By other side, they mean what what it feels like to be full-timing. Is it as wonderful as they all imagine it to be, is the grass really as green as everyone says.
I think the full-timing dream looks a little different for everyone, but what I think about, and what I think a lot of others do too when they imagine the full-timing lifestyle, is something like this: a campsite right on the beach with an endless blue sky overhead, lawn chair on the sand typing up the latest blog post with a fruity umbrella drink in one hand while listening to the occasional seagull call and the sound of surf coming ashore while working on a killer tan (although I personally wouldn’t subject my laptop to the havoc that sand can wreck, nor trust myself not to spill my fruity umbrella drink all over it).
Or maybe they picture a beautiful little state park campground nestled in the mountains and early morning hikes with like minded folks through a pristine and dewy forest up to a scenic overlook to watch a glorious sunrise unfold over an awe inspiring vista. Or perhaps a secluded boondocking spot in the southwest without another soul in sight taking candid photographs of the wildlife and plants and wiling away the day with the whole of the desert as their playground.
I follow the blogs of RVers who have had and written about experiences very similar to these and they closely mirror what I aim to do as a full-timer*, but the question of what “the Other Side” is like kind of takes me aback, because I’m not there yet.
Oh, I’ve touched this magic a couple times since I hit the road. Standing on top of that hill at Big Sioux Recreation Area in South Dakota and seeing the panoramic view of the town and surrounding countryside laid out before me on a Thursday afternoon, knowing that in my old life I would have been hard at work at that moment. Sitting on my chair reading my Kindle on a sandbar in the middle of the crystal blue stream of Roaring River State Park in Missouri, my biggest concern at the time whether the dramatic clouds overhead were going to open up before I finished the chapter.
I’ve experienced enough to know that full-timing is indeed what I want, despite the challenges I am currently facing.
For a while after I hit the road, when it became clear that I wasn’t going to be able to make enough at Amazon to take the rest of the winter off, and when I sat in Julie’s living room sending in my 32nd job application with nary a response, I lost sight the big picture. It takes time and patience and persistence to make great things happen.
We have a tendency to compare how we stack up with others. If you look at where I am with full-timing and compare it to any of the previously mentioned bloggers and it might appear that I’ve failed. Where’s my site on the beach, endless afternoons spent hiking, or majestic photos of exotic locales. But no, I haven’t failed. I just have yet to arrive. Instead of comparing your progress to others’, compare it to your own.
I bought my truck and RV without going into debt. While the occasional issue might pop up, they’re in good working order. In less than six months I have traveled well over a thousand miles in Cas and spent at least one night in seven different states. I stayed at three beautiful parks during that time where I got to do some honest to gosh sight-seeing. I got to spend over three weeks around the holidays with family and friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in years.
Compare that to where I was a year ago, and I have made some amazing progress. I challenge you to look at your own progress in that way, no matter where you might be along the path to fulfilling your dreams. When you do, you’ll feel a lot better about where you’ve been and where you’re heading.
I cannot give a full and accurate account of what full-timing is like, because I am still in the process of getting there myself. I have some things figured out, there are others I’m still working on. In fact, I kind of doubt there is an end point. Life is not a destination but a journey, and I have a feeling as long as I’m riding the rails of full-timing I’ll constantly be tweaking my approach to it. But I have caught glimpses of the possibilities, and ladies and gentlemen, the future looks bright.
* And now, having written these three descriptions of what my full-timing dream looks like in vivid detail, I’ve totally added having these experiences to my Dream List – sans the hazardous combo of laptop and fruity umbrella drink.
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Speaking of things I am still working on, earning a living on the road is the biggest one right now as I’m sure all my regular readers have gathered. I have received lots of support and encouragement via comments and e-mails the past couple months as I went through the process of landing my current seasonal job with Lowe’s. Now that I have at least some money coming in, I can look ahead to this summer and am currently hard at work filling out applications for summer jobs that will hopefully earn me a living wage.
I thank all of you for your kind words, I have even gotten suggestions on how to earn money using IO. The thought of using Adsense or other advertisements has always made me cringe, because I would have no control over the stuff being displayed and I’d hate to inadvertently lead readers into buying junk or onto malicious web pages. Another suggestion was putting up a donation link, a kind of tip jar, but my pride won’t let me accept something for nothing.
But what I do feel okay with doing is this. Amazon has a referral program whereby when people purchase something after clicking through a link on my site, I make a little bit of money. It wouldn’t cost the user any more money than normal, and I get to decide exactly what gets displayed.
I set up an account with them yesterday. If anyone would like to help out, you can Shop Amazon using that link. I’m not looking to get people to spend money they wouldn’t have otherwise, but if you’ve been thinking about buying something there anyway, there is no added risk or cost. When time permits I will probably create a separate page for specific products I have personally used and can attest to the value and usefulness of when it comes to RVing.
Have a great weekend all!
Image courtesy of Grand Canyon NPS