Transitioning from the Traditional Life to the Full-time RV Lifestyle

Donna with the Bighorn in Onset, MA

Three years ago in November, 2014, I was preparing for one of the biggest changes of my life – Moving from a traditional home to my new Full-time RV lifestyle.  I had no idea what laid ahead for me on the open road.  It was a big leap of faith, and a step into the unknown.  The excerpt below from my book captures the transition to my new life on the road. 

Donna’s latest book can be found on Amazon.com  and as a Kindle E-reader, Click here to go to the Kindle store.

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Editorial Reviews of Living the RV Lifestyle

“As the title indicates, this is a book with a lot of practical advice and personal experiences gleaned from living full-time in an RV…Her book details how to buy, prepare and afford the RV lifestyle of your dreams. This book would be especially helpful for newbies, but would also serve as reminders for experienced RVers.”

Marcella Gauthier, columnist of, From the Bookshelf in the Escapees Magazine (www.escapees.com)

 “Whether someone is considering a full-timing road trip as a permanent way life or a temporary adventure, Living the RV Lifestyle: Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road is filled with the author’s many valuable tips for making the most of it.  Trying to balance domestic chores with the RVing learning curve is a challenge for most people. Toss in the need to earn a living while constantly changing locations and the business of learning how to be a nomad turns into a full-time occupation. For anyone who needs to manage all of these lifestyle factors, Donna’s new book lives up to its promise of providing practical advice for success.”

Rene Agredano, columnist for RV Life Magazine (www.rvlife.com)

My new book, Living the RV Lifestyle:  Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road is a combination of practical advice on RV living as well as personal stories from life on the road, giving you an idea of what it’s really like to live the Full-time RV life.

The excerpt below is from Chapter 4:  Transition Time:  Leaving your Traditional Life behind for Living in an RV

In the midst of this busy time in your life, you probably haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on what this big change will mean for your life.  Once, you make the decision, and begin the process of getting ready for the RV journey, there is so much to do that you can keep busy and not have to think about the impact of this change on your life.

Being a counselor, I’m familiar with how big changes can affect people.  First, you begin to think about the change, and then work through the issues such as listing the pros and cons of your pending decision.  Then, this big decision may begin to affect you emotionally especially as you go through the belongings of your home, deciding what to keep, and what to let go of.  You may begin to feel the impact of this decision which can bring up sadness and loss.  Letting go of your home, your community, and your whole lifestyle as you’ve known it is huge.

Like any loss, you can find yourself going through the stages of grief – Denial (This isn’t really that big. I’ve moved before.); Anger (How did I let my husband/wife convince me to do this?!); Bargaining (We can always come back and visit our old hometown.); Depression (I miss my old life, my home, my family, my friends.); and hopefully, you’ll get to Acceptance (I finally am enjoying my new lifestyle of Full-time RVing.)

The timetable is different for everyone.  We all go through loss in our own way.  Some of us will keep looking in the rear view mirror until we start to see the new road ahead.

My husband and I did go through this whole process differently.  He was ready to let go of his corporate career, and kept busy with all the arrangements of moving cross country, and handling our family estates.  I had a harder time with the move.  First, there was the leaving of California where we had lived for 17 years, leaving behind a dream home that I loved along with my home-based counseling business, and a community of friends and neighbors that had become like family.

As I prepared to leave California behind, I was still grieving the loss of my parents who passed away within a couple of years of each other.  I was heading back to Cape Cod to my family home to help with the process of getting it ready for my sister to move into.  I was also helping Jim with the loss of his last parent, and getting his family homes ready to sell.  For me, the losses kept piling up.  I thought I was dealing with them one at a time, but the busyness of selling homes, and moving kept me occupied.

The losses caught up with me once my husband and I headed out on the highway for our new Full-time RVing life.  Jim was excited to leave his corporate life behind, and to live a freer lifestyle.  I wasn’t quite ready to give up my work, and tried to continue my counseling work over the phone, and in person when I could, but it was challenging.  It probably took me about six months to get used to living on the road.  Returning to California on our trip around the country helped a great deal to re-connect with all of our friends, and have an Open House at our new Bighorn home.  Once, we left there, I began to find a rhythm with my new lifestyle.

My message would be to not downplay how big this lifestyle change can be.  Many of you are going through similar changes such as retiring from life-long careers, selling businesses as well as homes, and moving away from your support systems of family and friends.  There are many ways to stay in touch on the road with cell phones, internet, and occasional visits in person.  You’ll develop your own rhythm in time, and your own community of support on the road.  What also helped me is knowing that I would continue this Full-time RV lifestyle as long as it was enjoyable and working for both of us.  At some point, we could always go back to a traditional lifestyle.  Full-time RVing doesn’t have to be a forever choice.  In the final chapter, I talk about having an exit strategy for the future.  My personal story at the beginning of the RV journey is next.

The Adventure Begins – Preparing for the Trip of a Lifetime

It’s now about six weeks before I will be starting my new lifestyle on the road.  I have been waking up over the years in traditional homes, but in the coming year, I will be moving all around this incredible country.  I will be waking up in different places from a month’s stay to a few weeks, and in some places, only a one night-stand. 

Honestly, I am anxious about this journey on the road.  I waver between excitement to what was I thinking?!  I am traveling with my new RV home.  Like a turtle with his shell on his back, I am bringing my home with me.  It will be my only home.  I don’t have a home to go back to.  This is it – my turtle shell.  I am sharing this shell with my husband who happens to be a Cancer, the astrology sign of the crab.  I think he may be more comfortable with this idea of living in a shell.  I am a Libra, and enjoy living in a peaceful and beautiful space.  I am certain that I will find some of those spaces on the road, but then I wonder about those nights, spent in the Wal-Mart parking lot, or a few miles away from the Mardi Gras celebration of New Orleans. Will I find peace and beauty in those moments?!  Or will I have to dig deep into my personal tool box for self-help tools and resources, and remember to be present with all that is happening and unfolding around me in the moment. 

In this coming year, I know I will be challenged and stretched out of my comfort zone.  I also know that I will be held spellbound by the immensity and beauty of this great country that I live in.  From the rolling, emerald hills, to the stark, sandy deserts, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and everything in between, I know I will be marveling at the scenery of this country.  I know I will treasure those simple moments of having breakfast in a diner in the Midwest, to eating alfresco by the Gulf of Mexico.  I will relish hearing all those different accents, and laugh when they try to pinpoint my own New England accent especially when they see the South Dakota plates on my vehicles. 

In time, I will find a way to share my story of where I came from, and how I ended up on this cross-country journey, feeling too young to be considered a retiree, and too old to be traveling around the country to find myself.  I have spent years finding myself, and know that it has nothing to do with where you’re living.  The self-discovery journey is definitely an inner journey, and the one, I will be taking this coming year is an outer journey, but who knows?!  It may be a combination of both. 

By Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A. © 2017

Donna Fisher-Jackson, M.A., CHT is a Certified Hypnotherapist, Western Astrologer and Author who counsels clients through her business of Iris Holistic Counseling Services on the road at http://www.DonnaFisherJackson.com. She has published the self-help book, The Healing Path of the Romantic: Type Four of the Enneagram Personality Type System and a novel, Clara & Irving: A Love Story of Past Lives, based on the true story of a Romantic. And now her latest book, a travel adventure book, Living the RV Lifestyle:  Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road.  All of her books are available in a print and Kindle edition on Amazon.

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About Donna Fisher-Jackson

After traveling for three years around the country in her Bighorn RV, Donna Fisher-Jackson, MA, CHT now makes her home on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is still a part-time RVer, and her latest book, "Living the RV Lifestyle: Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road" is available on Amazon. For seventeen years, she lived in Northern California where she pursued studies in Western Astrology, Holistic Counseling, Hypnotherapy and Past-Life Regression. Donna completed certification in Astrological Counseling with the Astrology Institute West in the San Francisco Bay area. During her time in the Bay area, she also graduated with an M.A. in Counseling Psychology specializing in Holistic Studies from John F. Kennedy University in Northern California. Her counseling business, Iris Holistic Counseling Services, began in 1999. In her counseling work, she shares the insights of Hypnotherapy, the Enneagram, Dreamwork, Western Astrology and the Mythic Tarot. She specializes in life transitions, relationship issues, mid-life, career/vocation and life purpose.
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