Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

C is for Camper

Day 3 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge – Thoughts on Being a Nomad

As a full-time wanderer having traveled many different ways, I cannot rave enough about the functionality of a camper. In the States, they call them RVs (Recreational Vehicles) and they come in different sizes, ages and styles. Of all possible ways to see the world, doing it by camper is my favorite. While people of all age categories are bound to enjoy a vacation or a lifestyle in an RV, I think that adventurous retirees especially benefit from exploring the country or the continent by camper for its ease of living and moving. As a matter of fact, many senior citizens of Canada and the US sell (or rent) their house and get rid of most of their belongings to move into an RV (sometimes part-time during the winter months) and head south. They travel with the seasons, visit their preferred campgrounds, cities, national parks, beaches and other places and include family gatherings along the way. I would (and hopefully will) do the same!

The campervan Mark and I rented in May last year, for a three week work vacation in the South Island of New Zealand

The campervan Mark and I rented in May last year, for a three week work vacation in the South Island of New Zealand

As a youngster in Europe, I couldn’t help but think how cool it would be to have my own Volkswagen campervan and roam the world as a hippie. Until I set foot in one of those vehicles in my twenties. They are pretty small, especially for a couple and their dog(s). Everything is mini-sized and none of them had a shower. On the Belgian highway, I noticed many caravans (travel trailers). They all looked funny to me and had Dutch license plates. Caravans were a thing from Holland, or so it seemed. My parents’ neighbors had a motorhome (class C) for vacations and that intrigued me as well. But, I had never possessed a car, so why (and how?) would I ever own a camper?

Then, in 2003, I left Belgium for what unexpectedly would become “forever”, to join my boyfriend in the US. He had a Ford Explorer SUV with a tow hitch and we planned to travel throughout the USA for a year or so. Our living quarters would be a 24 foot “light” travel trailer. We had some great adventures with it, but the camper was too big for us and our dog and it was awkward to drive. We exchanged our set-up for a F250 truck in Texas and added a camper to its bed in Colorado. Then, we were happily set to explore Canada, Alaska and the West. It was a wonderful way of seeing the countryside.

A year after that trip ended, I had a new boyfriend and two dogs instead of one. A failed cruising attempt on our sailboat in California turned into the purchase of a camper. We found a slightly bigger truck camper than I had before and we drove all through Mexico and Central America over the span of one year. I love the freedom to be able to go wherever you want (on the continent), to have your own house and belongings with you and to not have to worry about bad weather, like on a boat. Diesel is cheaper than gas in most countries and you can do your own cooking, which keeps the cost down. Wild camping (also called boondocking) is possible in many areas and is totally free.

Mark, Darwin, Kali and I in front of our truck camper we traveled and lived a year in throughout Mexico and Central America

Mark, Darwin, Kali and I in front of our truck camper in Costa Rica. We traveled and lived in it for a year throughout Mexico and Central America

The campers we like have a small bathroom and comfortable sitting area and are relatively easy to drive and park. With a truck camper, you can drive from underneath the camper and use the truck separately, but recently, Mark and I are getting more and more interested in campervans. Yes, they are also small and some downsizing and simplifying is necessary to make the lifestyle work, but the rewards are big. Imagine combining camper travel with house and pet sitting whenever you want a break from life on the road. Now that would be the best of both worlds! Rest assured… we are looking into it. 🙂

Have you ever rented or owned a camper? Could you change your whole life around and live in an RV full-time? How about part-time? What would you miss most? What would you love about the lifestyle?

The quintessential camping photo, resembling beauty, freedom, romance, and peace. It is taken by my photographer friend Michael Boyny on their 1.5 year camper trip in Africa with Mathilda as he and his wife Sabine called their truck. That's Kilimajaro in the background.

The quintessential camping photo, resembling beauty, freedom, romance, and peace. It is taken by my photographer friend Michael Boyny during their 1.5 year in Africa with Mathilda, as he and his wife Sabine called their camper. That’s Kilimanjaro in the background.

(If you missed my previous blogs for the A-Z Challenge, they were “A is for Adventure” and “B is for Belongings“.  Tomorrow, I will be back with “D is for Dogs” in the “Thoughts about being a nomad” series.)


  1. Liesbet this is a timely post for us. We have never done any camping, other than tent camping on rafting and hiking trips. After our recent trip to Australia we saw many couples our age (that would be in the second half of the game of life) seeing the country in vans or campers. It tweaked our interest for sure.

    • Sue, you would love seeing the country(s) by camper! Such a great way to move around, take your time, immerse yourselves in the areas you like and easily pick up and leave when you are not happy or comfortable anymore! 🙂 If you have any particular questions about that as a lifestyle, let me know!

  2. This sounds wonderful, I would love to try it someday! The idea of being able to just go anywhere and bring your favourite things with you sounds perfect 🙂

    @LunaNoctis from There She Goes

    • Do it, Natalie. Some day! Perfect comes close, but – unfortunately – nothing is perfect. That being said, traveling with your own little house on wheels checks of many boxes on the “comfort and freedom” list. 🙂

  3. I love that photo of Africa! It’s amazing.
    The four of you look quite content in front of your truck camper in Costa Rica. It’s obvious that the lifestyle suits you and agrees with you. 🙂
    Writer In Transit

    • Thanks, Michelle. I wish that Africa photo was mine. We do have interest in traveling though that continent by camper one day, but I think we will wait until the situation clears up a bit over there. Plenty of other countries and continents to explore! 🙂

  4. We love our little 13′ Scamp travel trailers (aka Scamper). She’s tiny, but works well for us. We’re thinking of taking her back out on the road this year since we’ll have missed this year’s sailing season.

    • Your Scamper is so cute, Ellen! Less issues to fix than on a boat, I am sure. 🙂 I love that you two combine the sailboat and camper lifestyle! Always exciting adventures to be had and different experiences that each have their positives and negatives…

  5. I used to go camping with the family in a small set-up where the camper rested on a truck flatbed, if that makes sense. I got so claustrophobic trying to sleep in that bunk that I usually slept in the cab.

    I admire your bravery and sense of adventure. I don’t think I could do what you’re doing, but it sounds like a lot of fun.

    • The camper resting on the flatbed (or the cabin) sounds like just a little step up from tent camping! There are less claustrophobic campers on the market, but the bigger they are, the harder to drive. Have you ever seen those buses or fifth wheels on the highways? They are so roomy and comfortable inside, like a condo on wheels. But, you give up your freedom to go into towns and on smaller roads, and forget about pulling off the road and under a tree for shade to spend a free night. As with traveling on a sailboat for a while (which will be another post), the best thing to do while camping long time, is take a break once in a while and splurge living in/visiting/renting a house with all its comforts and amenities. Yes, I know, it is cheating a bit! 🙂

  6. I like the idea of camper travel, but I have to admit, the older I get, the more the stupid comforts of a nice hotel appeal to me. I like the idea of the implied freedom, but I’m not sure I’m cut out for that kind of living.

    • A nice hotel does sound very appealing to me too, except for the cost of it! Maybe, whenever I start making decent money (haha), I will change my mind about my preferred sleeping quarters on the road. Maybe! I do agree, though, that with age comes a desire for more comfort. I do not see the fun in sleeping in dorms in backpackers hostels anymore. And, I haven’t been compelled to do that in many, many years. 🙂 I guess, the thing I like most about the camper travel is that I would have all my stuff with me, organized and easy to reach and all!

  7. I love this theme! I’ve dreamed of taking off with my adult son who has Down syndrome and spending a year (or more) traveling the US and stopping at Ds support groups across the nation. I’ll be checking in for more tips! Good luck on the challenge! We’re doing “I’ve Got The Music In Me” this year on The Road We’ve Shared. – looking at how important music is in the Down syndrome community. I hope you’ll stop by and see/hear!

    • What a great idea to go on an extended road trip with your son, Stephanie. I would highly encourage you do so, especially, since you have a good idea of where you want to stop by and meet other people! It can be hard to be social during extended traveling, but it seems like you got that part covered already. Great theme for your A to Z challenge. I so love all the smiling people and the joy they exude! 🙂

  8. My husband and I just finished up a month long camping trip through New Mexico, Arizona and California on our way back to our boat in Washington. At our last site (PInnacles National Park), we were next to a lady with one of those teardrop shaped trailers that can be pulled by a Mini Cooper and fell in love with it. When it comes to camping, our needs are small (a fire and a place to lay our heads) and it ticked all the boxes . . . and then some!

    • I”m glad you guys had such a good time, camping out west. Such a nice break from the boat life as well. Back to the basics, enjoying the things mother nature offers us. Being part of the world and the amazing national parks. I love it! Although, that tear drop camper sounds like a great alternative to a tent, I have to say. 🙂

  9. I like reading about it – not sure I could do it!

    • Oh, come on, Anabel. Imagine driving through the highlands in your own camper, being all cozied up, reading a book and staying dry when it rains. And, when the sun comes out, you are all ready and in the right place for a walk! 🙂

  10. When I was young we spent a lot of time in a camper while we were waiting for our new house to be built. It was fun but … I like having a house for the long term. I do have a lot of fond memories though.

    • I’m glad you got to try the lifestyle, even though it was stationary. Having such a small living space is not for everyone. And, truth be told, after years of it, it does get a bit tiresome and the comfort and amenities of a house lure. It’s all about balance, right?

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