Tales From an RV Retirement

By on May 18, 2020

Just over 50 years young and recently single, Dorna travels the U.S. in her comfortably small Casita travel trailer. In this interview she talks about minimalism, chasing the weather in her RV, and feeling safe on the road.

Living Better 50: Happy birthday, Dorna! How long has it been now?

Dorna: Thank you! I turned 50 just over a month ago.

fall scents for your home

LB50: And how long have you been traveling in your Casita?

D: I’ve had “Ol’ Bessie,” as I call her, for just about a year and a half now. Full time for five months.

LB50: How have you found the RV lifestyle?

D: Absolutely liberating. One hundred percent. I love it, and until my health fails or some unforeseeable event comes about, I think I’m going to stay out here on the road.

LB50: What are some of your favorite things about living on the road?

D: I’m having the adventure of a lifetime. If I don’t like where I’m at, I drive away to someplace else. If my neighbors are noisy or annoying, I can be packed up and gone in under an hour. If the weather sucks, I go someplace where it sucks less. I’m a snowbird –  I travel north in the summer, south in the winter.

And I’m out in nature the majority of the time, which is very relaxing. I had a fairly high-stress job – I was a nurse – and I don’t think I realized how strung out I was until I got out here and really relaxed.

LB50: Do you still have a house?

D: I just sold it! I kept it at first because I wasn’t sure if the RV lifestyle was for me. But very quickly I hired a property management company to rent it out for me. The family who was living there recently put in an offer to buy it, which I accepted. Now, it’s out of my hair. And I have a nice windfall in savings – an emergency fund, or whatever you want to call it.

LB50: What did you do with all of your stuff?

D: I got rid of it! I sold some things, but I donated most of it. I had been heading towards an interest in minimalism for a few years, and once my husband and I split up I decided I’d had enough of all this useless stuff! (Laughs) Oh, I still like things – I’m not a very strict minimalist. But I figured out what kinds of things are important to me, and what kinds of things I just do better without. For example, I do most of my reading on a Kindle nowadays. I don’t have room in the trailer to store a bunch of physical books. But at the same time, I eat with a small collection of antique silver. I don’t know why. It just tickles me somehow to fix up a one-pot stew in my slow cooker and use family heirlooms to eat it.

LB50: What do your children think of you being out here on the road?

D: They were a little worried at first, but growing up we always spent a lot of time outdoors. Some of my friends have kids who are downright infuriated that they’re out here, but I got lucky with my kids. They trust me. Besides, it’s not like I’m really alone. I travel in a caravan with some friends I’ve made out here, and we’re having the time of our lives.

LB50: And how do you support yourself? Do you live on savings?

D: I had some savings before I sold the house, so I kind of live on that and do odd jobs out here to supplement. The money from selling the house stays in savings, as far as I’m concerned. At least for now. But I make crafts and do what is called work camping. I’m a campground host in the summer, for example.

LB50: In closing, do you have any advice for our readers who want to follow in your footsteps?

D: Do your research. There are plenty of YouTube channels about RV living. But ultimately you just need to get out there and try it. Maybe rent an RV for a week, or try camping out of your car. It’s a lot of fun – you’ll see if you give it a chance!

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Tales From an RV Retirement