Something that we have come to know since we became Fulltimers is that we have a strong desire to commune with other Fulltimers. At first we dismissed it as a fundamental curiosity, or simply a craving to learn more from folks who had years of experience to share. But I think it's more than that. I think there is a sociological reason that we have a hankering to have relationships with other people who have that particularly unique distinction of living in a home that can change neighborhoods on a whim.
Certainly one explanation could be that any time people share a common passion, they are drawn to each other. Attend any sporting event and you will witness this at it's most obvious. But, it's more than that still. I think it's something to do with a very deep and unique social trait, or collection of traits, that us vagabonds have that at times in our lives has caused us to feel different, or unique, and that might be why when we meet or communicate with other Fulltimers, we recognize something that we rarely had the pleasure of enjoying; others that we have something in common with. It's as if we belong to a very exclusive and not-always-understood club.
If you are a Fulltimer, then you probably have experienced that look on someone's face when you try to tell them where you live sometimes. That confused, incredulous look that fleets across their face before they carefully overcome their expression. Often times, they just don't "get it". Get WHAT exactly? This is what I have been struggling with. It's something... something.
I think it might be an inner independence for starters. I mean, if you are going to do something this abnormal, then surely you don't care at all what other people think. I know we can say that we have always been this way, definitely we march to our own music, and always have. While I am not saying that this is the reason that people become Fulltimers, I think it's a very crucial trait to have if you are going to really be at peace with your lifestyle, because there are those who will not understand, even disapprove. Sometimes it's friends or family, sometimes it's the public at large, but it's not a universally accepted lifestyle-YET. It has certainly made great strides, especially in the last 5 years.
An adventurous spirit is also a very recognizable quality among Fulltimers. I mean, you pull up your jacks and depart to another place to LIVE and don't give it a thought! Really, do you ever think about how just that fact is quite amazing? How UNHEARD OF it would be to the majority of people you meet? The very idea is unthinkable to many who are entrenched in their communities and that's understandable, because many do not understand that us Fulltimers are not without "Community" at all! We probably have one of the most dynamic, wide-spread and devoted communities in the nation! This was a wonderful surprise to us. We had no idea that we were actually embarking on a much higher level of community than we had ever experienced before!
One other quality of most Fulltimers that seems to be prevalent: Minimalism. Some may say that we are minimalists by necessity, but I disagree. I think it's the other way around! I think because we desire minimalism, we are drawn to Fulltiming. Perhaps I am wrong, and certainly there are Fulltimers that have a LOT of stuff, but most of the time (as in my own case) the less owned the better. I love nothing better than throwing out some other "thing" that I have been dragging around in my life when I discover that it really doesn't contribute to the joy of living. I bid it a happy farewell and celebrate the new, lighter, more flexible "US". It's lovely!
Why are Fulltimers so helpful and willing to share with each other? What is the specific reason that when you enter a new RV Park that has a lot of Fulltimers in it, you find yourself in a welcoming atmosphere, even though you haven't yet met any of these people? It's really quite awesome. How odd that we feel like we are arriving "home" when we are driving in somewhere we have never even been before!
One thing we can say we nearly always notice when meeting another couple who are "Fulltimers" is that they are happy. We often comment on how they clearly are close and have a strong bond. Is that another piece of the puzzle? They seem to have obvious respect for each other and a joy for life that radiates out of them. We have also noticed that the times when we learn of people who tried Fulltiming and did NOT like it and returned to living in a traditional home, often did NOT have some of these qualities. Do you have to get along to fulltime? Absolutely, but it's more than that, you must be completely compatible. If you are not, Fulltiming is probably not for you, because there is no distraction from what is missing in your life, there are no "things" to lure your attention away from less happy thoughts. I am sure that's a big part of it. In fact, I can say that almost without exception, when another couple says the (so often heard) "Oh we could never do that! Live so close?! NO WAY!" They clearly do not have that deep connection that we have as a couple. I don't think that's a coincidence, I think it might be a mandatory trait to do what we do.
So, I will continue to ponder this phenomenon, the commonality of the Fulltimer... Perhaps you have some thoughts? I would love to hear them! But I am going to get to the bottom this.