When Teresa and I were first considering RVing, we heard some real nightmares from others. We watched the movie “RV” with Robin Williams. We saw many of the issues new RVers encounter with their machines. We still watch that movie for some good laughs. We heard about how RVs could become serious money pits. We heard driving those monster vehicles in traffic was terrifying and frustrating as you sat in hours of traffic burning diesel fuel. Still, we were thrilled to have an RV and experience this lifestyle. But it was not until we left our corporate roles which took up 60-80 hours a week, that we really learned how stress less RVing can be.
Stress less? Truly, it has been for us. It can be for you but one needs to have the correct mindset with the following five suggestions.
First, we retired young from our corporate roles. We loved the people with whom we worked, we loved the work we did and there was a lot of work to do each day but it was time to change our lives for personal reasons (check out the blog “Let’s Start at the Beginning”). I was 55 and Teresa was 18 (that’s what she tells me every birthday, that she is 18 again but some might say she was 49). We were RVing during the last few years of our corporate roles, usually weekend or week long trips. It could get stressful taking trips and knowing we HAD to be back by a day and time for work. Leaving our 60-80 hours a week jobs changed our lives a great deal. Our days used to begin at 5:30am with our work outs so we could get to the office before 8am. Now we work out in the morning after we get 8 hours sleep. It seems getting enough sleep really helps one relax and decrease stress. Retiring is not sitting on the front porch watching life go by but going out and living! RVing helps us do just that. We were even told, if you get bored after retiring, it is your own fault. Get out and live life!
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Second, which might sound strange after the first point, but slow down! Now that one is retired and rested (getting 8 hours of sleep), realize there is little to nothing to make one be in a hurry to get somewhere. We slowed down in our vehicles. We do not drive faster than 60 mph in our motor home on the highway for safety, fuel economy and to decrease stress. In our car(s), we drive the speed limit. It is amazing how much stress you take out of your life when you slow down. We are not in a hurry anymore but, let me be clear, we are not late to appointments. We just give ourselves plenty of time. And when we have been at a dead stop in traffic for hours, we fire up the generator, made a snack and watched some satellite TV.
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Third, when things go wrong, and things WILL go wrong, one needs to remain calm. We were at a beach location preparing to leave for our next destination when one of our larger slides would not go in. As we could not leave with a slide left out, we could have gotten upset about this delay. Why waste the energy? We called a couple of mobile services until we found one who could come out and help with the situation. We were able to get the slide back in and did not put it out at our next stop. We will get a new motor for that slide when we do our maintenance work later this month. We are fortunate we have so much room when one slide is not working so we just leave it in for the time being. Bottom line, work with the situation and move forward in a positive manner. Also, budget for mechanical issues so you are not stressed out over the repair bill.
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Fourth, because we are well rested (8 hours of sleep, y’know), take our time when we travel, don’t let things going wrong dictate our attitude, we can appreciate the many blessings in our lives as we RV around the country. We are all blessed so much more than we deserve thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Right there we need not stress about the little things in life but appreciate all that we have in front of us. It might be the beautiful sunrise announcing the new day. It could be seeing the wonders of the world through the eyes of our four legged kids who love life on the road. It could be enjoying yet another day with my love. We have been married 5,005 days today, or 164 months and 11 days (13+ years for you non-Math majors). Like the song says, “Count Your Blessings”. It is true that doing that decreases stress and improves your outlook on life.
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Finally, we realized that much of our stress was self-induced. We put goals, timelines, deadlines, expectations on ourselves and many times, created the stress that was driving our blood pressure and anxiety levels up. We would get worried about things we pretty much created. Today, we realize we should not worry. In the Bible, Matthew 6:25-34 tells us not to worry, ending with “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” When we retired, we found we did not have to worry. We will take care of our priorities, plan our days, get things done as we can. No need to worry, no need to stress.
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So , if and when you want to really go RVing, one can do so with little to no stress. Give yourself time to RV. If you are still working and not retired, plan your RV trips, giving yourself plenty of time to travel there and back. Even though you have to get back by a certain time, try to enjoy the RV and slow down as you travel for the safety of your loved ones. After you retire, you can really slow down to decrease any stress. When things break or go wrong, remain calm as you have time to get it fixed. Don’t worry about tomorrow but appreciate the blessings you have around you today.
Doing these things will help you appreciate the blessings of RVing and bring you great joy in the days to come. We do as we keep Loving the Lifestyle!
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