We have begun to consider “what if’s.” “What If’s” open up possibilities and dreams. Our biggest “what if” sounds absolutely insane: What if we sold our house and traveled in the RV full time–even for the rest of our lives or until we find a place that we’d like to settle in? I know, sounds crazy and foolish. But a lot of Baby Boomers are doing this very thing–selling their homes and spending the rest of their lives traveling. We met an 85-year-old man at the last campground we were at who, for the last 18 years, has spent 7 months living in the campground in Michigan and the remainder of the year at his “home” in Alabama. When EJ and I think about what we love, we list: We love traveling together. We love beautiful places. I saw EJ start to regain energy and joy at the campgrounds. He could breathe better. His stress level when down. What if?
When you think about it, most of our expenses involve the house: mortgage, electricity, gas, water/sewer, cable. Without those bills, a person wouldn’t need much money to survive. A campground fee for a season is about 1-2 month’s mortgage payment. The fee includes electricity, water/sewer, and cable so those additional bills are eliminated. The atmosphere is relaxing, the air is clean. We could travel north in the summer and more south in the winter. We are connected to all our friends via the Internet. Yes, this is nuts, but we are seriously discussing this. why spend the rest of our lives in a job/place that is killing our spirits? Why not spend it doing something we love?
I have always been a person who craved security, who didn’t take risks. Like Bilbo Baggins, we felt
“I have no use for adventures. They’re nasty disturbing things that make you late for dinner.”
We have always been dependable, hardworking, not foolish. EJ and I fulfilled all our obligations and pay all our bills. I don’t regret being a person of integrity and faith–those qualities are the core of who we are. But there will always be bills to be paid, always be home improvements to work on, always something broken that needs fixing. I realize that living in an RV full-time is crazy, and sometimes the thought of it terrifies me. But staying here is killing EJ’s health and our spirits. We are asking ourselves: Which is the greater regret? To stay safe and feel oppressed or to take a risk and maybe have adventures? Do we really want to get to the end of our lives and find that we were always too afraid to take a risk and enjoy life? There’s a saying that says, “Most men live their lives in quiet desperation.” We have been asking ourselves if we want to spend all our lives in “quiet desperation.”
I have realized that people have different dreams, and it seems to me that people always seem to think OTHER people’s dreams are foolish, so when people say, “I want to do….!” they start telling them all the reasons why they can’t. For example, a few years ago, we mentioned to some friends the possibility of us buying an RV. They told us that staying in a motel would be much cheaper, and we thought, “Yeah, they are right. It’s foolish buying an RV when we have bills to pay and home improvements to make.” So we didn’t buy an RV. But then last year I got to thinking that these friends are not camping people. They prefer motels, which is absolutely fine for them. But RVs are different than motels. An RV is an experience in itself: A person pulls up to a beautiful camping site, builds a fire, enjoys nature, talks to people walking by. You can’t do these things in a motel (try building a campfire in a motel room and see where that gets you!). Motel rooms are more like bases of operation. You go OUT to visit Sea World, or Disney World, or friends–which costs money. But it’s the EXPERIENCE of camping we want, not the entertainment things. We let our friends initially talk us out of our dream because it wasn’t their dream, but the RV has been a WONDERFUL experience for us. I wish we had done it sooner. While I think we must be wise and consider a matter carefully, I also don’t want to let people destroy our dream because it’s not what THEY want.
I’ve also been pondering for quite a while that people often criticize other people for things they do/don’t do, or they think they have authority to decide what others should do when they don’t ask permission for doing what they want. For example, the people who told us it was cheaper to vacation in motel rooms, would NEVER let anyone else have input into their decisions. They talked about the expense of an RV, but didn’t base their vacation or buying habits consideration of expense. So I consider that we really don’t have to live our lives according to whether other’s approve of it, and the people most vocal about what others should do often do not let others influence their own decisions. As this friend once said, “If you let others control your life, they will.” In life, there are decisions that we make that others think are stupid, but we can’t please everyone, and we just all have to do the best we can. The only one we really need to please is God, and I think God doesn’t always ask us to do things that make sense to us.
Maybe I am less of a Hobbit than I thought.