“How long are you going to do this?”
It’s another one of those questions I get asked frequently from both other RVers and stationary folks when discussing my lifestyle.
The answer I eventually settled on is “Until I feel like doing something else more.” Which is the truth, but it’s the truth shortened down to explain my thoughts on the matter without a ten minute explanation.
When you’re first getting started full-timing, all of your focus goes to a successful launch. There are a lot of pieces to full-timing that need to fall into place, and they’re likely to take all of your attention. Some folks get on the road with a specific end date, like a sabbatical they need to return to work from afterward. But many people who pursue a life on the road have been been dreaming about it for a long time, and it seems like the ultimate goal: go full-timing and live happily ever after.
But the game of life doesn’t stop when you achieve that goal, monumental and all-consuming as it seems beforehand.
For a while after I got on the road, I simply enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment and coasted along, focusing on short goals: my next job, the the stops along the way to get there.
Somewhere along the way though, a niggling feeling came back. Not the quiet and desperate “There has to be more to life than this.” that I felt before full-timing, more like a “Things are going well, but they could be even better.”
And so I started thinking about what I wanted to accomplish while on the road.
Sitting down and writing the eguide was one thing I was feeling called to do. I also decided to narrow in on the list of places I really wanted to visit. Going out west this year was a product of that, I know I also want to spend a summer up in the Yellowstone/Grand Tetons area, and some time up in the Pacific Northwest. I also want to caravan up to Alaska some summer (would any of you be interested in such a trip?). And I’m also now dedicated to saving up for the equipment that’ll let me go boondocking, and working toward earning more money through location independent means, so I have more freedom of movement. I’ve even been giving some thought to the RV I want to call home next.
I forget now which full-timer blogger originally wrote that a RVer’s plans are written in jello, but that quote stuck with me because it’s so truthful. I don’t know which of these new goals I’ll accomplish (well, the guide is a certainty), and which will become moot. But I feel like the goals are important to have even knowing that they likely won’t all get met. As you continue to travel and discover new things to be interested in, you make new goals to replace the ones that haven’t worked out.
And so, if you’re finding yourself a little adrift on the road, or feel like the magic of travel has faded somewhat, I encourage you to try this out. Give your travels a purpose by focusing in on what you really like to do, and finding a way to integrate it.
- What does your ideal RV lifestyle look like? Keep making the choices that get you closer to that ideal.
- Pick an interest, and then research a place where you can go to practice or learn more about it. Architecture, history, sports, art, fishing, crafts, food… there will be towns or sites out there that are well known for it. You can even make a tour out of it by seeing multiple sites as you travel and trying to pick the best: the best apple pie, the best fishing hole for bass, the best jewelry show.
- Learn a new skill. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a horse, speak a different language, or try scuba diving. Spend some time working or volunteering at a ranch. Travel to a town that has a good population that speaks the language you’re interested in and chat up the locals. Look up where you can get scuba lessons nearby, then plan a trip to the Gulf Coast.
The best way to keep full-time RVing (and life in general) interesting is to keep challenging yourself, and doing things that interest you. What do you see your RVing lifestyle looking like five years from now?
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And because as soon as I wrote it I could almost see the flood of questions coming in, no, while I’m pondering my next RV I have not come close to a decision yet. I’m leaning towards smaller, but remember: jello plans people.
I hope all of you current RVers enjoyed Full-timer Liberation Day yesterday (Labor day is over and with it the worst of the tourist traffic, you are now free to travel about the country). Here’s to a good September, one of the best months for RVing.