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David and Ellen

How not to kill your spouse during the time you are out RVing

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We are going to be RVing in the next year, after David retires.  We are pretty certain on the type of travel trailer we want, we are comfortable with our finances, only somewhat comfortable with our health coverage but our real concern is our daily activities.   We currently spend a good amount of time together, hanging out at home,  but there is always something to do around the house.   David and I are like to camp, read, go to historic places, but our concern is what do you do daily.... there is only so much site seeing, reading, hiking you can do.  We plan to be out of Phoenix during the summer months, so we will be snow birds.  What do you do to fill your time?

 

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I sure hope you really don't plan to be in Phoenix in the summer. I assume you mean the winter. Most of the snowbird cgs have activities for everyone. Some we do together, some we do apart. There are hiking groups, biking groups, quilting groups, craft groups etc etc. More activities than you can participate in.

In the early spring, Phoenix has the Cactus League for baseball. 

We have never been bored in Phoenix, lots to do either separately or as a couple.

If you are planning to spend most winters in PHX you might want to establish a relationship with some doctors, they are use to snowbirds.

It is also surprising how your time gets filled on the road. We tend to tour etc. in the AM,, we like to start early, back at the rig by 2-3. One day a week is devoted to laundry, shopping, cleaning, fixing things, planning the next week etc.

We try to talk to locals to find out what to do in the area and try to stay 2-3 days minimum at each stop.

You will find your own rhythm.

The other option is to volunteer for a couple of months each year. Look into volunteer.gov for options. Or there are RV service groups for Habitat and  others.

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" there is only so much site seeing, reading, hiking you can do."

Actually there are no limits.  These are some of the things my wife and I like to do.  When we were full timers we traveled from the East coast to see and spend time in dozens of national parks, forests and other beautiful and special places.  One of our main interest was photography.  We spent a great deal of time practicing and learning photography skills and developing our unique artistic styles and forms of visual communication. 

We did not have much down time and often toured at a near frantic pace because it was our first time experiencing many areas.  Now we have seen much of the US and travel slower.  

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3 hours ago, David and Ellen said:

What do you do to fill your time?

Like yourselves, there's much we like to do together. But we're very different in other aspects. I find a bicycle ride of a view hours relaxing, while she defines relaxing differently. Another example is from a few years ago when we backpacked into an area of Rocky Mountain National Park and after 6 hours of uphill hiking carrying a 60 pound pack (25 pounds of camera gear) I decided to go for a walk to make pictures. First we set up camp and when I mentioned this she said, "No, you go on ahead, I'm going to hang around here and enjoy this." I enjoy looking at things with binoculars that are just a couple feet away, almost like a macro lens effect, and she can be in a book for hours either audio w/headset or Kindle. We both love to explore & get up close and personal with non-threatening aspects of nature. And if we're camping near water and I come back from a picture making walk to find her gone, I know right where to find her :) Life is good.

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Welcome to the Escapee forums! 

There are as many different things to do as people have the imagination to do. Many of us spend at least part of our time are resident RV volunteers in places that we find interesting and enjoyable. We have spent time as RV volunteers in national, state, and county parks, national wildlife refuges, Florida game & fish department, a Virginia tree farm, and a grass airfield. There are many different places looking for volunteer help which supply an onsite RV pad with utilities in return for 3 or 4 days of help per week. Everything from campground hosts to leading tours and nature walks. I suggest you take a look at this page or our website to get some ideas of the sort of volunteer positions available. 

If you should choose to spend your time in one of the snowbird RV parks, most of them offer a wide range of activities and even have a full-time activities director to keep things going. You could take up a new hobby or 2 such as square dancing, wood carving, photography, painting, or numerous other activities that these parks offer classes to beginners in.  You are very wise to be thinking ahead as you clearly do realize that life will not be one long vacation trip, which sometimes isn't the case. Plan to carry at least some of your present hobbies along when you travel as your preferred lifestyle is probably not going to change greatly. The things that you enjoy doing now will probably be the same as or similar to those you spend time doing on the road. If you do volunteer activities now, that will probably work well on the road also. If you prefer to read there will be libraries available on the road or you could read electronic books that don't even take up any space! 

Edited by Kirk Wood

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It may also depend on where you spend your summer.  Will it be one place or will you move around?  If you move around, you'll have new sights to see everywhere you go.  If you'll be stationary, you will be able to develop relationships and get into a routine similar to being in a S&B home.

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Don't underestimate the time you will spend planning where to go and when. I can spend a few hours a day just doing research on places to go. Then we have to put them in order and plan a route. Then we have to decide where we might spend the nights along that route. Then we have to enter locations into our GPS. None of that happens without using up time.

Linda Sand

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Welcome! One thing that we had to learn was that we are not on constant vacation (unlike what some of our family members seem to think). You still have a (smaller) house that needs cleaning, you still have laundry to do, you still have groceries to buy, etc. Sometimes we go together to do things, and sometimes one of us goes to do something while the other one stays home to do something else.

It is important that, if you are full-timing, you have enough inside space for each of you to do something you want/need to do without interfering with the other one. For example, when I'm reading Jo Ann uses earbuds to listen to things she wants to hear. When the television is on I do something else. We work together on vacuuming the coach. She cooks, we both eat, I wash the dishes. You will work out your own arrangements as you go, but it is always good to talk about potential issues and at least make a stab at heading them off.

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You can also plan to spend some time every day reading this forum and answering some of the questions. Dave and I would be lost without our computers. We would sit on opposite sides of the dinette, each working on our own thing, and hardly noticing the other one was there. Then we'd surface and talk--sometimes about what we'd been doing on our computers.

We still do that now that we are off the road. Me at the desk with my computer and Dave in his chair with his. I no longer do trip planning but I read more blogs. Dave spends a lot of time helping model railroad friends with their questions.

 

We've never had a problem filling time since retirement.

Linda

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There will be a moment when you get on each others nerves. You may have been together for years already but when you get to spend 24 a day in a small RV with each other there will come  a time when you've had enough.

My wife and I have had those moments and now thru experience we can (sometimes )recognize them and take steps to avoid them. 

First step is to calm down and look at things from the other persons prospective, then take a step back. It's hard to understand that occasionally you both need a day apart.

Barbara and I have similar but different likes and pastimes. She likes to knit and read books. I like to fish and paint.

She'll see me getting antsy and say "Why don't you go out and paint" or I'll say "I thought I might go fishing this morning"

We both understand that we aren't rejecting each other, just looking for some space.

By the end of the day we'll be back to our comfortable selves and happy again.

Just be understanding and life will be so much better.

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Everyone's lifestyle is different.  Many will change their lifestyle and how they spend their leisure time once retirement sets in. I can relate how it has worked for us but it may or may not be the same for you.

The DW likes to read.  I like to mess around with stuff and do general maintenance on our RV and vehicles.  She rides her bicycle but I walk every day for exercise.

During our first stint at full timing we had a fiver.  Since we had a fiver I sold my Harley.  It worked pretty good for a couple years traveling around but I we both missed the motorcycle and I started getting a little bored.

This time around we have both a car and motorcycle with us.  It is working really great.  I always have something to wax, clean up, or change oil on.  If we both need to run errands at the same time we can.  

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7 minutes ago, richfaa said:

She does things she likes to do.I do things I like to do.We do things we like to do.

X2, this sums it up 

22 hours ago, David and Ellen said:

We are going to be RVing in the next year, after David retires.  We currently spend a good amount of time together, hanging out at home,  but there is always something to do around the house.  David and I are like to camp, read, go to historic places, but our concern is what do you do daily.... there is only so much site seeing, reading, hiking you can do.

 

There's usually something to do with the RV as well, smaller scale to be sure (and no yard!), but you'll see how things play out. We'll know how the day is going to play out by 1 PM at the latest. And it could be one of those days (What do you want to do? I don't know, what do you want to do? I don't know.). If we're stuck between going out and being lazy... First (for the sake of safety) I'll grill up some food for now & for later. While doing so we'll choose between Tennessee Whiskey & Kentucky Bourbon (the safety issue is exposed now). Now being good neighbors, this all starts about 1 PM as I said so that by the time quiet hours roll around we're sound asleep. We've also discovered that we both sing better when the bottle is half empty :) Happy Trails!

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Sometimes I just shake my head in disbelief. So we have D and E posting on an internet forum asking for advice on how to live together and asking what they can do to "fill" their time.  I guess you two have no goals, no interests, no desire to learn, no desire to accomplish anything but instead are just trying to fill time until you die.  Sad.

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I think you would find that your days will be full once you get out there and start traveling.  If you putter around the house then you'll probably putter around the RV.  There are still chores to be done on a smaller scale.  If you stay in RV parks with a clubhouse there will be things to do.  Take up a new hobby. Learn a new skill. Get a guitar and learn to play it (not electric). Learn a new sport such as pickleball which is very popular now in RV parks or in the local town.  Take up fishing. Rent a canoe or kayak.

Keep in mind you don't have to do things together.  There's nothing wrong with taking the truck or car by yourselves and touring around or going for a hike by yourself or shopping.  Do things by yourself that the other doesn't care for. It's good to get away from each other at times.

Volunteering is an awesome experience and gives you a good feeling of giving back.  If you don't think you'd like to be a campground host there are many opportunities for being an interpreter in the parks.  We gave lighthouse tours as we traveled.  All public agencies need help - wildlife refuges, fish hatcheries, national parks, state parks, etc.  We've also volunteered in the local town when staying for a season.  We volunteered in the schools with the elementary reading program.  You can volunteer in the local hospital or other city agencies.

There's absolutely no reason to be bored and if you think you will be than you might as well stay home.

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7 hours ago, JimK said:

Sometimes I just shake my head in disbelief. So we have D and E posting on an internet forum asking for advice on how to live together and asking what they can do to "fill" their time.  I guess you two have no goals, no interests, no desire to learn, no desire to accomplish anything but instead are just trying to fill time until you die.  Sad.

They asked a perfectly valid question, looking ahead to a dramatic lifestyle change and essentially asking how others who are living that specific lifestyle spend their days. Nowhere did they indicate that they have "... no goals, no interests, no desire to learn, no desire to accomplish anything but instead are just trying to fill time until you die."

I hope that some of the responses above yours were useful to them, because yours certainly won't be...

Edited by mptjelgin

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The concerns expressed by D&E I have heard from our friends. Mostly the concern is expressed by people who aren't aware of the RVing lifestyle. For whatever reason, there is a belief that Rving is different than regular life in an S&B and we sit around in our RVs 24x7 looking at each other. Nothing can be more wrong.

We purposely schedule a "rest" day each week. "Rest" day: supermarket, clean, laundry, repairs, shopping, planning, catch up on email, phone calls, bills, maybe mail etc.

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7 hours ago, JimK said:

Sometimes I just shake my head in disbelief. So we have D and E posting on an internet forum asking for advice on how to live together and asking what they can do to "fill" their time

What she asked is how not to kill each other.  That signals something more critical than filling time.

Edited by hemsteadc

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Just now, hemsteadc said:

What they actually asked is how not to kill each other.  That signals something more critical than filling time.

And do you think that they meant that literally??  Because I took it as a light-hearted attempt at a thread title. 

I'll bet that new members David and Ellen are really going to be impressed by some of these responses. 

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8 minutes ago, hemsteadc said:

Whats she asked is how not to kill each other.  That signals something more critical than filling time.

I don't agree at all. That is exactly the way my Pam would have put the question when we were first considering the lifestyle and what it says to me is that DavidandEllen have a sense of humor and are probably much better prepared to make this adjustment than many of those who are offering comments. It also tells me that they are wise enough to give some thought to such things before they start their travels and in all likelihood, they will be happier on the road and stay out longer than many of our resident experts. 

 

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2 minutes ago, hemsteadc said:

Perhaps she'll return and  respond.

I certainly hope so. But some of the comments about their relationship could easily drive her away and that would be very sad....   

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22 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

That is exactly the way my Pam would have put the question when we were first considering the lifestyle and what it says to me is that DavidandEllen have a sense of humor and are probably much better prepared to make this adjustment than many of those who are offering comments. 

 

I agree. Perhaps the most common question we are asked when people learn of our lifestyle is "How do you keep from killing each other?".  It is a humorous question intended as a conversation starter, nothing more.

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About the only real  difference I've found is simply a matter of timing . 

In the S&B 'events' were pretty much on a schedule , in the Monaco we do what needs as the 'need' ( which can be described as a whim ) arises , or not . 

Everything is pretty simple . Need milk ? Go to the store or just use water kinda thing . 

No need to make a mountain out of a mole hill , just because you 'think' you're bored . LOL 

Edited by Pat & Pete

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