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How I Followed My Detour and 3 Tips to Help You Follow Yours.

This is a guest post by Liz Wilcox of LizWilcox.com. We met Liz at the RV Entrepreneur Summit back in February. She’s well known in the RV community for her sense of humor and for passionately promoting RV life. We love Liz’s perspective on following detours and hope you enjoy this post as much as we did!


Not every modern nomad you meet is a cubicle-dweller turned desperado. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the stereotype is there for a reason. Many people in this tech age are ditching the office and its security for the open road. That’s just not how my RV detour got started.

I’m just cheap.

Tightwad gets more than she bargained for.

Yep, that’s right. I moved into a 5th wheel to save some money (#noshame). If you’re interested in the full story, you can read it here.

Liz Wilcox
Liz, her husband Ed, and their daughter Chelsea.

But the whole idea to live below our means quickly turned into something so much bigger. It went a little something like this over the course of 30 days:

“Wow Ed! This RV is awesome. I love how little time I spend on cleaning. I love that we get to spend so much time together. We’re like literally, so close!”

“You know, Liz, when I get out of the Army, we could like, bring this with us ya know? Buy a truck and travel for a few months before I start my new job.”

“I’ve been researching that trip we’re going to take, Ed. It’s going to be awesome and with all the money we’re saving, we should be able to have enough money for 6 months! According to Heath Padgett, we can live off 2k a month traveling!”

“Babe, isn’t it crazy people actually just do this forever? Maybe we could do it too, we could be modern nomads. It sounds like fun and I know how much you love traveling, Liz.”

“OhmygoshEDDDDDDDDD! I was thinking the same thing but didn’t want to pressure you into one of my crazy ideas. LET’S DO IT!!!”

And so we began to follow our detour.

If you would have asked me 5 years ago what I’d be doing, I would have proudly puffed up my chest and said “I’m going to be living on the beach, working on my doctorate while positioning myself for a leadership role at the local elementary school. That or I’ll be on a tropical island somewhere no one can find me. It’s a toss up, really.”

Liz’s RV: 2006 Alfa SeeYa fifth wheel

But according to my bedroom view (which is an amazing feature of the Alfa See Ya we own), I’m quite settled in at an RV park in southern Alabama, really close to the showers and laundry for convenience sake. And while I did get as far as a Master’s degree, the frame is broken and it has scribble marks made from my child. (Are you kidding me kid, have you no respect?!)

Lindsay and Dan talk a lot about following your detour, about taking what life gives you and just rollin’ with it, even if it’s not something you originally wanted. And as you can see, that is something I’m quite versed in.

I didn’t really want to get married and have kids. Then I met my husband. As ridiculous as this sounds, it was love at first sight. I knew he was the one I needed to be with and 8 months later, I told him “let’s get married.” We were hitched 30 days after that with an infant by our first anniversary.

Within a year and a half, I had went from grad student with beach view to snowed-in newlywed and new mom.

So you might say, I’m a pro at this whole follow your detour thing. Let me give you some tips.

Learn the 5 second rule.

No, not that 5 second rule.

The other one. The one that says if you have an idea you must act on it within 5 seconds or you’re not going to. Made famous by Mel Robbins, it’s something I’ve been doing for at least a decade. It’s the reason I’ve been able to step fully into so many different “detours.”

You see, when my husband and I were shopping for RVs, I wasn’t even sure this was the right thing for us. I was nervous. I’d never even been inside a camper before we were shopping for one to become our home.

Then we found the one. We knew it immediately, but it was a holiday and the dealer was closed. As we were driving home, I saw the anxiety start to creep into my husband. “Let’s keep looking Liz. I don’t know.”

“Call the number. Call about the RV right now,” I replied.

He retorted with an “they’re closed” but I told him if he didn’t call and leave a message RIGHT NOW we weren’t going to get that RV. We were going to continue this crazy search and still be stuck living in a hotel. I dialed the phone for him and he left the message.

Learning to act when you feel hesitant is one of the most powerful tools you can posses. It can transform your perspective on life, bring you to the top of your game, and land you comfortably in your next detour of life.

Be confident.

One of the things that stops us from carrying out the 5 second rule is our confidence. We aren’t confident we should be doing something or in our abilities to carry out the task. Or maybe we aren’t confident in the outcome.

Whatever the reason, lack of confidence can be debilitating. You’ll never follow your detour if you don’t have confidence behind the decision.

Like just about everyone in high school, I was anything but confident. I was terribly skinny, awkward, and painfully paranoid everyone was making fun of me behind my back. One day, I got the idea to write “smile” on every page of my planner in an effort to simply just start smiling more.

No joke, it changed my life! I began to feel better and more confident! And why did that happen? When I smiled at them, people perceived me as friendly and talked to me! I felt on top of the world. It changed my confidence for life.

When the time came to buy the RV, I went confidently into the dealership. I smiled and told myself I was an absolute genius for doing this. I imagined the deal going well and pictured my little family happy in the RV.

Never underestimate the simplest methods of change. Here are a few more ideas to boost your confidence:

  • Do a good deed.
  • NEVER downplay a compliment. Accept it by lighting up and saying “Wow! Thank you!”
  • Exercise.
  • Ignore the voice that says you can’t do it. Remember the 5 second rule and go!
  • Assume positives, not negatives. (like when you’re worried if living in an RV is going to work out. Just assume that of course it will!)

Don’t forget your sense of humor.

Seriously, the second you lose your ability to laugh, you’re screwed.

Life gets tough. There are certain tragedies that will never be funny. (And if you laughed, you might be considered absolutely bonkers.) But it’s important to let the silly stuff in during those difficult periods.

My brother was killed by a drunk driver when he was 25 years old. I was 21 at the time, just starting to understand my life and become the person I wanted to be. It was absolutely devastating. My young soul was so confused. How could he be gone? I just saw him 3 days ago?!

My other brother drove cross country with his family to be with us in Florida. When he arrived at my house, I was a nervous wreck. I had spent the day cooking, trying to distract myself, trying to just not cry. Alex walked in the house and immediately made a joke.

“Holy crap! Liz! You cooked?!”

I always admired my brother’s sense of humor, but it was that day I learned there’s no point in being sad for sad’s sake.

Laugh if something is funny, even in the darkest of times. It might be just what you need.

I’ve learned this is especially true in the RV world. Things go wrong all the time. Water damage happens, brakes and blinkers stop working going down the highway, and there are even days when you’re literally covered in crap. You just gotta learn to laugh.

What detour is next for you?

And is there anything holding you back? Let me know in the comments!

 

Liz WilcoxMore About Liz Wilcox:

Author of Tales From the Black Tank, Liz Wilcox isn’t afraid to dig deep for a story (or self-publish.) Armed with an RV obsession and a dream, she’s blazing the trail for a new kind of RV site she calls The Virtual Campground. Find out more about Liz and her fierce dedication to RVer entertainment over at lizwilcox.com/about.

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14 Comments on "How I Followed My Detour and 3 Tips to Help You Follow Yours."

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Jordan
Guest

Liz you have such an amazing perspective! I loved learning more about your story – and goodness girl you are funny. I need to start putting that 5 second rule to work more in my life!

britt Densford
Guest

Hi Liz – just got around to reading this. People our age just didn’t live by the seat of their pants so I followed my bliss and consequently have lived a crazy, magical life. I lOVE hearing other peoples similar stories. Don’t you think that a big part of it is trusting in your own resilience to adversity (which you know will show up?) And, a strange trust in the universe to take me where I need to go.

Camille
Guest

Lovely article Liz. Love the humor as well as vulnerability.

By the way, I am totally the cubicle dwelling stereotype. There must something universally soul sucking about cubicles.

Melanie
Guest

Oh my gosh, I think I’m going to cry.

This was absolutely beautiful, Liz. So heartfelt and SO well written.

Favorite quote: “OhmygoshEDDDDDDDDD! I was thinking the same thing but didn’t want to pressure you into one of my crazy ideas.” HAHA! Truth.

Thanks so much for always being transparent. I am so proud of you!

Liz from The Virtual Campground
Guest
Liz from The Virtual Campground

Mel, you are so sweet.

And yeah, I have about a million ideas a day so try not to blab all of them to my poor husband.

Dick Carlson
Guest

We took our detour a little later than Liz, but have enjoyed three years of full-time motorhome living. Our “sort-of-retired” status means we workcamp, scrimp on expenses, and live in huge beautiful parks all the time.

Liz from The Virtual Campground
Guest
Liz from The Virtual Campground

Love your way of camping!

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