RV Stigmas

We looked forward to being able to say to others when asked … “We’re full time RV’rs.” We even expected that shocked or confused look on their faces when they heard that. Some don’t have a clue what that mean,s but there are those who will look upon you with great disdain as they envision you as “trailer park trash” only with a trendy moniker.

Sadly, that’s the truth of the matter for anyone who is living in an RV. It doesn’t matter whether you’re living in a high end custom coach, a pop-up travel trailer, or anything in between. Of course, if they actually see your RV when you tell them, their opinion will be greatly influenced by what they see.

The unfamiliar will often confuse an RV with a Mobile Home. We, as RV’rs, know there is a difference between Mobile Homes and RV’s. Mobile Homes are homes that are mobile to the extent that they can be relocated by companies and equipment that specialize in that sort of thing. Typically mobile homes are placed on a site long term to permanent. They are difficult and costly to relocate and equipped quite differently. There are park model RV’s which are, in essence, mobile homes that can be more easily moved by their owners and often do have stand alone capabilities (holding tanks).

RV’s are designed for temporary living, seasonal use and are easily moved from place to place by the owner, whether driven or towed. Some RV owners use them rarely, while others live in them full time. It’s the usage and location that creates the confusion and negative connotations some RV’rs face.

RV owners consist of a wide spectrum of society. Some are financially well off, while others are just scraping by day- to-day. You’ll find some whose mobile dwellings are big, modern, and pristine in appearance and even some that are over the top opulent. You too will often find many that are old, poorly maintained and should be condemned as they are unfit for human occupancy, let alone safe enough to be on the road.

Some of us who have made the decision to live the RV dream do so to embark on a new journey in life, to enjoy its rewards. That includes those who are just vacationing, retired or working and living on the road as they travel.

Others however find themselves at a place in their life that an inexpensive RV and a park/campground is all that they can afford to have as a home. They aren’t living the dream (or are they?), but are just trying to live. This is the core of the negative stigma originates and the perception others think of when you say …”We’re Full-Time RV’rs.”

Just as there is a wide variety of types of houses found in subdivisions and neighborhoods in every community, so to are there different types of RVs found in RV parks and campgrounds that host short and long term residents. So it shouldn’t be unexpected that one will see a variety of property conditions. At some point in time if the property isn’t maintained and kept clean and neat, that which was once called a vacation or summer cottage or cabin, becomes known as a shack.

Most RV parks and campgrounds have rules which are put in place to provide for the safety and security for the park and its guests. When guests fail to follow the rules and management does little if anything to enforce those rules it breeds complacency and grows in both the guests and staff. Those parks that have high standards often specify that the RVs entering must be a certain age and well maintained. Some too have age restrictions of guests staying at their park, thinking that those over a certain age are more likely to be ‘responsible’ guests.

It’s been said that it doesn’t take money to keep one’s yard clean and tidy, just effort and a bit of pride. Same holds true for RV owners. Some owners spend a great deal of time and effort caring for their homes on wheels, yet others do nothing. Evidence of the owner’s pride only takes a quick glance. It’s doubtful that any owner who has plant life growing on or out of their awnings and roof and/or debris and clutter around their rig takes much pride in themselves or their rig.

Regardless if you are retired working or unemployed, entering your golden years, just beginning life’s journey or anywhere in between, one needs to be conscious of those around them who might need a word of encouragement, a little assistance or for some a reminder that regardless of their situation in life, they can be good stewards of the RVing community by putting forth a little effort and once again regain some pride in themselves, their RV and the place where they are staying. Doing so will help end the negative stigmas some associate with those of us who respond…I’m a full time RVer.

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Gerald Voigt

Gerald's interests are wide and varied. His work career started in the United States Air Force and since then has worked in logistics management, retail & service management as well as manufacturing. He's an author, photographer, pilot, radio show host and marketing consultant who enjoys RVing which allows him greater freedom to explore, meet new acquaintances and serve his clients.