Monday, August 25, 2014

The RV Lifestyle - Adding Purpose to Your RV Travel

"Jim, you've got to do something more than just play when you retire.  If all you do is play, then your play will become like work and you'll dread it."  Those were the words of advice my retired friend, JP gave me when I asked him about his retirement.  It was good advice and I often reflect back on it as I undertake my travels.

These day's I'm spending a lot of my time in retirement traveling the country in my RV.  Being able to travel was my dream for when I retired and it has become one of the main ways of how I spend my time.  Some might label it as "playing", but I try to add purpose to my travels, to enhance the overall experience.


Doing road trips and just sight seeing across the country can be lots of fun.  I've done a few cross country trips just to see the sights.  But I found after a few weeks on the road, I would get bored and things would start to blur.  After several days of new and different scenery, I would loose track of time and tended to forget where I had been and what I had seen just a few days prior.  I decided that I needed to add more purpose to my travel to make it more enjoyable and meaningful.

So, in this post, I'll share some of the things I do to add purpose to my RV travels. 

Share the Experience with Others

I've always liked to write and have kept journals about interesting things I did so I'd have a record to reflect back on.  I kept them private, but a few years ago I started this blog so I could share my experiences with my family and friends.  I became my own traveling reporter.  It gave me an activity to do while on the road and a new skill to enhance.  I try to become a better writer and story teller with each entry and I try to broaden my audience.  I don't do it for money and think of it as a way of giving something back.  There's a lot of people writing blogs about their travels and I enjoy reading others experiences and learning about new places.  Web sites like Blogger and Word Press make it easy to start a blog.  Social media sites like Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest make it easy to share your travel experiences with others.
Develop or Enhance a Skill to Use on the Road
I took up photography back in the day when 35 ml film was popular and even had my own dark room.  Digital photography has made things so much easier and faster.  The past couple of years I've focused on becoming a better photographer so I could better record my travels.  I've read books about photo composition, techniques, and landscape photography.  I travel with three cameras for different type of photography (close ups, telephoto, and video).  I've even got into film ending and some post production.  Its a fun and challenging skill to learn and its helped add more purpose to what I do while on the road - telling my story thru better photographs.

J. Dawg on the Shelter Island Ferry

Use Your RV to Travel to an Event
I love music and use my RV to attend a few music festivals each year.  A lot of music festivals have camping and allow RV's.  It's a great way to go experience and immerse yourself in different types of music.  I'm also a Nascar fan and take my RV down to Daytona each year.  There's Nascar races all over the country and I'm going to try visiting some different tacks.  Next year, I'm planning to spend part of the summer in Colorado attending local rodeos.  Rodeos are great local entertainment.  I have yet to attend an RV rally but I'm sure it will happen one of these years.  And then there's football tailgating.  If you've got a hobby or a passion, I'm sure there's an event dealing with it somewhere. Traveling to an event is a great way to enhance your hobby and RV experience.

J. Dawg at the Daytona 500
Explore History and Culture
This past spring, I did a trip through the south and southwest experiencing different cultural areas.  I went to the Cajun country in Louisiana, some Spanish areas of Texas and New Mexico, and some Native American areas in the southwest.  In addition to seeing the sights, I visited historical sites, ate the local food, danced to the music, and talked with some of the people.  It was a great experience.  Also, this summer I went out to Kansas and took the back roads shadowing the Santa Fe Trail.  It was very educational and inspiring to see the trail and country side that our ancestors traveled.  I'm also a Civil War buff and have traveled to many of the battlefields.  There's a lot of this that can be done in our country.  All you need to do is just pick an area or historical period and go.

J. Dawg in Mexico

Travel to and Experience a Different Part of the Country
When I retired, I started spending part of the winter in Florida.  I started out renting condo's but now I stay in my RV for 2-3 months.  I love getting out of winter and sitting on the beach in January.  It's also fun to become familiar with and "soak up" another area, to meet new people, and see how others live.  I want to do more of this in other areas like the southwest and in some of the mountain states.

J. Dawg on St. Augustine Beach in January
All of what I describe above has helped me add more purpose to my RV travel.  Its helped make it much more enjoyable and avoid the pitfall that my friend JP warned me about.  And, it may be old news or obvious to some but perhaps it might light a spark in someone else about what they can do to enhance their RV travels.



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