As we near the end of 2017, it feels like a good time to talk about The Exit Strategy. In the RV world, it means, having a plan for the future when Full-time RVing is no longer your dream. It may be a time when you desire to settle down in one place, or it may just not be feasible anymore for various reasons. In the excerpt below from my book, Living the RV Lifestyle: Practical Advice and Personal Tales from Life on the Road, I write about having an Exit Strategy along with my own plans for the future. It’s never too early or too late to follow your dreams.
Donna’s latest book can be found on Amazon.com and as a Kindle E-reader, Click here to go to the Kindle store.
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 of 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 15: Exit Strategy
In our three years of traveling around the country, we’ve met many Full-timers from newbies to RVers who’ve been on the road from five to eight years, and even longer. One couple had been Full-timers for 10 years, and then bought a house in a place that they always loved to visit. Now, they travel six months of the year, becoming one of those part-time Full-timers.
No matter what age you are when you begin the Full-time lifestyle, you may want to have a plan for the future when living on the road Full-time isn’t your dream life anymore. It doesn’t have to be a plan written in stone because maybe, you are on this journey to find that next place to call home. You may want to think about what your options are for the future. In this chapter, I’m going to cover some of those options.
One option for the future is buying a house or a condominium in one of your favorite places to live which is probably the easiest to imagine especially if you’ve just left your home behind. You may still have some of your belongings in storage, and even planned on setting up a home again someday. There are all kinds of reasons to establish a traditional home again from wanting to live near family and friends, to having a community around you in one location; and from needing more living space, to having a yard again because you love to garden. At some point, you may also want to be near your circle of support again including your doctor, dentist, hairdresser, etc. Many RVers seem to make this decision as they get older, and need to be closer to doctors and people that they depend on. If you have family and friends in more than one area, and you’re open to working with a new support team, then you may be open to other options.
Staying in so many different campgrounds the first year of our travels, Jim and I saw many people who were living in one campground Full-time. Like us, they had sold their traditional home, and downsized into an RV, but they were content with keeping their RV home in one campground. Sometimes, it was a financial decision because they still worked in the area, or moved there for a job. Other times, they had moved to the area that they loved, and wanted to call home, but we’re not quite ready to give up the RV lifestyle. It certainly is a great way to try living in different areas of the country, and get to know the surrounding towns, and even the neighborhoods before you decide to buy a traditional home there.
Some RVers also have two locations that they go back and forth between: One campground for the winter/spring, and one for the summer/fall. That’s also another option, and probably the best of both worlds. If you live in a colder climate, then you may love to head south for the winter. An RV home makes it very affordable to live in two different places – a lot less expensive than having to buy two homes.
In the second and third year of our travels, Jim and I have been staying in campgrounds longer especially since Jim started doing workamping stints. We’ve lived in Florida for five months, in Utah for four months, and then North Carolina for another four months. It really gave us the opportunity to explore a new area, and imagine ourselves living there. Staying in one place longer, we also met people who had moved there, and were living in the campground Full-time. It gave us a chance to meet some of the “locals” and find out what it’s really like to live there longer than a season. This method also seemed to be a good way to try out different regions of the country, and decide on a future location for a traditional home.
One of the biggest reasons that people give up the Full-time RV life is when they are no longer able to do it physically. Some make that decision before their health becomes an issue, but most start to notice the signs, and then look at their options. One of the best options for those who want to continue to live in their RV is the Escapees CARE (Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees) program www.escapeescare.org which is a nonprofit adult day care and residency program designed for RVers who are unable to travel for a time because of age, injury, sickness or surgery. The facility is located next to the Escapees Rainbow’s End campground in Livingston, Texas. They have set aside a certain amount of RV sites for Escapees independent living along with some sites for volunteers who assist with the program.
The Escapees CARE, Inc. is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, with a professional staff running the facility. The requirements are that you be an Escapees member, and able to pay one month in advance. Because the facility is non-profit, they receive donations, and volunteer support which allows them to offer their services at a lower cost. Many people stay there for only a short time to deal with a health issue requiring surgery, or stay longer depending on their health situation. For a Full-time RVer, it’s an ideal situation to be able to receive health care and support while still living in your RV home. The program is quite popular with a waiting list, and possible future plans of expansion with similar facilities in new areas. With the Baby Boomer population retiring, and more people joining the ranks of Full-timers, it seems that the Escapees CARE program could continue to grow and expand in the future. It is certainly a worthwhile nonprofit to support especially if you see yourself using their services down the road someday.
Our own exit strategy recently materialized. Both my husband and I didn’t have a clear plan about what we would do after Full-timing. We came to the Full-time RV lifestyle when everything seemed to be ending, and leading us in a new direction. Since the direction wasn’t clear, we decided to give the RV lifestyle a try. We hadn’t been dreaming about RVing in retirement, but it seemed to be a good option to see the country while we could. It also allowed us time to explore what we’d like to do next in our lives, and where we would like to live. Honestly, I thought we’d be out on the road for only a year, and then it lead to a second year, and now a third year. I think that’s how it works out here on the road. It’s a timeless life because you’re living a non-mainstream kind of life. You’re not following the traditional lifestyle so time does seem to expand when you’re not rushing through your life to get to the next week-end. You live more in the moment.
After our three years on the road, I longed to have one home that stayed in one place. My husband and I built our first home, 30 years ago, and now, we’re going to build what could be our last home in our original home state of Massachusetts. After living away for 20 years, we’ll both be close to the hometowns where we grew up years ago. Some people say you can’t go home again, but we’re going to give it a try. We’ll still keep our Bighorn RV, and spend winter/early spring in warmer locations so we’ll join the ranks of the part-time Full-Timers. It feels like it will be the best of both worlds. We’ll soon be starting another chapter in our lives. In the meantime, we’ll see you out on the open road, and look forward to hearing from you about your RVing travels. Best of luck on Living the RV Lifestyle.
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.