Fulltime RVing can involve some unique emotional challenges, especially if you have an extroverted personality, or very close to your family or community. Many of these challenges can be overcome, but if you’re considering the RV lifestyle, you need to know what to expect emotionally. By knowing what to expect, you can be prepared.
What Are Some of the Common Emotional Challenges?
Missing friends and family is probably one of the most painful emotional challenges, and along with this goes missing special events and occasions with family and friends.
Meeting with new people. Ironically, because you miss your family and old friends, you may be drawn to connect with people on the road, but be unsure about who, and how much to connect, as well as wondering if the new people you meet are safe. If you are traveling with an insecure partner, jealousy could also be a factor.
Being stuck inside of a small space during bad weather can be stressful and depressing.
Anxiety, worries and fears about possible problems, especially things like an accident or breakdown. Even minor problems like getting lost can be very stressful to certain personalities.
You may feel disappointment if you find “the dream”, and the RV lifestyle is not be all you expected or had hoped for.
You gave up your home, job, your friends, family, and your community; all the things you thought defined who you are. So, who are you now? Are you really ready to take an honest look at yourself?
There will probably be at least one moment when you cry to yourself, “What am I doing here? And why did I EVER think this was a good idea?”
Anything that can be considered a character fault will be magnified. Are you running away? From what? The mess you may have made of your life? Yourself? Your partner? Your family? the responsibilities of holding a job, paying rent? “Freedom” from what you saw as “responsibility” may have been an appeal of the RV lifestyle, but what were you running from? Emotional challenges happen when you realize, you haven’t escaped anything after all.
How to Deal With These Issues
Social media and email, as well as cell phones and Skype, means you can stay in touch when you are far away from old friends and family. All you will need is a cell service or a wifi internet connection.
You can also invite family and friends to join you for a week, or a weekend, as part of their vacation. Many fulltimers say that, although they don’t see family as often, their visits are now more meaningful. And living in an RV, it’s usually not a big deal to visit family and friends, as you can park either at their home, or at a nearby RV park, staying for a few days, or a few weeks.
If leaving behind your home, job, community, family, and friends is your most fearful issue, you can eliminate some of that fear by committing to the fulltime RV lifestyle in stages. You could ask for a sabbatical from your job, rather than quitting or retiring. You can rent out your house, and keep your “stuff” in storage for at least the first year. This “insurance policy” gives you permission to change your mind, and go back to your old life.
A big challenge of the RV lifestyle is having to make new friends constantly. Just when you’ve made a new friend, it’s time to move on. It can feel like changing schools as a kid, and leaving all your friends behind every few weeks.
RVers are generally friendly and helpful, and will welcome you to their happy hour or campfire. But expect that although you’ve exchanged phone numbers and emails, don’t be surprised if you lose contact, or if those new friends never respond back. One option for better connections is to join an RV group, and to travel in a “caravan”. There are many RV travel groups out there, based on different activities, like fishing, off roading, hiking, or lifestyles, such as singles, women traveling alone, etc. Joining a group can be beneficial for both singles and couples.
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