In the months since I began letting my friends and family know of my plans to go full-time RVing, I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of people responding not only positively, but with some form of, “I am so jealous!” or “I wish I could go with you.”
Part of me always wants to say, “Well, then, why don’t you?” But the non-smartass part of me (granted, not the majority shareholder in my brain) understands that, when you are adulting, there are many reasons why people can’t just chuck it all and leave.
I get it: I had many of those same reasons for years. I just happen to be at a point in my life where I’m free to make this decision, and it is ONLY because—unlike many other fulltimers—I have some really awesome people who care about me and are supporting this move in any number of ways. Let me be very clear about that. I’m not doing it alone. I wouldn’t be able to.
Trade-offs of a Full-time RV Life
Yes, I am looking forward to having adventures, to never quite knowing what is around the corner for me every morning when I get up. I know there are people for whom this would be anathema, but (thankfully) I’m not one of them. I not only am okay with a certain amount of ambiguity in my life, I need it.
There is nothing worse to me than imagining a day in which I know everything that’s going to happen, from the moment I awake until I lay my head down to sleep. To me, there would be no point in a day like that. I would soon find it very difficult to even bother getting out of bed in the morning, because…why bother? You already KNOW everything that’s going to happen. Where’s the mystery? Where’s the wonder? Where’s the surprise and delight (or even horror)? No, thanks. Not for me. Those unknowns are what keeps life worth living for me.
That said, perhaps to help those of you who wish you could be doing the same thing feel a little better, I want to share in this post some of the things that I do have trepidation about, because there are some. I accept that, in exchange for the excitement and wonder and adventure, there will be things that aren’t so great. I’ll share the specific things as they happen, but here are a few things I know will be difficult:
Things I’m Really Going To Miss While I’m On The Road
- “The Cheers Factor” – That’s how I refer to the phenomenon of living in a small enough community that—if not everybody—many people know me. I love going into the bank and having the tellers smile and greet me by name, and the bank manager gives a friendly wave and asks how I’m doing. I love it when I’m grocery shopping and run into a neighbor or friend in the aisle and stop for a brief chat, or when one of the store staff I know gives me a quick hug and we exchange a few pleasantries. I love belonging to a community where I am known and valued, and where people know they can come to me if they need something, because I genuinely care. We take care of each other.
- Limitless and affordable electricity and fresh water – I haven’t been camping yet, but I know once I’m out on the road and having to carefully manage my potable water, propane and electrical power, I will never again take these things for granted.
- Face-to-face interaction with my friends – Even though I don’t often have a lot of time to socialize, it’s nice to know that when I do, all I have to do is pick up the phone and make plans with someone.
- Our awesome historic ground here in the northeast – Hey, come on: I’m a metal detectorist! It’s going to be hard to leave the oldest, longest-settled area of our country that has the most cool old stuff in the ground to find.
- Trees and gently rolling mountains and lots of lakes and rivers – I’m going to be hanging out in the desert a lot. To some folks, that is a beautiful place, but I have to honestly admit that it doesn’t do much for me in the looks department. I like green things and lots of trees. I’m hoping it grows on me. I’m open to that possibility.
- Distance between me and Idgie’s litterbox – Pretty sure this needs no explanation. We’ll be living together in about 84 square feet.
- Shopping in grocery stores in which I know where everything is – I can imagine that my shopping trips will effectively double in duration when I constantly have to learn new store layouts. I know, First World Problem, but there it is.
- Being able to attend club meetings – I belong to a few groups I joined because I like personal interaction with others of like minds. I will miss them.
And this. I’m going to miss this: Being invited to and able to attend special events and ceremonies that recognize milestones for people I care about. To me, celebrating those with whom we share some of our lives is a huge part of what creates and maintains community. Last weekend, I got to attend my first Eagle Scout Court, in which three fine young men were recognized for going above and beyond in service to their communities. (Congratulations, Sam!)
It was very moving and actually choked me up a little. I was so honored to be invited: I, who produced no kids of my own to contribute to our civil life, was included in the acknowledgment of these high achievers. Someone felt my presence there would be meaningful and maybe add something. That, to me, is a good example of what it means to have a real home.
I’m sometimes going to have to forego that particular pleasure when I’m away, and it’s not like these kinds of things happen often to begin with. It’s a trade I have to make, if I want to pursue this other thing that’s tugging at me.
I’m looking forward to going away for a while, and to having my adventures. But the thing that makes these trade-offs bearable is knowing I will always have a home to return to.