Dec 142017
 

I spent some time yesterday having an email conversation with a couple who are in their fourth year of fulltiming and said they feel like they are in a rut. Like all new fulltimers, when they started out they expected to be seeing new sites and having new adventures all the time, but in their first winter they came down to Florida and found a nice RV park they like, made some good friends there, and they have been going back every year since then. Their summers are spent back in their old hometown, taking care of the grandkids on school vacation, while their parents work.

They said that they don’t mind spending a month or so doing the grandparent thing, and they do enjoy their friends at the place here in Florida, but they feel like they are missing out on so much. They have always wanted to spend the summer exploring the Oregon and Washington coasts, but can’t because of their family obligations. They have dreamed of spending a summer exploring Alaska, but again, they are too busy babysitting to do that. They want to go to Arizona and do the Quartzsite thing, but their friends in Florida keep telling them how disappointed they will all be if they didn’t show up and spend the winter with them. As the wife said, “We need to learn to say no without taking on a guilt trip and feeling that we are being selfish.”



I wrote back and told her that yes, they do need to learn to say no. There are tens of thousands of fulltime RVing grandparents who don’t feel the need to play babysitter all summer long. There are lots of other friends in other RV parks waiting to meet them. There’s a whole big country to explore. Don’t limit yourself!

It’s admirable when people want to spend time with their family and help them out. But there comes a point where one has to say, “this is my time now.” And there is nothing wrong with that. As I told them, if one of them were to have a fatal heart attack tonight, their adult children would find somebody to take care of those grandkids during summer vacation, and their friends at that RV park in Florida would cozy up to whoever took their place in their empty site. The only ones who would miss out would be them, because they didn’t get to do the things they always wanted to do.

Go boondocking in Arizona and listen to the coyotes sing you to sleep at night. Spend that summer on the Pacific Northwest coast, drinking in the sights and sounds of the most beautiful part of the country we have ever seen. Make that trip to Alaska. Fill your memory bank until it’s bursting at the seams. I guarantee, you won’t regret it.



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It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook on CD of The Ghost of Marlow House, the first book in my pal Bobbi Holmes’ excellent Haunting Danielle mystery series about a woman who inherits a house on the Oregon Coast that she intends to turn into a bed and breakfast, only to discover that one of the house’s previous owners is still in residence, even though he’s been dead for almost ninety years. Bobbi is a great storyteller, and you won’t get past the first chapter without knowing why her series has so many fans. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) 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 – When you stop believing in Santa Claus is when you start getting clothes for Christmas!

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  13 Responses to “Don’t Limit Yourself!”

  1. When we began fulltiming, we certainly missed our grandkids. But … one of the greatest things we did was to fly them to join us for a vacation each summer, in a location that THEY chose. Once they are old enough to fly as unaccompanied minors, it is a reasonably simple process to get them from one major airport to another. We were a tad nervous, at first, but the airling personell were careful, the process made sense, and parents adjusted. We flew 2 at a time into places like Denver, Seattle, San Francisco, or Phoenix. We took the kids to Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Sequoia, Yosemite, Monterey Bay, the Olympic Peninsula … they attended rodeos, went kayaking in the Pacific and searched tide pools for star fish. They hiked the Tetons, rafted down the Snake River, fished for trout on the Madison River in Yellowstone, rode horseback in Wyoming and Montana. They will never forget the trips they took with us, and talk about their adventures evey time they are with us. We also inspired their parents to consider things very differently when it comes to family vacations! You do what you can afford, of course … but there is no need to head back home for the summer … get them on the road with You!!

  2. Take your grandkids with you in the summer. What a great way for them to learn about our country. If the kids don’t want to go, they are old enough to have their own friends and won’t miss you anyway. These people are letting other people (relatives & Florida friends) tell them what to do. It’s time to break out and do what they want to do. We have friends and family all over the USA and Canada. And yes, it may be your turn to die at any moment. Live and enjoy EACH DAY YOUR WAY.

  3. Good advice Nick! We see so many of our cohorts who have fallen into the “grandparent trap” and have compromised their lives. Some enjoy that and to them I say “more power to you!” But to the ones with regrets I say “you have only one short life to live, go live it!”

  4. Nick, interesting column today that I’m sure many retired RVer’s can sympathize with. For the first couple of years we’d been on the road, we visited our daughter and her family north of Salt Lake City, Utah, during the holidays at the end of each year. Many times during those couple of years, we were asked if we’d stay for longer periods of time regardless of how many times we’d told them our plans for traveling here or there. While it was good that we were full timers so we had the ability to stay here or there to visit or help out family, we did feel enough was enough, and always left at some point of our choosing. As a result, our relationship with our daughter is a blessed one, respectful of our desires to travel when we want to, as well as when we are able to spend time with them as well. It’s good to see the grand kids grow, but as an RVer, ya gotta do what ya gotta do. We’re finally getting into the habit of staying in southern California and Arizona in the early months of the year, and then traveling to ???? afterwards. Your advice is spot on.

  5. Nick, interesting column today that I’m sure many retired RVer’s can sympathize with. For the first couple of years we’d been on the road, we visited our daughter and her family north of Salt Lake City, Utah, during the holidays at the end of each year, and other times as well. Many times during those couple of years, we were asked if we’d stay for longer periods of time, or even give up our traveling lifestyle to live with them, regardless of how many times we’d told them our plans for traveling here or there. While it was good that we were full timers so we had the ability to stay here or there to visit or help out family or friends, or do a working gig, we did feel enough was enough, and always left at some point of our choosing. As a result, our relationship with our daughter and her family is a blessed one, respectful of our desires to travel when we want to, as well as when we’re able to spend time with them also. It’s good to see the grand kids grow, etc., but as an RVer, we gotta do what we gotta do. Your advice is welcome and spot on.

  6. So true… I’ve been on the road 20 years and now with Facebook I can see the kids, grands and greats. I even saw my last greatgrand daughter on the delivery table thanks to FB. Three of my daughters flew to Las Vegas this past Halloween and really had a good time. Not only at Fremont St. but visiting us. They liked the fact that they really got to now Bob, my companion.

  7. My daughter said it would be nice if i could park the RV near her & watch my grandkids, I told her I was not crippled enough to do that yet. She smiled & said she understood.
    After I “retired” & took to live on the road in an RV I found a job workcamping for the summer season, then another for the winter season in Texas, then back to my summer job. One morning I realized that I hadn’t been traveling, just working. Taking time off was a decision, I’m now (finally) in southern Florida wearing shorts & flip-flops & I plan to show my new bride Quartzsite in January.

    Life is short, you only live once so do it now… cause when I’m too crippled to travel I have a date to watch my grandkids 🙂

  8. Travel now or you never well. it sounds like the people living at the RV park are anchors and holding you back.
    Start a blog invite family and friends. join up on escapees rv club or
    RV Village you’ll never be without like minded friends.
    Commit yourself, make a reservation a month in advance. and give yourself a month to get there. never travel more than 150 miles in one day it’s amazing how many small quaint towns and sites you could explore. if you do that six times. it’s amazing how fast that year passes. and how much you will see
    And always remember airlines fly everywhere in the world for babysitters
    So pick your month

  9. The secret is to do what you want to do. If it is snowboard in one place go for it. If it is travel then go for that. If it is the grandkid thing that you love that is fine as well.

    If any of it is because of a guilt trip then that is bad…..

    In our case we go to Florida every year for a couple of weeks then home to follow our grandkids which we love to do. In fact we actually moved to be there, but that doesn’t mean we are their keepers. Already missed too much with the older ones because we were not physically close.

  10. Sage advice, indeed, Nick. We plan on going full-time next year and giving our young grandsons the opportunity to spend a month or so traveling with us during the summer months, if they want to. No arm twisting on either side. Their parents are okay with this idea and we would love to give them the opportunity to see things that they might not otherwise be exposed to. Win-win!

  11. Excellent blog Nick and great comments from readers. I would offer this couple a different approach. Instead of going to Florida for 6 months, go for 5 months and spend a month seeing something on your bucket list. Maybe the next year you go for only 4 months. Also, instead of babysitting your grandchildren all summer reduce the time you spend there. Let them know that this summer you will only be there for 3 months instead of 4. It may be tough for you but it’s an easy way to compromise with your friends and family. We had been going to Tucson for the past 5 years, then going back to Arkansas for a job with the Corps of Engineers. Our neighbors had changed in Tucson and I wasn’t that excited about spending the winter there. So, we changed things up, took a volunteer job in Monterey County, CA for the winter and will travel next summer.

  12. When we announced a couple of years ago to our children that we were going Fulltime, only one tried to convince us otherwise. Then she thought our going to Florida wasn’t too bad because she could come and visit when the kids were on Winter Break. Imagine her shock when we said we’re headed out to Quartzsite. That was way too far away for her. There’s nothing to see there or do. When we proved her wrong she had to except the fact we were in charge of our lives.
    We are back in Quartzsite, not for the Big Tent but because we have a lot more exploring to do and we enjoy being “Off the Grid”. Now all she says before we leave is “Take care of my Mom”.
    After raising our kids and helping with the grandchildren in their younger years we decided “It’s about time” we take care of ourselves. When she sees how her mother’s face lights up telling of our adventures she knows she is happy.
    Like you said we won’t be around forever so this is like a practice run for them to fend for themselves and making their own decisions in life.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It’s about time.

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