Today’s blog post is not about traveling with kids, but traveling as a full-time RVer and leaving family behind. How do you deal with the separation? How does the family you left behind deal with it? What methods can you use to keep in touch? How to plan a return visit and what is all involved?
Everyone deals with separation differently but we are here to tell you our experiences. We’ve been dealing with this issue since 2009 when we started this journey. Maybe we can give you a small morsel of advice on how you can deal with it. I will say it does get easier BUT then it doesn’t. Yes that doesn’t make sense but I hope as you read farther in the blog you’ll better understand. When we started our Full-Time journey I cried so hard that I couldn’t catch my breath. Just thinking about being out of their lives for 6+ months was heart wrenching. BUT, reality is that no your not ‘out of their lives’ for that length of time. Yes you may not be able to physically touch them but with video chat, texting and phone calls you can definitely be included in their lives. Don’t fear. You will not miss out if you make the effort to keep in touch. Heck it’s fun to share your new experiences with them!
When we started Full-Time RVing in 2009 we used a Video Chat program on our computer so we could see our kids and their spouses. So even years ago before todays technology, we found a way to stay connected. Now fast forward to 2021. There are several FREE Video Chat programs you can use while you are on the road. Zoom, Apple FaceTime, Google Hangouts, and the app we originally started with Skype, are just to name a few. But, all else fails, ask your kids or grandkids. They are a huge resource. Find out what they are using to make it an easier transition for you.
Planning is key. When you were in the Sticks n’ Bricks home, did you get together with family on a regular basis? Maybe Sunday after Church? If so, plan your Video Chat or Phone Call day for that time. You can remotely be with your family and share great conversation. Yes it takes more effort but totally worth it. So the take away is; YES it’s hard to leave your family behind as you explore in your RV but it is very doable using technology to stay in touch and not feeling excluded. Also, are there special events you share with your family? IE: Christmas, weddings or school events? If so, either plan on logging in remotely to be included OR plan your travel plans around it. Heck if your family is already spread out in several states, travel to them. Plan a RV vacation with them. Maybe the grandkids want to come with you on a special trip. Heck you have an RV. Make it a memorable road trip for you and your family. How exciting would that be?
Another thing you need to plan is your return trip or your RV trip to your family living in different states. When would it be best to travel to family in the northern states if your bringing your RV? We’ve spent a few Christmas’ in COLD Iowa with family in our RV. Let me tell you. It’s not for the faint of heart. You either need to plan a way to keep your pipes from freezing OR winterize your RV and just use it for sleeping space while visiting your family. Oh another thing to remember. Can you mooch dock on your families property? Will their HOA allow it? Are the RV parks in the area open? Planning travel days are super important during this time of the year as well. We DO NOT like to pull our 5th wheel in snow and ice. Way too risky for us. So planning once again is key.
Since we briefly touched on how you deal with separation, how does your family deal with it? Will they understand your RV life goals? Will they feel like you are abandoning them? Boy these are touchy points to consider because as said before, everyone has their own way of dealing with these issues. From our experience, our kids dealt with it very well. Some days they were like; “oh Mother” when I would cry because I missed them so much. Kids are resilient. They deal with change probably better than we do. But being upfront and clear of your RV goals it will set them up for a great transition to your new lifestyle. Keeping your Sunday gathering time the same even if you are remotely logging in will be extremely helpful. Allowing them to understand you are there for them regardless of your physical location. And heck you may just see them more since your home now has wheels. Maybe they will start asking when you plan to leave when visiting with them? LOL
So get out there and enjoy your RV lifestyle. Experience the great places you’ve always wanted to visit and take your family along with you either through remote video, sharing videos OR take them on the ride with you.
Dora & Ed