Friday, August 6, 2010

A Milestone Slipped Past Us

I realized just today that a certain milestone had passed us by and we didn’t even realize it at the time.  On August 1 we passed the 2-year Anniversary of being fulltime RVer’s.  We have come to just take our lifestyle in stride so it didn’t register in our minds.

Yes, we began our fulltime journey on August 1, 2008.  Some bloggers have marked their own anniversary dates with posts on what they have learned in their first year or two as fulltime RVer’s.  I think I’ll take a different route here and write about what this lifestyle means to us.  I’ll throw in a few pics that I’ve taken in 2010 during our recent travels.

                                            We saw this bird “condo” in West Virginia:DSCF3936This is our second stint as full timer's.  From September of 1993 to June of 1995, we lived fulltime in our 37J Fleetwood Pace Arrow.  Narrow body MH with no slides and we loved it!  We gave up the FT living (long story) but always knew we would return to live our passion again someday.

Being a FT RVer by simple definition to us means freedom.  Not freedom from everything in life, just the freedom to choose where we want to be and how long we want to be there.   We don’t have a boatload of money stashed under the mattress (darn it) so the freedom must come with the realization that we need to spend our money mindfully.  We cannot afford to go to high-end RV Resorts every day of the year.  We have campground membership programs that help us manage our rent budget.  It is working out well for us, which gives us some freedom to travel a good bit of the time.  Since we spent a great amount of money on two Disney World vacations for the whole family, we will now lay low on the extensive traveling until we feel flush enough to travel across country again.  There are still many areas here in the West we have yet to discover.

                                            A beautiful tiger that we saw at the Animal Kingdom in WDW.DSCF3566

We like being able to visit our distant relatives when possible.  Except for our recent quick trip to Idaho, we always take our home on wheels with us.  We would rather stay in our own home and be on our own schedule.  No packing and we can sleep in our own bed every night.

                                            We love our home on wheels.DSCF4083

We also enjoy getting away from the same old environment that we would have with a traditional stick-n-bricks home.  If we choose to go to one particular town and we don’t like it, we can easily move on to another town or another state entirely.  If we have lousy neighbors, we can drive away to another RV park.  As FT RVer’s there is the benefit in being able to have a new backyard every week if we want to.

                                            Suspension bridge at the Royal Gorge in Colorado.DSCF4445
Our life as FTer’s is also one of simplicity.  We can lead the simple life if we want to.  The phone doesn’t ring all day, nobody is knocking on the door, and our schedule is one entirely of our own choosing.  We can be alone in a town where nobody knows us.  It is simple also, in that we have rid ourselves of a lot of “stuff” that we used to have cluttering up our old s-n-b home.  With the exception of some books and a few photo albums, everything we own is in our motorhome. 

                                            When I saw him…..I thought of steak!DSCF4563

Sometimes we enjoy solitude, and this fulltime lifestyle can give that to us when we feel the need for it.  We like to meet new friends and reconnect with old friends, but sometimes it is just nice to get off by yourself to a town and an RV park where nobody knows your name!  You can have the best of both worlds if you look for it.

                                            A river running behind some homes in Crested Butte, Colorado.DSCF4570
Family is great!  We enjoy spending some time with our family here in Tumwater.  However, we also enjoy getting away from our family here in Tumwater several times a year!  Don’t get me wrong, we love them dearly, but more and more we are feeling like we just don’t belong anymore.  Our granddaughters need us a little more now than they will in just a couple of years down the road.  So, we are spending the summer with them.  The feeling of being taken for granted has grown stronger and stronger in us over the past year. 

                                            We are in Tumwater right now strictly for these precious granddaughters.DSCF5316

At this point, I don’t think I can say that we have really learned anything new the past 2 years.  Nothing about a fulltime lifestyle came as a surprise or disappointment to us.  Since we had been part-time RVer’s since 1988, joining the ranks of the full timer's did not provoke any culture shock. 

                                            U.S. Hwy 50/I-70 through Utah.DSCF4671

Besides everything else I’ve mentioned, it is nice to have time for just the 2 of us.  No family commitments or obligations.  It brings another sense of freedom into the picture.  As you begin to enter those “golden years” you do wonder how many more years you will be able to roam the country in a motorhome?  Five years, ten years, fifteen years?  Nobody knows. 

Any regrets about selling our house and getting rid of everything that wouldn’t fit into the RV?  None at all.  Do we feel sad about leaving our hometown area for at least 6 to 7 months of the year to live in other places?  No we do not.  In fact, in a year or two those 6 to 7 months could very likely stretch to 8 or 9 months of being away from Tumwater.  

                                            A beach cottage in the town of Seaside, Oregon.DSCF5059
What are our future plans?  Plans for way off in the future I’m speaking about.  Our hope is to be able to live out this fulltime RV dream for many, many years and do it in good health.  When the time comes to sell off the motorhome and move into a fixed dwelling it will be into a very small apartment.  We’ve already decided that we do not want to own another sticks-n-bricks home ever again.  If our RV years must end sooner than we hope, we will still find a very small apartment to rent.  I would say then, if we have learned anything in 2 years, it is that we love living in the small spaces of our motorhome.  We always figured we would, but now we know for sure, it is the right lifestyle for us. 

There are many different paths to take as fulltime RVer’s and we have chosen the path that suits us best.  So far, so good. 

Until next time… long for now!


Paul and Mary said...

Congratulations! Here's to many more years of healthy, happy living on the road. Cheers!!!

Sam&Donna Weibel said...

Margie, you have described a lot of things that we look forwrd to as fulltimers, we too would like to spend some time with our grandchildren and family and still be free to vagabond around when we wish. You and bruce have hit on a way to do this and still have a family touch. be safe out there. Sam 7 Donna.

MargieAnne said...

Congratulations on passing your 2nd Anniversary as FT RVers. Although, like you say, after you've been RVing for as long as you have, it's easy to overlook this Full Timing one.

We will never live in a large house again. One of the attractions of RV life was to get rid of all the responsibilities that go with owning real estate and too much 'Stuff'. It's not that their are no responsibilities with an RV but they are different and that's what we wanted. Of course travel was part of the deal too.

Blessings as you continue to do what you love.

Kenny And Angela's Adventure said...

Great blog it looks to me you guys have your cake and eating it to.

Hope you have many more years to travel.

Dennis and Donna said...

What a greatly imformative blog for us "part-timers"...It had to be so difficult to make the jump to full-time..I do agree with you on this point..We get so used to living in a much smaller area...What do we need with a big old house??? Yes, we are all going to have to decide where we will spend our "land locked" years..However, Den and I have run into RV'ers "older"...(than we are, believe it or not), who have downsized their RV's to smaller , but comfy...I could do that too!!!


I'm with you all the way on this one Margie. Your post is right on the button & had I read it sooner I would have linked it in my blog earlier tonight. I always get excited when I come across a post with a realistic common sense nomadic approach to life. A most refreshing post indeed......Ya did good, girl:))

Cindy said...

Happy 2 yr. Anniversary my friends!
I have learned a lot from you two on your lifestyle..your travels and of course..we love to visit with you guys!!Can't wait for us to be hitting the road..I know I will love the small living.Today I got rid of a bunch more stuff!!! Yeah for me!!

Hugs..Cindy and Walker

Gypsy said...

Re a small apartment - you might find that the contents of your MH won't fit into it! Apts. have much less storage space, in my opinion.

Also, your neighbors are too noisy or cause other problems - you can't just move somewhere else. I think the same conditions would apply in a regular apartment complex, an over-55 gated senior community, or wherever.

I don't know the answers, but there sure are a lot of questions to consider.

I wish you many years of MH living and travel!

RonandJacki said...

What a great testamony to the full time RV lifestyle. For those of us looking in that direction,this is a terrific boost in confidence that this is the life of true retirement. Thankyou very much.

Sue and Doug said...

congratulations on your second anniversary!!!..nice photos and a very diverse recap!..bring on year number 3!!
Cheers to you all!!!

Rick and Paulette said...

Well, first, congratulations to you and Bruce on your second anniversary of full-timing! Well done!

You have done a great job, maybe even awesome, of detailing the reasons why fulltiming is the right choice for you. It doesn't leave any doubt about how much you enjoy it now and are looking forward to many more years. The photos you chose to go with this blog are all excellent as well.

Just one teeny-weenie negative though about that beautiful, healthy looking steer(let's just call him Chuck), you "thought of steak"??? Please, Margie, say it ain't so!!

Carol K said...

You have expressed it well, Margie, and your photos enhance your story. You make the full-time lifestyle sound mighty appealing.

We may need some major work done on our motorhome before it goes out of warranty. We may have to be without it for several weeks. How would you and other full-timers handle that? Just wondering--I'm sure you have a plan for that. :)

Happytrails said...

Congratulations on your 2nd anniversary in F/t. I must say that your post comes at a very good time for Gerri & me. We have struggled with our role in our son's life especially for the last few weeks. He is 25, single and our only son. There is no other family around so he is all we have and we are all he has. We want him to have his life and be his person and for us the same, but we are still family. Knowing the role to be in and "not" be in is sometimes difficult. We so much understand your comment about feeling like you don't belong. That is the exact conversation we have had lately.
Sorry for being so wordy, but this is a very confusing situation to be in and we are trying to figure out the best for all of us.
Fulltiming is a freedom to be and go where you choose but wherever that is we are still parents and husband/wife. It is living a life outside the tradional box.

Sarah said...

Lovely post. I find it wonderful that that the ones who go 'full time' never seem to regret the decision.

And happy full-timer anniversary! Here's to many more.

Lin said...

What is great is that you BOTH like to do this together. I imagine it would be lonely and maybe dangerous for only one of you to do that, but how fun doing it while you can!

I envy your ability to pick up and leave the places you don't like. I wish I had that. And as for neighbors--I'd gladly live life without them. :)

Enjoy your adventure, pallies. I like your day-by-day mentality AND your fun stories.

Judy and Emma said...

I agree with most of what you say, except for one thing. I've been on the road full time for four years, and it is the fact that I learn something new almost everyday that I enjoy so much. Each day is different, and of my choosing, but I always try to learn something new; whether it be about myself or the area I am in. :)

I've found that a week or two is about it as far as visiting family. They have their lives, we have ours. :)

Margie M. said...

Judy, please don't misunderstand my post. I was only referring to "not learning anything new" as far as our acclimation to a fulltime lifestyle. We travel to different places specifically in order TO LEARN SOMETHING NEW. Travel is about growth opportunities and learning is growth! Just wanted to set the record straight there!

Thanks for leaving your comments.

Vera said...

I envy your lifestyle and would love to adopt it but alas I live in Canada and due to a medical condition cannot get additional medical insurance for the USA. RVing in Canada full-time is not an option for us. Even here on Vancouver Island it is too cold and damp in the winter. So I am satisfied with reading about yours and other full-timer's RV life. It is so very interesting.

Susan said...

Well Said!!!

Gail Durham said...

Congratulations, we have been living in our motor home for 4 years and it is a wonderful life style.

Karen and Al said...

Your post was very interesting and well written. We have good friends that can't quite understand why we want to fulltime. They think we'll get tired of it and want a house again! I think I'll have her read your post, it explains it so well.

KarenInTheWoods and Steveio said...

OH yes, you described the live we are yearning for! I keep chanting to myself "2 more years-- 2 more years" (actually it is 3 till Steve can retire, but we will try to sell the house during the last year and live in the rig already if it sells)

I like your perspective and your photos too!

Congrats on your anniversary!!!

Karen and Steve

(Our Blog) RVing: Small House... BIG Backyard

Tom and Marci said...

Congratulations on 2 years of full-timing! Can't wait to get out on the road, too!!

Phyllis said...

What a life! I, too, love the smaller living space. I realize that every day as we are parked in my daughters driveway waiting for those parts to arrive to repair our rig.

Her house used to be our house. One would think that looking at it and walking inside would cause some regrets. NOPE! Especially when I see her or her husband out mowing two acres of lawn and watering all those plants.

Yup, living small is living LARGE!!

Wild Blue Yonder said...

Hi Margie, great post!
I hope to be posting the same thing soon!
I can definitely see the bonus' to the lifestyle, and am confused why more people don't get on the bandwagon. I guess it's easier to have the sticks/bricks as your "home base".

Nice milestone, keep up the great work and great photos today!


Jerry and Suzy said...

Margie, you guys sure aren't out there alone in your view of the RV life you lead! So many people responded. As you know, we are in a slow down stage in our life and have found the winter home that we expect will be our final spot. Do it your way! Live YOUR life, because it is YOUR life, no one else's!

Ali said...

Congrats on your Fulltime anniversary. We have been fulltiming since 11/06 and enjoy it totally.

We too like to sleep in our own bed each night. We love having the comfort of home wherever we are.

Enjoy your day.

Levonne said...

Thanks Margie and Congratulations! It sounds as though you are living just the way you want to with the filltime RV life! That is excellent. It is comforting to know how "small" you can live, isn't it? We have a pod full of stuff waiting for us to land somewhere and occasionally I find myself wishing we were free of it all. Take care. Thanks for blogging with such integrity! Love your posts. (What are you doing for healthcare? I am finding that many RVers don't have healthcare.)

JODI said...

The Cow. When we were driving through a beautiful grazing range in CO my hubby decided to taunt the cows... "Mac Donald's" and then was Texas Roadhouse" and the grand finale "Wendy's". For some reason I don't think the cows felt threatened by his taunts but damn we were all hungry for steak then.

Thanks for triggering a funny moment in our family vacation.

Janie and John said...

I just came to your blog from the Bayfield Buch blog. todays blog is such a great one. We are just begining our FT journey and the things you talked about are the very reasons we chose this journey. Happy trails!

John and Carol said...

What a great post! We will soon be starting our journey. Your enthusiasm and embrace of this lifestyle is so encouraging to us.