It’s a beautiful Sunday in Texas and we thought we would sit outside in our lawn chairs and read. A few of our fellow Full-Timers came over and started up a conversation that went from books to favorite flavors of ICEEs. Just a relaxing Sunday…so we thought.
We had been talking a few minutes when a woman walked up to the group and said, “How long are you folks staying?” We all replied a few more weeks. The woman said mumbled something about it must be nice to be on vacation that long, when one of the group members explained we were Full-Timers.
Now, imagine our surprise when she said, “Oh, well you’re trash from where I come from.” Then she walked away with disgust.
We were absolutely shocked. We all watched her walk away. No one said a thing. In fact, the only thing you could hear at the time was our jaws dropping.
Personally I thought that it was a joke. I looked around for cameras – surely someone was filming a hidden-camera show and we were the next skit? No, no cameras. The woman was for real.
She knew nothing about any of us, yet she blatantly called us trash. No, excuse me, she said we were trash.
I’m not a confrontational person, but this was rather upsetting to me that someone would make such a bold judgment and not even allow a response. I was curious and decided to see where this woman was from.
I saw her several sites down by a fifth-wheel – she was sitting on a lawn chair and drinking a can of soda. I never said anything to her but glanced at the pickup truck beside the rig and saw it had Texas license plates and several Austin stickers on the tailgate.
The group was still gathered near our site and several other Full-Timers had emerged to listen to the tale of the hit-and-run trash-talker.
I mentioned what I saw and one person said, “Oh, well, if they’re from Austin, that explains it.”
Well, I don’t quite understand what that means and find myself not really caring. I mean, why should I fall into the stereotype trap as this trash-talker?
As a Full-Timer I feel that we are a benefit to society. We bring money to local communities. From buying local produce and eating at local restaurants to visiting local attractions and attending local events – Full-timers are adding revenue to each area they visit.
They also help promote communities – they either tell other travelers or share their photos and stories online about the areas attractions and help increase tourism.
When staying in an area for an extended stay, many Full-Timers contribute to the community by volunteering their time or donating money or goods to local charities. I personally have over 350 hours of volunteer time – from the State of Florida to the State of Washington.
We are big on community. People in stick-houses go years (or decades) without knowing their neighbors. Full-Timers know their neighbors, be it for a day, a week or a year. We are there for our neighbors – we don’t ask for anything out of it. It’s just something we do to help our fellow RVers.
Full-Timers may not have stick-houses, but we do pay taxes. From Federal taxes to local sales taxes to toll road fees, we are paying our share to help keep the country running.
You will find that most Full-Timers are in support of parks and environmental-related causes. We help maintain our national and state parks by purchasing annual park passes and volunteering at them. We contribute to eco-charities and causes and encourage others to do the same. Many of us pay fees or buy permits to hike, camp or fish areas – with the money going back into preserving these areas.
We have much smaller carbon footprints than those in stick-homes. Yes, we may put more mileage on, but we also take better care of our vehicles. Most Full-Timers are aware of their vehicles needs and constantly make sure they run as efficiently as possible. Those of us who need trucks to tow our fifth-wheels and travel trailers have newer diesels that run on bio-fuels. Those who have tow vehicles (“toads”) for their motorhomes or motorcoaches have hybrids or vehicles with a better gas mileage than standard vehicles.
Full-Timers live by the code – recycle, reduce, reuse. We recycle everything we can because if we can’t recycle it back into society it’s trash. We don’t like trash! Rarely will you see a Full-Timer with more than a tiny bag of trash. Reducing is automatic for us. Needless packaging and extra “stuff” is just a waste of space and energy to us. And we reuse like you wouldn’t believe! If we can’t reuse it ourselves, we’ll find a good home for it (often sharing it with other RVers or passing it on to a local charity).
We also buy American-made RVs and vehicles. Drive through any campground and you’ll see the overwhelming majority of fifth-wheels and travel trailers are being towed by GMCs, Chevys and Ford trucks. Toads vary, but favorites include Saturns, Jeeps and hybrids. We take great pride in our rigs and you can usually spot a Full-Timer by the blinding glare of polish on their RV. (Currently ours has 3 coats!)
And then there are those Full-Timers who rebuild or renovate RVs. These conversions are the ultimate in recycling, reducing and reusing! These folks use their know-how to take an older RV or bus and convert into something amazing. They buy local products and use local services to achieve their custom dream.
This is just a few of the many ways Full-Timers benefit American society. You can talk-trash me, but I really don’t care. I’m proud to be a Full-Time RVer!