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Kathy and I dreamed about full-time RVing for years before we
even knew it or did anything about it. We would be driving on the interstate
and see a big coach or fifth-wheel trailer and we would think and say together,
“That will be us some day”. We were convinced even then that touring the
country in a big rig was the best way to travel. We didn’t even imagine we
could do it as a full-time lifestyle. We were clueless when it came to budgeting for this lifestyle. We didn't know anything about "domicile states", or "Mailing Services", or any of a myriad of things like portable healthcare we would need to know. Who ever heard of an exit plan? We also had no idea about setting goals and making plans. We had a lot to learn.
Can you imagine how we felt after we joyously sold our house and most of our stuff in it and moved into our new-to-us RV for a great adventure and lifestyle change and heard “Are you out of your mind?” Unfortunately, this seemed to be the attitude of a lot of the people we know and love when we made the announcement to go full-time RVing. Those folks have a really high resistance to change. So many people are quite content and happy to live in the same house in the same town with the same people around them for their entire lives. That is perfectly fine for them and we don’t want to change them. When someone in their circle decides to break away from that comfort zone, however, they find it hard to understand. You will be asked, “How in the world can you live 24/7 in that tin can?” “You’ll go stir crazy and kill each other!” “How will you pay your bills?” and “How will you get your mail?” I can think of many other similar comments, but you get the point. Take heart my friend, because they will never feel the freedom of the open road that Full-Time RVing can bring. They won’t see this country like you will. They won’t do new things and meet new friends like you will every time you fire up your rig and hit the road for someplace new.
One common issue is that one spouse or partner is ready to jump into this lifestyle, sell everything, buy a rig and hit the open road, while the other has serious doubts. Often one or the other has serious issues with leaving their home and most of their belongings behind. If you live close to family, children and grandchildren, it can be hard to cut those ties. In some severe cases, the conflicts of a full-time lifestyle will not work for those folks. We aren’t qualified to give advice to help solve these conflicts. It’s unfortunate, but this lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Possibly you might want to try “Long Timing” or extended trips away from your sticks and bricks house before you jump off the ledge into full-time RVing.
One of the questions that was asked was “Won’t you get on each other’s nerves and argue and fight?” The answer is a qualified “sometimes”. Hopefully, you and your partner have given a lot of thought to living 24/7 in a hallway. No matter the type of RV, from small travel trailer to a 45 foot luxury motor home, all of them are narrow hallways. The best you can expect is about four hundred and fifty square feet, and that is exceptional. It won’t take long and that space will shrink in on you unless you get your head(s) around it. We all need personal space and RVing is no exception. You can go outside, or to one end of your unit, but make sure you both realize the need for some “alone” time.
I don’t want to start off with doom and gloom, but this is a reality. This full-time RVing lifestyle is not for everyone. By realizing and planning for any the possible downsides, you can help make this experience to be the most rewarding thing you have ever done. Kathy and I were married for thirty-eight years before we set out full-timing. We knew which buttons not to push so as to avoid conflict. We now live closely together in less than 400 square feet and there are certainly situations where we don’t agree with one another. We have found the best cure is some alone time to do our own thing without one another. Kathy needs a certain amount of “Kathy” time to herself to read, or shop, or even think without me and I realize that. Consequently, we avoid most serious fights and arguments.
The closest experience most folks have probably had to this type of close living is when they go on a vacation. They’ll get on a plane or in the car and travel somewhere and check into a motel. Who knows who slept in that bed last and what did they leave behind? On the other hand, we can go far beyond airports and motels and restaurants. We sleep in our own bed and cook our food if we want to. We can even stay off the grid if we desire.
It took us almost a year to realize that we were embarking on a new and exciting Lifestyle, not an extended vacation. Initially, we fell into the unending vacation trap when we started out full- time. We felt we had to go, go, go, and see everything and do everything all in the first several months. In our case, this “Express Touring” lasted for the first year. We also spent as much money in that year as in the next three! We were moving so fast, we only cherry picked the highlights of the part of our beautiful country we happened to be in. We finally realized we had plenty of time to see things and we could return to see and do things we missed the first time. A good case in point is our love of the Black Hills of South Dakota. We have spent four summers there and I don’t believe we’ve seen it all yet. It’s that way all over the country. As stated above, we cherry picked the high points in our travels, but there would have been so much more to see had we stayed longer.
We started the Living the RV Dream radio show four years into full-timing, and it was then that we realized we were truly living a very wonderful and special lifestyle. But, that is the beauty of it. You have the freedom to do what you want to do and when you want to do it. It’s your choice. You can plan a trip down to the hour with all stops booked and attractions planned in advance; or you can have your plans set in Jell-O like we do. We’ll discuss plans and goals in detail on another page.
Something that came as a surprise were the many new friends we have made while traveling and during our volunteering and workamping assignments. We meet people with similar experience and lifetime friendships result. This probably would never happen in our former insulated life in a sticks and brick house where we moved in a small circle of family and friends. Because we share this unique full-time RVing lifestyle, we bond much more quickly than before. Thanks to e-mail and social media, we continue to keep in touch. We may not see someone for a year or more, but when we meet again in some other place on the map, that friendship is still strong and it becomes a joyous homecoming.
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