Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: What’s Your Plan for Living in the 21st Century?

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April 27, 2011

We want to live smaller, cleaner, leaner, easier, and freer. Do you? Perhaps  you’re in a season of life where living like that seems appealing.  Or maybe you agree that 21st century America seems quite  different from the last decades of the 20th century…and that we’re coming to a time and place where less is more?

 With those things in mind, maybe you’re considering downsizing to an RV or a much smaller home or condo. We are.

  Here are three reasons reducing the weight of 21st century basic living appeals to us. Maybe you’ll be able to relate to one of them:

1)      Our home is starting to feel like an obstacle rather than a source of joy. My husband and I are not who we used to be: we’re freer, funnier, wilder, lazier, and goofier. Quite often, these traits don’t support the thrills of home ownership, if you get my my drift. For us, the pride of owning a home is melting away like dirty snow on a hot spring day. It’s kind of like we’re reverting to our 20’s,  when we had less responsibility, more fun and an “all things are possible” attitude. The “ new us” ought to work just dandy from a smaller, more manageable vantage point.

2)      The USA is changing. In some ways, it’s disconcerting, but it some ways, maybe it’s better. Those years of exorbitant spending on houses, weddings, children’s parties, and rewards for simply doing the right thing (like graduating from kindergarten or high school or getting decent grades) seem to be over, and I for one, am glad. I admit I got caught up in  it, too, but I don’t miss it. As a nation, and perhaps as a people, we ‘ve gotten in over our heads. Downsizing in many ways seems healthy and relevant.

3)       Maybe the reason we exist is to make life better for others. If that’s your personal truth, as it is mine, getting rid of stuff, homes, etc. can free us to that end. Instead of being bound to our home, might we go out into the world and somehow serve others? Some can do that and maintain a home…it just overwhelms us.

What I’ve come to is: “Will living out of a much smaller space with less stuff decrease our happiness?  Just as one might ask, “Will having lots of space with with lots of stuff increase our happiness?” For us, both answers are “no.” Space does not equal joy for me.

 To me, it comes down to being authentic and intentional about our own  lives. What works for one person may not work for another. One can take great pleasure in the many wonderful aspects of home ownership; the same pleasure and joy I’ve experienced over the years. Some folks are certain that home ownership is what they’re called to for many reasons, and the thought of roaring around like maniacs on mission trips terrorizes them with night sweats.  At one time home ownership thrilled me, so I do get it. Now,  the thought of mission trips or similar forms of service does. We change.

 I’m finding that what really matters is the security and peace that comes from knowing our authentic selves and how to respond to our lives with intentionality, rather than a sense of “This is how it’s supposed to be done because this is how it’s supposed to be done.”

Is downsizing to an RV, small home, or condo right for you? Is caring for your lovely home  rewarding to you and your family right now?  Is RVing, part or full-time right for you? Only you can know. I wish you the all the prayers,  fun, and conversations we’re having as we figure all of this out. The intentional life is a life worth living.

 Happy Tales to you and yours,


 PS If you want to read some interesting observations on a similar topic, check out Tom Shadyac’s story, as recently seen on Oprah.  He addresses two vital questions: What’s wrong with our world and what can we do about it?

Leave a Reply


  1. Patti Faustini

    Hi Marly, and how wonderful to hear from you. I love the idea of following Habitat for Humanity in your RV. It makes perfect sense. And yes , Flower Power is calling! Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us. Wait, I think I stole that from church, not my college years!

    Happy tales, Patti

  2. Marly

    As a (youngish) boomer retiree, I am thinking about doing a North American RV tour by following a series of Habitat for Numanity projects. It seems to me this would be a great way to spend my time while travelling and chance to get to know the local communities as we travel.

    We have already downsized our home and have been “snowbirding” for five years. I think this would generate some great memories. As a refugee of the Flower Power generation, I am wondering what happened to the ideals that we held so dear in those heady days of 1968-1970. Maybe to borrow a comment from Patti, maybe some of us are reverting to our 20’s.

  3. Patti Faustini

    Thanks Corey, and it’s great hearing from you! I love your reference to contentment as an “art.” I hadn’t thought about it like that, but there’s a lot of truth to that.

    Happy Tales to you and yours,


  4. Corey

    Wow…thanks for the article Patti! I think you hit the nail on the head. I think more and more of us are realizing that the rampart consumerism that we have engaged in for so long is killing us. “Stuff” can’t make us happy, and a life revolving around possessing “things” is empty. Contentment is a forgotten art, and I want to get it back! Let’s find happiness in family, friends, and the lifelong adventures!