Living in an RV full time, traveling the country, sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
Everyone encourages you, they say, “Do it, you will enjoy it.”
The YouTube videos make it sound glamorous and exciting. You see photos on Facebook and Instagram and think, “I so want to be there.”
So why not sell off everything we own and do just that.
Leave behind family and friends, travel the country, downsize to very little, create new memories, write a new chapter in our life, enjoy the adventure.
But, what they don’t tell you in the videos, on Facebook or Instagram is about the emotional side of doing just that.
We made the decision to do this right around Christmas, and January and February has been an emotional roller coast ride, chunks of it downhill. The issue – we took on too much, too fast, too soon – quitting jobs, preparing to sell everything, finding the right Airstream, learning how to RV, finding places for us to stay in the Airstream, it was an endless list of things to do. I was completely overwhelmed, anxiety took over, fear replaced excitement, and worry took a strong hold.
It was also hard to not go down the remember-when-rabbit-hole. Reminiscing about this or that kept sucking us in, especially, when we found letters we wrote to each other when Tony was in the Air Force, or school year books, photos of our children, so many photos, so many memories. It was joyful, sad, entertaining, and time consuming.
Add to this mix all the things you need to learn about RVing, like towing and backing up.Then there are the things we take for granted in our homes, like water, sewer, and lights. Suddenly you have to learn more about them and about conservation. Not to mention living in a small space with your spouse.
Communication in the relationship takes on a new meaning, especially as newbies. “No, I said driver side.” LOL Hand signals need to be agreed upon. Working together as a team is critical. For us, after years of being self-employed and working together, it has been somewhat of a natural transition, not to say that it wasn’t hard sometimes or frustrating, but easier than it could be for some couples.
They say, “Timing is everything.” But I have to say, timing sometimes just does not make sense. At least, until later.
For over two years, we had been dreaming and talking and dreaming some more of traveling the country. We knew, almost from the start, that it had to be in an Airstream.
So, here we are – it’s 2021!
A year into a ravaging pandemic, a country broiling in uncertainty, and the highest RV sales in history with more RVers hitting the road and making it challenging. Yet, timing decides this is the year for us to follow our dream. What was timing thinking?
We are getting a crash course in time right now. It started with the financial means to put our dream into action and make it a reality, thanks to a special friend. As soon as the decision was made, time sped up, as if on a racetrack. Within a month, we suddenly had the tow vehicle, the Airstream, I quit my job, prepared to sell everything we owned, and gave notice to our landlord.
I have learned throughout the years “not” to argue with time, just listen and go with it. I just wished it would slow down long enough to catch a breath. But, as you get older, time just flies by and there is always this underlying sense of urgency that time is slipping away too fast, after all we won’t live forever.
Timing is also sometimes about coming full circle or repeating history in some form. In the 60’s and 70’s, Betty and her husband Jim tootled around in their various Airstreams. Here we are, some 50+ years later, starting our journey in our 2018 Flying Cloud, aptly named, Betty Jo. We are dedicating our adventures to Betty, it was her wish and inspiration that we enjoy life, which we hope to do when venture off to live our dream of traveling.
I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason. Betty became a part of our life in 2008. The relationship grew and we became like family. We were there when she needed someone most and she was there when we needed someone most. In honor of our memories with her, we dedicate our next chapter of life to her and I can only hope that we do her justice.
In life, Betty was a feisty and adventurous woman. Born in 1924, she was far beyond her times as a woman who enjoyed life and excelled in her career and adventures. A photographer, a sailor, a teacher, she lived her life to the fullest.
It’s only right that Betty Jo, the Airstream, continues Betty’s adventurous spirit, taking us on travels we only dreamed about.
We met Betty at a camera club in Anacortes, WA in 2008. In her eighties, she loved photography and had been doing it throughout most of her life. She had no children of her own, her only sister and family lived in southern California. Soon our friendship grew and we became like family. Over the years, she spent holidays with us and our family, and numerous times we adventured to Princess Louisa Inlet in British Columbia, her most favorite place on earth.
Just a few days short of her 96th birthday, and the start of the Covid lockdown, Betty peacefully passed on. A long life, full of adventure, she left behind fond memories and cherished moments. She also left us the means to start the next chapter in our life.
Betty owned an Airstream back in her younger years. Adding us to her estate, her wishes were to make sure we had a home and a chance to enjoy life, so it was only fitting that our home and our dreams to travel take place in an Airstream aptly named, Betty Jo, in memory of a special person who became family.
I firmly believe that things happen for a reason. That we were meant to be a big part of Betty’s life and she was meant to become part of our family. The reasons are not always apparent, not at first, but later when you reflect back you can see the benefits or learn the lessons of that point in time.
Our gratitude to Betty extends far beyond what she has left us, it started with her friendship, her love for us, her caring nature. May we respectfully honor her as we take this next step, as we take her along on our next journey.
Almost two years!!
Two years of dreaming.
Two years of planning.
But, are we really ready to do this?
On Christmas Eve, we took our first step. I think of it has a commitment to what’s next.
When you dream, make plans, think “oh wouldn’t this be fun, we should do this,” it is always exciting. You start by watching YouTube channel after YouTube channel, you research and research some more. You join one Facebook Group after the other, trolling through the posts, then finally you start asking questions. You absorb as much information as you can before overload sets in. All the while still dreaming.
Then the time comes where you either “shit or get off the pot,” which means - commit to doing something productive or step aside and stop wasting time.
No matter how much you study, how much YouTube you watch, how many Facebook groups you troll, at some point you have to take that first step. You have to make it real. Anxiety will build, you might go “Oh, no,” your emotions will swing from giddy excitement to doubt and back again. Change is always hard and stressful, even when the change is good. But change is also necessary - it provides growth, awareness, strength.
When you take that first step towards committing, reality sets in and you think, “Are we really ready to do this?”
Well, on Christmas Eve we made our first step towards a dream of full-time living and traveling in an RV - we committed to it by purchasing the Towing Vehicle (TV in RV slang.) After months of research and reading forum after forum we settled on the type of TV we needed and wanted. We went from trolling Facebook groups to trolling websites looking for used trucks. The first thing to hit us was ‘sticker shock’ on used trucks. Let’s just say, “WOW!” and leave it at that. Then we encountered how hard they were to find. The model we wanted was so popular and so rare, especially when equipped with what we wanted or needed, that we expected it to take months. We lucked out and found a 2018 Ford 250 almost fully equipped and with low miles, so we jumped on it. I had never realized how “big” these truck were until I stood next to it or tried to climb inside.
That first step, that first commitment was made.
I guess we are ready to do this. Or at least one step closer.
As we roam the roads and highways, looking for that next fantastic stop, keep track of our travels in our Airstream - Betty Jo