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Alyssa and I left Austin almost six months ago on this quest to travel to all 50 states and work a different hourly job in each one along the way. We had no idea what would be in store for us. There were several moments before we left where I questioned whether or not we would be able to make it, mentally or financially. I predicted that after working so many jobs I would have an immensely changed view point on work and the meaning in one’s work. While I certainly do have a broadened perspective on what it means to find happiness in your work, more so than anything my life has been wrecked and tested through driving a 29 foot RV all over America.
I talk about our RV, Franklin, quite a bit. He’s a great guy, he really is. Check him out below, basking in all his glory. We love him so much that we even created an entire Facebook album in his honor.
He means well and does his best to get us from place to place, I believe he has great intentions. However, he often falls short of what is required of him. His head leaks (roof). His brain his constantly rattling (engine) and sometimes he’s not as bright as I wish he was (some of our over head lights suddenly went out a couple weeks ago). I can honestly say that through all I’ve learned over the last six months, having to maintain and RV, live in a small space, and constantly handle the stress of driving this thing has been a life changing experience.
The only reason we bought an RV in the first place, was because it seemed the most practical for a trip as long as ours. Sure, we also bought an RV because it promoted a mindset that we wouldn’t quit, but really it was just the most practical. My former mindset of RVs was that a lot of retired people drove them across the country when they were older, most of them have really hideous interior designs, and my PawPaw has one. Outside of that knowledge, RVing was really a blank slate.
I quickly learned just how often things on a motorhome breakdown. You have to constantly be checking levels, gauges, and making sure everything is in it’s proper order before heading to your next destination. It helps to keep things extremely clean, all the dishes put away safely, and the less glass you haul around the better. These are all the surface level things I’ve learned about RVing, but let’s talk about how it’s really changed me as a person.
I need less now.
I packed 10 t-shirts for this trip. A few pairs of shorts. One bathing suit. Two pairs of blue jeans. Two pairs of cowboy boots (go Texas!) and one pair of workout shoes.
This was all I decided to bring with me for our seven month journey. Looking back I think I could have gotten by with even less than this. I wear the same clothes often, but who cares? I’m not in high school anymore and nobody is going to make fun of me for repeat wearing my black v neck over and over again. Alyssa might judge me a little bit, but she’s my wife and loves me no matter what.
The point is, when I get back to Texas I’m going to have an overabundance of clothes and material possessions. I may keep some of them, and it will be like Christmas morning looking at all of these things that are mine. But I can say with sincerity that I won’t need any of them. I no longer feel tied to “nice stuff” like I used to. I grew up a very high maintenance guy. I really did. I only wanted clothes from the nicest stores and I was a brat because of it. This trip has taught me to value experiences more than I value possessions, something I’m very grateful for.
RVing has given Alyssa and I an opportunity to be versatile, and plan our life step by step.
Most people have to plan for a one year lease or longer when trying to figure out where they are going to go and what they are going to do. However, since our home travels with us we can easily pack up and go to our next destination. After our trip is over around the holidays we will be heading out to Palo Alto, California where I’ll be working for several months with an author friend of mine. We don’t have to worry about how expensive cost of living is out there because Franklin will make the trip with us.
RVing has taught me how to fix stuff.
Before this trip, every time something broke down or didn’t sound right in my vehicle I would call my dad. Granted, I still do that sometimes. However, I’ve learned to fix a lot of stuff on this trip, a lot! I unclog our toilet, uninstalled and installed a refrigerator, flushed out our radiator, fixed our dump hose and replaced it, and a whole lot of other things along this trip. I always wanted to be a guy who could fix things. I felt like it would make me more of a man in some ways. RVing has helped me learn how to fix and learn so many things mechanically.
One thing I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to grow as a person if you seek out comfort in your life.
The reason Alyssa and I have grown as people is because the RVing life brings trials and constantly puts you out of our comfort zone quite literally, usually on winding roads along cliffs. When we decided to make this trip, I didn’t know that the simple purchase of an RV would have such a profound impact on my life, but it certainly has. I no longer look at our RV as a way to travel the country with a kitchen and bathroom, I look at our RV as a machine that has helped me to grow as a person and recognize what I truly need in my life.
It all sounds very deep for RV talk, but it’s quite true. Have you ever spent time RVing? What have you learned from your experiences?