So you want to be a full timer, huh? Now that we have been on the road nearly five years it gives me time to reflect on just exactly what the heck we have done! I remember back in 2010 when we first conceived this crazy idea of buying an RV and traveling all over the USA. What were we thinking back then?
When we first thought about RV’ing full time we had some idea of what it would entail and what we would get from it all. Now of course we had absolutely ZERO experience with an RV. Sharon’s idea of roughing it was to stay in less than a three star hotel whereas I was a backpacker and liked the solace of camping in the wilderness alone. So what did we hope that this lifestyle would be?
At first we thought that it would offer us the freedom to come and go as we please. We retired from the workforce just before we embarked on this grand adventure so FREEDOM was the single most desirable trait that this new lifestyle would offer us. With this new found freedom we chose to follow our daughter’s collegiate softball team her entire senior year to watch all of her remaining collegiate games.Of course we found this experience was PRICELESS and we are so glad we did it.
Having sold our house and all our worldly possessions (we put nothing in storage) we also expected financial freedom as well. With the sale of our home we were able to purchase our motorhome outright so we had no loans to pay. We were also fortunate in that we had health insurance covered at a very reasonable rate through my former employment as a retiree benefit. Health insurance is likely the biggest impediment for those wanting to full time in an RV especially now that many states are dropping their PPO coverage.
Well our time on the road has been everything we ever thought it would be and more. We have learned a few things about the lifestyle as we have evolved over time. So what would I tell someone who was wanting to do what we are doing?
First make sure you have your ducks in a row. Clear as much debt as you can before hitting the road. Less financial worries mean more time to enjoy life in general. Don’t rush into it if you aren’t financially able. We were financially able.... but just barely. We might have been wiser to work one or two more years. But having said that the one thing most long term fulltimers will say when asked “what is the one thing you regret not doing.” The most inevitable answer has been “We wish we would have retired sooner and started full timing sooner.”
The second piece of advice I would offer to new full timers is to not be in a hurry. You don’t have to see all fifty states in one year! Stay calm and take your time. After all there is about a six month learning curve in figuring out how to get the most out of this lifestyle. I remember before we retired and would be traveling, we would hurriedly pass places on the road thinking that one day we would be back to fully explore it some other day. Don’t do that in this lifestyle. Go slow, stop frequently and take your time.
We have learned that nearly every town big or small has a story to tell. Some of our most cherished experiences have come when we least expected when pausing along the road to stay two or three days in between planned destinations. An example of this is our stay in Ashland Wisconsin where we booked a site at a city park online which turned out to be a wonderfully scenic waterfront site within walking distance to town. As we walked the streets of the small town a passerby stopped us knowing we were new to town to tell us where to spend happy hour and shared some interesting history of the town. It turns out two elderly resident ladies painted wonderful murals all over town depicting the town's history. What a delight it was to see each one and then later reflecting on our day at the wonderful recommended happy hour spot. Had we zoomed through we would have missed this memorable experience.
We live in a large and diverse country with so much to see and experience. Don’t miss out on any opportunity because you are in a hurry to get from point A to point B. There will be plenty of time to see and experience all that you desire if you simply slow down and take it all in…