Monday, May 10, 2010

A Philosophical Discourse on Adopting the Full-time RV Lifestyle

I was half listening to a television talk show today and a guest commented that he was taking 3 months off to see the world and added: “not a bad lifestyle.”

What we are doing is using the best remaining years of our lives to see as much of North America as we can. I agree with the TV talk show guest: ours is “not a bad lifestyle.”

But like everything else in life, there were tradeoffs.

For me I had to give up some favorite possessions and sell some useful tools. Shedding those tools was actually not that difficult because in a motorhome they would be of little use. Where would I put a Bosch work site table saw, anyway? Sandy and I live a simpler lifestyle. The only possessions we own are those we really need. No more full storage barn or basement storage room.

The biggest adjustment was moving further away from children. We aren’t the kind of family that practically lives under one roof, but we got together often and always enjoyed our times together. Being somewhat handy with tools, I was also available for hands-on support and advice. And now that Jennifer and Brad are homeowners, I wish I had been able to help them with painting, repairs and/or renovations as I know they would have liked. But I am still available for advice.

Then there was the issue of selling a home in a downward spiraling housing market. For the past 15 years, every nail I pounded, every paint brush stroke I made, every bush and tree we planted and every improvement we made was done with two goals: 1) to make our home more enjoyable and 2) to increase the resale value.

We succeeded on point 1 and lost out on #2. We saw neighbors whose homes had no appeal, few upgrades and no quality sell for outlandish high prices just a few years before we decided to sell. There is the marketing truth that homes usually sell for just what they are worth. Selling ours for what felt like a lot less than it was worth was the hardest adjustment I had to make. But I am finally over that.

Sandy and I have revisited this topic often in the past eight months, but less more recently. We understand that had we stuck around and waited for a better price or a more appreciative buyer that we would have had to sell for even less. And in that time, we would have had to defer our Great Adventure.

We made other adjustments. We don’t have the comfort level of great medical/dental care three miles away. We don’t have Kojak’s French fries on Saturdays, we don’t get to see a few good old friends, but we are making new ones.

For me there were a few other comfort factors I had to relinquish. I had finally learned all the surrounding country roads and could circumvent almost any traffic problem. This knowledge of the countryside gave me a sense of belonging. In addition, I had made a lot of casual friendships with people who worked at local businesses and I enjoyed talking with them in the course of using their businesses. I had a part-time job where I had an important and appreciated role in that company’s growth and its respect in the community. As part of that job I met many area residents and formed friendships with them. All of these are some of the touchstones in life that help cement our feelings of belonging in a community. But any negatives from changing our lifestyle and our environment are far outweighed by the positives of seeing so many beautiful places and, when we get bored, we move on. We do get to meet new and interesting people; and when we click, we stay in touch by e-mail and blogs.

So, stay tuned as we continue to share our Great Adventure with you.


  1. My hardest thing to relinquish was a big kitchen and all it's equipment. I definitely don't miss all the work and time that it took to keep the house in good shape.

    I have not had one regret in the last four years of going fulltime. :)

  2. Well said George, well said.


  3. Great post!!

    Mike & Gerri (happytrails)

  4. yeah - well said - just another one of life's NEXT adventures.