Don’t Listen to Naysayers

For the longest time, I delayed telling my parents about my plan to go full-time RVing. I went back and forth with myself on when was the most appropriate time, how I should bring the subject up, and what exactly I was going to say. In the end, it just sort of came out while we were on the phone. I got about the response I had expected: they didn’t think it was a good idea, but said it was my decision, and wished me luck.

When you start telling people about any big unconventional dream that you have, there are a variety of responses you might receive. Some people will be excited for you, tell you to go for it, and encourage you along the way. Some might not ‘get it’, but will still wish you the best, and still others might be neutral and not have an opinion either way.

But then you’ll come across people who won’t be supportive. Maybe they’re against the idea because they’re genuinely concerned on your behalf that you’ll fail or it won’t work out, my parents fell into this category. You could try sending them materials on the subject as well as give them a run down on what your plans are so far, and answer questions they may have. A lot of times people fear what they don’t understand, so helping them to understand might ease these fears.

Once they realize that this isn’t just a whim and that you’ve put a considerable amount of thought into it they may come around, or maybe not. Either way, you shouldn’t stress yourself out trying to convince someone that this is a good decision for you. Some people just can’t see that reaching for something outside of the norm can be a valid and in fact very fulfilling choice.

Then there are the naysayers. When you tell someone in this category about your big plans, you’ll get a strong negative response. It’s possible they might mock or criticize you behind your back, but often they’ll be quite open and clear that there is no way you can accomplish x, y, or z, and then proceed to tell you why. Trying to reason with these people is usually pointless. They’re convinced that they are right, and it’s not worth the time and effort to argue with them. In fact, the best response is often just to walk away, even though it may leave you feeling frustrated.

The reason why some people react this way is interesting to think about. After all, assuming the person in question isn’t a close relative, your success or failure likely would have little impact on their life, so why should they be so concerned about whether you can do it or not? Here are a couple of theories.

Perhaps they’re pushing their own insecurities off on you. They could be too afraid to follow their own dreams, or they don’t want to put forth the effort to try, so when you tell them of your plans it makes them feel inadequate. No one likes feeling inadequate, so these people rationalize their decision not to try by deciding it’s impossible to do. To reinforce this belief, they then attempt to bring down anyone who does dare to try.

Or, maybe they’re mistakenly convinced that your success would mean their failure. Clearly, in some instances like competitive sports, there can only be a certain number of winners. One team wins, the other team loses. This is also true in traditional employment, where the farther up the ladder you get the more privileges there are to be had, but the competition for these positions gets fierce. Some people believe this competition extends beyond that, that life is a zero-sum game, and only a small number of lucky winners get to live out their life’s dream, therefore they try to shoot down others trying to do the same to increase their chances.

Whatever the reason, the farther you get with your big idea, the more likely you’ll be to attract the attention of naysayers. Sometimes they will make you doubt your intentions, abilities, and determination, and you might find yourself wondering if you can really accomplish your dream.

To combat this, find and connect with people who are supportive of your decision and want to see you succeed. The environment we place ourselves in plays a huge role in our lives, and choosing to surround yourself with positive people can make a big difference. If you’re just starting out on your path and don’t have anyone in your immediate circle of friends who qualifies, try making it a priority to find other people who are trying to accomplish the same thing as you, and introduce yourself. This way, you’ll have people to bounce your ideas off of, as well as a built in support network for the times when the naysayers and fatigue start to take their toll.

If you’ve encountered a naysayer before, how did you deal with them? How do you approach bringing up your Big Idea with new people who might react unexpectedly?

Image courtesy of Lata Pita

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At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and travel full-time before retirement, and share stories of my adventures (and misadventures) to inspire future nomads and armchair travelers alike. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.


  1. Anne on December 21, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    So it’s years later, but I so appreciate this post. My dream is not to full-time, but just to do a great deal of truck camping once I retire. The reactions I have gotten range from positive support to fierce opposition to my even buying a camper. I find your writing (and your life) inspiring, Becky. Thank you so much. (P.S. Truck campers are RVs too…)

    • Becky on December 21, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      You’re welcome Anne and I’m glad you found this post helpful and uplifting. It can be so bewildering and upsetting when you reveal your plans to travel and discover those closest to you feel completely differently about it than you do. I wish you the best! When you say truck camper, are you talking about a camper that slides into the bed of a truck, or getting a camper shell put on a truck? Before I bought my Casita I slept in the back of my truck on weekend trips with the big camper shell on it and it was quite fun.

      Take care!

  2. Ann on April 21, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you for writing this great post Becky! It is very helpful and inspiring. I have only mentioned my desire to full-time to a few family members so far and have received only negative unsupportive feedback. I find this very disappointing but I refuse to let it change my mind.

    • Becky on April 21, 2015 at 4:47 pm

      Sorry to hear about the reactions you’ve had Ann, but I’m glad you’ve found this post helpful.

      When no one else in your life supports your dream, it really helps to reach out and find those who will support you. Blogs, forums, and Facebook communities that revolve around full-timing helped me so much when I was getting started. They gave me strength when I felt like I couldn’t do it, and answered so many questions I had about the lifestyle. I hope you find “your people” and always hold out against the naysayers!

  3. Rene on September 5, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    When my husband and I first wanted to start our own business, my parents thought we were crazy. They said things like: you have a young son, how will you be able to afford it, etc. We moved past their negativity a long time ago and we are celebrating our 25th year in business! We are still small, just the two of us, but we have survived. We raised both of our children while being able to be involved in their school activities, sports activities and social activities. We spent summers at the water parks, camping, and other adventures. If we had a regular 8-5 job our kids would have a totally different upbringing. I am so thankful everyday for my life and the I wouldn’t change it for the world!
    Yes, dreams do come true!

    • Becky on September 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

      Good for you Rene, to keep pressing on despite the negative comments. People fear what they don’t understand, and whether your parents were afraid simply on behalf of your son or for deeper reasons, it does feel so good to push through the difficulties and show them that they were wrong. In fact it can make success all the sweeter, because the greater the adversity the stronger the feeling of accomplishment at the end.

      Congrats on 25 years!

  4. Carolyn Patin on January 10, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    I deal with a naysayer by changing the topic.

    I try to find like minded individuals, forums, and blogs to discuss the postitives and negatives of full-timing and Rving in general.

    • Becky on January 10, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      A valid tactic Carolyn, I think I get what you’re saying. That sometimes it’s not worth the effort to argue over it, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you and the other person can’t get along. Just find something else to talk about that you’re both on the same page about. That way you don’t need to get frustrated over trying to make them understand, but you still keep them as an acquaintance. 🙂

      I just love the online RVing community, which is a big part of why I decided to write this blog and join in the fun.

  5. Dennis on January 10, 2012 at 11:13 am

    We are planning of full timing in 3 years and 5 months for 49 months. Our goal is 49 states in 49 months. And we are doing this in a 22 foot fun finder trailer. We have people that say we want have enough money to do it. To that I say if we run out we will stop and work. We will be retired and I think will have enough money. Will there ever be enough who knows till we do it. Then there is the crowd that says 22 feet, you need at least 30 feet if not longer. We moved up from a 16 foot to this 22 foot for our 49 month trip. Our big plus is we really like each other, we enjoy being together, we like sharing our life. Our bottom line is we tell everyone, I do think most people that are negative don’t have the courage to go out and do it. Will it be easy, I am sure we will have days where its hard, I am sure the weather will suck at times and I am sure we will worry about money, and the things we left back home that need taken care of. But we can and will do it.

    Pull out a tape measure and look at the inches you think you will live to, mine is 85. Then look at the inches of your current age, 58, there are not too many inches left to live, and man do we want to live. Remember it’s not the one that dies with the most things that win, it the one that dies with the most memories that wins.

    • Becky on January 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

      Wow that’s quite the goal Dennis. 49 states in 49 months, I love it!

      I’ve discovered that if you ask 10 full-timers what the secret to it is, you’ll get 12 answers. There is no right or wrong way to do it, just the way that works best for you. 🙂 I’ve looked inside a Fun Finder before when I was researching different trailers, they seemed really nice. If the two of you are comfortable enough living in a 22 footer, then more power to you for not having to spend the money on something larger.

      You really seem to have the right of it. I know that I will have bad days too, and things won’t always go as planned. But to get past that I tell myself that I am strong and capable of meeting the challenges.

      Keep us updated on your progress. I’m for experiences over possessions any day. 🙂

  6. Danny H on January 10, 2012 at 10:59 am

    I’m really lucky that next door there is a couple who full timed for 8 years and are now snow birds. When we told them of our plans to full time they were so excited, it was great. Many of our friends know we do wacky things and will probably do this, but just don’t get it. Having someone around that really gets what and why your doing it helps. Besides that, the neighbors have a ton of information and great stories of their experience.

    • Becky on January 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm

      Oh, I do love a good story, and most of what I’ve accomplished so far would have been impossible without the wonderful online RVer community, such helpful folks.

      Good luck on your own progress to full-timing and be sure to keep me updated as you go. 🙂

  7. george on January 10, 2012 at 8:44 am

    First of all, let me say I am enjoying following your blog. These kinds of “true life stories” are always fun to ready about. I look forward to hearing your adventures with the Casita !

    Regarding how to deal with the naysayers, my response to them has always been that I’m a grownup and I fully understand that “I am the one who will be responsible for the consequences of what I am about to undertake”. That generally shuts them up, because they know I will not be coming to them asking for a place to stay, or money if my venture fails.

    If they choose to see me pursuing my dreams as a waste, that’s their problem, not mine. Some people have less imagination than others.

    Good luck with the whole project….and keep it FUN !

    • Becky on January 10, 2012 at 8:41 pm

      Thank you for commenting George, and welcome to the community. 🙂 I certainly am aiming for fun, what’s the point otherwise?

      Taking responsibility for your actions is key and something I wrote about in a previous post. I think everyone who want to do something big and unusual needs to accept the fact that ultimately they are responsible for themselves.

      I’m so looking forward to the day I get my Casita. It’s coming this year, if I have anything to say about it.

  8. Misty on January 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Another point to add… The more effort you are putting into the thing you plan to do, the more likely you will be to run into people like this. People /like/ to hear about lofty “someday” dreams that are outrageous. It’s fun, so long as the person clearly isn’t going to follow through on it.

    But if you’re actually doing it? That’s when people start picking at you.

    For example, my dad responded really well when I told him that I was writing a novel. I’m a couple of weeks shy of being finished with the first round of edits, and I had to put it aside to work my “day job.” I was kind of complaining a bit about my day job, because it’s a bit stressful, and he said, “Well, I guess you’d better figure out what you’re going to be when you grow up.”

    When I said, “Yeah, I’m going to be a writer, haven’t you noticed I’m writing a novel?” he rolled his eyes and walked off.

    That one little action really threw me for a loop. Self-doubt set in, and I started wondering if it really was worth all that effort…

    So I sat down and reminded myself of how many people (even people I don’t know!) who read the excerpt and loved it. I had some people asking me when it was going to be published so they could buy it! Besides, I don’t deserve any congratulations for /almost/ writing a novel. But people will be jumping to take credit once it’s actually out there. ;p

    Maybe I won’t sell very many copies. Maybe I will. But I’m not going to let the possibility of failure deter me from getting it out there, no matter who rolls their eyes at me while I do it. 😛

    • Becky on January 9, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Yeah that’s what I was getting at with the ‘the farther you get with your big idea, the more likely you’ll be to attract the attention of naysayers’ thing. At least you know your on the right path though when you start attracting that kind of attention. 😛

      I’m sorry your dad didn’t understand, but there is no doubt in my mind that you’ll pull it off. 🙂 I’ve always loved the sci-fi and fantasy genres and I was one of those people who loved the excerpt, so you can count me among your future customers!