Tag Archives: simple living

Choosing Simplicity

In our modern consumer culture learning to live simply, not constantly in pursuit of things, is an acquired skill.  I grew up, like many Americans, believing I had to have the fanciest, the best, and the latest I could afford; that possessions defined me and made me better.  The reality of this was far different than I had imagined.  The very moment I was the most successful in terms of wealth and “stuff,” was also the most miserable, including a descent into alcoholism.  Working hard in effort to acquire more stuff seems little more than a hollow unsatisfying effort to superficially boost ones’ self esteem.  This path, at least in my case, was diverting me from taking pleasure in life and happiness.

Living simply is not taught in the classrooms, and it is certainly not a part of our culture.  How many times have you heard, “I am being a good American and buying stuff?”  In fact, our rampant materialism and consumption seems to not only be at the core of our unhappiness, but is also destroying that which supports a happy and healthy life.  Living in a small modest RV by choice has taught me to live simply, and without the constant pangs of wanting.

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Fulltime RVing for Non-Retired Couples

Full-time RVing can be a great lifestyle, especially if you crave new experiences and a sense of adventure.  While most full-timers are retired and have the luxury of pensions and Social Security, the lifestyle is still within reach for many “non-traditional” younger wannabe RVers.

The first step is realizing this lifestyle exists and is an option.  For us, it seemed like we stumbled upon a secret, and in some ways, it is.  It bucks convention in that it promotes living simply, and works a lot better with less debt and “stuff”.  This lifestyle will not work for people who desire prestige and a gain in material wealth.  Less is more seems to aptly apply.

Most people can quickly determine if they are in the position to set off on the road in short time.  Debt is probably the largest obstacle.  A modest amount may be acceptable for the frugal, but for those up to their eyes in student loans, credit card debt, and excessive car payments will have to eliminate these before pursuing the idea much further.  Medical insurance can also be an issue, for the time being there are some affordable options for folks willing to ride with a high deductible. Houses can be sold or rented, and things can be stored or sold.  We have modest car and student loan payments, and “catastrophic” type health insurance.  We rented our properties and have a property manager, and sold just about everything that would not fit in our RV.

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Life is Always Changing

Life is always changing. Cling on to things as we may, inevitably change occurs. In Buddhism it is called Impermanence, and understanding it is a way to reduce suffering. Simply, we must accept that things change and be willing accept it. The more we try to hold on and capture relationships, glory, wealth, beauty etc., we find that when they are gone, change, or no longer ideal this creates pain and yearning. Instead, it is better to understand that things come and go, life is constantly in a state a flux, and it is better to savor each moment rather than trying to capture it. The Outer Banks of North Carolina is a place of constant visible change and demonstrates the temporary state of things.

The Outer Banks are a geological case study in impermanence. The forces of erosion do not take decades or years to observe. In the course of hours, on a windy day, sands can cover roads, dunes shift, and three feet of beach is swept away. During large storm events the islands will reshape dramatically. Land is constantly being taken away from one location and redistributed else where, as the islands steadily march south and westward.


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Awakening in Progress

Maybe it was turning 40 last year or a period of expanding awareness that encouraged me (us) to step off into the unknown.  Looking over the past decade, while filled with events and changes, I felt as I had slept through several years on automatic pilot.  Much of my life was filled with only semi-conscious hours and it was moving quickly.  Life had developed a predictable rhythm; it was comfortable and easy to keep in synch.  I had routines to fill the hours and the same thoughts filling passing days.

There is no escaping it, 40 is middle age.  Though I still feel young, approximately half the time I have been given has been used up.  Dreams have come and gone, success and failures too, none of it quite working out like I had thought it might.  Even the moments of great ego satisfaction were so transient they did little to erase the feeling I was missing something, a subtle underlying discontentedness. I felt like a passive observer, instead of an active participant.  The culmination of feelings resulted in my ability to listen and trust that we (I) get what we need, not always what we want.  I took my fingers off the microphone and listened to the receiver.

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Our First Experience Working on the Road

Now in to our third week as temporary residents and volunteer workers at Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Alayne and I are beginning to adjust to this new lifestyle.  Unlike our recent three and half month cross country adventure, where we were seeing new sights and places almost everyday, we are now stationary for few months.


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Simple Living

The grand adventure is now transitioning to a new lifestyle experiment.  Prior to setting off on our cross country odyssey, we recognized that this trip could lead to a lifestyle transformation.  Perhaps it was a result of our intentions, we have decided that becoming full-time RV dwellers seems to be the correct path, and with that, a radical change away from comfort and material, towards simple living and new experiences.

Miso has found the AC sweet spot

We could get used to this! – Miso and Kimchi

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In the Beginning – Learning as we go

The adventure has begun and so has the education.  We have learned the value of level campsites after sleeping in a slanted driveway, added more padding to our bunk after a couple of sore mornings, have come to appreciate state highways over the Interstates, and that RV travel is is more than 20% slower than by car.  Already we have lost a gas cap and a wheel cover (recovered) , and drove to a campground that was full (call ahead). On our second day we drove narrow mountain winding roads and a potted steep dirt driveway, no RV has any business trying to navigate, on a mission to visit family. On our forth day we drove 300 miles in a high wind advisory, sometimes slowing to 40 miles per hour (partially in the neighboring lane).

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