Any major change in life can cause stress, be it changing jobs, getting married, buying a home, and yes, even retirement. So it should come as no surprise that making the decision to become a fulltime RVer, or even a snowbird escaping the cold winter months to someplace warm and sunny, can cause a certain amount of angst.
Of the many different seminars I present at RV rallies, one called The Reluctant RVer in which I discuss the fears that new RVers experience always gets a full house. I’ve given this seminar at RV events from coast to coast for years, and the same concerns are always voiced at every session, so let’s discuss some of them here.
Separation – “I can’t leave my grandkids. They need me!” No they don’t. That’s why they have parents. Sure, they love you and can’t get enough of you when they’re little, but guess what? Give them a few years and those kids are going to grow up and are going to be busy with their friends and not have nearly as much time for you. There are lots of ways to keep in contact with the little ones. You can Skype, call them, send them postcards of the places you visit (kids love getting their own mail), go home for visits where you have quality time, and even take them with you for short trips.
Illness or Death – It happens. People get sick on the road, and yes, sometimes they die. Just like they do living in houses and apartments. There are good doctors and hospitals all over the country. In an emergency, you can go to an urgent care center or hospital emergency room. And having wheels under your house gives you the ability to go wherever you want for the best medical care for your needs. Companies like Sky Med and Medical Air Services Association (MASA) will not only provide air or ground transportation for medical patients, but will also transport your spouse, and pay a professional driver to take your RV wherever you have designated.
Accidents & Breakdowns – They happen too, and there are good repair shops and mechanics everywhere. We provide an excellent list of reliable RV service facilities in our Guide To RV Good Guys, and you can also check out a prospective shop on the website RV Service Reviews. Having a good roadside service company that specializes in RVs is very important. Fulltime RVers Charles and Chris Yust at C&C Insurance sell Good Sam Roadside Assistance plans and are great to work with. Another good roadside assistance program is Coach-Net.
Getting Lost – I’ve met some RVers who have an irrational fear of getting lost. Don’t worry about it, it can’t happen. If you drive far enough east or west you’ll run into an ocean and have to stop, and if you go too far north or south there are nice people at the border who will turn you around and point you in the right direction. And you’re in your RV, so every place else is home, baby! Get an RV GPS and learn how to read a map and you’ll be fine. Sure, you may get “misdirected” somewhere along the way, but that’s all part of the adventure.
Parting With Our Treasures – It’s just “stuff” and they make “stuff” every day. Right now somebody somewhere is making stuff. There’s never an end to the supply of stuff. The problem is that sooner or later we get to the point where our stuff owns us, instead of the other way around. Every fulltimer we have ever known said that when they started disposing of their stuff they felt a tremendous load leaving their shoulders. Don’t be a slave to your “stuff.”
Making New Friends – Everybody back home knows you; the ladies at the nail salon, the guys at the bowling alley, your family and friends. And then suddenly you’re among strangers. But a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet. Get involved. Go down to the RV park’s activity center and sit in on a game of cards, or join a line dancing class. Just walk around the RV park and say hello to the people you see and ask them how they like their RV. Before you know it you’ll have a whole bunch of new friends.
Leaving Our Comfort Zone – To learn and grow, we have to step out of our comfort zone. It’s kind of like a new sky diver stepping out the door of that airplane for the first time. It can be terrifying, but trust me, once you take that step, it’s one hell of a ride!
Being An Outsider – You can be an outsider in the neighborhood where you were born and raised, if you choose to be. Or you can be an active, involved citizen. It’s the same way in the RV lifestyle. If you get out there and make friends, participate in the many activities available, or volunteer for a project or two, you will find yourself right in the middle of things.
Fire – Yes, RVs do burn, and they burn fast. But houses burn too. We have good fire alarms in our motorhome, as well as fire extinguishers, and automatic fire suppression units in our engine bay and refrigerator from Mac McCoy, the recognized RV fire safety expert.
Losing Our Financial Cushion – Do you know anybody who worked all their lives and then saw their 401K and retirement disappear in a financial downturn. Sure you do, just look around you. There is no security in life, no matter what the investment counselors tell you. There’s a reason they call those guys brokers! RVing can be a very inexpensive lifestyle if you need it to be. And you can make money on the road to supplement your income if you feel the need.
Never Being Able To Afford Another Home – Some people keep their homes and rent them out so they will have a place to go back to. Others invest the proceeds from the sale of their homes, and plan to use that money to buy a home wherever they decide to settle down. Millions of Americans never own homes. They rent apartments and let the maintenance department take care of all those chores. Many RVers don’t ever want to deal with the hassles of home ownership again and plan to park their rig in a nice RV or mobile home park and live in it when it’s time to hang up the keys.
Don’t forget to enter this week’s Free Drawing for my buddy George Weir’s audiobook The Devil To Pay. This is the fourth book in George’s excellent Bill Travis mystery series, and every book is better than the last. To enter, all you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – The older you get, the more important it is to not act your age.