After six and a half years of living full-time in an RV we made the change to what we like to call a “home base”. We bought a condo in Maryville, Tennessee.
Why give up the full-time RV lifestyle? We love to travel and RVing gave us the opportunity to travel full-time in our own home. It’s a wonderful lifestyle and we enjoyed it immensely. However, with any lifestyle choice, there are tradeoffs. One of the things we missed was that sense of community you get by being involved with neighbors, clubs, church, family, etc. This is probably the main reason we started thinking about a home base. Another major reason was winter. It was difficult for us to be comfortable in an RV with below freezing temperatures during the winter months. Like most RVers, we headed for the warmer temperatures in the southern states for winter, but found we were just not happy either in Texas or Florida and didn’t want to be as far away from Tennessee as Arizona or California. Another consideration was the housing market. From the beginning, our plan was to buy a house at the end of RVing whenever that was. We don’t pretend to have any expert knowledge about the housing market, but this seemed like a good time to buy.
Why a condo instead of a house? Just because we’re not full-time RVers any longer doesn’t mean we have given up traveling. We expect to be on the road for most of each summer. Having a condo gives us the advantage of not worrying about any outdoor maintenance.
Why Maryville? We’re Tennesseans and we wanted to stay in Tennessee. We’re also hikers and love the hiking opportunities of the mountains. Those two things brought us to East Tennessee. When trying to decide which of the numerous communities to make our home, we considered things like health care, church, grocery, and shopping--basically the amenities of big city living, but without the big city part. Maryville is large enough to have a hospital, several groceries, and many restaurants. It is also close enough to Knoxville for major medical care, museums, performing arts venues, and malls. Another major consideration, since we want to visit family often, was proximity to Nashville. With the major interstate system from Maryville/Knoxville, it’s an easy 3 hour drive to visit with family in Nashville.
Our vision of a “home base” is a place we travel from. We plan to take short trips each month. These trips may be for two or three days or they may be for a week or two. There are many places around this area which we’ve never visited and there are others that we love and want to go back to often. Then there are the longer summer trips. There are so many places still on our list--Utah, California, Washington D.C., the Canadian Maritimes. We want to go back to New England, Colorado, Washington state, and Montana. We see no end to these places which are best visited during the summer months.
With a home base we can put down roots and get involved with the local hiking clubs, make friends with our neighbors, and have a church home. We can be comfortable during the cold winter months. Our home should serve us well for many years to come right on into our old age. At the same time, by keeping the RV, we have the freedom to travel whenever we want. It’s sorta like having the best of both worlds.