Wisdom for travelers of all kinds…

Most RV’ers know this already. They are typically retired, and their pace of living is much slower than the city folk who only go out on weekends to get away from stressful jobs. Whatever we do in traveling, whether it be through life, in our rigs, or no matter how we do it, we need to be considerate of other people. If you have a concern over something that someone has done, an accusational tone is never the right way to approach someone.

This bantering with an unreasonable reader over a free book (he’s not even a customer yet) over the last two days is proof of that. Instead of acting like a jerk, and insinuating things that aren’t even true, or making accusations, it would have been much better to address it with a question… “Isn’t there supposed to be some kind of disclaimer that says you are collecting people’s email addresses?” would have been a much better approach to the subject, and it would have gotten a polite answer. People need to give as they expect to receive. If they put out intolerance, ignorance, and angry words, they are likely to get the same back in return. I’m no angel. I’m a former construction worker, and I have a low tolerance for that crap.

Before you consider rocking the boat, do your due diligence first. So here is the wisdom for travelers of all kinds ( good for pirates, too):

Ten things every pirate should know:

(1) How big is the boat you intend to rock?

(2) Who is it’s Captain?

(3) How much experience does he have at managing a boat of that size?

(4) Is it a boat that helps people or is it a war ship?

(5) What is its crew size?

(6) How much experience do they have?

(7) How will it defend itself when provoked?

(8) If it’s larger and better equipped, is it going to sink my boat if I mess with it?

(9) If I do manage to get close enough to peek over the side, is there security in place that will dump me and make me all wet?

(10) And if it is so big and so secure that climbing on it’s side won’t even tip it, then is it worth it?

I think these are good questions and lessons for life in general. As RV’ers and campers, we don’t know who else is out there with us. And if we are minding our own business and being respectful of others, it’s really none of our business. If they wish to make it known, they will.

That scruffy backpacker at the next site might be an internet guru who owns a Fortune 500 company. The people five spaces down in their huge Newell coach might be in debt up to their necks and outrunning the repo man. The little old guy with the uncut hair and scraggly beard in the small 20-year old travel trailer, that looks like a hermit, may have fought for your freedom and hasn’t learned how to adjust to “normal” life. The guy with the truck camper and four-wheel drive truck might be an ex-Navy Seal. The congenial couple across the street might be a city police officer or a federal agent.

In other words, don’t provoke people that you have no clue about. In most cases it will do YOU more harm than it does them.

I have met and known some people that are just aggitators. No matter what you say, they have to find an opposite view just to get a rise out of you. A younger co-worker was that way, but he admitted it, and said it was his idea of fun. I for one didn’t appreciate his humor, and I let him know it. In the electrical trades, stuff like that can get you killed.

Another guy that I used to work with was a know-it-all. I don’t care what subject you tried to talk about, he had to come across like he knew everything about it even better than you. Only he didn’t do it to aggitate… he just plain didn’t know any better!  What a pitiful life he must have had growing up, to be so insecure that he felt he had to “top” someone on every subject ever spoken about!

After he tried to tell me how square dancing works, when he had never done it or been a member of a club, while I have been involved since 1981 and have attended close to twenty National Conventions, plus state and regional dances and was even involved with camping groups, I avoided him like the plague. There was no sense arguing with him.

Mark Twain said “Never argue with a fool. The people looking on may not be able to tell who is who.”

An old line comes to memory from the old Lou Grant Show with Mary Tyler Moore, when Ed Asner was playing her editor. She was carrying on about something she was very proud of accomplishing, and he said something about her having a lot of “spunk”. After a brief pause, he followed with “I hate spunk!”

It was funny the way it was presented, but how many times have we seen people do the same thing… shoot down our accomplishments before we even have time to let them grow into something worthwhile. I refuse to let jerks like that influence my goals.

People who live in full-sized luxury RV’s have enough trouble dealing with “house dwellers” who think that RV’s are for those who don’t have a life. After all, many RV’ers are without a stick-built house (“homeless” in the opinion of those who have never owned an RV). They will say that RV’s depreciate, instead of their fine houses that gain in appeciation (or so they hope in this economy), so why would anyone buy something so “frivilous” as an RV that is going to cost money and  lose money? Most of those people are “hoarders”. Even in their fine, clean homes, they are “hoarders”, because they think that riches are going to solve all their problems, and they aren’t smart enough to provide income for themselves that will go on even when they can no longer work! After all, if you have continual income, then you don’t have to save it up and “hoard” it! The income will always be there!

And yet those same people think nothing of buying over-priced time-shares, spending thousands of dollars on airfare and hotels, or hundreds of dollars on concert or sports tickets. Wasteful is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes the beholder needs a new set of glasses, or a different angle from which to see things!

And if you think RVer’s face “down-lookers” and discrimination, Lord help the guy who is trying to live in a car or minivan! Most of the world will look upon them as the “poor homeless”. Some of them may be, but that’s NOT for us to judge!  One look at the sheer number of blogs, only “some” of which I have read, tells me that many of these people are there because they choose to be, and there’s nothing wrong with that! In today’s world I think it is very smart to do so, and I will fight for their right to do so!  They have their lives worked out. Most of them own computers and some are smart enough to try to make a few bucks online with them. Some may even derive their whole income from them! Most have had very ingenious ways of making their cars or vans work for them to travel or live in, and can even be considered conservationists!

Many are living “off the grid” with solar panels for every day power needs. They aren’t contributing to the energy, mineral, or water shortages that the rest of the world faces. They don’t go in debt. They buy only what they need as they can afford it. Their fuel effficient vehicles save energy when they do go places, and pollute the air much less than the big gas hogs. Many times, the older vehicles they use, and the things that they make use of, keep usable things out of our landfills, because they learn to fix them or make use of them in other ways! And most are proud enough not to accept government assistance, even though it could make them more physically comfortable to do so! I see nothing wrong with that lifestyle, and commend them for having the foresight and wisdom to make it happen for themselves! I also intend to do everything I can to help them in their quest, because my wife and I will soon be out there oursleves, traveling the country to prove that even two people can travel comfortably and with all luxuries… in a minivan!

We’re all in this together, whether we have a home base to go back to, or we are forced to live in our vehicles or RV’s by circumstances. The survivalists do it because they like to have a “bug-out” vehicle totally outfitted for survival… just in case. Some may think that’s going overboard, but I don’t.

Although we didn’t have to leave, we used the 1500-watt inverter on our RV for power for four days a couple years ago when the big ice storm not only shut us down, but blocked us in. We also made use of our camp stove for cooking, and some of our other camping and survival gear to get by on our own. We had trees down in both directions going down the road. The telephones were out and so was the cell tower. Our old CB didn’t work (a replacement is on our want list) and all we had was our portable scanner to listen to what was going on… with no way to be able to talk to anyone to let them know we were here!

What would happen if some of our major cities were destroyed, and/or communications, power and water were cut off? I can guarantee that the ones who will get by just fine are the ones with the smaller RV’s, preferably four-wheel drive, and who know how to survive in the wilderness, can build fires, create water even in the desert, and hunt for their own food, whether it be animal or vegetable!

They will know how to think outside the box to create low cost and yet nutritious meals out of little or nothing., and how to store and prepare them. Our luxuries could be gone as we know them someday. And help will have to come from whomever is out there. The last thing we want to do is piss those people off!

Our last day of being stranded in that ice storm, after we had already cut a path to the corner by oursleves, a pick-up truck with four guys with chain saws showed up! I didn’t kid them about being late, or ask them if they were qualified or licensed to cut trees, or that they had the wrong equipment! I thanked them for their assistance and offered to help! Being disageeable, or unthankful to people doesn’t accomplish anything. If you don’t like what they are doing, then either butt out and go about your business somewhere else, or pitch in and offer to help to make things better!  If you aren’t part of the solution, then you are part of the problem!

And don’t ever pick fights with people you don’t know! It could be that old guy that looks like a bum might have been a Ranger, or Seal, and if provoked, could put you in a world of hurt!  That big guy on the Harley with all the tatoos, just might be a doctor who takes toys to underprivieged children at Christmas and could save your life. Or that person who owns a web site or blog you disagree with may have the knowledge and technology to be able to find out who you are, where you live, and have you arrested for harrassment. At the very least, they may have a hundred other ways to make your life miserable without you even knowing who is causing it!  Treat all with the respect they deserve, and don’t go around pissing off the wrong people!  It only comes back to bite you sooner or later!