I read blogs, websites and the various forum sites during the evening hours. I can keep one eye on a TV program, if it is worth seeing, and one eye on the monitor to read stuff. And, boy, there is a lot of stuff out there.
Much of what I read pertains to a fulltime RV lifestyle, since that is of particular interest to me as a fellow fulltimer. I am always interested in people, their opinions, their particular outlook on FT living, the thoughts for their future, and how they are holding up in these tough economic times we are in.
Some have given up their fulltime dream even before it got completely started and some have left the fulltime lifestyle after several years to settle back into a stix-n-brix. Some others are hanging onto their dream of this lifestyle in hopes of better times ahead.
Seems to me in most all of the stuff I’ve read, the folks are very realistic about their options. They seem to be content to forge ahead and follow their plan. The freedom of living a life in an RV with wheels to move them about is still of great importance to them. It is to us, as well.
I can only speak for our situation and it may be different from other fulltimer’s goals and dreams. Like so many others, we’ve experienced diminished savings due to the recent recession and stock market disaster. The economic climate begs the question….”what is this lifestyle worth?” What is it worth to you to be able to keep going as you’ve been doing? How much are you willing to change to hold onto your dream? What can you give up? That is…of course….if any change is needed at all. There are many RVer’s with good pensions, savings and retirement benefits to carry them forward, which is all good. What to do, then, if a change is needed?
Workamping is an option a lot of people use as a way of meeting financial needs. The younger set of fulltimer’s I read about are using workamping to keep them afloat. Volunteer positions at state and national parks can get you a free campsite in exchange for your work. This helps with the rent budget. If you stay in one location to be a workamper or a campground volunteer you aren’t driving around burning up fuel, which is a savings.
But what about the rest of it? Most of the fulltime RVer’s who are under the normal retirement age were tired of the rat race involved with a 40-hour work week. They searched out a new lifestyle. Perhaps it is a healthier lifestyle for themselves. A lifestyle that allows them to see the country while they follow a dream.
That can come with a price which is where my post title “What Is It Worth?” comes from. If you have elected to bail out early on the career path (as we did) there may be some compromise to be made at some point. In our case, in order to not have to go out and work for earned income, it means we rarely go out to a sit-down restaurant for a meal. We like to reserve that money for times when we meet a fellow blogger, or friends or family and go out for a meal. We have a very, very small entertainment budget, we don’t buy a lot of new tech-gadgets or gizmos (OK…NONE), we will drive our present car for many years, and we do not go to high-end RV parks as they are too expensive for our budget.
If you’ve been used to playing golf twice a week, going out for restaurant meals 4 to 5 times a week, buying every new gadget and gizmo that comes out, going to the movies often, going to live concerts or theater productions, having his and hers vehicles in your parking spot, and staying on top of the fashion trends, are you willing to give any of this up? Would you be willing to put an end to any of these things in order to continue and maintain your fulltime lifestyle? Those can be some big decisions if any of those expenditures are very important to you.
If you are just struggling to put food on the table, pay your vehicle insurance, pay for medical insurance, and buy life’s necessities while you are living this dream, again, is it worth it? The stress of a difficult work week may now be replaced by the stress of keeping the dream together. This is a very tough decision that many people are facing right now. I am really wondering how it will all play out. Are any of them going to have to put the dream aside and settle down with a full-time job again? There is a high unemployment rate out there and good jobs may be difficult to find. Most of us with a fulltime RV dream have to compromise somewhere with something in these tough times. I am cheering on each and every fulltimer out there, as I sincerely hope you can hold on during these tough times.
Fulltime RV living isn’t stress free or problem free, but it certainly has some great benefits that may, or may not be, tangible. I remember very well a blog post written by Al of the Bayfield Bunch several months ago. Part of what he wrote had to do with a “sack full of problems”. I can’t quote him directly but it was something about when we live in the stix-and-brix world we may have a sack full of problems to deal with relating to that home. If we move into an RV fulltime we exchange the previous sack of problems for another sack of problems. We still have a sack of problems, but it is just a different sack. Anyway, I thought it was a great post and I think about it often when we are faced with some problem or another.
The same theory can go along with being in the working world. We may have hated our corporate, or 40-hour plus workweek and decided to chuck it all, but we still have to find some sort of income to just be able to survive. That’s where I ask myself the question, “Is It Worth It?” For us, personally, the scrimping, cutting corners, being thrifty, having great limits on all spending is completely worth it.
NOTE: This post was intended to explain our philosophy about the fulltime lifestyle, the give and take of it, and is in no way intended to reflect an opinion on other people’s choices.
Until next time…..so long for now!