Fulltime Graduating Class of 2005 Talk

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fulltime graduating class of 2005

Fulltime Graduating Class of 2005

I was too nervous at the thought of preparing a formal “talk” or a memorized speech, but I did make some notes on what I wanted to say since I have a chronic case of CRS.

For those who have read my website lately, you know that I’ve not been feeling my best. There was even a time when I doubted I would make it here. I now cannot even begin to say how happy I am to be here and how this group has helped me through a pretty rough time.

So I hope when you look around at yourselves you see what I see – a unique group of people who have given yourselves permission to live the way you want to live – despite what anyone else says or thinks. And don’t forget there are lots of people out there who are chomping at the bit to do what you’re doing.

Now I’m here to testify that becoming a fulltime RVer – no matter how bad you want to be one – will not solve all of your problems in life and in fact may create a whole new set of them. Not any better or worse than living in a sticks and stones house, but there are still problems.

But we’re not out here all alone. What we have in common far outweighs whatever differences we may have. Heck, we even have our own language and lingo. Who knew there could be so much to say about gray water and black water and how and when to dump them – the love/hate relationship we have with boondocking – the endless debates over which toad is best — and pushers vs. gassers — and GWR and other obscure initials.

It doesn’t matter what club you belong to – or what forum you post on – or what kind of RV you have – or how far you travel and how long you stay. We have created a community in the real sense of the word. We’ve all shared some tough decisions and choices along the way to get here. Deciding what stuff to keep and what to get rid of may have been tough, but leaving kids and grandkids behind was the toughest. Some have aging parents or our own health issues to deal with and sometimes the road gets quite bumpy.

One of my online friends explained to his friend about the differences in staying in hotels and campgrounds. He said usually people don’t talk to their hotel room neighbors or those met in elevators. But RVers – we all talk to each other at every opportunity, around campfires, under awnings, swapping travel tales – where you from, where you been?

Being a woman traveling alone, I am always grateful for the expertise of those willing to help when I have a problem. Tony’s seminar on maintenance tips for fulltimers was excellent, and some of the things he mentioned I had already learned the hard way. I regularly check the water level in my house batteries and change the A/C filter every month, but it freaked me out because some of the things he said he did every six months I hadn’t done in four years! I rushed home in near panic mode, but was calmed by his assurance that my rig was in better shape than many he had seen and I was still safe to be on the road. When Mark saw that I was losing the seal around one of my bins, he patiently scraped away the rust, treated the problem and resealed it for me. This kind of support and generosity is most appreciated and is not a rare occurrence.

You may know I’m going to be working on the class yearbook. Some of you have sent in bios answering some of my initial questions. It’s been interesting and sometimes funny to look through them, but can you guess what was the most common answer to the question “What’s been your favorite thing about fulltiming so far?” Lots of answers were “the people.” Having been on the road for 4-1/2 years now, I’d have to agree.

Most of you have already taken the big steps – even if it’s just the decision to start taking the steps to fulltiming.

So my only advice to you is this:

Don’t take things for granted – we don’t always have as much time as we think we do.

And just like the bad times we’re glad to see end, the good times go too quickly.

Don’t lose your adventurous spirits.

Don’t forget about why you started RVing in the first place. See things with new eyes each time you see them and don’t forget to give thanks for the unique opportunities you have to recreate your life each time you move.

Tab taught me that lesson as he was leading me in here. Even among the cloud of dust, I could see him pointing something out along the way, but I couldn’t see what. When we got here, he excitedly said, “Did you see that roadrunner I was pointing out to you?” I said, “No, but I saw lots of them in Yuma.” He was still grinning and said, “That was the first real live one I’ve ever seen!” His innocent excitement made me realize I had become far more jaded than I like to think about. So look around and appreciate all the roadrunners and rocks and even the desert, which you all know is not my favorite place.

Take lots of pictures and write down your experiences when you can. At least take clear mental pictures so you can relive them when you’re too old to do anything else but sit in the rocking chair.

Thank you for inviting me to be part of this special group. I assure you I got more out of being here than any of us bargained for.

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