For Those Who Can’t Travel Full-time Yet

I get a lot of wistful comments and e-mails from people who would love to do what I do, but there are very solid reasons why they can’t at this point in their life. These reasons aren’t just excuses because they don’t want to put in the effort. I get plenty of answers like that too but no, this group of people have family members they need to care for, other goals that are taking priority in their lives, and a dozen other equally valid reasons.

This article is for you, and here’s my advice on the matter.

Do what traveling you can.

It’s easy to see full-time RVing as an all-or-nothing endeavor, the very title implies it. But there is still a lot of fun and adventure to be found in traveling part time.

If you’re reading my blog you’re probably like me and on a budget. It can be harder to justify the purchase price of an RV if it’s just for recreation and not your home but think of it like this: it’s an investment into your happiness and well being and a promise to yourself that one day you will go full-timing in it once circumstances change.

Go with something inexpensive and simple as your first rig, something that lets you maximize the amount of time enjoying it and minimize the amount of time maintaining it since your time is limited.

Think of this phase as training. The experience you gain from weekends away is going to cut your learning time significantly when you finally get to hit the road permanently.

Can’t get an RV for whatever reason right now? Find other ways to introduce more travel into your life. Go tent or car camping, or take a road trip and stay in hotels. If even that’s hard to swing right now, look up attractions within a day’s drive of where you live. Chances are there are probably plenty of places nearby that you’ve never been to before.

Prioritize travel. It’s really easy to get caught up in lesser tasks that waste time or money with little reward. We don’t usually choose these things deliberately, we fall into them by default. Now that you have this dream though, you have something better to be doing with your time and money. If you really want more travel in your life, find ways to weed out these distractions to make more room for it.

Keep your eye on the goal.

Set a date to go full-timing, even if it’s years out. It’s amazing how powerful setting intention like this can be. If it’s years out your date might not end up being accurate but that’s okay. The real reason to do this is it gives you a sense of control over your destiny that a lot of people in this situation seem to struggle with since many times it’s because of someone else that they can’t go full-timing. If you can’t put a date on it, put a date down to review your situation and try to set a date at that point. This keeps the dream fresh in your mind and makes it seem more real and attainable.

Find ways to keep your full-timing dream prominent in your everyday life. Even little things can make a big difference in keeping the dream feeling achievable in the future. Place a trip jar somewhere highly visible in your house, and put your change into it. Label it “RVing fund” and save this money for the future to buy your RV, or if you have your RV, for travel money.

Spend an evening compiling a list of places you want to visit once you’re on the road. Print this list or even better, print pictures of these places and keep them around your home and work to remind you what you’re working toward.

Get involved in the RVing community. Keep an eye out for RVing events near you and participate when you can – even if you’re staying in your vehicle at the campground. Connect with other RVers and RVing hopefuls online in forums or groups and exchange advice and dreams.

More than anything else, I’d say connecting with others interested in living this way does the most to bolster you and keep the dream feeling real. When you’re in a vacuum by yourself, surrounded by people who just don’t understand, constant contact with them and their uncertainty makes you feel hesitant and makes the dream feel impossible. But hanging out with people who are full-time RVing already and those who are on their way there? That makes the dream feel not just possible but normal. Like it’s not such a big deal. And when you switch to that way of thinking, you remove a lot of your mental blocks around achieving it and suddenly it becomes easier.

Improve other parts of your life.

Why do we love to travel so much? Reasons include seeing new sights and meeting new people, but often there are internal reasons too. We want to travel to have more freedom, to pursue other interests we have, to get out of the rut of daily living we fall into when things remained unchanged for too long, and to grow as a person. Basically, because we want to be happier.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that while full-timing will help with some of these reasons, you don’t have to go full-timing to achieve them. In fact, believing that hitting the road will be ‘happily ever after’ is setting yourself up for failure.

You can have a more fulfilling life without ever stepping foot in a camper.

  • Enjoy freedom? Cut undesired obligations and time-wasters out of your life, and then you’ll find you have the energy and time to pursue other interests.

  • Need to get out of a rut? Switch up your daily routine and make a pact with yourself to try new things regularly.

  • Want to grow as a person? Read a book or watch a video on a personal development topic that interests you, and push yourself outside to act outside your comfort zone.

I know these bullet points are over-simplifying things but that’s my whole point. Expecting that going full-time RVing by itself will hand you your best life on a silver platter is over-simplifying things. In the end, it’s only one facet of the equation. If you start working on improving other areas of your life right now, you’re be ahead of the game by the time you go RVing.

Don’t lose hope.

With a long-term goal that won’t be achievable for a while, it’s all too easy to lose sight of it and let it fade away. But while you might not be able to travel full-time right now, there is still plenty you can do to invite more travel into your life, keep the dream alive, and improve other areas of your life in the meantime. Don’t lose hope, your time is coming.

Learn more

Deliberate Living – If you’re into personal development and philosophical type stuff, here’s a list of all my articles that have been tagged as such.

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Becky

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.

19 Comments

  1. Chris on June 10, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Hey, I got an extension to the hobby idea. Make it a hobby that can come on the road with you.

    When we packed up the stone carving tools, and stones of course, were some of the first items shed for space and weight limitations.

    The camera and computer on the other hand remain…

    Chris



    • Becky on June 12, 2018 at 3:17 pm

      Good point Chris, thanks for sharing.



  2. Christine Humphrey on June 8, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Great tips for day trips and “getting out there” finding new and maybe repeat favorite places! We have a book of historical markers for N. Carolina which lists interesting and educational spots to visit. A favorite for us is “The Man Buried In the Rock” near our home in Wake Forest!
    Have a great vacation, enjoy, and take plenty of photos!



    • Becky on June 9, 2018 at 5:38 pm

      I had a great vacation Christine, thanks! It sounds like a fun book, and something I wouldn’t have thought of back before I hit the road when I was looking to introduce more travel into my life. Thanks for sharing.



  3. Scott Baldassari on June 7, 2018 at 8:56 pm

    Good Article.
    “Work yourself into it” is Great advice.
    When we couldn’t afford a class B, we bought an old Conversion Van for a couple thousand dollars and camped out of it with a tent for the kids.
    It was enough to prove to our family that we loved the lifestyle.
    When we bought a full fledged Class B with a bath and real kitchen, it was SUCH a great step up.
    Dropping the tent made us realize just how easy it is to “set up” a Class B: Park, and pull the shades.
    We are STILL probably 5 years away from “fulltime”, but have already enjoyed 5 years of living the “lifestyle”.
    Start where you are. Memories are passing us by..



    • Becky on June 9, 2018 at 5:37 pm

      I’m glad you found a way to work travel into your life before you could afford the nice rig. Thanks for sharing Scott!



  4. Philip Roll on June 6, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Wow! very mature advice. I was in my late 40’s before I could think about things that way. Good job!



    • Becky on June 9, 2018 at 5:35 pm

      Glad you enjoyed this Philip!



  5. Damian on June 6, 2018 at 4:27 am

    Great stuff, Becky! Thanks you!



    • Becky on June 9, 2018 at 5:34 pm

      You’re welcome Damian!



  6. Ann in Tacoma on June 6, 2018 at 3:40 am

    More tips: volunteer! There are all manner of organizations that need help, either on a regular basis or as a drop-in. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or your city government to get a list of organizations that need volunteers. Visit every public garden in your area, and every nursery. Find out about historic buildings and go visit them. Start a daily (or 3x weekly) walking group with some of your neighbors. Take a free local class on wood whittling, or sewing, or painting, or gardening, or mathematics, or whatever … even if it doesn’t appeal to you, go take it. Get out of the house and get out of your usual routine. Learn new things and meet new people. Go visit a religious center of a religion you know nothing about (Muslims are really nice people) and welcome those folks to the city that is theirs as much as it is yours. Find free music concerts … visit every music store in your area and ask about all the instruments … ok, go on a really slow business day for them. 🙂 If you have kids in your life, take the kids too. Rent kayaks on a local waterway. Oh my gosh, I could go on forever. The thing is, there is always something new and different to do that will gently open your head and your heart and your life to new paths. Follow the path, see where it leads.



    • Becky on June 9, 2018 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks for sharing Ann, sound advice!



  7. Ron on June 5, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Hang around on the RV.net forums, you can learn a lot and ask questions too. Lots of topics.



  8. Gwen L Mazer on June 5, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    Thank you for your positivity. I am a little under three years from retirement and do a lot of what you suggest. It really makes a difference. Gwen Mazer



    • Becky on June 9, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      You’re welcome Gwen, and I’m glad you enjoyed this article. Three years will fly by before you know it.



  9. Angela Trahan on June 5, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Two years ago, we were SO CLOOOSEEEE! We saved enough for a cheap first rig, and enough left over for an emergency cushion to get started on. I have the perfect job for full timing. Started to (truly) plan and downsize. Then some family shifting happened, and now we find ourselves raising our two nephews. Because of custody arrangements, we can’t be a full (or even part) time family on the road, so just like that, our dream got pushed 12 years back. At the time, we didn’t even think about the decision to shelve the dream, but over time, I’ve pondered it while daydreaming of the perfectly renovated trailer. All of these tips have actually helped me keep the dream alive. But the most important thing to remember is: Dreaming is delicious, but don’t forget to live RIGHT NOW. There is some pretty awesome stuff going on.



    • Becky on June 9, 2018 at 5:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing Angela. It was good of you to take in your nephews and it sounds like you’re keeping the dream alive in other ways. 🙂



  10. Linda Sand on June 5, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    Another tip: pick a hobby that gets you out and moving. Maybe make a commitment to hike in every park within a half day’s drive. Or take up geocaching. (geocaching.com) Go snowshoeing if there’s a lot of winter where you live. Invite friends to do yoga in a park. Learn to spin poi. Anything that gets you outside and moving will help you remember that there’s a big world out there for when you are ready to explore it further.



    • Becky on June 9, 2018 at 5:29 pm

      Good one Linda!



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