Are you thinking of making the switch to living in an RV full time? If so, I would recommend it but I do think there is a transition period that is not talked about much in the RV world. I experienced a good deal of stress and anxiety from converting to living in an RV full time that I wasn't expecting. I believe if people are mentally prepared and aware that anxiety and stress will rear their ugly heads, they will be more capable of getting through this period.
Why I Experienced Anxiety
There were two main factors that contributed to my anxiety on the road. One, I was always looking at someone else's highlight reel. Almost every video I watched about full timing involved smiling faces, grand adventures, and sweet, sweet freedom. Two, there is a very steep learning curve that comes with this lifestyle. By the time we sold everything we owned and hit the road I had high expectations of feeling euphoric. It's safe to say that didn't happen. What did happen though was a panic attack at 1 am our first night on the road. I felt overwhelmed, tired, and sad. I was sad about saying goodbye to our family/friends, quitting a job I liked, and moving out of a house we loved. When you work so hard for something you've wanted for so long, and then finally achieve it you expect to feel pure joy. We had worked for two years to RV full time; we paid off our debt, purged everything we owned (things we had previously worked so hard to earn), I quit my job for this, and Jason had to get a new job for this lifestyle. I most definitely wasn't feeling pure joy but I wasn't aware enough at the time to recognize why.
Around week 6 was the worst time for us. At this point, we had learned a couple rough lessons regarding RV lifestyle and I was actually going stir crazy with all of this “freedom” I was suddenly blessed with. I've always worked hard my entire life and tend to throw myself into things. I love a good challenge, which is why I pushed myself so hard when it came to my career. Since I quit my job to travel, I felt I didn't have much of a purpose anymore. Sure, there were things I needed to do for our brand, Getaway Couple, but I couldn't get myself to learn how to start a YouTube channel, learn to video edit, research SEO, and everything else that came with starting a new company. If I'm being blunt, I couldn't get myself to accept these new challenges because I was depressed.
Thankfully, I have a supportive husband who helped me through this (while he was going through his own transitional issues too). We got to the core of why I was feeling this way, we set goals for our business, I threw myself into learning how to video edit, and our moods picked up. I truly believe that productivity produces positivity and this motto proved true for us. During week 8 Jason had to fly out to Atlanta for a few in person meetings. I was nervous to be by myself but it was actually the best thing for me at that time. I got more in touch with myself and became extremely more comfortable in our fifth wheel. Just being in the space alone finally made it feel like home and made me stop missing our old house in LA. Week 8 was a breakthrough week for me. Two months on the road, and it finally clicked… we were living our dream.
How to Minimize Anxiety
So, if you're looking into living on the road full time I do have a couple recommendations to help with the transitional period of moving from sticks and bricks to the road.
- Practice! Take your rig out and become comfortable with it. This will help avoid a giant learning curve. It's really taxing to be learning so many things at once on top of dealing with the emotional toll of leaving your old life behind.
- Have Skype/FaceTime dates with your family and friends. Phone calls are great but actually seeing their faces is a great way to feel closer.
- Plan what you will do with your time. I thought not having a plan was going to be liberating but it was actually the worst thing I could have done to myself. Plan activities to do in the areas you are in. If you're quitting your job and are an active person, make sure you have a plan to replace that time with something else! Blogging, editing YouTube videos, and focusing on our business has been a lifesaver for me. Also, it's great for your brain to learn new things.
- Join a group. We are in multiple Facebook groups and have found an RV community on Instagram. Making friends living the same lifestyle takes away attention from what you've left behind and turns it to what great things lay ahead. We've met some other traveling couples on the road just from seeing where they are on Instagram.
- Expect the transition period. I let this get away from me because I would watch so many positive videos about how awesome it is to travel full time. I expected to drive away and suddenly be this positive person living this amazing life. Make sure to be aware there is a transitional period and always remember you will get through it.
Hopefully these tips will help your transition into living in an RV full time smooth! The video above has more detail into what this period was like for us. We really do love this lifestyle now and are looking forward to the adventures ahead. Please feel free to reach out if you are experiencing a rough patch. We're all here to help each other in the RV community!