A friend of mine and his wife love to camp; it’s one of their passions, a shared core pursuit. They love it so much that they bought a travel trailer to hitch to the back of their truck when they head out for a weekend excursion – an Airstream. They recently shared an interesting story with me about a retiree they met on one of their trips.
Meet RV Rhonda. She, too, has an Airstream, so my friend and his wife instantly struck up a conversation with her. Rhonda retired early at age 62 and has been traveling full-time across America in her “home on wheels” for the past 18 months. She and her trusty sidekick, a Chihuahua named Bella, have loved every mile.
Rhonda worked for years in marketing and purchasing for big-name companies like Nike and Nordstrom. She was prudent with her savings but also treated herself to some of the finer things in life. Her Seattle, Washington home featured a curated collection of mid-century modern furniture and décor.
But one day, something changed for her.
Rhonda looked around and realized that instead of owning all of her stuff, her stuff owned her. In fact, it had come to define her – having the nicest house on the block, having the perfect furniture. It has started to rule her life.
Eventually, Rhonda decided to downsize. She was recently divorced, and many of her belongings held memories that she no longer needed in her life. RV Rhonda became interested in the Marie Kondo movement and started selling many of her possessions or giving them away to friends. She told my friends that it felt “very freeing.”
An avid camper with a travel trailer for many years, a question was brewing in Rhonda’s mind during this process: Why not go on the road full-time? She frequently traveled with her Airstream, was already deeply involved with RV clubs, and had worked for a while in the RV rental industry.
Obviously, she had a passion for travel, so as she looked towards retirement, she decided to take the leap.
RV Rhonda put her new minimalist mindset in full gear. She looked at almost every belonging she had and asked herself, “Does this bring me joy?” If the answer was yes, she kept it. If not, she got rid of it. She told my friends, “I just wanted to set myself free and start new everywhere.”
Once she had gotten rid of most of her belongings, Rhonda listed her home for sale. Any possession she didn’t need in her Airstream, she put in storage. And then, off she went on her new chapter of life.
You might think that such a nomadic life would be lonely, but it’s not for RV Rhonda. She has a host of friends. She caravans (or travels in groups) with fellow RV’ers. She attends RV rallies. And, she stays connected through social media.
Rhonda told my friends that it would be hard for her to envision what her life would be like if she had not gone into RV’ing full-time. She shared that it wouldn’t be as dynamic or as adventurous without having her home on wheels and without being part of her community of fellow travelers. She said she has met friends she never knew she would meet. These days, Rhonda can’t imagine anything different.
To me, this is the perfect story of a single person who created their ideal retirement. RV Rhonda is living her Golden Years in a way that that is deeply fulfilling to her. Plus, she’s a great example of someone who has a life full of core pursuits and is engaged with a community.
While she’s on the road, she’s regularly meeting up with her buddies, whether through impromptu get-togethers or at sponsored rallies. Rhonda told my friends that her calendar for 2020 is already mostly booked. She is going to Alumapalooza, a rally at the Airstream headquarters in Ohio, then to rallies in New York and Virginia. She’s also participating in a caravan to Colorado later that year.
It just goes to show that everyone’s idea of a retirement well-lived is different. Whether you crave the stability of a home and vacations, or whether you want to make your entire retirement one long vacation, is up to you. Just make sure, like RV Rhonda, you follow your passions, and everything else will fall into place.