A look at a book that examines RVers and the RV lifestyle.
Reviewed by K. Stephen Busick, F45180
One needs to read no further than the third paragraph of RVers “” “How Do They Live Like That?” ($19.95, OceanView Publishers) to discover that, as the authors write, “This book is not a “˜how-to,’ but a “˜what to’ “” what to expect on the roads you’ll be traveling in the months and years ahead.” But this publication, which was written by Lou Stoetzer, Ph.D., and Judy Farrow, F284778, a husband-and-wife team who share a background in the mental health field, is not a collection of road maps.
What began as a survey of couples who are members of the Escapees RV Club grew into more than 18 months of surveys and studies that included singles, RVers with health challenges, and others. Taped focus groups and private interviews added more information. Realizing that this substantial amount of material could best be handled in book form, they decided to write RVers “” “How Do They Live Like That?”
My wife and copilot, Linda, and I purchased our first RV less than a year after we were married and have owned motorhomes for more than 25 years. During that time we have discussed becoming full-timers, or “nearly” full-timers, on several occasions. Reading this book prompted those discussions again.
I believe that anyone who is aging “” and that includes all of us “” will benefit by reading this book. Furthermore, those who love RVing or simply want to learn more about the lifestyle will enjoy the observations and advice it contains.
Even a quick glance at the table of contents will be enough to entice many readers. Chapters include such inviting titles as “How do they become RVers?”; “How do they stand all that togetherness?” (which is intended for couples); and “How do they do it all alone?” (specifically for singles). Other topics include staying healthy on the road and coping with getting old. The final chapter is short but covers a subject that perhaps most of us have never really thought about: how do we “hang up the keys” when the time has come? Sadly, there usually is no rite of passage at that time and it is often viewed as a defeat. However, the authors show how this transition can be yet another positive experience in our lives.
Early in the book (Chapter Two) many questions about the practical side of RVing are discussed, such as receiving mail and paying bills. The authors also make an interesting observation about the cost of fuel. They write that fuel expenses can be “controlled with the parking brake.” This seems especially relevant with the rising cost of fuel and reminds us that full-timers are not on vacation; they are living in their RVs and can stay in one location as long as they wish or need to.
The authors have included several lists that engender reflection by the reader. “Conditions For Comfy Togetherness,” “Four Ways To Maintain Good Road Health,” and “Aging Creatively Or Just Getting Old?” certainly gave me pause.
Chapter Seven, “How do they manage family problems?” seemed to hold a special relevance for me. While written for the “Sandwich Generation” (RVers torn between worry over their elderly parents and concern for their adult children), it has many useful ideas for anyone who has left loved ones behind while they enjoy life on the road and suddenly, or not so suddenly, find they are needed back home to deal with family problems. The question arises whether to take the road that returns you to family and friends or the one that you have dreamed of. With the open-minded attitude that is shown throughout the book, the authors write, “We can’t presume to tell you which is right for you, but we can offer guidelines to help you find your own answers.”
The chapter “How do we learn more?” includes a resource list that is conveniently separated into groupings for different readers. Books are included for those still working yet starting to contemplate the RV lifestyle in a section titled “Just Beginning,” and another section suggests books for experienced folks in a section called “Already RVing.” Other books are listed for those in the “Sandwich Generation” as well as those traveling with children. If readers are seeking information about working on the road, RVing for the physically challenged, RVing alone, and other topics, this chapter will get them started.
Also in the back is an “RVing Dictionary.” An asterisk is placed by words labeled as “Authors’ terms.” One such term is “Career RVers.” The idea behind that label is most interesting and certainly applies to many members of FMCA.
In the introduction to this book the authors state that they hope readers “find it as educational and fun to read as it was for us to write.” I would like to add that I hope they had the high level of enjoyment writing it that I had reading it. Many times a trip or other special occasion is remembered most for a specific meal that was eaten at that time. For me, books are often remembered for a specific line or two. For this book I think it will be the sage reminder that “. . . you can’t drive by mainly using the rearview mirror.” Those few words seem to point us all in the direction we should go. I know they did for me.
RVers “” “How Do They Live Like That?” can be ordered through online booksellers; by writing OceanView Publishers, 131 N.W. 20th St., F-7505, Newport, OR 97365; by calling (888) 757-2582; or from www.escapees.com or www.workamper.com.