Yesterday I wrote about how much we love the fulltime RV lifestyle, but it’s not for everybody and we have seen a lot of fulltimers come and go over the years. Some dropped out because once they were out on the road away from family and friends they realized that it just wasn’t for them, some had to hang up the keys due to illness or a death, and some just couldn’t afford it.
And then there are some people who just couldn’t get it right and failed Fulltiming 101.
So how do you fail at fulltiming? How hard could it be? I’ll give you a few examples of things we’ve seen people get off the road for.
One complaint I have heard over and over again from wives is that their husbands want to drive 400 miles a day, never stop for a break, and sleep every night in truck stops and WalMart parking lots. One guy bragged to us that in their first 13 months on the road he had never paid for a campsite and had never spent two nights in the same place. His wife was absolutely miserable. She said she didn’t sell her house and leave her grandkids to look at the world through a windshield. They are now off the road. Another fellow told us that their long awaited Alaska trip was a total bust. They left their daughter’s house near Seattle on June 1st and were back July 4th. He told me they never saw an animal. Broke both windshields in their motorhome as well as their dinghy, blew four or five tires and basically tore the RV and toad to hell. Once they were back at the daughter’s house I don’t think the wife ever went back inside the motorhome.
Inflexibility is another killer for fulltimers. We met a couple once that at any time had reservations made and paid for a full year in advance, all in two week increments and never more than 200 miles apart. If something happened to delay them, like a mechanical problem or breakdown that put them off the road for a day or two, they couldn’t just go to their next stop and stay 12 days instead of 14. No, he had to cancel the existing reservation and make a new two week reservation, and then change every reservation after that to get back on their two week schedule. Within six months he was constantly sick to his stomach and having chest pains, and a doctor told him he needed to change his ways or make a drastic lifestyle change. While most people become RVers to escape a stressful lifestyle and relax, this man found RVing too stressful and had to stop so he could relax!
A husband and wife have to be on the same page about their RV travels. We have met couples where all they did was go to bluegrass music festivals, or tractor pulls, or places to play golf because that’s what one person (usually the husband) wanted to do and the wife never got to go to the places where she wanted to go, or do the things she wanted to do. Or one person is a Type A who wants to be on the go all the time and the other prefers to sit in one place and smell the roses. I am guilty of that myself. I like to run around and see everything there is to see, and sometimes Terry has to remind me that she needs some downtime to weave, spin, cook or just recharge her batteries. I need that downtime too, or else I’d burn out, and I have worked at moderating things so we’re both healthy and happy.
But it’s not just us guys who are guilty. We’ve met some wives that seemed to work very hard at making their RV experience less than pleasant. A couple of years ago we were at the Escapees Sumter Oaks campground near Bushnell, Florida and met a man whose wife refused to leave the motorhome for the three months they spent in Florida every winter. He said she told him she didn’t want to leave the kids and grandkids in Wisconsin and that if he insisted on dragging her away in an RV she wasn’t going to make it easy on him. She had no interest in anything there was to do or see, or in meeting any of her campground neighbors. She preferred to stay inside and pout. I’m pretty sure that was their first and last attempt at RVing.
Those kids and grandkids I mentioned seem to be the biggest problem for a lot of women. They just can’t handle not being a part of their lives every day, and we have known several couples who stopped RVing because the wife was miserable away from the little ones. I’m not sure what they plan to do when those kids grow up and go off to college or get married or whatever. “Wait up kids, Grandma’s going on your honeymoon with you!”
If you’ve read this far, you probably realize that the way to avoid a lot of these problems is with two simple words, communication and compromise. Talk about what you both expect from your RV lifestyle. Be honest and say, “This doesn’t work for me. How about we do this now and that next week?” When we were teaching at Life on Wheels, one of our most popular seminars was The Reluctant RVer, which addresses these issues and more. I’ll be presenting this seminar at the Escapees Escapade rally in Goshen, Indiana in May. I hope we see you there.
It’s Wednesday, and you know what that means. It’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series, set right here in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.
Thought For The Day – Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.