Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
I can’t believe I am saying this, but I’m bored out of my gourd. I have been looking forward to traveling full-time in our RV for a dozen years. Now that I have retired, my wife and I have been on the road for just less than a year and I am a bit disillusioned. We both have many interests, love to travel, get along fine in a confined space, enjoy life and the many friendly people we meet. So, what’s wrong with me? Why do I feel I’m missing something? I’m always thinking I should be doing more. If you could get my head screwed on straight I would be forever grateful.
Lost in Paradise, MI
As Bob Dylan said, “Don’t think twice, it’s alright.” Many people go through an adjustment period just as you have described. Going from a structured lifestyle to “free as a breeze” can sometimes knock the wind out of you. You need to give it some time and find your comfort zone. These exact conditions have created a new job description for thousands of people. Both volunteer and paid positions in many parks around the country are now filled by people like yourself that can’t seem to stop doing something that feels like work. Companies like Amazon have started “workamper” programs. They need seasonal help in their distribution centers and they fill positions with RVer’s who want a work fix and some extra money. There are positions like this all over the country with various industries.
The National Park Service could not operate today without the many volunteers who join the ranks in return for free camping in some of the most incredible places on the planet. I just had a guy on the couch recently who bought a metal detector and went looking for gold. He thought that was going to cure his need to define his existence. He was back a month later. He traded in his metal detector for a digital camera to shoot wildlife. Last time I saw him he was happy as a lark, migrating north to Alaska. The point is, keep searching for what makes you a happy camper. You have a lot going for you already, you just need to fine tune your compass setting.
Always remember, if you don’t think you’re normal, you’re nuts!
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink