from Ajo to Gila Bend. The sunrise was this morning out our front door. The car was at Darby Well Road, Ajo. And the gnarly tree was taken here on one of our walks.

      • Connie & Mugsy says:

        I had the same questions. Sometimes black and white is perfect… beautifully matched the tone of this post. 🙂

  13. BEAUTIFUL!!! Thank you so much.

  14. AZ Jim says:

    Nice thoughts today. I can see you are in a thoughtful mood. I enjoyed today’s musings greatly. BTW I had forgotten where I parked my truck but I see you found it. Thanks, Sue

  15. Barb L. says:

    Super great thoughts & photos today, Sue. I always enjoy your posts & wonder at what makes “today I dumped the tanks & took a walk with Spike & Brigitte” so much more interesting when you’re the one writing. Today’s post is one I’d just like to frame & hang on the wall… Thanks
    Barb in cold & windy, but also sunny & beautiful Cedar Key, FL

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Now that you mention it, Barb…. I’m always surprised when people say they enjoyed my post when I didn’t do much more than dump the tanks and take a walk with the crew.

      Ah, Cedar Key… I remember it well.

  16. Karen (Minnesota) says:

    Thank you for your post, Sue. You must have been reflecting on how rich your life really is. Beautifully written and much appreciated by your followers.

  17. luvglass says:

    The question is Sue, why can’t an extended road trip be a satisfying lifestyle? You seem to be quite happy and we are also after more than 7 years.
    Keep it up, the years fly by.
    Fred Wishnie

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      An “extended road trip” CAN be a satisfying lifestyle. My point it this: The satisfaction comes from more than moving from place to place, seeing this, seeing that. If you’ve been happy for more than 7 years, I would bet the miles you drove and the sights along the way are only PART of what gives you happiness.

  18. Massachusettsmark says:

    As my Grandma use to say………….Bless her Heart……….
    ❤ Thank you Sue ❤

  19. Rod says:

    Anyway a nice thoughtful post on the traveling lifestyle… Having had all kinds of health complications with cancer… I think I will just be thankful that I can see the sun from where ever I might find myself……

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Being aware that many people cannot do what I’m doing, for whatever reason, is what my gratitude springs from.

      Your last sentence is wisdom hard-won, I’m sure.

  20. patricia Leonhardt says:

    Bless your heart Rod, keep the sunny side up! I lost my mother to cancer 2 years ago and now my sister is fighting. I am a caretaker, so I love to “escape” with Sue. Thank you Sue, a beautiful post today
    I hope you will enjoy many more sunrises and sunsets.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Patricia. I’m sending you the strength for the support you give as a caretaker. Even when performed out of love and loyalty, caretaking is tough. Take care of yourself, too. God bless your sis.

  21. Carolyn says:

    I really hate when I write a genius comment … ready to publish … go put all that stuff WP requires to comment … make a typo in my email address … backspace to correct and the whole damn thing disappears! I really really hate that.

    If I tried to delete the comment?! it would ask me twelve thousand times if I wanted to…. ANYway… I don’t think I can duplicate that geniusness but in essence what I wanted to say is…. love this post, Sue 😉 …. thought provoking and my thoughts need provoking ever now and then f’sure.

    I just got home from traveling in my van for a year. Nature is an absolute necessity for me. I get detoxed from just breathing in whatever nature I’m in… ocean, gulf, bay, rivers, lakes, mountains, forest … but THE most freeing thing for me is ridding myself of stuff.

    ~ material stuff and people stuff. impediments to freedom if you let them be. Like Carlin said … the more stuff you have the bigger the place you got to have for your stuff.

    Sooooo the whatever anyone decides to do with their life… being free, to me… is where it’s at.

    Whether in a Class A, B or C RV, in a van, a cozy little Casita ~ whatever the choice is… I don’t think you can be free until your mind says so.

    I’ve said many times that my mind wanders off without notice … it does this when I try to make it stay in a wth mode too long. Getting rid of wth’s is just downright necessary …

    I turn 70 Thursday morning at 3:45… 70. man oh man … SO I’m being philosophical because I can. The most wonderful freedom, to me, comes from my mind being unencumbered with stuff.

    That purging business is quite a process. ANd you know what is always left? nature ~ me. it’s mine. every sunrise and set and bird and tree and flower and dew drop on a daffodil or rose … dolphins and manatees and seals and sea lions and pelicans and gulls and cranes and ospreys and Eagles and chickadees and rams and waterfalls and rivers and lakes and streams and red rocks and boulders stacked by nature and ~ wind blowing through my hair standing on a coastal cliff or a mountain … or my backyard.

    I’m going to build me a butterfly garden 😉 and in my 70th decade? got no kinda time for clutter or stuff.

    pretty profound, huh …. 😉

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Well, Carolyn, I commiserate with you upon losing your words to the dark hole of cyberspace. I’ve lost so many replies to comments that I do select-and-copy before hitting the post button for the long ones. And losing an entire blog post is maddening.

      Poor Tioga George recently lost the entire format of his blog … Years of work! And his blog is extensive … I need to check and see if he’s had any luck getting it back.

      Your comment expresses exactly what I mean by having gratitude… You appreciate it all! Enjoy building your butterfly garden. . . and don’t quit getting the most out of every day! You’re an inspiration . . .

      • Ed says:

        Tioga George did loose his format but he did not loose his years of work. All of his postings are still available but not in their original format, only in the new format that Blogger has forced upon him.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Oh, I almost forgot… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  22. Tina says:

    Wow that was just so beautiful and really lifted my spirit. I needed that today. Love that with the black and white photos also. I so enjoy reading your blogs and thank you for taking us along on your journey.


  23. Lisa says:

    I agree it’s a great post today, Sue. I have to admit that the loneliness got to me and, although I love living in my little travel trailer, I’ve decided to camp in one spot for a while, see how I like living small, but settled.

    In all your posts, Sue, I see how you just get to gabbing with people. I admire that so much – you probably don’t even realize what a gift (or skill) it is!

    It’s been really educational for me, though. I’m curious to see how I do with settling for a while. I guess if I’m happy, I’ll stay. If not, well I haven’t glued my wheels down or anything! 🙂

    Fondly – Lisa & Trotters

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Sounds like a good plan, Lisa. Live small and settled. You’re searching and able to make adjustments. You’ll find your way.

      Thanks for the compliment.

  24. Fran , Kynchburg,Virginia says:

    WOW !! What a beautiful post today. You really do have a way with words and you said everything that I feel but would never be able to write it down that beautifully. The pictures were awesome and just tied it all together. Thank you for sharing with us. Once again you have been the highlight of my day !!

  25. Neita says:

    That’s what I really appreciate about your posts – reading about the mental / emotional / psychological issues we would all face on the road solo. You raised a great question.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Neita…

      Never know what you’ll get at rvsue and her canine crew! One day it’s chasing heifers, the next day finding happiness.

      Nice to hear from you.

  26. Ron Sears says:

    I think this is some of your best stuff girl! Really nice, thanks for sharing..

  27. Carol in OK says:

    I enjoy your blog so much; those posts that make me laugh out loud, and this philosophical post was beautiful. Sometimes I question why I look forward to your blog because I’m not interested in full-timing. (Oh yeah, I love to travel and camp in the wilderness. That’s why I own a truck and a teardrop trailer. But my love of camping has to share with my passion for gardening. ) I believe the reason I look forward to your visits into my life is because of your fearlessness.

    Geez, old women who are so afraid of death that they’re afraid to live drive me nuts. The older I and my friends get, the more fearful they become. Remember when Grandma doled out all those dire warnings? Well, now it’s our friends. So the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that your courage, and the way you thumb your nose at loneliness and convention, are the reasons I admire you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m always surprised when someone uses the word courageous or fearless to describe me. To me, what I’m doing, the way I live, doesn’t require courage, just a determination to make it work. I suspect there are readers whose lives require way more courage than I have.

      And yes, women who act scared of their own shadow drive me nuts, too, when they really should only make me sad.

      Thank you for your admiration, although I don’t deserve it for thumbing my nose at loneliness. I’m never lonely by nature, not by anything I’ve accomplished.

  28. jean/Southaven, ms says:

    my list would have to include each day and whatever it brings. As I grow older I find I appreciate each normal day. to be able to get up and go about my daily routine of work and home with nothing out of the ordinary happening is wonderful. I love your blog and your pictures and the community that I find here. I may have adventures of my own in a few years, but for now I can enjoy share your adventures. Thank you.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You’re welcome, Jean.

      Appreciating each normal day — That’s it! That’s living a life with gratitude.

      It’s nice to hear you love my blog. And aren’t the folks who comment here wonderful? My little blog “community” — You using that word tickles me.

  29. Bev Deem says:

    Profound! Your last paragraph said it all. We didn’t plan our adventure–we took a leap of faith in 2003. The biggest revelation?? Never experiencing loneliness because there are no “walls” or barriers. I remember my Mom always needing a window to the outside when she was confined inside in her late years. I can’t imagine my life restricted to a “window” right now.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Bev,

      Funny you should mention looking out a window. The thought of retirement years spent looking out a window used to depress me until I discovered a way to move beyond the window. Wow! Since 2003! That’s a lot of adventures!

  30. cinandjules (NY) says:

    Love the black and white photography.

    An extended road trip means at sometime you’ll have to return to the “rat race”. NOT!!!

    Having the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever is so stress free. Having just what you need is perfect. Happiness isn’t measured in money or property. Jules and I firmly believe as long as we have our health and our animals we’re set!

    You can’t worry about things you have no control over…………fear of the unknown….again no control….loneliness….nature and it’s critters has a way of making you feel like you have all the company you’ll ever want.

    Keep living your “dash” girlfriend! I truly admire you. Thanks for taking time to write your blog and inviting us into your life.

    Is that bbq chicken ready yet?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Cindy and Jules,

      The crew and I finished some grilled chicken a few minutes ago!

      Glad you like the B & W photos. It took me a while to write a post where I could use them. Good point about the extended road trip ending in the rat race. Freedom from the daily grind… priceless.

      Smart comment with some sweet words for me at the end… Thank you!

  31. Laurie from Southern Oregon says:

    Hi Sue, Those pics were amazing and went so well with what you were writing. I guess why I’m so satisfied is because for once in my life, I’m living my dream. If it only lasts a week, a month, or many years to come, I will be happy. I have overcome fear, doubt, and jumped in with both feet. Becoming an RVer is my Kilimanjaro. I reached the summit and you just can’t take that joy away. I was born to be free; I have finally found my home.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Gee. Laurie . . . Your comment is very touching. I’m so happy for you! I love the way you expressed the transformation of your life. Beautiful . . .

  32. Rita from Phoenix says:

    Once in a blue moon loneliness hits me but I go out and it goes away. I love my stuff, my surroundings, and I don’t wish to be a full time RVer. I’ve done without most of my life, no electricity, no running water, no vehicle to get water, fuel, grocery, etc. Now, I have everything that you have, a vehicle (a way to get food, fuel, get to hospital, travel, etc), a small home, income, pets, friends I’ve made over the years. I love my life now and I’m comfortable. But, I do like to read and mentally be transported to whatever I’m reading about and reading your blog and other RVer’s blogs have transported me to an RVers life without having to be one. Besides RV blogs, I also read other blogs of peoples daily lives, cooking, sewing, gardening, and the list goes on & on…I’ve learned so much of each. Reading blogs is sort of like ‘realty TV’…you get to peek into someone’s way of life or their love of doing something i.e. hobbies, travels, camping, etc. So, although I don’t wish to be an RVer, I love to read about your and others lifestyle in choosing to be an full time RVer. Thank you so much for sharing your life with us.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s not necessary to be an RVer or live like I do to live a satisfying life. Your comment reveals your happiness with the way your life is. No need to change it!

      You have a natural curiosity that serves you well. You can learn a lot through blogs, beyond simply entertainment. That’s how I got the idea to hit the road!

      Thanks for another perspective, Rita. Also good to hear from you!

    • Ole tired of walking AZ Jim says:

      But Rita you and I both are missing the smell of the campfire, the smell of the pines, the little rush of watching squirrels frolic under the shade of the trees….all the sensual and visuals of the great outdoors. I too have those comforts of home but I have wonderful memories of my days of enjoying what Sue now embraces. If I could, I too would still be out there but, alas, I, like you can only enjoy it now through Sue and others.

  33. Hazel says:

    We are ‘half-time full-time’ RVers. Our travelling goal is birding which involves going to different areas and habitats and doing a lot of hiking. It gives a both a mental and physical challenge, and we meet so many interesting fellow birders.

    As much as we love our Casita and this birding life, we have a need to be home as well. We think that being involved in a community is a vital part of our retirement. Volunteer work in the environment and climate change issues challenge us and keep us current and active with all ages of enthusiastic people. We have a need to give back to nature for all the beauty we enjoy!

    We also grow our own veggies and berries on our acreage, have solar installations, and are vegetarians so we walk our talk. We also work on providing various habitats for birds and wildlife on our 14 acres; every year we work on a project and this year we hope to enlarge our pond.

    So, we try to live fully in each 6 month phase of our lives. The theme is much the same in both: live simply, sustainably, and help Mother Nature. (Right now we’re enjoying the Cottonwood, AZ area.)

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Wow! Your comment certainly answers the question I posed in this blog. You have a very full life and it must be very satisfying as well. I don’t know if I could summon up the energy you have!

      Thank you, Hazel, for sharing the activities and motivations in your life. How rewarding it must be to turn your home into a wildlife sanctuary.

  34. I am surprised by the things I am learning on our journey here in Arizona. I am surprised by the fact that I don’t feel lonely. Of coarse I have our dog, Buddy and my hubby Bruce. But aside from that I haven’t felt lonely or homesick once. And that surprises me. LOL! Love your blogs, but your post today was very thought provoking. I am loving my life.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      What a simple sentence: “I am loving my life.” And so difficult to attain! Congratulations to you both for arriving at a place in your lives where you can make that statement.

      Thanks for writing, Sheila.

  35. Linda w. says:

    Great post today!

  36. DesertHawk says:

    Enjoyed the B&W Photos. Good Compositions. Neat Subjects.

  37. Rebecca says:

    Been reading your blog for several months now, Sue. Went back to the beginning and read straight through, and now check daily for new stuff. I just want to say: I appreciate you!

  38. Tia in North Carolina says:

    Sue-mentioned earlier this week I was in Dallas on business. Had the opportunity to head down to Corsicana for the afternoon to visit my nephew at Navarro College. How shocked I was when I got close to Corsicana and looked to my left and saw Casita. You popped to my mind immediatly. I suddenly remembered your early posts about driving to Texas to pick up your Casita. Such a small world….

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      It’s funny how people I’ve never met in person can be thinking of me (or me of them) at random times in random days. The name Navarro College brought my first camp to mind, Navarro Lake. It’s a beautiful COE campground and was a perfect start for my new life.

      Safe travels, Tia. Keep thinking good thoughts! 🙂

  39. Rattlesnake Joe says:

    These comments have made me think of what Ernie Ford use to say, ” bless your little pea picken heart “.

  40. Ms. Minimal says:

    Gratitude is one of my favorite topics!

    Sherlock & Watson (my doggies) keep me entertained & active.
    Having a smaller financial footprint is liberating.
    Being able to pick up and move wherever I want when I am ready brings me joy!
    Knowing I can do the maintenance of my rig on my own makes me feel accomplished.

    I love my life & wouldn’t change a thing!!

    Ms. Minimal

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Great list . . . I wish I could add the last item to my list. I suppose I could learn, but I don’t want to invest the time. “Mechanickin'” skills would be very handy. Good for you!

  41. Virginia says:

    Sue, you are becoming a very deep and spiritual person with the lifestyle you have adopted. It’s almost as if every day, brings you closer to the happiness you seek which is a spartan life for most but for you the challenges you face are a welcomed with gratitude. I like reading what you have to say as it helps keep me grounded in reality. Hopefully one day, I will have shed all the excess baggage in my life and will spring into a more satisfying relationship with myself and the rest of the world. You are right, you can never be completely ready but eventually with good planning and the consistent focus and the vision, I will find myself on “The Road.” The way the economy is going these days, everyone should have a plan B. Blessings to you and the crew and Happy Easter.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      The same to you, Virginia. I hope your Easter renews your spirit!

      I like your statement: “Hopefully one day, I will have shed all the excess baggage in my life and will spring into a more satisfying relationship with myself and the rest of the world.” Very well said!

  42. Gail G. in NC says:

    Great blog. I’m thinking about RVing as a plan B in retirement. Love all the pictures and your insights about how you got started. Would love to see more posts on being a woman RVer and what things to look out for or prepare for.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      You won’t hear much from me about being a woman RVer because I see very little difference from being a man RVer. One reason I’m able to enjoy this lifestyle is I don’t live by traditional gender roles and attitudes.

      I’m glad you enjoy my blog and photos, Gail.

  43. Beautifully said. You always had a way with the written word. The pictures accented the prose so well. Peace in your heart is so important. I love you, My Dear Sister.

  44. One question Sue, could you have done it without your two little side kicks-Bridge and Spike 🙂

  45. dreamstreamr says:

    RVSue — Agree completely on the freedoms. We love our ability to pick a few major events or destinations in the year and then loosely color in the time between. And we are loving chasing 75 degrees all year.

    Wonderful post! Thanks.

    Jim and Debbie
    Chasing 75 Degrees

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