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The Flip Side Of Full Timing…Feeling The Disconnect

Sunset On The Pacific Ocean

Whether you have been full timing for a while like us, are new to full timing or are still in the research phase, the following video, we feel may be relevant to all. While most people think about the travel and the adventure and visiting places on your bucket list, there is another side to full timing that is most often not talked about and ignored. By that I mean the disconnection you may feel from your family, friends and a community. A disconnection that can sometimes lead to depression.

For us, we did not consider this when we were looking to travel full time. We both grew up in one area of the country. Most of our family is in this one area of the country. Our friends we grew up with are all in this one area. When we left this area to travel full time, to get “Outside Our Bubble”, we were good for a while. Seeing new things and experiencing new things. New cultures, new foods, meeting new people.

I won’t go into to much detail here because I feel what David says in the video says it all. I did not know he was making this video but once I saw it, we both knew it had to go online and be said publicly. He wears his heart on his sleeve and I love him for that. He is honest and a good man and I am glad that we found each other 22+ years ago. We have both been there for each other in good times and hard times and I could not have picked a better partner to travel down the road with and have our various adventures.

We wanted to put this video out there to show that traveling full time is not all hearts and rainbows. Cupcakes and puppy dogs. Unicorns and, hummm, whatever. There is another side to full timing. The “disconnect” that some of us may feel. We hope this video helps paint a larger, more complete picture of the full timing lifestyle by mentioning something you may have not thought about if looking to go full-time.

Thank You for watching.

44 thoughts on “The Flip Side Of Full Timing…Feeling The Disconnect

  1. Frances Gaudsmith

    I understand. Have been full-timing for almost 2 years now. Just traveled for 3 months away from my home base but had my brother and sister-in-law with me. Now that they have gone home, I’m feeling that disconnect. I still love traveling and love my motorhome, but I do miss that connection you are speaking of. It is a real part of this life we’ve chosen. Thank you for speaking honestly about it.

  2. alfred barone jr

    Really hit home David thanks for doing the video.We are not full timers but 4 hours from family and grandchildren and we do visit for a week at a time every month or so but also feel the disconnect when we leave.In process of selling our home now to move back closer to family.I see and have talked to you last few years in emerald coast rv beach resort hope to see you there this year we are there March & April

  3. Flora

    David,
    Thank you so much for your insightful, heartfelt, honest and thoughtful video. I can see that it is very emotional for you to share and, I agree, a topic that does really need to be considered by those going to full time. In fact, that is the very thing that has kept us from giving up our S&B. We live in SW Pennsylvania where we raised our family and still have many friends. We are a couple of decades older than you and Brenda, and it becomes harder to leave the security of family, friends, doctors, etc. as we age. Our sons both live on the west coast, and if we make a move at all, it will be to be closer to one of them (which we are actually now considering). We want to continue the RV lifestyle as long as we are able, but realistically know that it is as limited as our physical capabilities. When we first got our RV, we were ready to “sell it all” and embark upon the nomadic life. After a few years, while we still love the travel and the life, we’ve come to see what you are seeing. The sense of home, family and friends is deep within us. The challenge is how to find the balance. I think you’ve taken the first step, which is to realize that you are out of balance. I know you will figure it out!

  4. Jill

    David,
    You are the first person to acknowledge the separation from community in all of the blogs I follow.

    My husband and I plan to “part-time/full-time” when he retires in a couple of years and this is something we have thought about. How will we feel being away from our family, friends and church for an extended period of time. For this reason we are going to start out our full time adventure for 6-8 months at a time. Then some time at home reconnecting.

    Hopefully this will work for us. In the interim we will continue our short adventures.

    Thank you so much for your heartfelt message.

  5. Ed Quinteros

    Very good video. My wife & I have talked about full timing but your comments have given me something I haven’t considered if we were to sell our home & fulltime. We currently are on the road about two weeks a month and one big three month trip every two years to visit my wife’s family in South Texas. David your comments were heartfelt and right on point. This will help us in deciding to full time or continue as we currently travel on the road.

    Thanks again Ed Quinteros

  6. Roy Bertalotto

    Great video……You got this!…I’m not full timing and never will. My hobbies require a machine shop, a wood working shop, a welding shop, a garden……And grandkids keep me in a brick and sticks…But that said, when I retire next year you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be wintering in Quartzite, Texas, Florida and any other place warm! I think folks that go full timing should not look at it as an end all. They should plan financially to land somewhere when the “fun” of FTing wears off…I think just having a “plan” will forestall some of this “road depression”….But like I said, “You Got This”….I’m sure you’ll figure it out and feel fine! God Bless! (BTW…Love my under $100 WiFi Booster setup!!!)

  7. Susan Fucci

    You are not alone in feeling the disconnect. I think it is our nature as humans to want to connect with others (We have been banding together in various types groups for centuries.) My husband and I have lived at least a full day’s drive or more from our families for over 40 years. The decision 2 years ago to full-time gives us the opportunity to satisfy our desire to travel as well as see family & friends that are scattered across the US more than we did in the past. The flip side though is that we feel we need a place that is stable for medical care, to address any repair/maintenance issues with our coach, recharge after being on the road for 6 months or so, and feel the grounding you talk about. A place that is familiar. We choose to do that in a warm climate (i.e. Florida).

    Our issue now is getting our family to understand our chosen lifestyle. That no matter where we are it is home for us and they shouldn’t hesitate about visiting us as if we were in a traditional sticks & bricks.

  8. Vicki

    You put into words they way I’ve been feeling the last few weeks. My husband and I have been full-timing since 2014 and couldn’t understand why I’ve been feeling so down. Listening to your video opened my eyes to what I’ve been missing – the connection to road that I can drive with my eyes closed and family and friends who ground me. Thanks for your honesty and courage to publish this post.

  9. Kristi Silver

    BRAVO, David! I felt that lump in your throat over the internet. Although we don’t full time, I still get that feeling of disconnect, and it’s horrible. Call it homesick, call is disconnect, whatever you call it, it’s not good. Thankfully Jim understands it. He’s given me a “get outta here & fly home whenever” pass that helps me mentally deal with the feeling. I’ve used it once and it was great. Just knowing it’s there is awesome.
    I commend you for this non-your-normal-video! It’s a powerful message. Friends & family are priceless!
    Good show! And thank you!!!!

  10. Kim Nowell

    David,

    You just do not know how much this video meant. I am so thankful right now that you opened your heart to all of us and made this video. Well needed for me (and Im sure alot of others) as we are physically now preparing to hit the road. Ive been praying and praying about this same issue and hubby does not have this issue (like Brenda). Wow, it just helped so much. Its an answer to prayer because I was not sure how to handle the disconnect I know Im going to feel being so close to my children and family. The suggestion of having the home base and come back for a few months at a time is a great idea. I can sense some “disconnect” in people in their videos, but they never express it or how to deal with it and you are the first to just open up and discuss this. We all need to hear the good and the negative. Thank you so much. We wish you the best as you leave, Happy Birthday and please continue to share this with us because there are people who need suggestions like this.

  11. Rob and Rosica

    Thanks for bringing that disconnect up. We are lucky that we have already done that disconnect just by moving from SA to USA. So we are very well prepared. Wish we could get into RV traveling sooner then later. But planning this new life is super exciting.
    Love to hear about what telephone service you use on the road etc etc. love to hear anything that helps. Thanks for all the input so far

  12. Jim

    Dave, thanks for sharing this post. And you’re not alone in your feelings and the impact “disconnection” can have on one’s psyche. We’ve been full-timing about a year and we were, in part, inspired by your blog and website to begin full-timing! Thank you! Like you we have no regrets!

    We also realized soon after we began full-timing that we needed some strategies for staying more connected with friends and family. We developed two strategies that have helped: 1) We plan our travels in what we call our “Figure 8” – with Denver “our former home” being at the center. Mother nature often has something to say about when we can be here but it has helped us stay more connected. And 2) like you and Brenda we bought a site at a Motorcoach Resort. Ours is on the Gulf Cost of Florida where we’ve made many new RV/Full-Timer connections and friends. The Motorcoach Resort is also a place that attracts our family and friends around the Winter holidays and so we will see more of them that we might have otherwise.

    Even so, we feel disconnected at times and ofter wonder how this will play our over the next several years. Again, thanks for having the courage to share and thanks also for being an honest and trustworthy source of all things about full-timing. Cheers and hope to meet you in person some day.

  13. Al B

    David,
    Your video could not have come at a better time. We have been on the road for almost two years and my wife and I are currently struggling with the emotional low of missing our family and friends. Thanks for the inspiring words. It’s nice to know we are not alone with our struggle.

  14. Ed Medina

    You guys do us all a great service and it is very much appreciated. We will be starting our travels very soon and look forward to all that you have shared.

  15. Marie

    David, thank you for the video. We currently have a home and family we come back to–we are snowbirds. Leaving friends and family for the winter is hard especially for my husband.

  16. technomadia

    You’re definitely NOT alone in your thoughts on this. It’s been a constant struggle for us in our 10 years on the road.

    It’s lead to bouts of depression, loneliness, angst, etc. That feeling of disconnect. We’ve tried, doing as you have here, to share about it too on our blog over the years and how our sense of community has evolved.

    It’s tough. Tough indeed not having that constant every day community. Those close to us physically change all the time. We’re constantly saying ‘until next time’ to those we love.

    At this point though, most our community is on the road – fellow travelers we’ve been blessed to connect with. The people we reconnect with in cities we frequent (not quite home bases, more like nomadic ports for us). Even travel with in slow little nomadic caravans (which helps a huge amount to bridge both desires for community and RVing). But when our paths separate, it’s tough and I always go through that feeling of disconnect for a while.

    I used to think that it would be lack of community that would end our nomadic travels. But these days, ending our nomadic travels would also put us back to starting over with community too.

    Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal.

  17. Craig Jacobsen

    David

    Wonderful video. You have “dared greatly” and will be better for it.

    “Daring Greatly (v.)
    The courage to be vulnerable,to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need, to talk about how you are feeling, to have hard conversations.” Brene Brown

  18. Linda Johnson

    Great presentation (as always). We are coming from a bit of a different place. We have lived many places – moving every few years. Family consists of John’s sister and a few others in Iowa and a daughter in Dallas. I also have a cousin in Tucson. Our full timing affords us an opportunity to connect with friends from MN, CO, Iowa, TX, Arizona, and a few other places in addition to the travels (Alaska in 2015). I might suggest that we started from a place of disconnect given our many moves and after having lost our Son in 2009. Sometimes “home” is more a sentiment than a place.

  19. Susan

    Thanks David. Another great video. I’m a solo full timer and sometimes I really feel the disconnect strongly. Especially at the holidays. But, I was thinking too, that maybe turning 50 has been a bit of a downer for you too. However, it’s all relative, because I’d be happy to go “back” to 50! Kudos for doing the video.

  20. David

    Thanks David for sharing your heart.

    I totally agree with you about the home base.
    I really want to cut and run when I retire next year and we will probably take some extended travel time.
    Full timing is not in the picture for several reasons.
    My spouse will not consider just full timing because she is more of a people person than I and more connected to our home property.
    We have lived here over 30 years. We have friends that go back that far.
    Plus our children and grandchildren.

    So my wanderlust will be tempered by the love of my life and my love for family.

    Best wishes,
    Another David

  21. Howard Hammerman

    David, we had the same feelings during our three years of full-timing. As an RV-er you always live in a temporary community. People you meet will move on soon. Or you will move on. As a full timer, you are even different from other RV-ers. We kept spending our winters at the Sun-N-Fun RV park in Sarasota. It was great, great, during the winter. And then in March or April our friends started leaving for their “real” homes. In addition to friends, we missed involvement in politics – we had no home base. Also we missed having our “own” doctors, dentists and place of worship. As friendly as people in the RV world are, the friendships are tenuous.
    We bought a house and sold the RV and now are part of a “real” community.
    Thanks for your thoughts. Great that you are so open.
    Howard Hammerman

  22. Michelle

    You definitely are not alone in feeling the disconnect. It is a source of depression for me also. My family is scattered all over the world and in all of my adult life I’ve never had any family close by. I’ve been thinking of having a few bases to spend a longer amount of time at to get connected. Great video. You said it all perfectly.

  23. John F

    Excellently stated.
    One additional thing to keep in mind is that some people can become disconnected while at home. As the world moves on we sometimes feel content to withdraw rather than spend the ‘effort’ to seek our past friends. On the road or at home the result is the same – disconnect. We have found it extremely beneficial to communicate with those we know, or knew. If nothing else we all laugh at that time when ….
    Thanks for your heartfelt insight.
    John & Deanna

  24. Tom

    Thanks David…..It was surely a moving and emotional video from your heart. It truly is a subject we don’t talk about a lot. My last trip alone, it was something that hit me as well and sparked a lot of self reflection. I’m glad to see others share their feelings as well. Take care and safe travels.

  25. Keith

    Interesting…and a bit surprising to my wife and I. When we made the decision to full time eleven years ago, we talked about being engaged, learning, and community. We began our full timing by volunteering at a National Wildlife Refuge where our eyes were opened to a new world of nature, where we made new lifelong friends, and where we established a sense of community. Since that first year, we’ve volunteered at refuges, nature preserves, and state parks, all the while increasing our knowledge, being challenged to learn more, and meeting and making new friends. We can honestly say that in eleven years neither of us has ever felt disconnected. The key to retirement, whether it’s living in a S&B or full timing is to continue to be engaged and to immerse yourself in community and purpose. Everyone’s different, and many people are content to sit around a fire and talk about the past. For us, next summer is another adventure learning new things, making new friends, and sampling new restaurants!

  26. Stefan

    Thank you for your honest talk. We are full timing now for 9 months only, and planning to do it for at least 2 years but as you said, the disconnect from family and friends/community is somethings we have not considered much before we left, even though we love the traveling part.

    We are planning to spend the winter in a snow birder RV park in AZ, partially to connect back with a “community”, then take off traveling again in spring.

    Since I mentioned this, we have not decided on a park yet. Does anybody have recommendations for a nice snow birder RV park near Phoenix or Tucson?

  27. Raymond Hays

    I think I can understand the feeling however from a different life style, that being Military. Yes I served over 21 yrs in the USCG and most of that time was Ice breaking my first ten years, and one tour on a High endurance cutter when I got married in 1979 to a wonderful woman who put up with the separations. We both began to feel the “Disconnect “when we were transferred to St Louis MO well she did because her family was in Seattle and my family was scattered across the country. You can say I got used to it. during our time in St Louis we probably saw her family twice and only for a week at a time. However my job in St Louis had me on the road over 250 days a year covering 18 different River Tenders in a 22 state area. this is where I felt the disconnect and I am sure my wife felt it also. We can say we were fortunate to have a “Church” family there so she was well taken care of while I was gone. After we retired in 1988 we moved back to Seattle area because her family seemed to be all I had. I didn’t feel disconnected. During this time we talked of seeing more of the country together but because of her health issues we had to put the breaks on that idea. in the time frame from 1994 – 2008 her family departed this plane of existence and finally My loving wife of 29 yrs “Walked on” 2 days before Thanksgiving 2008. leaving me with my one and only son. Everything did work together for the good, for in the spring of 2011 I met my current wife Karen over the internet. CBN Prayer line. we were finally married on Aug 31, 2012. it is now our dream to travel the country in a Motorhome and the dream is alive again. In our case we are looking at purchasing a Home to help take care of her Mother, and have a base to get around from. We pray the day will come soon for us to complete our dreams. We are looking forward to the time we can meet you and the other full timers we follow online. Thank you for the insight.

  28. Cullen King

    Appreciate your honesty. Not an easy video for you to make I’m guessing. Respect you a lot, David, for discussing this and the struggle your presently going through. Thank you. God bless you and I wish you a belated Happy Birthday!
    Cullen King
    Burr Ridge, Il.

  29. Linda Ludvigson

    Found this from a share on another FB page. I purchased a Class A RV a year ago, but only did local weekend travel to Tucson (hour away). Took inaugural trip in June for a week in CO and found my RV is too big for me and my 2 Chihuahuas. It’s up for sale now. As I look at other RV pages, I could never understand why people were so anxious to sell their S&B so they could full time. Personally, I would not want to do it. Sure, I want to see our great country and visit with my friends who are all over the US, but I can still do it and maintain ownership of my home. Maybe part of it is my +21 years in the Army and home being wherever I hung my hat. I like the option of traveling with a purpose and coming back to where I have chosen to hang my hat. Thanks for your perspective on RVing. Hope you have a Happy Birthday!

  30. Brenda briley

    It is opposite for me because my immediate family are scattered. Being full-time allows me to spend long periods of time with them. Right now I am with my 81 year old father and just got to see my son’s 8th child who was born Labor Day. If it weren’t for fulltiming I could not afford these trips from a home. My connections with family are much stronger now. I am dreading the day our health forces us to choose where to establish a home, and not be able to connect in person with all the family frequently.

  31. Lora

    Made me weep. I feel it too. Being a single travelor broke down waiting a week on the road for truck repairs…..searching for an honest mechanic…..I miss my support system of family and friends from home. But my new travel family with my online connections have saved me….This is the LIFE I CHOSE. I have no regrets. BUT…what you spoke of is very real…

    Like the bend of the road in our windshields—our adventures weave the strenghth of our character and this can only be fully appreciated by the view from our rearview mirror. Hands firmly on the steering wheel my friend, we are Not Alone.

  32. Rowdy Stowell

    Dave most awesome video. This has me wondering as we start our adventure in Oct 2016. Each coin has two sides. We live in Alaska and it has always felt like the biggest island you could live on. In 54 years here we have watched our friends and Family leave one by one. It is finally our turn to leave and start reconnecting with all those friends and family that have left. We will always have a home in Alaska but we yearn to see our friends and family again with out have to fly thousands of miles and days at a time. We hope to regain our sense of community through our travels. So it seems some comments tend to say that. Only time will tell. But you have me thinking, Rving was been something we have a lot of in Alaska and now cant wait to continue it off the island. I’ll keep you posted on how that goes in the future. thx again

  33. rafentersjr

    Thanks for sharing your heart-felt emotions and experiences. I am considering RVing but have held out, in part, because of the thoughts you expressed in this video. It is just so much appreciated how you seem to be so honest, kind and emotionally expressive! Thanks again and best wishes in your endeavor to find peace and harmony. I know you will!!

  34. Kelly

    First time visiting your blog – saw it on FaceBook. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject. I am getting ready to post my Year 2 summary and I talk a bit about the things you have discussed in this video, it was nice to hear your perspective. Hope you don’t mind but I may link this in my blog – I think it is especially important coming from a mans point of view b/c most men don’t talk about such things. Thanks again! I’m going to follow now!

  35. Ralph Cox

    Thank you David. So thoughtful of you to post something like this topic. We are not full timers yet but we are semi-retiring in February 2017 and moving from California to Arizona. Leaving behind
    2 brothers, a sister and all their respective spouses. My wife will be leaving a brother. We are the only generation remaining. We are also leaving our very best of friends. However, our feeling of leaving is different as we have 4 grandsons. 2 live in Idaho and 2 live in Texas. So we now feel a great disconnect feeling now as we are so far from them. We will make Arizona our home, we will work a couple more years and when it gets hot we will full time for 4-5 months to see the grandsons. We will return to Arizona with the snowbirds.

  36. Elken Bendana

    David,

    Your video helped me so much! I am a graduate of RV-Dreams class of 2014, and was feeling like the class “dropout” We sold our home and finally “launched” July 2015, and by April 2016 I was feeling so disconnected that we bought an RV lot in Salt Springs FL and built a new home in Flagler Beach, and Ive decided to go back to work. I think it was too much change at once….I am an extreme people person and just as I was connecting/making a new “friend” either we or they would move on. Your video helped me realize I am not alone in my feelings. For now, we will be using the RV as a “getaway” and vacation spot….I am thinking after a few more years at a “daily grind” I’ll be ready for travel adventure round two. I am glad that we went “all in” and sold the home, it allowed me to morph into a “full-timer” mindset….I had a dream and I lived it, which let me find out I neeed to make some changes for it to feel right for me. If you ever make it to Flagler Beach or Ocala area, please give me a shout! I’d love to meet you😊

  37. scottlindarv

    David, you are not alone. We just went back ‘home’ for the month of August, and when I arrived, I felt so calm and happy, and when we left again, it wasn’t like the first time leaving, it was different- that disconnect. Many emotions. But our experiences are our own, there are not emotions you are ‘supposed’ to have. Really, it’s all part of journey isn’t it. Thanks for talking about it.

  38. James jensen

    Interesting and great video David… My wife and I have been full timing it for 3 years now and we don’t have that feeling of disconnect of family and friends. We have visited lots of our friends that we haven’t seen in years…Just last night we visited some friends we have in NC and haven’t seen them in 13 years. It was great to reconnect with them…We have friends all over the country. I had a job that move us around the country. My wife’s family is in Iowa and Virginia and mine is in Arizona, NV and California. We have many friends in AZ where we lived the last 15 years. So we mix up our time between visiting friends and seeing the sites that we missed working for 50 yrs….
    We love this life still…

    Jim

  39. mary

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve found it helpful and thought provoking. Something for us to consider as me move forward with our plans to travel. I feel that we’ve been very blessed with close friends and family that we would like to see more often and they’re only a few hours away now.

  40. Mike S.

    Hi David, Thanks for doing this post and all of your posts, you have thought me so much about motorhome life. While my wife and I are not full timers yet, I was traveling in the motorhome for about 4 months and she was with me for about 2 months and we were with friends at many places and traveling with friends as well – it still happened to me. At about 3 months I felt this funk and it got worse over the next few weeks. It wasn’t until I got to a gathering of long time good friends in the SF Bay Area for a weekend, that I realized the disconnect from my home routines and my friends was getting to me – I was missing my community. We are only 1 year into owning a 40′ motorhome and absolutely love it and the freedom it gives us, but I now know there is a shadow side to the freedom and I’m not alone, thank you for sharing. Being able to put words to it and knowing I’m not crazy is a relief and having the awareness now, I know there are some things I can do to mitigate it. I do love the freedom and sense of adventure that comes from being able to travel in a motorhome… Safe travels, Mike

  41. Sue A Curran

    Isn’t it great when you bare your soul and tell it like it is! Nothing like vulnerability and honesty to get your message across and to move people in a meaningful way. Great video; I totally understand your feelings and sentiments on the value of having a home base. My husband and I are privileged to know David and Brenda personally and consider them more like family than friends. We are so proud of David for making this important, honest, open and heartfelt video on a topic that many folks may not initially consider when yearning to live the “full time” lifestyle. We wholeheartedly agree that having a home base gives you a sense of roots and belonging and can be healthy and comforting even when you’re on the road traveling. We are just so happy that they chose Southwoods RV Resort to call home. You are “family” and have many friends here who would truly miss you both if you were ever to leave, so let’s just not think about that anymore! This guy is a deep, sensitive and generous man who’s lot in life is to “give” to others. Brenda is the perfect compliment to David and is a sweet, loving, kind and supportive woman. We are truly lucky to have them as part of the Southwoods family. Enjoy your travels everyone but remember that “Home is Where Your Heart Is” and it’s good to have a place where your heart feels at home!

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