The original title I cam up with for this post was “Ask questions, Shut up and listen”. Its was a pretty crude title, intended more as a reminder to myself than a message to others. On the other hand, if you are anything like me and feel inclined to add your 2 cents to a story, then that title might be ok for you as well.
Being full time in an RV, one of the greatest benefits I have recognized is the access to new people who are living incredible lives. Being around so many experienced full-timers benefits me in that that they have “been there and done that”. This is a huge advantage to us as newbies in that we can learn from their mistakes and successes, if we take the time to listen and learn!
I consider anyone who is retired and traveling the country in a safe and comfortable RV a winner at the game of life. These people figured out the receipt to achieve a beautiful, simple and fulfilling existence. And guess what, they will tell you how they did it if you ask! Whether in their 20’s or 70’s, if they have been at it for a while they know things you don’t and are willing to share their knowledge.
The Campground that we have been at for the past several months is a 55 and over community. We were granted a waiver to be campers here and I believe are the only couple below 55. The folks here are retired. We have met several people who have side hustles for extra pocket money but for the most part everyone wakes up and entertains themselves all day. The boss and I are still working and will be for a few more months so we have a bit less time to settle into our new fulltime day to day.
The access to information on successful fulltime work and travel is all around us if we take the time and effort to tap into it.
ASK your neighbors and those you meet questions.
These folks have experience that I have yet to acquire. They are willing to share their adventures, trials and tribulations, They will brag on their successes and reminisce on their failures. I have yet to meet a person in our campground who doesn’t jump at the chance to tell the story of selling it all and hitting the road full time. As a relatively young couple on the road, I find that my elders are quick to offer solicited advice on any topic I ask about. They seem to do this in a mentoring way, never preachy or all-knowing. It’s usually in the format of “this is what we did and this is how it turned out”. What wonderful wells of knowledge are all around you in an RV park or campground!
Image from http://www.incidentalcomics.com/
Effective listening is a skill. Listening is not the same as hearing!
My biggest obstacle in soaking in all of this information is shutting up. After all, the boss and I now have a story to tell (and it’s getting more interesting by the day). The problem is: we can’t hear if we are talking. We don’t process information well if we are trying to figure out what we are going to say next. A huge secret to learning new things from others is to not be in a hurry to share your opinion or experience. You already know what you know and think, take in what others have to offer. You don’t have to accept it as fact or even as being correct. Take in the stories of others, you just might hear something that saves you much pain in your future travels.
Another realization I have had is that some folks just don’t care to hear your story. You asked them a question, now simply listen to what they have to tell you. Not to imply that everyone is inconsiderate or uncaring but if you have asked someone a question or solicit their advice, they are put in a teacher’s’ role, when they begin to teach you must become a student. In order to do that you need to be seen and not heard. Less talk more about listening.
The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention.
–Rachel Naomi Remen-
Look at issues from their perspective. Let go of preconceived ideas. By having an open mind we can more fully empathize with the speaker. If the speaker says something that you disagree with then wait and construct an argument to counter what is said but keep an open mind to the views and opinions of others.
The stories that I have been told….. Camphosting mishaps, guiding four-wheelers in Alaska, a tour guide on a train, driving tour buses, receiving guests from cruise ships, ranch hands, arts and crafts sellers, antiquers, roadside breakdowns, getting stuck on forest roads, nearly freezing to death in an RV, animal encounters….. On and on.
Look at issues from their perspective. Let go of preconceived ideas. By having an open mind we can more fully empathise with the speaker. If the speaker says something that you disagree with then wait and construct an argument to counter what is said but keep an open mind to the views and opinions of others.
The stories that I have been told….. Camphosting mishaps, guiding fourwheelers in Alaska, a tour guide on a train, driving tour buses, receiving guests from cruise ships, ranch hands, arts and crafts sellers, antiquers, roadside breakdowns, getting stuck on forest roads, nearly freezing to death in an RV, animal encounters….. On and on.
Our goal in setting out on our RV adventure to was to live life well and experience more of what the world has to offer. The folks around us here at the campground set out on this same path. Many of them have traveled that path for years and are full of tales of adventure and excitement. I feel very grateful that they are willing to share some of these with me.
Ask questions, Stop Talking, Listen.
The internet is a big place, thank you for stopping by our little corner! Please let us know what you think, share your comments, concerns and questions with us. Its nice to know that people care!