The Long Game

the-long-game

Do you see the RV?

“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?

* * *

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.

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Becky

Forget about what the world tells you your life should be like. At IO I teach people how to ditch the status quo and go full-time RVing before retirement. Included at no additional charge: seizing your dreams, living boldly, and making a difference.

47 Comments

  1. Jerry Minchey on September 7, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Off topic for The Long Game, but I had to tell someone. I just checked into a campground for a week in Hendersonville, NC. The good part is that I have a WiFi signal with five bars and a speed test shows 22 Mbps. I wish I could get this in all campgrounds.



    • Becky on September 7, 2014 at 9:51 pm

      Wow, stop the presses, that’s virtually unheard of Jerry! Congrats, haha.



  2. Rene Kipp on September 6, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    I will not set an ‘end date’ once we (DH and I) get on the road. I think I could live forever traveling, exploring, and experiencing all that I can. Maybe one day we’ll find THE place to settle down but we don’t want a mortgage making it so much easier to get up and go again.
    Rene Kipp recently posted..First of Many…My Profile



    • Becky on September 6, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      Sounds good Rene!



  3. Troy on September 5, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    Hi Becky. Great post! I plan to get underway this year and expect to travel the US for the next 5 years. I want to visit every state. Not just pass through and say I was there, but really experience each state and find out what makes them special. Is 5 years enough time? Maybe not, so I may go 10 or more. I eventually want to go overseas and explore as well.

    When I was in my 30’s, I would play online multi-player games off and on with friends. It was a way for us to hang out at night and do something fun and adventurous together at a low cost and 24/7. When I hit 40, I finally realized that these games were cool, but not real adventure.

    Now, traveling, exploring, seeing the world and experiencing REAL life adventure is more important to me than anything (except my family).

    A friend of mine emailed me today about the newest MMO game opening for Beta today. He said this would be the best game to date. I sat back and thought about my 41 year old friend and all the time he will waste over the next few months trying to get his character to the highest level in this game. His life will be: Go to work, get home, play the game, get a little sleep, go to work, get home, play the game…….Is that fun? Adventurous?

    I’d rather be traveling….



    • Troy on September 5, 2014 at 4:48 pm

      Oh, I almost forgot. Congrats on getting the book going. 🙂 You will not regret it when it’s all said and done. Like I said before, I wrote my ebook in Dec of 2012 and I still sell 50-60 ebooks a month which isn’t much but I don’t promote it at all and enjoy the passive cash.

      Speaking of promotion, you need to hire Technomadia to promote your book when done. I know they read your blog so I won’t say much but Holy Over-Promotion Batman!! Seriously, I’m sure it’s a good guide and their launch was probably very successful.
      Troy recently posted..Father’s Day Weekend GetawayMy Profile



      • Becky on September 7, 2014 at 9:50 pm

        Heya Troy,

        Haha, I still play MMO games, but I’m a very casual player. Real life adventure has always been more important to me than adventure on a screen. GW2 is my current one, love that there’s no monthly fee (cause there are often months I can’t play due to poor WiFi…like here at Zion).

        I’m really excited to get this guide out, it goes in spurts but I’m really getting close now.

        Keep traveling!



        • Troy on September 8, 2014 at 4:13 pm

          Yeah, GW2 was the last MMO I played. It was pretty cool. My buddy, I mentioned above, bought me the game for my B-day, so I didn’t have to pay a cent to play with the $0 monthly subscription fee.

          When I got bored, or other things became more important, I stopped playing it and the game just sat there on my laptop. I thought I would get back into it some day, but I recently uninstalled it. I usually tend to play solo type characters with Stealth or Ranger/Pet.

          It’s funny, I always played those games for the exploration aspect and the challenge of completing tasks on my own. I didn’t get into group play. Too much standing around waiting on others.



          • Becky on September 10, 2014 at 10:56 am

            I only play them now to play in groups with my friends Troy, as you said in your initial comment it’s a way for me to connect with old friends whom I now live thousands of miles from. The solo play aspect doesn’t appeal to me much anymore.



  4. Gary - Retired Vgabond on September 4, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Hi Becky, you always seem to have some words of wisdom, more than your years. I have been traveling in my 5th wheel since my retirement and wondering some of these same thoughts. When will it end or change or morph into something else? Simple answer; when the journey isn’t fun anymore.

    Thanks for your wisdom, travel dialog and photos.
    Gary – Retired Vgabond recently posted..Lolo Pass – Full of HistoryMy Profile



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 12:29 pm

      You’re welcome Gary, glad you enjoyed it! “When the journey isn’t fun anymore”, I like it.



  5. Don on September 4, 2014 at 10:59 am

    In regard to the trip to Alaska, I have wanted to make that trip for a while. I am 72 years old and it is becoming a little intimidating at the thought of the hundreds of miles of sparsely populated country primarily alone, well with the wife. A traveling companion RVer would seem like a good way to ease some of the anxiety. I have been reading a blog on the Good Sam forum of trip to Alaska. It is not for the faint of heart from what I read. Anyway, thanks for your thoughts on you lifestyle. Makes me wish I were 30 years younger.



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Don, my Alaska trip is probably still a few years off, I hope you and your wife get the chance to go! I think I’ve seen that same Good Sam topic, it’s what first planted the idea in my mind. I’d definitely prefer to do it as part of a caravan, for the companionship and help in case of trouble just because it is so long and so sparsely populated a drive.



  6. Jim@HiTek on September 4, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I might be heading up to Alaska early next year…like in mid-May or June.

    I’ve traveled up there and back several times. If you need advice, I’m full of it. 🙂 Here’s some advice now…take your time going up there, like 5 to 7 days. You’ll find many RV parks along the way but they tend to be widely separated with very lonely, remote, and lightly traveled areas between them. Though people on the road will quickly stop to help if you need it. Plan your travel in such a way that you’re always taking it easy (less stress on both you and your equipment). Make sure your tires (and spare) are in good condition and check air pressure every morning.

    And so much more. Let me know if you need more info…

    BTW, Fairbanks is really a neat place to visit in summer. Beautiful blue skies nearly every day during the summer…avoids the rains you’d see on the coast. So much to do too.
    Jim@HiTek recently posted..Art at the casino and other things…My Profile



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 12:10 pm

      Thanks for the tips Jim!

      Yes, when I go I want to have the funds and time to do it slow, and do it right. Which means it’s probably a few years off still.



  7. Curious by Nature on September 4, 2014 at 8:57 am

    Having goals, purpose and challenge in life is a lot of what adds the zest to living. Many seem to subscribe to “living happily ever after” in getting on the road, because that was their goal and challenge. Once you’ve done it, what’s next when the novelty of a new lifestyle wears off?

    You’re still the same person, with new experiences, but life’s luggage still travels with you. Living in a tiny space can strain the best of relationships, when the other person is in your face constantly. Consideration, compromise, and frank openness are necessary skills.

    Living in a RV is more technically difficult, in a S&B, power, water, fuel, and sewage are automated as long as you pay the bills. You know where everything is in the grocery. In a RV, you have to find water, sewage dumps, propane, use solar or a generator if you’re not in a campsite, navigate strange grocery stores with unfamiliar brands, and deal with the unexpected in unfamiliar surroundings. It’s no wonder many leave the road after a year or so! It’s not so easy or comfortable.

    I guess the key is to RV with a purpose in mind, not just an escape from, but with goals to achieve. A life without success’s isn’t worth the bother?



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Well summarized Curious!



  8. Jo on September 4, 2014 at 7:28 am

    Becky, good morning to another of yours full of wisdom!
    Your thought provoking words resonate with my musings of yesterday. Drove from Grande Junction, CO through the Beauty I seek as the first reason I have begun my van dwelling. Reminders that time is far down the list of priorities in this new life, I chose scenic and less traveled routes that became wondrous tonic for my soul. Getting clarity each day and happy with my one piece motorized rig. Your post triggered the knowledge of the impermanence that everything is. Yes, until something else grabs my desire more. Thank you!



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 12:05 pm

      Sounds like you had a magical day Jo. Keep on doing what moves you and choosing the slower, more scenic route! You’re welcome.



  9. Todd on September 4, 2014 at 7:05 am

    Can’t leave til the house sells. We get the same questions as stated above. Like you we plan on Yellowstone/Grand Tetons. Would love to caravan to Alaska to visit our daughter for an extended stay. I will continue to follow your blog & hope that one day we can cross paths. Good luck with your next move.



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Crossing my fingers for a good and speedy sale Todd!

      My family went out to Yellowstone when I was 14 and even as a self-involved teenager I thought it was beautiful. I think next time I go out there I’ll be blown away, my perspective has changed a lot since then. 😉

      Alaska won’t be next summer, it could be 2016 but of course I won’t really know until much closer to the date. When I make that decision though I’ll invite anyone on IO who wants to come with for part or all of the way to do so.



  10. Jodee Gravel on September 4, 2014 at 6:48 am

    We haven’t even launched yet and we get the same question about how long. It is difficult for others to understand it isn’t vacation – something to come back from. When we’re ready for something else we will have a much better idea of what area of the country we want to land in and what kind of dwelling we want – until then, we’re good!
    Jodee Gravel recently posted..An Unexpected Family Reunion!My Profile



    • Terri on September 4, 2014 at 6:59 am

      Jodee, I agree, that’s how people look at it. It’s called, “no, I will still have to work, it’ll just be a different type of work from what I do now.” And that’s ok.
      Terri recently posted..Ah, that consumer lifestyle…My Profile



      • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:57 am

        I like to think of it as a working vacation Terri. Yes I work 40 hours a week, but all the rest of the hours I’m more or less on “vacation” in a beautiful part of the country. 😛



        • Terri on September 4, 2014 at 12:01 pm

          That is EXACTLY my thinking and why I want to do it.
          Terri recently posted..Ah, that consumer lifestyle…My Profile



          • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 12:24 pm

            If IO had a thumbs up button like Facebook, your comment would be getting one right now. 😉



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Ayup, you got it Jodee! The kind of people who ask are the kind of people who need to have a start and end date for everything, who need more structure in their lives than what full-timing lends itself to.



  11. Jerry Minchey on September 4, 2014 at 6:04 am

    My answer when someone asks me how long I’m going to do this is —

    My uncle is 92 and he stil drives his 38-foot rig. He has recently been to NJ and to FL. He said “I know I probablly shouldn’t be driving, I but love to get out on the road and go.” His wife is 90 and she likes to go too. As we all know, RVing gets in your blood.

    I may not be on the road at 92, but who knows. Like you Becky, my plans are carved in jello.



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:51 am

      That’s a reasonable answer too. 🙂



  12. Barb L. on September 4, 2014 at 5:48 am

    Smaller than a Casita?!!



    • Jerry Minchey on September 4, 2014 at 6:17 am

      Becky,

      If you want to go smaller, check out this site showing bicycle powered RVs.

      http://inhabitat.com/camper-bike-pedal-powered-rv-for-one/camper-bike-3/?extend=1



      • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:48 am

        Haha, cute Jerry, but I think I’ll stick to something that can attain speeds faster than 10 mph. 😉 Would save a ton on gas though!



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:45 am

      I take the KISS (keep it simple, stupid) principal to a whole new level Barb. Did you know I’ve been living in my Casita for over two years and have never, not one single time, used the shower? If an item I was carrying with me in my travels went unused for two years…well, it wouldn’t, because it’d be gone after one!



      • Marsha on September 14, 2014 at 10:28 am

        Once you start boondocking or dry camping, you may end up using your shower. I can freshen up, including washing my thick hair, in one (bathroom) sink full of water. Saves on water use and from having to dump too often.



        • Becky on September 15, 2014 at 10:46 am

          Yep Marsha it’s possible, but to keep from having to wipe down the shower after use, I’d probably go your route and use the sink or bucket method. But I won’t know until I try. 🙂



          • Rob on September 15, 2014 at 11:03 am

            Wiping down the shower with a microfiber cloth takes less than a minute.
            Rob recently posted..Adventureland workcamping review, season 2My Profile



          • Becky on September 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

            Don’t have one of those Rob, although I’ve heard they’re more absorbent. I have a feeling it’d still take longer for my shower since the whole bathroom is in effect the shower. I’ll think about one of those for the future.



  13. Mike on September 4, 2014 at 5:30 am

    Thanks for the inspiring words. I should be a full-timer mid November.



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:36 am

      You’re welcome Mike, and welcome to IO! Mid November huh? Only a little over two months to go, congrats!



  14. Terri on September 4, 2014 at 3:25 am

    Liberation Day, I love it!

    Thank you for this post – it came at a perfect time. I’ve been focusing so much on the launch of living in an RV, and last night felt like it was all thrown into a tizzy when I realized I don’t feel super comfortable riding a scooter, and now what happens to my plans? Seems kind of silly but then I was like “what if i can’t get a motorhome, then what do I do?” And the whole jumble of thoughts came in. And yesterday, I was thinking about something similar – I know I want to do the rv thing full-time, but what do I see myself doing a few years down the line?

    I like your focus on saving for what you want. You are very inspiring to me, Becky, so thank you. All of your posts are so well thought out. And I can’t wait to see your ebook. I know it’s gonna be great.
    Terri recently posted..Ah, that consumer lifestyle…My Profile



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

      Terri,

      I call that thought process you’re describing the fear spiral, when one relatively small thing in the grand scheme of things doesn’t happen as desired, and then it leads to “what ifs” that get progressively darker and more dire.

      It’s not productive to get caught in it, because you’re not thinking clearly enough to come up with solutions. The best thing I found for myself was to do something completely unrelated to the topic that triggered the spiral (RVing) and requires concentration, like exercise, an unrelated hobby, or hanging out with a friend – a halfhour, a couple hours, a whole day, whatever it takes to gain some distance from the problem.

      It’s like how an artist sometimes needs to step away from a painting for a while and come back to it to see what they need to to do to finish it. Sometimes you get so wrapped up in a problem that you lose perspective and the ability to think critically about solutions. Take a break from thinking about it and try again later with fresh eyes when you’re no longer spiraling. I think it’ll help!



  15. Rob on September 4, 2014 at 12:14 am

    How long? Until something else comes along is a good answer.
    Rob recently posted..Adventureland workcamping review, season 2My Profile



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:21 am

      And that answer bugs a lot of people Rob. Those kind of people who can’t stand to leave big life decisions open ended like that, who need to have definitive dates for everything. Those kind of people rarely feel the urge to go full-timing, they like their predictable “safe” lives.



      • Rob on September 4, 2014 at 11:34 am

        You can’t do anything about someone’s inability to understand a concept.

        I once mentioned to a co-worker about having a job where I honestly said “they pay me to do this!”. From the look on his face I could tell he no idea what I was talking about. He’d never had a job he enjoyed that much or maybe I’m just that simple? Either way I was unable to communicate the “concept”.
        Rob recently posted..Adventureland workcamping review, season 2My Profile



        • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 12:23 pm

          Yep, oh well Rob. I think it’s a great thing that people can be so different, would get awfully boring otherwise.



  16. Mike Goad on September 3, 2014 at 10:23 pm

    While we are part-timers, the plans written in jello applies to us as well. One of the nice things about RVing, for us, is being flexible. We spent 6 days at Yellowstone, then took 4 days (or was it 5?) to get to Glacier, where we stayed a week. Our plans were to head east across northern Montana and North Dakota. Then I mentioned to Karen, “Y’know, this means we’re going to be leaving the mountains.” We changed our plans and over 3 days, drove south, including going back through Yellowstone and now we are camped at one of our favorite places, Grand Teton National Park.
    Mike Goad recently posted..A Drive and a Hike in the Black Hills.My Profile



    • Becky on September 4, 2014 at 11:12 am

      Go where you feel called to go Mike! I like that about RVing too.



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