We’ve been full time in our RV for over 13 months. Full time isn’t for everyone. There are positives and negatives that have to be considered.
For us, the positives were that we could travel at our own pace and see the beauty that this country has to offer while we’re still young and healthy. We could visit places together and share the experience as a couple, and meet new friends along the way. We didn’t have to worry about a schedule or worry about upkeep on a house while we traveled. We also didn’t have the financial burden of owning property while spending time and money on the road.
The negatives – most of our family, including half our grand kids, live in the Eastern Washington area. Traveling full time meant we wouldn’t be there for holidays, birthdays and kids sporting events. Owning a home is the “American Dream”. It is supposed to help us build wealth as we age. Owning an RV is not a wealth building process. An RV and associated vehicles are depreciating assets…..although I’m not sure home ownership is all it’s cracked up to be if you include maintenance costs, property taxes, remodeling costs and interest on a loan….but that’s a subject for a different conversation!
How did we get here? In 2016 we took a trip from Washington state to Florida and back. We met all our kids and their families in Yellowstone on the way back – we took two months to complete.
While in Yellowstone Kellie met a lady that had been full timing for over 9 years. We had no idea there were so many people full timing for such a lengthy time. She had quite a conversation with her and it was then we started talking about full time. When we returned, there was so much maintenance on the property that was neglected we couldn’t get it all done before winter hit.
The next year we decided to go on the road for four months. We both agreed after the four months we really weren’t ready to go home. Upon returning we found the maintenance on the property was again too much and we couldn’t keep traveling for long periods and keep our property…so we made the decision to purge and sell the house in the spring.
The house sold rather quickly and we made arrangements to live in the RV and start our new adventure. We traveled to South Dakota to become residents since that was where our mail service was located.
Our plan was to purchase a Smart car to haul on the back of the truck as our “every day” vehicle. We found one for sale in Atlanta and the seller was kind enough to hold it for us while we traveled to inspect it.
After purchasing the Smart, we traveled to north Texas to visit our daughter and her family in July before returning back to Washington state to visit family and friends. It was a little strange returning to our home town, but we didn’t regret our decision to RV full time.
We stayed in Washington state a little longer than we should have….we left the day after Thanksgiving and traveled through a couple of snow storms heading south.
We had made arrangements to stay in south Texas for 3 months during the winter, allowing us to travel through Arizona and spend Christmas with Rachelle and her family in the Fort Worth area before moving on to south Texas.
We met a number of full timers while in south Texas and learned a lot from them while there. We also discovered that sitting for 3 months in one location wasn’t our travel style. We really like to move every 2 to 3 weeks.
We left south Texas and headed up the gulf coast and traveled up the Carolina coast so we could meet family in Washington, DC in May. For 10 days we visited the DC area and Pennsylvania Amish community before our family had to fly back home. After they left we started our trek back west and again are visiting friends and family in Washington state.
We’ve put over 15,000 miles on our rigs since we left “home”.
There have been challenges while traveling. Probably the one challenge that has been hardest on us was losing our best friend Jake.
Jake was with us when we started this journey and loved to travel. He was the best dog anyone could ever want. He was diagnosed with a tumor and passed right after the surgery. As Kellie says, he was the last thing that tied us to our “old life”. It was hard losing him and we still think of him every day. Other challenges are feeling guilty being away from family on holidays and special events. There are of course maintenance issues that come up on the vehicles, but that’s going to happen whether you’re full timing or not.
The positives we’ve found are that we can discover things together as a couple. We get to see all this country has to offer and sleep in our own beds at night.
We only have 400 square feet of living space, but it’s really easy to keep clean! We’ve met so many great people in the last year and many that we can call friends. We try to visit different churches while on the road and have been welcomed into their congregations with love.
We’re often asked “what is your favorite area”. We both agree, we really don’t have a favorite. Every place we’ve visited has it’s own charm and challenges. We’re also asked “how long do you plan to be full time?” We don’t know. It’s all up to God’s plan and time frame. When we get tired of traveling, then we’ll start looking to settle down, but for now that thought hasn’t crossed our minds. We thank God every day for His blessings and opportunities while we experience this lifestyle. Full timing isn’t for everyone, but it is for us…..
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