Sunday, October 7, 2012

Loving It? Leaving It? 6 Months on the Road.

You know what this full-timing RV lifestyle reminds me of---close your eyes and envision the tranquil, breezy and temperate Bahamas---now open your eyes and watch for 3 months of hurricane warnings, cat-eating sized cockroaches and  $2,000 monthly rent for a studio apartment.

We just past the sixth month on this "up to 12 months" journey and wanted to weigh-in with some honest feedback. It seems to us the overwhelming full-timing RV blogging world finds the lifestyle bordering on Utopic. A post often along these lines--"Gertrude and I (Walter) lounged back in our leather recliners sharing a glass of fine French wine with our two AKC award winning Pomeranians fast asleep in our laps as we discussed how to invest our lottery winnings while viewing the seagulls outside of our Prevost coach scooping up their meal as the sunset disappeared along the Oregon coast".

Contrast that with our RV experience-- "Honey, did you see how far that flipping Iowa windstorm blew our Target camping chairs, looks like we will be relegated to the butt splinters of the forty year old campground picnic table since we didn't budget for replacements. Hey, while you are outside picking up the awning pieces, can you get your squeegee and clean off the bird poop drizzling down the dinette table windows and, before you come back in, kick off your shoes so you don't bring in the poop from the neighbors loose mutt that visited our 10 square feet of campground grass. Love you David, well, sometimes".

First, the many beauties of this lifestyle.
  • The lifestyle will bankrupt the alarm clock industry. 
  • Neighbors are very nice, but if needed, disposable. 
  • The view is what you select. 
  • Pool chemicals and cleaning is paid by someone else.
  • You can travel toward weather forecasts. 
  • I don't have to watch another Texas garden die of rain starvation.
  • You get to see many of God's creations and scenic beauty. 
  • You are envied by those leashed to cubicles. 
  • It can be a less expensive lifestyle than sticks and bricks--REALLY.
  • Someone else is mowing my lot. 
  • Being in our early 50's in the full-time RV world,, we are seen as the "youth movement".
  • No separation anxiety being away from grand-kids, probably cause we have none.
  • The mail never has a utility bill awaiting me. 
  • With an awning, I always have shade. 
  • It's easier to hide from the IRS. 
  • You can't overfill your car garage when you don't have one.
  • Moving frequently wreaks havoc on the Repo guys trying to find me. 
  • Almost every campground store freezer has Snicker ice cream bars. 
  • The campground owner has yet to bill me for property taxes.
  • "Wow, Dave's put on weight" is something I never hear since no one knows me. 

So, where does Shangri-la filled with Skittles-pooping Unicorns and fairy dust end? Let me tell you about RV'ing and the life we left. We sold 2.4 acres and 1,847 square feet of living outside of Austin, Tx. for 250 square feet. The differences:
  • Oh my porcelain throne, you have left me for a potty designed by Ken and Barbie.
  • There should be a warning sign of "butt-chafing zone" when in the RV kitchen.
  • I didn't routinely discover loose screws on my brick-n-mortar home. 
  • I no longer have the trustworthy, affordable lineup of mechanics, plumbers and electricians to solve a quirk at your beckon call.
  • How does one head to the library while the other goes to the hardware store when you have one vehicle.
  • The RV manufacturers should rename the Queen sized bed the red-headed, step-Princess and include some Doan's pills with every purchase.
  • I love washing my vehicles, RV parks do not.
  • A week's worth of groceries does not fit in the refrigerator
  • My sticks-n-bricks home did not shake when my wife got up to use the restroom.
  • No longer afforded the excitement of seeing the UPS truck in our driveway.
  •  I didn't have to sign on to the Internet 10x a day at the homestead.
  • Not one time did I have to go up on my country bungalow and scrub the roof with some warm water mixed with a little Spic-N-Span.
  • The "Deposit" column on my bank account ledger has had no entries in ten months.
  • I never once suffered the consequence of failing to lower my brick home's TV antenna.
  • I walked around my Texas abode and never did have to kick a single tire.
  • Dishwasher, soaking tub and washing machine--where art thou?
  • When you didn't want to see the other, I used to be able to go to a different room and not be seen. 
  • Passing gas in an RV becomes scientific having to measure pressure, winds aloft and proximity to victim. 
  • When I needed a home repair, I didn't have to hitch it up and take it somewhere now rendering myself homeless.
  • In our foundation built home, when having an amorous moment, I was never worried about it escaping from the chocks and killing a boy scout group tenting down the hill.

Those are the realities--confinement, fewer modern day amenities,  inconsistent technology, unpredictable sleep patterns, set-up/tear down, income limitations and equipment breakdowns resulting in an emotional breakdown.

This lifestyle, although often envied, is not for all. It is similar to any other journey we embark on filled with twists and turns, highs and lows. With her permission, here are a few excerpts from just a few weeks ago where Teri was sharing her thoughts on the moment in an email I opened up one morning as I had my first cup of coffee—G U L P! 

  • ·         I'm thinking I'm more of a tourist than a traveler...
  • ·         I enjoy our vacations but "today" I'm weary of the traveling...
  • ·         I cannot figure out if I'm missing home/Texas/sticks and bricks/familiarity.
  • ·         It came to my mind that maybe I'm just missing a little independence.

You know the pop hit song currently getting a ton of air time- “Call Me --Maybe?”---yeah, this was more like “Call Me-- Long Distance” . 

Being married for a quarter century, I immediately go into diagnosis mode. In our relationship, the difficult moments are USUALLY born out of one of two causes: 1) Bad sleep over continuous days 2) Illness. In this case, the sleep gremlin had arrived. We are back to enjoying full-timing it on the road and living one day at a time, as we all should, regardless of locale or circumstances.

So, with 6 months left to go and 8,500 miles behind us, what do we see on the RV horizon? While I think the frequent traveling aspect will be no more, after finishing our first one month stay at a single location, it was refreshing to arrive into a new area with a different back yard. So, clearly some mixed feelings. Park it? Move it two-four times a year? Vacation only in it? Sell it? The crystal ball is opaque.

There is a strong possibility we will settle again in the Hill Country of Texas from where this journey commenced. There just has been too many comments such as “a Torchy’s taco sure sounds good”, “don’t you miss our chickens?”, “some Salt Lick BBQ sounds delish”,“be awesome to catch a Longhorns game today”, etc. to believe otherwise.

Regardless of the option, we will remain minimalists by today’s standards so an RV, cabin or small sticks-N-bricks would suffice, although if you were a betting reader, I would put money on a solution that does not involve a rubber foundation, but does involve a high quality King sized bed. If not, at least a spare bedroom for a chiropractor.

Other than that, it is just like Walt and Gerty on the beach.


  1. You may have surmised from my postings, that I think the full-time RV lifestyle is much harder than we expected. I thought there was something wrong with me, that I did not feel all warm and fuzzy about RVing, like most of the blogs talk about.

    I too have felt something like homesickness, although that feeling is becoming less and less.

    We are doing this for longer than a year, but I can surely understand how you guys would be questioning and discussing what to do next.

    For us...getting the heck out of Kansas will be our first order of business come December 23rd!

  2. It is definitely a transition, no doubt....being "stuck" in the Northeast due to commitments we made with family/friends to meet up has been difficult as we are tired of rain, dew, humidity, cold, etc..still learning...our sched frees up in 6 days!

  3. Now with football season here we have found that we cannot watch our Kansas Chiefs run out onto the field. It would be nice if they would win, but win or lose they are still our Chiefs and we would like to watch them play. So I understand your Longhorns.

    We have not traveled as far or as often as you, but have experienced so many of the same things. We miss our home church, but by way of the internet as least we can get the sermons.

    Even with missing some things, we are still loving it. The stress and polotics of the work place are not missed. The differences of the locations are renewing even with the battle of the fire ants.

    If we were not fulltiming I would probably never had read your blog and would have missed one of my greatest joys. I love and look forward to the humor. Thanks!

    1. I hear u D/L...I think we just have Northeast Fatigue Syndrome---prices, attitude, drivers, weather, etc. after 1 mo.+ in the area...we have one more week of obligations ALL BROUGHT ON BY OURSELVES before the freedom returns...thanks for cking in...

  4. Your post rings so true to me. I laughed so hard at some parts. We are back home and it is harder for me to adjust to a house than the RV. I am overwhelmed by all the stuff we have. It is so unnecessary. Enough about me....LOL I hope the decision about your future comes to you easily when the time comes. Maybe you will choose to just travel 3 to 6 months a year and stay put the rest of the time. I know that I will miss your blog if you decide to the leave the road.

    1. Thanks Patty and give those 2 G-hounds a hug for us, their perspective his hilarious!...saw where you did arrive home, but we have no home to arrive back to, other than our traveling hallway...our minds remain open as to the future, just need some clear skies and warmer temps to fire up the brain cells...

  5. Jared Phillips has left a new comment on your post "Loving It? Leaving It? 6 Months on the Road.":

    As I've said before, yourhome blog entries are a highlight of my day. Always enjoy reading your humor and insight about your journey. That said, I agree with you. We just completed a TWO-WEEK trip in our 21friends ft camper, with two dogs. Maybe it was the small space, the dogs, the lack of money, lack of time, the constant expensive camper failures and repairs (see again"lack of money) or the fact that we still had a sticks home that was filling up with bills for us to come home and pay. We both talked about the idea of full-timing someday, but I would bet that it would be more of a part-time-full-time. There are too many things about HOME that I would miss. But with that said, we've been home from our two-week adventure for 5 days and I was ready to go again on day 3. Just a couple days to recharge, see family and friends and sleep in a non-mobile bed is all I needed to be ready to go again.

    1. Yeah, Jared, we hear you...we were hoping 2 nites in large hotel room in the Big Apple will invigorate us as it was nice having a new, comfy King Sized bed and an endless supply of hot water to refil the tub the post indicates, nothing has been ruled out at all....

  6. Hey, thanks for the honesty.....hubby and I have questioned the "full-time" thing. A man-cave, nice kitchen and king bed make for marital bliss :-) Looking forward to seeing where you end up in 6 months. Hubby and I have been contemplating the TX hill country. Safe travels....head south NOW while ya can!

    1. Nothing to contemplate ref the Hill Country, it is a charmer...spouse and I lived 20+ yrs in Denver, CO plus 2+ yrs in Austin, TX area--easily, for anyone that has traveled, those two would be in Top 10 great areas in the USA to live, and we experienced both, so yeah, as we travel, those two towns are high bars to clear..

  7. Not having gotten to the full-time part yet, I think it made me ask myself a few more questions. I'm counting on the fact that we've lost a few good friends to sickness, the folks in their 90's are in the stinky nursing home, and I can't stand the stress of my job and want to be retired with my husband. Now if that lottery win had happened I could hole up in a tiny home somewhere but sure hate to have reqrets later in life that I stayed in the same house, with the same stuff, and instead got to experience America. Before long it will be me sitting in that nursing home! You sure brought forth the good and the tough points. And always with the sweetest humor! I hope you continue to find your way...hoping that getting out of dodge on the East cost and back on the road for some adventure, it gets easier!

  8. CJ, one of the reasons we are out in our early 50s you spoke to--"if not now, when?"...losing my parents and sister to cancer in an 18 mo. period forever changed me in terms of the "wait and see" attitude...we like to "keep it real" and with your forthcoming adventure in a Casita, you I think for sure can imagine the space difficulties that will present themselves...again, our motto of "No Regrets" is one we live by....

  9. So sorry for your loss...I miss my family so much as well, especially my sister who we lost to ALS and an ailing sis with MS as well. I meant to say "hope" it gets I really don't have a clue yet how hard it will be, that's for sure. And yes indeed, "no regrets"!

  10. I can understand the dilemma. The wife and I did a 4 month around the country trip and near the end of it, started getting that feeling that it was time to head home. We had some of the same thoughts as Teri, wondering if we could sustain this over an extended time.

    Yes, you meet a lot of new friends on the road, but you start missing your old friends that you spent years cultivating, and may never see your new friends ever again.

    How do you spend the days not driving somewhere. A lot of people ask us why we don't retire full time, to which I answer, I am still young, and what would I do with myself all day? Yes we have hobbies, but hobbies usually aren't something you can spend all day, everyday doing. I couldn't play golf or fish everyday of the week, spoils it for those special times when you can do it.

    We are planning a 6 month tour, but on this one we plan on spending more time in one place.

    Wishing you the best.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Thanks James. Our situation a bit different as we don't have sticks/bricks to return to. Down days are spent hanging out on-line, exercising, going into town to sight see, groc/laundry, etc, pretty much same as regular living. I didnt retire, just re-wiring--trying to figure out what to do for the next 20 yrs...

  11. All so true - right!

    We are younger then most - and travel very small and very frugally. It is very challenging at times - harder then we thought and much harder then others think. I totally want to give it up when we miss a turn and I have to tell Derek to turn around. ha! Hoping that gets easier now with the camper van!

    But oh how freeing that open road is and all the possibilities that lie before us - guess that's why we keep heading out!

    1. Yeah, TJ, my happiest moment is when I park her, can relax and look forward to hangin' or explorin'...

  12. Thank you so much for your honesty! The RV blogging world needs more of that! (It's one of the reasons we have two blogs. One chronicles our travels; the other gives an honest report of life as fulltimers.)

    We presented a session at this year's Escapade about "The Myths of Fulltime RVing" to share the truth about Gerty and Walt's (and friends) fictional tales. We received lots of feedback about how much people appreciated hearing the "whole" truth. So, keep up the truth-telling!

    It's refreshing to read the true tales of fellow 50-something "youngsters". We look forward to meeting you somewhere down the road and swapping the stories that weren't fit to print. Safe travels to you both.

  13. I have always said that my life is a dichotomy. Heck, I'm a dichotomy! So I could totally relate to this post. Thank you for sharing both sides of the coin; the two faces of the mirror, the ... sorry, it's your fault you know... your humor just brings it out. LOL. Love, love, love this blog - gotta go with what others have said - I hope you guys keep up some modicum of travel so that we don't miss out on your posts. A big Texas hug to you two!

  14. We didn't start RVing until we were 60 years old... we'd retired at 55 and 5 years later decided to rent our house out for 1 year and do some traveling. For us, it worked. Our house is still rented out nearly 12 years later and we're still on the road at age 70. But I don't think we hit the road running... we spent around 3 months at each location and spent that 3 months volunteering some place. Nearly 12 years later our motorhome now has 150,000 miles on it. BUT... the most important thing folks can do (in my opinion ;-) is to search one's own heart and soul and do what's best for yourself. What works for us would be disastrous for others.... (I just found you blog today and am intrigued by it... I'll be interested to see how it goes... Best wishes!)

  15. I love this post. Thanks for being honest. RVSue is pretty honest too and she has had some ups and downs over the past two years but she loves the life style so much and you can tell it. Also there is another blogger Barney, at Old Fat Man Adventures and he basically lives in one area on the TX coast but does some traveling. But all things mentioned in her e-mail I think would be taken care of if you just lived around the same area for a while and had those pleasures to partake of while RVing. I have never RVed but I read a lot of blogs and Jones for that life style at least for a while. I don't think it will ever happen but if it does I am glad to have this post in mind to keep me aware of what can happen. In case you have not read them: RVSue and Old Fat Man I hope you will have many more blessings by the time your year is up.