My decision to adopt the full-time RVing life seemed like a logical step. I would carry on with plans my late wife and I made. The idyll of the freedom of the road was alive. It was a time in the spring of the year after she died. I got busy moving out of the townhouse and prepared to hit the road, this time with Bebe the Labradoodle as co-pilot.
We got off to a rough start.
Moving from a home we had lived in for many years was unexpectedly taxing and stressful. I got COVID, then underwent surgery just days before the official moving day at the end of July. The daily temperature reached 106°. We arrived at our first camp at the end of the day on July 31, exhausted and already questioning the move to full-time RVing.
I was ill during the first week-and-a-half in camp. As mid-August approached, it was already time to solidify plans for where to travel for winter. As I focused on the task, my mind seemed fixated in “what if” mode.
What if Bebe treats rattlesnakes and scorpions like friends, as she does other animals?
What if we cannot find camp spots? The RV industry buzz at that time was all about campground shortages and crowding. And what if the only campsites we can find are the $100-a-night kind, and I spend $16k on campground fees through the winter months?
What if we cannot really boondock in the little 17’ trailer?
The “what ifs?” never stopped. I attributed this to more than forty years of professional airline flying, where the ability to anticipate problems was a prized trait, but it will drive you insane in the RV world. But I kept on in this vein until mid-September. I was dreading decamping from Idaho and embarking upon the trip south.
October 1, I called “enough” and decided to remain in the Northwest through the coming winter. That would mean an interruption in the full-time RV plan. In the spring, we’ll start again with a better plan—a plan better suited to a man and his dog, without the stressful uncertainties.
Takeaways from first attempt at full-time RVing
The takeaways from this experience might interest other RVers contemplating full-time life or already engaged in it.
- Do not bite off more than you can chew. Don’t sell the farm, house, or condo until you have spent several months on the road and in camp in the RV you plan to live in full-time. What works for summer vacation camping may not be suitable for full-time.
- Have a plan for each season and, if possible, campground reservations or at least an understanding of where you want to go.
- Just because you camped in tents and lived in tiny spaces when you were 20 doesn’t mean you will enjoy living in a 17-foot travel trailer permanently.
- If you do not want to travel to the Desert Southwest in the wintertime, choose a true “four season” RV that will allow you to camp in colder climes without concern for freeze-up. More on that here.
Bebe and I hope to hit the road again in March. We’re looking at “four seasons” options.
We’re not giving up; just taking a time out.