Who are these modern day gypsies who spend their lives on the road? What prompted them to leave their former homes and communities for a life on wheels? Each week we will introduce you to some of the fulltime RVers we meet in our travels and those who read this blog.
Once upon a time, Bob and Michelle Hazlett took an 80 day vacation pulling a pop-up camper, and by the time they were due to go home neither one of them wanted to. And so the desire to fulltime was born.
Bob, originally from Philadelphia, and Michelle, from Lowell, Massachusetts, lived in Jamestown, Ohio, where Bob was an engineer doing research and development with the U.S. Air Force, and then defense contractors. Michelle worked in administration, human resources, and retail positions.
They said that the day, four years ago, when they hit the road in their 2011 Keystone Cougar High Country 5th wheel was awesome and have loved the freedom to scratch their hitch itch whenever the desire to move on hits them. They have found that for them, staying in one place for two to four months is comfortable. One month is too short and they find five to six months uncomfortably long.
When asked what they dislike most about fulltiming, they said they still have four storage units of stuff that they will have to be deal with sometime. Until this year, they had to return to their house periodically, which Bob hated.
Though retired, the Hazletts enjoy workamping, which Bob says has led them to interesting adventures in interesting places. One of their favorite gigs was workamping at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, Hot Springs, South Dakota.
When they aren’t traveling or workamping, Bob enjoys fly fishing, fly tying, geocaching, and blogging. Michelle likes quilting, socializing, and volunteering.
The Hazletts belong to the Good Sam Club and attended the Workamper News Rendezvous in October, 2013. Bob said they would like to attend more, but just haven’t done it yet.
When asked if they had any any special RV goals Bob said, “No. At my age I am content to not be striving anymore.”
They said the hardest thing about leaving their old lives was getting rid of “stuff” and selling the house. Michelle added that leaving her friends was difficult.
For them, the hardest part sof the fulltime RV lifestyle are a lack of space for their hobbies and making do with a small kitchen.
Fulltiming is not a permanent vacation, and like in any lifestyle, there are bumps in the road. Those included serious plumbing problems with their black water system while in California, which caused them to cancel the remaining four months of a planned trip and beeline it 2,400 miles home to Ohio towing an unusable rig and staying in hotels. The fall of 2014 presented other challenges, including a gall bladder attack that put Bob in the hospital for five days, and then a tire blowout.
When asked what advice they would give a newbie, the Hazlett’s said, “Don’t look back. That is not the direction you are traveling.” Their motto is “Don’t do anything twice until you’ve done everything once.” As much as they enjoy this lifestyle, they don’t think it is a good way to raise kids.
Not everybody stays in the fulltime lifestyle forever. Michelle wants some roots somewhere warm, and that means some kind of house, probably in the Titusville, Florida area. Bob, on the other hand, wants to die fulltiming. He said they wish could have started about three years earlier.
You can read more about Bob and Michelle’s adventures at http://followthecougar.blogspot.com
It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook Mountain Angel, the first book in my friend Suzie O’Connell’s excellent Northstar Angels romance series. With a four star rating out of 785 Amazon reviews, you know this book is a winner. 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 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 – Nothing is impossible for those who don’t have to do it.