The other day at FoY we met another remarkable #SuperSenior. Verlene is 81 years young and snowbirding around the Southwest in a 34′ motorhome — solo! After her husband died, she continued their full-time RVing adventure. What makes her even more exceptional is that she’s full-timing without the internet! Her bold journey got me to thinking: are younger, modern full-time RVers like us really living an adventurous life?
Does the Internet Kill the Full-time RVing Adventure in Your Life?
“I don’t know anything about computers,” she told us. She only uses paper maps and yet somehow, she manages to get where she’s going, and have fun when she’s there.
I am nothing like Verlene, and my guess is that you aren’t either. After all, when was the last time you camped anywhere new without first checking it out online? I’m the first to admit that I can’t remember when Jim and I just went somewhere on the fly. I’ll take the blame for this since I’ve always been the Navigator in our full-timing life. I tend to google the hell out of our next unfamiliar destinations. “I just drive,” Jim says.
As Navigator, I try to make our trips go smoothly. From knowing what to expect at crazy remote camping locations to maneuvering the rig through the chaos of Las Vegas, it’s my job to get us there with as few hassles as possible. Anytime we’re about to turn the key and change locations, I try to learn all I can about what’s ahead. When the result doesn’t match my findings, I’m disappointed and sometimes frustrated.
I know I’m not the only RVer with a research addiction. Campground review sites like FreeCampsites.net, RVParkReviews.com, Campendium and at least a hundred more have proliferated on the web. Their well-deserved popularity is the biggest clue that none of us like going anywhere without knowing what others think about it.
From restaurants to campgrounds, we are hooked on getting the scoop before we arrive. What’s the ambience like? Is it in a bad neighborhood? How are the drinks? When is the best day to go?
Then there’s the drones. RVers are using them to scout public land boondocking locations and predict what’s beyond the bend. Don’t get me started on my rant about those machines . . .
But we aren’t just hooked on destination research. The full-time RVing lifestyle itself is also being analyzed to death. RV nomads examine and report on every aspect of the lifestyle. They feed their findings to hungry blog readers who yearn to give this life of freedom a try, but don’t want to turn the key until they think they can predict everything about it.
I’m not arguing against any of this stuff (drones excluded). I contribute to the information that’s out there. And I love how I can get any questions answered on the web. But since meeting Verlene, I’ve started questioning why we are so damn dependent on the google when it comes to the nomadic existence. My best guess is that since society has sped up so much in our lifetime, we feel that we just can’t afford to waste our precious time on potentially bad roads and lousy campgrounds.
Notice I said “potentially.” The truth is that none of us can know what a destination is like until we actually go there. We can analyze RVing reviews a dozen different ways, but the only experience and opinion that matters is our own.
What if we could be more like Verlene?
When we only do things or choose places that feel familiar and safe, we close the door to spontaneity. If we only visit destinations that fit our vision of the “perfect spot,” we allow fear to creep into our adventures. Is that any way to live as a nomad? I don’t think so.
- What if we didn’t look up the latest reviews on our next location?
- What if we went places with only a paper map to guide us? Could we deal with the uncertainty?
- Would the end result be just as satisfying? My guess is that it would be, if not more so.
Verlene inspired me to be less dependent on the google. If she can do it, so can I! I want to put myself in her shoes and see what it’s like to turn down a road without being able to predict every landmark. I want to feel butterflies in my belly when we move to a new spot. And I want to make sure that Jim has that same sense of wonder too.
As we prepare for our long summer journey to Alaska and Canada, I can’t think of a better attitude to embrace!
9 thoughts on “Does the Internet Kill the Full-time RVing Adventure?”
I have to say I’m heavy on researching areas too. Especially camping areas. Some of the best things we’ve found to do though have been ones that we’ve found out word of mouth.
It’s good to know that word of mouth discoveries still exist!
Looking forward to it! One of these days we need to do the Alaska/Canada trip ourselves.
We don’t plan much. We wander. Managed to find great spots. Very Occasionally we use different apps in a pinch but many of them have errors! (Which we send in to fix).
I’m with your friend Verlene. Although I do a lot of internet / work when we are stationary. We text, too.
That sounds like a good way to travel Cathy!
Hmmm…maybe “we” should not have let Siri direct us past the exit we knew was the one for our last turn-off or relied upon reviews to land in the BLM spot where we woke up this morning to notice the No Camping sign in our front yard. Just sayin’… 🙂
And there’s the proof that even technology doesn’t always lead us to the right spot. Oh well.
Ryan and I are the same way! He says “I just drive” and “we’ll figure it out when we get there” while I like to plan. When we started, I had a whole spreadsheet with my research planning our route, but I stopped that a while ago. =D I’ve done a lot less planning since we started living off the cord, but I don’t think I can do away with research completely. For one thing, paper maps don’t list campgrounds or public lands. They also don’t say whether there are services and stores nearby. I don’t know how Verlene figures these things out, but with gas prices these days we like to plan these stops along the way.
I agree Maya, there were a million questions I wanted to ask Verlene about how she got around and found spots, gas, etc. For our Alaska trip, I’m trying to be more paper-based by using a National Geographic road atlas, which lists a ton of public campgrounds, in combination with The Milepost guidebook, which details everything on the roads, including private campgrounds, fuel stops, etc. I’ll definitely let you know how it goes.