Professional photographer Mandy Lea wasn’t always a fulltime RV-er. But when she reached her mid-thirties, she decided to completely change her life and try living on the road. In this spotlight interview, Mandy shares what she learned from being a fulltimer.
(For more about Mandy, visit her website, Mandy Lea Photo.)
Hi Mandy, Thanks for sharing your experience as a fulltime RV-er. How long have you been living on the road?
I left Austin, Texas after having lived there for 10 years. I moved into my T@G teardrop to pursue a life on the road. After living alone for one year, I met Kendrick who then joined me and we moved into a T@B trailer.
It has now been a full two-and-a-half years since I left my apartment, and I couldn’t be happier.
What do you like about being a fulltimer? What does this lifestyle choice offer you?
Some people have the misconception that being a fulltimer is like being on vacation all the time, when really we have to work just like anyone else. However, what it does allow us to do is experience far more of the country than one would typically be able to do with vacation time alone.
We are often so wrapped up in our tiny lives and the space that we exist in that we forget how BIG this world is. To be able to see places we would not normally see is worth all the effort in the world. Not to mention it is a very beneficial lifestyle for a landscape photographer!
What was the hardest or most challenging aspect you had to get used to?
In the beginning when I was alone, I had a very hard time coping with spending so much time with just me. When I lived in Austin, I was a very social person. Although I lived alone, it seemed I was always with friends.
Once I hit the road I spent more time in my head than ever before. I had to learn to be happy and content with just me. It took some time to adjust, but I did finally become my own best friend.
What tips do you have for those considering fulltiming?
First and foremost is to understand that it is going to be hard work… a lot of hard work! But if it is something you are passionate enough about, it’s going to work out and it’s all worth it to be happy.
Second, at some point you are going to need to stop planning and just do it. We all dream for so long, we plan and wait for “the right moment,” but the truth is we will never fully feel ready for a big change. At some point, you just have to trust yourself.
Lastly, remember your “why.” Never forget the reason you are doing what you’re doing. Some days are going to be hard, and you’re going to want to quit. But if you always remember your purpose, you’ll overcome all the hardships.