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Why wait till you retire? Be a full time RV'er now!

Updated on July 11, 2013

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Life it what you make of it....

Enjoy RV Living

Reduce and simplify: Why wait? What is stopping you? Is it your job? You can still live in a RV and work at your same job. Why not? Afraid of what the neighbors will say? Won’t be able to keep your things? My, My, My…. Or should I say.. mine, mine, mine.

Loving your possessions: That is some big words to someone who loves their "things". Let me be the first to say you can get rid of your things and still be happy and do this all before you retire. Why wait? Oh yea, the excuses. I can hear you now. Where would I put my stuff? Are you crazy to live in a RV full time? I can't do that, how would I look to others? My friends will know that I live in a trailer or RV not a house. You know I have to keep up with what others are buying…. I need my 50” big screen TV. I need my… and so on… Having all that stuff how does that make you feel? Oh...you think so? Do you feel good about paying for all those items? or the payments on all the toys and the expense of owning them such as insurance and upkeep?

Becoming Stress Free: Think outside the box. I bet you have never thought about how all that stuff brings stress into your life. The house and the upkeep: yard maintenance, pool maintenance, Maintenance on everything you own.

Let me share this. I have a friend who purchased a beautiful property on the lake. It was a dream come true for him. He had to do absolutely nothing when he moved in but put his boat in the boat house. Just sit back and enjoy the sunsets. After a few weeks he noticed a few items starting needed some upkeep. Normal items, yard, hot water heater, gutters, some painting on the boathouse and so on. Then he had issues with the boat dock/pier and house. Neither the less now he’s not enjoying the lake anymore, he's busy every weekend working the honey due list. (By the way still working a full time job). He actually told me that he was on the lake in his boat more when he didn't live on the lake. He pays more in taxes, has more work to do around the house and does not enjoy being on the lake so much anymore. What did he do? He went back to living off the waterfront and put his boat in a rental slip on the water. Now all he has to do, is go get in his boat enjoy the day and not be bothered with all the house work. He has less stress in his life because of it. Do you see where I’m going with this? You can just as well live in an RV and rent a boat slip for your enjoyment or carry your boat with you behind your motorhome with no problem.

Is it really worth keeping? How often do you really use those items? It is worth keeping them? There is no right or wrong answers to that question, but it can be very liberating to have less in your life.

So you feel that having these items is what you have to show for your accomplishments for all the hard years of work. Oh ok. Whatever helps you sleep better at night.

You have stuff, so you fit in and look good to others. The better car, boat, purse, clothes…Really?? Is that the way you think? You need to reevaluate yourself. You are obviously not a very happy person. Stuff does not make you happy.

RV living isn’t for everyone. I have heard that a few times. But I don’t think it’s true. RV living can be accommodated to any working class, either white, blue, yellow or any other collar color. No you don’t have to quit your job or even retire right now to move in to your RV.

But you will have to decide what to do with your stuff. But don't worry, that isn’t the first thing you will need to do.

The first thing you must do! The very first thing is if you have a partner, spouse or loved one that will be entering this adventure with you, well you must get along. This is no JOKE. This individual must be your best friend or you will not be happy in these tight quarters. You must be able to honestly say to yourself that this person is your best friend. Example: If the two of you can go into a small space, hang wallpaper for eight hours in one day and still be friends by the end of the day. I think you will be ok. So now that we have covered that you and your best friend can live fulltime in a RV what do you do next?

We didn’t realize we really could do this. It turns out that Greg and I had been joking for years regarding RV living but never took it serious. One day when we were joking again … I said. “Why don’t we?” I heard Greg say. “Why don’t we what?” That was the beginning.

We didn’t start this because we had to. We just wanted to do something different in our life. Greg and I have been married for 19 years and have always talked about that RV living one… day… well why not now?? What was stopping us?? The kids are all grown and out of the house. No we aren’t retired but we can still go and do what and when we want. So we did! .What rule is unwritten that you have to wait till you retire? I have always heard that from other individuals. "When I retire, I'm going to do....." NO, you don’t have to wait! We are having a blast and you can too!! You can still work your job and actually do those things you haven’t had time for due to the upkeep on your STUFF. No upkeep on things so you can just unhook and go anywhere on the weekends!

Second thing to do. You may already have a RV you are thinking of living in or maybe you are looking to purchase. I have some referrals later for you to review that I personally have had wonderful experiences and they were very helpful in our purchase.

How to start. Reduce and Simplify. It’s that simple. Yes really it is. There are a number of wonderful books to read that will energize you whether you’re looking to reduce and simplify or/and become debt free.

Start by making your family and friends happy. Why wait till you die to give that prized possession of yours to a family member or loved one. I had so much fun giving my stuff away to family and friends and seeing their faces. Please tell them what you are doing and why first. They will think something is wrong or someone is dying. Yes all your friends and family will think you have totally lost your mind. Yes, you laugh but they will. Some of your friends and family will reduce calling or coming to see you as much during this process. You think not well you just wait and see. They will tell you how they could never get rid of their “things”. Really? What kind of person does that make them?

Now you have had your yard sale. Gave items to family and friends. Can’t part with those other items just yet? What about those items that are sentimental? This is another process. Can’t part with the china hutch that grandma left you and none of the kids want it? So what does that tell you? Well that when you pass and that china hutch is still in the house what do you think the children will do with it? Truth hurts. Yes they will call Goodwill to come pick it up and it will find another home of someone you didn’t even know.

Find a home for it and you know where it is. This way you can see it anytime you want and you have a friend in whom with enjoys it as much as you do. Take a photo of it and keep it with you in a photo album. This way you can review it on your journey also.

Still can’t do that. Then pack it up with the other items. Yes you are supposed to reduce and simplify but we all know that you have stuff you want to save. We all know that one day (maybe) you may live in a house again. Well I mean one that’ not on wheels.

This is all banking on that you are departing with the house. Total Downsizing. Then again you can always store items in your garage and lock it up while you rent out the house for an income or let the kids have it. Maybe you decided to go ahead and give the house to a family member. If that is the case that is a whole other article. That’s not easy either. We will review later.

Goal date of moving: So you have a goal date yet? Need to come up with one. Be realistic. It took us about 3 months to downsize. We still both have full time jobs so we worked on all this around our jobs.

As you pack items up make another pile for the yard sale items and make a pile for the name brand items. You can sell them at some wonderful consignment shops local to you or go online and sell them. (I will pass that information to you later.)You will be so surprised of the items that you have 2 and 3 of. When you do this the first month now go back through your items near the end before your yard sale. Yes go back thru your boxed items. You won’t believe the items that you will pull out that you decided that you didn’t want to keep anymore. Don’t keep those plastic flowers and plants! Don’t keep that monkey lamp! Time for those items to find a home. Yes I do understand that it tugs at your stomach to let some of these things go. Yes it is hard but it is also rewarding later when you feel free of “things.” Yes you can still have nice things but come on… do you really need to buy a $400 purse every month? OK fine. The Coach was on the clearance for $100 so what. Does that make you feel better to have this purse just because you want everyone to know that you have a Name Brand purse? That was put on a charge card. That you paid so much money for this simple purse and now having to pay interest also. You don’t have to impress. Be yourself. I can think of better things to do with my money than that. Yes I own name brand purses but decided that I wanted to be debt free more than show that I had money when all was on charge cards. So think about it. That name brand purse and shoes nor your superficial friends make you look rich. It’s your friends and family that surround you that make you look rich. Yes of course they will have to get over that you have completely lost it for downsizing.

OH yea.. and be prepared. So many people will ask you at your yard sale, “who died?”. Then they will look at you crazy when you tell them. (I thought it was great! But I have a weird sense of humor anyway.)

Good for you! You can do this! So pass on those favorite items: Yard sale pile, Consignment name brand items from purses to furniture pile, Friends and Family pile, Storage pile.

Whew. That is the tough part.

Looking for that RV. So now, you have been looking for that right RV because you don’t have one. What should I buy? I will share some of my views and you decide what best for you.

We looked at Travel Trailers and 5th Wheels due to us already having a truck. Very surprised when we found out that our truck would only haul a 28’ max with no slides. Let’s just say that I thought me and my best friend would need a little more room. Our truck was almost paid off so we did not want a truck payment and a RV payment which included insurance on both also.

Yes we did look around for someone selling that combo but no one at that time. We knew we didn’t want to buy new due to the price and what if we changed our minds? What if we didn’t like it? It’s still scary to jump ship like this. We wanted to purchase used. We decided that a

Motorhome was the way for us to go. Then we could keep our Vehicles which are almost paid off and just have the one payment with the insurance. We also wanted to be able to tow our motorcycles. Which in some states you can’t tow behind a Travel Trailer or 5th Wheel.

What we found: We looked around and found a 30’, 2003, Class A, Gas, Coachman Mirada no slides. So in August, 2012 we thought that $14,200 was a good deal for this motorhome. This RV actually looked bigger when we weren’t living in it. You just wait and see.

Prep for the RV: So we decided to purchase one and we prepared an area outside our house. (Which our daughter her husband and 4 boys moved into.) No we didn’t travel far at first. We decided to stay local at first. Yes we could have went and stayed at the local RV parks but why do that when we can just spit some of the utilities and stay at home till we work all the bugs out of it and determine what we will actually need for living full time in the RV.

Greg is much the handy geek so he hooked us up what I call the ‘poop blender” but actually is the sewage grinder pump. Believe it or not you can get very excited over this. It allowed us to hook up to our existing sewer line and dump as needed by using pvc with the gravity effect.

We also hooked up the much needed 30amp to our existing power pole. Then came the water hook up. Now we are ready.

Move in day: Everything you have packed up to take out to your RV….Stop and take half out now before you even go to the RV. You will be bringing half back anyway because you won’t’ have the room. You will be surprised on what you want to take and what you actually can take.

It’s not like we had never camped in RV’s before. We knew what we could put in them. When the kids were growing up we always had one. It’s just not the same as when you decide to live in one full time. I wanted my coffee pot, toaster, my pressure cooker, my crock pot, my French fry cooker and so on. Nope, the only thing I was able to take was the coffee pot and I had to reduce the size of that.


Think outside the box of what you actually need:

This philosophy will help your determine what you need. (I hope) It seem to help me.

Look at it like this… If you have a fork why do you need an egg beater? Just use your fork. If you have a stove and an oven why do you need a toaster? Just learn how to cook your toast in the oven or better yet cook it with a little butter on each side and grill it in the frying pan on top of the stove. We found out that we love the grilled toast much better than the toaster made. Now I felt I had to have my coffee pot but you really don’t with the microwave.

No you don’t need every single DVD you own. Take a few and change them out later or better yet if you have Wi-Fi you can get NETLINK, then you can watch what you want when you want.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Look at your items and if you have two that do the same thing eliminate one. That falls back to the Reduce and Simplify method.

No you will not be able to take every pair of shoes you own, nor purses nor jackets. I understand your still working and need those items. So do what Greg and I did. We have our extra items stored in plastic draw containers in our kids (use to be ours) heated and cooled shed. It’s all labeled and only takes up a small area. We go visit it when we need to change our items. I LOVE going to it because it’s like Christmas to me. I get to visit all my shoes, purses and change out what I need. Yes I understand and still have the need for shoes and purses. I actually forget what I have. Due to my room I can only keep 3 purses at a time.

More philosophy for you. When you bring an item in some item has to go! I still work full time and have to dress up so I will have tips on that later also.

After numerous trips back and forth and trying to figure out what we actually need in the Coach. We were all moved into the 31’ Coachmen in August, 2012. Greg and I aren’t skinny people so no slides meant someone had to sit down if you wanted to go to the bathroom, bedroom, shower or other end of Coach. No one could open the bathroom door and the shower door at the same time. If you were in the bathroom well you had to adjust one leg so you could wash your hands or put on your makeup. No storage under the bed like normally. This was used for the holding tanks. No walk around the bed, it was a crawl onto bed. The bench seating was only good for the two of us. No counter space so coffee pot was on the kitchen table. Any and all cooking prep was completed on the kitchen table which was directly behind you when you cooked.

Some of the things that you think you can do without or maybe you’re like me and didn’t even think about it. The stove, if it only has 2 or maybe three burners. You can’t put a normal size frying pan on the eye and also put another pot. The area is too small and one of them won’t cook evenly. So if you want to let’s say fry chicken in a pan on the stove and boil corn one of them won’t cook as well. Oh and boiling corn or spaghetti noodles in a big pot or boiling chicken takes so much more time so prepare yourself. Just readjust your cooking to one at a time or cook something in the crockpot to help out. Definitely DO NOT buy the RV with the 2 burner if you are going to live in it or do more cooking than normal in your RV. You will be very unhappy.. and camping is not about being unhappy. This all is just readjustment in the way you think and do things. Our closet space was 12” wide x 46” long. (Yes that was miserable for me.)

But we both took all with stride!

Other things such as less room in the Refrigerator you need to consider. Look for the big refrigerator not the RV size. You will be glad you did. Don’t settle! Mark my words, you will hear this when you are shopping for an RV. The sales person says, “you can’t get everything you want in a used RV. The only way to get all you want is to buy and order new” I say Bull Cookies!! If you are patient and look around your area and don’t mind driving 400 miles to get the best deal then yes you can find just what you want. But you will have to shop all over. Sometimes the best deal can be in your own town and other times you may have to drive some. But Patience it the key.

Coachmen Mirada (the first one)

We need more room.

After in this Coach a couple of weeks with no conversation on it, Greg and I would just look at RV’s every evening. Phone calls and emails went out to everyone in a 400 mile radius. We visited many a place and ended up going to trade in our RV at the America’s RV in Ocala, FL. We traded in our sweet 31’ Coachmen for a 37’ Damon Challenger with 3 slides. OH wow. They set us up on their RV Park side by side to move one from another.

I’m not sure why but we didn’t take any photos of us living in the 31’ Coachmen. If we did I sure can’t find any. Be sure to take some no matter what!! You will regret it!

I have so much more to share with you. I hope all this helps to make your decision. We are loving it and have been full-timers now August 2013 will be a year. We have stayed in places for no cost to us just some exchange for labor of hours. (Which is called Workamper) We still have our jobs and are able to drive to work no more than minutes up to an hour away. The amenities and the campground community is wonderful!!

Plus the stress free living means we can pick up and go anywhere any weekend we want to. No packing just unhook and go. We LOVE it!!

I hope that you will follow me in our adventures.

Travel Adventures with the upgrade

Weekend get-a-ways are so easy now!

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    • NatNat34 profile image

      Natalie Flores-Henley 2 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      Excellent tips...very thorough! We went through much of the same steps transitioning from a sticks and bricks to a motorhome:)

    • profile image

      Amy Knight Ash 2 years ago

      I am thinking about doing this in a few years..are you still in your motorhome? I need some tips and I have some questions... :)

    • lazorus profile image

      lazorus 4 years ago

      I have a friend she and her husband had the same idea,sadly her husband

      passed away,the RV remained in the drive until her children sold it.It's

      great to know someone is actually enjoying their passion.