Why do I RV? Most of my friends and acquaintances that RV do it to see the country. They share pictures of their epic hikes and journeys, then I ‘like’ them on social media and think about visiting. I mean, those photos are amazing and the experiences look life-changing. That’s why people RV, right? To see the country.
I have one of those U.S. maps you add the state sticker to once you’ve visited. You know the deal, go to South Dakota, add the sticker, then visit Mount Rushmore. That’s what our grandparents did. They hit the road every school break like it was their job to drive as far as they could to see some new monument or cool place.
But, I had other plans. I fantasized about buying an RV to travel around and meet up with people. My dreams involved inspiring people and falling in love. (Looking back, I may have been thinking of a Nicholas Sparks movie). Regardless, I wanted to get out of my studio apartment and do something, anything. I knew I did not want to get in the rut of another relationship looping the same track I’ve been on for years.
I needed different. I’m different. I’ve worked hard on myself and being the best version of me – I wanted more. That’s when the dreams started. I would wake up at night with a jolt and the urge to sell everything and get on the road. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Irresponsible? Crazy? Mid-life crisis-ish, perhaps? To me it was crazier to stay in a 400-square-foot apartment that cost $1,750 a month for another year working from home.
I would tell people “I can work from anywhere, I live at the beach.” But, the reality was, I worked on the sand one day out of 365. One day. I was working every day in a small room chained to my laptop and headphones. I wasn’t even using the Bluetooth, so I was seriously chained to my computer – tethered with no change in sight. My gut was telling me I needed something different.
I started going to RV shows a year earlier and I knew I loved the Winnebago travel trailers. They were sexy and nicer than my apartment. I also did the math and concluded a year and a half of rent and apartment bills would pretty much pay off a trailer. However, I knew if I bought one I would need a bigger vehicle because my hybrid wasn’t going to cut it. So, I bought a 2013 F-150 and was on my way.
I told myself that if anytime during this process the red flags came, I would stop and listen to my gut. However, it ended up being so smooth to buy the trailer and get moved in. The hardest part was allowing myself to.
Now here I am, seven months later in Sante Fe, NM, for a conference. Since I can drive to whatever I want to do, I signed up for a course to earn a certificate to lead empowerment and inspirational retreats. My dream is to be the most authentic version of myself and hopefully touch the hearts of people by having real conversations and loving on each other. It’s funny because – aside from manifesting this amazing Winnebago and sweet truck – I didn’t realize I had already been enjoying the life I dreamt of. I think because I was just living, I didn’t stop to compare myself.
During the first months of RV life, I just enjoyed cruising around and learning all about the dos and don’ts of RV living. I joined all the Facebook groups and watched the YouTube channels on how to do anything I needed. (I remember watching a YouTube video on how to back up for the 6th time as I was ready to back into my first spot). Whatever I needed to know, I had access to. I traveled solo with my dog, had everything I needed and was having fun. I wasn’t doing things I thought I should do and resenting them – I was doing what I wanted to and it felt good.
Then, four months into this journey, my realization hit me. I was walking with my 91-year-old grandma in Texas. We were three weeks into our four-week trip from California to Texas at a Bucky’s travel store walking arm-in-arm. I’m usually holding the bags and she’s rockin’ her hand-carved cane. While I’m explaining any obstructions in our path, she’s just shining her light. People smile and warm up around us – it’s kind of hard not to since she’s wearing a fun hat and either laughing or smiling. I’m doing the same. She’s a kick in the pants, that one.
As we were getting in the truck it hit me: I’m doing the thing, the inspiration thing I dreamt of. I was driving around just being me and connecting with people. How cool is that?! I’m having this inner-dialogue and Grandma says to me “I see a lot of nice people,” she means women, “around and you can’t talk with them because I’m with you.”
I laughed and said “Grandma, are you kidding me? So many people are happy when we are around and women smile at me. Grandma, come on, you’re better than a puppy.” She laughed so hard. It was awesome.
That trip was a lifetime dream come true. I decided to take her to Texas with me so she could see her son since I was headed there for an RV summit. It’s funny that I felt like I was doing her a favor – a favor I wanted to do. However, Grandma helped kick me into gear and follow through with my dream. She broke me out of my shell. Traveling solo can be isolating, but she showed me a new way.
If I am proactive and deliberate, I can be more social than I was living in a big city. Now when I travel, I either choose places because of the people there or I reach out and visit people once I’ve chosen my place.
For me, RVing has been incredible. It has changed my life socially, emotionally, and financially. I am better off in all areas and so grateful I took the leap into my dream. I understand it’s not for everyone. This is my story. But I’m sure you have a story unique to you. What’s your soul story?
Maybe I’ll see you on the road, so you can tell me.