of the full-timing lifestyle has impacted all of us. Manufacturers have
enhanced their products with many more options making them full-timer friendly,
and many dealers see full-timers as repeat customers and solicit their
business. There have been many industry changes, and we recommend more.
Likewise, campgrounds, governmental agencies, insurance companies, and
RV organizations are recognizing that there are more than a million full-timers
that need their services. This, in turn, provides opportunities for them.
The demographics of the full-timer community are changing. In fact, it's
hard to stereotype a full-timer, except to say that most are adventurous
and many are senior citizens. Although there are large numbers of seniors
in the full-timing community, they are now being joined by younger folks---many
still working on the road.
A lot of our readers write and ask for advice, and some consider us as “experts” on the lifestyle. If having made a lot of mistakes qualifies one as an expert, we might fall into that category. We don’t feel like experts and we caution all to be suspicious of them. There is no one way to full-time. You might say that we write about lifestyles within a lifestyle. Yes, we have made a lot of mistakes, and we share them with you. Some are humorous, and some were very expensive. The old retired accountant in our family never forgets those.
Speaking of bean counters, you have to know that Ron loves to talk finances and has kept track of every nickel spent while on the road. We don’t live frugally and treat ourselves often, but Ron still maintains our budget and tracks expenses. Barb used to kid him about this until the media became interested in the financial aspect of the lifestyle, which led to many interviews. The coverage didn’t hurt book sales at all, and folks were delighted to find a frank discussion of costs. Even though our budget has changed, we still find full-timing an economical lifestyle and detail that important information.
We live in a technical society, and many full-timers are eager to learn. In most cases, technical advances enhance the life of a full-timer, particularly in the area of communication. Computers, email, Internet, telephones, software, and all that technical stuff are “Barb’s bag,” and her home office chapter provides a lot of helpful information.
For us, the whole United States, Canada, and Mexico are our back yard. But having such a large area to play in may overwhelm some. The question of where to park your home and some travel scenarios are explored in chapters 2 and 6. And along that same line, in chapters 8 and 9, we explore some of the unique ways to work, play, and save money at the same time.
Whether one lives in a house or an RV, a certain amount of maintenance, housework, and organizing must be done. Those who know Ron know that he is not tuned into mechanical things, but some maintenance cannot be avoided. At least he can do it under his own terms (after a nap) and in good weather. If he can do it---anyone can. Conversely, Barb has always been an organizer (to the point of driving Ron crazy), and she shares her ideas on organizing an RV. Even a disorganized partner will agree that it's necessary in restricted living quarters.
Even though our house has wheels, we are not running away from family. We have some new insights and solutions to maintaining family relationships. Many will take comfort from the knowledge that family can become part of the great adventure.
For those of you already on the road, full or part time, you will have fun identifying with our mishaps and adventures. Many of you we have met, and we always look forward to that knock on the door and hearing someone say, “Aren't you Ron and Barb?” Experienced full-timers are always happy to share, and we have taken advantage of their insight by including it in the book. They agree with us that half the adventure is tailoring the lifestyle to meet your own personal needs.
think of our daily adventures, experiences, and new friendships, it would
be difficult to imagine going back to a conventional existence. Imagine
visiting twenty-nine national parks, dozens of historical parks and national
monuments, Lake Placid, Vermont in the Fall, the Everglades, Key West,
the French Quarter in New Orleans, famous restaurants, a Cajun swamp, a
Texas ranch, a Texas observatory, ancient cliff dwellings, and Las Vegas.
Can you also imagine visiting several ghost towns, Rose Bowl and Tournament
of Roses Parade, Hollywood, Alcatraz Island, Golden Gate Park, Civil War
battlefields, Amish country, Washington, D.C., a battleship in Norfolk,
beautiful mountain ranges, deserts, glaciers, volcanos, giant redwoods,
coastal seashores, historic houses, Mexican border towns, and thousands
of small towns and villages? And we remember vividly traveling for miles
along a rushing creek in national forests, crossing mountain summits and
finding snow in July, enjoying sodas in old-fashioned drugstores, camping
on a secluded ranch in Wyoming, biking on wonderful bike trails in Iowa
or along the Snake River in Idaho, an overnight raft trip on the Salmon
River, also in Idaho, and driving the “loneliest road in America” (U.S.
Route 50 in Nevada). Imagine sighting a bull moose in a meadow, hundreds
of antelope at play, a grizzly bear fishing at a river’s edge, a black
bear and her two cubs frolicking in a meadow, foxes, javelinas, nutrias,
and hundreds of elk and deer in our back yard. We can, because we have
done it, in addition to twelve months of volunteer work in national parks
(three months at a time) and two and one-half months off (two different
trips) to bicycle across England, Wales, and Ireland. Do we miss playing
pinochle on Saturday nights with our old friends? Sometimes we do. It's
a tradeoff, and it doesn't have to be forever.