The look on someone’s face when we explain that we are fulltime RVers just never gets old. We became fulltime RVers over two years ago, and we had no prior RV experience. Not even a single night. So, RVing felt so new and exciting to us.
And it was so much fun to tell everyone our plans and see their reactions. There is the initial shock factor, then you can see their brains processing the information while their eyes begin to dart around, and then when the awesomeness of it sinks in, there is pure joy in a big smile followed by many best wishes.
People love to hear stories about others who are really going for their dreams, whether they have the same dreams or not. There is a shared moment of joy in the realization that dreams do come true.
Everyone loves to hear a good dream-following success story, just like they love a good job-quitting story. Whether or not we have the courage to do the same, we sure love to hear another’s story about it.
I can’t remember a single person who reacted adversely when we said that we were going to travel the country as fulltime RVers. They are at first taken aback, as they do not usually hear that kind of response, but they eventually turn to pure joy when they imagine the adventure, the open road, the national parks, the freedom and all of the spontaneous fun of travelling fulltime. And don’t forget leaving everything else behind – there is a certain surreal factor or artistry to leaving behind the life you know for a new one. That motivator really seems to resonate with people.
Since we actually began travelling, its just not as big of a deal any more. We are surrounded by other RVers. They already know we have an RV, and they have probably already checked our license plates too. (Nothing is a real secret in a campground.)
Generally speaking, judging by how far you are from home, the time of year and your age; RVers at a campground can usually guess if you are a fulltimer or not before they even meet you. (RVers can be nosy, <ahem> savvy.)
Plus, they are RVers too, so nothing about RVing sounds all that unique to them.
Over time, we have gradually become a part of the RVing community and accepted it as normal.
But, every once in awhile, we still have contact with “the outside world” that does not know the first thing about us.
And it is not like we are just doling out our big life plans to everyone we meet on the street, but living in a small town before becoming RVers taught me to be a friendly person. I make a point to strike up conversation with strangers around me, like people at the grocery store, waitresses, people in waiting rooms, etc. It did not come naturally to me at first, but like I said, that small town living taught me some serious manners. Those wonderful small-town people forced it on me. I didn’t really have a choice. They made me talk to them in the grocery store aisles, even as a stranger. I now put people first, say hello when I pass someone on the street, and make a point to smile at people – it may be the only smile they see all day.
And it is astonishing how so many little conversations with strangers begin with or lead to the simplest of questions, “Where are you from?”
And just like that, the simple response they are expecting, like “_____________town” or a neighboring county turns in to, “Well, we are from Pennsylvania, but we sold our home and are travelling the country for awhile in an RV.”
Then the conversation usually goes a little like this…
Them: Shock. (with a double look straight in my eyes to see if I am serious)
Me: A casual smile while the initial shock passes.
Them: Really? You live in an RV? (with darting eyes as they really imagine the possibility of it all)
Them: Wow! (and the smile of joy beams like a beacon)
Me: It is a lot of fun. (with a smile matching their excitement)
Them: How do you work? (once the brain has been overly stimulated, it seeks logic)
Me: My husband has his own construction design business that he can do on the road, and I have a website with a few products.
Them: I have always wanted to ______________________ (whether it be RV or not, most people have somewhere they want to visit)
From there, the conversation continues.
But, that initial shock, understanding and excitement that I witness never gets old. It reminds me that to most people (including to my pre-2015-self), RVing and fulltime travel is way out of the ordinary…I am even going to step right up and call it extraordinary.
And do you know what extraordinary does, reader? Extraordinary begets more extraordinary.
I just experienced this type of conversation again in an unlikely place with a professional. Chris just had Lasik surgery a few weeks ago. Since we live in an RV, we chose the best place we know for the surgery and just lived nearby for the process.
He likes the results so much that we have agreed for me to be next. I just had my initial consult last week, and I saw the same surgeon that did Chris’ eyes. We had the aforementioned conversation, and he was just amazed. So much so, that we actually spent more time talking about RVing than we did about my eyes. Then, to beat all, he actually personally typed my website address in to his notes while we sat there, so he could look it up later!
This surgeon is the same one who did the Philadelphia Eagle’s Quarterback’s eyes. His office is in bustling King of Prussia, outside of Philly. Believe me when I tell you, that he is about the last person on the planet that I would think would have the time to listen to our story, or to have any true interest in it.
But, he did.
And once he reached the excitement stage, his smile was as big as any other I have seen.
Why am I sharing this with you today? Because it is important to remember the extraordinary factor of travelling.
Extended living in RV parks, being surrounded by RVers, and dealing with the mundane never ending tasks like packing up and unpacking, checking the tanks, and squishing items that don’t really fit in to small cupboard space can all make RVing seem ordinary.
But it is not. It is extraordinary. And I am reminded every time I tell a stranger about it.
Go for the extraordinary, friend. What do you really have to lose?