Wow! I can hardly believe it! Three months have come and gone like the blink of an eye. Some days I feel like a seasoned RV veteran. And then something happens and I have to laugh at my amateur moves. Here’s a recap of the three most amazing months of my life!
I set up an itinerary long before Covid became “a thing.” My schedule was based on attending three RV rallies, where I was on the agenda to speak. But like everything else in 2020, the rallies were cancelled or postponed. Throw in the sale of my house, quarantine mandates, and campground closures, and I had to delay and improvise my first month on the road.
I caught up with the old itinerary in July. And by August, I was tired out. Gosh, what was I thinking? I underestimated the toll of travel days – getting the RV ready to roll and then setting things up at the new place. True, I’ve gotten much more comfortable behind the wheel, but driving takes full concentration and travel days tend to be “lost days” in terms of productivity. Improvising is the name of the game, so I cancelled my Maine plans and spent almost three weeks enjoying the cool breezes of the Green Mountains in Vermont. I spent the anniversary of my third month in a beautiful state park in my adopted state of Virginia.
Just take a look at where I’ve been! And the people I’ve seen! It’s been AWESOME!
A major reason for trading in the house for an RV was the change in lifestyle – from working at the dining room table to venturing out on the trails on a regular basis. There’s no denying it; I am a very BIG girl! I started my journey terribly obese. But I refused to take up space in my RV for a scale. Plus, I don’t want to measure my success by obsessing over a number. I know what weight I started at, and that’s top secret! My current weight? It doesn’t matter.
The thing with weight loss and body shape is that when you start at such a large size, change is not always noticeable. So I have to admit that when I put these two photos together, 11 weeks apart, I was surprised. Sure, I have a long way to go, but I am changing my body. And it’s all natural – I am more active and I pay attention to how my body feels. I also try not to eat in the evenings and do some intermittent fasting, especially on travel days. But here’s the big change: I AM HAPPY! Yes, I believe my emotions, and especially the lack of stress, has a direct impact on weight loss. For once, I am looking at my birthday three months away with great eagerness. I just know I’ll be looking and feeling even better by then!
I’ve had to learn the ropes driving and living in an RV, and I’ve made some fixes all on my own. So I feel pretty confident as I roll down the road. And then, something reminds me that I’m still an amateur! In this case, it was almost getting stuck in a gas station. Let me explain. The combined length of my RV, tow bar, and Jeep is over 50 feet. I can’t just pull into any old gas station. I need to be able to circle around to the pumps and make sure I can get out again. Oh, did I mention that you can actually damage your towed vehicle if you back up while it’s still hitched to the RV? So just think about that for a minute.
My routine is to look for a gas station when the gas gauge reaches 1/4 level. Preferably, I’ll fill up at a truck stop. But that’s not always available. So I pulled into a gas station and quickly realized, OOOPS, I made a mistake! There was a car parked at the storefront blocking my way. I would have to wait until the car moved, and even then, I wasn’t sure I could make it around to the pump. I got out of the RV and apologized to the guy filling up, as I was blocking him and he would have to back out. That turned out to be a great thing as he told me I could circle around the back of the store. Whew!
Then I realized I needed an extra foot to turn the RV back in the other direction. My heart started to race – I would have to unhitch my Jeep or attempt to carefully back up. Well folk, I backed up just the tiniest bit and made it around the building. And did not damage the Jeep! I filled up and looked across the street at the gas station that I should have selected. That was a rather humbling experience! So yep, still an amateur.
It’s definitely not all fun and games in the RV. Heck, today I’m at the beach but writing this blog post! But I have flexibility. I’ll work now, and since it’s another steamy day, I’ll be out on the beach in the evening, when it’s less crowded and cooler. I’m good with that. However, I did discover that I am doomed if I can’t get WiFi, and I made at least one poor decision when I selected a state park that left me without WiFi and cell service. And that required me to play “catch up” at the next couple of campgrounds.
Earlier this week, I was excited to finally launch the Gutsy Women Club. I learned another key lesson – never schedule a live event on a travel day! My tiredness was compounded with technical difficulties, and my “live” launch didn’t happen. The next day I recorded the launch party as it should have been, so all was not lost. But creating the foundation of the Gutsy Women Club and putting together monthly themes (Discover your Dreams is September’s theme) has taken a lot of careful thought, and time. It’s been fun creating the Club, but gosh, it’s been work too.
These last few weeks I’ve been interviewing gutsy women (if you are a gutsy woman and want to be considered for an interview, fill out this form). So far, I’ve spoken to ten gutsy women and it’s been an incredible experience. While interviewing has cut into my flexibility, it’s a reminder of something I enjoyed in my previous career – meeting neat people. Even work has its perks.
I thought I was living the RV life so that I could find a new identity – I was searching for self-identity. When my career ended, I had to switch gears and think of myself as an entrepreneur. But guess what I discovered along the way? I am NOT what I DO. My identity is no longer tied to my career or occupation. It’s just not.
The other evening I took a stroll on the beach. The waves were crashing, the sun was going down, my feet were in the sand, and a breeze cooled my face. I paused and took a photo. I couldn’t figure out how to express myself. What was I feeling? And then it just hit me. I FEEL ALIVE! So blasted alive that my senses are on overdrive. The moment in time just stopped. I was part of the moment. My life was about LIVING, truly living. I sent my sisters the message below. There’s nothing more to say!
Dr. Brenda is a financial coach and full-time RVer. In addition to coaching, she creates and leads online courses at the Dream Big Money Academy and is the founder of the Gutsy Women Club. She blogs at The Five Journeys.