The Road to Full-Timing
We love to travel; who doesn’t? The thought of going to a National Park like Yellowstone, Yosemite, or the Great Smoky Mountains and stay a month hiking and exploring was intoxicating. Figuring out a way to make that happen took hours upon hours of discussion.
Finally, my number crunching husband determined the most economical way to travel extensively was by RV. (See Note below) From that moment on we were consumed with the idea of selling our real estate and living full-time in an RV. We read every book, we read every magazine, we read every website that we could find about full-time RVing.
It was a big step and our personalities wouldn’t let us just jump into the lifestyle. Too many changes and too much money was involved. We had to take this thing slow and easy.
Selling the condo was probably the easiest part for us. We were dissatisfied with the condo association and felt like we needed to make a change in our residency anyway. So it was easy to slap a fresh coat of paint on the walls and put up a for sale sign. We were lucky. That was back in early 2003 when real estate was easy to sell and usually for a profit. The condo sold in less than a month.
Now, what’s next. I planned to retire at the end of the school year and Gene had arranged with his boss to be off for six months. We had a long vacation coming up. We had taken many 2-week trips in a tent. If we could live in a tent for two weeks, why couldn’t we live in it for 2 or 3 months?
We bought a larger tent, we bought cots, we bought a dining canopy, we bought a BIG cooler, and we bought a minivan to carry it all. The day after school was out we were on our way to Colorado for a summer of hiking. We were ecstatic.
We were counting on this first trip to convince us that we could be away from our family for an extended period of time and it would be okay. And we hadn’t spent a bunch of money trying to answer that question. We had invested maybe $500 in the tent and accessories; not a big loss if we found we just didn’t like being away from family.
As it turned out, we loved it. During the winter of 2004 we continued our discussion about full-time RVing, but now we were focused on what kind of RV to get. The fact that we were still working during the winter months greatly influenced our decision. After we had sold the condo, we put a lot of stuff in a storage unit. During the winter months, we drug all that stuff out and into an apartment then back to the storage unit in the spring. We were just focusing on traveling in the summer so it seemed more like a vacation. We decided to purchase a pop-up.
Our first trip in the pop-up was to Alaska and we loved it. The next year we went to Michigan for a couple months. We loved it again. By this time we were convinced that when we retired we could RV full-time with no problems.
Moving in and out of the apartments twice a year got old fast. By the end of the second winter we were ready to start looking for an RV to live in. We chose a 38 ft Montana 5th wheel with a rear kitchen. We moved in Thanksgiving weekend 2005.
In the summer of 2008 we traded for a 40 ft Everest 5th wheel with rear living. By the time we got the Everest we had gotten rid of all our extra stuff and no longer had a storage unit. Everything we owned was in that 5th wheel.
In the fall of 2010, we traded the Everest for a Four Winds Class C motor home. That’s a whole different story which can be found under the tab entitled “Living in a Class C”.
Note: This determination was made before we discovered how many repairs are involved in keeping an RV on the road and how expensive those repairs are. At this point, I’m not at all sure another analysis would yield similar results. But as I’ve said so often, it is what it is and as frustrating as it can be, we still love it.