“Are you going to die on the side of the road in an RV?”
I had a very unusual (read: odd) experience while leading a Nomadic Living seminar at the Florida RV Supershow in Tampa. During the Q&A portion of the seminar, a young woman in the audience raised her hand and asked me a rather interesting question.
Her question was about “exit strategy” and our retirement plan. For context, understand, that the speech I had given prior to opening up the stage for questions, had been filled with stories and sentiments about how much Carl and I love the nomadic lifestyle and see no end in sight to this way of living.
The exchange with her began with her asking: “What’s your exit strategy? Like, what about retirement? What’s your retirement plan?”
We were asked many questions during the Q&A, to include:
==> How do you get your mail?
==> How long do you generally stay in one place, and why?
==> What advice do you have about downsizing?
==> Why did you choose the RV you did?
And countless others … (Many of which, if you’re curious, are also answered in my book 10 Things RV Dealerships Don’t Tell You About Nomadic Living.)
So again, what she asked was: “What’s your exit strategy? What about retirement? What is your retirement plan?”
Something in her tone made it immediately clear to me that her question had deeper implications than what was presented at the surface … but, so as not to be presumptuous, I began by approaching her question literally.
“Good question. I shared earlier that Carl is a remote-working corporate employee. He has a 401k through his company. Since 2004, I’ve been an entrepreneur with my own company. I rolled an old 401k I had from the job I had prior to starting my business, into an IRA, and I contribute to it every year. Does that answer your question?”
She replied: “No, I mean, when you retire, are you going to buy a house and settle down? What’s your plan for that? I assume you’ll be buying a house and settling down at some point, right?”
This made me smile inside, especially given how many aspiring retirees were there in the seminar, eager to sell their house and enjoy the freedom of the “golden years” traveling full-time in an RV as soon as they could make it happen.
“Ah,” I said. “Got it. What Carl and I are doing breaks the mold on what’s expected or traditional, and I fully understand that it can be confusing for others to imagine a lifestyle that goes against what’s typical or considered normal. I so appreciate your question and I hear where you’re coming from.”
I continued, “I have owned property in the past, and I have since sold it. As I shared earlier in my speech, Carl and I absolutely love this lifestyle and we see no end in sight to nomadic living. So we don’t currently have any plans to buy property or to live in one place anytime soon.”
Now, prior to the Q & A, I shared in my speech the story of how Carl and I had gone about making the decision to let go of our apartment to embark on a “nomadic living experiment”. In the story, I had explained that this left us just 60 days to downsize, get ourselves into an RV, and on the road.
Still responding to her question, I went on to say… “Now, if Carl and I were to decide that we want to return to a house or apartment living, I have no doubt that we could reverse engineer what we’ve done. I’d bet we could even do it in as little as 60 days again. We could sell the RV and find a house or apartment pretty quickly. Does that answer your question?”
Here’s what she asked next: “Are you going to die on the side of a road in an RV?”
Direct quote. That was her question.
Given that those in the audience didn’t have a microphone, I’d been asked to please repeat each question before I started answering. It was a big room, 200+ people, and I had the mic.
I repeated the question:
“Am I going to die on the side of the road in an RV?”, I said with a smile.
This got a lot of nervous laughter. I paused for a moment to ground myself before I spoke, and then I proceeded:
“Ok. So, I’m really not picking on you. I am fully aware that my lifestyle makes some people feel uncomfortable. It is entirely possible that I will travel and explore for as long as I live and that I may never again live in a house. I don’t know this for sure, and I don’t need to know this now because if something changes, I can always shift things then to adjust. Make sense?”
Seeming somewhat relieved, her reply – I kid you not – was: “Ok, so you WILL settle down at some point and buy a house.”
Slowly … and with a big smile, I said: “Is that what you heard me say?”
The room filled with laughter.
I reiterated to her that, “As radical and confusing as it may seem, I have discovered for myself that living in one place is not something I need in order to feel grounded and at peace with my life. In fact, I am more “settled” NOW than I have ever been, because I am living the truth of what my heart desires.” This got cheers, and “woot-woot’s” and clapping.
I thanked her for her question and moved on to the next question.
The big lesson here has nothing to do with Nomadic Living and everything to do with human nature and how we tend to respond to things that make us uncomfortable. Sometimes people don’t actually want to hear the answer to a question – even if they are the one asking the question.
Sometimes we’re just not able to hear and receive the answer, because our own resistance and fear blocks us from hearing it. We’ve all been guilty of only wanting answers that stay within our comfort zone, answers that keep us feeling safe and help us maintain our current understanding of the world.
I truly applaud her for asking, and for being willing to be seen and witnessed in a state of genuine scratching-her-head I-just-don’t-get-it confusion.
It’s a vulnerable place to be.
By asking, she bravely positioned herself for a breakthrough, a potential shift in perception. In this way, confusion is good news. Confusion sets the stage for new levels of understanding. I suspect, and I hope, that this was the case for her.
I believe everyone laughed because on some level they could relate to feeling that awkward confusion, and mind-scramble. It was honest. Her confusion was genuine, an extraordinary example of something we’re ALL capable of: a deep-seated resistance to changing our thinking.
Thoughts are things. Ultimately, taking responsibility for your life means taking responsibility for your thoughts. And expanding your thinking, will expand your understanding about other people, about the world, and about what’s possible for you.
If you want to change something about your life, change your thoughts. It sounds cliché, I know. But the Truth with a capital “T” is that if you continue to hold onto old limiting beliefs, and hold firm to your comfort zone, then that will be the truth that you live from and create from.
And truly … the magic happens when you allow yourself to expand into new possibilities and ideas, and when you take aligned action to support this.
Curious? Want to be keyed in to what we’ve learned through our Nomadic Living experience? Claim a copy of my book 10 Things RV Dealerships Don’t Tell You About Nomadic Living. You can download 3 chapters for FREE, or, if you’d like the full book it’s $4.95.
Also, be sure to poke around my website for more ‘Tips from Tara’ and other resources to help YOU create a life and business you don’t need a vacation from.
One more resource for you: Want to live and work from anywhere? Grab this free video training where I share the three strategies that will make the transition easy and get you road-ready for the journey of a lifetime! HOW TO GET STARTED WITH NOMADIC LIVING + THREE STRATEGIES THAT WILL MAKE YOUR TRANSITION EASY
To the journey,