Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Little Stir Crazy

I have been so good and quiet the past week I can't believe I'm still sane, but I'm pretty sure I am. I decided this morning to see if I could drive, so I went the approximate mile to Home Depot and bought a cheery plant for my kitchen window. I did pretty well, but won't try to drive any distance for a while. My eye still aches now and then, and my hand is finally starting to look human again. I think the burn has caused me more pain and suffering than eye surgery.

A week or so ago I received a question from a reader asking about my decision to try the full time RV life, as well as how I came to the decision to quit. I will try, and I hope I am clear enough about it. Of course the opinions I express are strictly my own, and won't match what other RVers have experienced.

When I returned from 3 years of living in Ireland in 2003, I bought a house outside Asheville, NC, which I loved more than any other place I've lived. I had a beautiful view of the mountains along the Blue Ridge Parkway outside my front windows, and mountains were all around me. But after 5 years or so I realized I just couldn't maintain the house and 3/4 acre of heavily treed property on my own.

I first became aware of traveling and living in a camper for more than a few weeks at a time, when I read a journal of a retired couple who pulled their daughter's tear drop camper to Alaska and back. It sounded idyllic to me, and having spent a lot of time hiking and backpacking in my lifetime, it certainly provided a lot more comfort in traveling than carrying a backpack. From the journal website I clicked on the ad for "Go RVing", and then did a great deal of research on RVs of all kinds. I found my way to Howard and Linda Payne's website, "RV Dreams" which provided a huge amount of information on the full time lifestyle and costs associated with it, and had a very active forum in which I could ask many questions and find answers from others who had practical experience. RV Dreams also had a chat room which I started taking part in nearly every evening for months, getting to know many of the RVers and hopefuls that I still keep in touch with today through the blogging world.

Within a few months I put my house on the market, and accepted an offer in 3 weeks. I disposed of my furniture and a lot of belongings, putting into storage things I wasn't ready to part with then. I have since wished I could have put all my furniture into storage as I would love to have it now.

I bought a rig, a 2002 Ford F-350 with dual rear wheels and a diesel engine, and a 2004 Hitchhiker II 5th wheel, and took off across the country for California in December of 2008. 2009 was a great year for me, and I loved the freedom to pull my house along with me wherever I went. I worked for about 3 months as a camp host at Lassen Volcanic National Park that summer, and then drove east again in September, visiting my son and his family in NY, and friends in Asheville NC on my way to another 3 month volunteer stint at Fort Pulaski outside Savannah Georgia that winter.

After that year I remembered the old saying "Wherever you go, there you are." I really couldn't keep up with the maintenance required on an RV, and found myself feeling very lonely. I was happy when volunteering, but the other 6 months out of the year were lonely during the times I wasn't with family. I have always been somewhat of a loner and enjoy the freedom to plan my trips and drive my own drive, but that doesn't negate the fact that it was lonely even though it is a choice I freely make.

In 2009 I began to have problems with my vision, and had cataracts removed from both eyes, which then led to a diagnosis of an eye condition requiring cornea transplants. So 2010 and much of 2011 have been taken up with health and vision issues, and I was really tired of the additional issues involved with living in a house on wheels. Many of those issues result from the constant stress on such a house when traveling around the country and over every kind of road surface, and many of the issues result from the crappy way they are manufactured. I longed to settle down and my ideal was to find a park model somewhere, and maybe a small camper such as a tear drop for occasional camping. I did find such a little house in a 55+ mobile home park in Sacramento, very close to 3 of my 4 kids.

I will probably want to hit the road this coming spring, but I don't think I will miss having an RV to deal with. I now drive a Toyota Highlander which achieves much better fuel mileage than the Ford diesel truck, and which suits me and my dog, Lady.

That is the story of my short attempt to be a full time RVer. I enjoyed much of it, but in the end it was loneliness that led me away from it. I'm still alone but I don't notice it like I did before. Most RVers that I have met and whom I know through chat room, emails, and blogs have a much different experience than I did. I have always felt that it is better for me to try something until I decide I want to do something else, rather than to wish I had.

I have been so fortunate to have traveled much of the world, and I hope to someday recount some of these travels as blog posts. It's an idea that is still under construction in my mind.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!


  1. I am so glad that you have found the place that makes you happy. This RVing life is definitely not for everybody and being a woman by yourself is especially tough.

  2. You gave it your best shot. And like you said better to try than wish you had. I think having your nice cozy home now and traveling when you wish will make you happy.
    I often think about how I would like to full time and I know I wouldn't like it all that much. And since my home is paid for I wouldn't want to sell it.

    Glad to hear you have done so well being a couch potato. And you took a short drive to see how it felt. Glad you are doing better with the burn and your surgery.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

  3. I, too, found as a single person, it was lonely in the world of coupledom. And hard to maintain and keep up with the RV, financially & emotionally. I am glad u found your place to be and it is working for you. I enjoy having my little house & look forward to fixing it up...
    U have a good Thanksgiving too!

  4. I am thrilled that your eye surgery was a success. What a blessing to have others donate organs when they have lost a loved one. Glad to hear that the doc ordered you to be a coach potato, I hope your burn is doing better. Boy, sometimes drugs are great.

  5. Burn?? I must have missed something. I liked your thoughts about about how you made your RVing decisions. You laid it out very well and there should be no doubt in anyone's mind as to how and why you arrived at your lifestyle changes. We are a diverse cast of characters out here in Blog Land and everyone has their own story. That's what makes it all interesting. Good for you in making it to the store and back:))

  6. That was a good synopsis of your time on the road, and what lead to your decisions. It's not always easy being a loner on the road in a couple's world. Volunteering helps fill that void. :)

  7. Enjoyed the story of your RV travels. You write very well and I enjoyed reading about a segment of your life. I am sure you enjoyed it and now you can say “been there, done that”.

  8. Nice summary of why you started on the road and why you decided to quit.

    It is great that you have found a place where you can be close to most of your kids!

  9. GREAT to see ur back! Missed you. Loved ur blog today, tells us a lot. I've thot i would have loved the RVing full time, and still think i would have. I'm alone, but rarely lonely, lots of difference.
    How much longer on ur eyes? Or, is it a wait and see?,,lol. Really didn
    't mean that pun.

  10. Very interesting life! I am glad you found a place that you like. Good luck with your eyes and hopefully there will be lots of enjoyable trips in your future.

  11. This blog is very good telling your life story of RV'ing. I'm so glad I met you in the RV chatroom, and one day we'll meet in person. You're a very special person and have touched a lot of lives.

    I'm so glad the surgery was a success. Your new home seems to fit you well, for now.

  12. You did a great job putting it all in a nutshell. I've been reading your blog for a long time, but didn't know the first part.

    So far I'm not lonely, but I've been a bit of a loner for a long time, so I hope I last on the road for a while. Love to visit with other travelers, then love being alone again.

    When I do come off the road, I hope I can find a little place like you did. It sounds perfect, and you can always travel if you want and have a home base. If my condo was paid for, I would have kept it.