Now I Get What You All Meant When You Said It’s VERY Hard and VERY Stressful Transitioning to Full Time
I’m not going to lie… today I almost cried on three separate occasions. This process is more challenging and difficult than I ever could have imagined.
Before I get to the guts of where I am in my transition to full time, let me back up and explain why my blog and social media profiles have been so quiet for the past month.
As some of my readers already know, next year I’ll be appearing in the RV Nomads movie. My part in the film is a little different than that of the rest of the cast. This because by the time the bulk of production takes place next year everyone else will have been full timing for quite a while. Some for many years.
For me, however, the movie is currently tracking my every move. Documenting the process, taking notes on my experiences and preparing to walk viewers through the story of my transition. And I’m just now to the point of buying my RV.
So for the past few weeks I’ve been completely bogged down in selling everything I own, jumping through financing hoops and going through a grueling process of RV shopping. Plus, I work a full time job and have had a family emergency to manage.
I said I wanted to cry several times today and I’m not exaggerating. The level of stress and fear I have right now is monumental. Writing a blog post is actually the last thing I want to do right now, which tells me it’s probably exactly what I should be doing. I need to get myself mentally geared to share a side of me that throughout my life I’ve always kept secret. I’m not generally public about my life. I don’t share what I eat on Facebook and I don’t Instagram my every waking moment.
But I’ve signed up for a key role in a big movie, and this is all a part of the gig. So here I am… opening up with anyone who cares to follow along.
Looking back at early 2017 interviews and discussions with other cast members in the movie I specifically recall quite a few of them talking about how difficult the transition to full time can really be. I kind of picked up what they were putting down, but I had no idea how deeply and profoundly I would soon be able to relate. Now I know you can’t fully embrace the difficulty of such a big change in life until you’re living and breathing it yourself. No matter how well someone explains their own journey through it.
It’s one thing to make a decision and begin planning to unplug from the traditional perception of what life should be. It’s a thrilling and liberating decision to make.
But it’s an entirely different animal to actually proceed through the process of ripping out society’s umbilical cord on your own. To actually take the thousands of dollars you’ve saved by selling everything, hand it over to a dealership and sign loan papers for financing. A move that, when buying a car for a “normal” life is no big deal. But in this particular instance it’s the very moment you realize that everything you own – your home, your belongings, your life – will now center around an RV.
A recreational vehicle.
What on earth have I done? Was this the right decision? Should I be terrified? Is it too late to change my mind? Am I going to love it or hate it?
Is this going to work?
Right now I feel like I’m stuck in a weird twilight zone. On one extreme end there was that day long ago when I decided this is what I wanted to do. On the other end I see myself out in the beautiful outdoors of America enjoying my new view from my Class A’s front porch. But right now I’m not at either end. I’m right smack in the middle. Literally at the center of those two spectrums.
And it’s a mentally crushing place to be. Part of me wants to reach out and grab a flapping thread of my past life as its flag moves away into the distance behind me. That life is familiar, even though it was filled with hardships, constant struggles and never-ending financial strain. At least I had an understanding of it. It was my life. I know it well. There are no surprises.
That ship is sailing and I’m no longer on board. My heart is racing. My mouth is dry and I find myself short of breath.
I know a new ship is coming into harbor. I know this new ship will take me on an amazing journey and open up new worlds for me and my life. I truly believe that. But I’m not quite on board yet.
I’m just standing alone on a seemingly abandoned dock.
Indeed, today I signed the paperwork on a 2004 Damon Intruder 350W. It’s a beautiful low mileage unit and I can’t wait to pick it up a few days from now. There is excitement brewing about this. But there is definitely a huge component of fear.
It’s done. It’s no longer me saying I’m going to do this. I’m now doing it… whether I like it or not.
Perhaps what I’m feeling is natural. Maybe this is what this moment is supposed to feel like. I guess I envisioned it as a moment of champaign and celebration. That isn’t the case for me.
I think that day will come. I know it will.
I think another part of the challenge for me is that I still have a few months to go before I actually lock up the townhouse and say goodbye to my “home.” So while I’ve gone through the bulk of the sacrifice, having handed everything I once valued to strangers for pennies on the dollar, I still have this odd period of time ahead of me through which I work and live in an empty house, owning nothing but my RV and longing for the days ahead of living intentionally.
Which means I have to stand here on this quiet dock for an extended period of time. The ship I’ve been on all of my life is gone. And while a new one is on the way, I can’t quite see it yet.
This is the first big profound life changing moment for me on this journey of full time RV life. It’s the first time in this entire process where a very real switch has flipped. It’s the first day where it all feels real, this after months and months of it just being some distant theory.
It’s both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time.
If there is one thing I could say to those considering this, at this point in my journey, it’s that if you’re considering it and need a year of planning to make the transition, know that there will never be an easy point of the plan during that year. You will be forced to be patient. You won’t have a choice but to painfully let go of the familiar things in life. You’ll have to lean on faith in a way that our current world doesn’t understand. You’ll have to believe before you can see.
Perhaps this is why so many like the concept but don’t have what it takes to implement such a massive transition in practice. It’s no walk in the park. It certainly seems like it should be when you first decide to go for it, but when the wheels start turning you’ve got to change your perspective of literally everything you’ve known to be life.
I do believe that beautiful and incredible times are ahead. I believe this will all be worth it.
But there is zero doubt in my mind that now I get what you all meant when you said it’s VERY hard and VERY stressful transitioning to full time RV life.
– Jennifer Leigh