We just wrapped up two weeks at the Marathon Motel and RV Park, a funky little roadside attraction with a hippie vibe and a beautiful courtyard where we spent almost every night around the fireplace sipping wine and chatting with guests.
Or has it?
While some of this pre-Internet era book is outdated, trust me, after reading it, you won’t believe how much hasn’t changed for freaks like us.
Screwing Around and Loving it!
Fellow RVers, when you revealed your plans to hit the road and full-time in your RV, did your friends and family instantly look at you like a sideshow freak?
About a year after Jim and I hit the road, we were asked by a longtime friend:
“So when are you guys going to stop screwing around and settle down?”
As a full-time RVer (especially a younger one), there will be times that mainstream society eyeballs you with suspicion. They’ll slap you with labels like “Oddball” or “Shiftless, homeless drifter.”
Why? Because you scare “normal” people. You have no regard for The Classic American Dream; go to school, work hard, buy a house, get into debt, breed, stay in debt, retire and die.
New and old full-timers alike, if you ever question your decision to hit the road, hunt down up a copy of “Home Is Where You Park It” by Kay Peterson, co-founder of Escapees, the largest support club for RVers. You’ll never regret your choice to live differently.
Kay and Joe: NuRvers Ahead of their Time
Originally published in 1977 (a year before Escapees was founded), this little gem shares the story of our brave predecessors who defied convention back when permanent road tripping just wasn’t done by “nice” people – especially by “good” families like Kay and Joe’s. They were the All-American Family who broke the mold. I have the utmost admiration for their courage to live differently.
Kay and Joe hit the road at age 43 in 1970, while two of their kids were still school-age. Inspired by the earliest traveling “tramps” of the construction trades (usually single men) who went from job site to job site, Kay had convinced Joe that he too could support their family while seeing America, using his electrician talents and union membership to find work.
After much due diligence, the Petersons sold everything and began seeing the country in their 26-foot Airstream. The rest is history.
“Medical advances have made it possible for many people to live longer. Yet little has been done to show them how to make those extra years happy ones. By the time people reach retirement, most of them have raised and educated a family. This achieved, must they then sit on the fringe of life repeating to each other their many physical ailments? Is there nothing left but to wait for death to bring an end to their increasing boredom?”
Remember, this is a time when cell phones didn’t exist, and groups like NuRVers or Familes on the Road weren’t around. The Petersons and others like them who are profiled in this book, were so brave! I can’t even imagine trying to make a living while traveling back when technology consisted of a pay phone and typewriter.
Practical RVing Advice and Full-Timing Help
Home Is Where You Park It has valuable insight on the lifestyle that still applies after all these years. Everything from finding work to bartering for campsites to getting medical care on the road is covered.
Since the book hasn’t been updated since 1999, some references are hilarious, like the recommendation to use a “messaging service”…remember those?
Yet, it’s also cool to see how many aspects of the full-timer lifestyle remain the same. The Petersons knew how to make the most of it. They were big fans of frugalism and free boondocking sites, and offer advice about keeping your costs down and how to adapt to the typical lower-wage jobs that accompany this lifestyle. Some things never change.
Anyone who hasn’t hit the road will find that Kay’s book covers all the bases, and provides the moral support you need to make your dream happen. Her insightful and lighthearted writing will also keep it alive when the going gets tough.
You’ll find those rare copies of Home Is Where You Park It at Amazon.
More Sage Advice from Kay:
“There are things we cannot change: We cannot anticipate future problems of energy shortages and the inflation that eats up our pensions. We cannot prevent the process of aging and the illnesses that accompany it. We cannot keep our children from drifting into lives separated from ours. But we don’t have to limit ourselves to living for and through our children and grandchildren. We can do more than just dream about places we have always wanted to see, and we can seek out new experiences that will give us reasons for getting out of bed every day.
We can do those things only if we stop listening to the negative opinions of others. Sometimes it takes courage to start living our dreams. Psychologists claim we live longer when we are happy and when we feel as if our life has a purpose. And occasionally, when life takes on a new purpose, a miracle can happen.”