I suspect many of you reading this are current RV owners enjoying the RV lifestyle and the adventures that come with it, but I also suspect a few of you reading this are looking to purchase your first RV and join in the fun. This entry is for the latter group of readers.
Years ago, I read a story that compared life to traveling down a railroad and the stops along the way. The stops along the way represented your chances to exit the train and enjoy life. Sadly, many riders on the train were too busy with life’s distractions to get off at the stops, always promising themselves they would get off at the next stop, but alas, before they knew it the train had reached the proverbial “end of the line.”
During my years as an RV dealer, I saw this story play out more often than I care to remember. A couple would come in and purchase their first RV, tell me about the years they have been planning to get on the road and all the places they planned to visit and explore. Sadly, months later, one of the spouses (typically the wife, now widowed) would call asking me for help in selling her RV since the husband had passed away unexpectedly.
Recently that story has again returned to me as my wife and I take care of my aging mother. She and my stepdad worked hard for many years, my stepdad finally convinced my mom to buy a travel trailer, but alas he was diagnosed with cancer and passed away before taking their first trip.
What has made it even more poignant is that we spent this past week moving my mom into an assisted living facility. Part of the admission process is asking my mom a bunch of life experience questions in the hopes of getting facility staff to know her better and encourage her. Many of the questions revolved around memorable experiences of which her answers were either superficial or nothing popped into her brain worth sharing.
Another question asked about foreign countries she had visited along with other places. Foreign countries visited was a total of one—Mexico (while she was still married to my Dad over 45 years ago). Keep in mind she has lived less than a 2-hour drive from Canada her entire life, and other out of state locations didn’t score much higher.
As I pondered her responses, it broke my heart to realize she is close to the end of the line and never took time to step off the train and enjoy the stops along the way.
My goal in writing this is to encourage those of you reading it, that aren’t currently enjoying the RV lifestyle, to quit telling yourself you will get off at the next stop. As you can see from the stories above, there is no promise that the next stop isn’t the last and final stop of the line. I understand the timing might not be right, you can’t afford your dream RV right now, you want to wait until the kids are out of school, et cetera, et cetera, but you can start with a used folding trailer, a hand-me-down travel trailer, a rental RV, et cetera, et cetera. If there is a will, there is a way!
If the above RV inspiration examples haven’t convinced you to quit waiting and join the RV lifestyle then I encourage you to watch this short video featuring RV industry veteran Gaylord Maxwell. He too saw many people wait too long and missed following their dream.
Make this year the year you quit procrastinating and begin enjoying your own adventures in RVing!
See also: Check Out These 5 Awesome RVs You Can Rent For Your Next Vacation
Dave Helgeson’s many roles in the RV industry started before he even had a driver’s license. His grandparents and father owned an RV dealership before the term “RV” had been coined, and Dave played a pivotal role in nearly every position of an RV dealership. He and his wife Cheri launched their own RV dealership in the Pacific Northwest. The duo also spent 29 years overseeing regional RV shows. Dave has also served as President of a local chapter of the Recreational Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA), worked on the board of advisors for the RV Technician Program of a local technical college, and served as a board member of the Manufactured Home and RV Association. Dave’s reputation earned him the title of “The foremost expert on boondocking,” bestowed by RV industry icon, the late Gary Bunzer (The RV Doctor). When he’s not out boondocking, you’ll find Dave in the spotlight at RV shows across the country, giving seminars about all things RVing. He and Cheri currently roam in their fifth travel trailer, with Dave doing all the service, repair and modifications to his own unit.
Jim s says
This story does touch home a bit but knowing that my parents did travel to places to fish of course in the Lower 48. While we lived close to Canada I don’t believe they ever made it there. I have traveled extensively, all fifty states and most of Europe and Mexico. I have been trying for a couple years to get my wife to come along for that train ride and get off at every stop to smell the roses and whatever else happens to be there. I know a lot of people that think a 300 mile trip is all they ever need but I would change them to go farther.
Ann Lemon says
I had the pleasure of reading my mom’s “trip journals” many years after she passed away. My parents loved to travel and did so their entire marriage, from the 1940s “before the interstate” to far flung destinations into the 2000s – my dad’s last trip was a quick round trip on the Concorde – he was a WWII pilot and went with my aerospace engineer brother just to study the plane. What I learned by reading the stories was how much less they could do as they got older, and how much more easily they got tired walking down cobblestone streets or driving long distances. I saw that “when we were young and full of beans” in their 40s and 50s they could do and see so much more. Go now!
Yes, I am listening:)
I have been looking for about six months and probably know just a little too much to jump in and buy. I have the cash. I have the interest. But how do I get past diesel/def issues that can happen without warning? How do I deal with inadequate battery systems for today’s rv’s with their compressor refrigerators if dry camping is important? How do I deal with owners who can’t answer basic questions about their units. Etc. Etc. I haven’t got the energy to play the game of MSRP and the “real price”. I haven’t given up but it’s not as easy as buying a car.
Betty, you’re over thinking. Realize that there is no such thing as a ‘sure’ thing. You will have challenges. Some of them might become issues, but you will overcome them because you want to be out there enjoying the journey. I bought a truck and a fifth wheel trailer almost 13 years ago. The truck is still on the road (with the help of almost 1/2 the purchase price in repairs) and the trailer is still serviceable too although it has been replaced with a newer unit.
My point is, no matter what your concerns are, they are not enough to keep you from enjoying the experience.
Mike mcalpine says
We prefer to fly/drive to places and stay in hotels/ motels. Have no desire to go camping and all the mundane chores that go with it. Our way gives us more time and money to sightsee.