A year ago today, we purchased our first ever 40' motor home in Virginia Beach, VA and became full-timers. We drove it 30 miles away to Fort Monroe Army campground in Hampton, VA ~ and began the Roadrunner era.
Here are some thoughts on what we have learned during the past year. Among them:
1. We love this lifestyle. After 12 months of this, we are not talking about, 'when we quit doing this' or 'I want to settle down somewhere.' We have so much more to see and so much more to do. Let's see what happens in year two!
2. I am the luckiest man alive. I knew that already but Pam is really more and more amazing the older I get. She really understands how this RV works - inside and out. I would really be in more of a fog about things if it weren't for her. She's special ~ I haven't met another full-timing lady out there yet has learned as much or that knows as much as her. We haven't met everyone yet~ I'm just sayin'...
3. I thought we would exercise more and get into better physical shape. Hasn't really happened. We don't walk and bike and exercise as much as I thought we would. It still takes discipline.
4. It is possible to live on a budget and lower our spending levels. It took me a while to imagine how I would track every penny. (Who does that? What normal people really have the discipline to do it?)
Now I know it is really not that big of a deal and I have a fairly simple system that works well for us.
5. Didn't realize I love sunsets and sunrises as much as I do, but I never tire of them.
6. We didn't plan on driving the Roadrunner almost 34,000 miles the first year. That is almost 15,000 on the RV and another 19,000 miles on the Honda.
7. I love driving this thing. I thought I would like driving this 40' motor home, but after about 12 months at it I feel very comfortable and it is better than that! I REALLY love driving this RV.
8. Pam loves to cook and is great at it. I knew this before, but she really comes up with some great simple meals. It is fun to 'camp' and see her use the microwave, convection oven and oven.
9. We have seen regular America from coast to coast and border to border. We have seen regular people in south Texas, the Midwest, the prairies of South Dakota, deserts of Arizona, the sea coast of southern California, the rivers and lakes of Michigan and Ontario --- regular people living life.
10. The opportunity to meet family and see old friends has been wonderful. Some huge and wonderful and hard times in our life have played out this last year and living in the RV has afforded us the flexibility and opportunity to be at important places at important times.
11. We have loved meeting new people. In every part of the country and every place we have stayed more than a week, we have met wonderful folks and made many new friends.
12. I thought it would be more important to us to have a great campsite every time. But that has not been the case. I n fact, few have had the 'it' factor. And we have been fine with it. We have had irritating neighbors or a bad campground only a couple of times. Most have been fine ~ or better!
13. I find I infrequently look at forums or join RV chat sessions any more. I don't know why that is, but I was on those things for hours before we started full-timing. Now I seldom spend time there.
14. I like the contemplative life. I usually spend time thinking about things and where I fit into the universe. I find this lifestyle helps reassess things and get centered, recalibrated on what I want to do next. But I like doing things too.
15. I feel completely blessed to be able to do the things we love to do in volunteering and building and/or remodeling homes. That gives us a sense of purpose and worth and helps us feel like we are contributing.
16. My favorite sports to participate in are golf and running. Surprisingly we have done only a little of each in the last year. When we first starting thinking about full-timing, I imagined we would play lots of golf. It does not seem to be so important any more.
17. My outlook on finding paying work has changed over the last year. I am not sure I will pursue online project management positions or teaching with an online university like I was intending. Both are areas that I seriously considered. But neither is something I feel excited enough about to pursue.
18. I think our finances will adjust significantly during year two. We have spent money on 'one time only costs'. At other times, I have missed the number entirely (no category or budget item for eating out) and I will readjust the budget based on actuals in different categories over the last 12 months.
19. Blogs and Facebook have been a real BIG part of connecting with people. I am surprised at how important both are to us. We call folks from time to time but it has been very important for us to be in touch with friends (and new friends) via Facebook. It has also been a big deal and reading other peoples' blogs or getting feedback (e.g. 'Comments')on our blog.
20. We learned early to relax when things go mechanically wrong. In fact, I think that is one of the biggest mindsets one has to cultivate as a full-timer. We now take the approach, 'Everything is going to break sooner or later, don't panic'. It helps greatly when you have a spouse who is mechanically minded as thinks logically. She is the best!
21. I take the premise that this is camping. I have backpacked in the NM wilderness for days without a tent, with a tent in Europe and the Northeast, Midwest and Western United State. Looking back, I know I can handle austere circumstances. When I use the campground washroom or portajohns somewhere, I remind myself ~ 'this is camping'. And then I think how ridiculously nice we have it with: a heated, air conditioned coach; king sized bed; 3 burner stove with a micro wave; fully padded recliners and a fold out sofa bed; plus etc etc.
22. Not to be crass, but having a shower every day (or sometimes two) is very over rated. We find that it saves water and unless we are outside doing a lot of exercising, it just isn't necessary. I also found out I can't go more than a day or two without shaving. Otherwise, I begin to feel undisciplined and a little ratty.
I am sure there are more, but here are some of the things we have thought about this week. Thanks for viewing the Roadrunner Chronicles and more 'Reflections' to follow in the next few days.