Wednesday, Dec 30th, 2015
It's done. At least for now. We are no longer nomads. We're still full time rvers just stuck in one spot. My kid is enrolled in school so we're going to be here 9 months out of the year which means owning a house/land becomes a sane proposition again. I plan to keep the motorhome and travel still for business, racing, and summer vacations.
Whenever something comes to a close it's fun to look back and assess what you've learned that might not be immediately obvious to a newcomer. There are plenty of sites out there that talk about the rvs themselves. That your first one you will replace very quickly because it won't be enough. That driving a huge rig is intimidating but you get used to it quickly. That pretty much 99% of rvs are junk on wheels. The select few good ones are just better safer junk. But here are some things I've learned that might not be so obvious.
- Blogging is unfulfilling: And I dare say that this is true even for the successful ones. Over our time travelling I've intently followed the other popular full time travel blogs. Some of them seem to be truly blissfully happy while others seem to do everything they possibly can to convince themselves that they're happy while in reality they are miserable angry people. Now that they've found success they feel somehow indebted to writing new entries. Once they write them and the internet responds in the typical internet way, panties are bunched and drama ensues. The natural response would be to say "stop writing" but they pretend the blog has no commerical purpose when it really does. Their notoriety gets them contracts, amazon referrals, etc. It's a commercial endeavour in reality so they trudge on. So one would say blogging is unsuccessful for me because it's one sided. I have a very reasonable readership of about 200 unique people but for the most part nobody engages. That one sidedness is rather lonely. I'd much rather write facebook posts to family and friends with a few pictures than write blog posts in that instance. Blog posts take a heck of a long time to write. 1 hour+ And for what? Hate from the internet trolls, little to no money, and that time could be out spent drinking with family and new friends. So to blogging I say F that! And indeed you can tell by the frequency of posts I have really run with that notion. This site has been little more than scratching an itch, learning drupal and learning how to keep an interactive site secure from hackers and spammers - knowledge which passes through to my actual commercial endeavors. To recap - some people may be fulfilled by running some loser blog that nobody reads, but I'd bet not when people with even successful blogs are still ancy.
- Simplification and Decluttering: I have seen this same refrain for years and years. People are so overburdened by all the crap they've accumulated that they try to liberate themselves from it by full time rving. But this is a total farce! For one thing, even if you have less space to fill you will still acquire junk, it will just sit outside your rig. I've seen it over and over again. RVing is *nerve wracking*, especially moving. Anyone who isn't a little puckered is NOT paying attention. Think about this, you put all of your worldly possessions - you know the ones that survived the cut. The things that really matter. Into a box with you and drive down the highway. There are drug interdiction cops just itching to snatch it all up from you as a "civil forfeiture". There are thieves. There is the fact that the average rv is incredibly unsafe barely stronger than paper. Then there is the fact that it's VERY expensive and your insurance company will be ticked. Then there is the fact that if it breaks down you can't just say F it and get a hotel, you probably want to stay with your rv and get it fixed. The reality is that it's all VERY stressful and the average person will really need to devel a zen like calm to deal with it all. I have but it took YEARS. In the rv life, something bad/interesting is ALWAYS happening. It's not like driving your honda to work on a daily basis where you can achieve some level of stability for years. A LOT of people thrive on that stability and cannot handle what full time rving brings. The idea that full timing will simplify your life is a laughable joke, and that's even if you have money to pay for all the crap that rolls downhill. It will not simplify your life because damn near nothing worth doing is simple. It's complicated, it takes effort and the rewards are immeasurable.
- Things: Furthering what we discussed above here, if things make you happy and those things are big, you will be less happy in certain ways. For me I collect vintage computers and have a car obsession. The computer hobby has somewhat come along with me but it's very sedate compared to what it used to be. The car hobby is absolutely and completely stopped. Besides never being near the race track when I need to be, all the tools are stored in various garages and attics all over the country. Even if I had my car, I wouldn't have the facilities to properly track prep it and the race car isn't exactly family friendly. Yes, if you have a car hobby you probably won't have it much longer when you start travelling. Even if you get a stacker trailer and all the other goodies it's just not the same. A lot of people just wander aimlessly through life but I have a razor sharp focus on what makes me happy at very least. My cars and racing made me VERY happy. If you have a similar passion such as carpentry, metal working, etc that requires a workshop or space... You will miss it. Guaranteed.
- Friends and Family: This one is interesting to me. I'm not sure if the average nomad is just such a crotchedy assface that nobody wants to interact with them but they don't seem to have friends or family. They spend the holidays by themselves in the middle of the desert. Perhaps they find some single serving friends and pretend like they have some kind of meaningful relationship with these people but I'd argue otherwise. If you are the type of person that thrives on relationships, friends, and family you will be less happy. Not entirely unhappy as fulltiming allows you to see people you can never see otherwise such as family who has moved far away. But your core base of friends will move on without you and it just won't be the same for you. Our travels were always heavily limited by our common desires to see our families which are located half way across the country. Indeed after getting the whole see the country thing out of our system, full time rving became a vehicle to be closer to friends and family. This was pretty unexpected. My mother has gotten to see her grandson grow up in a way that she never would have otherwise.
- You want a trailer: Trailers are for the most part junk but you still want one over a motorhome. Even a fancy really nice motorhome like a Foretravel or Prevost. A motorhome is a nightmare and that is reality. Here you are with a vehicle that can never be driven except when it comes time to travel. Why? Well parking is generally a slightly complicated affair, hookups take time, and then your family proceeds to unload all their stowed stuff everywhere. Preparing and decompressing from moving all in all takes about an hour each way. All of the parts of motorhomes are VERY big and VERY expensive. Instead of making sure the small box pulling the rig is safe, the entire giant motorhome has to be safe exponentially increasing engine and drivetrain size, etc. Your chances of breaking down while in the middle of nowhere on a lonely highway are 100%. Because you never drive it around town! When you have a trailer you drive your tow pickup everywhere so you can hear issues developing before you're in the middle of nowhere. You can also get them fixed while safely camped. A motorhome makes sense for NON full timers. The person towing a trailer to the racetrack who has weeks in advance to shake things down and make sure all will be well. The full time traveller is MUCH better served by a beefy pickup and fifth wheel or bumper pull trailer. The ONLY downside to this setup is that if you break down in the middle of nowhere, you don't have a backup toad to get you out of trouble. Therefore I'd argue you should get a fifth wheel toy hauler and keep a motorcycle of some sort. Literally the perfect rig. I got the motorhome so that I could tow my race car to the track - but if we're honest here, you're not towing jack to the track until you're done fulltiming. So racer joe, get the pickup and fifth wheel. TRUST ME. If you settle down again, sell it and THEN get the diesel pusher.
To recap our travels - basically we drove across the country twice. We only did this a few years and finances as well as time were a consideration limiting travels a bit. Unfortunately I still have to work full time so we basically had very little free time to see the actual areas. Doing this full time rv thing in retirement would be very fulfilling. Doing it while working is great - but more difficult.
I'll probably be back to write a few more articles and reviews... eventually. I have all the content but have been far too lazy. Blogging just isn't very fulfilling at all when it comes down to it, and commercially it has little chance of paying much at all. I'd much rather spend my time with real live people, my family and more rewarding hobbies. Some day we might home school and resume full time travel but until then, ta ta! Wish us luck on finding a sweet >5 acre homestead.