Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We have been traveling for almost nine months. We bought a fifth-wheel, a new truck and all the toys. We plan to travel for several years and look for some special place to spend winters, once we have seen all the sights. The problem is campground choice. I like to stay in commercial campgrounds with all the amenities and my husband likes to rough it in remote scenic campgrounds. He told me, “If I wanted to spend my retirement sardined into a shoebox campsite I would have bought a mobile home.” He complains that we are so close to neighbors he can hear them talking, smell them smoking, and listen to their TV programs. I don’t think it’s that bad. I get bored sitting out in the woods, desert, and ocean by ourselves.
Are we normal? Does everyone have this problem?
--Unhappy Campers in Coos Bay
As with most disagreements, it takes compromise. If only everyone had your small problem to deal with. I’m sure you have favorite campgrounds you both have enjoyed. Start with those. Look for commercial parks with bigger lots. Often you have to pay a premium for more open space, but perhaps it’s worth it to buffer yourselves from talk, smoke and TV. As for being bored in remote public campgrounds, work on that problem. It’s surprising how many people dive into this RV lifestyle without giving any thought as to what comes next. Is travel your only hobby? If you are bored you may need to explore interests that you can take on the road. Join activities and meet fellow travelers. Play cards, explore bike trails, swim, dance and go out for dinner and a movie. Living on the road should not be much different than the life you lived before shoving off. It just encompasses new places, new friends, new experiences. Your choice of campsites are a personal matter involving cost, locations, hookups, and so much more. There is no shortage of places to camp, park or even put down semi-permanent roots. I think if you work together to choose camping options, your husband will find parks he can live with, and you will find rural settings that keep your interest.
--Keep Smilin’, Dr. R.V. Shrink