A Helping Hand

The pursuit of happiness. It sounds so easy to achieve on paper, but is harder to realize in the real world. I spend a lot of time on this blog talking about choosing to live your dreams. Not in some distant future, but right now. But there are other things that are important to the happiness equation. Before I’ve discussed choosing a positive, glass-half-full attitude and living your values as keys to living a good life, but there is another important piece to the puzzle: helping others.

When you think about the happiest you could be, this probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. You think about winning the lottery and being able to spend the rest of your life doing whatever you want, whenever you want. If that were the case everyone who wins big at Powerball (or who retires in good health with an adequate pension) would be at the pinnacle of happiness, but it just isn’t so.

It would be nice for a while, like vacations are. But just like when you’re setting goals and you finally reach one, eventually that little niggling voice shows up, the one that whispers: “Okay, what’s next?”

Many people who could comfortably retire end up working at least part of the time and/or take up a hobby that keeps them occupied because as it turns out happiness isn’t just about getting everything you want, it’s about fulfillment as well. We don’t just want to sit on a beach all day every day drinking pina coladas, we want to feel useful, to do something, to make a difference.

Have you ever done volunteer work? Helped someone out in need? It was a pretty good feeling, wasn’t it. And that’s why you should make helping others a part of your ideal life.

Maybe you don’t have the time to do volunteer work or the extra money to donate to charities right now, that’s okay. It doesn’t have to be anything as formal as that. But for sure there is something you can do that someone else would benefit from, and it doesn’t have to be a huge investment.

If you’re stuck on how to start, try doing one nice thing for someone else every day. Maybe it’s as simple as holding the door open for someone, or letting someone who looks hurried and frazzled ahead of you at the grocery story check out. Just try it, and see how your world gets a little bit brighter.

For even better results, try finding a way to turn a hobby or something you really like doing into something that helps others. That way you get the satisfaction of doing something you love, but also the gratification of knowing that it helped someone else as well.


Which brings me to a very important point. I love writing about my journey to full-timing, and my intention is to do it in a way that helps others who are thinking about taking the plunge and trying the RV lifestyle out.

The thing is, while I can guess that the posts that get the most comments are the topics you all are most interested in, there is a lot of guess work on my part. In fact, I’m not even sure how many of you are RV hopefuls and how many of you are already RVing (or have in the past) and have joined the community for some other reason.

I want to make Interstellar Orchard a useful resource for you guys, so I have two questions below. If you can spare a bit of time to answer them in the comments, it would be most appreciated.  If you want a more private venue, I can be reached at becky @ interstellarorchard [dot] com.

  1. Why did you start reading Interstellar Orchard?
  2. What’s the one thing you wish I would write more about?

 Thanks in advance, and have a great weekend!

 Image courtesy of GrowWear

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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. Michael Steele on December 13, 2016 at 3:45 am

    I started reading your blog because I was impressed with the intelligence and outgoing personality you (the self-proclaimed introvert lol) displayed while being interviewed on Technomadia’s YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UojOOPyRS84

    I continue to read your blog because your blog is incredible!

    What would I like to see? Everything 😀 But the biggest thing that has held me back this time around is my littles: A small dog and a cat. (It was two cats, but one seems to have found a new home.) I was a full-time RVer for about 12 years, first in a 31′ Airstream, then a 28′ SOB–a Starcraft–which was not an improvement at all, in my eyes, but it made my then-wife happy. Circumstances conspired in such a way that I gave up the RV, and then lost what I gave it up for: A cabin on a river (there was a girl in this story lol). So now, I have no RV, and living without one takes too much of my income to save for one in a timeframe I’m willing to accept. Soooo…I’m seriously considering taking a dive into automobile living for a while so I can save money to build the RV of my dreams. (I have a Chevy Tahoe, and a Honda Wagovan; either would work as a small home for me.)

    I don’t think you have pets, but in your travels, have you learned any reasonable way to accommodate littles when you’re at work, particularly in places where the law and social pressures prohibit leaving them in the vehicle? I realize I can keep the vehicle cool–that’s going to be one of the first mods I make to my vehicles when I live in them–but removing the risk of cooking or freezing your critters doesn’t stop the hyper-vigilant helpful people from doing things like breaking windows or calling the police to “save” your “endangered” pets.

    Well, that’s what’s on the top of my mind this month, especially as I plan drastic action to enable me to follow my dream of writing for a living. But if that’s not a good topic for you–and I doubt that it is–what about writing software? I use Scrivener ( http://literatureandlatte.com/ ), currently on the Mac–I’m planning to take either a Mac mini or an old iMac into the car with me, as both would use less power than my Mac Pro–and Scrivener also has a version for the iPhone, which synchronizes via DropBox. I have a Bluetooth keyboard, which would sort of allow me to type on my iPhone (I use the dvorak keyboard layout, which isn’t directly available on the iPhone, though I’ve heard there’s an app for that), and using Scrivener on my phone might make a full computer unnecessary. (Once I build my RV, I’ll have several computers on board…but I’m talking too much!) One of the pictures you posted here leads me to believe you use a word processor; have you checked out software such as Scrivener and Ulysses?

    Another topic I wouldn’t mind hearing about is spirituality. I take mine very seriously, yet I find that most Americans don’t, so I’ve developed my own path, which is similar in many ways to Buddhism with a Neo-Pagan flavor. I’m not a “polytheist” nor a ritualist, and I hope Islam doesn’t take over the world, because they seem to be even more…shhh I’m talking too much again!

    Your turn! 🙂

  2. Mike Goad on April 15, 2014 at 10:20 am

    The reason I landed on your blog was that I was looking for RV related blogs, particularly those that had value that could be shared. Interstellar Orchard certainly fits that. My Haw Creek blog is oriented toward RV research and places we’ve visited. I’m starting to add links to other valuable web pages and blog posts. You have some very good information here worth sharing and I’ve linked to several of your posts.

    I don’t have anything to suggest for you to write about other than to keep writing. I’m reading your blog from the beginning so haven’t got to the part where you actually hit the road. 😉

    As a parent of two daughters, I think you are approaching all of this in a responsible and logical manner. Our youngest daughter put us through a lot one year when she told us she would be traveling through the Middle East and Europe, starting in Oman — this was after the first Persian Gulf war. But it turned out fine in the end. She’s the daughter who lives in Wisconsin.
    Mike Goad recently posted..Big Dam…My Profile

    • Becky on April 15, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      You’re getting to the part where I hit the road Mike, few more months. 😉

      Glad you’ve enjoyed it so far! My parents still aren’t happy about my decision to travel, but they’ve more or less gotten use to it.

  3. Dave on July 2, 2012 at 10:13 am

    Hi Becky,

    I started reading your blog because I have a small travel trailer also and wanted to hear how others were using theirs. Seeing as you are younger than the typical full-time RVer, I figure you will have a different perspective than most, so that’s interesting. Also, we hope to be fulltimers ourselves some day.

    I look forward to reading about your travels when you are able to get on the road.

    Happy trails!

    • Becky on July 2, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks Dave. There’s definitely more on the way, right now I’m debating on if I should try to hit South Dakota to establish residency there before veering back down to Kansas to work at Amazon (assuming I get the job, I’m going to be talking on the phone with someone about it tomorrow!) Save travels and happy trails to you too.

  4. Carolyn on July 1, 2012 at 10:46 pm


    1.Why did you start reading Interstellar Orchard? To read about your real-life experiences relating to RVing.

    2.What’s the one thing you wish I would write more about? Actually experiences(good or bad), which you are doing.

    • Becky on July 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks Carolyn. 🙂

  5. Marcia on June 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Hi Becky-
    I started reading your blog because we are Casita owners and I love Casita-specific blogs. We camp in our Casita about 2 months of the year and have camped cross-country a few times with it. We hope to do some longer trips in a year or two. Your writing is very good and I’ve enjoyed everything so far. It’s always helpful to hear about the process as well as the places visited.

    • Becky on July 2, 2012 at 5:10 pm

      You’re welcome Marcia. I can’t wait to hit the road and actual travel in my Casita, it tows so well behind the Dakota and I like the fact that it’s narrower – no special mirrors required and makes it easier to get into places. Everyone I talk to at the campground I’m in now comments on how cute it is. For sure when I actually get on the road there will be more posts about that.

  6. Mark Sundstrom on June 30, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Hi Becky,

    I found your blog because I was looking for Casita-related blogs, having just bought mine new last September. I’m not a full-timer nor do I anticipate being one. I follow your blog (1) because you’re a good writer and (2) because some of your topics parallel my interests since we are both first-time owners of an RV, specifically the Casita. I also like to travel and to read about other people’s journeys. So I have no particular topics to suggest (sorry!), other than to say you should write about what interests you the most and you’ll likely have some readers following along.

    And it’s hard to predict where you’l be with this (both the blogging and the full-time RVing) 1, 2 or more years from now – as you go along, certain topics or ideas will suggest themselves to you, and your loyal readers will give you suggestions and critiques about what works and what doesn’t.

    Best wishes —

    • Becky on July 2, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks Mark. I hope your Casita is treating you well, I gotta say I’ve been very pleased with my purchase and have had no regrets. I’m glad I took months figuring out exactly what I wanted before I dropped the money, had I gone with early plans I’d have a longer stick built travel trailer now that would be much harder to tow and likely have more problems.

      I was just looking for a little clearer direction, guess the direction I’m going with IO now works for people. 😛

  7. Kathy on June 30, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Becky, I started reading your blog because you had not yet tarted the RV lifestyle and I continue reading because you are so frank and detailed about your adventure. I find the whole process interesting, especially as you face and solve challenges. Many RVers work at least part-time and I’ll be interested in reading how you continue to fund your dream. I hope to become and RVer in a few years when my husband retires. In the meantime, I enjoy living vicariously through your blog :). Thanks for writing and sharing!

    • Becky on July 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Thank you for following! You can expect posts about riveting and filling a propane tank in the future, since those are definitely things I’ll need to take care of before I head off this fall. 😛 Besides Amazon I think it’ll be easiest to get seasonal work in the summer when all the parks and tourist attractions are open. The benefit of working these kind of jobs is it puts me in some very beautiful places that I’ll get to explore in my off time.

      I bet you’re looking forward to the next couple years then, best of luck on your own RVing plans!

  8. Sam on June 30, 2012 at 4:19 am

    Hi Becky… I came across you and your website through comments/questions regarding full timing that you posted on a large RVing forum, of which I am a member. IIRC, it was around the November time frame of last year. And, being a working full timer myself, I lent my opinions to those threads.

    I have 3 kids, two of which are perhaps 3 to 5 years older and one about 5 years younger than you. The older ones have finished college, are engaged in careers, have added children to the family and enjoy RVing. The youngest, after serving a church mission, is back in college poking life with a stick to see if it moves. 🙂 Close contact with them helps keep me young(er) and at the same time, hopefully gives them counsel as they go where I’ve gone before. Given enough time, I have no doubts that they will exceed the parameters of my knowledge and journey through life.

    You’ve been blogging long enough to begin wondering what others want to hear. When in fact, your readership has been based on what you’ve had to say. I would encourage you to stay the course with your story and style. Many will live vicariously through your blog. Some, in their quest for the full time lifestyle, will garnish the golden nuggets which you leave behind. Some will never return due to lack of interest. But, there’s an old axiom relative to closing a sale: Some will, some won’t,,, so what! NEXT!! Some day in the not too distant future, you’ll probably derive a nice monthly stipend from Google AdSense. 🙂 George, of Tioga and George, does pretty well. Why shouldn’t you? Meanwhile, I’ll pop in from time to time to check in on your journey and get your perspective. As I mentioned, it keeps me young. Take care and travel safe.

    • Becky on July 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      I thank you for the ongoing advice Sam, your kids are fortunate to have you still active in their lives.

      One of the big reasons I posted this is because I know I have many readers who never comment, and I want to make sure I’m helping them as well. I can’t see myself putting ads up on the site, it’s like I’m endorsing the products that end up being advertised when really they might not be any good. Not that I have anything against people who do, it’s just not for me. Eventually I’d like to write an ebook, and that’s another reason why I posted this, it helps me to figure out what to write it about.

  9. Tina on June 30, 2012 at 2:24 am

    I started reading your blog from a comment over at To Simplify. I’m hoping in the next few years to hit the road as a full or part time Rver. Need to first sort through things in the house, pay off some bills and then hit the road. Not sure I would get a Casita but do think a small trailer would be best with a truck or van.

    So I’m following your process and am enjoying reading about the steps you have taken to get where you are now. I will most likely be going this alone as a single female in my mid forties. So am interested in pretty much everything and seeing once you hit the road what kind of jobs you will be working. Very interested in how the Amazon work will go.

    Really great info here, keep up the great work!

    • Becky on July 2, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks for responding Tina. The reason why I decided on a travel trailer + tow vehicle is because of my work situation. If I had a truly location independent job I’d probably have stuck with a class B or the smallest class C I could find and only had to worry about one vehicle. Taking seasonal jobs which will require driving back and forth from work made TT + TV much more practical, this way I’m not driving my whole house to and from work which would cost that much more in gas.

      It made the transition easier too though, I was able to buy the tow vehicle months before the RV and still drive back and forth to my regular job, I didn’t have to drop the money for everything at once.

      I’ll of course keep you all updated on how Amazon pans out, I’ll be on the phone with someone from the Coffeyville site on Tuesday. Good luck on getting the house sorted out and getting on the road! If you ever have any specific questions just ask me. 🙂

  10. Misty on June 30, 2012 at 1:15 am

    I just like hearing what you’re up to lately. It’s kind of nice knowing you aren’t the only one out here in crazy land when you pull into a campground and the owners are all, “Where’s your husband?!” and you’re all, “Nope, just me,” and they’re all, “What…? But…but…but…YOU WILL BE MURDERED!” and then you just smile and go, “Hasn’t happened yet.”

    Okay, maybe it’s not that exact conversation. But they clearly are thinking it. 🙂

    Ahem. Anyhow. Yes, I like what you’ve done so far. Except do a post on getting rotten meat smell out of a fridge.

    Don’t ask me why I need to know how to do that. 🙁
    Misty recently posted..Internet Hooray!My Profile

    • Becky on June 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm

      I met this lady at Hunting island one weekend that Julie and I went out there, she was traveling solo in the cutest little red and white T@B teardrop trailer. I overheard her talking with her neighbor and they were asking if she was afraid of getting into trouble without having a significant other along and she said common sense was her best weapon, it stuck with me.

      My fridge was by far the grossest part of the trailer when I picked it up. I had stored it without proping the door open so it could ventilate before we moved in and it had an unpleasant odor about it. Bleach seemed to do the trick, it still doesn’t look very nice inside and no amount of scrubbing will fix that but I know it’s clean now.

      If you’re having trouble with some foods spoiling when other things inside the fridge seem to be at a good temperature you could look into getting a fridge fan. Turns out circulation inside a RV fridge is usually pretty poor and some parts will be colder than others, a fan helps keep it all at a more uniform temp. One of these came with my trailer, http://www.campingworld.com/shopping/item/fridgecool-fan-with-onoff-switch/38134 although it didn’t work. We just put our meat right in front of the cooling element, seems to work.

  11. Lynn on June 29, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    I have been reading all the RVing blogs and have read your’s from start to finish (just recently). For myself, I won’t be going full-time because I like my house too much. I read because I want an RV for part-time travel and am trying to learn about all the different RV’s and the issues that crop up along the way. I only read those written by women because I will be traveling on my own and I like to read about how woman cope. I tend to like the topics that relate to finances, personal experiences and troubles faced and overcome. There is a lot to learn and anything that enlightens me and gives me more food for thought is very useful.
    Lynn recently posted..A Slow Boat To BaliMy Profile

    • Becky on June 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm

      Thank you very much for responding Lynn! I’ll keep that in mind for future posts.

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