There is a fine line that exists, in the balancing act between planning and action. Without planning, you’re liable to make more mistakes in an endeavor, or much worse, never nail down what you’re trying to do and wander aimlessly. But all the planning in the world amounts to nothing if you never act on it. Some activities work best with a lot of planning, and some would be suffocated by it. Going full-timing required a combination of the two that evolved over time.
That first day on the road after Indian Springs was, I won’t kid you, scary. The kind of scary where you bluff and stand up straight, hold your head high, and tell everyone that you’re doing just fine with a big smile while inside you’re praying you aren’t about to make a huge mistake.
To get to Sioux Falls to set up residency and eventually Coffeyville to work was the plan, but the details were very hazy. Up until this point, the journey to full-timing had involved a lot of planning interspersed with brief periods of spastic action.
First it was mapping out my finances, how much would I need to go RVing? And researching how much I needed to buy it in the first place….and everything that would go in it. Then taking a look at all the RVs I could, puzzling through what would work best for my situation, and getting intel from people on the internet over what brands had staying power.
After I had that down, more planning. There was a huge list of things to do: deciding what I needed in a tow vehicle first off (and the hitch and brake controller), then downsizing, taking an initial look into insurance, domicile, and other logistics – I wouldn’t solidify this stuff until I was nearly ready to leave, but I needed to have some idea now so I could make a better list for what needed to happen later, and an idea of how long it’d take. Methodically going through all my stuff at the apartment and puzzling over what I’d need and what I wouldn’t.
Then after months of planning, the first real day of action came, Wham! I was on my way to Charleston to look at (and buy) Bertha. Ohmygod, this just got real, guys. She was a great tow vehicle for a Casita, and I knew that because I done my research and a lot of planning to make sure I got something that would work well. But it was this decisive moment of action that gave me the encouragement I needed to push forward. At this point in the journey to full-timing, it was a perfect combination of the two.
At the end of February, I found the Craigslist ad for Cas. He was perfect! Or was he? There was still more planning to do. Finding a list of stuff to look at in a used RV, arranging with the owner to come down and inspect him. Figuring out where I’d store the RV until I was living in it. I asked a lot of good questions from the owner, and when I made the second big move and bought Cas home during a three day break from work all went well. He was registered, titled, and plated within three days. Again, I had pulled off the flurry of action, all due to good planning.
By now, you should be seeing a pattern here. After those few busy days of getting the RV purchase stuff taken care of, there was some more…yep you guessed it, planning. Looking at finances once again, and arranging with the apartment to break lease early. Calling RV parks in the area for prices and availability. Making a list and methodically purchasing what I’d absolutely need to live in Cas, and nothing more.
And action! Suddenly the big pile of belongings in the apartment were sorted into three smaller piles: To get rid of, To move into Cas, and to hold in storage. In a week of furious activity Cas moved from a storage lot to a RV lot, all the worldly possessions Julie and I owned were moved to their designated area, the internet was canceled at the apartment, and we turned in our keys and sent off our address change forums to the post office.
You get the point. After this was another period of planning to get on the road: RV maintenance to catch up on, looking at various working opportunities on the road and contacting Amazon, arranging to leave Best Buy, and hatching a plan to get my domicile stuff all taken care of before arriving in Coffeyville to work. And then the pendulum swung the other way, I was putting my stabilizer jacks up, getting the last of my stuff from Julie’s apartment moved into the RV, and saying goodbye to friends in Bluffton.
Before I knew it, there I was, driving up the road after Indian Springs. I had done it! I was a true full-time traveler now, mission accomplished. But it was different this time, What to do next? I had a tentative idea to stay at Land Between the Lakes, on the boarder of Kentucky and Tennessee that night, but no other solid plan than make it to Sioux Falls and then Coffeyville by the 28th.
I thrived on plans, they are what got me to where I am now. But as it turns out the actual act of full-time RVing doesn’t lend itself to solid plans very well. What if I made better or worse time than expected? What if something came up that needed attending too, what if I passed by something unexpected and fun that I really wanted to go see?
The rules had changed, and it was different way of operating for me. I rushed to Sioux Falls as fast as I could, just in case. And then a great thing happened. I made it there in one piece, without a great plan. The minor problems I had encountered along the way were dealt with one at a time. Because I had done all the planning earlier, I had an idea of what to expect on the road, and I was able to adapt to situations as they came up.
It boosted my confidence, and things got easier after that. After getting residency taken care of, I got more comfortable with deciding from day to day where I was going next, based on what I felt like doing. When I arrived at a new park I looked it over before deciding how many nights to stay. I spent a night in Springfield on a whim, just so that I could spend more time at the library there.
I guess the moral of the story is, sometimes plans are great things. And sometimes, you just need to take stuff as it happens. If your goal is to go RVing, you’ll probably find yourself doing more of the former early on, and more of the later once you’re on the road. Don’t be intimidated by it, or maybe I should say, don’t let the intimidation factor keep you from doing what you love. You are stronger than you think. Lean into the challenge, and you’ll be surprised by what you see, learn and do.
* * *
As for myself, ideas that were stirring during the drive home from Kansas City two weeks ago are now taking shape, and I’m going to be a very busy bee this month! I’m not ready to release the details yet, but expect to hear more as the month progresses.
Image courtesy of Sterlic