Changing a light bulb in my house goes something like this:
My sister, who comes to Alaska regularly as a flight attendant, is overnighting with me. She comes into a room, notices a bulb is out and says, “Did you know that bulb is out?”
I look up from whatever I’m doing and say, “Yeah, I know.”
And before I have the last syllable out, she is jumping up and down, waving her hands, “Let me guess! It’s on the list.”
I don’t say a word. I ignore her rather than acknowledge it has, indeed, been written on my daily/weekly/monthly task list since the bulb burnt out.
She flails her way to the hall closet where she retrieves a bulb. And while she changes it she does an impression of me where I:
- write “replace light bulb” on a piece of paper;
- contemplate the item on the list;
- create a plan for how to execute the item on the list, with a timetable and budget.
Then, very dramatically, she raises her arms like she’s scored a touchdown and says triumphantly, “Done. You realize it takes longer for you to plan to change the light bulb than it takes me to actually change the light bulb?”
By then my hands have started to flail because I feel overwhelmed by her energy, her speed of execution, her chaotic tornado way of being that I equate to Taz, Looney Tunes’ Tasmanian devil.
She has changed more light bulbs in my house than I have.
To hear the story, you’d almost think it was a grand master plan on my part to never change a light bulb (or the batteries in the smoke alarm, for that matter) in my own house. But if you thought that, then, you don’t know me. I really would prefer to write it on my list rather than change it when it goes out.
Somehow lists and knowing what lay ahead in my day/week/month makes me feel contentedly in charge of my little world.
I tell you this by way of explanation. I am a planner.
So when I decided to change my whole life, that took a plan too. A big, long, detailed plan with lists and spreadsheets.
I’ve read many great RV blogs from people who are fulltimers. From idea to execution the range of time I’ve seen is four weeks to one year.
So why is it taking me so long? I’ve been planning this since April 2014 and expect to be on the road in the fall of 2018. Four and one-half years. Fifty four months. Almost as long as it takes to pay off a car. While some of the decision is financial (which I’ll discuss in upcoming posts), the main reason is I just need the time to prepare. Probably equal parts mental and physical preparation.
First, knowing absolutely nothing about the life I’m about to embark on, I visualized the transition from real life to RV life would take place in three stages: research (2014 – 2015), planning (2016 – 2017) and implementation (2018). (One quick note: my time table has since changed which I will talk about in a future post.) I’ve since realized those stages don’t break up nearly so neatly in reality as they do on paper. But when I was still at the very beginning, the structure gave me something to lean on so as not to feel utterly overwhelmed by such a large undertaking.
I spent a lot of time in the last years on the computer research, pricing, reading blogs, joining forums, etc. I am filled full of knowledge that has led me to the planning stage. Over time, I’ll share some of what I learned and discovered along the way.
I sometimes wish I was a spontaneous, easy-going person who could decide to change her life and then change it. But, alas, I am not that person. I’m the person who needs to change a light bulb first by writing it on a list. On the other hand, I feel you non-planners out there miss out on the inexplicable sense of accomplishment and well-being that comes with crossing things off a list.
Are you a planner or a pantser (fly by the seat of your pants)? What do you see as the pros and cons of one, the other or both. Join the conversation in the comments sections.
Have you wondered about the categories listed on the header? If you clicked on any of them, you know they lead to a blank page. Not for much longer. Come back next week and I’ll explain.