Don’t Shelve Your Dreams
Many part-time RVers who get bitten by the wanderlust bug instinctively know they would be happy living the vagabonding lifestyle—and they don’t want to wait until retirement to do it. But as soon as these dreamers confess their aspirations to friends and family, the backlash begins with well-intentioned advice consisting of reasons why the gypsy lifestyle is an irrational choice (especially for younger, working-age people like me). From “You need more money to do that!” to “Now is the time to work hard and save for retirement!”—they try to persuade full-timing dreamers that going on the road before your golden years will lead to a life of poverty and regret.
If you’ve always yearned to travel full time in your RV, don’t let the “rational” voices discourage you from doing so. Harness the power of the new year, because now is the time to start planning your dream life! Here’s a little something to get you started. When my husband and I were planning our getaway, this passage from Sterling Hayden’s book, Voyage: A Novel of 1896, kept our dream alive:
Which Shall It Be: Bankruptcy of Purse or Bankruptcy of Life?
To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest… “I’ve always wanted to sail to the South Seas, but I can’t afford it.” What these men can’t afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of security. And in the worship of security, we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine. And before we know it, our lives are gone.
What does a man need, really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in—and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That’s all in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention from the sheer idiocy of the charade.
The years thunder by. The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life?
Get Inspired and Plan
First, get into the right frame of mind. Take a night off to make some popcorn and watch the independent movie I’m Fine, Thanks (http://bit.ly/finethanks). In this thought-provoking 2012 documentary, fledgling filmmaker Grant Peelle takes a cross-country road trip to examine why so many people surrender their dreams to a quiet life of mediocrity and discontent. From heartbroken souls who traded their passions for a hefty paycheck, to keeping up with the Joneses, I’m Fine, Thanks will make you feel empowered enough to stand up for your dreams and ignore the Negative Nellies.
Now that you’re feeling courageous, start planning your getaway by learning from the experts. For daily inspiration and tips, check out blogs like “Living the RV Life” (livingthervlife.com) and the “The Digital Hippies” (thedigitalhippies.com). You can learn technical tips by following Russ and Tiña De Maris’ monthly RV Life column, “Tech Tips,” and finally, you’ll receive an extensive education about working on the road by joining Facebook communities like “We Love Workamping” (facebook.com/groups/weloveworkamping) and “Nomadic Gigs” (facebook.com/groups/nomadicgigs). And you should know that both the RV Life website (rvlife.com) and the RV Life Facebook page (facebook.com/pages/RV-Life-Magazine/28544971170) share a wealth of general RVing know-how about everything from cooking on the road to great destinations.
Nobody said hitting the road would be easy. If you want to have a comfortable lifestyle and live without the fear of going broke, start reading these acclaimed guides to full-time RVing:
So You Want to be an RVer? by John and Kathy Huggins (http://bit.ly/HugginsBook). Thousands of full-timers cite this book as essential reading for a road trip education. This jam-packed resource guide includes smart advice from seasoned full-timers who offer tips on everything from choosing the right RV for your needs, to camping ins and outs, budgeting, health insurance, working on the road and more.
How to Hit the Road: Making Your Family’s Full Time RV Dreams a Reality by Kimberly Travaglino (fulltimefamilies.com). If you are a family with children and want to learn the ins and outs of full-timing with young ones, this book is for you. The author is the founder of the Fulltime Families RVing community. In one of the few books of its kind, she addresses the basics about planning a full-time RVing lifestyle with school-age children.
Live Your Road Trip Dream by Phil and Carol White (roadtripdream.com). Although the second edition of this book was published in 2008, the advice is as useful as ever. It covers the nuts and bolts of a year on the road (and beyond) by showcasing topics such as budgeting for a year away from home, how to downsize and live in a small home on wheels and most importantly, how to live in close quarters with your family! The mobile technologies overview is a bit dated but the rest of the book is solid, useful reading.
Perhaps you weren’t expecting so many homework assignments before your great adventure, but I can’t stress enough the importance of research, talking to experienced full-timers and carefully plotting the steps away from conventional living. I’ve seen too many full-timers get off the road within a year of their departure because they weren’t prepared for the psychological or financial adjustments required by a life of travel. Don’t let that happen to you; in the coming months, learn as much as you can about the lifestyle and soon a comfy life on the open road will be your reward.
Rene Agredano is enjoying her seventh year as a working-age, full-time RVer. She and her spouse, Jim Nelson, have published a free, three-part series of helpful information about getting on the road, which can be found on their blog at liveworkdream.com/tag/mustread.