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Pondering The Near Future


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Now that 2015 is here, DH and I have been discussing our upcoming change of life when we graduate to Fulltiming in the Spring.

Question for all you fulltiimers.....Looking back, if there was something you could change or do differently during your first few years of fulltiming, what would it be?

Looking forward to your responses.

Thanks so much, and Happy New Year!

Cheryl

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I'm not quite sure what you are looking for, but there really isn't much that we would change about our fulltime experience. We did go the same place for most of the winter the first two years and that was a mistake as you can only do something the first time once so the second stay was a bit of a letdown, but that would be about it. Nothing major that either one of us can think of.

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Hi Kirk.

The reason I left it as an open ended question, is because I am not really " looking " for any thing in particular. Just seeking experience from seasoned full timers who can think back to when they began, and say, geez, I wish we would have.... Or wouldn't have...Boy, we didn't think about that....,,let's not do THAT again. Those are the experiences we are curious about.

Thanks

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Our 1st 3 years on the road we went everywhere, our list of places to see was long and we were booked a year in advance with no consideration to any sort of "home base". Year 4 health issues made us realize the benefit of having a healthcare home base and committing to staying there for 30-90 days at a time each year. We discovered even routine colonostomys require at least 60 days from referral to visit to outpatient procedure, appointments with specialists and subsequent tests equally as long. And while any medical condition can be handled anywhere with the right insurance, we learned its much easier to have care managed through our primary care MD vs on our own.

 

The point of this tale is that we now plan "trips" of 6 -12 month duration; we still love travel and have many destinations remaining on our bucket list but we're more realistic in our plans and accept that looping our travels back through a central location has practical benefits for us.

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As Stan & Igeek said, try not to do everything, see everything and set a schedule that burns you out. We made those mistakes for probably the first two years. Set a destination, drive like hell to get there and never stop to smell the roses on the way. We finally realized what our good friend was saying 1-2-1. Drive a day stay two nights and go... Look at places on the way, never make reservations so far in advance that a delay paints you into a corner.

 

It took years to relax and not set some schedule. We used to tell family we'll be thereon x day about x time... That sets you up to be mono-focused about getting 'there' instead of enjoying it.

 

Now we say we'll get there some where about x or y or maybe z day. We let ourselves rest and relax and enjoy the trip. Amazing what you see when you slow down. I think it was here that I read a post that said something like 'You know your a full timer when you relax and realize it's a journey and not trips all strung together.'

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One thing I WOULD do (again)... is do the Escapees Boot Camp experience.

 

No, I ain't trying to plug Escapees, albeit, that would be a good thing... :D but newbies like my wife and I really needed the fundamentals knowledge from a credible source... as well as the friends we made.

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Slow down. Scout out the south and southwest before winter for an area and perhaps campgrounds you like so you can make a winter reservation. We enjoyed one winter in the southwest and the next in the southeast to determine that we enjoyed one better than the other. We tend to hibernate and enjoy winter snowbird activities and then travel the rest of the year. Some enjoy moving about in the winter. Greg

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I agree with the "slow down". You are not on vacation. There is no hurry to see everything in 2-3 weeks, so don't let that mindset get you. We tried not to, but we still did too much too fast. So be very aware of that.

 

Also, you are not on the road for the benefit of your friends and family. TRY HARD to not commit to being places to visit family. It will run your life if you let it. Especially if you have lots of demanding family. Set the expectations with them up front, and stick to it. Because if you "train" them that you will be there at their beck and call they can be very demanding.

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If the family member had to schedule vacation time well in advance then we were flexible in our plans within a window of time but if we got told to show up without prior coordination we had no problem saying "sorry we are too far away" or "too cold" when they surprised us.

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Another vote for slowing down. This year we spent 10 weeks exploring Colorado and only saw a fraction of it. We will go back to see more. This isn't a race, so enjoy life. & '17

 

For us it seems that we make changes in our M.O. each year. For instance at the beginning of '14 we decided that we didn't want to sit as much as we did in the past. So, we planned the Colorado trip and moved every week. By the end of summer we decided that we don't want to move that often and will go back to sitting for a month or two at a time. We also decided to see some other parts of the west and have loose plans for '16 & '17 We then decided to camp host again in Yellowstone. As a note all our plans are cast in Jello.

 

Your signature does not have your RV listed but as it's been said before, buy the biggest you can afford and are comfortable driving around with. We try to stay in good weather so that means south for the winter and north or high elevation for the summer. We started out with an initial agreement that we would FT for a year and then revisit the decision. We revisit that decision every year and discuss what we want to do differently, if anything. We are 1/3 of the way into our 5th year.

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Try different lengths of travel days/campground stays. Don't immediately drop into a rhythm for either one.

 

Also try different kinds of rving experiences. I've met some folks who immediately went to a "point to point" travel style in which they dead head to a spot, land there for months, and then dead head back to their home territory to be close to the grandkids and land there for months before repeating the process.

 

Others get into the "kinfolk" cycle, making some big circle between family oriented stops.

 

There's nothing wrong with either one - but at least get a taste of other approaches: BLM camping, touring new areas, workamping, etc. If you don't try it you'll never know whether or not you like it!

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Most of what I am seeing is advice, more that comments about mistakes that the poster made, which I hope is useful to you also as it doesn't seem that many of us have much that we now look back and wish that we had done differently. I'll stick with my comment to always remember that you can only do anything the first time, once. That may seem obvious but the point is that there usually is not a second visit that quite matches the first, simply because you have seen or done it before. No real novelty the second time so keep the second visit expectations in proper prospective.

 

Lots of comments about slowing down your travel style and I'd agree that rushing is a common mistake that is made by many first timers and especially those who are here and gone in a year or two. Build into any plan the flexibility to be able to stay longer or leave sooner at every stop. We typically planned each visit to an area the time to visit everything there was in any direction, and did our best to not travel the same roads the next trip but to go somewhere new, even if it is only a change in route.

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Thanks everyone. Seems pretty unanimous about slowing down. We know that is going to be the hardest part... Like kids in a candy store.

Having been stuck in one State for many years by the golden work handcuffs, there are a soooo many places we want to see, and things we want to do, it boggles our mind. We know we will never live long enought to see and do everything, but DH thinks we will have pretty severe hitch itch for at least the first couple years. We do have our destination planned for the first few months at least.

Like Mr Mayer said, think it will take a little while to realize we aren't on vacation!

Thanks again everyone. It's nice to know we aren't alone in the see it all, do it all menatlity.

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We started out with every day being a travel day but maybe not very far as we visited museums and sites along the way. But we were in a small RV that could park anywhere so we could make those stops en route. What we learned was we needed to sit still every third day or so. We still covered a lot of miles.

 

In fact we at least drove through everyone of the 48 contiguous states in the just over three years we fulltimed even though we stayed a week at some places and a month at others once we slowed down. Once Dave decided he was done traveling, I slowed down even more. Until, I have now come to a complete stop. I miss RVing but what I am doing now is good, too.

 

Linda Sand

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My advice is to be prepared for your advance planning to not work out. We found our RV wasn't right, which meant we bought a new one our second year. We found a need to change our cooking and meal planning to make more fast and easy meals. We also learned that some items in grocery stores are regional, We learned that we could not be picky on campgrounds and learned to enjoy just having a place to stay. We learned to watch the weather much more intently than we expected. Avoiding severe weather or extended periods of wet weather can cause major route changes. We learned to talk to our campground neighbors, but also to take their advice and recommendations with some skepticism. Not everyone has the same tastes and some can sound like experts and not be. There are places a 35' motorhome cannot go, but a 25' trailer can. We learned how to get by on 30AMP with a 50AMP RV. We learned how to live together in a small space.

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Our first year was more of getting use to the lifestyle staying in one place for the first summer. Then we started off on our journey to the warm weather and ended up in one campground for the entire winter because we loved the park so much. Then the 2nd year we decide to go around the country and do the sightseeing. As others have said, we went much to fast and seen the obvious things and missed a whole lot in our travels. We ended up back in Gulf Shores AL again for the whole winter.

 

Point is slow down, but don't slow down so much that you get bored as that is where I am right now with being in the same park now for pretty much 5 yrs. Don't get stuck in one place like we did. Just my opinion!

 

And for those that say I can change this rut I am in, I'm doing just that!

 

Dave

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My advice is to be prepared for your advance planning to not work out.

 

Truer words have rarely been spoken when it comes to life in an RV - and really, life in general. :D One has to have a sense of adventurers when it comes to RVing and all of the things that can go wrong - some of which you will inadvertently cause. Doesn't do any good to blame - even if you think your partner is the reason for a problem, always remember that they feel worse than you do and this too shall pass.

 

Barb

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