Adventures in Housing

How one full-time RV-er found community on the road

Maria Hollenhorst Aug 31, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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In 2017, Mary D'Rozario sold her home and moved into this Airstream trailer. "At the RV park, people are used to forming connections with someone they just met,” she says. (Courtesy of Mary D'Rozario)
Adventures in Housing

How one full-time RV-er found community on the road

Maria Hollenhorst Aug 31, 2020
In 2017, Mary D'Rozario sold her home and moved into this Airstream trailer. "At the RV park, people are used to forming connections with someone they just met,” she says. (Courtesy of Mary D'Rozario)
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The coronavirus pandemic is driving more people to hit the road in RVs. Dealers and manufacturers have been reporting spikes in demand throughout the spring and summer as people look for safer ways to travel, and the RV Industry Association said shipments of recreational vehicles this July were the highest they’ve been in four decades. But for a growing number of people, RVs aren’t just recreation, they’re a lifestyle. 

Mary D’Rozario transitioned to that lifestyle back in 2017 as chronic fatigue syndrome made life in her three-story townhouse more and more difficult.

Researching alternative housing options, she found online communities dedicated to teaching people about living in RVs. “That was how I realized that was my solution,” she said.

D’Rozario sold her townhouse, bought a 16-foot-long Airstream trailer and hit the road.

“As a disabled person, living in an RV is so much easier,” she said. “I can visit with people right outside my front door and when I get tired, I can go back in and get in my bed, and with everything within 100 square feet from my bed to my office to my kitchen, everything’s just a couple steps away.”

Mary D’Rozario (Courtesy of Mary D’Rozario)

Working from home in the clinical research industry has allowed D’Rozario to live a mobile lifestyle since selling her townhouse. In the past few years, she said, she’s traveled all over the United States, from Florida to California to Vermont. 

“I’ve parked in the dunes in New Mexico, where it was blowing sand so hard that it came into my RV and coated all the walls. I’ve marked a spot in the forest where I thought I was going to park, and on the way there I saw a road to a different spot in the forest that I just took just to see what was down that road…. Wherever it’s parked, that is my home,” she said. 

But D’Rozario said that one of the best things about her new lifestyle is the community. “I’ve met so many people at RV parks because it’s just a different way of living,” she said. 

D'Rozario's trailer parked at the Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area in Lander County, Nevada.
D’Rozario’s trailer parked at the Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area in Lander County, Nevada. (Courtesy of Mary D’Rozario)

“When I lived in suburbia, I had a community, for example, at my Starbucks,” she said. “But as I became more ill, it was harder for me to get out every day, and so I became more and more isolated. But at the RV park, people are used to forming connections with someone they just met.”

D’Rozario said she’s able to make friends in every RV park she goes to. “Even if we just met, they still know me and want to help me,” she said. “It’s better at the RV park, where I feel like I belong.”

D’Rozario wrote a memoir about her journey to RV living called “The Airstream That Ran Away With the Spoon: Discovering a New Home and a New Life with Chronic Fatigue.”

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