Fountain of Youth: The Restorative Power of RVing

Here are the top 10 health benefits you can expect from RV travel

The Fountain of Youth possesses the power to restore the youth of anyone who drinks from or bathes in its waters… or at least that’s what legend would have you believe. Is there any truth to it? Perhaps, if you travel in an RV!

But one thing’s for sure: For thousands of years, people have searched in vain for a way to recapture their glory days.

Fountain Hills, Arizona © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Although ancient Greek historian Herodotus wrote about mythical restorative water in Ethiopia in the 5th century B.C., the modern legend of the Fountain of Youth stems from stories told by the indigenous peoples of the Caribbean about the mythical land of Bimini. According to these old stories, the waters in Bimini had magical restorative powers. Some believe it was Bimini and the Fountain of Youth that Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was searching for when he made his way to what is now Florida in 1513.

Even though Ponce de León was one of the first Europeans to set foot in what would become America, he never did find the Fountain of Youth. Nevertheless, modern-day St. Augustine, Florida—where some believe Ponce de León came ashore—is the home of the Fountain of Youth National Archaeological Park.

Lake County, Florida © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Visitors to the park regularly drink the water that flows from the natural spring located there but there is no evidence that it has any restorative effects.

Today, Florida is known as a popular retirement spot for seniors. Many Florida retirees experience a rejuvenation of sorts when they RV to Florida although their newfound energy is most likely the result of less stress, more rest, and good weather—not magic water.

St. Marys, Georgia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Health benefits of RV travel

RVing is more than just something you do—it’s a lifestyle. RVing is a lifestyle that benefits your health and well-being in many ways. RVers are out on the open road, often in nature, and checking off things on their bucket list. Together, these acts contribute to overall happiness which also positively impacts your health.

Related article: 7 Simple Tips to Live Longer and Healthier

RV travel not only provides great memories but provides great health benefits as well. While all kinds of travel can benefit your well-being there are specific perks that come from traveling in an RV. Here are 10 health benefits you can expect from RV travel.

Bourbon Country, Kentucky © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

1. RV travel lowers your stress levels

Chronic stress makes you irritable, and anxious and decreases your decision-making abilities. RV travel distracts you from real-life stresses. Visiting new places helps you switch off from the daily stresses. It allows you to focus on your new travel experiences and the challenges that go with travel— instead of the things in your life stressing you out. There’s nothing sweeter than RV travel for taking a break from the daily grind.

A whopping 80 percent of vacationing people report they felt a significant reduction of stress after just two days of vacation. Vacation time is linked to happiness and general well-being.

Longfellow-Evangeline State Historic Park, Louisiana © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

If you’re hitting the open road on your timeline and schedule for a vacation, you’re cutting some of those additional, travel-related stressors out entirely. You aren’t rushing to make a flight and in an RV have everything you need.

Traveling in an RV can be a cost-saving experience that helps reduce finance-related stress. For a fraction of the cost of plane tickets, hotels, and destination prices, you can vacation wherever you go with your RV.

Hyannis Harbor Cruise, Massachusetts © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

2. RV travel beats flying

Everyone should experience traveling the country in an RV. There is no other way of travel that compares. You can enjoy the scenic wonders of nature without compromising on comfort no matter where you travel.

There’s no way around it—traveling by air takes a lot out of you, especially long-haul flights. Planes are cramped and uncomfortable and sitting for hours while traveling across multiple time zones can leave you feeling lethargic for days afterward.

Sandhill cranes at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You never look back on your RV trip and say “oh yeah I remember when we were stuck waiting to take off for three and a half hours.”

Getting out the door before you leave in your RV can certainly feel stressful. You worry about whether you’ve packed everything you need or if you’ve unplugged all your small appliances. It’s tempting to think that travel increases stress. In fact, it does just the opposite.

In today’s modern life, it is too easy to become caught up in the minute details. RV travel helps you leave those stressors behind. It encourages your mind to settle and refocus to be in the present.

Holmes County, Ohio © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

3. RV travel boosts your immune system

RV travel works to keep you healthy by boosting your immune system. By visiting new places you’ll be exposing yourself to new germs. While this can make you want to reach for your hand sanitizer, it’s a great way to help your body build antibodies.

Related article: Camping Benefits Mind and Body…Here Is How

This introduction to new bacteria gets your antibody factory fired up protecting your body from future illness. When you travel, you’re frequently taking in the natural sites and spending time outdoors in nature. It also turns out that fresh air is great for your health, aiding in digestion and improving blood pressure and heart rate.

Waterboro, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

4. RV travel helps encourage healthy choices

Our four simple rules: No Interstates, no amusement parks, no five-star accommodations, and no franchise food (two words which do not belong in the same sentence!)

—Loren Eyrich, editor/publisher Two-Lane Roads

Whether you head out for an occasional road trip or you’re a snowbird or full-timer, RV travel has some particular perks when it comes to staying healthy. What you eat and how you sleep top the list.

When you’re constantly on the go it’s easy to get stuck eating fast food and calorie-rich junk food. Traveling by RV helps you stay healthy by eliminating that need. You can stock your kitchen and reach for healthy foods and fresh produce when you’re hungry. You can even maintain a garden of fresh herbs and produce in your recreational vehicle.

Sleeping in your own bed each night © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

A healthy diet works to keep your overall health on track. A meta-analysis of studies following 469,551 participants found that a higher intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease with an average reduction in risk of 4 percent for each additional serving per day of fruit and vegetables.  Although all fruits and vegetables contributed to this benefit, green leafy vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, and mustard greens were most strongly associated with decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Shenandoah National Park, Virginia © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In addition to your travel diet, RV travel allows you to sleep in your own bed every night even as you’re traveling the country. Sleep is a key to good health.

Sleeping in your own bed can help you get the sleep your body needs. You’ll be able to choose your own mattress, your own pillows, and linens that you love. This keeps you comfortable and promotes good-quality sleep. When you travel in your RV, you’ll also be able to stick to your own sleep schedule which can help you get consistent, good-quality sleep.

Woodland, Washington © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

5. RV travel boosts confidence

RVing isn’t always easy despite the pretty pictures you see on Instagram. You’re taking a rolling home on wheels to places unknown hopeful that the weather, campground neighbors, and the RV itself cooperates. The prize for triumphing over the obstacles the road throws your way—because trust me, it will—is boosted confidence and a greater belief in yourself and your capabilities. As you take more trips your confidence grows. That increased confidence from RVing carries over into other aspects of your life and you feel better able to tackle other challenges that come your way.

Utah Scenic Byway 24 © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

6. RV travel inspires self discovery

Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.

—Emma Chase

Our capacity for learning more about ourselves is limitless. You can glean lessons from everywhere in life especially when you’re on the road and outside your familiar territory or routines. RV travel immerses you in a variety of new experiences. You’ll discover things you never knew you liked. Being exposed to so many new and unfamiliar situations teaches you more about your strengths and weaknesses, too. When you’re on an RV trip you’re opened up to situations that might highlight your fears and insecurities or perhaps bring about a sense of joy and gratitude. RV travel will shape you, shift your perspective, and help you discover the real you.

Port Aransas, Texas © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

7. RV travel helps combat depression

People suffering from depression often avoid things that can bring pleasure which only makes depression worse. RV travel is a form of behavioral activation—a behavior therapy strategy where you increase your engagement in rewarding activities especially when you are feeling depressed. RV travel offers a change of pace and place that can leave a positive long-lasting effect on your psyche. While curing severe depression is no easy road, getting out and enjoying RV adventures can play a transformative role in helping ease depression.

Related article: Unplug & Recharge

Smoky Mountains, Tennessee © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

8. RV travel can lead to a longer life

You’re in charge of your destiny when it comes to traveling in your RV. See a roadside attraction that’s off your planned route? Go ahead and take that detour.

Having a strong sense of control over your circumstances reduces the risk of dying by 13 percent, according to a study reported by The Atlantic.

Life on the road can be everything and anything you want it to be.

Custer State Park, South Dakota © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

9. RV travel helps you reinvent yourself

A long stretch of road can teach you more about yourself than a hundred years of quiet.

—Patrick Rothfuss

RV travel can help you re-evaluate and reinvent your life. Travel has the ability to expand your mind in a way you never realized was possible.

Moreover, the valuable lessons that you learn along the way broaden your perspective making you more aware and open to new ideas. Different is not better or worse, it’s just different. But being confronted with these differences helps to re-evaluate your own principles and values and, sometimes, change them.

Related article: The Power of Mindfulness

RV travel and interacting with the world around you, I found a new passion for life.

Frances Beidler Forest, South Carolina © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

10. RV travel offers undeniable health benefits

A wealth of health benefits can be found in embracing the RV lifestyle. RV travel does more than allow you to see the country; it allows you to live a longer and healthier life.

Worth Pondering…

I was here, I saw this and it mattered to me.

—Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel