Sunday, April 24, 2011

LTD (Live The Dream)

Current Location: Fairview, OR

Yesterday, we drove out to Hood River during a warm and sunny afternoon. We didn't really have any agenda in mind, but just wanted to check out a new town. We knew that there were several micro breweries located here and had planned to have lunch at one of them. We chose Full Sail Brewery for no particular reason. They have a couple of limited edition beers on the menu, aptly named 'LTD', which are subtitled Live The Dream. Of course that immediately caught our eyes.

So what does 'living the dream' really mean? That has been a question on the forefront of our mind lately. As many of you have noticed, I've been absent for the last few weeks. Thank you to those who have worried about us. We are safe and healthy.

But I've been in a bit of a funk and guess I just haven't been motivated to write. I would like to blame it on the weather. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is an actual affliction and I have no doubt that it occurs frequently out here. So maybe that is partly to blame. But I think it is a combination of things.

It started with our California gig falling through. I think that affected us more than we care to admit. I know things happen, many times for reasons unknown, and you just have to accept them and move on. We've done that (or are still trying to) but it doesn't mean we can't still be disappointed. From there, we made the decision to stay in Portland through the summer. We had many reasons for this decision and all are still viable, but we find ourselves doubting that we made the right choice.

Our feelings about the area haven't changed, but we feel like we've fallen off course. This wasn't the life we envisioned when we dreamed of fulltiming. We're living in a park that we don't really care for. We're working jobs that are providing financially but are not all that fulfilling. Isn't that what we wanted to get away from when we started fulltiming?

Don't get me wrong. The park is ok. It's clean and safe. It's rated a 5W in Woodalls rating (not that that means that much). Our jobs are ok. We both like the people we work with. But it's all just ok. We don't want ok anymore. If we're really living the dream, then shouldn't we be achieving more?

One of our biggest challenges, as I see it, is that we need to find the balance between making a living and living our dream. I know there's a reason that there's not many pre-retirees fulltiming. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it. But I have to believe it is possible. I also know that it will require sacrifices, such as the sacrifices we feel we are making this summer. What I find myself questioning is how many sacrifices will need to be made to make it successful and will it be worth it?

I guess what we're really struggling with is figuring out what our dream really looks like. We have the idealistic view, but what about the realistic view? I don't want to be someone who simply lives in an RV. I want to be an RVer. And believe me, I've seen firsthand that there is a difference!

We are unsure what our goal is or even if we need to have one. Are we looking to have as many different experiences as possible? Yes. Are we wanting to explore different areas of the country to find a new place to settle down? Possibly. Are we looking to become rich? No, but we need to be able to sustain ourselves and prepare ourselves for the future. Do we want to continue careers in our current professional careers? Not really, but we know that those jobs are lucrative and for that we feel like we shouldn't dismiss them.

I find it ironic that so many of the doubts I had fought off while making the decision to fulltime are resurfacing. Things like 'you need to work high paying jobs to save as much money for that elusive retirement period', 'you are a college educated person, why would you want to work a minimally-paying, non-challenging job when you have the skills to get a real job', 'if you're out of the workplace for too long, you won't be marketable any longer and it will be much harder to get a job', 'you're just going through a phase, snap out of it and come back to the mainstream!'. Why are these thoughts all coming back? Is this all telling me something?

Do all of you have continuous doubts? Do you find yourselves reevaluating your decisions constantly? I wish I were the type of person that could just relax and go with the flow, but I fear the planner and analyzer in me won't allow that. Does that mean that I'm not cut out for this lifestyle? Am I fooling myself in believing that we can live this lifestyle and be financially stable at the same time?

Thanks for allowing me to blabber, gripe and think out loud. I know our current situation is short-term. One of these days, the rain will stop and the sun will stay out for more than a day at a time. In 5 months, our work will be done here and we'll really be rolling down the road this time, hopefully with some extra money in our pocket. I realize that no one can give us all the answers and none of us has a crystal ball. I just appreciate you listening and am grateful for any advice, life experiences, suggestions, comments or rants you want to offer.

And I want to assure you that we will work ourselves out of this. Often when I find myself confused and wandering aimlessly, I tend to 'disappear'. I stop writing because I feel like I just talk in circles. Sometimes I stop reading because I'm jealous that you're all finding ways to make it work while I seemingly can't. But I will return. So again, thank you for your concern and thank you for your support.


  1. I identify with your post so much & just want to tell you that you are not alone in your thoughts. I am a self doubter of epic proportions & so much agree with your statement..."Do all of you have continuous doubts? Do you find yourselves reevaluating your decisions constantly? I wish I were the type of person that could just relax and go with the flow, but I fear the planner and analyzer in me won't allow that." Good for you in expressing those thoughts & I commend you for posting about your doubts & fears & am always heartened & encouraged to read about realistic thinking. Life is not a sweet bouquet of flowers as many would have us believe. I always enjoy posts where people talk about how they are truly thinking, good or bad & not just what they are doing all day, where they are going & what they are seeing. Good for you in honestly expressing your thoughts. I'm glad my wife Kelly brought my attention back to your blog this morning. And yes, I do agree about the reality of 'Seasonal Affective Disorder.'

  2. I think what you're going through is very normal and the SAD can definitely affect your mood. A good sunny warm day will do you some good.

    One good thing about your new life style is that you can make changes when you want or need to.

    On our snowbird trip last winter to Florida, we certainly didn't get to have the fun winter that we had planned. We ended up canceling all the campground reservations we had made and lost some money on some of them. We ended up having to go to "Plan B" and even though it wasn't what we wanted to do, it worked out. You will work your situation out as well.

    Planning and thinking about things is necessary. Unfortunately, money has to play a big part in all of our decisions.

    Hang in there and keep writing.

  3. seems to me that life in general is 'made of jello' one knows what tomorrow will bring or the next day for that matter...I, too think that this 'dream of ours' is so far fetched that it will never happen...but we plug away and hope and foot in the front of the other is all we can do for now..our life has been full of 'naysayers' we try really hard not to listen to them!..
    the sun will come out eventually!!..have a good one!

  4. Nice to see you back blogging again even though you seem to be down in the dumps a bit.

    Living the Dream to me means nothing more than staying healthy! Without good health, dreams are unachievable anyway.

    While life may not always be a bouquet of flowers, it certainly doesn't have to be a bucket of weeds either.

    I don't really have any great words of wisdom other than to say if things aren't going the way I want, then I always have the choice to try and change them. That, however, sometimes stops me in my tracks because I often realize things may not be as bad as I'm trying to make out.

  5. Oy vey, I'd put a bullet in my head if I was living in a rig all winter in the mildewey Northwest! Hey I can say that, I lived there in a stick house for 10 years.

    Regardless....I think that what might help is having a retreat planning session together, where you lay out your dreams, your financial and life goals and your likes, dislikes, what you're willing to do and not do, etc., to get a better roadmap of where you envision yourselves while living this lifestyle. I'm not sure if you did this before you left, but it really helps. Jot them down in a book and look at it, a LOT.

    Jim and I did this before we hit the road, and it brought a lot of clarity to our lives. We have never looked back nor regretted our decision since 1) we don't believe in regret, and 2) we truly believe that no matter what, as long as we know in our hearts what we want, we will get there, even in there are a few detours. So far, our dream has turned into everything we wanted it to be and then some. Not all roses (hah, wait'll you read an upcoming post about what we did to our truck the other day!), but mostly it's been a fantastic ride.

    To truly get what you want out of this adventure, you need to BELIEVE that you have the strength to achieve what your heart really wants. If your life is just OK now and you want more, what's stopping you?

    I also hate to sound like one of those new agey flakey folks, but the book/movie "the Secret" really helped us out when we were afraid that we weren't going to make the dramatic changes we wanted so badly.

    Geez, sorry about the long comment, but I hope it helps somewhat. Cheer up little soldier, you can do it!

  6. I can really relate to the SAD thingy. Having lived in Oregon for 40 years, I have to admit that by spring, I have HAD it with the rain and gray skies. I can only imagine the doubts you are dealing with right now. We aren't full-timing but even the decision to purchase an RV and go part-time has been a struggle for me. I feel for you and wish I had some answers but I think this is something you will discover on your own. You will hopefully feel a little bit better about your current situation as the weather continues to improve. There is nothing quite as wonderful as summer in our beautiful Pacific Northwest. Maybe we can come cheer you up a bit!!

  7. Well let me tell ya. As a University educated individual (Hons B.A. in German Lit) and having worked as a Caretaker for the last 22 or so years, there are a few words in there that you wrote that struck home.
    Trouble was, the "high paying" job that I thought I wanted and did for a while oh so many years ago turned out to be simply stressing me out to no end, and so I gave it up. I mean, my hair has continued to fall out ever since, but when it starts falling out in gobs when you're 29? That can't be good.
    At least now I'm past the half century mark. Let the hair fall where it may.
    I had those doubts too about being underpaid/under employed, what have you, for many years. I learned to deal with it. Otherwise, I would have put a bullet in my noodle.
    Then there's that whole SAD thing. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't experienced it, just how debilitating it can be.
    I know one individual that was off work for a whole year. Totally incapacitated.
    In my case, and this is going back a few years now, there were days (in the dead of a Canadian winter of course) when I was damned near in tears most of the day. Was able to get through it, but man! it was a struggle. As luck would have it, we moved to sunny Puerto Rico for a year in 02, and that was the thing that put me right. It was also the answer to what I didn't really realise was wrong. Kind of like getting the answer to a question you didn't know you had asked. I was depressed and didn't realise just how badly.
    Just a happy piece of luck to move somewhere with oodles of sun. "Dodged that bullet" so to speak, and I'm not kidding by that much.
    Now please forgive me here, but I think I'm going to get a tad "preachy". So here goes.
    I think perhaps the thing is, you can't do it all at once. By that I mean, why put pressure on yourselves to "live the dream"? What does that even mean? Plus, sometimes "shit happens" and you can't beat yourself up for it. You have to look at the big picture. Jobs can fall through. You'll fall down. Just get up again.
    Kind of sounds like I'm just rhyming off a bunch of clichés, and I don't mean to, but it's all relative.
    Take joy in the simple things.
    Think about the folks over in St. Louis. That's a cheap shot, I know. And I'm sorry but really again, it's all relative.
    These are folks who, in spite of being hard working people who were just "doing their thing", for no other reason than being in a particular spot on the globe, and through no fault of their own, don't get to sleep in their own beds tonight.
    How can a person's life change so drastically in just one day? And then, how the heck do you deal with it?
    It's certainly beyond my imagination. And if it's something you also find hard to imagine, then you're in pretty good shape, relatively speaking.
    I know I'm sure glad I have my own bed to sleep in in.
    *Sermon over*.
    Keep plugging away.
    It'll all work out. Trust me.

  8. Oh, what to say, what to say? We all have doubts and second guess, you know, the old, 'if i knew now what i knew then' Take Care and God Bless. there is beauty around us.

  9. I wonder if reaching for my dream is the right thing to do almost every day. Then i do something to take just one more little steps toward making it real.

    Death and taxes are the only sure things.

    I want to dream.

  10. Appreciate your thoughts. Everything we do involves some planning and then execution. Things don't always work out the way we planned them. For example, we are in a nice place, but it's been rainy and overcast more than it's been sunny here at Hat Creek. We've seen that the suns been shining in Bishop ever since we left there. Was that a bad decision? Since we were looking for the sunshine, that part has turned out to be bad, but we've enjoyed some good travel time, and the forecast is for sun starting tomorrow, so I think things will work out!

    One thing my doctor told me is "everyone living in Oregon probably needs to be taking vitamin D". We just don't get enough sun!

    One thing I've noticed about being in an RV...everything becomes a decision! Much more so than when you're just working and living in the same place all the time. I think that's one of the neat things about having an can decide when and where you want to go, and how long you want to go there for!

    Hope to see you guys when we come up that way to visit John and his family.

  11. Thanks for sharing your mental turmoil. Full-timing is such a heavenly thought, but sometimes you have to go through some hellish times to get there. Keep your goals in mind when you figure them out, and you will find your path to that better life!! Keep dreaming!

    Selene, NC

  12. The saying: an unexamined life is not worth living" is, I think, true. If you do not question your assumptions when making decisions and then re-evaluating them on a regular basis you are much more likely to end up doing something that is a mistake.

    We have been full time for over four years and how we look at it changes regularly. We are currently spending more time in one place than we ever expected too, but it is now the right thing for us to do. We are still looking forward to moving on in a few weeks, but our changing family will impact our assumptions about where we go and how long we will do this. Thats life-things change and you have to be prepared to change with them.

    So I think you are right to question your assumptions and try to determine what is really most important to you. Good luck.

  13. Self examination is a constant process even when we are trying to live the dream. As far as SAD, it is a very real thing, my son is definitely affected by it. He has a light he sits in front of in the winter to help - calls it his "happy light". The weather many places has been dreadful this spring and we all hope the sun comes out soon. I know this is a tough time for you but I hope all the responses have shown you that doubts for all of us are a normal thing. You have been so resilient with all the things that have happened, I know you will work through this too. Making a course correction is never a defeat it is just part of the journey. We believe in you.

  14. It could be SAD, and it could be just a natural process of examining your life when things don't work out exactly as planned. The examination is normal, the not working out exactly as planned is normal -> the question is whether you're still able to enjoy the ride? That's what it's all about, after all. I've made alot of moves in my life, lived alot of places, done alot of jobs. Not all worked out as planned, but I've never regretted a single decision, and when the positives no longer outweighed the negatives I made a change.

    I like's comment. Sit down and relook at everything...finances, life goals etc. Are there ways you can compromise and change to reach your goals & dreams in a better way? More boondocking? Some months working heavily and some not? Working in a different spot? Go on look at EVERYthing and apply everywhere that looks remotely interesting. Or look at seasonal jobs...Amazon, Sees Candy's...If you want it badly enough I know you can make it work!

  15. My comment will be short. Life is about options. You're stockpiling options this summer. More options equal more freedom.

  16. What Darrell said....(and everyone else, too). Hang in there...even those of us doing what you think you want to be doing, have similar thoughts from time to time.

  17. As I said, planning and execution. We planned to come home to a nice sunny day. WRONG! As we crossed into Oregon from California yesterday, it was raining. Today there is snow visible fairly low down on the nearby Coburg Hills. It's Eugene at the end of April. Usually, it's warm enough by now for the grandkids to pester us to let them swim! Not this year, I'm afraid. At least we've still got some blooms showing on some of the plants in the yard. I told Donna to enjoy them quick, because we're leaving for the Portland area early next week. Hope to see you then. We'll be in touch. Keep the sun on for us, o.k.?

  18. I loved Bob's post. Good advice for sure. Everyone has "speed bumps" in their life. You just have to push through it and the light will be better at the other end.
    How can we appreciate the good things if we don't have bad things to compare it to?