Moving To Europe X – Dealing With Post-Transition Angst, Regret & Adaptation
OK folks this is going to be the very last post of my “Moving to Europe” series. We’re living here now, so I’m going to start focusing on that. However this is a critical, final topic which I feel is rarely ever talked about and that I wanted to cover before closing out the series.
Whenever everyone talks about a big life-change they almost always talk about how hard the change is before the process. All the emotions of getting ready, the practical hassle of change & moving, the fear and inertia. After it’s all done and complete everyone just kinda assumes it’s all good. I mean you got what you wanted, so you must super happy now, right?
But what if you don’t feel super, blissfully, zen-like happy? What if you’re having second doubts or not really feeling comfortable? What if you’re struggling with basic day-to-day stuff, or experiencing pangs of angst or regret? Does that mean you’ve failed? Does it mean the folks that warned you that you were about to make a big mistake (yeah those folks) were actually right? Should you give up now and go back to your old life, before it’s too late?
The immediate answer that I’d give you to all these question is “NO”!
I’m not saying that mistakes never happen (goodness knows I’ve made a few in my own life), but I’m here to tell you that doubt is a NORMAL part of any post-transition process, and it’s super important to understand that before you make any rash decisions. It’s a topic that’s rarely talked about, and involves feeling that are often internalized or suppressed, but it’s something everyone goes through, to some extent or another, before they get to the good stuff…actually enjoying their new life!
So that’s what I want to blog about today.
Hopefully it will help those of you who are about to, or have recently gone through a big life change of your own. Perhaps you’re feeling worried, or anxious or suddenly think you might have made a massive mistake. Well if that’s the case, you’re not alone. And perhaps even more importantly, there is real hope ahead. Read on….
There Will Always Be A Moment
I’ve been through a lot of life changes in my time. I’ve moved countries (multiple times), changed jobs & careers (several times) and dropped everything to go RVing (for 8 years). These were all pretty massive changes, and there’s one thing that I’ve experienced in common with every single of them.
No matter how much I’ve looked forward to a change, or known in my heart of hearts that it was “the right thing to do” there was always a moment of “WHAT HAVE I DONE???”.
The magnitude of that moment and how long it has lasted has varied a ton. There have been changes when my doubt has lasted only a few fleeting days, and others where it’s been months before I’ve felt OK. If I’ve made the change with a partner they’ve experienced it too, but in their own way and at their own pace.
Either way, the important thing to note is, it always happens.
Personal Example: When we moved into the RV back in 2010, Paul and I both experienced that “WHAT HAVE WE DONE?” moment, but in very different ways. For Paul it was a real moment of panic that very nearly caused us to stop our RVing plans altogether. It happened about a month into RVing. The reality of everything suddenly came crashing down on him…the fact that he’d left his job in San Diego, the fact that he didn’t really know what he was going to do going forward, and the fact that he wasn’t enjoying the “new life” nearly as much as he imagined. He was suddenly convinced we’d made the wrong decision. “We’ve made a terrible mistake. Lets turn back!”. For me, I also had some doubts, but they were fairly short-lived. I had a few days of adaptation and then I felt right pretty much at home. So we both experienced THE DOUBT, just in our own individual way.
But here’s the other thing…
Time Makes ALL The Difference
My firm rule of thumb from all the years I’ve traveled the world is that whatever you do, you’ve got to give it 6 months and preferably a full year before you make any NEW decisions. Giving yourself time to adapt is KEY and a critical part of any transition process.
No matter how hard you plan, your first months in your “new life” will likely feel very uncomfortable, especially if you’ve make a BIG life change. You’ll miss your old home and friends, you’ll feel nostalgic about all the places you left behind (e.g. that coffee shop you went into everyday, that grocery store that you loved etc.), and you’ll have trouble getting into a routine (e.g. when you get up, where you exercise, how you sleep etc.). Basically things just won’t feel right. Those first few months are invariably the most difficult part of any big transition, and the time you’re most likely to think about giving up.
The important thing to understand is that these feelings are NORMAL! If you decide to throw in the towel now, you’ll be selling yourself short and potentially robbing yourself of some of the best moments of your life, yet to come.
You see TIME makes aaaaaaaall the difference.
In my experience it takes around 6 months to settle into a “new life”, and by a year you’ll feel right at home. So if you simply take a step back and give it time, you may well find that you feel ENTIRELY, 100% differently just a few months after you questioned whether you’d made the worst decision of your life. Those 6 months can completely change your perspective and turn your life around. Trust me on this.
Personal Example: As an example I’ll go back to Paul’s panic moment that I detailed above. What did we do that day? Well to be honest I wasn’t anywhere close to wanting to give up RVing just a month into it, but I understood what he was going through and I realized that if he truly wasn’t happy there was no way this was going to work over the long term. So we made it pact. He agreed to give it a few more months and I agreed that if he still felt this strongly about it after that, we’d turn around go back. Sure enough, a few months later the tides turned. Paul found his new groove, and he started really enjoying the lifestyle. It simply took time….
Change Is Hard, But That Does Not Mean You’ve Failed
The other thing to understand about change is that it’s naturally a hard thing. As human beings we love our routine and once we feel comfortable in a situation we find it hard to leave. When you go through a big life change all that is thrown up into the air. Everything you knew (and maybe loved) changes and that can be really, really tough.
If you move to a new country you might feel like a teenager who just moved out of the house. Where do I buy groceries? How do I take the bus or get on a train? How do I do the laundry? How do I even communicate what I want?
If you’re starting fulltime RVing, you’ve got lots of changes to deal with. Not only do you suddenly have to adapt to living in a teeny space (and if you have a partner you’re suddenly together 24/7) but you’ve got to think about driving routes, and gas stations, and campgrounds, and shopping, and vets, and doctors….and all that stuff is different EVERY single place you go!!!
So yeah change is HARD! But that doesn’t mean you’ve failed!
The only mistake you might make is thinking everything is going to be roses and unicorns when you start a new life, and then chastising yourself when you don’t feel that way from the get-go. You may immediately love certain aspects of your new life (the adventure, the exploration, the nature etc.) but you may have a really hard time with unexpected obstacles or some of the basic day-to-day stuff. That’s normal and totally OK and does NOT mean you’ve failed. Approach the challenges as they come, allow yourself the space to gripe a little about the hardships, and then just give it time.
Nostalgia Can Be Deceiving
The other thing to understand about change is that nostalgia can be a deceiving little devil. It’s a common thing for the human mind to think back and remember the past as “the good times”. We tend to look at it through rose-colored glasses and minimize or even completely forget the bad stuff. It’s just human nature!
So, for example when you think back to the big garden you once owned (say, if you had a house) you might immediately think of all the beautiful flowers and trees you had, while at the same time somehow managing to forget how much you hated weeding and mowing.
It happens with people too! When parents think back to their kids as babies they’ll more than likely remember how cute they were and yearn for that baby-time, when in reality they might have been so wiped out from not sleeping that they were just barely managing to survive. But the cuteness is the memory that lasts, not the diapers and the pain, and the sleeplessness and so forth.
So yeah, we often remember things a little rosier than they really were.
When you’re making a big life change this is very likely to happen to you too. You’ll think back to your former life and you will have nostalgia for some part of it. It might be a small pang of nostalgia or it may be a tidal wave of deep, regretful yearning, and if you let that emotion overtake you, you can easily get lost in the past and NEVER manage to enjoy your present life (because as I mentioned above, change is HARD). It could literally ruin any chance you ever have of enjoying your new life.
So what do you do?
Well if you just made a big life change you very likely had a good reason (or many reasons) for making it and it’s worth taking time to re-explore those reasons. Think about WHY you decided to change (what was it that prompted it?), WHAT are you looking forward to, and HOW can you meet those goals (find something about your new life that makes you feel good, and then go do it right NOW!). You might even benefit from remembering a few negative things about your former life. I’m not the type to dwell on such matters, but sometimes your brain needs a little kick to remember why you made the change in the first place.
So, take some long walks, talk to your partner (or your dog, or yourself), reminisce if you must, but above all remember that nostalgia can be really deceiving.
Join & Become Active In Your New Community
Another key to getting comfortable with a new life is to actively immerse yourself into your new community.
Old friends are great and will be your friends forever, but not all of them will be able to understand or support what you’re doing right now. They’re simply not living the same life as you, so it can be tough for them to relate. On the other hand, connecting with folks who are doing the same thing you’re doing, or living the same kind of life you’re living, can make the difference between feeling like “outsider” to feeling accepted and part of a community. I think it’s an important part of any transition process, and it’s something you’ve actively got to work at.
For example if you’re going fulltime RVing, one of the first things I recommend is joining up with RVing groups either online and/or in person. There are SO many options for this. For example in the USA, not only are tons of really active Facebook groups (Fulltime RVers, Xscapers, RVToFreedom, NuRvers, etc.) and online forums (e.g. iRV2, rvnetwork), but there are also big RVing groups (e.g. Escapees/Xscapers, FMCA etc.) and specialist groups dedicated to specific types of RVers (e.g. Fulltime Families, clubs for Solo RVers etc.). These groups are not only active online, but often hold meetups and convergences where you can meet folks doing exactly what you’re doing. So not only can you connect through the internet (where you can ask questions, troubleshoot technical issues, share worries etc.), but you can also physically connect and even caravan with others who are living like you do.
Once you join these communities you’ll quickly find that the silly stuff you worry about is stuff other folks worry about too, and that things you might feel stupid not knowing (what kind of toilet paper DO I use in an RV???) are really not stupid questions at all. Everyone has learning & adaptation issues, and once you understand this, it’s such a relief!
This same thing is true when moving cities or moving to a foreign country too. Getting immersed into your new community is a really important part of fitting in and getting comfortable with your new life. So, going to the local markets, joining online forums, going to local exercise or language classes, getting to know your neighbors etc. All these things will help you feel that you are part of your new life, rather than feeling nostalgic about your old one.
Personal Example: When we were living in Hong Kong, I had a period where I quit the job I’d been doing for 12 years and didn’t really have any plan for what I was going to do next. Suddenly I felt deeply lonely (and rather useless honestly). Paul was off working each day, so I was just sitting at home fiddling my fingers and questioning WHAT HAD I DONE?!. After about a month of feeling very sorry for myself, I decided to pull myself together and take action. So, I joined the local Expat Forum online, started up a photography club (which eventually grew to 300 members!), started volunteering at my local Dog Rescue, co-started a local Theater Group (which eventually put on 5 sold-out plays!) got part-time work doing food photography and pet sitting, joined the local Yoga Club etc. After a few months of doing that I felt much more comfortable and definitely like I “belonged”. I was no longer pining for my “old life”, but rather enjoying my “new one”. I’d finally made the transition!
Find Things You Love To Do (And Then Do Them!)
Transitioning to a “new life” is kind of like re-creating yourself and that can be an exhausting process. There are SO many little details you need to figure out after you make a big life change that It’s easy to get lost in that process. You can spend so much time trying to make things work, the way you think they should, that you may not end up having any fun at all, leading to the question of WHY DID I DO THIS? yet again!
When you start to feel like that, it’s super important to take a step back and make some time for yourself, even if you don’t feel like you have all the details of your current fully life under control yet. Remind yourself (yet again) of why you chose this new lifestyle. Was there stuff you really wanted to do? Experiences you wanted to have? Food you wanted to try? A language or hobby that you wanted to learn? Well, then step away from whatever little detail you’re working on, create time for those things and go out and do them!
For example, when folks first get into fulltime RVing they often get overly worried about everything working perfectly in the RV the way they think it should. In truth, RV’s are superbly complex machines and there’s always something that needs fixing (it’s the 80/100/100 rule). So you can literally spend every minute of every day trying to fix everything and never get it “perfect”. That’s not only super stressful, but can take the fun out of RVing altogether. So, take a step back and give yourself a break. So what if the RV step is broken? Leave it for a day, go have some fun sightseeing and it’ll still be there for you to fix when you come back. Even better, you’ll have a clear mind and be in a much better space to work on it.,
In the same vein, it’s important to develop new habits and new routines that incorporate things that you love to do everyday. Whether that be a morning coffee outside everyday, or a walk with the dog, or some yoga, or some time photographing the sunset every evening. These new habits are part of what will make your new life feel comfortable. You may not be able to do them exactly the way you did in your “old life” (no Starbucks down the road, maybe?), but you can certainly re-create a routine which you will likely enjoy just as much within the confines of your “new life” (home-brewed coffee every morning on your RV stove, perhaps?).
It’s the little things that make life enjoyable.
And Hopefully That OTHER Moment Will Come
So what’s happens next? What if you’ve accepted the angst and the doubt, you’ve given it time, you’ve worked to become part of a community, and you’ve set aside time to do the things you enjoy. What happens then?
Well, that’s the cool part.
At some point in your “new life” things will suddenly fall into place, like a camera shutter clicking to take the perfect picture. It might take a few days, or it might take multiple months but suddenly a day will come when things don’t feel difficult anymore. Those initial feelings of angst, regret or discomfort will have faded away, the day-to-day stuff will have become easy, and you’ll realize you’re no longer really pining for your old life. You’ve transitioned, you’re comfortable, and you’re actually TOTALLY ENJOYING your new life!
When that day comes, it’s one of the best feelings in the world, and will make whatever hardship you might have had to go through getting to this point all worthwhile. That day, that feeling is the payoff for all the hard work you put into your big change, and it marks the true beginning of your new life adventure.
So, if you’re having post-transition anxiety or going through a WHAT HAVE I DONE?? phase, know that this is NORMAL and it will pass. Give it time (remember 6 months minimum), work at connecting with your community, create new habits, find time to do the things you love to do, and then see how you feel a few months down the line. Hopefully that day will come when your “new life” falls into place and it suddenly feels like you’re doing exactly what you were meant to do.
Oh and in the rare case you STILL don’t feel that way, even after you’ve done everything I told you to? Well, then simply change it up again. You’ve had the experience of one big life change so trust me on this…..the next one will be much, much easier to do.SPONSORED LINK:
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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do
Lisa Cantrell says
Oh so so true about waiting. I too have moved multiple times within the US and to other countries, as well as making huge career changes and always have needed an adjustment period.
One of the things I also learned along the way was, before I left where/what I was doing was to make a list of the things that frustrated me. Small and large, didn’t matter how petty or devastating-they were all in the past and I had moved beyond them. I would pin this list up in my new abode and anytime I found myself thinking Oh WTH?! I would refer to the list and remember that not only this would pass but in some cases it wasn’t anywhere close to as bad as some of them.
I can’t wait to see more posts about what life is like there now.
Great idea with that “frustration” list! Perfect to help squash the nostalgia on the days it might feel overwhelming.
Thanks for sharing these thoughts, Nina. My goodness, how we’ve felt so many of these things since downsizing and moving north! We still feel some of them from time to time. You are so right about time and involvement being a big part of change. Just yesterday, neighbors who’ve been wanting to get to know us better, invited us over to meet their young, world-traveling nomadic nephew & girlfriend.
What started as a quick trip to their place (her grandfather built their log cottage 80 years ago!), turned into a three-hour gathering of new friends, with the constant line from her being, “I just knew we’d have a lot in common!”
Time, it just takes time, and yes, some effort. Thanks!
Yeah I know you guys went through a MASSIVE (and difficult) transition with that move North. I’m so happy to hear things are moving into place. What a treat to meet your neighbor that way too.
Metamorphosis Lisa says
Great post Nina! I remember how unsettled we felt in the first months of RVing, even though I knew we had done the right thing. Eventually the new life became the new normal and all was right in our world.
I know so many people who struggle, or even give up in those first few months of RVing. It can be surprisingly hard, even though it *seems* easy from the outside (you’re just traveling around and having fun, right?). I’m glad you guys came to love it….and now you are PRO’s!!
One of the if the best post I have ever read online. I’m pretty stationary here in ‘the tropics’ but your post had a lot of good reminders and some new things to remember in the future … for when my brain cells need calibration.
I like that idea…brain cell calibration. A very appropriate term.
Very timely post for me….Interestingly I never felt any of those things about starting to RV…but now the we have made another major change, I get nervous and ask myself what have I done…but I have, since the beginning, done almost all you have suggested so we shall see how it unfolds…the hardest for me is finding new friends especially in an environment where I stick out like a sore thumb. But, like you said we chose this place for a reason, we now have to see how it works out…good thing my husband loves it here.
Oh I’m with you!! It’s so interesting how different people experience THE DOUBT when they make a big life move. For Paul and I the transition to RVing was super easy for me, but quite hard for him, whereas the move to France has kinda been the opposite. He transitioned pretty much right away, while I’m still learning to settle in and adapt. I *know* we’ve made the right move and I *know* I will come to love it in time, but there’s always that transition period….
Janet Ashworth says
Bob Martel says
One of your best posts yet, Nina! 🙂
Thank you Bob! We keep thinking of you guys and the time we spent in MI. Good memories.
I am sure that post resonates with most people. I love change and it has always worked out for the best but also had many of the same feelings.
I have joined many on line rv forums and love the sharing of information. Many times my answer to a question will be “follow the blog WheelingIt” and it still continues to help many❣️
Awwww….nice to hear my blog still helps people. I’m going through a “blog transition” phase now too. No US RVing posts, so gotta re-invent myself again. But I’m glad the “old stuff” is still helpful!
Jamie Feinberg says
This might be one of my favorite posts from you. I agree 100%.
Dave Titley says
Great post! I did 32 years in Navy, and moved over two dozen times with my spouse. Each change is hard but if you can frame your mind to find the positive things about your new circumstances – and have a few traditions to hold on to – things tend to work out … usually better than anyone might expect!
Very true words. EVERY place I’ve lived has positive and interesting things to experience. It’s simply a question of getting into the mindset and diving into them.
Thank you so much for this post. You’ve probably saved me much $$ in counseling! I think I’ll stop here and read it again!
Well if that’s the case I’m doubly happy 🙂
Great post and I am sharing it with several people who are struggling with just this issue. Thanks.
Glad it’s helpful. I really do think EVERYONE struggles with these thoughts when they undergo change. Sometimes the thoughts are short and fleeting, but sometimes that struggle can take months. Hope your friends hang in there and get to the good part.
Susan E Siegel says
Thank you for such an insightful post full of words of wisdom. As we face a new life adventure with a major change, I’ll keep your suggestions in mind. All of your suggestions are very helpful and useful.
The BEST of luck to you in your up-coming change. It’s scary (I know), but just take it a day at a time.
Linda Davey says
Excellent post, Nina. I can relate so much. When we went fulltime in the summer of 2014, I cried at the drop of a pin. Mostly I was just settling into my emotions, because I was loving my new life. But you’re right, change is hard. The unknowns are both exciting and frightening.
We are still on track to make our move to Europe at the end of February 2019. We have a plan that we think will bring a proper close to our fulltiming life in the U.S. and give us a chance to process our experience before we dive feet first into a new one. Shortly after we arrive in Europe and collect our new-to-us motorhome, we plan to put it storage and hike the Camino Francis from St. Jean Pied du Port to Finisterre. We’ll have plenty of time to think and reflect and we are hopeful this will help make our transition a smooth one.
Thanks so much for your posts. We have learned a lot and appreciate the information! Cheers to you both!
I’ve totally had those crying moments. You would think I’d be hardened to change from a life-time of travel, but I still go through the transition process everytime. Sometimes I get very weepy indeed.
Your next year sounds like an AMAZING plan, and I wish you the BEST of luck with all of it!
By the way we’ve also got jello plans to hike the Camino, probably next Spring (still very jello, but I think it’s going to happen). Very much looking forward to it.
Linda Davey says
Fantastic! Maybe we’ll cross paths somewhere along The Way! We plan to begin our pilgrimage sometime in April in hopes of missing the worst of the heat. We are very excited for this journey!
Todd Brunsvold says
What a fabulous post! Thanks so much for sharing…hugs and love to you both from Me, Russ and Frances!
MISS you guys!!!! And Francy-pants. Can we import you, by any chance?
During my last several months of work, I would come home, frustrated and fed up, and just type up the day’s events on my home computer. I swear, there were times smoke was coming off the keyboard, I was so angry. I did that because I knew that at some point after I left, I would miss my job and wonder whether I’d made the right decision. I wanted to be able to go back and read what I wrote and remember how I felt. Sure enough, there have been moments I missed my job, but one look at that document and I was reminded of all the reasons I wanted out. You’re absolutely right – it’s important to remember the reasons behind our choices and to not gloss over the negative stuff.
And, like you said, I’ve always believed we can go back. Things might be more difficult or more complicated, but we can go back to some version of our old lives if we want to….which we don’t. At all.
Anyway, your advice is spot on as always.
SUCH good advice! I felt EXACTLY the same way when I left my long-time job (career, as everyone called it at the time) in Hong Kong back in the day. I was having terrible health issues (from stress) and I KNEW it was the right decision, yet I STILL missed it when I left. Thinking back to why, and really remembering how I felt while I was working was an important part of moving on.
Mark from Missouri says
Excellent post. Bet it helped to write it as well. Hang in there.
Totally agree with the six month timeframe before something feels like home. I don’t recall what your home situation is right now (house, small/large RV, family or whatever) but I hope the six months has started.
Fulltime RV friends told me he and she made a deal. If one of them wants to come off the road then they give the other six months notice. Sounds like a good plan for most large changes.
Really appreciate you sharing the insight. For me, I’ll be retiring and moving to an RV. Two big changes. I’ll keep it in my head to give it time.
Indeed…this was part therapy for myself (as I guess my whole blog is….isn’t that deep?). GOOD luck with your up-coming big changes and move to RVing. It’s an amazing lifestyle.
Pamela Wright says
Boy, this post came at a great time. You’ve reflected on so many of the emotions I am going through since we purchased our house. Selling everything eight years ago and going full time in a MH wasn’t a worry or regret at all. Neither of us every a moment of doubt. But deciding to settle, at least part time, has me wondering if we made a mistake. So, so many doubts. But yet there are so many positives and we love our new little town. Your blog nailed all of my thoughts and emotions. And you are right about my need to give it time. And as John said, we can always sell it:) I remember as we are back on the road why I needed to settle at times. Thanks for helping me sort through my mental state. Such a wise post!
Oh how I understand those feelings!! Hang in there and I’m sure things will settle down with time. I know you bought that house for all the right reasons (the time felt right), and it would *seem* like it should be a really easy transition (what’s so hard about settling down part-time?), but when you’ve been fulltime RVing for as long as you have, it’s a really, really big switch. Give it time and I wish you the best.
Dan Scott says
Great post. I do think it’s helpful to have a constant in your life, an activity or practice that goes with you. In my case it’s daily Tai Chi practice.
Very good point! I’ve always had Yoga (although my practice is not as good as it’s been). Having an activity that you bring along on your life change is VERY grounding and excellent advice.
Rawn Stone says
Wow Nina, I say wow, you should write a book on this topic of change. You have wisdom, thanks for posting this. In gratitude, Rawn
Thank you for your post. The section about looking back at the past with rose colored glasses was most helpful. While loving our full-time RV life, I have been filled with remorse and regret about leaving my incredible dream job for my RVing dream. Through the rose colored glasses, I had forgotten the stress, trials and angst that arose from building a business- the 80 hour weeks, the insomnia,, the worry keeping it going and the constant personnel issues. I had forgotten the peace that came the day we locked the doors on our house and set out at 10 degrees below zero. In my nagging sadness I was forgetting the grandeur of the Grand Canyon at dawn, boondocking on the beach, in the desert and deep in the national forests. There is a simple unmitigated joy in sharing a campfire with the new friends we find at almost every stop. I am slowly coming to view leaving not as loss but as what gave me the chance to live this wonderful new life.
You are definitely in the very midst of “the transition”. I recognize many of those emotions from my own (past) transitions, and know exactly what you’re going through. Letting go of the past is not easy, even when we’ve chosen to make a change for all the right reasons. The key is to recognize that reluctance as an artificial barrier, and actively work to remove it…which is exactly what you’re doing. It’s a surprisingly hard process, but hang in there! From what you’ve written, you’ve already started the last part of the transition and are veeeeery close to getting to the “good part”. The day will come….
Caryl Kirk says
So, soooo true!! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted probably in-part because of those exact feelings: the expense of traveling, the need to finally get my knees “done”, and finding a revenue stream. All stressful but now on the other side: I’d NEVER change a thing. Took a year off of the travel (not out of RV) and knees are now a year behind us. Started workcamping at BEAUTIFUL Henderson Beach State Park for space and service to get a handle on our budget and have truly enjoy a place I could have had only in my dreams! Of course, we’ve got a while to go BUT I would not change it for the world. I walk or visit the beautiful mile of white quartz sand everyday. I’ve lost almost 40 ponds bc of therapy and life changes due to knee replacements…got more to lose, but that will be history all too soon!
So, my dear inspirational travelers, there are setbacks, problems, joys and triumphs along this long road we’ve taken…THATS LIFE!!! We’ll be back on the road soon and teally don’t know where we will be, but the nagging need to know will always be present … but learning to deal with uncertainty can be rewarding! BRAVO TO US VAGABONDS!
A wonderful success story, despite many obstacles along the way! Thanks so much for sharing it!
Great post, I agree with all of your suggestions, and reading all of these comments just makes it even more clear….Change is hard, but so worthwhile. We are just over one year into our fulltiming journey. We have made all of the typical mistakes, even though we were warned, and are still planning to make some again! We are trying new things (we thought the sight seeing lifestyle wasn’t for us so we are camp hosts this summer) and we are weighing our options. What is it that we really want to do? But, the hardest part is now that my husband’s parents are having serious health issues, and while there are two other siblings near by them to help, we feel an obligation to be of assistance back home. It is tearing me up a bit inside. And to make it worse, the home town is NOT RV friendly, and the options are expensive and limited, traffic is horrible and well, we just don’t really like it there. So, after reading this post, you have convinced me to create a good routine that is based on what makes us happy and that life is not all roses and unicorns. There is just going to be some stuff we have to do that we don’t like.
Final words: YOU ARE THE BEST. I love your responses to comments and how much you give back to your followers. We are so lucky to have you for inspiration. Thank you so much.
Ah yes, the aging parents. That is NOT an easy thing to deal with. We’ve wrangled on and off with that for many years ourselves, and there’s no single right answer. We’ve done what we could, within the limits of what we were willing (mentally and physically), to spend as much time as possible with family while still tending to our own needs and happiness. It’s terrible that the answer is not an easy one, but that’s life. Always a balance, always something you want to do more of, always something you have to sacrifice, always something that tugs at your heart. I hope you find a balance that works for you…I know it’s not easy.
And thank you for the lovely compliment too 🙂
Bob McLean says
Although a “move to Europe” is in no way in our plans, it’s fun to read your take on the whole endeavour. Now, I have to admit, the passing interest is partly as a result of us having “been there, done that”, a few years back.
However, the big difference was, this was an “Ex-Pat” assignment, and we essentially had the best of both worlds, since we kept our house here in Canada, invited the “kids” to move back home (they’re now middle aged adults, and they’ve since moved out after our return) while we first moved to The Netherlands, and after a little more than a year, on to Vienna, Austria where we stayed for another three and half years. While there were certain arrangements that had to be made on this side of the pond, like visas and such, we had the help of relocation services for both moves.
I’m truly impressed by your ability to do it all on your own. Kudos.
Good to be “home” again though, as we a now continuing our lives as “pensioners”, to use an old term.
Best of luck in all you do.
When we moved to Hong Kong back in the day we did it as “expats” too and it was definitely easier with all the help we had (literally zero worries about the move, or visas and such). This has been more of a challenge, no doubt…and we’ve got many more months to go with truly sorting everything out. All part of the “transition” 🙂
Cynthia Blaylock says
Fabulous post Nina. I have found transitions to be tough too – the grass often looks greener on the other side, but you do have to water it! About 16 years ago we moved a very short distance (only about 14 miles) from a house with a 180 degree ocean view to another beach town where our home is a bit inland and has no ocean view. We moved because the ocean-view house was on 3 levels and I was worried sick that our infant grandson (who we watched one day a week) would fall down a set of stairs and hurt himself. Plus, I knew as we aged that all those stairs would make it difficult to maintain and get around that house. So, we opted for a beach-close house with a big kid-friendly back yard. For the first 6 months in this new house, I cried and had panic attacks wondering what in the hell we had done. Gradually, as we got involved with neighbors, and when our son and DIL and two grandsons bought a house only 2.3 miles from us, I grew to love this house and neighborhood. My grandsons have ridden their bikes to our house and raided my pantry for cookies for over a decade now and we have had many great memories here. I’ve learned that it isn’t so much “where” you are, but “who” you’re with that contributes to happiness.
Wow, it’s like you were watching my first year as a vagabond. I’m sharing this with people who are just starting their RV or other transitions, so they know they aren’t crazy either. Thank you so much for the obvious time and thought you put into this post. It’s so good to see someone as experienced as you with transitions still has the “OMG, what did I do?” feeling!
Always educational to read your posts when you tell us about your experiences. Thank you for that. Pair of powerhouses, you two!
This post says it all…wonderfully written!
I’m retiring in less than three months, so this post and these comments couldn’t be more timely and relevant to me! I love the suggestion about writing down all of the day to day work frustrations to help avoid/manage the nostalgia described above. I have been looking forward to this for SOO long, but I know that I will experience all of the “feels” as the last day approaches and during the months that follow until I hit my rhythm. (It doesn’t help that my bosses and co-workers are being so darn nice to me!) I will come back to this post on the difficult days and I know it will be comforting.
My husband and I love your blog. You have a wonderful voice, and we are so glad that you are still writing from Europe. We have tried a few of the campgrounds you reviewed and have found that you are spot on every time. We don’t plan to full time, but we do plan to get out in our rig more often and for longer trips with our eight paws (dog and cat). Like you, we will chase the good weather!
William Reed says
What a valuable blog! My wife and I decided about 3 years ago that we are going to retire to full-time RV’ing (Aug 2021). This blog will be read and re-read many times between now and then. The reality checks included here, and tools to battle the post-decision doubts will be in our mental tool box. Thank you!
In all the years that I have been reading your blog posts, I’ve appreciated your insights, beauty, reflections and tangible takeaways so much. And at the right moments, you have the right words … always!
Thank you – Imkelina
Barbara Dewell says
Sometimes the only mistake is not taking the chance, not making the move, staying in place doing what isn’t important to you or exciting anymore. I remember once I made a huge change. Moved from San Diego into the woods in Georgetown, CA, staying free in an old, tiny, moldy house, overseeing some property. Dark and scary at night, some ex-cons had just been released back into the neighborhood I was living in, and they were said to have stolen a bunch of guns from a friend of mine. I was scared to death.
I made a few calls – my son said moving wasn’t a mistake, it was a change I needed to make and maybe not the end of the change, maybe now that I was there, I should look for my OWN house. Next call was to my ex-husband who came right up to stay with me, and on the weekend we went out and found me my own house where I lived happily. Georgetown wans’t a mistake, just a stepping stone to the right place.
So that’s how I look at my “changes” now. If it doesn’t work out, step to the next stone. Maybe it’s the right one.
Very insightful comment, Barbara. Sometimes big life changes are merely stepping stones. We may not have found the exact place we’re “meant to be”, but we’re on our way there. Thanks for sharing.
Lisa Cantrell says
Good story. Like the line from the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel : ” Everything will be all right in the end. If it’s not all right, it is not yet the end. “