Part 3: Was our full timing an adventure or an escape.
RV forums and FB groups are full of questions for newbies, things like can I afford this, can I spend that much time alone (solo newbies), can I spend that much time with my spouse, and what about missing family. All great questions and most answer how they manage and how happy they are. Lucky for them and they are the majority, but what if loneliness takes over. What if relationships suffer. What if health problems arise, and what if depression and mental health issues come up.
Sometimes because life before full timing is so busy these things get ignored or pushed down.
What I discovered on the road was because of moving around, friendships are short term. Yes you stay connected on Facebook, and you meet up again maybe once or twice a year. But you can’t just text them, “hey, let’s do dinner”, they’re 4 states away. I missed an old friendship, the one over time, that in spite of your reluctance to share, have figured out when you say “I’m fine” you are definitely not. Then they insist on a panera bread lunch and give you that “what’s really going on” look until you spill your guts. Hugs, you know who you are.
I also missed the community part, taking a dish to someone just home from the hospital, planting flowers at the cemetery, volunteering at a fund raiser. Although our first December in Florida I did go and do bell ringing for the salvation army several times a week, it was short term, until our month there was up. Finding a sense of community is not easy while full timing but maybe I didn’t try hard enough, who knows.
We met so many wonderful people and have met up often, I love them, but they have no idea I battle with loneliness and depression.
When we started out my husband had already had open heart surgery so physically we were a team and we were pretty efficient. We really were lucky that we had no travel issues, coach problems, or challenges. I think because we had done our research and planned pretty well, the rest was just good luck. Going full time was an adventure, and a escape. It was a 3 year vacation, it was also motivating us not to just sit at home and focus on health limitations. Hiking, walks with the dog, and bicycles keep us moving. Later his COPD worsened, and then, after 3 years of full timing he got the lung cancer diagnosis. We are so blessed we were able to get a small home and settle in, find good doctors, and he’s doing pretty well today. I’m still adjusting. I do love it here, love having a sewing room and a big kitchen again. Being a spouse and also a caretaker isn’t easy, although a blessing to be able to. Add in I’ve been trying to sell that gorgeous motorhome (major financial stress) for over a year now. I’m am overwhelmed most days. I felt bad through his struggles and radiation treatments that I was actually happy to be off the road, but he understands, I’m more of a homebody now that I ever was. I love to cook, garden, sew, read. I love privacy, campgrounds and resorts don’t offer that and neighbors just seemed too close. Here I can go days without seeing another person, sit on the deck in my PJs, grow herbs, amass bottles of essential oils, and burn real candles. I can go out and see people but I have the option of coccooning. I still want and can be social but because of depression it’s difficult at this time. Full timing for him was great, he’s very social and while I used to be I struggle with it today. I tend to be the person who seems just fine, but I worry constantly about Dan’s health, I think I have to fix everything, when in fact I can’t. I’m not ok, but I’m Damn well trying.
I’m writing this out, not to be a Debbie downer but because health, depression, mental battles, and grief don’t get addressed. When you load up that RV you can lose your support system, doctors who you trust, friends, clubs, and church groups. We worry more about where to get our hair cut, rv toilet paper, gps, travel apps, etc, than the human element (many find the old friendships change, your lives are different, your interests may have changed). Trust me, those above rv travel questions are easily answered after a short time (except maybe the where to get my hair cut one), plus every RVer is willing to help you, RVers can be awesome. Have a issue with your RV, 5 guys (or gals) in the campground will go all “Macgyver” and you’ll be fixed in no time, seriously, they love doing this. RVers are a pretty happy crowd.
Opening up about this is a way for me to be honest with myself and answer a few questions. I wanted to address a part of full timing that is my story, good and bad. Full timing is pretty cool, it was me that was the square peg in the round hole. I didn’t hate it, I was just ready for it to be over rather quickly.
Right now I’m trying to practice gratitude along with addressing my mental health and my faith. If the motorhome ever sells 😦 we talk about going camping 🙂 but I’m pretty sure a firepit in the yard will make my day.
Now that we’re not moving around I see way more of my daughter. Ironically now she and her husband are full timers traveling for work. It’s a perfect fit for her. She is super sweet and I’m so proud of her.
I’ve also been able to reconnect with my sister who I hadn’t seen in a few years (She’s my only family member, having lost both parents, brother, aunts, uncles, and grandparents) and we’ve been working on our relationship. She’s been a great source of help with my spiritual health.
I love love my husband, he is my soul mate. Living in a small space together wasn’t an issue, although there were a few AC temperature disagreements (brrrr) and the ongoing tv volume conversation (can you turn that down?) (huh?) (What?) That rest was fine.
So that’s my 2 cents. Most probably can’t relate but that’s ok. I wanted to address a few things that might not be discussed on other RV blogs, and I decided to be honest about my struggles today, in the “After” Full timing life. Hopefully it will help someone. It’s been, kind of therapeutic for me, although not easy.