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Is RV motor-home and houseboat living, a possible lifestyle choice?

by Suzanne & Armin
(Ontario, Canada or Texas, USA)

RV's and houseboats are ideal for cold winter months.

RV's and houseboats are ideal for cold winter months.

People ask us if the RV motorhome, and houseboat living, are still a lifestyle choice that is possible and fun? And we reply by asking them, do the snowbirds still fly...?

We are houseboat liveaboards... sort of? We spend 6 months on our house boat in Canada, and escape the cold canadian winter months by heading south to our RV in the USA.

I happened to run across Ian & Manon's houseboat website, and I was so impressed with the content that I sent an email to congratulate them, and also let them know about our interesting lifestyle choice.

Ian was intrigued by our lifestyle choice and suggested to me that I write a short article about our experiences and how we handle the transition. He said that it would definitely help others who are contemplating the snowbird lifestyle, so here goes....

We have been houseboaters for 12 years. In the beginning it was weekends and holidays or any other chance we could get. We were hooked on boating. The Rideau Canal in Ontario is an absolutely incredible waterway.

May 1, 2003... we sold our house and moved on the boat as liveaboards. We had kept a slip at a marina that summer. We soon found out we didn't want a marina - travelling the Rideau Canal, Ottawa River, St. Lawrence River kept us very busy and not home much.

We had purchased an RV motor-home and our plans were to put the boat in dry dock over the winter and start our RV adventure. We had never RVed before but had done a lot of research thanks to the internet. You are still not completely prepared until you actually do it.

Texas would be our destination for 6 months during the winter. So in the fall of 2003 the houseboat was hauled out of the water and put on blocks. We moved into the motorhome and away we went.

Since we are spending 6 months in Canada and 6 months in the USA we have to ensure that we don't overstay or we will loose our residence status in Canada, insurance, etc.

Communication via both phone and internet were a challenge for rv-ing and boating. Since we live in both countries we have had to find doctors, dentists, vets, dog groomers, etc in both countries.

Back to the boat in April 04. That summer we gave up the marina slip and lived at the numerous lock stations on the Rideau Canal. Some stations had electricity, others didn't, so we used our generator.

We cruised the waterways and spent time at our mooring on the Big Rideau Lake. We did encounter challenges not having transportation to get groceries, mail, money, etc. but we always found a solution that worked.

We sold the motorhome in June 07.. we bought a 5th wheel trailer and left it in Texas. After travelling around for a few years in the motorhome we found a lovely little town on the Gulf
of Mexico. The RV park is 3 blocks from the ocean.. Fulton, Texas, a quiet little fishing town.

Come April we pack up the van and our two dogs.. close up the 5th wheel.. have it hauled to storage and head off to the house boat.. come October we do the reverse. So far it works.

Over the last six years we have both learned a lot about this lifestyle, ourselves, and our relationship. We have made wonderful new friends, kept our wonderful old friends and have no plans to stop what we are doing in the near future. We also stayed married :)

This lifestyle is not for everyone, single or married. My favorite saying is "it's not cast in concrete and we can change our lifestyle at moments notice".

Many friends, even strangers ask us about our lifestyle and how we manage, how to get information, where to stay, etc.

Last summer we decided to get a marina for the summer. We wanted a place to stay and do some work on the boat. Having a marina also gave us an opportunity to leave the boat (secure) and do some road trips to visit family.

We will keep the marina this year (I may need knee surgery) and having a place to recoup is important. We are still planning trips this summer.. but will come back to the marina to restock before the next trip.

Happy boating.. or RV-ing.. or both.

Suzanne & Armin
Aboard the houseboat - Ark Angel

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Reply - Answer
Well Suzanne & Armin, welcome to the forums, and congratulations on living your houseboat and RV dreams.

You may both take the lifestyle for granted, or have grown accustomed to the transition, but I would imagine that the whole "snowbird lifestyle" didn't happen overnight, yet was a process that eventually came to light.

I would imagine that you both have many great stories, and hope that you can share more tips and details. I'm sure many are envious of such an interesting and wonderful way of living life to the fullest.

I am sure that many of our readers and visitors who are contemplating a lifestyle change, will be bookmarking this page to return often and read the posted comments.

Lastly, hopefully some of our readers will share and post comments about their snowbird style RV and Houseboat Living stories and experiences. Feel free to use the "Click here to post comments." link found near the bottom of this page.

Thanks again for sharing, IAN from all-about-houseboats

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Comments for Is RV motor-home and houseboat living, a possible lifestyle choice?

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Houseboats and Motorhomes - similar lifestyle
by: Stardust 1

We live between our 5th wheel and houseboat each week. We sold our home as is, that means everything inside and on the walls in the cabinets... went with the home to our daughter!

We moved in behind our office, which is on the same property, and stay there till Thursday then head to the houseboat till Sunday. We retired an extra day a week until waiting until that "magic" retirement date, whenever that might be!

Love the simple lifestyle of the camper and boat. We feel like a vacation when we're home or at the boat now. Enjoy!

Rving from Montreal up the St Lawrence River through the locks to Niagara Falls?
by: Anonymous

Dear Friends: This is a note of inquiry.
Since we have only begun RVing this year it is too soon to enquire about houseboating.

But would you be so kind to direct us to where we can inquire about traveling by RV from Montreal aboard ship (Barge) up through the locks to somewhere near Niagra Falls end of July or beginning of August this year 09?

Our travels from Southern California for almost two months, has taken us through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Indiana,Ohio, Pennsylvania,New Jersey, New York, Long Island NY.

Now we would like to experience some of the great Canals up to the Great Lakes, and then from there go north into Canada and continue our planned trip.

Your kind response will be so appreciated.
Vern & Esther Tisdalle

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