The Rise Of The Entitled Camper

In the last few years camping and RVing has surged in popularity as people have grown tired of being trapped in their homes during the great lockdown of the Covid era. RV sales have hit record numbers and some manufacturers are reporting backlogs of over a year for people waiting for their new RV to be built. This is all great news for the industry and particularly for campground owners as there is no shortage of customers waiting to fill open spaces. However, this surge in customers and first time RV owners has given rise to a new phenomenon and one that is not good, the entitled camper.

First, let me just preface this by saying this is not a hit piece on new campers. We were all new at some point and we all had to learn the ropes. Additionally, I enjoy helping new campers and as a matter of fact I spend a good part of my work day doing just that. Whether it’s helping people pull into or back into sites, hooking up to utilities, troubleshooting problems or just sharing general knowledge and maintenance tips I am there to help and I love doing it. Most folks are very appreciative and eager to learn and it is a nice feeling to have helped someone gain a better understanding of their RV. Especially when it’s safety related.

So before I head down this path I would also like to say these problems existed before covid and the newbie sales rush and they will continue to exist. However, things are getting much worse and instead of the occasional entitled jerk there now seem to be waves of entitled jerks. The rush did not create the problem but it certainly has enhanced it. So maybe with this blog we can help some people realize some of the things they are doing are wrong. Maybe they don’t know it and maybe we can bring it to light and just make a small impact on the camping community if even just one person changes their habits. So here it goes…….

As we have traveled the country and especially now that we are full time and work campers it’s amazing to see and hear how poorly some people not only treat campground staff but the campgrounds themselves. In the past campers and RVers lived by the motto “leave your campsite cleaner than how you found it.” It’s a testament to loving our surroundings and the environment and wanting others that arrive after you to love and enjoy that same experience. It’s how we pay it forward to our fellow travelers, it’s how we ensure state parks, national parks and public lands remain beautiful and clean for wildlife to thrive. It’s also just respectful to those that own the property that gives us and our fellow travelers a place to stop and rest, enjoy time exploring surrounding areas or reconnect with friends and family.

With the rise of the entitled camper this is one of the most disturbing things that has changed. Many people no longer feel a sense of responsibility to leave a campsite clean at all let alone cleaner than when they arrived. Why take your trash bag to the dumpster thats 15 feet away when you can leave it on the ground? I’m sure someone will just pick that up for you. Hell why even put your garbage in a trash bag to begin with when you have a fire pit and you can just burn it? Nevermind the drought conditions plaguing much of the nation and the flying embers that get created by burning paper products. And nevermind the mess it leaves if you are lucky enough not to burn down the campground and surrounding forest. But hey someone else will clean up that mess so why worry about it. Not only is it lazy, it’s disgusting and disrespectful to the campground the campground staff and the people who come to the site after you leave. So please, bag your trash and put it where it belongs. IN THE DUMPSTER, not it the fire pit or in the site for someone else to clean up. Most campgrounds, especially in National Forests or State Parks don’t have people there to clean up after you leave so you are doing everyone a diservice by being lazy.

Another problem with the entitled camper is lack of awareness, lack of understanding or just plain don’t give a shit when it comes to other campers personal space. They will walk through occupied sites with or without people present. They will play games with or without their kids using neghboring sites as their own personal playground to throw balls, frisbees and corn hole bean bags. Oh, sorry we hit your RV it was a bad throw! They will ride their bikes, scooters, e-bikes through sites with kids in tow spreading their ignorance and bad habits to future generations, all because they want to get to where they want to be and do what they want to do. Some even let their dogs run free during these moments while never giving a single thought to the campers who’s space they are invading. And why should they since they paid for their spot and they are on vacation and they want to have fun and they were JUST trying to get back to their site. Apparently their time and space is much more important than everyone elses and they don’t want to waste a precious few minutes going around campsites, open or occupied, and using those pesky drive and walk paths that are there to guide you through these tough moments of unplanned exercise. So please, enjoy all of your outdoor activities, as that is the purpose of camping in the first place, but do it in your own campsite. And use those drive paths and walking paths instead of invading other people space. Heck, go one step further and even use them when spaces are empty so you can create a good habit and share that with your children. Everyone will benefit.

The next obvious subject for the entitled camper is the beloved dog or as they are now called “fur babies”. We love our dog and I’m sure everyone else does too. But, the entitled camper has not one, but two flaws in their thinking. First, they think their fur baby is special and would never ever run astray from their campsite because their fur baby doesn’t have have that animal mindset. Wrong! Well trained dogs are still animals and we see them run out to people walking by on a daily basis. Most of the time they are friendly but too many times they are not and they put fear in the eyes of people passing by. Additionally, the entitled camper also thinks the doodie their fur baby expels is different from that of other dogs because it doesn’t need to be picked up. They must think it will magically disappear after they walk away. Poof! Well, I hate to break it to these folks but your dog isn’t special, you are a bad dog owner and you are lazy person. That’s all there is to it. And for the folks with their pit bulls and Rottweilers that allow their fur babies to run free because their “dog isn’t like the others” and live by the motto “there are no bad dogs only bad owners” you are exceptionally ignorant and flerting with disaster. So Please, keep your dog on a leash no matter how good you think they are. Other campers shouldn’t have to recoil in fear when walking by your site and your dog comes towards them with that loving growl. Also, some people just don’t like dogs and your inability to be a responsible dog owner is not helping matters. And please, please, please pick up your fur babies doodie because it doesn’t magically disappear. Another camper or a worker usually pics it up in disgust because they are responsible human beings so it’s time for you to grow up and be one also.

Next on the list for the entitled camper is campground Wi-Fi complaining. This might be news to the entitled camper, but you are not in your sticks and bricks home. This is a campground and the only thing you are gaurenteed is the type of space you paid for and the annenities the campground has to offer. That is it! We know that at home you have amazing Wi-Fi and can stream all 20 of your devices at the same time with no problem in your house. However, at a campground you get what they have and you are going to share it with hundreds of other people who also have several devices. Some places are great, some are not. If you have a job or something important to you that depends on a high speed reliable internet connection then you should have been more prepared or as one of my favorite says goes “lack of preperation on your part does not constitute an emergency on ours”. It’s not the campgrounds fault you are ill prepared, it’s yours, deal with it.

That brings us to the entitled campers treatment of the campground staff. Many campgrounds have rules for a reason but the entitled campers don’t believe some of these rules apply to them. For example, putting camping mats on grassy areas. This is something that happens all the time. People put out mats and it kills the grass. The next person comes in to the site and complains the grass is dead or turning brown and guess what, they put out a mat. The staff asks the entitled camper to pick up their mat so the grass can stay green but they want their space the way they want it regardless of the rules and start to complain and argue with the staff. The odd part is they are often perpetuating the same problem they are complaining about and it’s a no win situation for the campground. Then the entitled camper then gives a bad review after berating the staff for asking them to follow the rules to prevent the very problem for which they are complaining. So please, when you arrive at the campground, read the rules and follow them. You can even do this online before you book a site at most places so there is no excuse to not knowing.

Another problem often encountered is the entitled camper not liking their site because of the lack of tree cover. Did they ask for or speciaifally request tree cover? Of course not, but that doesn’t stop them from complaining about it. So here is a crazy idea, if you need or require tree cover for shade ask for it when you make your reservation. Put it in the notes for your online reservation or call and speak with someone at the campground so they can do their best to help fill your request. Some campgrounds only have a limited number of sites with tree cover and some of those sites only fit certain size RV’s. So please, communicate early so you don’t have to complain later. And BTW, If you arrive at the compground it’s booked and you are stuck in the sun because you didn’t communicte that’s on you and there is no need to yell at the staff because of your lack of planning. Another BTW, if you do request a site with trees and you get tree sap on your RV that is not the campgrounds problem. I get it’s hard to remove and is a pain in the ass, but if you want tree cover it ofter comes with tree sap. Welcome to nature!

One more small thing. Entitled campers tend to complain that campgrounds charge extra for some services or that their prices are too high for store products. Yes, They are a for profit company and you are paying for the price of convenience and entertainment. If you want that pack of burger buns because you forgot to get them at Walmart it’s going to cost a little more. Campgrounds don’t have pricing power and they are also paying more to stock that product. But you can just easily walk in and get it.

I’m sure there is more but we will leave you with this. Remember folks, campgrounds are here for the enjoyment of everyone and not just YOU. Whether you are a newbie or seasoned veteran there is a mutual respect we must all have for eachother and the places we stay. There is nothing we love more than camping and everyone deserves to have a great experience. But that experience begins with each of us taking responsibility for our own actions and for our own attitudes. If we trash our forests, parks and other public lands we will lose the privilage of being able to stay there. If we treat the for profit campgrounds and their staff poorly some owners might decide it’s no longer worth the hassle and the property will be sold off to developers or investors which means less options for everyone in the long run. If we continue to treat of fellow campers disrespectfully and ruin their experience because we selfishly think our experience is more important we will lose what brings us all together in the first place. A love for the ourdoors, the common joy of being around and interacting with our fellow travelers and the camping experience itself.

So please, enjoy your camping experience. While doing so please be considerate of your neighbors and other campers. Please, be respectful to the campground staff as they really want to make sure you have the best experience possible. And please, please leave your campsite in a better condition than when you arrived so those that come after you can enjoy their camping experience too.

Until next time…………

Joe

June 2021 Financial Update

We are halfway through the year and four months into our fulltime RV journey and we are having the time our our lives.

One of the things we love is being spontaneous and taking things as they come. When you are living on the road you never know when opportunities will come your way. June was one of those months where once again the unexpected happened but at least this time it was for good as opposed to what happened to us in March. Click here if you don’t know that story. This time we were offered jobs at the campground due to some work campers leaving unexpectedly and after giving it some thought we decided to go for it. You can read all about it in our previous blog.

We are now a few weeks into our new positions and we are really enjoying our time learning new things and all about the operations of a campground. Most people come into the campground and are excited to be there which makes for a great atmosphere and it can be a lot of fun. Of course there are always some folks that are just miserable people and have nothing better to do than complain about stupid stuff and often about every other campground they have stayed at along the way. In those instances we do our best to appease them and move them along because they will never be happy no matter what you say or do. Sometimes I wonder why these people even bother to RV if they are so unhappy all the time.

Becoming work campers is something we always considered doing because it fits perfectly into both the RV and FIRE aspects of our lives. We get to do a little work to keep ourselves busy, learn some new skills and make a little bit of money. Work camper jobs typically also include a free campsite and utilities for the duration of your agreement so you are also saving money on your budget. And the best part is you can choose where you want to go and plan your travels around different opportunities. It really is the perfect plan for us and we will certainly be taking more jobs in the future.

In other work related news something amazing happened this month. It’s something that seemed like it would never come to fruition. It’s something that we have discussed for months if not years but it was always met with resistance, questions and concerns. But now it has finally happened and there is no turning back! What could this miraculous turn of events be you ask?

Well, one day I was working a shift at the campground and Mrs. RVF decided to pay me a visit. As she walked through the office door she had a big smile on her face and proclaimed “I did It!” At that moment I had no idea what she was talking about so I looked at her hand to see if she was holding an adult beverage. She then reminded me that she had her monthly call with her management team at her regular job on this very day. And during this call she did the unthinkable! She decided it was a good time to officially give notice that she will be retiring at the end of August. Yes, my dear readers you read that right!! MRS. RVF will be retiring and enjoying the RV life without being strapped down to a corporate job at the end of August! I was/am shocked as I never thought she would go through with it. She has worked non stop since she was 16 with only vacations here and there. It’s a big step and a huge decision but that’s what we plan for.

In light of this amazing development, we need to start putting our retirement plan into action so we can be ready for the day when there will be no more corporate paychecks. We have been doing really good on our budget the last couple of months so I don’t have any doubt we will be successful. There are a couple of things we do need to be ready for such as paying for one more year of college for our son and figuring out medical insurance once our corporate coverage expires. These are both going to be costly, but they were already accounted for in our plan so barring any unforeseen complications, it is just a matter of laying out the cash as needed.

While we are on the subject of cash, here is how our portfolio performed in June 2021:

Portfolio = $1,564,318

Portfolio Goal = $1,500,000

Amount Needed To Reach Goal = ZERO

Our Portfolio Increased By $17,575 or 1.14% From The End Of May

Year-To-Date Our Portfolio Has Increased By 27.01%

Net Worth = $1,597,968

Our Net Worth Increased By $20,869 or 1.32% From The End April

Year-To-Date Our Net Worth Has Increased By 10.81%

June was a rocky month but we managed to once again end on the positive side which is always a good thing. The month also brought along dividend payments that totaled just under $7k all of which was reinvested into our various mutual funds and stocks in the mini dividend portfolio. This was also a nice recovery from the beating our dividend payments took in the second quarter of 2020 when the pandemic forced many companies to suspend or cancel dividend payments. These cuts caused a 32% decrease in our payouts in Q2 2020 versus Q2 2019 but with things getting back to normal our payout for Q2 2021 increased by over 56% year over year to put us back on track with our historical trend

Going into July I am very weary of where the markets are heading. We are off to a good start but the inflation data is cause for concern and market prices are high. The fed maintains that inflation is only transitory and will subside which reinforces their stance to not raise rates for some time in the future, like 2023. I hope they are right about this because if not then we are in for some pain if they are forced to reconsider that stance and raise rates sooner than expected. The bright side is it will be a buying opportunity but I prefer to not have a market correction just as we are putting our retirement plan into action. However, if for some reason we do head into a correction, we will be fine as we have enough cash to get us through a couple of years which allows some time for our investments to recover any losses. But let’s hope we don’t have to experience that anytime soon.

We have two more months left in Utah and our work camping jobs. After that we will be heading to Arizona for the Fall where Mrs. RVF will experience life outside of the corporate world for the first time as an adult. We are really looking forward to being able to go hiking and sightseeing without worrying about keeping a schedule.

Thank you for reading our blog. Please follow us on social media for more updates as they happen.

Until next time…………

Joe