I spent some time recently talking with a fellow who is retiring soon and was interested in buying our bus conversion and hitting the road as a fulltime RVer, something he has dreamed of for years.
He liked the bus, and really appreciated all of the upgrades we had added, such as solar panels, inverter, and large holding tanks for dry camping. He said he had read lots of RV blogs and articles on boondocking, and couldn’t wait to get out to the desert to camp under the stars and listen to the coyotes sing him to sleep every night.
I thought we might have a deal, until his wife put the kibosh on his plans. It seems that all the while he has been dreaming of roaming the country, footloose and fancy free, her dream has been to finally buy that farmhouse she has always wanted to find and restore, and spend her golden years refinishing woodwork, hanging wallpaper, and puttering in the garden. Not only is she not interested in fulltime RVing, she was adamant that she does not plan to spend one night in any RV, anywhere!
I suggested that they try renting an RV for a trip or two, to see if the wife might come around, but that wasn’t going to happen. She was absolutely inflexible on the subject, not interested, forget it, I want my farmhouse.
Fulltime RVing is not for everybody. But for many of us, it is the very best way to live. I just cannot picture myself ever having to mow grass, put up with the same noisy neighbors, and see the same four walls every day of my life. I am very fortunate in that Miss Terry loves this lifestyle just as much as I do.
But my prospective bus buyer, and a lot of other people, don’t have such luck. We have talked to many couples over the years where one partner wants to fulltime or travel extensively, and the other says “No way!”
So what happens when two people have such different dreams, and it doesn’t look like compromise is an option? Does one finally cave in and give up what they have always wanted, to make the other one happy? In that case, I don’t think the possibility of either of them being happy is very good. Do they hit the road and argue their way across the country, or stay put and resent every day they spend shackled to a routine and lifestyle they do not want?
We have met a few married RVers over the years, both men and women, who leave their spouse behind and travel extensively. They return home from time to time, but they seem to live pretty much separate lives much of the year.
That just wouldn’t work for me. I love being married and I love being with my wife. But I would hate to have to settle down anyplace.
So who gets to live their dream? What would you do in such a situation?
Thought For The Day – Within each of us is a diamond covered with fear and other issues; uncover and polish your diamond so others can see you shine.
When my husband said he didn’t want to travel anymore I reluctantly said OK to selling the Class A. Since I wasn’t ready to stop traveling I bought a Class B and traveled alone for a week or so at a time then returned home. We reached a compromise that worked well for us to each live a part of our individual dreams. In January my husband said he wanted us to sell everything and become full-timers. The house closes next week without us because we are hitting the road tomorrow as full-timers – first stop is the Gypsy Journal Rally. We’re fortunate now to have the same dreams.
Easy — the farmhouse has to be in the middle of the desert, where there are coyotes to sing him to sleep. He can live in the RV parked in the driveway.
Now that is creative Michael G; you made me laugh.
Wow, this would really be a dilemma, because if you give up “your dream” how can you not resent the person that is standing in the way of your happiness? Sorry, if it was me, smaller RV and see ya! I know that sounds rather contrite, but how can you take away someone’s dream? That just doesn’t seem fair either.
Sounds like it’s time to get a new Wife,,,,,,,,,errrr,,,that was a typo. I ment to say Life…LOL
Even among full timers who love the lifestyle, I hear of conflicts about destinations and planning.
We’re lucky, the rally schedule somewhat dictates our itenerary.
I can’t think of a better place to be right now, than here in Celina for the Gypsy Journal rally. Next week, another destination.
Some of us compromise and LONG time. Life usually is about compromise. Neither is fully 100% happy, but, both gets at least SOME of their dream.
I am just thankful I have a terrific wife!!!!!
How sad! I agree life, but especially marriage, is about compromise. Life is too short to give up an important dream or aspiration. Your blog today really makes me feel grateful that my wife and I both are comfortable in this lifestyle, and are willing to work at finding a way to compromise at the edges.
Suzy was a bit hesitant to take on this lifestyle, while I was gung-ho. What finally convinced her was our financial advisor telling us we had enough money to have a comfortable retirement, but NOT if we continued to live in California. That was the final thing she needed. We’ve been so happy, both of us, that we made the final decision.
How sad your potential buyer will be, and how happy can his wife be, knowing she has stolen his dream to make hers work out? But the other direction would have been just as bad for both.
I suspect half-timing wouldn’t work either, as she’d resent being dragged away, kicking and screaming, for half the year, and he’d resent being pent up half the year.
Sounds like to me there has been a history of a lack of communication with that couple over the years. Not to mention the wife might be a little self centered. No doubt one of them is going to be unhappy. The previous suggestion of a home in the desert is a good one, but I doubt that will be the wife’s vision of her farm house.
Fortunately for us, we agree on the rv lifestyle, spending 7-8 months per year in the rv. If we manage to sell the house (when and if the housing marked recovers some) we will spent 12 months per year in the rv!
A bigger question is what is her motivation to “settle” into an old farmhouse? Is it fear? Is it internal images she might have had since childhood of what a retired wife “should” be doing?
MichaelG might have part of the solution if the right location is picked but having restored old houses, there are lots of unpleasant side effects of living in the structure you are remodeling. Not the least of these is the physical impacts to senior bodies, particularly respiratory and skin. Sleeping in quarters and breathing in fumes from paints, strippers, varnishes, very old dust and insulation can take a much bigger toll on a person than stress.
Having an RV on the right farm property could make for a cozy retreat from all this. It can also provide a longer term “experience” for both of them which may alter one or both of their cravings. At the very least, it would qualify as full timing while the farm house was being reworked and the real conveniences of fewer steps to the kitchen, bedroom and outhouse could give a new understanding of an important part of the full time lifestyle.
Nancy and I are blessed as we both love the fulltime lifestyle but we too have met folks like those you wrote about. We did meet one couple though who have compromised well. When they are at home (stick & brick house) they will sometimes be there for 4-6 mo at a time. When he is ready to travel he tells her to pack her bags as they will be hitting the road in a couple of days which she does without complaint. After 4-6 mo on the road, she tells him to pack it up as they are going home which he does with out complaint. Guess this wouldn’t work for everyone but they have a great life together and it works for them.
Do you think she may not have liked your bus and this was her way of stopping the sale? I agree with Emery, it’s difficult restoring old houses and living in the at the same time. Having an RV on the farmland property would be the perfect answer.
In the second year of our marriage, eons ago, we bought a tent and have been
into camping ever since (the whole range.) As the option for early
retirement approached, I made noises that I’d like to go out early and
travel some. Both of us agreed that our current home was great for raising
a family, but not for retirement with an RV parked next to it.
The issue became one of three options; stay in the current home until we had
traveled the country, sell the current home and buy our retirement home and
then travel and thirdly, sell the current home and travel, then buy our
retirement home in one or two years. In the end it was number 3, sell the
current home and travel for 1 or 2 years. It is now 16 years later.
How long we stay at it depends mostly upon our health. In our travels we
have met so many wonderful people that delayed their retirement too long.
They are into the RV thing with difficulty, constantly scheduling
appointments, treatments, etc. Sandy and I are blessed with very good
health ignoring a few allergies, aching joints and a few symptoms that the
advertisers try to convince us that we might have a problem while we eat
dinner. We have our yearly physical so that the doctor can give us the
finger and a blood test. Conclusion: Keep on trucking like we’ve been
doing, life couldn’t be better.
As full timers, we have given up a few things, for me it is a work bench to
play electronics repair on and a shop to rework my dad’s old W-6 and his H
tractor. They’ll wait until we have to sit tight. For Sandy, a larger
kitchen would be great, especially with a real oven, perhaps a sewing room
and a real high speed internet connection. But she doesn’t want a big
house, too much space to clean!
The biggest detriment to us going full time were the nay-sayers telling
Sandy she wouldn’t like it. Yes, there was an adjustment, as our first
objective was to go to Alaska. We went from a full time work schedule,
business travel and evening meetings to being in the RV together
continuously. We were never out of each other’s sight except when we might
use a public restroom at the many museums we visited going to and from
Alaska. Life has been good. It was a good decision!
Hey Nick! Great blog post. I usually lurk but I just had to comment on this one. I have to say that divorce would be on the horizon for me if I was married to someone so inflexible. Marraige is about compromise. My husband and I have talked about the issue of retirement- I just turned 35 and he is 40, so it’s not THAT far away.
He wants a house in Mexico, and I want to retire in Portugal/Spain or Hawaii (I told him I want to see the beach from my window!) We’re both bilingual so it would be an easy adjustment either way. I just like Europe better because it’s LIKE Mexico, but with wet-wipes (cleaner!). But Mexico’s dirt cheap.
So we are going to split the difference. He is saving up for his house down south of the border and I told him we could spend 3 months in Hawaii or Portugal. I think that’s a good way to do it. Everyone’s got to give a little.
This is too funny. My hubby & I bought the old farmhouse, spent a year renovating and redecorating it having fun all the while…then looked at each other and said “so, what do you think…wanna go rving?”..*G* so we did, and we are, entering our 4th year. Never looked back
I feel sorry for the both of them. Neither will really get their dream in the long run. I think of what she will miss seeing this beautiful country and meeting all the great folks out there. He will be stuck with all the chores she will require to be done.
Compromise is the name of the game. Sometimes one gives more than the other, but it all works out in the end. I am disabled now so am forced to retire. I am also 4 years older than hubby so I feel my time is running out sooner than his. He wants a sticks and bricks and I want to go. The money or lack of keeps us where we are right now, but he is beginning to “think” a little more about full timing on a limited scale. Next year we hope to trade up to a little bigger RV and maybe start to do a little more traveling. He is working for a motor coach company and in the late summer and early fall the work is real slow. So this gives us a time slot that just might work for some traveling. I keep my fingers crossed. In the meantime I get travel brochures and maps and read all the RV blogs I can. I sew and cook and that makes me happy a lot of the time. I am willing to wait a little longer as long as he will talk about doing the travel thing. That is our compromise right now. Also with my little rig I can take it and go by myself for a couple of days at a time and then glad when I get home and he is glad too. So far so good.
It doesn’t seem like much of a marriage to me if they are just now finding out what the other person wants to do for the rest of their lives. And I agree with others who have said marriage is a compromise. So what have these two been doing for the last 30 years? Have they ever communicated with one another? Have they ever talked about the future?
Peter and I spent many long hours discussing retirement and what we wanted to do in retirement before we retired. It seems to me the first thing this couple needs is some counseling and help in communicating with each other. Then they need to sit down and really talk about themselves, what they want and the future. It may be that he gets himself a small RV and goes it alone, coming back to her and her farmhouse occasionally. It seems they both need some self reflection and time spent analyzing themselves and their relationship. Because from what I can ascertain they just don’t know each other and sure don’t seem interested in what the other person wants. Seems a sorry start to retirement and a future of unhappiness on both sides is the future for this couple.
I am the wife who is the subject of this blog post and I can tell you all right here and now that your comments have only further convinced me that I want no part of your lifestyle. What narrow minded opinionated people you are! You don’t know me but you automatically assume I am the bad guy here. You are so wrong!
I was the one stuck at home raising two kids and playing the role of room mother and soccer mom while my husband had his career and accomplishments. I was the one stuck sitting home alone with the kids while he was on business trips. I was the one who had to leave my family and friends and move four times in fifteen years to help him advance in his career. I was the one who had to put on the dinners to entertain his bosses and clients.
Now I am criticized because the kids have left home and he is retiring and I want things to be my way for a change.
Someone suggested that my husband might get a small recreational vehicle and travel part of the year alone. If he even mentions that he’ll find himself hitchhiking across the country. It’s my turn, and if a bunch of strangers who don’t even know me don’t get that, you are all a bunch of idiots! Who except a bunch of misfits who can’t fit into respectable society wants to live in a camper all the time? What are you, holdover flower children with gray hair and tie-dye clothes? Grow up people! The sixties are over and the hippies went the way of the dinosaur!
Cynthia, what an angry woman you are! You say you had to stay at home with the kids, and be a room mother and soccer mom while your husband got to have a career and accomplishments. What a lucky woman you were. As a divorced mother of 4 with no child support, I would have given anything to stay at home with my children. I worked long hours to provide my children their basic needs and had little time to enjoy their growing years. It sounds more like you are a bitter, jealous woman who is eager to punish your husband for all of his successes even while he was providing you a home and the priviledge of being a stay at home mom. I am not an overgrown hippie. I am a 57 year old cancer survivor, living the dream of a lifetime with my beloved husband of 12 years, on the road to adventure in a motorhome, on this wonderful two-lane road of life!
Wow! What a fascinating discussion. I was going to side with the comments about restoring a farmhouse while living in an RV but then I thought about the apparent lack of communication between the husband and wife. Most RVers will agree you NEED to have a good relationship to live 24/7 in less than 400 square feet. From reading Nick’s Blog and Cynthia’s (the wife) comments it doesn’t sound doable. Maybe Cynthia can give her husband a subscription to the Gypsy Journal so he can live his life vicariously through others…until the divorce happens.
“Who except a bunch of misfits who can’t fit into respectable society wants to live in a camper all the time? ”
Wow Cynthia, that is quite a nasty label to put on a bunch of people from all walks of life who you don’t even know. It must be very painful to be that angry to cause you to lash out at some of the nicest people I have ever met in my life time. It sounds like you have been unhappy for a very long time in a life that you now resent? But you know what, I don’t care about “your opinion” of our lifestyle. The old saying goes, you live your life and I will live mine. We have that freedom and you have that freedom. But I am willing to bet that our “lifestyle” is filled with a lot more “well-adjusted” people than you will ever meet or get to know. Just because we have opted for a home on wheels and a simplified lifestyle that allows us to travel doesn’t make us “hippies”.
I sincerely hope your life gets happier for you.
Wow, sounds like Cynthia feels she endured many years of punishment while the her husband lived in his utopian corporate world. I spent 20 years with a Fortune 500 company going to the endless meetings and fancy dinners while being pleasant and smiling at people who could not give a damn about me as a person. So much fun I couldn’t wait to leave. What a sorry evaluation of her own life and the work that her husband also did to contribute to both their life-styles.
If one does not like the full-time life style so be it but to take to task everyone including her spouse is selfish beyond belief. There should be compromise and many other alternatives beside full-timing and/or a farmhouse when considering how to live your remaining years.
There is a lot more wrong in this relationship than deciding how to spend there remaining years. These two spending time together on an extended basis should be
comparable to mixing dynamite and nitro glycerin – sooner or later the relationship should self-destruct.
And, who actually “made” Cynthia be a stay-at-home mom? I’m sure it was her decision to stay at home instead of searching for a job that would work for her and for her family. Many women (and men) have outside activities and work (if needed) for fulfillment. If she wasn’t happy in her world, why didn’t she do something about it years ago instead of growing so bitter. I feel so sorry for her husband. You can bet he’s going through he** over this!! However, he’s probably been used to her tantrums and will just bid his time until she calms down and then, it’ll start all over again.
PS — Cynthia – most of the folks I’ve met in my year on the road are very educated, very caring individuals. You might meet a few and take a lesson.
This man needs a good lawyer (is there such a thing?) before he kills this crazy woman. JMHO
Cynthia liked her lifestyle well enough to use her husband’s income to provide for herself, their children, and a home. I think she liked the money too much to do anything else. Some people, who can’t excel themselves and are insecure, use resentment and “punishment” to make themselves feel powerful and in control. She appears to be a miserable, bitter, and nasty person. She wouldn’t fit in with the outgoing, friendly and funloving folks that represent the RV community I’ve come to be a part of and love. I’m glad she will be in a farm house (hopefully as a divorcee and not in Iowa). I just worry about the bordering crops shriveling up and dying from the rotten vibes coming from that house.
PS I don’t think the remodeling fumes can do any damage there.
Anyone have Dr Phils phone number?
My first thought as I reach the end of this lively commentary on Nick’s blog, including the rather surprising addition by the lady named Cynthia, is that we have now been taken in by a practical joke. I just don’t believe anyone who could be so angry at a group of harmless and faceless individuals that she would spend time following the blog let alone the follow-on comments of the very group she detests. I prefer to believe that there is no Cynthia, at least in my life and circle of friends.
I feel better already…
My wife was a stay at home mom while our kids were young; not because she was incapable but because we both wanted it that way for our kids sake. She had a masters in math before the kids even came but did not go back to work until the last was well into the school years. We did without many of the things our friends had for sake of living on one salary. When the girls were older, Glynna taught math in a local community college and, during that time, took courses for five years to get her doctorate in education. During those years neither of us was bitter about our “sacrifice” because it was our dream to raise Christian daughters who would be equipped for life. We had other dreams as well and when the day finally came, we were both ready to sell our house and move fulltime into the fiver. We travel about the country now and can visit the kids without disrupting their households. By the way, it took us a lot of those years learning to communicate with each other and sometimes it is still difficult but we’re working on it because this is still our dream.
Wow Cynthia! You poor woman. “Stuck at home” all the time. Raising your children, cooking meals for clients, and you had to move away from family and friends. I am so sorry for you. Did he tie you up, chain you to the home or lock you in? Did he whip you till the boxes were packed so he could move you away from family and friends? Oh, and soccer games. Don’t you hate it when “you have to go”.
Actually Cynthia, you lived the privliged life. The life many a woman would have died for. To many ladies, staying with the children would have been the dream life.
I do not understand why you say he had a”career” and “accomplishments”.
You had the toughest but most wonderful job in the world! Those children are your accomplishment. I am sure you raised them to be wonderful human beings. Do you think your husband moved you just to make you unhappy? I don’t think so. He had a family to support. He had to make those choices so he could support his family. No one “made” you leave your family and friends. No matter the miles, a family is always there for you as with friends. Miles to loved ones means nothing.
You want things “your way” now. Do you really believe the past 30 years were all “his way”? Don’t you think that after working all those years, saving his money, he deserves to have a “dream” also? Do you think working was his dream?
I think he needs to dump you out on the farm. Go milk a cow Cynthia! And hubby, hit the road….us “hippies” would love to meet you and show you what life really is all about.
I wish it were a joke, but after talking to this lady on the telephone, I know it’s not. It is sad that a couple could be so far apart in the views and in their perception of their own lives. Her husband feels that after 30 years at th corporate grindstone, he deserves to play. She feels that now that the kids are gone and he is retiring, they should do what she has always wanted to do. He read her our comments hoping it might open her eyes to his viewpoint, but all it did is widen the gap between them.
After reading all the comments, I stand by mine. This couple needs counseling BIG TIME. They have never communicated. They don’t know one another. If counseling does not work, it’s time for a divorce. They are so far apart on who they are and what they want that there is no compromise. And what a shame to have wasted all these years. Let’s hope they don’t waste the rest of their years. Cynthia, you are a bitter woman. And yes, you need counseling as does your husband.
My husband finds the hippie comment funny. He was in the military during the early 60s and does not like hippes. What we are is a couple who are living in a movable home instead of a sitting in a fixed home. We are no different than any other folks except we like to see new scenery and visit this wonderful country of ours. In fact, RVers are some of the nicest people in the world. We know more folks now than we ever did living in our stick built home for 28 years. I do feel sorry for you, Cynthia. You need to get over the anger and hatred. Life is to short to be forever resentful. Good luck, because you are going to need it.
I agree with you that the RV lifestyle is probably not for you. But let me describe my life. I am a husband and father who worked for 39 years at a fortune 200 company. I attended the meetings, did the travel, worked the long hours and climbed up the corporate ladder. I did this because I had to support my wife and children. I can tell you from experience that business traveling is not all it is cracked up to be. Staying in hotel rooms, eating restaurant food, sleeping on strange beds and meeting with people that you would not choose to be personal friends with was not a party. I feel that I sacrificed a lot to provide for my family. I missed school performances, soccer games, etc. because I had to work. I really wished that I could have had the opportunity to be with my family more but that is what I felt that I had to give up in order to provide for my family.
My wife had a college degree and worked until the kids came along. Then we both discussed the options when she got pregnant with the first child and agreed that she would quit work to be a stay at home mother. She felt very strongly that she should be there with the kids and therefore she became a soccer mom, etc. She never felt that she was “stuck at home with the kids”. She made friends with other mothers that have lasted to this day.
In our particular case, we camped in tents and later in trailers and finally motor homes because we liked the outdoors. This was the way to get together on weekends and have fun with the kids. But it was our collective choice. Probably 15 years before I retired we started discussions about what we wanted to do when I retired. We both decided together that we wanted to full time in an RV and that is what we are doing. We love it. It is what works for us. For other people, other paths are more appropriate. My concern for you, Cynthia, is that you obviously feel that you got the rotten end of the deal while your husband was working. That is too bad. He probably felt the same way when he was away at his meetings and traveling. He probably wished that he could spend more time with his wife and children. I think you are overlooking a lot of wonderful times that you had with your children and with friends while he was working. You got the opportunity to be the main person to raise these kids to adulthood. What an accomplishment! Now it is time to decide what to do with the rest of your life. Yes, things are changing and no, maybe the RV life is not good for you, but you and your husband need to decide what will make both of you happy. It is not fair to your husband that he must now suffer for the rest of his life just as it is not fair that you should suffer either. Maybe some counseling would help with this adjustment. It is a major life change and can really throw a couple for a loop. Please try not to be rigid and make it be your way or the highway. Try to find something that will work for both of you. I am sure it would be a lot more fun to share the retirement years with a happy husband and I am sure that he feels the same way in reverse.
Hmmmm…. I still stand by my original post. it appears that all the suggestions and comments that were not reactive to Cythia’s response were offering ideas for consideration. Most of these were stating or implying communication, compromise and planning as their anchor point. The first casualty of any of these suggestions has to be ”
stop keeping score!”
I do not pretend to know what has kept these folks together but apart for so many years but I do know others that have finally reached an end to it. For some that end came by a final “burned bridges” act by one or the other in a no win for anyone kind of situation.
But, a few decided to move forward towards a goal that they both actually wanted to some degree. It might not have been the top thing on either of their lists but the process of doing that has been a real baseline for their cooperative future together.
It has taken constant vigilance for all of these people to evade slipping back into the tit-for-tat internal score keeping habits that charted their individual relationships. But most have survived the life-changing experience and are still together and feeling happy, together.
They are not all RVing nor are they sitting behind a white pickett fence but they all smile at each other every day and they all occasionally ask each other “what would you really like to do?” ….. and then actually listen to the response.
To all of you who have claimed she was selfish or self-centered (before her post): the same could be said for him–they both want their dream. Of course, most of us reading this blog are RVers, and thus on his side, but the original question was how do both get to live their respective dreams? I think compromise in the form of part-time rving is the solution; maybe 4 months ‘snowbirding’ (or sunbirding, depending on the location of the farmhouse) and 8 months in the farmhouse–if finances will allow this compromise. After her post, I don’t know–she seems incapable of compromise. Hopefully, her post was an angry response to some of the posts here and in reality she is not that bitter.
I find this kind of ironic. He had to travel and she was stuck at home. Now he wants to travel and she wants to stay at home. You would think he is the one that wants to stay home and that she would want to get out and about. My guess is that if they hit the road for a year or two and if she could give it half a chance, ( which doesn’t appear likely ) and not have a negative attitude she would love it and he would probably be ready to settle down somewhere. So then they would still have the same problem but the positions would be reversed. :>)
This has been very interesting reading! Nick’s blog is one I always read every night but never have posted a comment….so this is my first comment.
As angry as Cynthia may be, I don’t feel we should be criticizing her. Wrong or right, she won’t listen to so many negative comments anyway.
I’d be interested to know how Cynthia’s husband first told her of his dream, how did he present the rving information? We all know there is a learning curve to this lifestyle. Some of us are immediately hooked right into every little rv tip we can fins, some folks prefer traveling with others, some like to go it alone. I have met fulltimers who do nothing but go to quilt shows and some who do nothing but fish. The RV is just the means by which we “get to do what we love”. For me, the people we met were the frosting on the cake! Just the best ever. But sightseeing, joining rv groups and clubs, these are the things that would be good for Cynthia to investigate. And shame on her husband if he didn’t share that kind of research with her as he was discovering what sounded good to him as a dream. I was the one who fell in love with the idea first, but knew my husband well enough that I knew he would love it 30 days out even though he dragged his feet a little. He had been a boater, so when I discovered that they call the towed vehicle a dingy, I figured that was a great opening line to sharing my idea of full time rving! It is all in how you have come to share yourself with your partner, but big ideas do need a little finesse. So put them out there, feed them from time to time, and see what develops. Educating yourself and researching your idea is one of the ways to feed your dream. Go to a park near you and talk to folks. Rvers are the best sellers of this lifestyle because they don’t do it unless they love it! Seeing how it is done will be an eye opener for Cynthia. In all my years of travel, only once did I meet an RVer who was a miserable person, and that person would have been miserable anywhere. So go check it out; you will run into someone who will say I was hesitant but I soon came to love it as much as my spouse.