We picked the top 10 questions we are asked the most and thought we’d share. If you have questions of your own, we’d love to hear them!
Q: Why would you give up a 6 figure salary and a beautiful home to live in 40 feet?
A: A few people thought we were crazy, and probably still do. There are a lot of reasons we made this decision. We had gotten to a point where we were so busy working all the time, we had no time to spend in our beautiful home. We found ourselves hoarding our “down time” because we didn’t get it much. We are very giving, social people, and yet we had no time to give or visit. We were too busy spending our weekends mowing lawns, gardening, and doing house chores to get ready for the following week at work. It became a very sad process for us. There is a quote we love: We must be willing to get rid of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. And Tomorrow is never promised. We have such freedom now. Our new motto is Live Simply. Give More. Expect Less. This lifestyle has allowed us to give our time which is priceless. As I write this, we are contracted to arrive in Texas in December to help by volunteering our time to people in need after the recent hurricanes. Giving our time is part of this process of life for us. Life is not just about ourselves, and what we get to see and experience. It’s also about giving back. Helping where we can. That is truly soul filling.
Q: What were the steps you took to get rid of your stuff?
A: We started very slowly. We dedicated every moment we weren’t at work to going through bins and boxes. Every night after work and every weekend we spent separating things into 3 piles. Trash, Donate and Sell. Since Friday was trash day at our house, we normally had the empty trashcans full by Sunday. Then because we worked all week, the process was slower during the week. Our local firehouse got most of our donation stuff dropped off in their outside bin as we knew they’d get some proceeds for that. We also took advantage of our local auction house. Twice. We weren’t in an area where a garage/yard sale would work, so the auction house helped a lot! To sell our other items we used a couple different apps and websites. Craigslist, LetGo, and a local Facebook garage sale list. I won’t lie … it was time consuming, and tedious. And many times we’d turn in circles and not know where to start. Our basement became our staging area, and I’m sure it looked like we were hoarders at one point. We had a small walking path to the back. It was insane!
Q: How long did it take you to downsize, and is there anything you miss from your sticks and bricks house?
A: When we first decided to go full-time in our RV, we gave ourselves 2 years to sell everything we had, in addition to our 2 homes we owned. Once we got into our groove, we spent every free moment working in the house and selling, or donating everything. We made our final decision in July, and we were on the road the following March. 9 months!
More than any other question, we are asked what we miss from our “big house” the most. This took a lot of thought, as our life is so rich and full now that we don’t miss much. The only thing we have mentioned to each other is our garden. We loved having home grown veggies and had plans to plant some fruit trees. We now visit farmers markets.
Q: How do you get your mail:
A: There are many options for people depending on your needs. A lot of people pick a family member who will bulk mail to them on the road. Most post offices have a general mail delivery address and are more than happy to accept mail for you from your family members. We chose to use a mail service in our new domicile state of South Dakota. We pay $8 a month, and when we know we will be somewhere for a few weeks, we send an email and let them know where we will be and ask them to send our mail. We actually don’t get much paper mail at all. We have a few monthly bills and pay them on line. In fact, most of our physical mail ends up to be junk mail. There are many mail forwarding services out there for you to choose from.
Q: Will you ever go back to a sticks and bricks house?
A: We have no desire to go back to a “normal” life in a sticks and bricks house. We try never to say never, but at this time, we are really happy and feel so blessed to be able to do what we are doing while we are young enough to physically do it. We both think when we have grandchildren, that will be our re-decision time, and we’ll have to re-think our travels. We want to be active, involved Nanny and Papa and we have some time before our girls are ready to have kids.
Q: How do you deal with Winter in your RV?
A: The short answer is we don’t. There are different types of “Full Time RVers”. We are full time travelers. So we plan to be North in the Summer and South in the Winter. It’s not always possible, and weather is unpredictable. We use propane for heat, and when we are hooked up to shore power, we have an electric heater (looks like a fireplace).
Q: How much does it cost to live full time in a RV?
A: Again, this is one of the biggest and most broad question we get. There is a huge spectrum on this answer, and really there is just no way to answer this. There are so many factors and everyone’s needs and wants are different. It might cost one RVer $500 a month and another $5,000 a month. What are your needs? Wants? Requirements? Are you debt free, or do you have loans? Do you pay for your health insurance? Do you boondock, or do you stay in RV resorts? Do you eat out a lot, or cook at home?
For us, we live very simply. We stay in our budget of about $1200 to $1500 a month. That pays all our bills, fuel, food and lodging. We prefer to boondock and pay very little in campground fees. That helps more than anything else. We also left our “big house” debt free, so the only bills we have are things like cell phone and insurance. When we notice our travel expenses draining a little too fast, we find a place we are comfortable staying for a couple weeks, and let things roll back in and catch up.
So as you can see, this is the hardest question to answer. We have heard people say they’d never live off grid, and other’s are better at it than us. Stacy still blow drys and curls her hair, we shower every day, and use the microwave. Ha Ha We took the time to set up our RV so we could live off grid and be self sufficient, but comfortably. But to each their own, and your budget is only going to be your budget. It’s the most important thing to consider before going full time!! The last thing you want is to take off on this grand adventure and have an emergency you can’t afford to get out of.
Another way we put a little more in our savings is workamping. That is not only fun, but it allows us to save quite a bit. If you are interested in workamping, check out www.workampernews.com
Q: How do you spend so much time with each other?
A: This question made me laugh. But we recognize this might be an issue for some. We are truly best friends. Hokey … we know! We enjoy the same things, and have the same ideas and wants. That doesn’t mean we don’t have our moments. Our kids have always said we argue kind of funny. When things get tense, we tend to go to our own corner of the RV and read a book, or put on some music and let the moments pass. There just aren’t many of those moments, and we truly have always enjoyed being together. We couldn’t imagine living and working full time together if we really didn’t like each other. Loving each other is a given, but we really do like each other and respect each other. Compromise. That’s always been a huge plus for us. Living so many months apart, so many times during the 20 years of military life has taught us compromise and understanding. We live together day in and day out in a little less than 400 square feet. It works for us. If you’re planning to live and travel full time in a small space, it’s definitely important to be compatible.
Q: Do you ever feel alone or disconnected traveling in your RV?
A: The short answer is no. But we do miss our kids. We have 3 amazing (grown and on their own) daughters who thankfully text and communicate with us a lot. I think we talk to them at least once a day, sometimes more. (Thanks girls! We cherish that!) We are very social people, and we love to meet people and chat. We have been blessed to have met some truly wonderful people we can now call friends through our travels and workamping. If you’re social, I would highly recommend joining social groups. We are not sponsored by, nor paid by any of the following groups, but we highly recommend them. Escapees (Xscapers), RVilliage, Instagram, and Facebook. There are tons of other social clubs, meet-up’s and connections. Some are free, and some cost money. If you’re a social person, be open. Say hello. Immerse yourself in the community around you (even if you are only there for a few weeks).
Q: How do you figure out where you’re going next?
A: Throwing darts doesn’t work? But really, we try to chase 70 degrees, moving around to different areas of the country, seeing the things we have spent years making lists of. We use a travel website called Furkot, which helps us a lot. We then seek out things to do on that path to our next destination. It’s impossible to see everything in each state you visit the first time. We love to find small, off the beaten path things, along with the bigger, well known attractions. Next time we are through that state, we’ll be sure to go a different route to see something new.
Live Simply Give More Expect Less