Sunday, January 16, 2022

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We’re inheriting a house. Can we still be full-time RVers?

As many of you know and have sent so many well wishes, I last wrote that my father was dying. My family mourns his passing and yet we know that he no longer wanted the broken life his 98-year-old body had left him. Dying is hard work. I never knew how hard, but there is a lot of difference between dying and being gone.

We have inherited his house but we are full-time RVers. It has been six years since we sold our five-bedroom too-much-stuff house and I have found great joy in not-so-much-stuff and the freedom to travel and call all of this amazing country our home. Twenty minutes to clean the RV front to back is not too bad either.

My husband, however, wants a house, a home base, somewhere for friends and family to gather. This full-time RVing was never his dream, it was mine and it was mine from the age of 15. I won’t even go into how many decades ago that was. Suffice it to say… a lot. We have reached a compromise. We will still RV. We will keep our home on wheels and we may even keep our winter work camping stint a mere 20 miles from the house.

I will admit I have not been Nanci-nice about the whole thing. As a matter of fact, and in true confession, I have been rather sulky, rude, negative and basically a royal pain. I am sure he could add some other rather descriptive words to that depiction.

What does it mean to have a house again?

But still… what does it mean to have a house again? Can we still full-time RV and just visit the house? I get so many comments from people that are giving up full-time RVing and even RVing altogether in my Campground Crowding column every week. It tears at my heart every time I read about people needing or wanting to hang up the keys.

And though we aren’t hanging up the keys, it will be different. I expect we won’t be traveling as much and we won’t need to travel as much. Try as I might, we will accumulate stuff again.

Can I still find that sense of adventure?

There has been a sense of adventure and self-reliance these last few years. You see, I love RVing. I love being so close to nature: forests, deserts, mountains and lakes. I even like the cattle tramping through our campsite along with the coyotes and the occasional rattlesnake. I like being tied to the weather, the storms and the winds. I’ve been hooked on the lifestyle ever since I built my first camper van at age 16. What 16-year-old gets a library book on building campers and buys a circular saw? My friends were all getting their first car or stereo system.

I love going from place to place. I love the adventure of seeing new things, meeting new people, walking new trails. I am honored to be stepping in the thousand-year-old footprints of native peoples. I even like that first moment when I wake in the morning and try to remember where we are!

RVing is just not the same

RVing has changed, though. It is with a sense of dread that I start planning our season’s traveling. There is a lot of planning, researching and reserving involved now. It was not so hard six years ago. I have even more dread when I realize that I may be way behind the others that have planned and reserved for a year or more.

The other day, though, I did discover that living in a sticks-and-bricks house is way easier than living in the RV. It is easier to cook in a full kitchen. It is easier to wash clothes, run the dishwasher, get to the grocery store and to even open the garage with a remote. I am writing this with reliable internet for the first time in six years. But it is also a lot more work to clean, paint, and groom. The house has not been updated for more than 40 years and is flush with once-trendy wallpaper.

So, perhaps when the painting is done, the tile laid, lighting fixtures changed out, a wall or two removed and our friends, sons and grandchildren are sitting around the little-used formal dining table, I will realize that I have the best of both worlds.

Until then I may just continue to be a little bit pouty…

##RVT1035

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Cam
8 hours ago

Maybe the conflict can be resolved by selling “Dad’s” home and buying a home base condo or town house that requires no upkeep and just a turn of the key to close up before turning the RV key. We ALL will need to retire from the road at some point…and there’s something to be said for the benefits of a home base…so keep RVing all you want and minimize the downside of a home base.

Paul
19 hours ago

We full time, but keep an apartment (rental) Rochester NY because we have “stuff” that we have not been ready to part with for the past 10 years. We call it our summer place and spend 2 to 3 months there. The motorhome is nearby. In the winter we now spend 4-6 months at Jojoba Hills SKP Resort near Temecula CA living in our motorhome on our site. As we both are more active in volunteer activity we are less likely to start the engine for a short jaunt. Our changes are happening as we age and view highway hours as a bit less thrilling than they were 5 and 10 years ago. BUT we are still FULL TIMERS in our minds and the coach is home even as it too is aging. We have driven cross country more than 20 times and will do it again in the Spring and it will still take 6 weeks because what’s the hurry!

Deb
1 day ago

We sold our house and are renting an apartment for our home base. We have a family member who lives with us as well as elderly parents in the area so it works out well for everyone to take extended trips and then come back and regroup. I would love to full-time rv for a few years, though. It would be great. But this is how it is for now. I do hope having a house works out for you. Best wishes to you and your whole family.

Stephen Durrett
1 day ago

Hello Nanci,
We went full-time for 5 years and decided we needed a home base.
We bought a house with RV garage attached with full hookups.
I bedroom just right size for us.
We still travel in our RV when the time comes.
“On the road again”

Thomas D
1 day ago

We’ve given up on trailering a rv but have bought a park model in an established rv park in Arizona. We have a home back in Wisconsin that is watched over/ lived in by our daughter. I just couldn’t do the work of hitching up the fifth wheel and putting boards under the jacks and all that goes with it. I can imagine in a couple of years we will sell the park model. It’s a lot of work moving from one residence to another, and move back to Wisconsin permanently. Better health care, way less traffic. If I were in your shoes I’d get a trusted rental agent to rent and manage the house. Then when it’s time to leave the road you have a familiar place to live. You’d have some income from the rental too. Best of luck in your decisions.

Lisa Adcox
1 day ago

We have been workamping for 4 years. Love living tiny. Husband had a stroke in Oct so we are thinking ok we need to change plans. What we are going to do is remain in our RV but not travel with hopes we can in future but if not, That’s ok too. It’s going to be on some land close to one of our daughters with a PoleBarn. Windows and doors so we can have protection from weather but stay in our home we love. We have a 38ft TT with 3 slides. Has all we want. We can be close to daughter but still on our own.
So sorry for your loss.

Last edited 1 day ago by Lisa Adcox
Kaeleen Buckingham
1 day ago

Nanci I am so sorry for your loss. We are going through that right now with my 92 year-old dad.

John M
1 day ago

We are both retired and thought many times about full timing it but with health problems and old age creeping in (almost 80) we decided to take 2- or 3-week trips and keep the home base. With a 99-year-old mother-in-law close by it has worked for us. Besides with all my wifes different crafts I would need a semi following us to have all the stuff with us. LOL

Neal Davis
1 day ago

Very sorry for your and your family’s loss, Nanci. Deepest condolences to you all. When we bought our first house we did very little to it for the first year. By the end of the year we had clear ideas of what worked and was okay as it was and what was not and needed changing. Perhaps that can be a helpful strategy for you. That is, see how having a house again is. It may work better, the same, or worse than you and Hubby expect. However it goes, you may have a much better idea of whether you remodel it or not and how to remodel it if that is the decision. You can also decide if you want to rent it, live there part-time, or sell it. I am sure your Dad wanted the house to be a gift that enhances your life, not an obligation that diminishes your life.

Last edited 1 day ago by Neal Davis
Leslie P
1 day ago

We are enjoying travel in our little truck camper, but after 5.5 years as full timers we also look to the crowds and challenges and miss the charm our lifestyle once had. We have no intention yet to give it up. But, we are moving forward with starting the process of clearing areas on our land. We know we will start building in a couple years. I think it’s a natural progression and especially as RVing has changed so much.
If you two need help we are right there beside you! I think you will enjoy a home base. And shopping to make it your own will be fun too! See you Monday

Sarah
1 day ago

So sorry for the loss of your father..you were blessed to have him for so many wonderful years.
We have never been full timers but I can tell you, when we return home from a trip our pups are so excited to come home to the “big house”. and so are we!
Nothing sleeps quite as good as your own bed.

Dave
1 day ago

You don’t need to hang up the keys. Plan two or three long trips a year, e.g. 2 – 3 mo in FL in Winter, another 2 mo somewhere up North in late Summer and maybe some short trips.

I spend time preparing for the next trip at home. Plus I have far more activities I can do at home. You have a home if you have RV issues, health issues, and you will. Hire a house cleaner.

Don’t mentally lock yourself into RVing. It’s a phase of life. I have lots if friends who just got too old to RV. I know that my personal capability will significantly decline in the next 7 years due to age alone, and God has blessed us with good health.

Finally, please try to chill on the emotional stuff. Seriously, one thing that makes me want to RV less and adds stress is conflict and disagreement. Good topic for another day. I guarantee that if you had a confidential site to discuss this topic that you’d be surprised at the responses.

Diane Mc
8 hours ago
Reply to  Dave

Ditto on the house cleaning service. And a gardener. You can put the cleaning service on hold while traveling. The gardener can continue to keep up the outside while you are gone. Will relieve some of the stress you may be having keeping up the home, help you to find some enjoyment from it & make it easier to decide how to mix travel/S&B living going forward.

Ran
1 day ago

Enjoy them both! Sorry to hear of your fathers passing. Our Mom just passed at 92. Although we are taken care of her Estate and selling her properties, at least she had all her ducks lined up in a row! It’s all work, but we find if we put our minds to work and get that checklist going, we do have some progress. BTW, what State is the house in? That can be a hub for you guys, or even a stopover for friends traveling. Good luck!

littleleftie
1 day ago

Condolences on the loss of your father, Nanci. And condolences on the loss of your full-time RVing lifestyle. However, you are correct in how much things have changed. Not the same amount of freedom, spontaneity and “fly by the seat of our pants” like before. Having to plan and reserve takes, for us, alot of the joy out of traveling. But, if you find that you are not content with living in your sticks and bricks home, you can always put it up for rental on Air BNB or some such service and hit the road…knowing that you do have it to return to.

Dave
1 day ago
Reply to  littleleftie

I don’t think she’s into “hitting the road” alone. Sometimes spouses don’t have the same desire and it changes for each person over time. I know my wife has more enthusiasm for RVing than I do.