By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Thinking about becoming a full-time RVer? There are plenty of things to be considered. It can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? Here are some things seasoned full-timers recommend you chew on when making that important decision.
On “stuff” You can’t take it all with you. It comes down to a decision as to what’s essential for your new lifestyle, and that which isn’t. What do you do with the things you can’t take on the road?
Some RVers choose to rent a storage unit and pay to store their precious things. Beware: Storage often leads to deterioration because there’s no real good way to maintain a safe environment in a storage unit. Other full-timers have reported that after a year, two, or more, the stuff they squirreled away just didn’t have the same meaning to them, and they’d essentially wasted their money storing it.
Others have given heirlooms they just couldn’t see selling off to family and friends. Just be prepared that you may not see those heirlooms again. In our own experience, “precious” furniture just didn’t have the same value to some in our family and those things were soon gone.
Keep a “touch down” spot? Some who begin the full-time lifestyle either know they won’t full-time forever, or just aren’t sure. One couple sold off their home but obtained a piece of land for “just in case.” Keeping a house can be very tough — it puts you in the position of being an absent landlord. Being a landlord that’s close to the property is hard enough, but being a landlord who could be thousands of miles away is that much harder.
On the other hand, here are some “what-ifs” that could cause you to hang onto the old homestead, at least for a while, when first getting on the road full-time:
Suppose you find that living in the confined space of an RV just doesn’t “work” for you? Or that a medical problem crops up that severely limits — or eliminates — your ability to travel?
And since many of us “aren’t getting any younger,” what arrangements should you make for the time you may have to “hang up the keys”?
Good qualities for full-timers: A good sense of humor is essential — not only for getting along with your traveling partner, if you have one, but for dealing with those little situations that just seem to come up on the road. If you enjoy meeting new folks, it’ll keep you in good stead because your travels will take you into contact with plenty of them. Having a sense of adventure and a desire to learn new things will broaden your horizons and keep you feeling young. And even with modern GPS systems, it’s always a good thing to be able to read a map!
If you’re married, ask: “Do BOTH of you want to hit the road?” If one is half-hearted about the idea, you’re best to try some extended “vacation”-type traveling first. You’ll learn in a hurry if the full-time lifestyle is really right for both — and it has to be, because if half the party ain’t happy on the road, then nobody’s gonna be happy.