How does the Holidays look as a Full-Time RVer?

Since the holiday’s are coming up fast, we thought we would touch on this subject. “How do you enjoy the holiday’s in an RV?”
In a previous Blog Post, you need to go read that as well, we share how we deal with by away from our family and how they deal with
it.
Since 2009 when going Full-Time, we’ve missed our share of holidays. So the last couple of years we’ve made a point to be
back in Iowa near our family for Christmas. Fast forward to this year, 2021. Since we wanted to try a new job this year following
our summer gig at Adventureland, we headed north for the Sugar Beet Harvest. We had originally thought that we’d be back in Iowa
by no later than November 1st so we could help our son and his family move into their new home. Well….that timeline did not work
out. But even though the dates were not as planned, the dates allowed us to stay through Thanksgiving even though it still did not
look ‘normal’. Usually we attend Thanksgiving at my sisters but this year she was sick so Ed and I planned our day as if we were
in the south. Ed and I prepared the turkey and all the fixings for us to enjoy. Our kids were sharing their day with the in-laws as it
has been for years. To be honest, Thanksgiving has not been the holiday that I felt we needed to be with family. Now it’s different
when it comes to Christmas. Christmas Eve has always been the day we spent with my grandparents and then my parents continued the
tradition. But once we sold our home, most of our belongings, it has looked different. Not bad different, just different. Instead of
holding the gathering at our ‘sticks n bricks home, we planned to have it at our kids homes. We think it’s great that our kids are
now continuing the tradition.

Now we will share with you how OUR Holiday’s look while living and traveling in a RV. Let’s start with Thanksgiving. Even though
we were at our sons home, moochdocking, the actual day of Thanksgiving Ed and I spent the day together preparing a great feast. Later on
that evening we were able to spend with our son and his family. Then over the weekend we were able to head up to our daughter and her
family’s home to share a meal with them and play with the entire crew of grandchildren. Even though the holiday may not look the same as
it did when living in the ‘sticks n bricks’ home we were able to spend time with our family. That is exactly what the holidays are
supposed to be.

Let’s talk about Christmas this year. Christmas is going to be very different for us. Since we were able to spend 3 additional weeks
in Iowa around the Thanksgiving Holiday, we now need to stay in the south working until we return in the spring. We are thinking May but
we are flexible with our dates. So…. our Christmas will be spent on location at our jobs. Everything in this industry keeps rolling on
regardless of the date or time of the year. So we expect things to do that and we will do our best to FaceTime or video call our kids,
grandkids and all our other family members. Share a meal with ourselves and maybe exchange gifts with each other. Then….once we return
to Iowa in the spring, we will do something special with our family. We are thinking instead of exchanging gifts with our kids &
grandkids, maybe we can share an experience with them. Heck maybe take them to a movie, to the zoo or rent a hotel room with a great
waterpark to play with them. Experiences with your family members will be remembered. Not so much the ‘stuff’.

Once again our holiday’s may ‘look’ different since we went Full-Time but what’s important is spending time with your family. Doesn’t
necessarily mean you have to be at a ‘sticks n bricks’ home or on the actual holiday date to share the holiday’s with your family. Now
if the holiday DATE is important to you, plan your RV travels around it. Heck if your family is living in different locations, split your
time by traveling to each members home. If you plan, you can make anything work.

Happy Holidays!

Dora, Ed, Mason & Missy

Full-Time RVing and Family

Our Wonderful Grandchildren

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.

Thanks!

Dora & Ed

Dealing with our Biggest Full-Time Travel Struggle, Missing Family While Traveling

A major concern for full-time travelers is missing out on events and time with their extended family. In this post, I’ll share some personal experience with our biggest full-time travel struggle. Missing family while traveling.

The extended family wasn’t as much of a factor is our decision to travel full-time because ours in not located in one main geographic location. We figured as full-time travelers, we’d actually see them more than we currently do. Actually traveling in the RV really has allowed us to see them more often than we were able to in our previous, busy lives.

We’re not going to lie to you, this is our greatest full-time struggle. We really miss our kids and grandkids!

We started our full-time journey as empty nesters. It was perfect timing because traveling saved me from wandering around our house. We do not miss the ‘sticks & bricks’ home but do miss the availability of the closeness of our family.

It was a little tricky at first, but we ended up enjoying returning during the warmer months to visit our kids and their kids.

However, we were not fully prepared for how hard it would be not seeing them often. I’m not sure if this is a Full-time RVer struggle or empty nester struggle. Now we have to find other ways to keep our relationship strong.

Tips to keep in touch. Obviously the telephone is a simple way to stay in touch. Now you can use it to go beyond hearing each other’s voices.

Video Chat. We like to video chat with our family with the free iPhone app, FaceTime. If you don’t have iPhones or MacBooks, you can also use the free video chat app, Skype. We are very fortunate that we have the technology today to “see” each other regularly.

Texting is a simple way for us to keep up a conversation throughout the day. Anytime something strikes us, we can send a quick message or photo. Sometimes we even send audio chats back and forth.

What the Future Holds. I’m not sure what the future holds, but we do plan on to continue to Full-Time RV. But, we know we want to spend as much time with our family and grandkids as possible. As we are home for the summer, we look forward to having ‘camping trips’ with the grandkids. We’d love to hear your suggestions about how you stay close to your grandchildren while full-time traveling! Please let me know how you manage it in the comments below.