Excitement, adventure, travel, the eternal vacation, to never have to work again.
Whether it is talking to people we meet in our travels, viewing the many RV forums and blogs, or reading the email we receive, people have many different words and phrases they use to describe their dreams. Some actually takes steps to make those dreams come true, but for many, it will only end up being wishful thinking.
One thing is certain, and that is no two people arrive at the decision to live the rest of their lives in an RV by the same thought process. Some people plan on a brief period of travel once or twice every year. Others plan on wintering in the same location every year, then traveling to a second location where they will spend the summer, again every year. Alternatively, a couple may winter or summer at the same place, but travel for the other half of the year. Some simply stay put, never moving their RV, while at the opposite pole are those who are constant travelers, never staying in one spot for more than a few days before moving on to someplace they most likely have never been before. If you throw in every combination and permutation of the way people live in an RV, you would probably still be leaving out a few of the ways people live this lifestyle. And that doesn't even include the people who still work full time but have jobs that are of limited duration and in diverse locations. If you can imagine it, there is probably someone living it.
We don't pretend to be experts, having lived this way for a little less than two years, but what we do have is our experiences. They are uniquely ours, just as everyone else has their own unique experiences. It also means we have learned by experience, having done a few things right and many things wrong. But in this article we don't want to dwell on things or incidents, We want to discuss feelings, emotions and the simple act of spending what amounts to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year together. Not together as we did in our former life, but really together, both in close physical and emotional proximity.
Just because someone commits to live this lifestyle doesn't mean they will be happy ever after. The forums are full of excited posts about the much anticipated day finally arriving when the happy couple can hit the road. Sometimes, but not often, there are posts on the forums by someone who has lived the fulltime lifestyle but has decided to give it up. The original post where they talk about leaving the lifestyle is usually followed by several pages of posts stating how sorry everyone is that things didn't work out for the original poster. As more sympathetic responses are posted, someone eventually states, either nicely or in very blunt terms, that this lifestyle isn't for everyone. Then others chime in, and there is a post that states, sorry it didn't work out but anyone who tries the full time life should be happy for the time they spent on the road.
The sad part about all this is often overlooked. Here is a couple who not long ago were agonizing over "getting rid of" many of the "things" they had lived with for years and years. Caught up in the exhilaration of the moment, they dispose of their history, so to speak, but with the knowledge that they would be living in a small space for the rest of their life, a space that can not accommodate any of those trappings of life as they knew it. Then, some time later (anecdotal evidence points to somewhere before 24 months have passed), they find themselves giving up their dream of a new life on the road and face the need to once again take up their old life. But something has changed, all those "things" they had for so many years are now gone. The connections to their former life no longer exist.
There are many reasons why things don't work out for people, maybe only one of the two really wanted to take the plunge, or the distance from family proved to difficult. Others may discover that the financial resources they planned on weren't adequate for the lifestyle they desired. Health issues could suddenly appear, or premature death may suddenly take one of them. Perhaps they simply found the space too small, or possibly it was that they couldn't get along when in such close contact every waking moment. It is rarely all the preceding, but many times it is more than one of them.
We'd like to take a moment to address one of them, the last situation, the fact that when faced with such a limited space, some people simply can't get along. In a nutshell, whatever they were before, they are after, meaning that if they were less than ideally suited for each other before becoming full timers, they're not likely to suddenly become best friends once they cast off from anything solid that gave them strength and stability in their former life. Anyone thinking about living this life needs to give this point some very serious thought. If there are serious qualms about living this way and someone attempts to hide them, they will come out.
We don't say this to discourage anyone, but rather to help people understand what they may discover on their own trip to the land of full time RVing. For us, it made sense to keep our house and things until we were sure that this was what we wanted to do. Others may or may not want to do this, or maybe financial considerations make it impossible. We will end this with a couple of lines the "Man in Black" made famous: I keep my eyes wide open all the time, because you're mine, I walk the line. If we watch out for each other, be considerate and remember that the reason we are out here is to Live Life, we can walk that line and love the life we live. We do, and we hope you will too.