When thinking of a single word that best describes the RV lifestyle “passion” always comes to mind first for me. That passion can be driven by camping close to nature in a tent trailer on weekends or by seasonal living in a large fifth-wheel. It’s easy to get addicted to the freedom of rolling your home anywhere you want. And some people just keep on rolling full time, like authors Bill and Jan Moeller.
There’s no telling exactly how many RVers full-time, but the number of people who have checked out of stationary neighborhoods is growing. The Moellers were the poster couple for the full-time RV lifestyle. As media executives, their work schedules in New York City pretty much kept them from seeing each other. One day Jan gave Bill an ultimatum, “We either leave these jobs or leave each other.” They quit their high-paying jobs, sold the house, bought a boat and never looked back.
After 12 years of living on the water and publishing a number of marine books (which are still in print), the Moellers sold their boat and headed for land.
The progression to a travel trailer was natural. The boating lifestyle gave them intimate knowledge of full-time living in a mobile residence. Their boat was not exactly a yacht, but it did provide a foundation that led to a fulfilling life together. The transition to a travel trailer was a big one for the Moellers. For the first time in many years, they actually had a real bathroom with a real shower. Their antics for taking showers — among other crazy stories they shared on life aboard a boat — brought about many hilarious moments.
The Moellers were quintessential RV full-timers for 25 years. Their techniques and tips perfected over the years were published in the book, “Complete Guide to Full-Time RVing,” first printed by this company in 1986. Eventually three editions of their popular book were penned. Their travels were well chronicled through Bill’s camera lens and Jan’s writing. Many of those articles showed up in this magazine and our sister publications, MotorHome and Highways.
To know Bill and Jan was to love them. While their unique personalities kept most people puzzled, everyone — either secretly or openly — was envious of their lifestyle. When Jan was diagnosed with terminal cancer eight years ago, she elected to stay in their fifth-wheel, where Bill cared for her until she closed her eyes for the last time. It was a storybook love affair that continued even after Jan’s passing.
Bill stayed in his fifth-wheel until his own health declined. He fought and beat cancer multiple times. He attributed his remissions to the one scoop of ice cream he and Jan ate religiously every night. Maybe so, but his positive attitude and contagious and voracious laughter undoubtedly played big roles.
When I got the call that my good friend had passed away on January 17, my eyes welled up with sadness. The RV fraternity lost two great icons, but the Moellers’ lessons of how life should be lived will always be imprinted. For that I’m forever grateful.