A major concern for full-time travelers is missing out on events and time with their extended family. In this article, I’ll share some personal experience with my biggest full-time travel struggle, missing family while traveling.
The extended family wasn’t as much of a factor is our decision to travel full-time because ours in not located in one main geographic location. Having moved a lot as children, then meeting in the military, my husband and I are from different states. Our parents are in Florida and Tennessee. Our siblings are in California, Georgia, North Carolina, and Washington. We figured as full-time travelers, we’d actually see them more than we currently do.
I’m not going to lie to you, this is my greatest full-time struggle. I really miss my boys!
We started our full-time journey our first year as empty nesters. It was perfect timing because traveling saved me from wandering around our large four-bedroom house. It was a little tricky as we had a son in college, but he ended up enjoying visiting us in the RV during his breaks. We have a toy hauler, and the garage became his bedroom when he was visiting, complete with a television and bathroom. You can see a tour of it here. When our older son was ready to complete an internship, he spent the summer with extended family.
However, I was not fully prepared for how hard it would be not seeing them often. This is really more of an empty nest struggle, than a full-time travel struggle. Even living in the same city, as they became building their adult lives we didn’t see each other as often as I’d like. My oldest son and I even resorted to scheduling weekly hikes. Now we have to find other ways to keep our relationship strong.
Tips for Keeping in Touch
Obviously the telephone is a simply way to stay in touch. Now you can use it to go beyond hearing each other’s voices.
We like to video chat with our family with the free iPhone app, FaceTime. If you don’t have iPhones or MacBooks, you can also use the free video chat app, Skype. We are very fortunate that we have the technology today to “see” each other regularly.
Texting is a simply way for us to keep up a conversation throughout the day. Anytime something strikes us, we can send a quick message or photo. Sometimes we even send audio chats back and forth.
In the last few months we’ve visited our oldest son in Virginia, Sean’s brother in North Carolina, my parents in Tennessee, and Sean’s parents in Florida. So traveling in the RV really has allowed us to see them more often than we were able to in our previous, busy lives.
We’ve ensured our itinerary over the next year will take us to Texas to see our two younger sons, as well as getting us back to Virginia in time for our oldest son’s wedding!
We also include 2 plane tickets per year for each son to come visit us at a place of their choosing. And when all else fails, I fly to see them!
What the Future Holds
I’m not sure what the future holds, but I don’t think I’ll want to continue full-timing once I have grandchildren. I want to develop close relationships with my grandchildren, so I’m thinking we’ll need to slow down our travel even more to spend increased time by wherever they live.
I’d love to hear your suggestions about how you stay close to your grandchildren while full-time traveling! Please let me know how you manage it in the comments below.