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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Do Fulltime RVers Get Any Respect??

I often read stories about individuals that are doing unique, interesting, and unconventional things with their lives. Whether it’s moving overseas with their children, choosing an unusual career path, studying spirituality in India, being on and winning a reality TV show, or just providing their personal and often spunky view on a topic, these folks offer a peek inside lives that many of us only dream of. And then there’s the fulltime RVer.

As a proud, card carrying fulltimer those I meet (and even some friends and family) are either awestruck and a little envious about my lifestyle or, with eyes downcast, concerned about my economic situation. In both cases they are eager to know how I got here (made a conscious choice) and what my plans for the future are (keep doing this until it’s time to do something else). While times are difficult across the nation it’s important to recognize that many – maybe even most – fulltime RVers are on the road by choice not circumstance and are living their version of the American Dream...carving out their own paths.

For many young fulltime RVers (those not yet retired and eligible for traditional social security and medicare benefits) the decision to break the mold comes from a sense of adventure, self-assurance, and a huge dose of “what-if”. Some of us took an early retirement buy-out when our company downsized, were simply let go, or chose to explore a life outside the usual and customary. Living this lifestyle requires a drastic adjustment. Space is tight, alone time is more challenging to find, “things” must be left behind or sold, there’s always a new grocery store, gas station, or post office to locate and navigate, your support circle must become a “virtual” safe place, you’re always a new patient at the doctor’s office, and there’s always a new, unknown route to navigate.

Why do we do it? Maybe it’s the age-old question…what’s around the bend. This might and can be interpreted literally but is usually meant in the bigger context of life. For me (and many others) it’s freedom - seeking new ways of seeing the world and defining success as a personal matter. The most frequent comment I get from older fulltimers is that they wish they had of begun this lifestyle earlier – when they were healthier and more physically able to explore. One young fulltime couple I know recently left “the road” to move in and financially assist mom. They wrote me saying “We sold our RV and truck and are considering going into business for ourselves. If fulltime RVing and workamping has taught us nothing else - it is that we are able to reinvent ourselves when we choose to.” Talk about freedom, right?

So do we get any respect? I suppose fulltime RVers fly under most radar and perhaps we like it that way. We pay our taxes, register our vehicles, carry insurance, spend our money at local groceries, restaurants, and shops, buy tires and have our vehicles maintained at local garages, and are good neighbors. It rankles me when I read stories in the media about us…missives to park owners to beware…our kind (I think they mean those of us that stay in parks seasonally) might not mix well with travelers and could taint their businesses, school districts that might have to absorb a child that does not…gasp…live in a stick home (property taxes are built into our site fees), or political groups that try to amend our rights as US citizens to vote.

You, me, everyone chooses their own life adventures – raising children, developing big careers, experiencing other cultures. Just like any of the remarkable folks listed in the opening paragraph, we young fulltime RVers ask the same questions: Who says that we must live by what today’s culture tells us is good and right and who exactly decides good and right anyways? With courage, strength, an ability to let go, a strong sense of humor, and making choices along the way we’ve designed our very own, personal, respectable American Dream.

I’m very interested in your take on this topic. Fulltime RVer or not, young or young at heart, traveler or homesteader…leave your comments below.

RV Cooking Show


Jim and Bobbie said...

We have fulltimed for three years now. With the state of the economy as fulltimers we have better control of our expenses...stay in one place longer...go further south to avoid propane costs...boondock instead of staying in a park, etc. Freedom to do what we want when we want to is our reason to stay on the road.

Motty said...

I think you have summarized it great - very well said!
Young full timers (before retirement) is a smaller sub-group of the Full Timers with special and extra needs (like health as you mentioned).
Patti and I have just started this great journey about 6 months ago, and so far we enjoy every minute. It started as an adventure, but ended up as a life style we just fell in love with.

Delfin Ashley said...

Simply great post. I actually talk with the full-time Rvers after hearing about their experience & fun-full life. I am also thinking of being full-time Rver.

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