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There’s no place like home when home is, like, no place

Those of us who own RVs have heard, seen, bought, or been gifted with something bearing the phrase “Home is Where We Park It.” Makes for a popular hashtag too, and I am guilty as hell for using it on our Twitter and Instagram accounts.

For those of us who took the additional step of selling our sticks-and-bricks houses to live full time in our recreational vehicles, this saying is always true — but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to explain.

Here are 5 ways we’ve learned to re-think the concept of home.

Home is where we say it is

Our least favorite question is “Where are you from?”

Sigh.

There’s no good answer, and few people — even other RV park neighbors — seem comfortable accepting, “Right here for now.”

When I don’t feel like explaining, I say San Antonio, which is the last place we lived in a “real” house before we moved into The Toad. It’s the city we use as a home base for mail and medical, and we’ve got family in town, but we no longer own property or intend to live there again, so it’s not exactly home, but it makes for an expedient answer in a potluck line.

We were two happy kids at the title company, the day we closed on the sale of our Texas house, in March of 2016.

Home is where we can live in our own space but also be tourists

Because we have chosen to make this 5th wheel our only home, and to spend as much time as possible traveling in it, we become both visitors and residents at every stop.

We feel like visitors because we are unfamiliar with the place, and often spend the first few days exploring the area’s most notable museums, parks, restaurants and other tourist attractions.

And we feel like residents because for a week or more, we are living there — sending and receiving packages; doing our grocery shopping, laundry, banking, household and vehicle maintenance; and contributing to the local economy by patronizing independent merchants as often as possible.

Our 2008 Heartland Bighorn at its birthplace in Elkhart, IN, in June 2016

Home is where we’ve lived before

We’re a retired military family, so we’ve got a long list of cities we’ve called home. These places are where our memories are, where friends still live, and they will always be home to us in some way, even if we never plan to live in any of them again.

In fact, you could say that the previous item also applied to our military lifestyle: we lived in various places for anywhere from 18 months to 6 years, never feeling completely like residents, yet taking advantage of each area’s many activities and destinations in fairly short order — like tourists do.

As full-time RV’ers with an empty nest, we are essentially continuing our moving pattern as a military family, only at more frequent intervals, and without having to worry about school districts anymore!

This wooden plaque, our very first RV-warming gift, helps our house-on-wheels feel like home.

Home is where we might want to live someday

With no exact timeline, we are using this lifestyle to find our next permanent residence, and we try to view each RV travel destination with an eye toward future home-worthiness. We’ve saved several different publications’ lists of “Best Places to Retire,” “Best Small Towns in America,” etc., and this year we plan to spend more time checking out some of those cities, to see for ourselves whether they’d make our list.

Home is where our children visit

This is my favorite one!

Both of our sons (a 21-year-old living in WA, and a 19-year-old living in TX) have taken turns staying with us for brief periods in our house on wheels. Wherever we’re parked can be a home to them, because we can still spend valuable time together as a family. Even in the RV, we make their favorite foods, celebrate birthdays and holidays, play games and watch movies, and sometimes even yell at them to GET OUT OF BED BECAUSE IT’S FREAKIN’ NOON ALREADY! 

Just. like. home.

Both of our sons know their way around a toolbox, so when they visit us in the RV, we put them to work!

(Author’s note: a version of this post appears at Heartland RVs. It is printed here with permission.)

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