Last June, after 30 plus years of teaching, I retired and we sold the house we’d lived in for over 22 years. My husband had a great idea to get in an RV and travel for six months. Not having anywhere else to live at the moment, I said, “Sure!”
Even though I’ve retired, I’m still working every day on my writing. I gave myself a goal of a thousand words a day average and have been great about doing that. Well, until I finished the book I was working on. I’ve taken a few weeks off to do edits for an upcoming release (no publish date yet, unfortunately) and do more promotion.
In between all this writing and promoting and whatnot, we’ve been playing tourist. Tomorrow will be 100 days that we’ve been on the road. So many people have mentioned how envious they are that we can do this. It has been an experience, that’s for sure. Some good, some bad, but all details I can use in a book someday! (Oh, yeah, I am definitely doing a forced proximity story that takes place in an RV!!)
I thought I’d give you some pros and cons of our trip so far. Especially if any of you are thinking of doing this. There’s lots to consider before you jump in and head out for months at a time.
The Pros are fairly easy to list:
See new things
Visit new places
Try new food (I don’t get to do much of this as hubby is very frugal!)
Live life now
Better weather (especially since we headed south)
These are all fabulous things! But as an FYI, you do need to be prepared for the reality of it.
The Cons are stuff you need to be aware of too:
$$$$ Yes, this trip will cost you money. And lots of it.
First, you need to buy or rent an RV. Not cheap.
RVs use gas. Lots and lots of gas. Ours gets like 6 miles a gallon. But it has a 75 gallon tank. Yup, that’s an ouch when you hit the gas station.
RV Parks. These can be anywhere from $20 – over $100 a night. The more touristy area, the higher the price will be. Sure, you can boondock (use your generator and water tanks) but they only last so long and need to be refilled – and boy is it inconvenient.
Food. You still need to eat. If you dine out every night, you will be broke in weeks, unless you start the trip as a gazillionaire. But even grocery shopping and cooking in still costs the price of groceries.
Attractions. You want to go to Disney or do that swim with dolphins thing (and that crap is expensive) or even the smaller ones like touring a plantation or doing a Trolley tour around a historic city? It all adds up.
Itty Bitty Living Space – Even the largest (and most expensive) RVs don’t have much more than a few hundred square feet of living space. Be prepared to leave those thirty pair of shoes behind. Privacy when you need to use the bathroom or shower, nope, not much here. Sure, there’s a sliding door, but it’s still very close. Need to work or want to read, but your partner chews too loud or listens to talk radio and you hate it. Better get yourself a good pair of ear buds. I listen to classical piano far too often now.
Who? Along with living space, is who you’re sharing the space with. It better be someone you can really, really get along with. Sure, you’ve been living together in a big old house for many years. But you’ve been working or your partner has been at work for much of the day. But now you are together All. The. Time. There is such a thing as too much togetherness.
Mechanical problems. You are driving a huge piece of equipment (or pulling an RV using a huge vehicle) and that needs to be kept up. At any time, something could break, leak, or just stop working. And you are in the middle of nowhere with no one you trust to make it work again. That’s not just the moving vehicle. You have a microwave, toaster, fridge, A/C unit, heater, plumbing, etc. And that all needs to stay in working order.
Social. When you’re on the move all the time, you don’t get to socialize as much as you typically might. For the introvert, this is probably a definite plus. But I haven’t seen my children and grandchild in 100 days!! Many people say, oh, you meet new friends. But when you’re only staying at a place for a week or less, how friendly can you get? Personally, I’m what might be considered an introverted extrovert. Once I get to know people and trust them, I am quite social and don’t shut up. But I’m not the type to insert myself into an already established group and start chatting up a storm. So, for me, this trip has been difficult because my extroverted side isn’t getting fulfilled. Luckily, we have had the chance to stop and see friends and family who live along the way.
Hopefully I haven’t scared you. It certainly has been the adventure of a lifetime. Are there things I would do differently? Sure, but we still have about 70 days left before we head back to New England. We’ll see what those days bring.
My book RUNNING TARGET is about a man who's also gotten around a bit. Unfortunately it's because he's on the run from a mob hit. Can he figure out a way to end his nightmare and get back to his family?
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Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/Kari-Lemor/e/B00ON2YDI6/
Kensington Author Page: http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/author.aspx/31828
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