By Russ and Tiña De Maris
Fulltime RVing is great, with so many places to explore, people to meet, things to learn. Sadly, the clock continues to run during the adventure, and eventually you may need to “hang up the fulltime keys.” So how do you leave the fulltime lifestyle and return to a non-nomadic life? You might think this information doesn’t apply to you, but beware! It’s never too early to think about it – “retiring” from the lifestyle could require some advance planning.
Many RVers find the process of going off the road easiest on the heartstrings by handling it in a “staged” manner. No jumping direct from the RV to a fixed place – rather, they find a suitable place to call their new home then “drop in” for occasional stopovers, spending a little time in the “new place,” then going back out on the road. Some become snowbirds again, chasing the sun south in the wintertime then heading back north to a fixed base thereafter.
Many fulltimers never really stop the RV lifestyle – they continue to own and use an RV. Granted, their time on the road might not even be equivalent to that of a snowbird, but “keeping their hand in” makes the change more tolerable.
But where will you call the fixed place “home”? Some have gone back to their roots, hanging up the keys at the spot where they first began fulltime RVing. Others who, after seeing many regions of the country, have found one of those places they traveled in to be more appealing. Health concerns may have a big share in this: What kind of weather will your body tolerate, and where can you find suitable medical care?
If you’ve hung onto your old “sticks and bricks” home, don’t think you necessarily have to return to it. Some have found it best to “go home” and put the place up for sale, then move to where life is best suited. If you already sold your home, if you’ve parked the money in the bank or in some kind of investment, then you’ll have the resources to buy a new homestead.
Still others, like members of the fulltime RV club Escapees, have found buying into a club-related co-op just the ticket. Friends of ours spent many years on the road and knew they’d eventually have to “light somewhere.” So they got on the waiting list for an Escapee’s co-op near Yuma. They called the co-op home, but spent the summers as camphosts in northern California. Then they reached the point where that was too much. They sold their big Class A and retired. We couldn’t believe it! Well, sure enough, a few months later they picked up a much smaller motorhome, and now spend their spare time happily touring wherever they wish.
What about family? Some figure one of the best things they could do would be to settle near their offspring. That might not be a bad idea, but bear in mind, things can change. Where Junior or Princess are settled today with solid-seeming jobs can change in a hurry. Job transfers or downsizing layoffs can change things for family members. Might not be a bad idea to visit the kids and have a family conference to a have a real heart-to-heart about your future. Nah, the kids don’t want to imagine the folks getting old, but hey, it does happen.
And speaking of heart-to-hearts, like funeral planning, for fulltimers, talking about going off the road is not the most favorite topic. But unfortunately, right now – like death and taxes – these are the kind of subjects that really need to be talked about and planned for. The future just has a way of catching up with us – no matter how “young” we think we are.