From Boat Life to Van Life

A year ago, we were discussing our lives as boaters as we seemed to be at a crossroad. Twenty eight years earlier we had purchased our first boat when our kids were young and the new boat was something all of us enjoyed doing together.

The question at hand a year ago was, what should we do now? Our kids were grown and they were busy raising their families.  They were spending less and less time with us on our boat and Gail and I were finding ourselves out in the middle of a lake often by ourselves. We were not really complaining but in reality it seemed our boating life had run its course. Do we continue to make the best of our boating situation or do something different?

This was a serious conversation for us. Boating had become a part of our identity and we were even discussing the possibility upgrading our current boat (third boat in 28-years). Everyone who knew us was fully aware that boating was our passion and our lifestyle. We were well seasoned veterans on the water and skilled at launching, loading and docking the boat. We also continued to maintain our appetite for water skiing and wakeboarding when the water conditions were right. Our problem was we weren’t enjoying boating as we once had.

As we assessed our situation, we began to dream a bit as couples sometimes do. We started talking about all the places we wanted to see but had never visited. Without much thought we each rattled off ten or twenty places we wanted to go before we die. It was at this point we started talking about selling our beloved boat and buying an RV (recreational vehicle).

Prior to this moment, at no time in our marriage had we ever considered buying a recreational vehicle. In fact, it might be true that we joked about people and their RV lifestyle. Neither of us had ever been drawn to camping and we sometimes laughed about how much more fun we were having as boaters than those people staying in a campground. It’s funny how perspectives change over time!

We like being active and in our discussions we realized we could stay more fit in our retirement years hiking on a trail versus floating around in a boat. Traveling to National Parks and interesting places sounded more fun to us than boating on a big lake. This was our moment. We decided to change our lives, step out and travel the country.

A few months later, we sold our boat to a family member, located a used Sprinter Van RV in Idaho we wanted and bought it. Our first trip was driving her from Idaho to Kansas in a weekend. That is a story for another day!

14 thoughts on “From Boat Life to Van Life

  1. Love it!! Welcome to big living in a tiny RV! Glad you’re part of the sprinter family! Hope we get to cross paths or join together in our camping journeys!

      1. Thank you, Steven. Maybe we will meet during one of your journeys, since we are neighbors! My husband and I are thinking about getting a van, too, so it has been very interesting to read about your first impressions. I look forward to learning more about your van life.
        Best wishes,

      1. I was just thinking about how you and your wife have been traveling to National Parks. Have you been to any during the shutdown? I keep reading about how the parks are grossly understaffed right now. I wondered what your experience has been.

      2. Our last trip was in November, so we are hunkered down at home for the winter. We have been checking out campsites on federal properties for spring and they state on their website that they cannot guarantee our campsite will be available when we need it. We may have to do another “make it up as we go” trip which we like to do.

Your feedback is welcome!