First Month of Fulltiming – Domicile State Selection and More

As part of planning for our future in an RV we toured local RV parks over the past couple years. I’d still be working for weeks after we moved into our new fifth wheel home and needed a longer term parking spot for camping. Our first 11 days were spent at a county park which is on a local Corp. of Engineer Lake and then we moved to a “long term” spot at Basswood RV Resort for the next five weeks.

Basswood Resort – Platte City Missouri. We are parked at the extreme opposite of the main office which is good for exercise.

We had time to complete some of the more mundane processes of moving to the fulltime RV lifestyle. We have also decided where we would be for the month of October which is in Southern Missouri. Then maybe in November and December we will move to northern Arkansas over to Mississippi and then down into Texas.

I have to say it has been wonderful to be parked in one spot for a five week stay, even this early in our move to fulltiming. I recommend a longer stay for those new to the lifestyle even if you are not having to stay in an area, as we are, waiting for a final day at work. It really helps with adjusting to the change. There is plenty of time to get to know your rig and finish up the final administrative tasks required for fulltiming such as mail service and domicile.

The kitchen in our 35′ home. Longer stays not only saves campground fees but gives you a chance to spread out and enjoy the RV.

In the final days of the rush to sell the sticks and bricks home I completed task based on priority because there was just to much to do.  Many of those tasks remained to be done after we moved into the fifth wheel. It’s sooooo nice to have time to take my time in completing this. Before we moved out of our stick and bricks house I went to the local post office and setup a PO Box. I’m not changing our address to the new PO Box as we are domiciling in Texas and setting up mail service there. I just needed a place to temporarily forward our mail. Had there been time I would have setup mail service in Texas two months before we moved out of our sticks and bricks and then started changing our mailing address as needed. But the PO Box has come in handy as a quick fix.

We kept our space where the fifth wheel had been stored for a few additional weeks. For now we still have Karen’s car, my work car and the truck. So the storage space came in handy for juggling cars in and out as most campgrounds did not allow for more than two vehicles.  Eventually a friend offered a spot to park the truck at his place so the storage space is now gone.  Karen’s car is to be sold but has came in handy as she has not yet decided to drive the truck. I’m hoping she does because not having a vehicle takes away part of one’s freedom.

I forgot to cancel the homeowners insurance but the agent dated the cancelation as being the same day we sold the house.  Got a refund from the insurance company. Cancelled a lot of other bills and I have to say I’m noticing a change in our bank account in a positive way. Even if this long-term RV spot is $680 a month to include electric.

As part of setting up our mailing address in Texas we had to swing by the bank to have a form notarized. I was aware that Bank of America had acquired Merrill Lynch, an investment company. So we sat down and opened an investing account at the same time.  Our remaining sticks and bricks house money is going into a well protected place (not the stock market) that’s FDIC insured with the best interest rate I could find. We have other funds already in the market. I keep enough in the checking account for monthly expenses and our slush fund at the local credit union where I can easily move it electronically to the bank account. This is a secure and flexible setup I believe. I should define “slush fund.”  This is an account that has our emergency fund of three month’s expenses, an extra amount for our first year of travel and what money remains in our budget for equipping the RV and truck.

Now, regarding domicile!  For those non-rvers domicile is simple a legal address you call home. The three most popular states for fulltime rvers are Texas, Florida and South Dakota. Lots of reasons for that which I’ll not go into.  We wanted to stay in the Midwest which is close to family and generally an area we plan to spend a lot of time in.  South Dakota would have been way easy to setup a domicile in because other than showing up in the state to get a driver’s license everything else can be done through the mail.  Each state has mail services you can pay for. Those mail services are a physical building where your mail is sent and a unique number is assigned for your mailbox. That number becomes part of your legal address. The Escapees Club is perhaps the premiere mail service. They have service for all three states however any mail sent to the Florida address or South Dakota address is then sent on to their main facility in Texas.

For us the health insurance decision became the deciding factor between South Dakota and Texas.  Karen will be Medicare eligible in a year. I’ve got a few years to wait. This makes a difference in which state you select. I’ve been corresponding with Kyle at This is what he wrote about South Dakota regarding health insurance:

“Hello Mark, I am sorry I was not able to get to this sooner so we could talk on Friday the 6th. I would definitely consider TX instead of SD…health insurance options in SD are horrible. To even get short term medical you have to have a gap in coverage of 64 days now. Nonsensical rules there and ACA carriers will not take RVers nor will they cover you outside of SD even if they did take you.” 

I’ll get into our healthcare selection once it’s setup.  For sure I’m not taking COBRA benefits at work which are very expensive unless we have to. I’m also leaving the job the first of the month because I’m still on their insurance for the remaining days of the month! Short-term nationwide coverage is available for those with no pre-existing conditions and in Texas that insurance can be extended for a longer period of time. Again, more on healthcare later.

So I sent off our application for mail service to Escapees in Texas which is our next big step. Then we will eventually make it to Texas for our driver’s license, vehicle registration and more.  Here in a couple weeks Karen and I are attending an Escapees Chapter rally in Southern Missouri for a week.  Plenty of time to pick everyone’s brains for more advise.

21 thoughts on “First Month of Fulltiming – Domicile State Selection and More

  1. Glad you are settling in and love your advice for taking a little time to acclimate. There’s so much going on, it does help to take a breath and regroup. We had a family emergency in Ohio and I got to see my brother’s Vilano in person for the first time. What a beautifully made rig. Hoping our paths cross in person during our travels.

    Liked by 1 person

      • The Vilano looks like a home inside! It’s amazing.

        We are at the Thor Diesel Club rally in Indiana now, and the service here has been wonderful–unlike trying to get it done at the actual plant. We might consider having stuff done at the rally every year since it’s a high profile time for Thor to up its game.

        My 19-year-old nephew had an unexplained brain bleed and had to have emergency brain surgery. He is out of immediate danger, but there is a mass they are following up. Made me thankful again for this lifestyle allowing us to change plans last minute.

        Safe travels to you guys!


      • Yup the Vilano does feel like home. It’s amazing what some nice wood cabinets and more do to make it a home.

        I’d heard rallys are a great place to get some work done. Next spring we plan to haul the fifth wheel to the factory service center for a few minor repairs and maybe a couple upgrades. The customer service after sale, to include when out of warranty, at Vanleigh is exceptional. So far I’ve had two parts delivered. They arrived the next day after I called.

        Sorry to hear about your nephew. We will send our prayers his and your way. So good you could adjust your plans. Staying in ones own home where it’s parked is wonderful and more comfortable than even the best motel.

        Take care… Mark

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll offer what Linda Payne from RV-Dreams said to us early on: You own Karen’s car. Why not keep it for awhile and see if you like having two vehicles? You aren’t traveling great distances, and her car probably gets much better mileage than the truck. We’ve been doing it for five years and we are glad we have. Diana has driven through Houston, L.A., and just about anywhere else you can think of. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We discussed this and decided we like to ride together. The first year we plan to move around a lot more than other years, but who knows. I followed Linda and Howard’s decision process. Appreciate the thought however. Bet we end up purchasing another in five years or so but who knows

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Private message me if you get to the Houston/Galveston area. I can walk you around Johnson Space Center if you are interested, I need about two weeks notice…….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. We also stayed put after moving into our RV home and were glad we did. It helped with the adjustment, as you said. As Jim said, we also kept my car and are glad we did, but I also get wanting to drive together. Hope Karen learns to drive the truck soon, as I’m thinking it will feel restrictive not being able to get out on her own. Hardest part is parking it but is much easier if you just park way in the back.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. My girlfriend never did get used to driving their big truck, they eventually moved to a Class A gasser so she could have a car at her disposal. When we hit the road I drove our second vehicle, which was nice to have since we went back to VT for the summers and I was able to have a vehicle to use, that’s when I learned to be comfortable with driving our long bed dually. Having time to get comfortable in the rv before traveling is priceless, we had the whole summer to figure it out, 6 months later when we transitioned into the Solitude it was an easy move. We’ll be spending the foreseeable summers in central IL, stop in for a visit, we’ll be at a beautiful COE campground.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I keep asking Karen about keeping her car or getting used to driving the truck. It’s so important to make sure each has as much freedom as possible. But we really do enjoy riding together and she is a big comfort helping with navigation or just moral support when we get in tight areas. Our first move as full-timers till be about three hours away for a few weeks and I might have to drive back to Kansas City for a couple court cases (trials) for work. It would be nice if she had her car. For now I’m thinking after a few years we might end up with a second vehicle once we slow down.

      Will definitely make sure to swing by and see you guys. We come through central IL often. If memory serves be right I think we missed you once on I-70 around Higginsville Missouri. Not sure if it was you guys are not that had a axle or something issue at that stop. I’d have to look back on your blog.


    • Just a quick follow up.

      The other day Karen got sad again about not having a car to run around in. She cried off and on the entire day. Not having a vehicle takes her freedom away.

      She also told me it would be okay to post that she had an emotional moment over the issue. We have had a couple emotional moments getting used to this. I’m respectful of her privacy so don’t post certain things without her first telling me I can post it.

      I’m sensitive to her needs so if it becomes a huge problem we will come up with something. When I was gone to Kansas City without her for two days of the seven I offered to rent a car which she declined. I can definitely see the need for a blog post or advice on the subject.

      This could all change however once we get on with the good parts of the lifestyle which is traveling.

      I think there are negatives about the lifestyle that don’t necessarily get posted because of privacy concerns on most every blog. Then there are blogs that are negative all the time, as if to solicit readership because of it. I like Lee and Tracy’s blog because of the openness and real emotions.


  6. Mark,
    I wanted to thank you for all of the information that you have been posting for folks that are looking at the Vanleigh products. Discovering your blog has been such a wonderful discovery for my husband and I, as we have been researching brands and trying to determine which RV to choose as we complete the steps toward a full-time lifestyle. Your information has been so incredibly helpful.

    We too have recently sold our family home of 20 years, and are walking through the steps of leaving long-term careers we have loved, cherished colleagues, family and friends, and taking this great leap of faith toward a life of adventure that we’ve long dreamed about. Reading your heartfelt words, your generous and kind sharing of emotions, has really brought a peace and calm that I haven’t felt in the last couple of months; so thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    It is terribly difficult sometimes to express to others who only see the surface of what you’re doing and think that you’re off on some kind of wild and exciting never-ending vacation when you tell them that you’re setting off in your RV to take on America, and yet you’re in the middle of some of the most life-altering decisions and changes, and as you described in your blog, day in and day out the emotions are just overwhelming you and all you can do is just ride the wave and hope you don’t go under. Reading your “Emotions” blog today was a gift and I am grateful. I felt better knowing that somebody else out there got it…they understood…it’s going to be okay.

    So thank you for all your blogs about the Vanleigh RVs, as we are terribly excited about hopefully purchasing our future fifth wheel with this company; but especially, thank you for being kind enough to share yourself with strangers.

    I hope all your days are calm and joyful.


    • jjossendal

      Thank you for the kind words and recognition. The emotions of this are amplified when you have a spouse whose feelings you are in touch with. What I mean by that is I can tell when she is upset and in some ways that makes one walk on pins an needles hoping they do not throw in the towel and quit. Karen had has a harder time with the adjustment then me. She says it’s okay to write about it. However, those moments are for shorter periods of time. And our moving from a stationary spot for those weeks is behind us. I think it is a good idea to park for awhile and get used to the rig. What was hard for her was me being gone to work at first. Ideally I would have preferred to retire then move into the fifth wheel.

      Today we are parked high in the Ozark Mountains with changing trees 360 degrees around us on the hillsides. Next week we will be parked next to the Arkansas River in a spot others say they never wanted to leave. She loves the ocean and big water. I suspect by the middle to end of December we will be near the Gulf Coast.

      The move out of our house is a faded memory. As you have sold your home I’ll bet you experienced some of the same emotions we did. Just the other day I was reading a blog I’ve been following for more than four years. The writer has been on the road about six. She even had an emotional moment lately as did another long-timer. It happens on the road and it happens when we are in our sticks and bricks.

      It must be exciting to be nearing your RV purchase. Floor plan for us was king. We 100% wanted to make sure we got the right one. We feel we did. Everyone is different about their needs. I wish our bathroom was larger but we are still young and bendable so the tight space is not the end of the world. And in this 35′ trailer the basement is not as large. However we compensated for it in other areas.


  7. Pingback: RV Maintenance Part 2 and Our Upcoming Travel Schedule | Our Future in an RV

  8. The pic of Karen in the kitchen with the huge Tupperware bowl on the counter made me happy. I have the same bowl, I use it very often, and I was worried that it would not fit into an RV. Now I know it will fit and I can keep it 🙂

    Thanks again for your very helpful and informative blog. I am reading it in date order and have learned so much valuable information.


    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s good to hear you are reading the blog in date order. Sometimes I repeat myself I’m sure from one blog to another. Karen is sitting next to me at 4 Paws Kingdom Dog Retreat in North Carolina.. I’ll her know about the Tupperware comment. She has a couple items I’ve yet to see her use in the past three years but that’s okay, I’m thinking she gets something out of having her old stuff around her rather than in our 10×5 storage unit.


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