Thoughts about Transition to Fulltime RV Living

So what are your thoughts regarding methods of transitioning from a sticks and bricks house to life on the road in an RV?

House to RV.png

I’ve been contemplating what would be the best way for Karen and me to transition to the road. In 2014 I discovered a group of people who wrote blogs. They were a class who attended an RV Dreams Rally together.  A year or so later I found the Class of 2017 on a forum. Combined I learned so much by reading about their preparations.

Sitting back thinking a few years ahead led me to wondering about our own transition. So far, our “perfect world” would be to buy our trailer and truck a year early. Then use accumulated vacation time for several long trips during my last year at work.  We are thinking about buying the truck before the trailer. By then I’d have a firm opinion on a short list of trailers we would consider buying. My thought process on this includes trading a car for a truck and being able to get used to the large truck before we buy the trailer. We should be able to pay cash for the truck by then. We would have to finance part of the trailer purchase until the house sells. Fortunately, our home mortgage will soon be paid off.

We have decided against getting a lessor rig to use during vacations over the next three years and then trading it in. We just don’t have the time right now to make use of the trailer.

I’m thinking October of 2019 would be my last month on the job but wonder if waiting to sell the house the following spring might be a better idea? Others are telling me spring home sales are best. Then again we could get lucky and sell quickly even in the fall. Having a four seasons trailer to move to would make that possible.  We have decided against downsize to an apartment before the RV. We want to enjoy our current home and property while we have it.

Karen and I also talked about what our first year on the road might look like. I work for a county government and might have a better chance than others at landing a summer job at our county park. They pay for all hours worked and provide the camping spot. This would keep us closer to our home town and family the first year after our initial few months of travel or wintering down south.

(update 10/23/16) I sold a small business in 2014 but still do the office work which requires on average 10 hours a week. I sold it to a key employee who tells me I should keep the job while on the road. An interesting twist is we would most likely not have to workamp at all if we did this.  So now I’m thinking about how to fit this into the plan, what I would do for very minimal work space, connectivity and more.

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12 thoughts on “Thoughts about Transition to Fulltime RV Living

    • Sorry Debbie, for some reason your comment went to the spam blocker and I just noticed that. Not even close to figuring it all out yet, and probable will not. Always hoping for and seeking out advise from those who have already done it! I keep checking your blog for new posts and often see your comments in other’s blogs.

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  1. It all sounds great to me! We just purchased a newer truck, a diesel. My husband has always owned and loved Chevys but we bought a Ford 250 Diesel, quite a change for him! But we seem to see more Fords pulling 5th wheels and travel trailers. Chevys were too high with lower miles or they had a huge amt of miles. I think because you are still working a new truck will be perfect for you. I look forward to seeing your new truck. I think staying in your home is a great idea. Thanks for the post!

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  2. Okay, you asked–so here is my opinion: It may be possible to overplan these things. No matter how much planning you do, you will find things about your rig that you’ll wish were different–guaranteed. We are on our fourth (3 fivers and now a motorhome), and we thought we had it perfected each time. But guess what–it wasn’t, it still isn’t, and it probably won’t ever be. And we wouldn’t have discovered the flaws if we hadn’t traveled in each one and figured out how things really need work for our unique lifestyle. Everyone, after all, is different. But that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a good time with each rig!

    That’s why my vote is for jumping in, even if you do a belly flop. You won’t go to jail, and you won’t be ostracized, and you can always strive for perfection while making memories in the meantime. Why deny yourself some fun between now and when you retire? I suppose this could be an argument for acquiring a suitable, if imperfect, used rig in the interim to get your feet wet. Then you would be well positioned to know better what your must-haves are. If you don’t overpay, you can always trade up without too much of a hit, and the money expended would be an invaluable and enjoyable education. Plus, you’d have a new rig to get excited about again.

    It may be worth remembering that life is more fragile than we think. We are not guaranteed the next three minutes, much less the next three years. Frankly, I can’t think of anything worse than having regrets, especially about something I could have done differently–if not perfectly–at the time. To me, it doesn’t make much sense to avoid beginning a pleasant journey for fear of making a wrong turn somewhere. There will, without question, be a wrong turn, but the detour can be an adventure, too!

    If finances are an issue (and when are they not?), don’t forget workamping. Finding a workamping job is as easy as making a phone call.

    The best thing you have going for you is the passion for your dreams; this will make your realization of them all the sweeter. Best of luck, my friend.

    http://mills-travels.blogspot.com

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    • All great points Mike.

      We know workcamping is 100% in our future, at least for part of each year.

      If we already had the truck we might have thought more seriously about getting a starter trailer. We are thinking about renting again during the off season when rental fees are 1/2.

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  3. We’re living in our new home in the driveway while we prepare the house for selling. It is helping us prepare, slowly, for when we don’t have the stucks n bricks house on standby.

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  4. We used to take long vacations and travel the country so we knew we wanted to travel the country when retired. When our kids moved west (from VT) in 2011 we got the house ready to sell. In Feb 2012 we were coming home from FL and said why don’t we put our house on wheels, by the end of April we had purchased our first 5th wheel and (gasp) a gasser 2500 truck. While waiting for the house to sell we spent as much of the summer in the 5th wheel. House sold in June of 2013, moved into the 5th wheel and Dave spent the summer commuting from the campground to work. He was approved for a winter leave of absence, we headed to the TX Gulf Coast for the holidays, soon realized we wanted a bigger rv and needed a bigger truck. By the middle of Feb 2014 we had a gently used truck (2012 Chevy 3500 Dually Diesel with 3500 miles) and our Grand Design 369rl, we are now totally happy with our truck and home. If you’d like to read more about us our blog is http://www.maloufsrvtour.blogspot.com

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    • Faye, I bookmarked your blog and am looking forward to reading about your journey. Karen and I have also been having a few conversations on what we think our transition to fulltime might look like. I’m sure various events, yet known to us, could have a role in that.

      Right now we figure selecting a couple trailers we are most interested in and then going ahead and getting the truck that will handle them (one ton dually). I know others are saying get the trailer first so you know what truck to get. For us, we will at least know the trailer weight before the truck.

      Unfortunately, we will have to take a loan out on the trailer before the house sells as we want to do a lot of traveling my last year at work. Then again, maybe we would follow your lead which is sell the house and commute out of the trailer. Karen works part time now and I’m a little apprehensive as to if she would want to stay at the trailer rather than enjoying our current house and property while I’m gone – a lot!. I’ll certainly go with what she thinks is best. There is an RV park in the area that is setup well for that. I’m very interesting to read about that part of your blog in particular. Any advice is appreciated!

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  5. Hi Mark, we did this last year. It was tough but so worth it! I’m not sure where you’re at in the process but this was our game plan:
    1. Buy RV (we bought truck then 5th wheel)
    2. Move essentials to rv
    3. Move anything you feel you need to hang on to into storage shed (try to limit this part it’s really hard to do)
    4. Estate sale everything else. Literally have people move it out of your home for you.
    5. Start living in RV near work or at a park
    6. Sell or rent your home out.
    We’ll follow your blog 🙂 safe travels. If you ever want to drop us a message we are Hebard’s Travels. 🙂

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    • Good to meet ya.

      Because we had five years to plan we have been able to take baby steps. We know we want a fifth wheel with three slides in a rear living room floor plan. Depending on finances we plan to buy our truck and trailer maybe in late 2018 or early 2019. I would not have time away from work to use it much until then. For sure in 2019 before I retire we could use it.

      Don’t know yet about a storage shed or not. Found one for $400 a year that is larger. I’d like to not have one but we could see returning to Kansas City and picking up stuff we might need from storage every now and then.

      We are also leaning towards an estate sale to dispose of a lot of stuff. I’ve got a good friend that is an auctioneer and he said right now he is not getting good prices for stuff and maybe selling it on our own is best. Researched the idea of having an estate sale ourselves and it looked like something that was doable.

      I’ll look up Herbard’s Travels and see what you guys are up to.

      Mark

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      • That’s so awesome! As far as estate sales go, my husband did ours, and we got about 10cents on the dollar. It felt terrible but once it was over we felt better. We also did not have a ton of nice things to sell. We had just been renting and saving up for a house and chose this instead. The letting go seems to be the hardest part so they usually recommend having someone help, that usually comes at a good sized chunk of the money going to them though. I would recommend, if you do it yourselves, put like items together and price them all the same unless it’s something unique or collector type item. It will feel good not to have the weight of stuff. At least it did for us! If you ever need anything just holler! We’d be happy to help! Can’t wait to hear more.

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  6. Awesome advice. I just watched your video touring your Cedar Creek (assume choice for a trailer). Meet one of the six people that originally designed the trailer at the last show – cool lady. Got a kick out of watching your dog on the video. Heading back to look over some more stuff on your site.

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