Opposite Ends

RVingLast month we attended a beautiful outdoor wedding held at the bride’s parents mountain home.  We only knew two people in attendance at that event; our daughter and the bride.

There was a time in my life when I was considered ‘shy’.  Ok …. all of you fellow bloggers and RVer’s out there that have met me, you can stop laughing – I’m serious, I used to be very shy!  That said, there’s something about this RVing lifestyle that brings most people out of their shells.

So here we were at this wedding mingling.  It was time for dinner. We entered the reception area somewhat early and picked an empty table.  There was open seating; no assigned table for us to sit at.  About fifteen minutes later, a party of five approached and asked, “Do you mind if we join you?”  Hmm, interesting accent I thought as I said, “Please, do”.  This family of five were relatives of the groom from the country of Holland.  There was the dad, his daughter and her Italian boyfriend, the dad’s sister and her daughter.  They all spoke English very well.

Shortly there after another couple joined us filling out our round table.  Polite conversion ensued over dinner and drinks.  In some circumstances, hubby and I will circumvent the subject of us living in our RV full-time. We had the best of intentions to keep that tidbit of information to ourselves that day, but the Dutch daughter and her Italian boyfriend had so much interest in traveling around America that they kept asking us questions.  Finally we admitted, “We live in our RV and travel full-time”.

living a dream RVing

Home sweet home – boondocking in the Arizona desert

I thought the young Italian guy was going to fly out of his seat upon hearing this.  With extreme exuberance and out stretched arms as if to embrace us, he proclaimed, “No way …. you are living my dream.  Seriously, you are living my dream”.  The young couple began bombarding us with questions all the while sporting huge smiles and an excited tone they just couldn’t keep contained.

my backyard RVing

This was my backyard for 2 weeks near Moab, Utah

Somewhere during this cheerful, excited exchange, the gal sitting to my right asked, “Did I hear you say you live in your RV?”  I happily responded, “Yes, it’s been a year since we moved into the RV full-time”.  With a sympathetic look she said, “Oh, I’m sorry.  Did the economy get you?”  I’m well past feeling a need to defend my lifestyle and politely responded, “No, it wasn’t the economy – it was a desire for adventure, a desire to live that lead us to moving into the RV full-time”.

Canyonlands Utah

Hmm, do I look unhappy?

Talk about opposite ends of the spectrum.  One minute we’re ‘living the dream’, and the next we’re ‘living a nightmare’.  Both comments seemed to make me cringe because I feel I’m not living either.  I’m merely living life ……. my way or rather OUR way (hubby is living it too LOL).  There are days it is a dream and days it is a nightmare, but most of the time it’s somewhere in between.dreamy lifestyle

When the stars are aligned it’s a dream;

  • camping among stunning scenery and wildlife
  • no trouble finding a beautiful spot to call home for a while
  • plenty of room for us to park at no fee or at least a reasonable fee
  • good road conditions
  • no neighbors or wonderful neighbors
  • each day is a new adventure
  • agreeable weather  …..    I think you get the idea

 

Lake Powell

One of my favorite places. Can you see my home?

But what about those days that just seem to fall apart?  Nothing seems to go right. This lifestyle can easily turn into a nightmare;

  • Blown tires or other roadside break downs really suck and can be quite scary
  • Full campgrounds …. no room at the inn.  Oh dear, wherever shall we park?
  • RV Parks that have you packed in like sardines and charge exorbitant rates
  • RV mechanical issues – water lines, heater, jacks, slides, leaks, etc.
  • Medical issues – when I got severely ill last February, I broke down and just wanted to go home.  I had no home to go back to.  I was ‘home’.
  • Learning new towns – Always in search of shopping, Laundromats, restaurants (this is not a negative for me – I embrace the search)
  • Being away from family and friends (hehe, this one could also fit under ‘dream’)

Yep, this is life whether one lives in a sticks n bricks home or in a RV.  Living the full-time RV lifestyle is not one big long vacation, some panacea.   Although that sure would be nice?  Bills still need to be paid.  There’s still household chores that need to be addressed.  There’s still plenty of pros and cons and it’s not for everyone.

Am I glad we embarked upon this journey?  Absolutely!  For us it’s working just fine so far, but we did sample the lifestyle before jumping in full-time. Plus, Al and I have always bored easily and embrace change.  We’ve always had a sense of wanderlust and could never image ourselves living in the same house or neighborhood for years and years even though we grew up that way.  We love exploring new territory and meeting new folks.

living life to it's fullest

Yep, this is one happy camper!

We didn’t plan out this adventure years in advance. We didn’t purchase our RV with the intent of living in it full-time. The events quickly evolved.  Al and I made the decision to sell the house while spending the 2012/13 winter snowbirding.  We found ourselves embarking on the RV full-time lifestyle 4 months after deciding to so and we haven’t looked back.living in a RV

Do I miss having a sticks n bricks house?  Not yet.  Besides, I’m not sure where I would want that house to be located.  I guess that’s why we’ll keep traveling and see if there’s some place that ‘feels like home’.  For now, ‘home is where we park it’.whooping cranesTo move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give. To roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to LIVE – Hans Christian Anderson

Picnic at Ascot 2 Bottle Insulated Tote, Black
1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die, updated ed.

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89 thoughts on “Opposite Ends

  1. We, like you, have never stayed put in one place too long, even in our stick houses. Almost everyone we talk to about our lifestyle seem happy and excited for us. One exception was Hector’s sister – who whispered to her daughter – I could never do this – when she thought I wouldn’t hear. So sometime later I said to her I know you could never do this – and she said what? no….Well she was trying to be nice to me and that’s okay. The lifestyle is not for everyone, but I think those of us who get to do it are very fortunate in spite of issues we encounter along the way. Hector and I are loving it. And also looking for the next place…

    • My sister-in-law doesn’t quite understand it either and that’s ok. It’s not for everyone. For now, I have no interest in settling down. I’m sure I will one day. Until that time, I’ll continue to embrace the gypsy within me 🙂

  2. Well it seems like longer than a year… you guys are ‘ol pros. Funny the responses from folks, they either love it and want to hear all about it or look at you as if you were nearly a bum in need of a hand out!!! For those folks that think like that it is just not worth the time to try to enlighten them,
    Jack Nicholson said it best, “You’re just going to have to trust me about this, this one thing. You need a lot of drinks…”
    Safe travels and good times…

    • LOL….. nicely said. Yes, I don’t bother trying to enlighten anyone. They wouldn’t get it anyway. It seems like we’ve been at this longer than a year because we snowbirded the previous year and the year before that we did a lengthy excursion. So I definitely wouldn’t call us newbies 🙂

  3. I wish I could “like” your post more than once! There should be a “really like” option. Or a “like like like!” option. Very well stated Ingrid! As I’ve mentioned to you, my husband and I live in our RV. I hesitate to say we full-time because our rig is mostly stationary. We move around the Dallas/Ft. Worth area because my husband is still working. We have always dreamed of retiring and traveling. Living in our rig now for three years has been a wonderful learning experience. We have been able to save money, travel more, and, most importantly, focus on life and living instead of material things. While waiting patiently for retirement, we follow and live a vicarious full-time RV lifestyle by following bloggers like you! Keep on blogging and keep on RVing!

    • Aw, thank you so much Ruthi. Since you’re already used to living in the RV, once you do start moving around, it’ll be a piece of cake. I’m amazed how many folks jump into this lifestyle never having sampled it. I enjoy following your travel adventures as well and perhaps one day we’ll bump into each other 🙂

  4. Looks like there are a few of us celebrating one yr anniversaries this summer, think we should all celebrate this winter in TX. Haven’t gotten the financial reaction yet, spent a few hours over the holiday weekend sharing info on the FT lifestyle with some folks who want to in the next year or two. You shy, having had the pleasure of meeting you I’ll take your word on that. Losing a few family members awhile back spurred us to pursue our dream of traveling eventually leading to this lifestyle. Wishes for many more wonderful years of RV’ing.

    • Yes indeed…. this calls for some serious celebrating along the Texas Gulf Coast 😉 Here’s to all of us having more fun and adventure in year two 🙂

  5. Great post, Ingrid. All of your pros and cons are spot on. I must admit that I’ve never had anyone express anything but envy of our lifestyle. But if they did, I’m afraid I would be very tempted to make a sad face and say how difficult it is and we’re so tired of eating cat food, too. And then just look woefully at their face and wait for their reply, never cracking a smile. I’m sarcastic that way. It’s my evil streak.

    • Ah, an evil streak? Perhaps that why I like you so much 😉 I tried to hit on the top pros and cons to this lifestyle. Weather sure can put a damper on plans as you well know. If you’re not up for posting, perhaps you should have Garrett do one for you 🙂 Can’t wait to see and hear about the Tetons!

  6. Wow, it never dawned on me to question someone full-timing due to financial circumstances! We are thinking it will cost us as much or more in our retirement years to do this vs. staying in our home and paying the bills here, along with yard upkeep, etc. That just seemed a bit rude for someone to even say that. You handled it well! I’ve been thinking about this possibility more these days and still am not sure it will be for us when that time comes. It is great fun for us now to get us away from home more often, though. Lovely post! 🙂

    • You’re right on about the cost of this lifestyle. There are some months it cost more than living in our sticks n bricks home and other months it cost less. Just depends on where and what we’re doing and how much we’re driving. We sold our house because we didn’t want to remain in the area otherwise I think we would’ve stayed part-timers. Keep enjoying those weekend camp outs and sharing with the rest of us 🙂

  7. Great pictures. My partner did this with his wife for five years. He talks about what an adventure it was before they finally settled on a home. I don’t know if I could do it, because I get a bit claustrophobic in small places…but maybe.

    • The plan is to be out and about enjoying nature and not sitting inside the RV. However, during days of inclement weather, it can get small but the changing scenery we get to explore makes it all worth it. Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🙂

  8. Love that You Guys are Living Your Journey and Creating Your Story 🙂 Things can go right or wrong no matter where you call home and to put it in perspective it ALL is an ADVENTURE. I learned my greatest lesson last year in that my heart and my home is with my greatest someone and adventure partner – he is all I need to make the world right when everything else is not! Happy Adventuring 🙂

    • Thanks Renee, that’s awesome you’ve discovered what’s important. And you are so right; it’s all an adventure regardless of how or where one lives 🙂

  9. Reblogged this on Ritger RV Travels and commented:
    A fellow RVer, who sold her home one year ago and headed out in an RV to explore and enjoy the many wonders we find daily. It’s a wonderful description of the good and the bad found RVing…

  10. Your post says it all… So many reasons to go RVing. Good times and some difficult times when things don’t go well… But so many good days with wonderful scenery. Happy Travels Ingrid, and stay safe.

    • Yes, this lifestyle allows us to explore some amazing places. Sometimes when you think you’ve about seen it all, something more amazing is seen around the next bend…. love it 🙂

  11. Great post! I enjoyed reading the whole thing and then at the end another surprise. Hans Christian Anderson… I’m related to him on my Mother’s side. So… you’d think I’d be a better writer huh? ha ha!

  12. Great post Ingrid. My Brother and Sister-in-law were Snowbirds for 20+ years. Quite proud of the fact they made the trip from Upstate NY to their same RV Park in Florida, on the same route each year, and always in 3 days. He’s now 88, his wife has passed, and as we sit and talk about our travels, he talks about if he could do it over they would have taken the time to see and do more. That’s why we spend at least a couple of nights in each new campground to explore. We ask the locals what they are most proud of to visit, and take tons of photos to reminisce on when we finally retire to those rocking chairs. AND, you do meet some of life’s most interesting people in those small town laundromats! Niki and I always enjoy your posts and great take on life.

    • Before my mom passed, I had time to spend with her and talk. She encouraged hubby and me to ‘get out there’ and LIVE while we were still young and healthy. My folks were snowbirds for 15 years and it was a very sad day when they sold the motorhome at age 79. My 87 year old dad now lives vicariously through our travels. We hope to keep traveling as long as it remains fun or our bodies tell us otherwise. Happy trails 🙂

  13. I guess you have to feel sorry for people who see your lifestyle with a negative view – no sense of adventure! in the 3 1/2 years we full-timed we never encountered that and people are still in awe of our travels. You are also capturing it all in words and pictures to treasure for the future. 🙂

  14. I can relate so well to this post. My wife and I have just started full time in our 37 ft. motorhome. We had to bring the kids with us (three cats) and they have adjusted very well. We talked about doing this for four years then this year finally pulled the trigger, bought the motor home, retired, and got on the road, never having done anything like this before, not even camping. Lots of adjustments but we have always been rather nomadic and adaptable so we think this will just suit us finely. Our plan is to cover as much as north america as possible. Being Canadians from the west coast our time in the U.S.A. will be limited but, Rome wasn’t built in a year either. Many people out there who would love to be able to do what you are doing and many who just shake their heads, but i believe they too secretly wish they could be doing the life style.
    So far I have only one regret…We didn’t do this sooner. Enjoy your posts and photography.
    Thanks

    • Congrats and welcome to life on the road. Even though the RVing thing wasn’t new to us, it did take us awhile to find OUR niche. It takes time to figure it out and settle into some sort of routine. We like to take things slow even though we’ve been known to put in long driving days. I look forward to following your adventure and perhaps one day we’ll bump into each other 🙂

  15. Sounds like the pros outweigh the cons. And the cons you mentioned are just about the kind of lemon and problems you’d expect RV life to throw at you. If those are the kinds of sceneries I get, and if I have the means, I’d definitely be an RV’er. You are living my dream.

    • You would love it and fit right in! You are the kind of person that sees the beauty in all things small and large. There’s so much amazing beauty to see and explore and a RV allows one to seek out those hidden gems. Hold onto that dream and that day will come 🙂

  16. When we traveled full time, our problem with our family and friends back home was they thought we were on a big vacation…not living. When we would get back to Ohio, I would ask them why they didn’t call or email….their answer….we didn’t want to bother you while you were traveling on vacation. WHAT? We don’t even own a house….we live in our house. We are l-i-v-i-n-g. This was such a foreign concept to them. Even after four years, I still heard that from some of them.

    You two will know when it is time to stop the travelling adventure and find a “stationery” home. Till then…keep enjoying the good life.

    • There are plenty of folks that just don’t understand and wouldn’t even consider. Just think of the beauty, adventure, and wonderful people they are missing out on. I’m sure one day we’ll find that place we’ll want to call home. It just won’t be anywhere we’ve already lived 🙂

  17. Being an old relic myself, I wish I could be photographed in black and white…and airbrushed! Actually I fully expected photos of Al…tee hee!

  18. Well said excellent post, Ingrid and you hit right on the head. Steve and I are always counting our blessings for the life we chose to live, living on the road. Although so far most of the people we share our lifestyle to are happy for us and usually expressed how jealous they are.

    • Never a dull moment, is it? So far, we haven’t found ‘that place’ we’d want to own a house. We’ll keep looking though 🙂

  19. Love that woman’s reaction!! Definitely someone who would not understand this lifestyle. I can’t tell you how many times over the last four years that I have told John what a wonderful life we have. We have found great things in every place we have been from little tiny America to big city America. This is such an amazing country! Someday we may settle down but I don’t know how we will do it. We are so use to having new adventures around every corner. Just coming back east to visit family is difficult…been there, done that. Sure is a grand adventure:)

    • I’m with you …. there’s some places we can’t wait to return to and others – “do we have to?” – been there, done that. In our first year, we’ve explored such a small fraction of places we hope to explore that I think it’ll take us a few years to scratch the surface.

  20. That sounds so interesting – I can understand both view points. That’s what makes our world so interesting. My wife could never do it and I’m not sure if I could. Not mechanically inclined, but quick to learn. Recently, I’ve been thinking what I want to do when I grow up and I had a crazy thought run through my brain – sell it all and buy a farm and farm house in rural Ohio. I am still letting that marinate… I pitched it to my wife this morning and it was not entirely rejected …. Stay tuned…. In the meantime – LOVE ‘living my dream’ that’s awesome.

    • We’ve talked about a little farmette somewhere to put up a pole barn to pull the RV into. Kind of a place to chill, decompress, and regroup. We just don’t know where we’d want it and question if we’d have the budget once we found it. RVing isn’t for everyone and that’s ok. There are days, I would love a little cabin on a lake and feel you have ‘the dream’ with that MI place 🙂

  21. LOL, George usually says we have been homeless for 12 years….you should see the varied responses. Usually right after he says that I explain we are full timing in our motor home and living our dream. That usually relaxes their facial expressions…snicker

    • LOL ….. I can see George saying that. It is interesting the mixed responses we get. These days, I really don’t care what others think ….. having too much fun to care 🙂

  22. To move, to breathe, to fly, to float, to gain all while you give. To roam the roads of lands remote, to travel is to LIVE – Hans Christian Anderson —- to me that says it all, and I think to thousands you are the envy and living the life we would love to live….

  23. I agree with you. We’re reluctant to reveal how we live to some too. We often encounter the same responses at opposite ends of the spectrum. It works out wonderfully for us and we love it more and more. Especially as we work closer to making our living working our respective crafts and doing less workamping. We see no end to this lifestyle so far for us.

    • Yep, sometimes it’s just not important to let folks know about living in a RV full-time. Glad to hear the writing and photography is working out for you guys. It’ll give you even more freedom which is awesome 🙂

  24. i always love your posts- you write with an easy personal style and it makes me more keen to jump into the whole RV thing for at least a little while. keep those great photographs coming!

  25. Ingrid, this was a great post. I laughed about the woman expressing sympathy about your lifestyle — we haven’t yet encountered that response. Although many people do a double-take when we tell them we’ve been traveling for more than a year (in our 21-foot trailer!) it seems everyone we’ve met is intrigued/interested/wants to do the same thing. Eric and I often look at each other and say, “We are SO happy that we finally took the leap into this lifestyle!” I know that I would regret it if we had not. We’ll settle down again someday — perhaps in our home in Ashland, perhaps elsewhere. But for now, this is exactly we want to be doing, even with the little (or big) bumps in the road!

    • What was really funny about that woman; I knew she was moneyed and thus anticipated the comment. I actually felt sorry for her that she didn’t ‘get it’ …. that she didn’t know what she was missing.
      One of these days, we’ll need to check out the Pacific NW. We keep hearing so many wonderful things. Hurry up and get caught up on your writing so I can hear about Lopez Island LOL.

      • Hahaha, I just read your reply — OMG we have been so ridiculously busy the past five weeks while we’ve been in Ashland (our hometown) — I do need to get us caught up — we’re heading for Lopez on Sunday!!! You HAVE to come to the Pacific NW! You are going to absolutely love it. 🙂

  26. I’ve heard those exact opposites as well. It’s amazing how people will view a situation so differently. Great, balanced post on what it means to fulltime RV.
    Nina

    • Thanks Nina. I tried to point out the top pros and cons. That said, I’m so glad we embarked upon this journey. I have found boondocking to be quite addictive and my preferred choice of accommodations these days.

  27. BRAVO FOR YOU INGRID!! Love your blog! Keep doing what works for you guys & nobody else!!! Shame on the women making the stupid “economy” comment. She’s a snob. I’m living my dream thru you! Keep the photos coming !! BEAUTY surrounds us everyday, only a few of us embrace it!! Whenever back in the Chicago area please feel free to crash / park at our home!!! Brenda Prendergast

    • Thanks so much Brenda. What’s funny is her comment brought me back to those Hinsdale days when folks found out Al and I went canoeing and tenting in northern MN. They thought we didn’t have the money for a ‘real’ vacation and never gave thought to the fact Al worked for an airline – free flying, reduced accommodations …. duh! We’ve always loved recreating amongst nature – the more remote, the better.
      My dad’s getting up in years, so perhaps next summer might warrant a trip back to IL mingled in with a side trip to Mackinac Island and the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes 😉 I’ll keep you posted!

  28. I know what you mean about not wanting to share your lifestyle at times with strangers, as you never know what the reaction will be. For those who do not have wanderlust or don’t enjoy being out in nature, this lifestyle would seem like a death sentence. Like the two of you, we will want a home again someday as I would like a garden. We are hopeful that in our travels we will one day find that place that we can call home; look at one another and say “this is it”! Until then we are enjoying this simple lifestyle, soaking up the beauty in this country.

    • Well said LuAnn; those that do not have ‘wanderlust’ definitely do not understand. And I share your sentiment, until we find ‘that place’ we’ll enjoy this lifestyle and soak up the beauty 🙂

  29. As long as you’re enjoying life and the living thereof, Ingrid. It’s really funny how you got two totally different reactions. I think your lifestyle must be so exciting, and think you and hubby are very adventurous. You certainly get to see so much of your wonderful country. I love the comment just above mine, about hearses not having luggage racks. 😀

    • Hubby and I have always had an adventurous streak and would find ourselves easily bored living in one place for much more than 4-5 years. And as long as we’re enjoying this lifestyle, I think we’ll continue without a care of other people’s thoughts.
      That is a great comment …. “hearses don’t have luggage racks”

  30. It always cracks me up the different perspectives of people on our lifestyle, your wedding encounter is a prime example!

    This nomadic lifestyle isn’t perfect, but it’s way more interesting than the “typical” American lifestyle! I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I know that I want to live in a house again someday for the sake of having a garden to be creative in. Fortunately this lifestyle allows us to explore potential places in depth before committing to any one place. If the place doesn’t make the list we still have fantastic memories from our explorations of it.

    • Yep, not perfect, but never dull. You are so right about being able to sample a place before committing. That’s rather fun, isn’t it? Having called Colorado home for nearly 20 years, we’ve watched folks come here on vacation and dream about moving here. Those that do move from the Midwest love it and stay but those from California last about 2-4 years before returning to CA. Neighbors would take bets on how long the newbies would last – winters can be long around here.

  31. Ingrid you demonstrate the perfect example of why one should never make decisions by what others think. They all think something different. 🙂

    • I could sense that comment coming from a mile away and thus was not surprised or offended. Not everyone understands the unbelievable beauty I’ve witnessed due to this lifestyle….. their loss 🙂

  32. Interesting the two perspectives on your lifestyle and we’d experienced the good and the bad. I don’t think I want to sell everything and go full time, but would like to be on the road for a year or so. With a teenage granddaughter in school, it can’t happen for a while though.

    • Having a house to go back to would be nice. We just didn’t want to keep the house where we were living so packing up and moving on was relatively easy for us to decide. We’ll have a house again and do this part time once we figure out where.
      We’re hanging around Denver this summer for our daughter. We’ve NEVER regretted the changed plans or life’s alterations for the sake of our children’s best interest. Traveling less due to a school schedule just proves what wonderful grandparents Madison has 🙂

  33. Question…..Where was the photo of “one of your favorite places” taken. We have our house listed and are planning on joining your life style. We’ve been volunteering as camp host for a few years now, mainly WA, OR, ID, UT, and want to see more while we still can do it. We think there’s always something to see right around the next corner. Enjoy your blog very much. Thanks.

    • Lake Powell – boondocking at Lone Rock at the border of AZ and UT just north of Page. Because the weather was cold and nasty, we practically had the place to ourselves and loved every minute of our week long stay (Nov). I hear it can get crazy busy during prime boating weather. Since you’ve been part-timing, you are already comfortable in the RV which I think will make the selling of the house so much easier. Thanks for the nice comment 🙂

  34. It is interesting to hear the responses of folks I tell of my dream to live in rv. They either think I’m crazy, running away from something, got foreclosed on… all bad things. Not many see the great, fun potential like we do. I’m ok with that. I think so many folks are materialistic and don’t understand when you don’t need much ‘stuff’ to be happy. Remember, hearses don’t have luggage racks!

    • Ah, the prestigious Chicago suburbs are so much fun. When we lived back there, our neighbors didn’t understand why we went canoeing and tenting in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area other than it had to be for financial reasons. Love your comment, says it all… “hearses don’t have luggage racks”.

  35. What a truly special expression of your anniversary. I connect in so many ways….life can be spent anywhere! May year two offer up more delicious memories that just can’t be beat!! Ps…I love that book…refer to it a lot.

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