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Senior Correspondent

The post from a week or so ago, "Where Do I Go From Here?" generated a treasure trove of post ideas from you. I have reviewed every comment and made a tally of the responses. In all, 28 different topics or approaches were suggested, every one of them a good fit for this satisfying retirement blog. I have already revised my schedule of posts for March and early April to deal with the ideas that seemed most in demand, but I am likely to use all of the suggestions at some point in time.

A little surprisingly, posts about RV travel was the number one request. Folks want to know about the trips Betty, Bailey, and I are taking. There is interest in how daily life changes while traveling in a motor home. What are the expenses and pitfalls of RV ownership as well as the joys and positive experiences? Why did we decide to spend the money on something that sits unused for the majority of the year?

I need to make one comment early on: RV travel and lifestyle issues will not be taking over this retirement blog. It is just one part of what may make your retirement journey more fulfilling. Or, maybe not. You may have zero interest in driving around in a 25,000 pound vehicle that gets 9 miles to the gallon and has lots of maintenance issues.

So, don't fear. All the other stuff you say you like will continue to be written about and posted. RV-oriented information will remain a small part of the overall mix, with one exception. In April we will be taking a trip lasting most of the month. While on the road, by necessity, there will be more focus on the trip and our experiences. But, even then I plan on addressing other subjects that interest and concern you.

So, back to the subject today: How is my lifestyle different when in the RV and away from home? In some ways, not at all. The cell phone and laptop get almost as much use as they do at home. Since most campgrounds offer WiFi service I can continue to answer comments on this blog, pay bills, read and answer e-mail, watch streaming movies, or catch up on what is going on in the world.

Bedtime still tends to be around the same time. Just like at home, I make sure the doors and windows are locked, the curtains are drawn, and the furnace is set to maintain a pleasant overnight temperature. The night light in the bathroom is turned on, Bailey curls up between us, and it is lights out. We have found campgrounds are very quiet so we have only been awakened by high winds or a rain storm, not by noisy campers.

First thing in the morning the dog needs to go outside. Without a doggie door one of us must accompany her. Letting her out without a lease is not an option. But, then usually we can all go back to sleep so we do tend to get up later than at home.

In a major difference from our normal routine, the structure of the rest of the day really depends on what we decide to do. Some days are spent with no agenda. We will walk or hike around the camping area, sit in folding chairs under a tree, read, nap when sleepy, eat when hungry, and talk when feeling chatty. Betty might edit some photos while I work on a blog post or edit my next book.

At other times we want to explore the area so we will pack things up (it takes about 10 minutes) and go wherever we want. At the end of the day, we're back at the camp site, hooked up, and ready for the evening.

We eat simply, making clean up quick. Betty will prepare several meals ahead of time so something just needs to be defrosted and put in the oven or microwave. With no dishwasher or disposal we use paper plates more often and choose meals that don't generate a lot of garbage. Our slow cooker was a perfect addition to our rolling kitchen. Start something first thing in the morning and the smells fill the air all day long.

When we do finally get home, there is about an hour invested in emptying the trash and refrigerator, then sweeping and wiping down the kitchen, bathroom, and dining area. I check the various levels in the engine, make sure everything is locked, and walk back into my normal life.

For me, the biggest change is the freedom I feel from my regular routine. Even though many of things I do are the same, for some reason I feel almost no time pressure. The day seems much longer. Keeping 240 square feet neat and picked up is a lot easier than than almost 1800 square feet at home (did we really once keep 3200 sq ft clean?). Being in nature means I tend to move more slowly and breathe more deeply. I am more relaxed. I worry less. I enjoy life more.

I don't know why I am not that way at home. I can't explain what happens that makes me feel truly, fully retired. But, whatever the magic is that happens when we are rolling down the road, I am loving it and want the feeling to continue. 

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