We met a very nice couple at the Escapees Rainbow’s End campground in Livingston, Texas during our first year on the road and really hit it off with them. They were about our age, had retired early, and were ready to see America. They lasted about a year on the road, because they found the fulltime RV lifestyle too stressful.
Stressful? Isn’t one of the great things about fulltime RVing the lack of stress? Not for these folks.
Early in our friendship, I noticed a trait in the husband that made me wonder just how well he would be able to make the transition from the working world to RVing; he was just too regimented. He needed a schedule for every day of his life, and whenever something happened to mess up that schedule, he went into a mental tizzy.
One day they were going to have dinner at a restaurant in Livingston, and asked us to join them. We agreed they’d pick us up at about 5 p.m., as I recall. He called me a couple of hours before the appointed time to tell me that we were going to have to reschedule, because they were getting an oil change in town, and the shop was running late. I said we could wait until they got back to Rainbow’s End and then go to dinner, but he said no, their whole schedule was shot for the day. As it turned out, they were back in the campground by 4:30, but they could not go to dinner with only 30 minutes to prepare, so they cancelled.
Another time, we ran into them at the Escapees Rainbow Plantation campground in Alabama, and a couple of days later they left because they had reservations in a campground in the Florida Panhandle. Two days later, the husband called me to say that their new “campground” was actually a redneck trailer park, with long term units up on blocks, Rebel flags in the windows, and pit bulls chained to the porches. They hated the place.
I suggested that they leave and come back to Alabama, or go on down the road to some other place in Florida. “We can’t,” my friend replied, “we have a schedule to keep. If we leave here now, it throws it all out of kilter.” So they stayed in a place they didn’t like, with neighbors they didn’t like, just to maintain their “schedule.” As it turns out, as I learned in later conversations, at any give time, they had one year’s reservations made and paid for in advance. Their schedule called for them to drive no more than 300 miles in a day, and then stay put in an RV park where they had a reservation in place. When the week was up, they went to the next place on their schedule, and stayed there a week.
Any experienced RVer will tell you that sometimes things happen we don’t plan for. RVs break down and need to go into a shop for repairs. Bad weather can keep us off the road. Maybe we get sick and are not well enough to travel. If we do have plans, we change those plans to fit the new situation. Not our friends! If they had a breakdown and were stuck someplace for two days waiting for parts or repairs, they could not just go to the next RV park on their list and stay five days instead of seven. No, he had to cancel all of his future reservations, and then remake them again, one week at a time!
I tried to tell him that he needed to relax and just take life as it comes, but his mind was not programmed that way, and he just couldn’t do it. It didn’t take long for the stress of his self-imposed schedule to get to our friend; he started having stomach terrible pains, he couldn’t sleep, and he was miserable. His poor wife was just as miserable because she was witness to his stress and could not change him. They decided that the fulltime RV lifestyle was not for them. It’s probably for the best, because otherwise I think he’d have had a massive coronary.
We learned early on in this lifestyle that anything can happen, and often will, so we roll with the punches. It’s a lot easier that way. We seldom make reservations, and we try not to have a tight schedule. We may have a breakdown. We may find an interesting small town festival to take part in, or a historical site to explore. We may run into friends unexpectedly and want to spend time with them. So we take life not just one day at a time, but one mile at a time.
For example, we know that we’ll be in Florida sometime in the next few weeks, but we have no idea just when we’ll get there, where we’ll go when we get there, or which route we’ll take to get there! We may drive straight through, stopping only to sleep and eat along the way, but more likely, we may take a meandering route, and discover interesting places to distract for an hour or a day along whichever route we decide to take. It’s a lot more fun and a lot less stressful that way!
Thought For The Day – Can an atheist get insurance against acts of God?