Thoughts on the RV/Nomad lifestyle

Mount Robson

This covid thing has changed a bit of our adventure travelling plans in our camper but has also given time for reflection. What do I miss the most about it  – just being able to head down the road and wherever I stop is home. We have everything needed and are completely self-contained, if we do not like our surroundings or weather we simply leave to a better location.

We have been fortunate to be able to spend a great deal of time on the road and living in our truck camper. We have been able to do this on a very limited retirement income as a result of downsizing to a small cabin on a small lake. The purge of items was tough, I had rooms and sheds full of stuff I needed. We had intended on going full time in our RV so the purge was massive at first. The more we got rid of the better it felt, so much less to care for, much of which we never used. To keep the larger home, two car garage and countless storage sheds, four different deck levels, one acre lot on the lake, docks, lawn and garden equipment and that was just the tip of the iceberg. Inside we had to furnish all the rooms so we did not look like we could not afford furniture. I had sheds too full with quads, snowmobiles, pontoon boat, canoes and kayaks, yep we had it all and more. Oh yes I almost forgot a very expensive RV sitting in the driveway. Having it all meant 8-10 hours of both of us working to pay the taxes and to keep all the stuff, and all that stuff sat because we did not have time….billable hours were important. The more we had the more it looked like we were successful, actually we felt quite different, we were slaves to our lifestyle. We did not go into debt to finance toys,  that would have been even more stress, but just maintaining and looking after what we had kept us behind the computers working.

The road was calling, fish needed to be caught and rivers paddled and different backyards for hiking when we chose. We decided that what we really loved was time, time for ourselves and friends. Time is something we all take for granted, time to stop and enjoy what we have. Well we did not even have time to enjoy our canoe, a passion we both enjoy.  It sat next to the pontoon boat with the brand new motor we used when we had time and next to the two kayaks we used when we had time, notice how often the word time came up.

The more we unloaded the lighter the load and the more time…which brings up another word Free. Free of stress and hours of work to support our commercial habit of owning stuff just to own it. We thought this stuff was to make life better….Our kids did not even want the stuff we collected when we started to purge. I would hate to think how much I added to our landfills over the years with the packaging of the stuff. Some of which even lasted a year when the warranty ran out. Don’t get me going on packaging, landfills are contributing to climate change, but no we tax gas and just keep purchasing more junk wrapped in layers of plastic. Junk we do not need.

I gotta shorten up this story, to make it short we sold out on the stick and bricks thing when a small cabin came up for sale overlooking the lake. Yes we bought it and spent two years replacing everything in the cabin and out. Bonus we paid cash, the lot is small, the cabin is only 800 sq. feet so taxes are low and we can afford it without having to work. It took those two years to sell our other place and when that sold we no longer needed to work. Anyway it was time they did not need marketing consultants that were aged as myself, I did not know all the different names and lingo the new generation of marketers came up with for “look after your customers.” Yes I was in the business of making people want what they did not need but had to have.

Without the larger home we used very little of, and living simply without all the stuff, we could follow our dream of travel and canoeing with time to spare. It was never my intention to die the richest man in the graveyard,  that never made sense to me at all.

The more time we spend in our RV the more we realize just how little we really need, to look after our basics such as shelter, food and water. Due to space we have only the essential daily cooking and kitchen accessories, but the essential only, no room for gadgets. With our canoe only or inflatable Sea Eagle we had no more gas to haul, no motor to maintain and launch fees to pay. Not for everyone, but to us it means freedom. We can launch the boats from anywhere easily and quickly, no mess, no fuss just keeping it simple. We could quietly paddle the shorelines and rivers for some interesting animals and great photographic images. We could fish and always catch just enough for supper, no more fish finder, we caught just as many fish in our tin canoe without all the gadgets, hard to believe.

RV lifestyle is becoming more popular with more people going full time even in Canada,  estimates are close to a million. Some consider them homeless and drop outs from society. I see them as successful for several reasons, words like financial freedom, freedom of time, freedom to move, freedom from waste, less stress come to mind. Having the courage to step out of the mainstream to enjoy a simpler life, one they chose to live that was out of what many consider normal.  RVing has taught us how to conserve water, resources and to live comfortable with the minimum of stuff. This has made us better stewards of our planet as it even carries over into our cabin lifestyle. We have a lot of respect for those who choose the nomad lifestyle over living up to society’s expectations. Is being successful a huge mortgage, taxes and payments and toys you do not have the time to enjoy?  Unfortunately we judge people by what they have and usually the bigger and more expensive the better. When in actual fact they may be slaves to their possessions. It’s the only kind of slavery that is allowed these days, good for the economy. When a person steps out of a shiny new pick up or BMW with worn out torn up jeans we consider him trendy, those same jeans on a person getting out of an old pickup not so shiny makes him look less trendy and more needy even if his truck is bought and paid for. Success is being able to wear jeans someone has already worn out and you just paid $175 bucks for. Heck I used to be embarrassed to go to school with iron on patches on my jeans, boy mom could have saved a lot of time patching if she was around now with three boys. However we would have not been wearing designer jeans, Army and Navy fashion outlet was first stop.

Everyone wants different things from life, however sometimes the marketers get us hooked on the “good stuff” we can’t live without and without realizing it we are hooked and slaves to our habits. Spending lots of time in our RV or our little cabin we are able to kick the habit, usually because we do not have room, and when it comes right down to it, just did not need it. My grandfather once told me if I could separate my wants from my needs I would be a lot happier. Well I once was young and those words just ran straight through my head, never even stopped. Now I realize after purchasing it all at top prices and practically giving it away on kijji just how smart he was and how much those words meant.

Now I see being successful is having the time to enjoy what we have. Time to enjoy the beauty of this country if that being in the U.S., Canada or abroad, time to pursue dreams and goals. We have traded for a modest lifestyle, one we can afford to enjoy time and freedom of stress even though it’s not corporate Canada’s plan. When life here is through the size of my house and properties, my toys and make of vehicle will not factor in. The time spent enjoying people and places, freedom to move, less stress and just being content inside my soul to be able to enjoy God’s gift of nature and the beauty surrounding us. It’s hard to see beauty outside when there is turmoil and strife inside. Remember the bigger the fire you build the more wood you need to keep it going.

Thanks for the RV lifestyle we really have discovered a simpler way of life where you discover how little you really need to live BIG!  It’s just too bad it has taken me so long to learn these lessons and concentrate on the inner peace and quality of life. I was told a rose cannot be opened from the outside it opens from inside. Just a few thoughts that have allowed us to retire, travel just about every highway in Saskatchewan, travel some in B.C. and discover the beauty of Northern Manitoba. Let’s get this covid thing out of the way, more roads are waiting and our backyard is becoming familiar.

Yes we must hit the road soon so those of you who subscribe don’t have to endure these ramblings and we can share some of the beauties of this country and people along the way. Thanks for reading, keep it simple and we hope to see you down the road. If you can put up with this please subscribe it make us feel good….cheers Gerry and Charlotte…that is if she posts this.

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