I got a very nice comment in the blog post the other day that mentioned they were worried that we might be thinking about quitting after Amazon, and I found that interesting and thought I would take a few minutes to talk about it. We do get the question somewhat frequently, especially when the blog gets a bit whiny, and the short answer to the question is “Not really”. That answer is truthful, but it also surprises me because I tend to be a person who thinks through everything. But when I start down that path, I truly can’t picture where we would be, and when my brain hits that brick wall I just stop thinking about it.
Part of the problem I think is we still don’t have a place we want to be. I’ve talked about this quite a bit here and there, but probably should lay the scenario out again. We have three kids in three states. We have Lee’s parents, my dad and brother in a fourth, and my sister and mom live in a fifth. As much as I would like to live near any of them, how would we pick one? Of course it would make the most sense to pick a part of the country we really like and live there, but there’s a couple of problems with that scenario. First we haven’t seen everyplace we want to see yet. Before becoming a full timer, I wouldn’t have thought twice about that, but now I know how varied the country really is, and if I pick a place, what if I was missing out on someplace really great I would like better? That’s new for me by the way, as I have spent a lifetime of settling for the best I could do, but I don’t feel like I need to do that now. Plus Lee has never been a person who settled easily, and he really wouldn’t want to do that now.
The second reason is the weather. We don’t need absolutely perfect weather wherever we go all the time, but we have gotten spoiled living this life. When I think about places I have loved in the winter (Apache Junction, Tampa, or San Antonio), it’s impossible for my mind not to immediately think about how hot those places are in the summer. Same thing with places up north we enjoy in the summer. We loved Montana, Oregon, and Wyoming, but how we would deal with the rain and snow? Granted, weather is less of an issue when you live in a sticks and bricks home, but it would still be a difficult thing to give up and the place would need to be pretty special.
One thing I can actually picture is having a regular job again, although the thought of getting up every morning, putting on dress clothes, and driving in rush hour traffic to work isn’t a pleasant one. The work itself is something I think about, but the other parts, the politics, long hours, and the constant pressure are things that I simply do not miss. That’s pretty weird, because I just took for granted that is how life had to be before this, but obviously I have lived another way for quite some time now.
And all of those things aside I really can’t picture stopping because of Lee. He absolutely loves this lifestyle and isn’t even close to being ready to being done. I couldn’t take this lifestyle away from him without a pretty compelling reason, and so far I haven’t run across one. He would stop for me if I absolutely hated it, there isn’t a doubt in my mind about that, but I don’t hate it, and don’t see myself feeling that way any time soon.
Because here’s the thing: it’s just my life. We have good days and bad days. We get on each others nerves and make each other happy. We are in beautiful places sometimes and other times are in not so nice places. We have bad weather, arguments about money, and the occasional health concerns. We worry about politics, our kids, our parents, and the environment as the occasion arises. Sometimes we are bored, sometimes we are ecstatic, but most of the time we are just living our lives. And on balance, for me, it is much more interesting and fulfilling than the life I used to live. I don’t know about Lee. I think he’s happier, although sometimes it is hard to tell since he generally has a low level of dissatisfaction with life in general. (I’ve been less unhappy for longer periods of time doing this than I have ever been in my life. – Lee) A lot of creative people are like that though, and I try not to take it personally. I figure if he’s not outright miserable, it’s a win.
You might be wondering what my old life was like if I find this more enjoyable, and that is a fair question. I think the best way to describe it was a big ball of stress. I wouldn’t go so far as to say my old life was killing me, but I was far enough gone that I had no idea how much stress there was until it was lifted. I feel lighter and more hopeful. I have more energy, more creativity, and am happier. These are not small things. There is absolutely nothing that I gave up in the way of material possession or financial means that comes close to these new feelings I am experiencing. Truly…nothing. Maybe that sounds unbelievable to you. I wouldn’t have believed it myself frankly. I didn’t know I was capable of being like this. But here I am, and although I will probably never be capable of the free and easy spirit that many people I admire have, this isn’t so bad, considering where I started.
And that’s why I really don’t think about stopping. Certainly if I am having a particularly bad day my mind starts to travel down that path, and then like I said, hits the brick wall of all those factors. That doesn’t mean that I live in denial that sooner or later something may drive us from the road. Situations and people change, and I am certainly open to the likely possibility that it could happen. But I also don’t feel there is any benefit to borrowing trouble, and that in and of itself shows how much I have changed. For a long time I was a person who actively thought about what could go wrong and spent a ton of time obsessing about it. Somehow, and I honestly have no idea how I got here, I have given myself permission to just exist in the moment. For the record, it’s pretty awesome.
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