A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010 RV Resolutions – a Roadmap

So here we are, a week-plus into the new year, and I’m wondering about your resolutions. Specifically your 2010 RV resolutions. After all, RVing is an exciting topic – it’s easy to dream about hitting the open road, seeing old friends and making new ones, experiencing the great outdoors…the freedom of an RV getaway. Did you make any RV resolutions this year??

Ask any expert and they’ll tell you that resolutions, goals, objectives...whatever you want to call them – must be specific and obtainable, in writing, include action items, and reviewed frequently.

“I’d like to travel more” or “fix up the camper” may not cut it. Begin by realistically reviewing last year…did you have RV resolutions at the start of ’09? What worked? What didn’t? Why? Once you’ve thought through the past year you’ll have a better idea of what to shoot for in 2010 and how to approach it.

Using the “travel more” example here’s how your RV travel resolution might look:

Take the camper out 4 times in 2010

To accomplish this I’ll:

• Talk to my family about their RV travel desires
• Research destinations within a 100 mile radius of my home
• Explore events, festivals, and activities in those destinations
• Surf the internet and ask friends about RV parks and campgrounds
• Create an RV travel fund – setting aside $XX/week

Even if you are a fulltime RVer (and even if you are not) there are plenty of topics you can “riff” resolutions on:

• Theme-travel
• Connecting with family and friends
• Green RVing
• Volunteer programs
• Sharing your travels
• RV/camper projects

The list is as rich as your imagination. With RV travel as the topic it’s not too difficult to quickly identify what RV-specific goals you want to focus on in 2010. Make a date with yourself to review your RV travel goals at least once every other month. Revise them if you must…it’s your life and circumstances change. No pressure.

I thought I’d share a few of my 2010 RV resolutions…my RV roadmap for an exciting and successful 2010. Some of these are personal and some are professional and I’ve only listed the general goal – not the action items:

• Embark upon a bicycle theme this year – specifically rails-to-trails
• Explore the concept of food as medicine
• Seek out new ways to further green my RVing lifestyle
• Recarpet my RV
• Communicate with RV Cooking Show viewers and readers weekly
• Continue to bring value to RV Cooking Show viewers and readers via new concepts, web extras, inside scoops, etc.

Here’s to a healthy 2010 full of safe and exciting RV travels, friends at every stop, and delicious dishes in your RV kitchen!!

If you have some 2010 RV resolutions to share I'd love to hear them. It's always fun to exchange ideas. Leave a comment below.

I hope to see YOU on the road this year!!


P.S. I'm on Twitter and have Facebook Fan Page. Follow and friend me and we'll enjoy this crazy RV-ride together!

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