Archive for the “Quality of Life” Category

Our opinionated guide to finding the best small and mid-sized towns to live and make a living in across the U.S.

There’s currently a winter storm pounding the Northeast with snow, freezing rain and record low temperatures. That’s too bad. That’s also why you’ll find us in some Southwest desert come this time of year.

Happy Nü Year Camp Anza Borrego 2014

Before we fled Colorado to fly south this winter though, we got hammered with a fair dumping of our own.

Snoww on RV at Fort Collins. CO KOA

How to Protect RV Hookups in Winter Weather

Here’s a quick trick I tried to help protect exposed RV electrical utility hookups from damage caused by severe winter weather. It worked great during those Rocky Mountain floods of 2013!

DIY RV Power Service Hookup Rain Protection

You don’t need some costly gadget to keep your RV electrical cord connections from getting wet! Prevent sensitive electronics and costly surge guards in a few simple steps.

  1. Cut an old auto tire inner tube in half.
  2. Slide cord through tube.
  3. Plug in.
  4. Secure end of tube around outlet box.

This is a simple, cheap and effective way to create a weather-tight seal around the end of your cord. Doing so will help prevent potential damage to your RV electrical system caused by wet or frozen connections.

I cut the tube long enough to cover the 50-30 amp RV plug adapter we use at Jerry’s Acres. I then used Zip-ties to create a good seal around the utility box.

With a large enough tube, this should also work well with many inline RV surge protectors too!

What tips do you have for dealing with winter weather in your RV?

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Last winter we spent more time than we planned to in our home base, Escapees Rainbow’s End park in Livingston, Texas. We would’ve much rather been on the road but as we waited for our Wyatt to heal from his butt lump treatment at Texas A&M, we were forced to wait it out in one spot.

Escapees Christmas Dinner at Rainbow's End

As the “young’uns” at Rainbow’s End, it was good to get a glimpse of what life is like for much older RVers who’ve hung up the keys. After meeting these folks I did a lot of thinking about what our life will be like when Jim and I can no longer roam about, which hopefully will be many, many decades from now. Recently, we were asked by a sponsor to write about retirement living so here are more thoughts about “the golden years” and hanging up the keys.

Why Retire in a Community Setting?

skp_care2The more time we spent at Rainbow’s End, the more time I saw how beneficial it would be to someday many years from now, permanently land somewhere that offers the kind of camaraderie and support that Rainbow’s End and it’s CARE Center provides. It’s weird to even think about “retirement” since I don’t ever really see that happening with us, but I realize that someday Jim and I will get old, and when that time comes we may need the types of services places like that provide.

Retirement communities like CARE seem like a good place to call home in the “old age” phase of life. If you need any kind of medical or physical support, CARE is there for you with services while allowing you to stay in your RV, which is extra cool. CARE is unlike most retirement communities in that there is no set age requirement (most have some sort of age restrictions). However most CARE residents were in the over 70 age bracket and most seemed to have waited until they absolutely needed these types of services. We RVers are stubborn and independent folks!

When we were at Rainbow’s End we learned that when you’re old, settling down into into a retirement community isn’t as unaffordable we thought. In most cases residents actually save money. By living in a place that purchases services, activities and products in bulk for its residents, the cost of living goes down. In addition, if you can live in a community with scheduled group visits to shopping and services, you’ll decrease your dependence on cars, which is another huge, unnecessary expense if your driving ability is limited.


I think one of the greatest benefits of living in a place with other old folks is  you have centralized access to activities and services like high speed Internet access, sports, activity centers and health clubs, such as in this retirement community in Wilmington, NC.


Lastly, one of the biggest bonuses of living in a place like Rainbow’s End  or Plantation Village is that these facilities provide residents with numerous ways to build friendships and keep social networks alive, versus being a shut-in living alone in a sticks and bricks house in Suburbia USA. And as research has repeatedly proven, old folks who study or explore their interests, engage in physical fitness and build strong friendships and ties to their communities will lead longer, healthier lives.

We don’t plan to think of “getting old” for many decades from now, but until then we hope that communities for retirement aged people get better and better over time so that by the time we need them, they’ll be as beneficial and affordable as ever.

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After living this lifestyle for a while, it becomes obvious to your closest friends and family that you are no longer “on vacation.” That’s when your choice to live away from the mainstream can make you somewhat of a curious oddity to people who live the traditional life that you left behind.

If you’re new to full-time RVing or just thinking about it, I encourage you to come up with a 30 second comeback for strangers who ask the inevitable question: “So, where do you live?

Having your comeback ready can quickly weed out the exciting conversations from the snoozers.

We don’t really live in one place

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting a highly successful local entrepreneur. Upon meeting him, he asked me the usual “So where do you live?” question that newly introduced usually strangers ask each other.

“Well, that’s a long story, but basically I live and work from my RV.

My husband and I are full-time RVers. We don’t really live in one place. We’re just visiting my family right now.”

A long pause hung in the air as he squinted at me, trying to process what I just said. I could see a big question mark lingering over his head and almost hear him wondering “Is she saying she’s homeless? A hobo? Huh?

“What, are you retired?” he said, and laughed out loud.

“No,” I said smiling. “We do work, we just do it from wherever we want, in our RV.”

He shook his head, still not really grasping what I was saying. It was as if the thought of doing anything other than running the rat race never even occurred to him.

“Oh, that’s cool,” he said. No questions asked and our conversation pretty much died there.

Later that evening at a charity event, I sat next to a freelance artist in the L.A. film industry. When he found out about our full-time RVer lifestyle, his eyes lit up.

“Oh wow! My girlfriend and I have talked about doing that when we retire!” he said.

“Why wait until you retire?” I asked, and proceeded to explain to him how he could live this lifestyle, now. He proceeded to ask me dozens of questions about full-timing, and we had a nice conversation about the benefits of living on the road.

That’s when it occurred to me: the people who question everything in life will reap the biggest benefits from the experience of being alive. No amount of money or career success can do this for people; fulfillment and happiness results from your inner desire to inquire, to be bold and take action by coloring outside the lines.

Never stop questioning and you never stop living.

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I may have bored readers with previous posts about my personal path to enlightenment, but after finally finishing A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, I just had to share a few more meaningful musings.

In all honesty, after enjoying The Power of Now, I found A New Earth to read almost like a textbook at first. And I kinda felt like the spiritual master was preaching to the choir as I read. But I kept on keepin’ on and was glad I did.

As I got deeper into the book, a number of messages emerged, and a few fun parables stuck a chord that should ring true with anyone who lives a life of adventure on the open road.

The first was this simple lesson about the importance of acceptance…

“Accepting means you allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling at the moment. It is part of the is-ness of the Now. You can’t argue with what is. Well, you can, but if you do you suffer.”

Anyone who has ever had trouble parking the rig, push-started a motorcycle in 124° heat, or struggled with some disgusting RV duty has much to learn from these words of wisdom. Later in the book, Tolle explains that you don’t have to enjoy what may be happening to you at any given moment, but you must accept it. Otherwise you are not taking responsibility for your own state of consciousness, and therefore your life is out of your hands.

Next time you feel things have gone awry, take responsibility for your life and accept that whatever is. You don’t have to enjoy it, but it does help to smile.

Re-frame Your Fear

All full-timers are intimately familiar with uncertainty. In fact, I would venture to say most of us relish it. Not knowing the unknown is why many of us enjoy this adventurous lifestyle so much. For anyone allowing the false security of their current situation to keep them from following their own road trip dream, I give you the words of a Roman philosopher…

“The Desire for safety stands against every great and noble enterprise.”

Tolle refers to this quote when describing the importance of being able to live with uncertainty, and yes, even enjoy it…

When you become comfortable with uncertainty, infinite possibilities open up in your life. It means fear is no longer a dominant factor in what you do, and no longer prevents you from taking action to initiate change.

In other words, when you do not accept uncertainty, it turns into fear. Once you accept it, uncertainty will fill your life with alertness and creativity.

The journey is the destination.

Here’s another Tolle truth that applies to any adventurous lifestyle…

“…the end and the means are one. And if the means did not contribute to human happiness, neither will the end.”

In discussing how to find your “inner purpose” he describes the common misconception that success is a future event. But any outcome is inseparable from the actions that led to it. So enjoy the ride!

Wake up and do it.

Tolle describes “awakened doing” as the alignment of your outer purpose (what you do) with your inner purpose, which is to remain awake and present.

Not what you do, but how you do what you do determines whether you are fulfilling your destiny.

How you do what you do is determined by your state of consciousness. See that bit about re-framing your fear above. So in any situation you face, or whatever it is you do, make your state of consciousness the primary factor. The situation is secondary. In other words, lighten up and roll right along with those bumps in the road.

So what is your purpose? I realize mine is to be happy, and to help others discover how they can live a happier, more rewarding life. Interested? Let’s talk!

Recommended Reading:

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Unlike many things in life, Jim and I found that RV road tripping is all that it’s cracked up to be (for us, anyhow). On this Thanksgiving holiday, here are a few RV-related things we are thankful for. Now, if you’re a RVer, what are you thankful for?

RVers are Thankful For:

Adventure. From far-reaching corners of North America, like Big Bend National Park to the coast of Maine, traveling by RV allows us to see so much more of this country than we ever thought possible.

Escapees Days End Directory. One way we can afford to live this lifestyle is by finding free camping spots. Our preferred method: this $10 Days End Directory that you can only get through Escapees. We’ve literally saved hundreds of dollars with this guide.

Experience. Each year our lives become richer because of everything we experience on the road. It’s not always perfect, but even when things have sucked, we learned better ways to handle adversity. When you live in 200 square feet, you’re forced to roll with the punches instead of punching each other out!

Freedom. We live life on our terms, outside of the box and far away from mainstream ideas about how adults are “supposed” to live their lives. We are grateful for the freedom to choose this path.

Free Public Lands. The West is definitely the best when it comes to free camping in America. With so much free camping to choose from, you could spend a lifetime boondocking west of the Mississippi and not camp in the same spot twice.

Friendship. RVers really are some of the nicest, most social people around! We’ve met more people since hitting the road than we ever did by living in one spot, and most of them have been great. It’s so much fun to randomly meet members of your own tribe when you’re traveling.

Internet Connectivity. With the Internet available anywhere you go (especially if you have a Motosat dish), your office view can change every day when you make a living on the road.

Pull-Thru Campsites.  Our little 24′ fifth wheel can fit just about anywhere, but let’s face it, pull-throughs are so much easier to park in, especially after a long day on the road.

Being Debt Free. Everything we enjoy about living on the road wouldn’t be possible without a simple, debt-free RVing lifestyle.

Staying out of debt gives us the fearlessness we need to explore new ways of making a living, like our newest business venture that we’re so crazy about!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tomorrow as we sit down to dinner in Austin with our RVing friends, we’ll raise a glass to these perks of living the road tripping lifestyle. Now, what will you toast to on Thanksgiving?


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