To get a taste of what it means to be an American, you have to hit the road. Fortunately, you’re never too young or too old to take the interstate beyond the life you know. Whether it’s a gap year, a retirement trip, or a sabbatical, everyone deserves to take a period of time for themselves and claim their slice of the American Dream. Here’s why RVing is the best way to do it.
1. Experience true freedom.
When you’re living on the road, you choose the direction you want each day to go, whether that’s exploring a side-road or camping an extra day in a place you’ve fallen in love with. Make enough of those small decisions, and you’ll realize just how much freedom and power you have to choose the kind of life you want. And that’s what the promise of the United States is all about.
2. See more in the time you have.
We have a lot of respect for pedestrian-only adventure, but the United States is wonderfully diverse, both in its people and its landscapes. Of all the adventure options out there, an RV is purpose-built for seeing more trails, more backcountry, and more local communities than any other mode of transportation—even thru-hiking or bikepacking. Go highpointing, see all 50 states, or go on the ultimate national park tour. With an RV, you have more freedom to choose.
3. Minimize your planning and maximize your adventure.
You don’t have to ship yourself resupply boxes or book hotel reservations. In fact, you don’t even have to have an end destination, an itinerary, or a plan. With an RV, the only prep you have to do is getting in the driver’s seat.
The same is true once you’re on the road. Wake up and want to go hiking? Your trekking poles are already packed. Hear about an awesome swimming hole? Ditto for the bathing suit. When you have your home with you, you have all the ingredients for any kind of adventure.
4. Actually have time for reflection.
If you’ve ever been on a long backpacking trip, you know you never end up philosophizing quite as much as planned—you’re too busy thinking about your next meal or worrying about the weather.
A cross-country RV trip gives you plenty of windshield time and space to stretch out—and none of the headache of pitching a tent in the rain. That means just as much adventure at half the brain power, leaving you more time to clear your head, think about the trajectory of your life, and reflect on who you want to be.
And if you’re with your friends or family instead of alone, the logistical ease means more quality time. After all, conversation flows more easily when the whole crew is relaxed.
5. Explore your backyard. All 640 million acres of it.
One of the best things about an RV trip is that you’ve already paid for most of it: In the United States, every citizen is born into a vast public land system and a well-maintained network of roads and trails. Your tax dollars—and those of generations before you—have put the infrastructure in place for you to explore. All you have to do is choose to get out and see it.
6. Boost your confidence.
It can be hard to justify taking a few weeks—or months—off work, but time spent road-tripping is an investment in yourself. Break out of your comfort zone and see what it’s like to live a simpler life. Experiencing the freedom an RV gives you will help you realize what you’re capable of. And that kind of confidence that will stick with you even after the trip is over.