As I sit here, reminiscing about the breathtaking views and great adventures we’ve been on over the last few years, there’s a topic that needs to be touched upon — leaving family behind. It’s the family and friends we often leave behind that tug in our hearts every time we hit the road. Embracing the full-time RV lifestyle opens doors to gorgeous landscapes, thrilling adventures, and a network of incredible people. But it also means facing the sadness of leaving loved ones behind.

The reality? It’s not always easy. We’ve been there, and if you’ve felt that too, know you’re not alone. Whether you’re seasoned in RVing or just dreaming of the open road, we’ll dive into preparing emotionally for this lifestyle, acknowledging our feelings, and finding ways to stay connected. 

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Emotional preparation for leaving family behind

Leaving family behind is undoubtedly one of our most emotionally challenging experiences. Denying or brushing aside the emotional weight of such a departure can be detrimental in the long run. Whether it’s the deep pain of missing a sibling’s laughter, the guilt of missing out on pivotal family moments, or the anxiety of being so far away, it’s essential to confront these feelings head-on. It’s important to recognize that these emotions are a natural part of the process and show the love and bond you share with your family. Addressing them allows you to process them healthily, ensuring you’re mentally strong as you tackle your new journey. 


By keeping open channels of communication, you can alleviate some of this unease. Share your dreams, fears, and plans with your family. Let them understand why this move is crucial for you. It might be a career opportunity, education, personal growth, or other reasons. In turn, listen to their concerns and reassure them. This mutual understanding can lessen the emotional burden and ensure everyone is on the same page.

While the family is irreplaceable, creating a new support system can help bridge the emotional gap when you’re away. It’s comforting to have someone to talk to when feelings of homesickness or isolation creep in. Connecting with others who are in the same boat can be therapeutic. They can offer advice, a listening ear, or simply solace of shared experience. So, find local groups, online communities, or even a close-knit circle of friends who understand your journey.

In the age of technology, geographical distance no longer equates to emotional distance. A simple video call can bring you face-to-face with your family, allowing you to share big and small moments. Just as our kiddos tell their cousins, “We’ll Facetime you in a few hours!” it reminds us that no matter where you are, your family is just a click away. This continuous connection eases the emotional transition and serves as a constant reminder that you’re never truly alone.

Skype and FaceTime provide video calling capabilities, allowing families to share moments as if they’re in the same room, making it more personal than a regular voice call. Something new we have added to our tools is the Amazon Echo Show. For families who bond over meals, scheduling virtual dinners can uniquely recreate the feel of sitting at the same dining table. Furthermore, watch parties on platforms like Amazon, Netflix, or other streaming services allow families to have movie nights even miles apart. Each tool offers a special way of bridging the distance, ensuring that family is always close at heart no matter where you are.

Focus on the positive

Planning visits can be an emotional anchor when you’re away from family for extended periods. Whether scheduling a trip back home or inviting family members to your current location, these reunions can offer much-needed relief. Anticipating these moments of togetherness can make the days of separation feel shorter and more bearable. Furthermore, it reinforces the notion that distance doesn’t necessarily equate to detachment.

While it’s essential to recognize and validate feelings of sadness or loss, it’s good to balance these emotions by concentrating on the brighter side of the picture. The RV lifestyle’s allure brings an unparalleled sense of freedom – a life unrestrained by the four walls of a stationary home. The journey provides numerous opportunities to forge connections and meet fellow travelers. 

As an RVer, the open road provides endless opportunities to form new friendships and a robust support system. Being approachable is the key. A simple smile, a genuine gaze, or a friendly conversation can be the bridge to lasting relationships. Events like RV rallies or club gatherings, from photography to hiking, act as melting pots for like-minded enthusiasts. The little acts of kindness at campgrounds, the shared meals, the volunteering efforts, and the sustained communication cement these newfound bonds. Mutual respect and unwavering support create an atmosphere of trust, ensuring that your RV journey is accompanied by a community that feels like family.

Especially when making a choice that deviates from the traditional path, navigating family expectations can be challenging. When you decide to embrace the RV lifestyle over settling down in a stationary home, it may be met with skepticism or concern from loved ones. The root of these apprehensions often stems from genuine love; they might be anxious about your security, your financial future, or even your happiness in the long run. It’s crucial, therefore, to approach these concerns with understanding.

One of the most effective tools at your disposal is clear communication. When discussing your decision, ensure you clarify your motivations for this lifestyle, its advantages, and how you plan to navigate its challenges. While being assertive about your choices is essential, approaching the topic with kindness and respect can make all the difference. After all, setting boundaries is not about confrontation but about mutual understanding. Remember not to carry the weight of guilt for your decisions. Everyone’s path is unique. While respecting and listening to your family’s concerns is essential, your well-being and happiness are paramount. If the strain becomes too much, seeking support from like-minded communities or professionals can provide solace. 

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Leaving behind the familiar warmth of family to embark on a new adventure is no simple task. The heavy emotions of missing treasured family moments hover over you like a rain cloud. Yet, this very emotional weight underscores the deep bonds we share with our loved ones. The RV lifestyle is not merely about the journey on the open road but also about the myriad opportunities to connect and build new communities. Balancing the joys of the open road with the genuine concerns of those left behind requires understanding, patience, and, most importantly, the belief that different paths can lead to the same destination of fulfillment and happiness.