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What made you take the leap?


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Hi there, everyone! I'm brand spanking new here. This seems like a really wonderful forum.

 

For the last couple of years, my husband and I have been tossing around the idea of fulltiming. We're both in our late 40s and there's a very real possibility we could work from the road. We really think that this would be the perfect time for us to do it. No kids, no health problems, etc. There's so much of the country (and life) we want to see and experience. I mean, you only live once, right?

 

Still...the thought of pulling up roots, selling our house and possessions, etc., is a little scary.

 

So I'd love to hear from those of you who are fulltiming. How did you know it was right for you? How did you make the decision?

 

Thanks so much for your input, thoughts and advice!

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We had already been traveling from 6 to 10 months at at time. Then I had a physical injury and after trying to keep up with everything and while still recovering, I thought to myself "what if this were permanent and we couldn't do the traveling we wanted to do?". So that was the catalyst for me. Plus, returning home back and forth across the country just to do yard work and clean the house we weren't using seemed like such a waste. We do return now and then to see family. Selling the house and getting rid of things went smoothly. We are into our 6th year of fulltiming and we have no plans to stop anytime soon! The places we have been and the country we have seen still amaze me!

Carol

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What Bill said. Along with a whole bunch of other things. My parents are gone, my brother lives relatively close, but we don't spend lots of time together and we can travel in for the same amount of time as we see them now. Other than that, I have two aunts and their spouses left. One I'm closer to than the other, but again, we can see them in the same time as my brother. Kids are (just about) done with college. So our family ties to this area are very limited now. We have strong ties to friends, church and community, but we have no doubt that we can maintain the most important of those. And honestly, we're looking forward to new friends, people who have never heard our stories :)

 

We've had a lot of responsibility for many years now. We're ready to be free of lawns and painting and stuff and all the zillions of obligations that go with owning a home. We are looking forward to the day when the hardest decision we have to make every morning is which trail we hike that day. We're ready for new adventures, new opportunities, new views out our windows.

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We had to close our business due to the recession and decided to sell the house and get rid of all our stuff. We enjoy not having to return to take care of a structure. So, we are houseless, but not homeless and are enjoying life. It took us more than a year to get settled into the life style and comfortable and now we enjoy it very much.

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Hi there, everyone! I'm brand spanking new here. This seems like a really wonderful forum.

 

For the last couple of years, my husband and I have been tossing around the idea of fulltiming. We're both in our late 40s and there's a very real possibility we could work from the road. We really think that this would be the perfect time for us to do it. No kids, no health problems, etc. There's so much of the country (and life) we want to see and experience. I mean, you only live once, right?

 

Still...the thought of pulling up roots, selling our house and possessions, etc., is a little scary.

 

So I'd love to hear from those of you who are fulltiming. How did you know it was right for you? How did you make the decision?

 

Thanks so much for your input, thoughts and advice!

Everyone has their own story for sure but for us there was such a convergence of events that the question itself almost yelled out, "why not?"

Our kids think we're crazy - in a loving way of course - but there comes a time when you listen to that voice that says "why not" and................... let the chips fall where they may.

Buena suerte.

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We were thinking of doing this in the terms of -- in a couple of year. My boss was retiring and DH would be drawing his SS. We purchased our motorhome in preparation and spent every summer weekend in it along with our dogs to help get them ready. Then in the spring, my boss passed away suddenly. I was faced with taking a huge paycut to start somewhere else, which made our home unaffordable to continue in. The real estate market was swollen with foreclosures, but we put the house on the market immediately. It didn't sell. Not even a lowball offer. We then decided to rent it out and found someone we knew right away. We got our first workamping job at a campground about and hour from the house to start in 1 month. We started the purging and moved into the motorhome. Tenants moved in. Now 4 year later, tenants have purchased their own home and we are heading back to put the house on the market again. This time there is a shortage of homes for sale, so looks more promising. After 4 years we have absolutely no desire to return to living in a house and all that it entails. We are full-timers for a long time.

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We've been looking at RV's for the past 4 years. We've been bouncing around the last few years deciding where to retire. We bought a house in Idaho last year thinking this would be it. We've always done volunteer work for Sheriff, SAR, EMR, FIre, FEMA, CERT. Idaho didn't pan out at all. I've had cancer and currently suffer with Fibromyalgia and GI issues and nerve issues. I've learned life is short and you have to make the most of your life NOW! We decided to sell the house and everything we own. We want to do volunteer work on the road, explore new places, meet new people and drink wine from all over! We've determined life is too short to stay in one place and not see this wonderful country and not meet all the wonderful people!

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First let me say welcome to the Escapee forums! It is great having you join us here and I'd encourage you to think positively about this as your future and also to consider doing so via a membership in Escapees, the only real support system for those who live on the road in an RV. The founders of this club were about your age when they became working fulltimers, but they and most of the early members were in the construction trades. Today we do have a number of members who work from the road, some operating a business, some writing, some working via internet and a range of other things. The majority of us are retired but there is currently a big push being made to gain more younger members and we hope that you will become a part of that change!

 

How did you know it was right for you? How did you make the decision?

For most of us it was a process that took place over time. In our case we began as a tenting family, then moved to a pop-up and over the years we transitioned from one RV to the next, eventually hitting the road at age 57 after an early retirement. Making this type of transition is never really easy for most of us, but there are things that you can do to educate yourself about the way that we live and the things that will need to be considered. I suggest that you start by doing some reading of books on the subject of the RV life either from your local library or from Amazon or similar stores. I also suggest that you take note of the links to be found in the signature lines of many who post here as many of us keep websites or blogs which have a large amount of information about what you may need to deal with and with the ways in which we live. There are just as many different ways of living and traveling in an RV as there are to live in a stick house so do not limit yourself as you consider this.

 

You do not have to get rid of your house and belongings as soon as you buy an RV so it might be more comfortable for you to start with some extended trips, beginning with a month or two and slowly extending that time. By doing things that way you will not be burning any bridges behind you until you gain some experience & confidence.

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Newly 'downsized' from our company we bought a small travel trailer and took off for the winter to Florida. We met so many extremely happy full-timers and on the drive back to Michigan we stated "we know we want to travel and haven't missed anything in the big house this past winter so let's sell it all and travel". We did so for 16+ years.

 

I think all that have replied to you so far are older and retired. You're in a different situation being young and still working so you're going to have different concerns than we have. Think it through carefully, especially medical insurance - even though you're healthy - now. There are more and more younger folks in this lifestyle so it can be done. I suggest you try to read some blogs of younger ones who are still working on the road.

 

Good luck!

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My wife and I always loved to travel. In October of 2001, I was 51 and had just been laid off from a long-time IT Tech Support Manager's job (whole Division outsourced)... We took a weekend trip to Mackinaw City, MI as a get-away to think things thru... While there we had dinner one evening, and inadvertently sat next to a couple that were Escapees members... and workampers. We had a good conversation with them... and the seed got planted. We came around to figuring on buying a 5th wheel and 'taking off' in early 2015... I would be 65.

 

Well, my job situation worked out well after being laid off... and for years we attended local RV shows, visited RV parks... plugged in to RV blogs (mainly this one), and did various things to get prepared for 2015. But suffice it to say, we got impatient. In Spring of 2012, we just decided to 'pull the trigger' early and go at year's end - I was an elected Twp. Treasurer and just did not wish to run for election again (had already won two previous elections). We had not even tent camped in over 30 years. So that Fall 2012, we bought a small, used Class A gas motorhome. We made arrangements for our house to be taken care of... we crammed on 'How to motorhome'... and took off in January of 2013 with 1st destination of - Escapees Boot Camp in Congress, AZ.

 

So, long story short... The plans were in place... and that enabled the short-trigger timing as we wished.

Jim

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We decided to full time for three major reasons:

 

1. After living in Florida for 34 years we had our first direct hit by a hurricane. 17 days without power. Roof ruined, etc. It was no fun.

 

2.I had a minor stroke. Not much damage but sure was a wakeup call.

 

3.Family history among my many uncles, showed a pattern of retiring at 65, then dying just a few months or years later.

 

We were avid weekend and vacation campers for 35 years. Every Sunday afternoon my wife would say:"I could just stay here forever. I don't want to go home." In June 2006 she got her wish.

 

Awhile back, I asked her: "Are you still happy with full timing?" She looked at me as if I had lost my mind, and said: "I will let you know."

 

Almost 9 years now: So far so good.

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We've been camping in one way or another most of our lives. We were already retired when I decided I was done coping with Minnesota winters. We spent just over three years full-timing before Dave wanted to go back home--he's Minnesota born and bred and he likes his community here. I became a snowbird for three years. Now we are back in the snow and I fly south for part of the winter.

 

Linda Sand

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I just want to THANK YOU all for sharing your insight and stories. It really helps to hear everyone's perspective.

Just to give you a perspective similar to yours. I am 52 and my wife is 49. Fortunately I am in a position where I can retire with an okay pension. We plan on full-timing in the very near future. In fact the ONLY thing that is keeping me from retiring right now is the cost of health insurance. One of the factors for me is if I retire I could make a house payment and health insurance and all the other amenities (electric/gas, DirecTV, Internet, Cell phones etc.) but would wind up with about $2.50 left for enjoying myself every month. With full timing I can actually LIVE and with site rental, electric, water, sewer for right about what I pay in property taxes right now. Actually I have ran the numbers and even with paying health insurance I can live pretty comfortably on my pension in our 5th wheel. Now with that said, I don't have a rig near as nice as many on here but we both love it. It is a 2007 and it is 39' long but I have yet to find another one with a floorplan we like as well. I have owned it for 2 years and I got a FANTASTIC deal on it. With it being obviously smaller than the house my wife says when we are in it she just feels so relieved because there isn't so much to take care of. My current house was built by my grandparents the year before I was born so I have basically grown up in it. My greatest fear is I will sell my house and in 3-4 years say "What the @#$@# have I done". But then I think of all the wonderful places in this country that I want to see. I think about spending a month on the beach, then maybe spending a month in Las Vegas, and then somewhere in Arizona and on and on and that makes it ok.

 

Sorry I've rambled on and probably told you more than you wanted to know but just understand that you aren't the only one going through a very tough decision making process. I read posts from as many people as I can like yourself and me. I have yet to read one post where somebody said it was the worst mistake they made.

 

Steve

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  • 3 weeks later...

It was an easy "decision". Elaine said 'we are going on 67, you will have an excellent retirement, time to retire, sell the house, and see the US, Mexico and Canada!'

 

After lot of whining, I said "yes dear!" And we sold the house the month before the recession (good timing) and have been on the road since: Alaska, Newfoundland/Labrador, Key, Baja, and Yucatan/Belize/Guatemala. And so we have been on the road for 8 years. We boondock primarily and dry camp the rest of the time (spending time in our kids' backyards for several weeks at a time). Our preferred spots are on BLM/Forest Service land at $0/night. We have sufficient solar/battery suite to be autonomous of line power/generator 95% of the time or more.

 

We met a couple last year that were turning 84 and I said "wow, we have 10 more years to look forward of travel and adventure. The wife replied "Sonny" (not said but implied), you have 20 more years on the road since we plan on another 10"

 

We had an Open Road 337RLS that was destroyed in a 70 vehicle pileup in the fog about 70 miles east of Puebla, Mexico. First thing Elaine said as she woke up in the morning from anaesthesia (three broke ribs and both bones in lower right arm were compound fractures) was "OK, the pickup and trailer are totaled, time to think of what we will buy as replacements!" We bought a later 337RLS since we found its features and layout are perfect for us and another 2006 Chevie diesel 4x4 (original was a 2006 GMC) dualie. Older son is in alternative energy and he designed and fabricated a system that is solar autonomous. We have hooked into line power only a very few times - and that was because we were staying at one of the few trailer parks we have stayed in because we were near big cities where we were visiting family and boondocking was not an option.

 

Reed and Elaine

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When I started out I don't think I had ever heard the term "fulltimer". Like Bill and some of the others it just kind of evolved. Spending more time than naught away from the S&B to the point where it was more of a hassle to detour back "home" to tend to the day to day and upkeep. At some point it just didn't make sense anymore. I hired a management company and called it good. I've never believed in selling real estate.

 

Taking the plunge all at once.. selling everything off and hitting the road I can completely understand a bit of apprehension. I would dare to say though that once you have a few months under your belt you'll have one of those moments sitting out under the awning one night.. look at each other and ask, "ready to go home yet?".. then laugh it off as completely ridiculous. :lol:

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We have been fulltimers for about a month. Without any previous discussion on retirement or RV experience, we made the leap. How did we make the decision?

 

Riding in the car heading East on I-10 just past Beaumont, I said to my wife "I think it about time to sell everything, buy a motorhome, and see where we can park it."

 

On I-10 around Beaumont there are those bumps in the highway that go bump, bump as you pass over them. My statement was not met with an immediate response so I was beginning to think the bump, bump was her heart beating a little louder. She finally responded with "So, we won't have a home base?"

 

I quickly replied "Of course we will. There's a mail forwarding service in Livingston that will send us our mail." Bump, bump.....

 

Then I get an answer "Ok."

 

I thought we were set. But a few more bump, bump's and she had one more question. "What if we are in the middle of nowhere and you just die on me?"

 

I was ready for this one. I quickly responded with "Call our son. He will come get you. It is his job."

 

She like the answer and that was it. This is exactly how we went from a canal home with a boat to a 40ft motorhome.

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Ours was a wake up call of a different type. After a move from a large metro area in 1998 to a small town we bought and restored an old home. As our project was winding down we realized we didn't want to be 80 paying someone to cut the grass. However the real shove came when my brother in law retired and 6 months later was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, subsequently passing away before his 62nd birthday. In that 6 months we lost 3 more very close friends to heart attacks and strokes. People who had never been ill and also younger than 62.

 

It quickly became apparent that,while we didn't have a fortune to travel on, we could manage as well as we would living in our home. Ours children have always been independent people who didn't need us to help manage their lives and kids and there was a huge America in our "back yard" that we'd never seen.

 

So off we went. That was 9 years ago and we haven't looked back!!!

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I'll play . . . A couple of years ago we started looking at travel trailers, thinking that "when we retire" we would buy a smaller house or condo and a small travel trailer so we could take trips longer than a week and take our dog. That just evolved into full-timing when we realized that the money we spent maintaining and paying insurance and taxes on a house or condo would go a long way toward travel. We don't feel the need to have a home base at this point, so we will just hit the road and see where it takes us sometime next year.

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  • 1 month later...

As I read the other statements, ours is different. We never camped or even went into an RV. I didn't even know that an RV was! On our way back from Atlanta for Thanksgiving where one of our son's lived my husband mentioned retiring. I said I wasn't spending 1 more winter in OH when he retired...I hate being cold. He was thinking of a 5th wheel...what's a 5th wheel? That January, there was an RV show in our hometown and as I walked into a Montana I saw new cabinets, real dresser and a real table. This my Dad told me to live light and I married a "collector", I saw this as a chance to live light. PLUS, our kids moved and took our then 6, now 9 grandchildren with them AND my husband had a scare of cancer...it became a no brainer. I decided I didn't want storage, or to pull anything, so a 5th wheel and a truck were purchased, we sold the house and everything in it 3 + years ago and neither of us regret 1 mile. It takes me 20 minutes to clean the RV and then I'm free to play. I don't need to ever have a house again!! There's nothing I can't do in my RV that I did in the SB, just with a lighter heart.

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I have met a lot of people that seem to see themselves as economic victims making lemonade and whether it was thrust upon them through unforeseen circumstances or despite their best efforts most see it as an alternative lifestyle they have come to love.

In the mid-1990s and just beginning our 50s, we began to realize that our retirement life was not going to be what we had planned for decades, we began thinking about contingencies. Sure, our S&B house would not be sustainable as retirees. The evolutionary pressures of local climate, politics and economy also changed the desirability of the location of our home. We knew we would be downsizing for these reasons as well as our own desire to have less real property to have to maintain and worry about. By 1998, we decided that downsizing through an RV was a viable way to make the transition. It could offer us a way to take our time in finding the place to live out the last few steps of our stairway to heaven. It would also transition us from being owned by what we have to living with what we actually needed.

Never mind that our S&B was the only home that 2 of our children had ever known. Sometimes pure sentiment can carry irrational burdens with it. We spent a few years in research mode, bought the "right" RV in 2003 and the "right" tow vehicle a year later.

In 2007, we solved most of the issues of the S&B and the poor market, our 2 kids were in their early 20s but not on their own so we turned the S&B over to them. They rent from us, shared the home and took over its full maintenance and care.

We lived in the RV in the back yard another 4 years, taking occasional short trips which got our setup all worked out. In 2011, when the economy finally ended our careers, we were already completely setup and just needed to fill the tanks and pull out.

We began our active search for a more suitable climate, economy and political environment and be able to pause our travel anywhere we liked. We could easily turn a tasty sip of a place we liked into a long drink to see how satisfying it could be.

Yes, freedom is a word we have used but more important to us has been a growing sense that we are accomplishing something that is important to our future. Our experiences are giving us pictures and memories that we may or may not be able to find or reflect on in our later years but it is also giving us a practical sense of where a life in smaller spaces might work the best for us. Besides the monuments and scenery we are always researching the overall economics and available healthcare of prospect areas as well as the availability of resources we have come to depend on in our daily lives.

I really believe that for some people it is enough to feel unfettered and be free to make momentary choices with no particular vision except enjoyment. That does work for some. For others, like us, having no future direction, however ethereal it may be, is a constant source of discontent. Even if the plan is to just be able to sit and read books for days on end instead of having to mow grass, plant flowers, pay bills, see movies, etc.

For us, living an 8 year full-time RV lifestyle has ranged from 4 years in our back yard in North Carolina to Florida, The Tetons, California, the Oregon/ Washington coast and beyond. We intend to continue until we cannot or until we decide to finally stick that last pin in the map in the place we liked the best. We have already found a couple of good candidates but there's no harm in continuing to look, is there?

 

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We have not retired yet. We are just turning 60. Yes, we only live once and that is what prompted us to start down this road. There is so much out there to see and when we stay in one place and only take a week vacation here and there, we don't see it the way I want to see it.

 

We have started selling things on Craigslist. So far we don't miss a thing. We love our home. Small town, beautiful setting but we want more. We have researched and found a 5th wheel we want. First, we will buy a tow vehicle and then the 5th wheel. We are researching domicile issues.

 

We are very new to all of this also. We have pulled a sailboat but never a 5th wheel. We have camped but only tent camped when we were younger. So, it's all new and exciting. AND scary! From what I read on the forum, it will take some time to be able to slow down and not rush around, as we get used to full timing. We have about 1.5 years until this becomes a reality. It's an emotional roller coaster but mostly it's exciting!

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I see that you have been on the forums for a few years so you probably have been reading here as well. I'd encourage you to move ahead with the plan and to also share with everyone here as you do so. Even so I'll say welcome to the RV community as it seems that you've still got the first trip ahead of you.

 

We have about 1.5 years until this becomes a reality. It's an emotional roller coaster but mostly it's exciting!

One thing that you might be wise to do is to make the purchase of the RV now in order to give you some time to "learn the ropes" of RV travels before you actually sell the house and drive away. That would do a lot to ease that break and to leave you the comfort to return home and adjust between early experiences. We had owned RVs of various types for 25 years before we bought our fulltime home and even then it proved to be helpful to have in outside our door as we made the final moves from house to RV. No matter how you deal with things this is a major change of lifestyle, for most the biggest that they will ever make, other than perhaps the one to get married. Doing this would remove many of the stressful issues that you will need to deal with if you do all at the last minute.

 

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