The world is so filled with idealized images that sometimes it’s hard to get down to the reality of a thing. Pretty much every commercial or advert you see as been cleaned up to present the precise image the advertiser wants you to see. In society we keep aiming for better examples of ourselves than we have yet achieved. In the name of “Political Correctness” a lot of what people say and do things in public that they might not repeat in private — all because we think we’re supposed to be better or different than we are. And I won’t do more than mention the conspiracy against women as a gender that tells them they have to put on makeup, wear certain garments, look like certain people, etc.
RV’ing is not immune to idealization. And I have known folks who had so idealized their imagination of what RV’ing is “supposed to be” that they went out and bought an RV, took one trip in it, and came home with a mortgage and tried to sell a brand new RV with one trip’s worth of mileage on it. Turns out RV’ing wasn’t what they thought.
I’m not going to rag on about how RV’ing is advertised. I think we all have to come to terms with the idea that basically you can’t believe anything people tell you when they are trying to sell you something. Their whole purpose is to over come your objections and I’ve seen people I thought were honest go overboard on their descriptions of something they wanted to sell. And people who aren’t honest — well, the sky’s the limit.
But let’s just talk about some other aspects.
Breakdowns & Maintenance
I try to talk about the good and the ugly when it comes to RV breakdowns and maintenance — they are part of RV’ing and you have to accept that. You can do a lot to minimize their impact on your life — but you have to take care of your mobile HOME the same way you have to maintain your Bricks & Sticks HOME.
You are going to change. Period. That means your expectations, your desires, your goals, and your ability, your finances, and …. maybe even your passion, is going to vary. Don’t expect RV’ing to be some pie-in-the-sky Utopia!
One of the things that has caught me off guard — if I’m really being honest — is becoming aware of how much our motivation and enjoyment has morphed over the going-on-five-years we’ve been doing this. I find myself automatically saying things about what we want and realizing as the words are coming out of my mouth that they may not be quite as true as once they were. WE are changing — like everyone else on the planet — and it’s good to stay in touch with yourself and your partner if you have one.
Our decision to go Full Time RV’ing was a mutual decision. I have noticed when talking with other RV’ers that as their time to get off the road approaches the decision often becomes the choice of one party more than the other and it frequently comes up “suddenly”. It’s a situation I think is somewhat controllable if both parties talk to each other enough as time goes on. Rather than concealing dissatisfaction or discontent over time and then exploding with an ultimatum — if you’re honest as you go along about what you want and don’t want maybe your partner can do a better job of helping you get what you need instead of what you have been doing. Just saying….
The Perfect RV
There’s something fundamental to our consumer society that favors novelty and bright shiny things. We hear so often about the “new and improved” versions of … well … everything! But if you’re like me you have come to realize that “new and improved” is only new and improved in the mind of the person trying to sell it to you. I often disagree with the idea that something that has been changed is necessarily an improvement. Sometimes it’s just different. And other times it’s been changed to give you a reason to buy another.
RV’s are all expensive. I don’t care what kind you’re looking at, or how new or old — if you want to get into this lifestyle it’s gonna cost a bunch of bucks. One way or another.
I will say that among the other RV’ers I talk with it seems an overwhelming number would rather purchase something new-to-them for less money than the brand-spanking-new-model if by doing so they will have enough left over to make the older model into exactly what they want. I’m not spilling any beans here when I say you end up paying for every one of those customizations you pick out in the new RV catalog. And you pay full list price and then some. Maybe you can find an older RV that is close to what you want — it’s already lost it’s new-model depreciation — and with the difference you have a chance to customize what remains to make you happy in your own RV.
Gossip and HEaRSaY
Not everyone tells you that truth all the time. In our time as full timers I have found that usually the people I meet face-to-face who are full timing are pretty honest about what they like, what they don’t, how they do things, where to find a good campground. We’ve all been in that place where it’s getting late and we haven’t settled in for the night and we just want to stop for the day. Most of us respect that feeling and try to help others out along the way. But not everyone.
In our case, I’m +/-55 feet long when we’re hooked up to the toad. I won’t say I worry about directions, but I rarely take a single set of directions for granted. IF I DON’T KNOW WHERE I’M GOING, I always try to get at least 2 sets of directions. If both people give me the same directions I feel I can trust them. If I get differing ideas, I start shopping around and ask more people. It’s no fun getting stuck down a one way road and running into a low underpass, or some other RV’ing catastrophe.
If I get a campground suggestion I still try to look it up and learn about where I’m going. Taste varies. A couple times campgrounds have been suggested to us that really weren’t to our tastes. Too big, too much a party atmosphere, whatever… they just weren’t our cup of tea. Checking an RV campground directory is just good common sense before you start down that turn from the Interstate.