It was kind of a dreary day today. The sky was gray and it never quite reached 50 degrees.
But since we didn't have much activity, I thought I'd write about a couple of things I've been pondering lately.
I finished out the month of January doing lots of analytical stuff for the website. That's when the left side of my brain takes over.
Left Brain, Right Brain (Head vs Heart)
The brain has two sides or hemispheres. And each side processes information differently.
- The left side is logical while the right side is intuitive.
- The left side is linear while the right side is holistic.
- The left side is reality-based while the right side is fantasy-based.
- The left side is sequential while the right side is random.
- The left side is verbal while the right side is nonverbal.
- The left side processes symbols while the right side needs the real thing.
Now, for me, there was no question. I'm a "left-brained" guy. However, what I found surprising is that I'm not as "left-brained" dominant as I suspected. And much of that, I believe, has to do with living the full-time lifestyle.
You can sort of see where you will end up by answering all the test questions. The thing is, I would have answered a lot of them differently before we went on the road.
Another surprising thing to me is that Linda, the intuitive dreamer who is very creative, is not as "right-brained" as I thought. But she is definitely "right-brained".
It's probably good that we are both closer to the middle. :) Where I get in trouble is when I float too much to the left end of the brain scale.
You see, rather than "left-brained" - "right-brained", over the years, we've come to think of this in terms of "head vs. heart". Before full-timing, I lived in "left-brained" land with no vacations, stuck in my head, while Linda has always lived in "right-brained" land, with occasional visits to my world. When we both get in our heads, it can be really bad. :)
Now, with the freedom of full-timing, I get to visit Linda's world more often, and the best times are when I'm able to "cross over" the wall between the hemispheres - a particularly tall wall in my brain. :) I don't have that constant pressure that seemed to keep me pinned up against the "left-brained" side of my skull.
I can go back and forth fairly easily now, but there are periods, like the days when I get bogged down in financials and the website, when my heart, my "right-brained" thinking gets neglected. My opinion is that full-time RVing is best for those that can spend most of their time in "right-brained" world and live with their hearts.
That leads me to a couple of recent emails.
Happiness & Stress
One email was from a reader who said he and his wife are in their 50s. He's trying to figure out if they can do what we do. He said he can't imagine living on $3,000 a month or less and wanted to know, as many others do, if we are truly happy, whether the lack of money causes us stress, and if we have plans to re-join the workforce.
The answers are:
Yes, we are truly happy. Sure, the initial euphoria of living on the road wears off. And, sometimes, we have to consciously do the comparison of where we are now to where we were with the big jobs, big salaries, big house and big obligations. But, in the end, the reason we are doing this is because the "bigness" of our prior lives wasn't providing the deeper happiness we have now.
Yes, the lack of money does cause some stress. Well, it does for me anyway, you know, as the "left-brained" guy. The only stress for Linda is when I stay in my head about it too long. :) But, you know, it's not so much the lack of money and needing to earn the money to live. With our meticulous tracking of our expenses, we can get the money we need. No, the stress comes from me wanting to do it my way and fighting the need to work for someone else, especially in an office, to get the money. :) That sort of leads to the answer for the last question.
No, we have no plans to re-join the "traditional" workforce. We'll try our combination of steady growth via entrepreneurship and workamping. Then, if that is not enough, we may get traditional jobs while living in the RV for just long enough to sock away some funds and get back on the road.
I ended my reply to that email with the usual "full-timing is not for everyone". And I added something like "But you may not actually know if it's for you until you do it. It really can't be judged from the outside looking in. Also, full-timing for folks in our position with no fixed stream of income is a risky proposition. It takes either a lot of guts and optimism or a complete lack of sense." :)
If We Didn't Need Money, Would We Still Workamp/Volunteer?
Okay, so that leads to the second email. It was from a reader planning to full-time in five years when he'll be 62 and who is hoping to not have to workcamp. He asked:
Knowing what you do now, from all of your unique experiences and all the
interesting people you've met (and helped) along the way, would you continue to
do some workcamping if you no longer needed the income?
If so, for how long and under what circumstances?
If not, would you substitute volunteering? I know that was one of your
My gut feeling is that these experiences have enriched your fulltiming
experiences overall. I know that I've enjoyed reading your journal every day
for the past two years.
Interesting questions. Well, if we didn't need the money (or the reduced expenses), we certainly would not workamp as "employees" of a business. It takes too much of a time commitment, too much scheduling of our travels, and too much "obligation". We would prefer to spend our time slowly seeing the country without a schedule that includes having to be in a particular place at a particular time for a particular period.
Would we still do volunteer workamping? Probably not, for the same reasons. At least we probably wouldn't until we felt like we had covered North America sufficiently. After that, it is likely we would do some volunteering for a campsite as the vibe is sufficiently better than being an "employee".
Now, if the question is "Would we do other volunteering that didn't require such a lengthy time commitment?", the answer is "Yes". With, no need for funds and no schedule, we would be much more likely to do community volunteer work during our longer stays in some areas.
It is correct that our workamping experiences have enriched our full-timing. No doubt about it. But it takes away from the overall freedom of travel and may be enriching at the expense of other enriching experiences.
I'll take it a step further. If we didn't need the income and didn't need to keep costs down, there probably wouldn't be an RV-Dreams.com. But, it seems to me that we are supposed to be in our current situation, and there is supposed to be an RV-Dreams.com, and we are supposed to have some mission that supercedes our simple enjoyment of full-time RVing. :)
Are RVers Just Good People Or Are They Good People Because Of RVing?
One more point to ponder. It's sort of an RVing "Chicken or the Egg". :)
In our travels and through this website, we've met the most wonderful people on the road. Two of those people are Bob & Molly who we spent some time with in Tampa a couple of weeks ago.
In our discussion, Bob raised the question that they have undertaken with other RVers. "Are the great interactions we have on the road because, deep down, we all have the same basic internal make-up OR is it because we have somehow become friendlier people via the RVing lifestyle?"
In other words, is it only a certain type of person that undertakes and enjoys an RVing lifestyle? Or, does the lifestyle change people? How is it that we can make such fast, genuine friendships in such short periods?
With my constant reminder that "Full-timing is not for everyone", I have to believe that there is some trait or set of traits that most RVers have. However, is it those traits that make everyone so nice? We've met all sorts of people with so many different backgrounds and beliefs, but could it be that we all have something in our genetics in common?
Or is it the RVing and the sense of freedom that causes us, or allows us, to be more open-hearted? As I mentioned at the beginning, I am sure that I am different because we live this lifestyle. That's not to say I wasn't a good person before, but I do feel I'm a better person now. But what about everyone else? Does everyone change when they undertake living in an RV? Or am I an exception, and do most RVers already have more of an open-hearted love of life and sense of kindness and caring before they get started?
In the overall scheme of things, it doesn't really matter. But, I think it is an interesting point for those contemplating an RV lifestyle. Could it be that you just aren't genetically cut out for RVing? Could it be that you are? Could it be that the act of actually living in an RV will change you for the better? For the worse?
The problem is, as I stated before, that you can't really judge the lifestyle until you've lived it. Sure, many people make judgements, especially those that could never see themselves doing it. And many people, like us, just automatically know that it will work.
But, if you are on the fence about living in a box or about finances or about any other part of it, you probably will never know for sure until you do it. And then, if you just aren't sure and you give it a try, you probably should have a plan to reverse the process just in case. Of course, that fear and need for an "out" is what keeps lots of people on the fence or, ironically, in a different kind of box. :)
Here's one thing I can tell you. If you try an RVing lifestyle, whether you like it or not, whether you stick with it or not, you will at least have felt something - you will know that you are alive. :)
Well, thus ends my points to ponder. I suppose it depends on whether you are "left-brained" or "right-brained" as to how you do the pondering. :)