Pickup truck and fifth wheel RV

How Cancer Led to Full Time RVing and a New Outlook on Life

There are few words worse than the ones Scott Osborne heard in December 2017. “It’s cancer”. An avid RVer and musical festival goer, it shocked Osborne to hear such a diagnosis at just 47 years old. 

Prior to his diagnosis, you could find Osborne hanging out in his travel trailer at any music festival he could get to. The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival was always his favorite. Although his parents were full-time RVers for seven years, the music festivals were what really got him into RVing. 

All that went out the door after doctors diagnosed him with stage 3 cancer. Osborne couldn’t attend any music festivals for some time. He was too sick from the chemo and radiation. There were many days when he wondered if he would make it through to see another day or listen to another song. 

That’s when Osborne really started asking himself a big question. “If I get a second chance, what am I going to do with my life?” 

Scott Osborne and his dog

A Second Chance and a New Beginning

After nearly a year of treatment, Osborne got to answer that question. His doctors had given him the all-clear; a miracle he had prayed for and dreamed of. During many dark months of treatment, Osborne knew if he could change one thing about his life, it would be travel. 

The week after his last chemotherapy treatment, Osborne was still weak. But he mustered up every ounce of strength he had. He loaded up the travel trailer and made the trip to Bonnaroo. 

“It really helped me see the good in people,” Osborne said of the experience. “I pulled right up to the front entrance to get in and out.” He said he felt the support from other travelers and strangers when he told them he’d just finished chemo.

After that, Osborne put his house on the market, stored or sold all his possessions, and became a full-time RVer in May 2019. At the time, he thought he would travel for about 6 months. When he started undergoing treatments, his job as a mortgage loan officer had set him up to work remotely. 

Thanks to his remote job and his new lease on life, there was nothing to hold him back. 

When “6 Months” Turns Into “Maybe I’ll Never Stop RVing”

Osborne chuckled a bit as I asked him how long he planned to travel. See, this is a question full-time RVers get asked a lot. And the answer usually stretches out to be longer and longer amounts of time the longer you’re in this lifestyle. 

“When I started, I thought I would do this for six months,” said Osborne. “Now, I’m looking at at least three to five years. But it could also be ten years or maybe I’ll never stop!” 

Osborne spent the first year as a full-time RVer living in the travel trailer that he had bought for music festivals. However, it wasn’t much longer before he realized he wasn’t going to be done RVing anytime soon. 

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That’s when he upgraded his rig. He got in right at the right time, too. He purchased his shiny new fifth wheel the Friday before the first lockdowns went into effect in early 2020. If you’re part of the RV community, or even if you’re not, you know the popularity of RVing exploded after that. 

With his health concerns still at the forefront of his mind, isolation was very real during the early stages of the pandemic. He couldn’t see his friends or family. Music festivals were, of course, out of the question. 

So, Osborne did what many others did. He got a lockdown puppy. He said having a dog made getting through the isolation much easier. Best of all, his dog loves RV traveling just as much as he does (or maybe even more). 

Managing Medical Challenges While on the Road 

Medical challenges are tough enough when you live in a sticks and bricks house. When you take your home on the road, traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles, things become more complicated. 

Osborne said not to let difficulties hold you back. He sure hasn’t. A bit more planning is needed to ensure he gets his twice-yearly major exams. As for managing medication, Osborne said,  “it’s important to have a good relationship with your doctor.” 

Osborne’s doctor knows his story. Because of this, there has never been any trouble getting medications out of state. He recommends using a national or regional pharmacy like Walgreens or Publix for the best experience. 

The Best Part About Second Chances 

While Osborne said he wished he would have upgraded to a larger rig sooner, there isn’t much else he would change about his RV journey. He has traveled mainly regionally visiting Tennessee,  Northern Alabama, or staying with friends in Auburn. 

He had planned to travel to Yellowstone, Crazy Horse, and the Badlands this summer, but the Colonial Pipeline gas crisis had other plans for him. Despite this setback, Osborne said the best thing about traveling hasn’t been the destinations, but the people. 

Osborne loves meeting new people, and RVing is a perfect way to do that. He said he’s met some families and younger people, but also a lot of retirees. 

“They are some of the coolest people with positive outlooks and amazing life experiences,” he said; the smile that was certainly on his face shining through the telephone. 

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Kathryn Mancewicz

Kathryn Mancewicz is an RV expert who has been a full time RVer since 2019. She has bylines for her RV related content on major publications including MSN, MSN Canada, and AOL. She has also been featured on Yahoo and quoted on KOA. Kathryn is also a regular RV content writer for Cheapism.