Back to Back Issues Page
The Frugal RV Traveler Newsletter, Issue #004---Emotional Challenges
December 28, 2010

The Holiday Season - Terrific or Terrifyingly Depressing?

For RVers on the road at this time of year it can be be either, depending on your frame of mind.

While many RVers are happy to be rid of the traditional rituals, obligations, excesses, and expenses of the Christmas season, being away from home and family at this time of year usually still triggers some difficult emotions.

Let's face it, the holidays are only one of many unique emotional challenges faced by those of us who have chosen the extended or full-time travel lifestyle.

Recently, prompted by a letter from a reader, I decided to tackle the subject that few of us really talk about. It becomes today's topic:

Today's Topic: The Emotional Challenges of a Full-Time or Extended Travel Lifestyle.

I started with some personal soul searching. The first thing I had to admit was that, the times when my relationship with Randy suffers the greatest stress levels, most often occurs while traveling. I realized that, while I tend to address the "pros" of RV travel on my web site, I've been reluctant to talk about just how bad it can get.

Hence, this new web page, where I share some of my personal challenges and solutions. I've also attempted to list some of the emotional challenges that I think are unique to RVers and possible reasons behind them.

I'd like to know if you agree, disagree, or have anything to add. And, at the bottom of the web page, I invite a dialogue on this topic - a place where we can correspond with each other - comparing our situations and feelings, offering support, understanding, and yes, maybe even share some tips and advice for those who are emotionally discouraged with the RVing lifestyle because of emotional issues. I've started with a comments section on the web page but, if there's enough interest, perhaps we could turn it into a forum discussion group.

Ontario Boondocking

In my last newsletter, I reported that I was heading out on my first-ever solo RV trip. I spent a month on the road early this summer, traveling around Ontario and, to my own amazement, was able to find boondocking and avoid paying for camping most nights. It's not as easy as it is in the southwestern states, but I found that, being persistent, and asking locally, almost always paid off.

Yes, Ontario is generally expensive but there are many, many worthwhile affordable attractions. My home province is also BIG and I quickly realized it will take me several years to check out the many possibilities and scenic routes for myself so, the end result, The Affordable Ontario Guide, is still a project that I'm committed to but it will be a few years in the making.

California Dreamin'

Our plan for six months of travel through California and points west (delayed from 2010) is again taking shape. We plan to start in the California desert, travel the east side of The Sierras, the coastal highway, and then head into the mountains and northern California as the summer warms up. Yes, there will be a lot of miles involved!

Several people have asked how safe it will be to find boondocking in California since the recent economic situation has forced many homeowners onto the streets and, perhaps, to live in tents on public land. I'd like to think that, just because someone has lost their job or home, they have not necessarily taken up a life of crime. Twenty-four-year old Briana, living in a trailer in a Wal-Mart parking lot, may be a better example of what's really happening in California recently. Who knows, perhaps we'll even come across opportunities to share our knowledge or something else of benefit. We'll see for ourselves how safe California boondocking seems to be and report back to you.

We plan to be on the road by March 1st so don't forget to subscribe to my RSS feed or drop by my blog page frequently, because we'll be posting updates about our adventures whenever we can.

New - Especially for French Canadians

(English translation below)

Si le bilinguisme fait la fierté des Canadiens, je ne dois pas être une très bonne Canadienne. Mais, attention, j’ai beaucoup d’amis Canadiens-français. À leur suggestion et, à l’aide d’une traductrice professionnelle et un éditeur chevronné, je peux maintenant offrir une première édition française d’un Guide voyage pour ceux qui préfèrent éviter l’autoroute tout en économisant (en anglais : Frugal Shunpiker’s Guide). En effet, le guide voyage ‘Boondocking dans le sud du Texas’ est maintenant disponible en français!

Selon la demande, je considérerai traduire tous mes autres guides qui seront alors disponibles dans les deux langues officielles du Canada… finalement, à bien y penser, pas si mal que ça, la Canadienne!

If being Canadian means being bi-lingual, I'm not a very good one BUT I do have several French Canadian friends. At their suggestion and, with the help of an expert translator and professional French editor, I am now able to offer the first French version of a Frugal Shunpiker's Guide. RV Boondocking in Southern Texas is now available "en francaise".

If there is sufficient demand, we'll translate all my boondocking guides into both of Canada's official languages. Maybe I'm not such a bad Canadian, after all - EH?! :-))

Frugal Finds

Are you taking advantage of "price matching?"
A Canadian web site
offers tips on how it's done and a list of Canadian stores that offer price matching.

Both USA and Canadian residents can take the work out of bargain hunting at Many stores offer price protection policies -- when the price drops on an item you've recently purchased, they'll refund you the difference. But there's a catch... it's up to you to watch prices. This web site does it for you. Another feature on the same web site, Deal Alerts, takes the work out of bargain hunting, flyer reading, and coupon searching. Just enter a few keywords and you'll be notified by email when your item is on sale at one of the more the 160 major retailers listed.

How To Get Your Travel Insurance Claim Paid:
For Canadians heading south of the border for the winter months, here is a "must read" before you choose and purchase your travel insurance. It's written by a Canadian gal, formerly a claims examiner for insurance companies.

Now you can easily locate a thrift store no matter where you're traveling. Access a national thrift store directory, search by city or zip code, join an online thrifting community, and learn more about thrift shopping at

An Important Reminder to Purchasers of the Frugal Shunpiker's Guides to RV Boondocking

Recently, I sent out a free update for the Furgal Shuniker's Guide, RV Boondocking in New Mexico. Several of the email addresses I sent it to seem to have bounced back so, if you purchased that guide and did not receive the recent update, please contact me. If you have purchased any of my boondocking guides and wish to receive your free updates, please remember to advise me of any change in your email address.

Do You Like It? - The New Look and Feel of my Website?

Since the last newsletter, you may have noticed the updated new look of my web site. Although serving its purpose, I thought a bit of a face lift was in order - a project which, despite my lack of computer skills, I was able to tackle on my own with lots of free guidance from the freindly forums at SBI.

After four years, I'm still quite pleased with my decision to use SBI and recommend it to anyone wanting to start a successful, traffic-generating website of thier own.

The change-over was, however, not without a few minor glitches, some of which I discovered only recently when I tried a new browser. I apologize for any inconveneince these may have caused. If there are still pages or links that are a problem, I'll be very grateful to have them pointed out to me.

Inspiring People

I've been totally captured by the Free Living Life this young family of four from Ontario has chosen - what an amazing gift they are giving their children, themselves, and those of us lucky enough to have found their blog!

Vansteaders, Vandwellers, Vantramps - no matter what they call themselves, they are the minimalists of the RV set - enjoying an alternative but oh-so-enviable freedom lifestyle. Because we travel in a van ourselves we look for pointers in the blogs of experienced experts such as these:

The honest and humble travel accounts and perceptive commentary on Tioga & George have kept me reading this blog for four years. Tioga (the RV) and George (the RVer) have been on the road (mainly boondocking) for more than seven years and theirs is, possibly, one of the most visited RV blogs of all time. It continues to get my vote as most inspiring blog for aspiring RVers.

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to many fun and adventurous travels in 2011!!!!


Back to Back Issues Page