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10 Days Until We’re Full-Time RVers; We’re Excited for this Detour but the Struggle is Real

In 10 days our lives are going to change dramatically. The months of dreaming, wondering, and planning are finally coming to an end. The whole thing is surreal, and I am still in disbelief that we are actually doing this. If you are unaware of what I am talking about, Lindsay and I have decided to move into an RV and merge full-time traveling with full-time working and living.

We hope that making this change will encourage us to be more present, to live more simply, and allow us to focus on acquiring experiences and memories instead of things. But, whatever happens, and no matter the outcome, we believe that we are going to be better off for having had the courage to follow this dream and to embark on this intentional detour.  We are “detourists” and we believe that transformation and personal growth are always outcomes of a detour, independent of whether or not a detour goes according to plan. It’s our mission to help inspire people to follow their detour – no matter what that is.

I have been thinking a lot about detours lately– especially ours, but also about the detours that I see happening all around me. And truthfully, I’ve also been thinking a lot about detours that aren’t happening because someone is or was too scared to take it. In fact, we were those people for a while. Full-time RVing has been a dream of ours for a few years but it wasn’t until recently that we decided to make it a reality. Looking back, we realize that we were really just intimidated by the courage and amount of work that it would require.  It seemed like a giant mountain we would have to climb (we’ll come back to this mountain analogy later in this post).

Things have been extremely busy for us over the last several weeks. I’ve been so stressed with working on the RV, purchasing everything that we are going to need, planning out the final logistics, working full-time, and trying to see as much of our family and friends as possible before we leave. It feels like it has taken an extraordinary amount of effort to get us to this point – the point of being ready to launch into this new lifestyle. And the fact is, it has been a ton of effort to get us here. I’ve started viewing it as a metaphorical mountain of effort. We have been climbing up this mountain for months now and we’re finally getting close to the summit! And while the summit will be so gratifying, it’s the process of climbing the mountain that makes detours so powerful and so critical to personal growth.

The Mountain Effect – A Reason that People Don’t Follow Their Detours

I’ve realized that this metaphorical mountain we’ve been climbing during this planning period is a major piece of following a detour. As we drove home from another long day of working on the RV (special thanks to everyone that has helped us with the RV – particularly our Dad’s – without them, this probably wouldn’t have been possible) we reflected on everything that we’ve accomplished to get us to this point. It was not even a year ago that we still owned our house in Colorado. Lindsay was still a teacher and I was interviewing for new jobs. Here we are today – 10 days from embarking on a new detour, and since then we have sold our house, found new jobs, sold a bunch of our stuff, moved to North Carolina, quit a dream job, bought two pickup trucks (we’ll explain in another post), sold even more stuff, moved back to Colorado, and bought an RV. You could say it has been quite a year. It has been a tall “mountain” to conquer!

The point is, detours aren’t always easy! They typically come with a multitude of tasks and steps to take and overcome. Detours are all about changing the way you are living your life. Sometimes the change is slight – switching careers/jobs, and other times the change is more complex – completely altering your lifestyle to full-time RVing. But regardless of the size of the detour, there will always be a degree of effort, or a “mountain”, involved in order to achieve the detour.

The trouble is, many of us don’t follow our detours because we are afraid of the “mountain”.  Maybe not afraid, but intimidated. At first, we aren’t sure of how to overcome it– where to begin. Or sometimes the mere size of the mountain keeps us from even considering taking the detour. It can feel extremely overwhelming standing and looking up at the height of the mountain. Sometimes we even start to tackle it, and either get lazy or lose our confidence. Then, we give up and go running back to our comfort zone. But, we can’t climb mountains while we are in our comfort zone! I can tell you from personal experience, overcoming the mountain is the entire reason to follow your detour.challenges are what make life interesting

Overcoming the Mountain Effect

I want to encourage you to follow your detour, even in the face of a large mountain. The important thing to remember is to take it one step at a time. I think there’s a saying that goes “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I probably totally messed that up but the point is there. You can’t climb a mountain all at once – just like you couldn’t eat an entire elephant in one bite. When you decide to follow a detour, understand that there will be a series of tasks that must be completed first. Going back to the job example, if you wanted to get a new job, you would likely need to do all of the following: update your resume, browse job postings, apply, interview, give your notice, transition out of your old job, clean out your office, etc.

For a lot of people, the effort that it takes to follow a detour prevents them from experiencing the benefits of one. And then, it will be those same people that feel depressed or hopeless about their situation a few months later. The size of your mountain has nothing to do with whether or not it is achievable. It’s the size of your will-power, determination, and perseverance that matters.

Any detour you dream of is absolutely achievable! If you are dedicated, you can accomplish so much in a relatively short period of time. Break things into smaller steps and just complete one step, then another step, then another – you will look back and realize you’ve made major strides.

Our Mountain

To give you an idea of our mountain, here is the list of steps that Lindsay and I’ve had to complete in the last 5 months to be at the place we are today:

  • Determine what type of RV we want
  • Sell our Jeep
  • Purchase a pickup truck to pull a bumper trailer
  • Trade in said pickup truck and purchase larger truck to pull fifth-wheel
  • Find a subleaser for our Raleigh apartment
  • Sell as much of our stuff as possible
  • Quit dream job (Lindsay)
  • Sell the second car
  • Pack up our apartment
  • Rent a Uhaul truck
  • Load Uhaul with apartment and storage unit things
  • Drive Uhaul and truck 1800 miles across the country
  • Unload some of the Uhaul into another storage unit in Colorado
  • Unload a few personal belongings to bring to my parent’s house
  • Oh yeah, move back into my parent’s basement
  • Find a fifth-wheel
  • Buy the fifth-wheel
  • Learn how to tow the fifth-wheel
  • Register and title the fifth-wheel
  • Register truck to Colorado and get new licenses
  • Get new insurance for truck and trailer
  • Renovate the fifth-wheel (which had a WHOLE other to-do list!)
  • Replace the broken power converter
  • Learn how to flush out and fill fifth-wheel plumbing
  • Reseal the roof and re-caulk seams of the fifth-wheel
  • Unload and repack the storage unit to find personal belongings (we thought we packed, labeled, and divided the unit well enough…turns out we didn’t!)
  • Move our personal belongings into the fifth-wheel
  • Pack up belongings in my parent’s basement and move into storage and/or fifth-wheel
  • Plan our route

…and there’s probably a lot more that I’m forgetting!

I’m not bragging or suggesting that we have it all figured out. This list was really difficult for us to overcome. We’re extremely impatient, we are horrible decision makers, we over-research everything, I can be pretty pessimistic at times, and frankly, we had no idea what we were doing. We’ve never owned an RV (I’ve never even camped in one!) or a truck, and are clueless about the full-time RV lifestyle. But we wanted this detour so bad. We got overwhelmed a lot throughout the process. But instead of getting discouraged and giving up, we channeled our fears and insecurities into excitement. We’d take a day or two off and do the fun parts of the planning – like route planning and “wanderlusting”. Or we’d go fishing and dream about the days in the near future when we can walk outside our RV and fish right there, all day. We keep the purpose and goal in sight at all times.

There were days we’d spend 8 hours working on the RV or running errands and at the end of the day we’d feel like we accomplished nothing. One thing we learned is that EVERYTHING takes longer than you expect. But, little by little, we began checking things off the to-do list, and now we are so close to leaving!good days are when you accomplish things

So, as I sit here and think about this detour and what our life might look like in 6 months, I can’t help but feel proud. I know that this feeling comes from having the courage to listen to our hearts and to follow this detour to pursue a dream. My hope is that you read this and find the courage to follow your own detours. Don’t let the size of the change scare you from trying or you could miss out on an opportunity to experience something great.

Share some of your dreams in the comments below or detours you’re in the process of working towards. Tell us about the “mountains” you’re climbing as you follow that detour!

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Terri Lynn
Terri Lynn
5 years ago

Thank you for putting yourselves online. I came across you while looking for something else, and immediately requested your 7 day email pkg. As soon as i got the email i came to read this blog post. SO EXACTLY what i need as inspiration today! We are in the process of completely rebuilding an old camper to full-time in, diy style, and it has been a long drawn out struggle. So baby steps are all we have had for months. Progress will go quicker now it’s warm again to work (MN winter just ended!!). So much to research, plan, build,… Read more »

Cheryl Turnbull
Cheryl Turnbull
6 years ago

Dan and Lindsey, thank you for sharing your story and journey. It is inspiring and truly informative and helpful. We are slightly older (mid 50’s) and just purchased our 1996 Newmar RV. Only 28k mi but needed total renovation. We are finishing that up now. We had a class c when our 4 kids were small but haven’t really camped since those days. My husband is a chaplain in Bon secours health care and can work his schedule to have 4 days off at a time. I have a location independant job so that makes traveling easy. We both would… Read more »

7 years ago

Dan & Lindsay: Thanks so much for always being a positive and influential light. Even the world of travel blogging lacks this extremely valuable aspect. To our surprise, the biggest block to achieving what we want right now, is family… and not in a good way. We have families that get so wrapped up in their day to day/feelings, which makes it hard for us to want to engage and leave knowing we are all “ok.” Frankly, there will always be excuses not to do things, and at this point, we can’t even let family get in the way. I… Read more »

Lindsay McKenzie
Lindsay McKenzie
7 years ago
Reply to  Melanie

This is so sweet of you!!!
Family has always been a huge block for us as well. We are extremely close to our families and almost every single person in our large family lives within 30 miles of each other. So us leaving was a huge deal. But you’ll realize that you’re making it harder on yourself than you need to. It’s tough though! Just remember they want you to be happy no matter what. We appreciate your support and will be cheering you guys on. Keep in touch and hope to see you soon!!