A Sign Of The Times?

 Posted by at 12:33 am  Nick's Blog
Aug 262011

The mail is done! Yesterday afternoon we dropped off the last tubs of stuffed First Class envelopes at the post office in Elkhart, and shipped off the boxes of papers to the various mail forwarding services our RVing subscribers use. It sure feels good to get that chore behind us!

This is issue 74 of the Gypsy Journal, and we have noticed a trend in the last two mailings that doesn’t really concern us yet, but that we are aware of. For the first time since we began publishing our RV newspaper, we have seen a very slight dip in subscription numbers. Not huge, barely a blip on the radar, but still something we need to watch.

In our Standard Rate subscription list, we lost fourteen subscribers from last issue, we lost five Escapees mail forwarding service subscribers, six First Class subscribers, and twelve digital subscribers. When you consider the thousands of readers we have, those numbers are pretty insignificant, but we wonder why. Are we doing something wrong, is it a sign of the bad economic times, or…?

I have had a couple of blog readers say that they don’t need to subscribe anymore, because they read the blog every day. I sure don’t want, (and don’t plan) to stop blogging, so I’m not sure how to answer that. We have much more in-depth coverage of places we visit in the paper than we do in the blog, and we write about a lot of things in the paper that are never in the blog.

I have also had several people tell me that with the hits their 401Ks and stock portfolios have taken lately, they have decided to put off going on the road for another year or two, waiting to see what happens next.

We’ll watch and see if this little downturn is an abnormality, or a trend.

Bob Patel, owner of Elkhart Campground, told us that his numbers are down this year, too, a fact that we’ve noticed in the number of empty RV sites since since we’ve been here. Even with last year’s higher fuel prices, he had more sites filled every night. Where is everybody?

How about you? Has the economy, the stock market, or whatever, affected your traveling and spending habits? Are you cutting back, and if so, how?  

Some others who have noticed a downturn are Jim and Chris Gould, from Geeks on Tour, who told me that the number of signups for their Computer Boot Camp at our Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally in Celina, Ohio are down. Miss Terry took this hands-on computer seminar a couple of years ago, and even though she thought she knew her way around a computer, it really taught her a lot.

Jim and Chris need at least four more signups before they can hold the boot camp. It is scheduled for Friday, September 23, and you can come in for the boot camp and stay on the fairgrounds until the rally starts. You will have to pay the extra camping fees, which are only $15/day, but you’ll be there before the rush on Sunday when the Early Birds start arriving. Click the Boot Camp Link to learn more, and register today!

With the mailing out of the way, we’ll be starting in on the final details of the rally. I want to get some work done on the sequel to my Big Lake mystery novel, and we definitely plan to get some playing done too! Yesterday, on our way home from the post office, we checked out a boat launch on the Saint Joseph River, and I suspect that our Sea Eagle kayaks are going to get wet in the very near future! 🙂

Bad Nick kind of stirred things up with his last Bad Nick Blog post, which drew a whopping 66 responses. He’s at again, but his latest blog post, An Act Of Love, has a kinder, gentler message. Check it out and leave a comment.  

Thought For The Day – I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back. – Zsa Zsa Gabor

Click Here To Register For Our Eastern Gypsy Gathering Rally!

Click Here To Register For The Geeks On Tour Computer Boot Camp Before Our Ohio Rally

Click This Link For Info On RV Weighing At Our Ohio Rally

Check Out Nick’s E-books In Our E-Book Store

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  20 Responses to “A Sign Of The Times?”

  1. We are among those who have to put our plans on hold for a while and maybe forever. We had planned to go full time this year and even had put down a deposit on the coach we wanted.

    But we lost over 48% of our portfolio in the last 12 months and our financial advisor tells us this is a time when we have to tighten our belts and wait it out. We knew we would lose the money we put down, since it was a special order coach, but we still feel we made the right choice. I guess it just wasn’t the right time for us.

    So we’ll tough it out and hope the market comes back and we regain what we lost. What other choice do we have?

  2. Our broker told us the same thing last year, Josh.

    So we tightened our belts just like he said and hung in there and we lost even more! When we called him to discusses our dwindling portfolio his secretary said he was on vacation in Machu Picchu. I gues HE wasn’t tightening HIS belt!

    We said screw it we’ll take what we have left and do what we want to do because the “experts” sure as hell don’t have a clue!

  3. If we had listened to a “financial expert”, we would not have been fulltiming for the past 11 years. Even though money experts always throw out a million-dollar figure, we decided on our own that we could afford to hit the road. So far, so good. We have had the ups and downs in the market but we haven’t run out of money yet and I don’t think we will. I guess I would suggest everyone needs to think for themselves.

  4. With paying a mortgage on a house and a motorhome, we are having a hard time justifying going out too much when each tank of fuel represents half a payment on our rig! Right now we are pretty much in a “maintenance” mode.

  5. We have been fulltiming for 2 years…sold the house in a down market and hit the road. Our broker didn’t do back-flips over our decision but we have not one regret. We stay longer at campgrounds to get the weekly rate and spend less time in expensive areas like D.C. when we would like to have stayed longer. I think at sometime in our life we would have regretted not doing it. Maybe since you have a fair number of blog followers who don’t subscribe to your newspaper you could add a “teaser” each month to a blog post about an upcoming article. Otherwise if you don’t subscribe you don’t know what your missing. Just a thought.

  6. Being a full time caregiver to my mom has halted our fulltiming experience for now. We also have to split our year between Florida and New York. Unfortunately, the mail will not forward your newspaper to us so we just continue to read the blog. We know we could subscribe the digital version but being “old-fashioned”, we really like holding that paper in our hands.

  7. It is the economy, pure and simple. We tried to go fulltime but were unable to sell the house. Had it on the market for a LONG time. Kept lowering the price but no luck. We’re not expecting to get top dollar but taking a hit of 50 grand or more would be foolish.
    All that plus the savings being down and not being able to get any income from the savings that we do have.
    Think of it this way Nick. You are seeing the same problems and trends as the New York Times and every other publisher. Aren’t you glad you do not have their overhead?

  8. (Even with last year’s higher fuel prices, he had more sites filled every night. Where is everybody? )

    This line puzzles me Nick. I checked back on my gas prices and I was paying $2.30—$2.40 a gallon. This year $3.59. So this may be the reason for people slowing down their travels.

  9. The company I worked for went belly up. The 401K has been a disaster and the IRAs are about gone. Social Security now is helping to pay the bills which continue to grow even though we’re told “there is no inflation so there will be no cost of living adjustment”. Thankfully our mortgage has been paid off.
    Next June my wife will retire and her pension will be about half of her existing salary. So we’ve been practicing for the day when our income takes the nose dive.
    Cut backs on donations, subscriptions, and many other little things that add up to big dollars have opened our eyes. Smarter shopping (clipping coupons) and generally just being miserly may allow us to do our traveling. The V10 is a guzzeler but it’s paid for and is in good shape so we’ll learn to live with it until it or we “kick the bucket”.
    We won’t be able to get along without The Gypsy Journal or the blog (thanks for that Nick) cause they take us places we might not be able visit.

  10. Being just a little down is pretty good Nick, at least in comparison. We are down in our business (vendors) more than that. At 1 FMCA rally we were down over 50% which isn’t acceptable. Also we have noticed many empty sights in our travels in places that need to be full, Rapid City SD for example.But, we will continue & be happy as long as we can eat.Like you my friend, God has given me a wonderful wife & family.

  11. We were lucky enough to start downsizing our lifestyle and sticks&bricks house 10 years ago. We had a long range plan that led us to cutting our expenses so we could retire. Now we live in a much smaller house with no mortgage and have all our loans paid off. When we leave in the winter for 6 mos. of RVing, the expenses are affordable. For us, choosing this lifestyle took 10 years but by starting early, really paid off as we beat the real estate crash. Also our money is not in a 401k so that saved us too. If you really want to do it and put your mind to it, you can. If getting every dollar out of your house is more important, then stay home. It’s up to you.

  12. Fulltime can be a state of mind. There are many ways to work the fulltime way of life. Each has to decide what is best for the individual people. My way is only one way. We have a small home base, but we probably travel 6 months out of the year, spending the rest at an RV community. The market has not been kind to us, but we have not missed a meal yet. Life is not certain and no one is guaranteed tomorrow.

  13. Nick, we are actually traveling more this year than the last two, but the last two down years were because of medical conditions, so that doesn’t count. However, this year we have saved money, at least nightly money, by staying longer and getting better rates, staying at Thousand Trails more (largely to be near our family), staying at Escapees Days End sites, and other lower cost sites like National Forest Camps. We stayed four nights without hookups at Oh! Ridge near Lee Vining — in the snow!

  14. We have noticed the opposite in campground occupancy. We have been up, year/year. But there are more locals than distant travelers. So my concluusion is people are not travelling as far.

    As to delaying fulltiming …. often this does not make sense. Fulltiming costs far less IMO than owning a home. And you can control costs better. Assuming you can sell the house.

    As to the housing market – it is not going to recover to the point it once was for many years – more than 3 – if at ALL. Regional recovery will happen in certain areas, just as certain areas were not affected as much. But if you are waiting for your house to recover to the “artificial” highs of the past, you will generally be waiting a long time. You need to change your mindset. You are not “losing” the money that your house was once “worth”. You never had that money, so you never lost it. Now, being upside down in a house is a different story. It depends on how bad it is, and that is a regional issue. Sometimes it is better to do a short sale and get out….only you can decide. But believing that the housing market is going to recover in the short term is false, IMO.

    The bottom line is that it is far cheaper for most people to live on the road.

  15. Good Morning; My wife and I have reduced our planned winter travels by half as a direct result of stock market concerns.

  16. I’m afraid a lot of us are largely unaware of just how bad the economy is for many people.

    As an artist who uses volunteer models I have never had a problem getting models — my deal with them gives them copies of some of the images we create and that’s always been a big draw.

    But when you see someone half a dozen times over a few months, and you’re there alone with them in a room for 4-5 hours there’s a lot of time to talk. So, I get to hear all sorts of horror stories about people who have lost their jobs; businesses who have cut back bene’s; jerky boyfriends; and never ending drama.

    But over the last year those stories have taken horrible turns.

    And we are about to take delivery of our FIRST RV, a 2002 Journey, and we have been pretty nervous about it. Our house has not yet sold, and the buyer wants a city conditional use zoning approval so we could still be trying to sell this place next year. But we are moving forward with faith and trust. (But surely not trust in the stock market of politicians)

  17. We have not been affected by 401K or market losses because we did not have any to start with. We both have jobs that pay enough to live on but do not allow many frills. But we have learned that if you don’t have it to lose you don’t miss it!

  18. I think it is primarily the economy – I read your blog daily and subscribe – dont change a thing

  19. Sold the RV and getting a divorce after 5 years fulltiming. I miss it but my husband just could not enjoy the journey and it became a constant battle. I still read the blog and he is living in a truck camper. I didn’t renew our subscription but maybe he will subscribe. I hope to meet someone to travel with again but I won’t be getting an rv.

  20. Well, we have cut back because Joyce had one cataract surgury in June..We did get 2,500 miles in and home. Now the other eye is scheduled for Sept. 16th..Off again, maybe not so many miles….but it’s fun to ride!!!!! Don’t think we will go anywhere near “Irene”….

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.