Monday, May 11, 2020

Some Thoughts on Exiting the Full-time RV Life

Anyone who has gone full-time as an RVer can relate to the large amount of effort it took to make the dramatic transition. Downsizing, living in cramped quarters, and always being on the road can have a big impact mentally and emotionally.  Similarly, making the decision to reverse course and rejoin the more traditional community has some challenges too.

I’ve thought about this topic awhile.  In fact a day may not go by before my thoughts return to the RV life and I relive some of those great memories.
That said, I know some friends who are thinking about making the same decision and I wanted to share some thoughts from our experience.

We were on the road for almost 10 years and sold the Roadrunner 15 months ago.  This is from our perspective so it may or may not apply.  My hope is that it might useful in some way.

Here goes:
  1. Becoming full-timers takes longer than making the big change to get off the road.  It takes a lot to put yourself into a viable position to live on the road and go full-time.  For us it was a two year effort.  Others have done it more quickly.  It really depends on your circumstances and personal risk tolerance.
  2. Reversing that situation is easier but can be no less risky or scary.  But it doesn’t have to be. With a right amount of consideration and forethought, it can be done well with little pain.
  3. In our case, we found that once you say it out loud and discuss it, everything changes.  It becomes inevitable, sooner than later.  Up until that time, it was a “someday” thing but not an item that we concerned ourself with much.
  4. Transiting off the road my be more pleasant if you had a good full-time experience.  We found it easy to cherish those times.  Likewise, we were and are hopeful as the next chapter continues to unfold it can be equally as good.
  5. I find that our circumstances may be different and I have always thought it is OK to “feel sad’ about leaving the road.  Really -- we gave some of the best years of our life to a great experience, and it is normal to have feelings about changing things.
  6. I think it helps to sollidify thinking as to why we make the big change.  Once we determined the “why” -- it was easy to come back to that when I had misgivings or other thoughts.  Remember the “why" you are doing this despite the mixed emotions.  There may be times when the transition 
  7. It’s ok to have changing goals after you become part-timers or no-timers.  We thought we’d be getting a smaller RV.  Then we spent that portion of our budget on a truck and still have no RV.  And we are OK with that, though we loved every minute of life on the road.
  8. I know of friends who found it helped to write out pros and cons of a decision to leave the road.  It may clarify things for you.  
  9. Make the change with minimum financial impact if you can.  A series of costly financial moves at this stage of your life is not helpful.
  10. Don’t be surprised if others “don’t get it”.  Despite your enthusiasm for RVing, some folks just do not understand.  And they don’t understand why you ever did that in the first place.  But that’s OK.  
  11. Be flexible.  Be patient with your new circumstances. Once you are settled back into a more “traditional lifestyle” there may be those days when it is not going so great and you wish you were still RVing.  
  12. Make sure this is what you really want to do, so you don’t have regrets. Leaving the full-time lifestyle and going traditional is not irreversible, but I’m thinking from what we have seen it is improbable.
  13. We intended to have an RV parked nearby at a storage lot or in the backyard and have it ready to go for many short 4-6 week trips.  But that hasn’t happened yet.  For us at the moment it is not feasible.  But we are OK with that.
  14. Manage your expectations.  Just as RVing is not a panacea, going back to traditional living isn’t either.  It will have challenges and setbacks.  
  15. You can't move if you don’t like your neighbors like you could in your RV, unless you are renting.  Hopefully you will be able to get into a great neighborhood or situation suits you.
  16. Whatever cash you set aside for the transition will go fast.  Other priorities may pop up that you didn’t plan for.  Some are knowns but there are the many unknowns.  Be thrifty if you can so you have more options.
  17. Set up a way to remember your wonderful times.  Photos, a blog, emails, are all ways to remember the great (and not so great) times you had on that very unique time of your life.  Review them like an old scrapbook. 
  18. You may want to keep in touch with your some of your RV friends.  It is a wonderful way to remember and connect with that important part of your life.
  19. Key in on the things that you deal with as full-timers that are an undertone of stress.  If you leave the road, you are free from those pressures.  It could be little things that you didn’t realize but definitely create some element of burden for you:  Major RV breakdowns, places to get a camping spot during the busy season (or COVID-19 lately), doing your laundry at a laundromat every week, or being apart from family.
  20. Maybe you don’t have to get rid of your RV or you can downsize and still get out and camp from time to time.  That seems like the best of both worlds.  Become a half-timer, some-timer or when-ever-you-can RVer can be a great option if your situation allows it. 
Having said all this - life after RVing can be just as exciting, just as fun, just as rewarding.  Only different.  It doesn’t have to be the same to be good.  Or great.

It can be another exciting time in your life.  And why not?  You made a big change to go full-time, and you can be happy and successful in the next chapter of your life. After you think about it and develop your plan,  Go for it! and God Bless You!

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!