Stretch Armstrong! He bends! He stretches! He even ties in knots!
If you’re “of a certain age” you’ll remember Stretch Armstrong - a superhero action figure that could nab the bad guys by stretching his body out to ridiculous lengths.
We were the embodiment of Stretch Armstrong while attending the 2017 RVE Summit. Well, except for one aspect, which I’ll mention last.
Pulling From One End: The RVE Summit
The closest I can come to describing this event is to mix together:
- The creative business energy of a Startup Weekend
- The professional camaraderie of some of the early ExpressionEngine conferences
- The thought provoking power of a TedX Event
- Some of our favorite times camping with fellow RVers
- That summer camp experience as a kid where you stayed up late every night talking and laughing with new friends
The word “awesome” is over-used and meaningless anymore.
So I’m using splendiferous.
Hosts Heath and Alyssa Padgett did a splendiferous job from choosing the venue, to finding the speakers, to putting the daily schedule together, to staying engaged with attendees throughout the event.
There’s just too much to say about the RVE Summit. Some others have done a better job than I can:
- Brooke at Trailingaway.com
- Jeremy Scroggins on TheTrek.co
- Don Cohen at WinnebagoLife.com
- Joe Hendricks
- Liz Wilcox
- Julie at WanderingPeregrino.com
- Lindsay at FollowYourDetour.com
- Camille at MoreThanAWheeling.com
Pulling from the Other End: Our Truck
In New Orleans we heard a new engine sound in our truck. We would have dealt with it there, but it was Mardi Gras weekend and we didn’t have reservations.
We also didn’t want to miss the presenting at the RVE Summit.
Ditching Suburbia Manifesto Shirt
Suburbia-ditchers have different values than most people - tell the world what they are:
Simpler Living. Closer Family. Richer Education. Uncommon Adventures.
Styles available: t-Shirts, tank tops, and hoodies.
Colors available: black, navy, gray.
We chose to go. We cancelled a stop we had planned for in between New Orleans and the RVE Summit. We arrived early and got some client work done. I brought the truck into a local shop for evaluation.
Hoping for a $1400 repair, we got an estimate of $4K. I’ve love this truck. But it’s 15 years old with 197K on the odometer. We could fix the motor, but what other repairs are waiting?
Instead, we chose to let the crisis fuel change. We opted for a temporary repair on the truck, put a for sale sign on the fifth wheel, and started shopping for a camper van.
In the Middle? Our Presentation
We should have had our presentation done earlier. We rolled into Texas with just an outline. And we realized that during 26 years of marriage, raising two kids, and running a couple of businesses, MsBoyink and I had never actually presented together.
Truck stress. Life change stress. Now presentation stress.
We got it together and ran through it a few times. We wanted to be smooth and natural. It didn’t feel that way at all. We had some technical stumbles. I still got nervous. I forgot some points. I didn’t look out at the crowd as much as I wanted.
Going back to watch the video recording, I think we did OK all things considered. The crowd helped - you all were encouraging and quick to laugh.
Here’s the video of our presentation. We start at 1:09:20, but Jill Sessa’s presentation before ours is worth viewing as well.
Here’s a page with links to the experiences we mentioned in the presentation.
We thought we were going to the RVE Summit to give. We’d impart our experiences of over 6 years on the road to help people who were either new to the lifestyle, or considering it.
For whatever little bit of wisdom we were able to give, our main experience at the Summit was getting.
We got hugs.
We got lifted up with encouraging words.
We got thanked for our work on DitchingSuburbia.com.
We got blessed materially. From the simple to the crazy-generous-can’t-even-type-this-without-tearing-up.
We got offers of free full-hookup RV parking.
And we got offers of work.
I’m a writer. I love words. But sometimes they fail me.
This is one of those times.
Thank you just doesn’t cover it. It’s not enough. You say thank you when someone refills your coffee.
But I can’t find anything else to say.
So thank you.
Not Stretch Armstrong
So, the thing about Stretch Armstrong that I didn’t mention above?
When you let go of his arms and legs, Stretch Armstrong returned to his original shape.
We didn’t return to our original shape.
We come out of the RVE Summit different. Changed.
- How we want to travel
- Who we see as our tribe
- Our ability to be humbled at the generosity of others
- Our goals for our finances - we want to get to a point where we are as generous with others as you all have been to us
If you sign up for a future RVE Summit, our only advice is “be ready for what you might be getting yourselves into”.
You might come away as changed as we have.