Rules and Respect

I was talking with two fellow solo women full-timers recently and the conversation turned to how we all got started RVing, and one of the gals brought up a point that really stuck with me.

She said she had been struggling with downsizing out of her house, and how overwhelmed she was feeling at the thought of having to sell all of her possessions. So she asked for advice on a Facebook group she was in. Her spirits were bolstered by all the positive responses she received but one stood out above the others. That man’s recommendation was just to sell the big ticket items, and then give away everything else in whatever way was easiest for her, she could always make more money later in other ways.

She said she felt freed by this advice, which goes against the conventional wisdom of recouping every dime you can while transitioning to full-timing. It took away a lot of the stress of moving into her RV and just made the experience so much more positive, not having to worry about how to sell every little thing she had.

I loved this story because it highlights a point I’ve always been adamant about when it comes to full-time RVing, which is that everyone is going to find their own way and you don’t need to follow anyone else’s rules about what this lifestyle should look like.

  • It’s okay if you’re stationary part or all of the year
  • It’s okay to full-time in whatever type of rig works best for you
  • It’s okay to switch rigs at anytime
  • It’s okay to travel alone
  • It’s okay to travel with family
  • It’s okay to travel with pets
  • It’s okay to travel with friends
  • It’s okay if you’re not rich
  • It’s okay if you are rich
  • It’s okay to commit to RVing for a certain period of time
  • It’s okay to keep a storage locker
  • It’s okay to like to keep to yourself
  • It’s okay to be a social butterfly
  • It’s okay to have a home port
  • It’s okay if you think RV parks are best
  • It’s okay if you think boondocking is best
  • It’s okay if you carry superfluous items in your RV
  • It’s okay to decide you need to get off the road for a while
  • It’s okay to travel slow
  • It’s okay to travel fast
  • It’s okay to have a simple camp
  • It’s okay to be a glamper

You get the point. What’s not okay is when your decisions on how to live your life negatively impact other people. You love music? Great! Listen to it at your campsite. But respect that your neighbors don’t want to be hearing it at midnight when they’re trying to sleep. You have dogs? Great! They’ll probably love camping with you. But respect that not everyone loves dogs and don’t let them roam off-leash in populated areas.

In general, RVers are some of the kindest, most helpful, most accepting people I’ve ever met. I feel that most who choose this lifestyle hold a similar philosophy of live and let live. But sometimes, especially online where that screen offers a sense of anonymity, I see cases of people pushing their own opinions about full-timing onto others. And that’s not okay.

Live your best RVing life. Be kind to yourself and do what works for you. And be considerate and let others do what works for them. We’re all human, after all.

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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. John Hayden on August 2, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    Thank you for your reassurance that everyone’s individual way of living is OK! As for giving stuff away, that’s what I’ve been doing for more than a decade. Sometimes it makes me sad to realize that I used to have some pretty good furniture and a nice apartment. And a lot of books! Now I have almost nothing, but I have everything I need to survive. I gave stuff away because I had to, usually because I was moving to smaller and smaller places. I couldn’t afford to move furniture and/or it wouldn’t fit in the new living quarters. The resale value of used furniture is usually pretty low, IMO. Sometimes I feel guilty about resorting to the easiest way of getting something done. But it’s better than driving myself crazy trying to do it in some way that I imagine to be perfect. Or worse, simply never getting it done at all.

  2. Joni Zander on July 27, 2018 at 2:04 am

    Love this – it’s what I did as well. I sold very few things – just high ticket items and gave the rest away.

    And… I love that you also spell out okay. I know very few people who do other than myself and my kids!

    • Becky on July 27, 2018 at 11:00 am

      I wonder if my parents spell out okay? I’m really not sure! Glad you enjoyed this Joni, and I’m looking forward to seeing you again soon!

  3. Norm H. on July 26, 2018 at 2:27 pm

    Just got around to reading this post. (Busy taking care of grandkids who have a new sibling!).
    Seems the “Book of IO Wisdom continues to grow. Excellent advice on letting go of stuff and on campsite manners. Do have to second another commenter’s thoughts on “cling-ons” as well. Music/generators, dogs/ATVs, and the space insensitive; a few of my least favorite things if handled without respect for others. Keep the good advice and insights coming. Thank you.

    • Becky on July 27, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Sounds like you have your hands full Norm! Glad you enjoyed this and you’re welcome.

  4. Ray on July 24, 2018 at 9:10 am

    Hi Becky, great post. I thoroughly enjoyed the downsizing part of my transition to van dwelling life.
    Every load of stuff I got rid of felt like a giant weight being lifted off my back. I also felt one step closer to my goal of selling house and living out of my van.

    On following others rules. well stated. I happen to be fulltime in my Roadtrek but stationary. Some people seem to find this peculiar. Glad I don’t have to live by their views on this lifestyle.

  5. Chris on July 23, 2018 at 4:27 pm

    I agree but in truth, I enjoyed the garage sale. And a couple more sales before all was cleared out. They got some deals and I met some interesting people as a result…

  6. SHERRI D. BURRIS on July 21, 2018 at 10:48 am

    This way of life is very inspiring and has been on my mind a lot. I can only hope that the day will come when I can down size and experience really life.

    • Becky on July 22, 2018 at 5:18 pm

      We’re all rooting for you Sherri!

  7. Dan Ratcliff on July 20, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    Not a bad way to live life regardless of if you are a full-time RVer or not.

    • Becky on July 22, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      Very true.

  8. Laura on July 19, 2018 at 11:11 pm

    Extremely well said. The most frustrating part of downsizing was the ‘GARAGE SALE” and it was horrible. I will not plan on doing that ever again. And, giving we don’t have much, I won’t have to.

    Thank you for what you do.

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm

      You’re very welcome Laura, I’m with you on garage sales – no thanks!

  9. Anne N. on July 19, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Ah, Becky, as usual you get to the heart of things. Just have to comment on how freeing it is not to feel like you have to get every possible penny out of your “stuff.” Seven years after my husband’s death, I have finally found the wherewithal to face 30 years worth of accumulation (by both of us) in the basement and storage unit. Part of what has taken me so long was the feeling that I needed to get fair value out of his collections. I finally realized that what was most important was getting things into the hands of people who would use them and love them. I can’t decide which is better — the feeling of lightness I have from letting things go, or the joy I get from making the recipients happy. Fortunately, I get to enjoy both. No I’m not a full-timer, nor will I ever be. I have a pop-up truck camper that I love, and that works for me. You are a wise woman, and I enjoy learning from you. Best wishes for your new tinier RV adventure.

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story Anne. “Stuff” sure does have a certain weight to it that is hard to describe in words, and being free of no longer wanted stuff sure does feel great. I’m glad to hear you’re finding IO helpful and entertaining, and I look forward to sharing my future teardrop adventures with you. 🙂

  10. GK Lott on July 19, 2018 at 5:47 pm

    Good summary. Thanks.

  11. Ernesto Quintero on July 19, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    Becky, you’d be a great speaker at TED Talks.

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Aww, thanks Ernesto. It’s kind of you to say so.

  12. Brian Ferret on July 19, 2018 at 4:34 pm

    Love it! You should write a book, Becky.

  13. Linda Sand on July 19, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I read about one couple who put a donation box in their entry way then invited friends, family, neighbors to come take what they wanted and leave in the box what they thought it was worth. Then the couple moved to where they couldn’t see who was taking what. They said it was painless and they collected more than they thought they would. It’s one more way among the many to downsize.

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      What a clever idea that was Linda, thanks for sharing. A good tip for newbies reading through the comments who are looking for ideas.

  14. Mush on July 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Right on the money, as usual.

    You can fulltime in many ways – it’s totally ok! BUT, be respectful of others that chose to do it another way.

    You hit the big ones – noise and animals. Also, realize that many of us really like our privacy – do NOT park right next to another rig unless you know them and know it is ok with them. I have a whole page on my blog called the wall of shame It’s about Clingons that seem to think parking within feet of my home (when there is tons of space available) is ok – that is NOT ok, at least in my play book 😉

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      Good point Mush, privacy is big for a lot of people, myself included. I’ve gotten quite lucky to not run into this problem much on my travels, maybe because I always like to park in places where it’s hard for people to park next to me, haha.

  15. sdw on July 19, 2018 at 12:15 pm

    I use to think common sense was common.
    But now I’m starting to call it rare sense.

  16. Sylvia Wright on July 19, 2018 at 10:09 am

    Becky, I don’t read every post, so forgive me if this techy user-experience comment was noted/answered…
    In my IO e-mails, I don’t see any way to click to your home page,
    What I’ve tried:
    • Click on “view in your browser” — takes me to a web version of the e-mail with buttons at top left for “Subscribe” and “Past Issues”. Mousing over the IO banner here would usually give me an option to click to the home page, but it doesn’t.
    • Click on “Subscribe” — takes me to a list of posts back to 3/22/18.
    • Click on “View/Comment” (at bottom of the page I reached when I clicked “view in your browser”) — takes me to a web version of the e-mail, where I see a menu bar with the Interstellar Orchard logo on the left and “Start Here,” “Adventures,” etc. on the right. At last — Eureka! — here mousing over the logo does take me to your home page. (I thought clicking “Start Here” would do that but it doesn’t. Perhaps add “Home” to the menu bar, to the left of “Start Here,” for folks who don’t know the mouse-around-and-ye-shall-find trick?)
    Love your stuff. Hope this feedback helps you help others discover all your wisdom and humor.

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:52 pm

      Hello Sylvia. There is no direct link to the IO home page from the e-mails, and I’m not sure if I can add one or not with the way the e-mails are set up (a bunch of technical stuff that even I only half understand :P). The View/Comment button at the bottom of every page should be taking you to the actual blog though, so yes when you click IO logo that’s the home page link. Thanks for the feedback, I’ll see what I can do.

  17. Sue Ann Jaffarian on July 19, 2018 at 9:44 am

    GREAT blog, Becky! And great advice. In March I moved into my new-to-me Travato and I’m loving it! I hit the road officially in January, after I retire. The advice given to the woman on downsizing was spot on. I sold some stuff and gave away most of it. The goal was to free myself of it, except for what I needed, and a few fun things I wanted to keep. It’s liberating!

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      You’re getting so close Sue Ann! Congratulations on your upcoming retirement and I hope you have a lot of great adventures in your Travato.

  18. Don Redman on July 19, 2018 at 8:30 am

    Giving away most of the stuff is what I did – the folks that bought my house got my furniture, my friends got all the goodies – it was great! Fast and free(dom).

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm

      Glad it worked for you Don!

  19. Scott Tea on July 19, 2018 at 5:48 am

    First time commenter long time reader. This post took away a little of my guilt and pressures I put on my self regarding how I will do all this. 58. No rig yet. Just starting to downsize. Will be broke when I retire. Whatever way it works itself out will be fine. As long as I get out there…

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:43 pm

      I’m glad you decided to comment Scott, it’s always nice to hear from my readers. 🙂 Downsizing is a lot of work and I just see little point to worrying about nickles and dimes from garage sales. If you need to earn money once you hit the road so be it. I’ve written a lot about work-camping and it absolutely is a viable way to sustain this lifestyle. Best of luck to you and keep us all informed on how it goes!

  20. John Northup Jr on July 19, 2018 at 4:51 am

    Very well said . I’ve been fulltime since 2015 when I down sized split my stuff up with my kids and grand kids and donated what was left or took it to the dump, a very freeing experience .

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:41 pm

      Wasn’t it great to have it all behind you John? That’s very much how I felt too.

  21. Tim Waterhouse on July 18, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    Thanks again for all that you post. I try to read everything you write as it seems mainly so positive and I learn small things. So keep up the great work and enjoy each and every day. Looking forward to your new Rv and what it is going to be like for you. I know you will have a blast figuring out how to full time in a smaller Rv.

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      I’m glad to hear that Tim and you’re so welcome! I can’t wait to share my teardropping adventures with you.

  22. Amber Baldwin on July 18, 2018 at 10:26 pm

    Hey Lady! Thanks for the mention and glad my story resonated with you and maybe others. One of your loyal readers pinged me on YouTube and mentioned you had written this. See you soon and glad we got to camp together.

    • Becky on July 20, 2018 at 12:37 pm

      You’re welcome Amber, thanks for sharing your story! Yes I’m glad our paths crossed and looking forward to Bend!

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