Owning the Mess

What I had intended to be a quick announcement earlier this week about my upcoming plans generated a lot more response than I expected. It really touched me how interested all of you are in what I’m up to in my little corner of the world.

It also made me a bit uncomfortable, because many of you wanted to know more about my upcoming plans to switch rigs – something I was intentionally vague about in that post. Not because I’m trying to keep you in suspense, that was not my intention at all! But because I don’t have all the answers yet.

I first thought about going full-time RVing in December of 2010. I bought my truck in October of 2011, my Casita in March of 2012, and I started living in it just one month after that. I started traveling full-time on September 14, 2012.

There aren’t many full-timers my age that have been on the road that long, at least not ones with an online presence. Because I have so much experience, I’m sometimes seen as the person who’s learned all the lessons, who has all the answers.

That’s so not the case.

Life is messy, there’s no two ways about it. Going full-timing is not an even, linear progression. You research and try things, experiment with different thoughts and processes, you make mistakes, you figure out what works for you… it’s all part of learning. You feel accomplished when you come out the other side intact, but the learning isn’t done. If you’re living your life right, it’s never done.

And by choosing to switch rigs instead of staying with what is familiar, I’m plunging back into that turbulent and messy zone of ideas and choices.

It’s hard to admit to a world so enamored with perfection that I don’t have all the answers – especially these days as someone who is seen as an authority figure. So much so that it was tempting to just wait to announce the impending rig change until after the fact and make it sound all cut and dry.

But to do so would just perpetuate the myth of perfection, a disservice to everyone. So I made the announcement, and now in the name of transparency I’m admitting to you all that the reason why it was so vague is because I’m still working through exactly what I’m going to get. Which as those who’ve been there, or read my guide “Solo Full-time RVing On A Budget” know, isn’t a simple 1-2-3 process.

So if you’re in the planning stages of going full-timing (and a number of you have reached out lately!), know this: It’s complicated for everyone. You’re not defective or doomed to fail because your emotions are all over the place, because you make up your mind and then change it. This is normal.

Going full-timing is going to be messy. But when you own it and accept that it’s going to be messy, it gets easier. A lot of the pressure comes off. It’s okay that you don’t have all the answers. You figure them out as you go. And while making big decisions like this never stops being messy, it does get easier with more experience as I can attest to.

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58 Responses to Owning the Mess

  1. John Warren Simpson September 2, 2017 at 9:48 am #

    So true, Becky. And I have only just begun. I am dealing with the double transition of retiring and going full-time nomad. There are a lot of details; it is challenging to be sure. You listen to people who have the experience. Set one goal at a time. And I have found there are so many people along the way who actually make accomplishing these goals easy.It took me three years to work out my plan before I was off just a month ago. Every person out on the road has a different reason for being here, and different things they are doing. I am sure you will be very happy for the decisions you make for yourself
    Toyota Tundra 2000 v-8 towing a 2017 Escape 19 fiberglass.

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

      Congrats on hitting the road John and I hope your rig treats you well. With three years to work things out, I’m sure you’re off to a great start. Safe travels and happy trails!

  2. Paul Karl September 2, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    I am sure you will make the best decision based on your needs which would not be mine.. I prefer the bigger rig and full hookups.

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:02 pm #

      One of the best things about the lifestyle Paul is that there are so many ways to do it. 🙂 Thanks.

  3. Toni Tillotson September 2, 2017 at 10:21 am #

    Yes, I do look up to you. I’m a 59 year old woman who dreams of travel and buying a Casita! I probably will be influenced by whatever rig you get. No pressure there!

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:04 pm #

      I still love my Casita Toni and it worked great for the style of RVing I did when I first hit the road, no regrets. 🙂

  4. Cherie September 2, 2017 at 11:00 am #

    There’s really only one path after a fiberglass egg… vintage bus conversion! 😀

    Ahhh.. if only there were clearly written paths. But then it wouldn’t be so much fun. We’re all on our own unique paths. And no one is an expert or authority figure – but funny how sharing your own journey tends to feel that way sometimes.

    Kudos for “owning the mess”.
    Cherie recently posted..Anchoring Out vs RV Boondocking – Similarities and DifferencesMy Profile

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:07 pm #

      Hah! Zephyr is pretty awesome I won’t lie. 😉

      And, yes. It’s messy… but it’s pretty fun too. I’m coming to understand that I get bored and lose interest when things stay the same for too long. I doubt I’ll ever have a ‘rest of my life’ RV.

  5. Judy Blinkenberg September 2, 2017 at 11:17 am #

    I also agree. We started out only 4 months ago in an older rig my hubby had bought for hunting. But, it’s paid for, a good reason to tread easy when considering a new to newer RV. As retired folks with a limited income, there are financial factors to consider, and our future of full timing as well, recently adding another 4K to truck repairs.
    I’m excited for you Becky! You have indeed made an impression on all of us!

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:09 pm #

      Yes Judy, money certainly pays a factor. Sorry to hear about your truck repairs, hopefully it’ll be good for a long time now.

  6. Barney Ward September 2, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    If you ever want to privately bounce a question or two or ten off me and my 10 years of full timing or my 20 years of part timing, please feel free to email me. Your thoughts have helped me tremendously in the past and I would find it a privilege to send some assistance back the other way for a change.

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:10 pm #

      I’m glad to hear you’ve found IO helpful Barney, thanks for reading. This is a deeply personal decision I need to come to on my own, but thanks for the offer. 🙂

  7. Judy Sawin September 2, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    I know you haven’t asked for any suggestions, but I’ve just gotta put this out there. Love roaming around my state and staying overnight in parks and Walmarts. We used to have a conversion van with a high top, modified with bunks and a porta potti. I hated the way it felt the wind as we traveled down the road. My husband needed a wheelchair van, we found one almost immediately, local. What a Van!!!! Dodge Caravan, Rollx conversion. The floor has been lowered 10″ and it has a high top with more clearance that our full size conversion van! I can stand up in it. I am 5’5″ No wind resistance, If I were to go fulltime this would be my choice. Plenty of room for a bunk, portapotti, room to relax, lots of places to store stuff. Small enough so it is easy to handle/drive, just like my other “plain” mini van. Just had to add my 10 cents worth. Best of Luck in you endeavor.

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:13 pm #

      What a clever solution Judy. I’m glad you and your husband found the right rig for your situation.

  8. Rene Kipp September 2, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

    Agreed, change is messy. Messy for so many different reasons. People do what is right for them at the moment. Life happens. Circumstances change. That’s true for nomads and non-nomads alike. Just like people living in a home who move from time to time, why not change rigs from time to time?? And besides, it’s fun going to RV shows and window shopping 🙂
    Rene Kipp recently posted..Day TrippingMy Profile

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

      Oh, I enjoy window shopping even when I have no interest in changing RVs just to see what’s out there, haha.

  9. Kristine September 2, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

    Gosh I started following you in 2012 and went fulltime in 2013 in my 24 Kz spree with 2 rescue mutts. Love it . I do snowbird like travel and work the busy seasons at restaurants as I’m in my 40’s and solo. I did Amazon 1 year in kentucky, after reading your posts but it was roo cold and not enough $$$ for me with truck payment etc . So I choose busy, fancy restaurants and shoot for 25 to 30 per hour (tips).
    I hear you’re getting new rig. I researched for years and absolutely love my Kz spree. Kz and Jayco do 2 year warranty but it’s just been a great little mobile studio apartment for me and my mutts. Well good luck, 3 more weeks in Massachusetts and back to West Palm beach for winter. Safe travels. Kristine

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:18 pm #

      I’m glad the Spree has worked out so well for you Kristine and thanks for the well-wishes. Sounds like you have a good work-camping system down, I’m not enough of a people person to enjoy being a waitress (did it for a while in high school) but yeah, that’s where the money is at! Take care and safe travels.

  10. Vicky September 2, 2017 at 5:48 pm #

    My husband and I are currently preparing to full time. It was our retirement dream but life hits you hard sometimes – he was diagnosed with ALS. So we have decided to pursue our dream now while he still can. We already have a small travel trailer but a different rig may be needed given his circumstances. Life always brings changes some good, some not so good but you have to adapt and move forward. Thank you Becky for sharing your rving experience it inspires me to realize our dream even when I’m faced with my husband’s illness. I hope you find the rig that works best for you soon.

    • Becky September 2, 2017 at 6:20 pm #

      I’m sorry to hear about your husband Vicky but glad that you two have decided to push ahead with your dreams, I doubt you’ll regret it. Best of luck and have a lot of fun out there!

  11. Tammy Lafond September 3, 2017 at 2:11 am #

    good luck! to you my fellow nomad. I am 56 years old and bought my rig in January 2017 just tapping into local boondocking until I hit the road full time in November 2017.I really haven’t done much with my YouTube channel of course it’s all new to me however once I get on the road I’m sure it will be a comfort to me to connect with fellow nomads like you’re self. perhaps our paths will cross one day… until then safe travels,
    Gypsygirl RV Gypsygirl

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

      Safe travels and happy trails Tammy!

  12. Phil Roll September 3, 2017 at 3:56 am #

    Right now I’m a “half timer”, and may stay that way. I’d love to hear your decision process – all the pro’s and con’s as you go through the process. Often we can learn more from what was not selected and why than we can from the final decision.

  13. Tom September 3, 2017 at 7:01 am #

    Very well stated.

  14. Rob September 3, 2017 at 8:33 am #

    Not a clean process is a very true statement.
    When I was doing this in a van I rebuilt the van several (3) times. By Rebuilt I mean I took it all out, re-cut the wood & foam mattress and tried it in a different way.

    Going to a different rig is a big step, bigger really than just redoing the bed & seats in the back of a van just because of the cost. We just bought a different RV.

    Good luck!

    See you in N Dakota…

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

      Thanks Rob.

  15. Mr Wheat September 3, 2017 at 8:42 am #

    I would be interested to read a post where you hadn’t made a final decision, but had 2-3 options listed with pluses and minuses. Might be fun to see the comments you get and then a final post where you weighed all your options and made your decision.

    • Sue September 3, 2017 at 10:51 am #

      I second this! Good luck, Becky, in your decision process. I love reading your blog, and am learning so much.
      (Still 2 years out from full-timing, but making progress every day)

      Safe travels!

    • MnDreamer September 3, 2017 at 11:02 am #

      Me too! But, I also get that this is a very personal process, and you share so much of yourself, you may prefer to sort things out and then let us know. Just keep doing what you do, Becky; you help us all, all the time!

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 4:48 pm #

      As Mn has stated choosing a rig is too personal of a process to open up to public debate Wheat (or at least it should be – no one on the internet knows your needs and wants like you do), but I see where you’re coming from. If you’d like to read the thought process behind buying Cas it can be found here: http://www.interstellarorchard.com/2011/11/14/my-plans-11-14-11/ and I’ll probably be doing a similar post this time around. And again, my book has more on the subject. 🙂 Thanks.

  16. Laura Fettig September 3, 2017 at 10:42 am #

    Thank you for this post Becky. It really helped. I feel like a mess. I’m moving into my new camper from my little 12ft to a real camper with full set up and I’m well…a mess. I usually post on Facebook, not a blog, though I’d love to. Anyhow, i think sometimes people look at what we are doing, especially nonRV people and they think it’s all adventure and sunshine, but it’s hard and lonely and well, like you said, a mess. I divorced past year and instead of doing the regular thing, I decided to be full time. It’s had ups and downs, but its always messy right now. Here’s to the mess!

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 4:49 pm #

      It’ll get better Laura. Not all at once, but one day you’ll realize your life is no longer as messy as it was. Right about then is when you’ll start thinking about what RV to try next. 😉

  17. S. Kaeseman September 3, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    Hi again, Just waiting to hear about and see whatever new rig/setup you end up with is hard for me. It seems Cas and Bertha have treated you so very well on all your adventures.
    Hope you let us all know all know If you put up Cas for sale, a lot of us I bet maybe in the market for a travel trailer like Cas, to include Scamps, Escapes and Oliver’s (we wish). But No Worries if you already have a buyer in mind. That is of course, IF you are ready to part with Cas.
    Waiting patiently for the Big Revel when the time comes.
    Fair Winds and Following Seas as you continue your great adventures, as always we love your blog/post.
    Respectfully,
    S and B Kaeseman

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

      Heya S and B,

      I’ll make an announcement when it’s time to sell Cas and things start moving forward, don’t worry. It won’t be until after the beet harvest at the earliest. Take care!

  18. emily September 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm #

    well stated, Becky. you ARE inspiring – most of all because of your “imperfections”. you give hope to the rest of us flawed humans – that maybe we can do it too! best wishes for the rest of your 2017 🙂

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

      Thanks Emily and I’m glad you enjoyed this!

  19. GK Lott September 3, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    Thanks for the update. Looking forward to hearing more when the time is right for you.

  20. Jimmy September 3, 2017 at 4:51 pm #

    “…..generated a lot more response than I expected…..”

    Actually not surprised, as you brought up the concept of “RIG CHANGE”.

    Here’s a couple take-aways having spent about 3 months now crash-coursing in everything RV….

    * If you are reasonably intelligent, competent, and willing to learn, most of this stuff you can figure out eventually, thanks to your site and a couple dozen (hundred? LOL) others. Power, camping options, WiFi options, etc. etc. The nuts and bolts, as it were, can be learned. That said……..

    IT ALL COMES DOWN TO THE RIG! What’s the difference between an apartment, a condo, or townhouse? Not much , when you get right down to it. Maybe a garage is included, maybe not.

    But rigs! Different rigs lead down SIGNIFICANTLY different paths. B or C? TT? Need for tow vehicle or not? Toad or not? Any interest in stealth? How much on the road vs in one place? I could go on, but you and your readers know what I am driving at.

    I suspect that’s why your response has been so high. Speaking for all your readers (LOL)! we await the verdict! =) BTW….the other cause for “high interest” is to see HOW you arrived at your decision. As I stated, there are lots of people who give “nuts and bolts” edumacation. =) But you provide coherent insight into your decision-making far better than most.

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 4:59 pm #

      There will be a post behind my thought process at some point after I’ve made my decision Jimmy (in earlier comments I left the link to my one for buying Cas).

      Maybe it’s because I’ve been on the road for quite a while now, or maybe it’s just a facet of my personality, but I don’t see rig choice as being as vital as many make it out to be. A rig is simply a tool for living this lifestyle. Different tools are better for different jobs, but the point is not the tool I’m using, but that the job gets done. I’ll enjoy the same activities no matter what rig I’m in. I’ll make a blog post about this at some point.

  21. Michael September 3, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

    Becky, I think it is admirable how you consider how your words may affect your readers and their life. I have much respect for you and your thoughts and think you are a fine person.

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 5:00 pm #

      Thanks Michael.

  22. Furry Gnome September 3, 2017 at 6:33 pm #

    Becky, nice to have the reminder that you’re normal like the rest of us. But you have to admit, you’re a particularly articulate normal person! Still following along with all your adventures and wishing you well.
    Furry Gnome recently posted..More Beyond the 7th LineMy Profile

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm #

      Thanks Gnome.

  23. Mush September 3, 2017 at 7:22 pm #

    Well said, as usual, Becky! I will be interested in how you manage the trade out.

    I have known since early this year it is time to downsize from the behemoth 40′ Class A diesel pusher we currently have. Finding the right kind of rig was pretty straightforward for me, but the logistics of managing the changes on a very limited budget are still vexing me.

    I will be moving to a C- on a Mercedes chassis as soon as the stars align and I find the deal that is meant to be for Teena Kitty and me. I look forward to your news when you are ready to share.

    Best wishes and blessings on your path wherever it may take you!

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

      I still smile thinking of the first time I saw your rig at RTR (how’d she even get that out here?!), congrats on your decision and perhaps next time our paths cross we’ll both be in different rigs. 🙂

  24. Barbara Gomez September 3, 2017 at 11:26 pm #

    Becky, while I am still s & b and in the research phase of FT RV’ing I appreciate your candor. I think part of growing wiser is seeing more of the greys… Choosing rigs is a deeply personal decision and I’m sure you’ll find the perfect one for you at this time in your life.

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 5:04 pm #

      Indeed Barbara. Best of luck to you on hitting the road!

  25. Kent September 4, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    “If you live your life right, you are never done.”

    True That!!

    I have heard from a few different full-timers this statement, or, something close to it: “What you really need to do is pick your third rig first!”

    Umm, Oh ya, right!

    A guy I use to work with – who taught me a lot – use to say this: We would be sitting down trying to come up with a solution to a problem we had on a project. After a bit of time with no solution on the horizon he would get out of his chair yelling, WE NEED DATA G-D it! WE NEED MORE DATA!!!! .. He would then proceed to go get more data.

    I’ll tell you what. I realize now that with some age it has taken me half a century to collect enough “data” to be able to come to some conclusions and resolve on a few issues I have had.. My Mom is 94, close to a century, and she will say the same thing.

    I try and live a pretty simple life and keep a couple simple thoughts in mind each day:
    Never over exaggerate the situation or issue or problem. Stay away from “Musts” and “Shoulds” with regard to myself, others and life. Remember that everything, absolutely everything is just temporary.. Never take myself to G-D seriously… Remember that I don’t need to impress anyone, even myself.

    I’m far from doing any of those things perfectly, but I do try my best and that’s good enough.

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm #

      I always thought the “pick your second rig first” idea was pretty silly. Nobody knows for sure what they want on the next one, let alone one or two down the line. 😉

      Sounds like some important life lessons Kent, I attribute most of my smooth transition to full-timing five years ago from doing a boatload of research (data). I tell people the same when they ask for advice.

  26. Gerald Brady September 4, 2017 at 10:22 am #

    After noting how often my personal choice of “Ideal Rig” changes, I started an electronic personal note page on my phone to track my thoughts, complete with dates, tow vehicle, and camper.

    Looking back at the list as I make updates, its interesting (to me) to see not only the range of choices I have at one time labeled as “Ideal”, but how often I return to some of the same choices I had made several months ago then rejected in favor of other selections.

    My conclusion: Rig Selection is a complex and dynamic problem that reflects both immediate and long range planning as influenced by financial reality.

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

      Yep, that last sentence really sums it up.

  27. MB Dillard September 4, 2017 at 3:12 pm #

    Becky….you…..have…..no…..idea….what this post meant to me. Put me on the list of people leaving soon to full-time. And also put me on the list where nothing has gone according to “plan” and emotions being all over the place. But…..my excitement and desire outweigh the fear of the unknown. I need the unknown for a little while. Just, as you are well aware, all the tiny loose ends to tie up when you will be gone for a long time. I’ll be leaving in a few weeks. Wish me luck!…..as I do you.

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

      A few weeks to takeoff, I remember how turbulent that time was! On the bright side you should soon be approaching the tipping-point, where the majority of it is done and you can coast on the momentum. Safe travels and happy trails MB and I’m glad you found this helpful!

  28. MimiD September 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

    Hi
    I just started following you this summer. I am planning to get a rig in the next year or so, and travel locally. Then in 3 years when I retire go full time. I can’t decide what I want ( and I’ve done lots of research and read your book!). My big question about a trailer is: how hard is it for a single woman to hitch and unhitch it! I would appreciate any advice you have on this issue. Thanks!

    • Becky September 5, 2017 at 5:18 pm #

      Hello Mimi,

      Thank you for purchasing my book and I hope you’re getting a lot of use out of it!

      Again, it’s all so personal. For me as a young, relatively fit person hitching up the trailer alone is no problem. For those with physical limitations, it can be a lot more challenging. I have an old video showing me hitching up the Casita on YouTube which will maybe give you a better idea what it’s like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63UwbQa0bCw&list=PLUe2jOM6RBuF3s5i6B6Uwgy6X0m5IivYp&feature=view_all (this will be going away on the 14th when the new videos go live).

      What would be best is if you can see in person and try it yourself. Do you have any friends with trailers? Are there any local RV ownership clubs near you that you could attend to see it done? How about RV dealerships?

      Hope this helps!

    • MimiD September 10, 2017 at 10:51 am #

      Hi
      The videos was great although I think you should redo it with more specific details/ instructions. It seemed pretty complicated. I have a friend with a trailer- may try and see if they will let me try and hitch it up. If that doesn’t go well then I’ll probably look at a class B motor home! BTW love your blog!

  29. Terri September 8, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    Becky, I’m sure whatever you end up choosing will be right for you, and if it’s not initially perfect, you will figure out the bugs, as you have with everything else. I’m so sorry you felt so much pressure after that post. (I just remember you saying at times you wanted something smaller, and of course, I love the idea of tiny house or tiny RV living so I’m hoping you pick something smaller so I can live vicariously through you!!) I’ll just be happy to read about it, whatever it is 🙂
    Terri recently posted..An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cureMy Profile

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