At the Intersection of Planning and Action

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 โ€“ 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

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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. Becky on November 4, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks Hazel and I’m so glad to hear that this helped you. ๐Ÿ™‚ If you every have more specific questions about RVing please do e-mail me, I don’t bite and I do answer every e-mail that comes in.

    I’ll let you in on a little secret, we don’t know it all. But what we have learned is how to handle the fear of something going wrong. Basically, you accept that it will at some point, and you deal with it as it arises.

    Some of us do a lot more planning than others, I know several RVers who hardly plan at all and take each day as it comes. There are as many ways to go RVing as there are people on the road doing it, and I’d take that as huge encouragement because it means this greatly diverse group of people have all made it work for them, why can’t you as well?

    Best of luck getting WREN back in working order! I know I panicked that day last summer in South Carolina when my A/C and all other electronics gave out simultaneously on a hot and sunny day. Your positive attitude will help you a lot in getting through the challenges, hold on to it!

    • Hazel on November 4, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      Thanks, Becky. I’m grateful for your encouragement. “Feel the fear and do it anyway”.

      I’d rather have adventures with good times and bad than sit home safe and sound wondering what I was missing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Becky on November 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm

        Exactly! I’d hate to be one of those people who looks back at their life on their death bed and says “I wish I had…”

  2. Hazel on November 2, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    Becky, you definitely hit the mark! Your words will be my constant inspiration: “donโ€™t let the intimidation factor keep you from doing what you love. You are stronger than you think. Lean into the challenge, and youโ€™ll be surprised by what you see, learn and do.”

    Your observation of the plans/action cycle is brilliant. I’m a planner, a detail person, and could easily (and happily!) get bogged down in the planning part and never actually GO. “The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. ~ Lao-tzu”

    It’s true though that once I do take that first step of action, it usually goes smoothly because of my detailed planning and preparation.

    What makes me lose confidence is that every other RVer I’ve met seems to know it all. They have their itinerary planned out to the night, all their reservations made, where to go when, how to do and fix everything, and so on. Really?!

    Ah well, as long as we show up and do our best every day, right?

    (Note: Our plans were to leave in 13 days but suddenly WREN has serious electrical problems. The battery is dead, the converter too, and the microwave is pooched. Mega hassle and expense! Sigh…part of the adventure, eh?! ;-))

    Looking forward to your next plan, or rather, action. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Fireman Steve on November 2, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Hi Becky,
    Your story is a good read. It should be a primer for all potential full timers….
    Good luck in your travels and adventures…

    • Becky on November 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks Steve. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Kenny on November 2, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Becky just found your blog. We are living fulltime in our 5th wheel here in Kansas City and have till Sept. before I can retire.

    We plan to head to Amazon and work next season and then spend the winter some place warm.

    We will be following your post about your time at Amazon..Good Luck
    Kenny recently posted..Wednesday FunnyMy Profile

    • Becky on November 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Hello Kenny and welcome to IO. ๐Ÿ™‚

      I was in Kansas City two weeks ago, well okay on the outskirts of it. So far I’m enjoying Amazon and think it’s a good place to work camp. The pay is quite decent, especially when you consider that your rent is paid for.

      And yeah, after December here in Kansas I think I’ll be ready to head south after this. Well, after this and after visiting my family in Wisconsin for Christmas. Still gotta figure out how I’m going to swing that one.

      Anyway, I’m glad you’re finding my CamperForce posts helpful, thanks for joining along. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. cozygirl on November 2, 2012 at 9:18 am

    Oh Becky, your words always make it seem so much easier…I’m trying to find that perfect balance and need to step back and realize with all the planning we never can make sure of every detail! I look forward to day we hit the road and can look ahead and not behind us! Hard to believe how close the holidays are, Amazon will be closing up shop, and your next adventure. Can’t wait to read what’s next :O)
    cozygirl recently posted..This Past Weekend’s Collection as Hurricane Sandy Narrows In!My Profile

    • Becky on November 2, 2012 at 4:28 pm

      Heya cozy!

      Sometimes I think we make things out to be more difficult that they need to be, and RVing is no exception. Sometimes I would ‘invent’ things to do that didn’t really need to be done, or that didn’t need to have so much time spent on them.

      Like agonizing over the size of the tanks in the Casita. Early on I was determined that any rig that was good for full-timing needed to have larger gray and black water tanks, larger than Casitas have. I was so worried that buying a rig with small tanks was going to cause me no end of trouble once I was on the road. Haha, not so much.

      Getting my domicile set up was the same way. I wouldn’t have needed to do it all right when I started traveling, although I’ll admit that it is nice having it all done now.

      There is in fact a lot of flexibility when it comes to RVing. Take a small break away from all the planning to relax. Then when you’ve got a clear mind come back to the problem and ask yourself: Is this something I absolutely need to get done now? How can I make this easier for myself so I can move on?

      It helped me on occasion to do this, maybe it’ll help you too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Kim on November 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    Excellent post! I think the balance between planning one’s life and living it is one of humankind’s most intriguing conflicts. You’ve explored this theme brilliantly (sorry, don’t mean to sound like your English teacher!).

    What I love about your blog is that the writing is so soulful and reflective. Can’t wait to hear what your next “plan” is!

    • Becky on November 2, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      Thanks Kim, I spent a lot of time writing this one so I’m glad I hit the mark with it. And don’t worry, I like hearing what my articles make people think about.

      As for the plan, well, it’s coming. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  7. MARVIN on November 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm


    Becky ,

    Your Nov 1st blog entry should be required reading for all serious RV’ers . The methodical planning and attention to small details is what gives you the ability to be flexible in your day-to-day encounters .
    The ability to look into the future in realistic terms , but still make each day on the calendar an event with something worth remembering , is something most fail to do .

    Be Safe


    • Becky on November 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Marvin. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Planning is what got me here, but I didn’t start out a planner. It’s something I learned to do when I first decided to go RVing out of necessity. Otherwise as I said, nothing would have gotten done.

      Maybe that’s an important point I should bring up too, just because a person isn’t a natural planner doesn’t mean they can’t be a full-timer, as long as they have the willingness to work at it and learn.

      It all comes back to that, as long as you’re willing to try and learn from your mistakes, you can do about anything.

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