Enjoying Slow Travel

enjoying-slow-travelI get to hear a lot about people’s travel plans while working at the Lodge. Travelers visiting from all over the country, and even several from overseas. Some have RVs like me and are on vacation or retired. Some are road tripping in a vehicle and get nightly accommodations. While I’m waiting for their credit card receipt to print out or while I’m stowing souvenirs carefully into bags I often ask how their trip is going.

The vast majority say they’re having a great time, and really enjoying themselves. Usually they’ll also comment about when their trip started or is ending, or places they’ve been or are heading next. Those who are near the beginning of their trip are excited about the places they’re going to visit. Those near the end often comment a bit sadly about how it’s “back to the real world soon” or something of a sort.

Occasionally when I hear about people’s plans to visit Yellowstone or Glacier or other places commonly visited on the typical Great-American-Trip-Out-West I get a little sad that I won’t be seeing those things this summer, they’re far enough away from the Badlands to make a weekend excursion there impractical.

But when I hear the ‘back to reality’ thing, it puts it all into perspective. For those of us full-timing, this is reality, how amazing is that. Through funding my travels by working I stay in one place long enough to fully experience it and learn about all the little secret nooks and crannies, but I don’t stay so long that it becomes ordinary and expected. I’ve been to to the top of peaks in the Badlands that folks just visiting would never have time to discover a way up. I’ve had the time to see all of the diverse wildlife here, and not just had to cross my fingers that the bison, bighorn sheep, pronghorns, prairie dogs, and mule deer would be all be out when I made my one pass through the loop (it never happens) like most folks get to do.

It’s so easy for new full-timers to get stuck in vacation mode and try and rush and see it all their first year. I’ve had people in the gift shop who were almost done with their vacation, and they were so worn out and exhausted from it that they clearly weren’t enjoying themselves and were ready for it to be over.

Part of reinventing what the ‘real world’ means to you as a full-time RVer is getting off that hamster wheel that society teaches us is what life as an adult is all about. Slow down, stop worrying so much about what comes next and enjoy where you are right now. There is no deadline now for seeing it all. Go at a pace that works for you instead of one dictated by a time-off request and experience it as a local would instead of as a tourist.

Full-timing’s a pretty sweet deal, even if you have to keep working to make it possible.

* * *

Today’s photo was taken right from my counter at the Lodge of another amazing Badlands sunset a week or so ago. Life is good.

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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. kristine on July 14, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Hola, just wanted to say hello. The pups and are are 3.5 months living in rv and loving it. Im waiting tables in Massachusetts untill Amazon start in Kentucky. I was just reviewing your campforce review and money made etc…,,, thank you for all the good info. I plan on it being a money making time also maybe a little fun to…..mostly saving $$$$.

    Cant imagine not living in rv and being mobile ever……florida for winter, looking into key west .
    Talk soon, kristine.

    • Becky on July 17, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Glad to hear things are still going well Kristine! Amazon definitely is a good place to save up some money, long as you’re being careful about how much you’re spending. 🙂

      I’m going to hit the Keys in Florida at some point, one thing I’ve learned from the bit of research I’ve done: make campground reservations early! There is no legal place to dry camp out there and the sites go quickly.

      Take care!

      • k&p Catalano on July 18, 2013 at 1:34 am

        Hi Becky and Kristine,
        Until we launch our own RV full-timing adventure I’ll continue to live vicariously through you all.

        Thoughts on Key West…my brother went to pursue his dream of living and working there. He is a musician and had a bit of success but ultimately the high cost of living made it impossible. I wonder if he’d had an alternative ‘stealth van dwelling’ arrangement he might have had more success.

        I did get to visit him a couple of times while he was there and absolutely loved it. Once we get our gig on the road it is on our ‘visit’ list.

        My favorite place on Key West…hands down…Hemingway’s House and all of the 6 toed descendants of his original cats. There is an atmosphere there that soaks into your soul, http://www.hemingwayhome.com/

        and we found the best pizza (in the world) on the way to Key West–at the ‘No Name Pub’ on Big Pine Key. http://www.nonamepub.com/ It also has a really unique history.

        -k (aka krissie/junqdiva)
        k&p Catalano recently posted..ORGANIZING THOSE DREAM STORMED THOUGHTS (Part 1)My Profile

        • Becky on July 18, 2013 at 12:07 pm

          Welcome aboard, always nice to have more future full-timers along for the ride. 🙂

          I don’t think even stealth van camping would work in the Keys for long, the local police there sound very strict and mindful about parking laws. It’s a small enough area where eventually they’ll start to recognize the van and something will get done about it.

          Still though, definitely visiting sometime. 🙂

  2. JEFF on July 13, 2013 at 10:15 am

    The wife and I love your information…we are in South Carolina awaiting our retirement in the next years… that 420 calendar days and 343 working days, but who’s counting… keep up the great job and hope to see you on the road in the near future.


    • Becky on July 13, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Jeff – it’ll come sooner than you think! When I was waiting to get on the road blogs like this kept the dream fresh and alive for me, I lived vicariously through other people’s adventures. I’m happy to have you along for this adventure, and yes hope to meet you on the road soon. 🙂

  3. Ross Macintosh on July 13, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Years ago (when young & fit) my wife and I went to Holland for a month-long bike camping trip. We started with an agressive schedule that kept us on the bikes many hours a day. It was go-go-go. Later in the trip we stayed overnight in a hostel in the small historic city of Gouda (where the cheese of the same name originates). The city has a big cobble-paved ‘square’ at its center. The first night we were there it was empty and we said “this is nice”. The next morning we found it completely full of farmers’ market stalls and said “this is cool”. We came to realize that every day that square is something different. We decided by just passing through we were only getting a snapshot of the place and decided to stay longer to experience how it changes. One day a week it was a cheese market with maybe a hundred stalls where farmers sold the Gouda cheese they made. We said “Yummy in my tummy”. Another day it was a flower market with millions of tulips. We said “wow – look at the colours!”. The biggest surprise was on weekends weddings take place in the beautiful historic stathouse (think medievel gothic city hall) that is at the centre of the square. Bridal parties arrive in white carrages pulled by teams of white horses. They proceed up the steps to the waiting groom and have a civil ceremony inside. When they come back outside the pause on the steps for pictures and waves. All the towns people and visitors, typically at the cafes around the perimeter stop to share the joy of the wedding party. We said “this is amazing”. (Check out “Gouda” on Google images).

    What we learned from that experience is that places have a life. A brief “passing through” will only provide a “snapshot” of the place. Nice as that may be, a longer visit can provide a richer experience. Even then one is not really fully experiencing the full life of a place but we can have a greater appreciation of the bit of life we shared with it.
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    • Jim Morgan on July 13, 2013 at 10:46 am

      Well said, Ross, well said.
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    • Becky on July 13, 2013 at 11:16 am

      I agree with Jim, you pretty much nailed the benefits of staying longer. 🙂

  4. Dave on July 10, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    “Slow down, stop worrying so much about what comes next and enjoy where you are right now.”

    • Becky on July 11, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Glad you liked it. 🙂

  5. Jim Morgan on July 10, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Excellent post.

    One thing I learned early was to take my vacations in the off season. Grand Canyon is visited in March instead of June, for instance. Same with Disney Land with the kids. Sure, you might be inconvenienced by the weather here or there, but it sure beats dealing with huge crowds and the oppressing heat of summer.

    Even with a full time job, it always worked better to take my vacations a time of year other then summer. Really helped that the family and I wasn’t trying to fight the crowds or traffic.

    Now that I’m a full timer, I always visit attractions either just before or just after the ‘tourist season’. Really helps bring down the stress levels. It’s pretty cool being the only person visiting an ancient ruin or a dinosaur exhibit sometimes.
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    • Becky on July 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Yeah, the Badlands was magical early in the season before all the tourists showed up. Our hiking crew would have the whole trailhead to ourselves. 🙂 But then we had to worry about snow.

      • Jim Morgan on July 10, 2013 at 1:30 pm

        Yeah, but it’s much easier to remove clothing if it starts cool and warms up. If it’s hot to start with, you can only remove so much.

        • Becky on July 11, 2013 at 11:13 am

          Very true. 😛 Least I have a good A/C unit in my RV!

  6. John of Sinbad and I on the Loose on July 10, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Good post as I need to slow down, very much. Last fall touring the Midwest I felt I was in a scene from It’s a Mad Mad Mad World. Everyday it was go, go, go. My problem is each new day am so excited to see what is over the next hill; what is around the next bend in the road that I log in way more mileage per day than I should. This spring while touring the Southern states I tried to gear myself down some but still failed in some respect. Hopefully this upcoming fall trip I can get this issue under control by getting out from behind the wheel and explore on my feet more than my butt.
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    • Becky on July 10, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      I’ll travel a lot in a few days to re-position myself in a new location, but then it’s slow going from then on. Besides saving my sanity, it saves on gas too. I definitely hear you on the excitement to see what comes next though, it’s hard to resist sometimes.

  7. Carl on July 10, 2013 at 10:18 am

    We are 16 days away from our trip to Sturgis and the surrounding area and can’t wait. Although this trip we will be one of those “hurry up and see all we can” couples we are very close to becoming the full-timers like yourself traveling a nomads existence. We hope to meet you soon Becky!

    • Becky on July 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Send me an e-mail when you get close Carl so we can arrange to meet up, otherwise I might not be available when you arrive.

      And hey, vacationing is still better than staying at home working. You’ll get there eventually!

  8. Richard Myers on July 10, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Hi Becky,

    I have had the opportunity to work all over the world for extended periods of time and can echo your sentiments. I enjoyed becoming part of the fabric of daily life whever I was and would not have enjoyed being a tourist.

    I am reminded of a quote by G.K. Chesterton:
    The traveler sees what he sees. The tourist sees what he has come to see.


    • Becky on July 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      That’s a good quote Rick, thanks for sharing.

  9. Pleinguy on July 9, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    It’s so true about seeing areas others miss. There are some amazing places off the beaten track. I drove five miles off the main road deep into the forest and spent two days next to a cascading mountain creek all alone. Now that is the kind of camping I like.
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    • Becky on July 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Yep! And how likely are vacationers to get off their carefully calculated routes to check little roads like that when there is a schedule to keep? Sounds like you’re having a good time on the road!

  10. Kim on July 9, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Kim recently posted..Looking Backwards and ForwardsMy Profile

    • Becky on July 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Here here. 😀

  11. cozygirl on July 9, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Great reminder Becky. About a week we pull out…and I’m going to try not to hurry at all! Wish we could get the Badlands this year…probably be next. But hopeful you go SW this winter!

    • Becky on July 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      Wow, glad to hear that you’re getting close Carla! All that hard work is about to pay off, get out there and enjoy yourselves!

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