When I look back at the crazy year an a half it took me to get on the road, I realize that I definitely had a couple advantages over other folks who dream of full-timing. Not that it was easy for me, after graduating from college it’s probably the second hardest thing I’ve done in my life (college no doubt would have been easier if I’d actually wanted to do it) But I think these things are worth mentioning, perhaps they’ll be helpful to those of you who are thinking about going full-timing at some point in the future.
- I was an apartment dweller instead of owning a house. This played a key role in two ways: I had a lot less downsizing to do as apartments are smaller, and I also never lived in the same apartment for more than 2 years, and every time I moved I elected not to take with stuff I wasn’t using. It also meant I didn’t have the added difficulty of selling a house before I could hit the road, and I wasn’t needing to spending precious time up keeping said house.
- I was essentially independent and had no strong attachments in any one place. I already lived over 1000 miles from my relatives and college buddies. I’d been in SC for only three years, and had moved cities 3 times. I had no significant other to try to convince that this was a good idea, no children to worry about how hard constant travel might be on. My job was not satisfying. I had little in the way of roots to tie me down basically.
- I was a natural saver. Before minimalism was trendy I’d always been more inclined to save than spend my cash. Pair that with a strong work ethic and never having more than two weeks of vacation in a year and it meant that long before I decided to go RVing I’d been building my savings.
- I wanted to go full-timing more than I wanted anything else. It’s a true fact that if you want to change your life in a major way, your motivation has to be strong enough to override just being comfortable where you’re at. I think a lot of people want to change their lives but don’t because they just can’t get past the fact that while they may not like their job or circumstances, it’s more comfortable to endear it than to spend the effort needed to push the boundaries.
Do not be disheartened if you find yourself in one or more of these three situations. Plenty of people still manage to go full-timing with little money saved up, a house that needs selling, or a family to think about. In fact, if you’re early in the process of going full-timing and still have a couple years or so to go, there’s time to work on these things now and turn them into advantages.
If you have a house, and know you’re going to be going full-timing in a few years, can you work on selling the house now and rent smaller and less expensive lodging until your departure date? That way you won’t have as much downsizing to do before moving into your RV and you won’t have to worry about a delayed sale of the house screwing up your time schedule for getting on the road. Bonus: Selling the house early before you’ve bought your RV will give you more funds to work with when you make the purchase.
Start talking now to the people who matter about your upcoming decision, so that they get use to the idea. I wrote an article about how to deal with difficult people who just ‘didn’t get it’ a while ago. If they really disapprove that strongly, they probably aren’t worth having in your life anyway.
Talk to your spouse and see how they feel about full-timing. Maybe a smaller trip in a rented RV might bring them around. If they really are dead set against it, don’t lose hope. Maybe RVing as a solo for part of the year and then coming back to your spouse afterward will be a compromise you both can agree on. I know of at least one couple who went this route. If you both really care about each other, you’ll find a way to give each other what that person needs.
RVing with children presents it’s own unique challenges, but it can be done – so long as one parent is okay with homeschooling the kids. I’d do a poor job of explaining how for obvious reasons, so you’re better off visiting those blogs yourself and getting the word straight from the horse’s mouth. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
The very first step I took when I decided I wanted to go RVing, was to start keeping track of all the money I spent in a month and what my rate of savings actual was – prior to this, I just peeked at my bank account every so often as was satisfied as long as it kept going up. For me, the monthly full-timing cost when I was staying at RV parks was very similar to what it cost me to live for a month in an apartment – I only have an advantage when the employer is paying for some (or all) of my lodging costs like at Amazon or here at Cedar Pass. So even if full-timing is still years out for you, start keeping track of your money today. See exactly what it costs you to live for a month and how much money you save. Start living simply now – no more buying furniture or home decor items that won’t be useful in the RV. Ask yourself before you buy anything if it’s something you’ll want to take with you on the road. If you get a head start on it early, you’ll have more to work with once you get on the road.
And as for motivation, well, you’re working on that right now just by reading. No one can be motivated and inspired all the time, myself included. To keep my eye on the goal, I did a lot of blog reading of other folks who were already on the road, to remind myself what I was working towards. I made time in my busy week for smaller weekend trips to get me excited for the larger ones to come. No one can sustain output, output, output all the time. You need input too, you need to ‘fill your cup’ as it were, to have the energy to keep working towards a hard goal like this. I listened to a lot of inspiring music, read motivational blog posts, and talked to folks who were working towards similar goals or were already on the road. Heck, I’m still doing those things as I find myself shifting into a sort of Phase Two of RVing.
Current RVers: what advantages did you have to help you get on the road, and what drawbacks did you face? Future RVers: what do you find yourself struggling with most about getting on the road?