Sunrise as a pelican flies by, Hanna Park beach, Jacksonville, FL, 12/05

Emotional Aspects Of Making The RV Dream Transition

The one thing that Linda wanted to know as we did more and more research about full-timing was whether the emotions we were experiencing in our preparation were normal.

In searching the books, websites, and forums, we found very little about the emotional aspects of that transition period from a traditional life to RV living. So we have decided to let you know what we went through and what we have learned from others about this important topic.

We will cover:

  • Leaving family & friends
  • Leaving a community
  • Selling your home
  • Getting rid of possessions
  • Leaving a traditional way of life

    Hopefully, if you make the decision to adopt the RV Dream lifestyle, you will remember this discussion and understand those feelings that arise.

    Leaving Family & Friends

    The feelings about leaving family and friends depend largely on how close you are with those individuals. They also depend on how often you see each other and how much you rely on each other for emotional support.

    Telling them about your plans can be tough. Some will think you are crazy, some will be happy for you, and some will be upset. Some people can really make you have second thoughts about your decision. They often cannot see the benefits of full-timing because they cannot imagine a lifestyle different than their own.

    There are numerous ways to keep in touch through cell phones and emails. In fact, as a full-timer, you may have more time to communicate and your communication may be more meaningful. But try not to be disappointed when communications are not returned as timely as you would like and your friends do not think about you as often as you think about them.

    As tough as leaving family & friends can be, stay focused on why you are going to full-time. If the emotional hardship is more than you can bear, perhaps the decision to full-time should be reconsidered. Not being able to leave family & friends is probably the number one reason more people do not try full-timing.

    Leaving Your Community

    Though the emotions felt may not be as deep as those that register with leaving family & friends behind, the sadness may be more unexpected when you realize the importance to you of your community.

    Realizing that you have seen your doctor for the last time, or visited your hairdresser for the last time, or worked out at your gym for the last time, or gone to a ballgame for the last time, or had dinner at your favorite local restaurant for the last time can bring on feelings that you had no idea would creep in. You realize how familiar you are with your area and how easy you move through your life. It is a strange feeling knowing that people and places you take for granted will not be around anymore.

    The feelings are normal, but they surprised us because we had not considered how deeply we were entrenched in our community. So we warned you - remember this when you have tears welling up in your eyes over saying goodbye to the butcher at your local grocery. :)

    Selling Your Home

    Selling any home for any reason is emotional enough. Selling your home so you can move into a box on wheels is a totally different level of emotional.

    Wasn't the goal of life to get a house? Isn't your house your ultimate comfort zone? What are we doing? Why in the world would we give up our house? So many years of memories. Will we ever get over the pain of selling our home?

    Trust us - it will be painful, but you will get over it. Again, focus on the bigger picture of why you are making the choice.

    Getting Rid Of Possessions

    Getting rid of stuff is very liberating. However, having to get rid of stuff you love can be very sad. There is only so much room in an RV. You have to be very selective about what you take along.

    As you are dividing your stuff into piles knowing you will never see it again or will not see it for a very long time (the stuff you decide to store), emotions can become quite high.

    We have found that this is more of problem for the ladies, but it is just as hard for the guys who are used to having a shop and tools. Linda says "It's like we died, but we had to get rid of our stuff."

    One more time. Focus on the big picture when you are staring at that beautiful dress in your hand that you have worn once. After awhile, that liberating feeling will make the sadness seem so far away.

    Leaving A Traditional Way Of Life

    The emotions here are not so much sadness, but fear. Are we really crazy? What are we doing? We've got a good thing going, what if this is a mistake?

    Second thoughts creep in every few days. Fear sets in that selling a house for a depreciating asset is really stupid. What if we can't make a living on the road?

    It can be really, really hard to remember why you considered full-timing when doubts and fears are taking over. So strive to keep your heart and mind open and be aware of things that happen in your life that reinforce your decision to simplify your life and concentrate on happiness.


    Of course everyone reacts differently to the transition phase to full-timing. Our purpose is to simply make you aware that you may experience emotions you did not expect. Be prepared for lots of ups and downs as you get ready for your new life.

    The good news is the emotions of the transition fade away once you go on the road. All the pain, sadness, fear, and uncertainty become distant memories very quickly as you begin to enjoy the new journey and meet people from the wonderful community of RVers. Perhaps this is why no one speaks of the emotional aspects - maybe they are so easily forgotten that they seem inconsequential. That may be the case, but the emotions are real nonetheless and should not be discounted.

    Let us know if we can help you through the transition phase.