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Author Topic: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?  (Read 5182 times)

kc8qvo

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I have been doing a lot of research here on the feasibility of a 5th wheel as a change of residence. My use would be more stationary as my job right now is in a specific location, but having the freedom to hitch up and tow the house along when I travel is quite appealing.

There is another threat I have in the travel trailer/5th wheel thread more related to the rigs themselves. My goal in starting this thread is related to the lifestyle and challenges in living in an RV full time.

Some examples of what I've read through so far as references are the thread here about 10 things learned in 6 months of full-timing in North Dakota during the winter and several discussions on insurance. Then there are the maintenance and wear items often mentioned - bearings drying out, tires dry rotting, tires getting flat spots, and the like. Other subjects I have read about that pertain more to the retiring ages where people are down-sizing selling their homes, going to an RV full time, and how to handle all their "extra stuff".

In contrast to what I think the conventional terminology of "full time" RV'ing is - where one travels around staying in different locations for different lengths of time - what I am considering is buying some land, installing permanent hook-ups, and having pretty much my own personal "camp site". Admittedly, I have a lot of "extra stuff" and my lifestyle is such that I need more garage/shop/barn space for storage and working on things. So the only way I could make things "work" for me would be to have a large garage/shop as well, then the living area would be the 5th wheel. I know one big subject to research is land usage and zoning. I want to be out in the country with few restrictions anyway, but there will still be a lot of research necessary to see what limitations there are with what I am thinking. If you have any comments on the subject, though land usage and zoning varies drastically between townships, and I'm sure between states, I would be curious what you have to offer.

What have you learned while full-timing? What didn't anyone mention to you that you wish you learned up front? What did someone mention to you that wasn't pointed out very strongly that you wish you paid attention to and heeded in your adventure? What has been the biggest challenge you have run in to? What are some frequent inconveniences that you may deal with, aside from smaller space (living space, appliances), in an RV compared to a conventional stick-built home? Are there any/many curve balls with taxes that can be unexpected?

On the subject of insurance - it seems the terminology for insuring an RV is that it is a vehicle. If it is on the road it would have to have some form of vehicle insurance, but how does one classify it as a residence in addition? I suppose that's a better question for the insurer but a question I had, none-the-less.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 09:22:52 PM by kc8qvo »
Steve

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2016, 09:36:51 PM »
The best advice I have read for prospective full timers is to have an exit plan. When that time comes, you're probably not going to want to move into that barn with all your other stuff.
Larry --  Olathe, Kansas
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kc8qvo

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2016, 10:08:42 PM »
The best advice I have read for prospective full timers is to have an exit plan. When that time comes, you're probably not going to want to move into that barn with all your other stuff.

Point well taken. However, can you ground your comments? What background to that can you share from your experience? Thanks

As an aside to that topic, my former boss and his wife did just that - in reverse - while their house was built. They moved the 5th wheel in the barn and all. It worked, though they did say it was a bit gloomy being in the dark barn all winter...

To edit this again - I am a very handy person, have been a backpacker for over a decade, and have spent the vast majority of my vacation time all my life at a lake with a couple cabins. From a "roughing it" perspective, I'd say backpacking in the winter for 4 days keeping water thawed and trying to answer the call of nature is as hard/roughing it as what the OP to the 10 things he learned thread went through. Though, that is the kind of insight I'm after - what forms your perspective on your advice?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 10:23:50 PM by kc8qvo »
Steve

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legrandnormand

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 10:29:09 PM »
My best advice would be to give it a trial by renting a RV for a couple of weeks before buying to start with; then if both of you decide to fulltime, why not rent your house "if you own one" and store your furniture for that fulltime period.
If that fulltime fits both of you, then you can sell your house "if you own one" and sell your stored furniture.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2016, 10:30:45 PM by legrandnormand »
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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2016, 10:46:11 PM »
I didn't give you advice. I simply told you what I had read.

From my perspective; house, 3-car garage, boat, motorhome, car and more stuff than I care to maintain anymore, I can't even imagine living in an RV at a fixed point geographically during the seasonal changes, and calling that living. So, I will not be advising you on how long it takes to thaw urine.

I retired almost 11 year ago, with an exit plan. I have read that folks who full time in an RV should have an exit plan too, and be prepared to execute it whether that be in a month or 25 years down the road. Seems you don't always get to chose the date.
Larry --  Olathe, Kansas
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GR 'Scott' Cundiff

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2016, 10:53:40 PM »
As you mentioned, I think most of us immediately move to travel related advice.  However, if I focus on your more stationary use I'd say quality of rig is important.  There are a lot of campers out there that are fairly decent for weekend camping that just don't hold up to every day living.  You may end up wanting a used high end 5th wheel, not only because of the cost, but because several of the more quality manufacturers have gone out of business in the past few years.

Really, if I didn't intend to travel, I'd probably lean toward a park model rather than a camper.  Of course, you said you liked the idea of sometimes just "hooking up the house" and taking a trip, but from what I've seen people who long term in 5th wheels tend to keep adding stuff (permanent awnings, steps, etc.) to the point that moving and returning is a bit of a chore.
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robinsond1

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2017, 11:45:47 AM »
Two years full time and wish we had kept our house and just travel in the winter.  Miss it all and now we can't go back. 

Sun2Retire

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2017, 12:08:06 PM »
From my perspective; house, 3-car garage, boat, motorhome, car and more stuff than I care to maintain anymore, I can't even imagine living in an RV at a fixed point geographically during the seasonal changes

Two years full time and wish we had kept our house and just travel in the winter.  Miss it all and now we can't go back.

First, I'm not a full-timer but we do talk about it. The above two quotes capture some of my concerns. Not sure I could really, totally "cut the cord". Maybe I'd change my mind after awhile. I am though getting weary maintaining our sticks house, just don't enjoy the work as much as I used to.

I think a very interesting compromise is the car and RV garage attached to a small one bedroom house - many of those available. Very low maintenance assuming you don't go crazy on landscaping. When you feel like "putting your feet down" you can. RV is nice and convenient for puttering around on those little jobs when you feel like it, and you get the big maintenance items done while you're taking a break from traveling. Then, when the weather's nice somewhere you want to go, you close the shutters, clean out the fridge, adjust the heating/cooling and off you go.
Scott
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DearMissMermaid

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2017, 03:38:34 PM »
Oops. I don't know anything about an exit plan and don't seem to have one. It's hard to choose when to exit, as selling a used RV could take one week or one year.

I didn't want to pay storage rates, so I have nothing to start over with should I come up with an exit plan.

I like tiny home living and the RV has certainly provided that.

The best advice I wish I had been told early on has been summed up in my TEN TIPS below. Enjoy!

Trees moves, especially when you are backing up.

Finding a hard working honest RV repairman is akin to winning the lottery. Playing the lottery is expensive. Beware, all repairmen think we are mega rich.

Buy heavy duty quick connect for all your outside plumbing, heaven on earth!

Take a picture of everywhere you overnight.

Keep a simple log book near the driver's seat. Invaluable info will accumulate, that is super useful when you are back in the same area.

The first year, you will need to dump at least half your clothes and figure up an easier wardrobe based on your daily lifestyle and routine.

Keep the rig ready for all types of emergencies. You will be glad you did when the need arises.

Gloves, gloves, gloves. Buy thick leather gloves, heavy rubber gloves and a box of disposable gloves.

Life is more fun with a bicycle.

Life is more love with a pet.
« Last Edit: February 13, 2017, 03:56:27 PM by DearMissMermaid »
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SeilerBird

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2017, 04:06:19 PM »
I wish I would have been told to go full time about ten years earlier. ;D
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Peggyy

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2017, 05:07:47 PM »
Full timing dont you miss having a big bedroom and a big kitchen and a place to call home?
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Gods Country

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2017, 05:23:20 PM »
I often wonder how your rigs hold up to everyday living.  Are RV's built more robust?  Just can't imagine anything not being trashed after 5 years or more of continuous living.

SeilerBird

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2017, 05:35:11 PM »
Full timing don't you miss having a big bedroom and a big kitchen and a place to call home?
All I do is sleep in my bedroom so I don't miss a big bedroom. I do miss a larger kitchen so I am upgrading to a 5er with a larger kitchen. I call my RV home and it has worked well for me for the last 15 years. What I don't miss is cleaning a large house and mowing the lawn and other yard work.
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Cant Wait

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2017, 05:39:35 PM »
Don't take off full time like you're going on vacation. You've got the rest of your life to see the whole USA so DON"T RUSH IT. spend 2-3 weeks at a time in one spot seeing the local sight AND just setting around reading, socializing in the part etc. Just relax.
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spacenorman

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #14 on: February 13, 2017, 07:01:27 PM »
I often wonder how your rigs hold up to everyday living.  Are RV's built more robust?  Just can't imagine anything not being trashed after 5 years or more of continuous living.

No RV's are not built to be particular robust (durable?).   How each of us goes about the "everyday living" thing is a highly personalized thing.  For us, we've made a very conscious effort to ensure that we've got a place for everything - and that everything gets put in it's place within the coach.  Dishes get done after every meal, we make the bed every morning, we make sure that closes are put away, etc.   We clean the coach regularly - i.e., scrub the bathrooms, wipe down the counter surfaces, wash the floors.  Once every couple of months we wipe down all the woodwork.   When the contents of a drawer or cabinet starts getting sloppy - we straighten it up.   

When we discover something is "loose", we tighten it immediately, if something starts to "stick", we disassemble it, clean it, replace worn parts, etc.  When something breaks - we fix it as quickly as possible. Keeping the coach in good working order is a part of everyday life.  Staying on top of cleaning, maintenance and repair is how we keep our coach from deteriorating to a "trashed" status.   Today - I replaced a drawer latch that had broken.   Yesterday's job was dealing with a broken cable inside the King HDTV Antenna for "broadcast TV".   When there's nothing that needs fixing - there's always to clean and/or polish.   

I don't want to suggest that we spend our days cleaning and repairing the coach.    As long as it's not a "big repair" - just being conscientious about picking up after ourselves - plus a little effort to clean things a couple of days each week is all that it takes.
The Spacenorman
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Gods Country

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2017, 07:13:44 PM »
No RV's are not built to be particular robust (durable?).   How each of us goes about the "everyday living" thing is a highly personalized thing.  For us, we've made a very conscious effort to ensure that we've got a place for everything - and that everything gets put in it's place within the coach.  Dishes get done after every meal, we make the bed every morning, we make sure that closes are put away, etc.   We clean the coach regularly - i.e., scrub the bathrooms, wipe down the counter surfaces, wash the floors.  Once every couple of months we wipe down all the woodwork.   When the contents of a drawer or cabinet starts getting sloppy - we straighten it up.   

When we discover something is "loose", we tighten it immediately, if something starts to "stick", we disassemble it, clean it, replace worn parts, etc.  When something breaks - we fix it as quickly as possible. Keeping the coach in good working order is a part of everyday life.  Staying on top of cleaning, maintenance and repair is how we keep our coach from deteriorating to a "trashed" status.   Today - I replaced a drawer latch that had broken.   Yesterday's job was dealing with a broken cable inside the King HDTV Antenna for "broadcast TV".   When there's nothing that needs fixing - there's always to clean and/or polish.   

I don't want to suggest that we spend our days cleaning and repairing the coach.    As long as it's not a "big repair" - just being conscientious about picking up after ourselves - plus a little effort to clean things a couple of days each week is all that it takes.

To be clear I didn't mean trashed, filthy, or unkempt, but as you pointed out, all the maintenance involved.  I barely use my TT and it seems something always needs attention.  I suppose this is true to some extent with my house, but I can go to a hardware store and get just about anything I need.  A trailer not so much.

NY_Dutch

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2017, 07:20:35 PM »
We sold our large mountain top home in 2005 and since 2008 have spent 10-11 months a year living in our motorhome. The balance of the year, mostly during the coldest weather before we head south, we spend at our small Adirondack cottage in upstate NY. The lakeside cottage had been our summer place for many years, and we've upgraded it for year round living. It's not much larger than our motorhome as far as floor space and storage go, although we do have a storage shed as well. We also have a full hookup RV site there, and other than the really cold weather, continue to live in the motorhome when we're there unless we're doing interior projects that are easier done with us out. Our two daughters live nearby, and the cottage is our "exit plan" when it's time to hang up the keys. Health permitting of course...
Dutch
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Peggyy

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2017, 07:24:05 PM »
Our jayco TT has a sign inside that says it contains formaldehyde and is not suitable for full timers.
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NY_Dutch

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2017, 07:31:35 PM »
To be clear I didn't mean trashed, filthy, or unkempt, but as you pointed out, all the maintenance involved.  I barely use my TT and it seems something always needs attention.  I suppose this is true to some extent with my house, but I can go to a hardware store and get just about anything I need.  A trailer not so much.

Probably about 90% of the maintenance items I use for our motorhome upkeep, exclusive of engine/driveline/generator parts, come from three sources: Amazon.com, Walmart, and Ace/TruValue hardware stores. Even a fair amount of my engine/driveline/generator parts come from Amazon.
Dutch
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SeilerBird

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #19 on: February 13, 2017, 08:01:32 PM »
The nice thing about living in an RV is that it is small and it is easy to keep up on the maintenance. If something breaks I fix it right away. If something is out of adjustment I adjust it right away. So pretty much everything works all the time, except me, I am retired. 8)
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DearMissMermaid

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #20 on: February 14, 2017, 05:50:13 AM »
Full timing dont you miss having a big bedroom and a big kitchen and a place to call home?

I am one of those folks that doesn't need a ton of junk to be happy, so I happily call my little old motorhome my wheel estate!

You would be shocked at the gourmet dishes that come out of my tiny galley.

My teensy bedroom has windows on 3 sides with a view that changes often.

The main reason I love my wheel estate is that I can park in million dollar places without having to own them.

I love nature and don't care for big crowded towns, so a little old motorhome suits me fine.
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DearMissMermaid

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2017, 06:05:53 AM »
I often wonder how your rigs hold up to everyday living.  Are RV's built more robust?  Just can't imagine anything not being trashed after 5 years or more of continuous living.

I've seen trashed rigs after continuous living. Some folks can trash theirs in just a few months.

Fortunately, mine is not trashed. It was 15 years old when I bought it 7 years ago.

I clean it often. I maintain, repair, and upgrade (to suit my lifestyle) as needed.

I even redecorate this and that from time to time,  to keep from getting bored with the look. Last year it was new towels in a bright color I enjoy. This year I am painting the cabinet and drawer faces to enjoy a new clean look.

When things are wearing out or breaking, I do research for the best replacement or upgrade. Once procured then I figure out if I am installing it or if I am going to hire someone to do it.

Since I don't own a car, I am home pretty much 24/7 though I venture out on my bicycle almost daily. My rig does get a lot of heavy duty use but I take care of it and keep all systems working. Sometimes I do a ton of studying so I can make the repair myself.

A place for everything and everything in its place. Careful attention to the equipment that takes up the least amount of room yet provides multi-functionality. My compact galley is well outfitted and I turn out some amazing meals that rival fine restaurants.

Sure, I miss having an expansive wardrobe, but I made room for a compact washer. The wardrobe I do own is clean and fresh.

I love it that I am able to rent gorgeous lots in beautiful places where I can soak up nature and enjoy the outdoors.

I am sitting outside barefoot typing this up from my rocking chair and folding card table.

Will I own a house again?

Probably not.

I love this life of owning my home, but being able to change out the real estate often.
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SeilerBird

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #22 on: February 14, 2017, 06:22:20 AM »

I love this life of owning my home, but being able to change out the real estate often.
Amen Cynthia. I visited all 48 states in a ten year period of time and visited 46 National Parks. We live in a beautiful country and I am glad I am not spending my retirement years in one spot in a rocking chair.
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spacenorman

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2017, 11:07:07 AM »
Full timing dont you miss having a big bedroom and a big kitchen and a place to call home?

We have a place to call home.  It just happens that it rolls with us!   I was fortunate to learn early on in life (during the 3+ years I was stationed in Germany while in the Army) - that my home is wherever I happen to be - and  that it's not directly tied to house somewhere.   That lesson has made my life much easier over the years .... my DW is slowly learning that same lesson.   Her idea of what constitutes home was upended roughly a year ago, when my oldest son relocated to Phoenix AZ (from Michigan) for his career.   My DW had to do some soul searching as a result of his decision.  She's slowly but steadily coming around to the realization that home involves family and friends .... and not necessarily a specific sticks and bricks.

As far as having BIG bedrooms and kitchens go - we've found that we've got enough space in our coach to be very comfortable.   The BIG rooms were nice when we were younger .... but now, a BIG room simply means more space to stick "stuff" that I'm likely not using often (if at all!) and more area that I have to clean regularly and occasionally paint.   
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rvannie23

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2017, 12:15:11 PM »
We have a place to call home.  It just happens that it rolls with us!   I was fortunate to learn early on in life (during the 3+ years I was stationed in Germany while in the Army) - that my home is wherever I happen to be - and  that it's not directly tied to house somewhere.   


SO TRUE. Your RV becomes your home. When I travel away to my childhood home to see my parents or my friends houses to visit I can't wait to get back to my own bed, my own kitchen etc.

I think if you're employed and still working, an exit strategy is of less importance. If your job changes you can always rent an apartment or something. The one thing to keep in mind is that if you're going to rent a house or buy one, you will now have that payment and expense PLUS the RV. I did this for a brief period but opted to park it at a really cute RV park about 2 hours from my apartment and use it as a weekend house. It was less expensive than storage but it was still an added cost that I didn't really consider all the way. 

Also try not to overthink the entire thing or you will talk yourself out of it. There is something very solid behind the idea of (responsibly) going with the flow. You may find your preferences and ideas change along the way. 
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Ernie n Tara

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2017, 04:11:23 PM »
We have an exit strategy!  Get rid of the country home on 20 acres (four under clear water in a 12 acre pond, and about four in hardwoods), plus the accumulated "stuff" of 30 years. We have found home at an rv park in paradise after five plus years of full timing. We KNOW that we are comfortable living in 350 square feet of mh and intend to stay here.

It's been a slow transition,  but now we are comfortable with our decision, even though we are slowing down and probably won't travel as much now. As for durability, the mh has held up well and still looks like new (when we're diligent about clean up/maintenance). Stuff wears out and has to be replaced; there just isn't as much stuff!

In summary, if either of you think a house is necessary to live comfortably then you probably shouldn't be full time in the first place!!

Ernie
Ernie 'n Tara

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NY_Dutch

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2017, 07:21:29 PM »
Full timing dont you miss having a big bedroom and a big kitchen and a place to call home?

Our home is our motorhome, and the bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining, and living areas, are plenty big enough for us. We visit our cottage in upstate NY from time to time, but we've never called it "home" in the 50+ years we've owned it. Just because our home has wheels on it doesn't mean it can't be "home." Our home just moves around from time to time...
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 Chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox base plate

Tom and Margi

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2017, 08:37:20 PM »
Full timing dont you miss having a big bedroom and a big kitchen and a place to call home?

Seems like you are a little unclear on the concept of full timing.  If you think home is a "big" bedroom and a "big" kitchen, than you are missing the whole point of the freedom involved in choosing "home" to be wherever you decide it can be.  If you truly feel this way, I suggest that you never considering full timing.  There are many on this forum who retain their stick and bricks home, still travel extensively, and that's OK.  Different strokes for different folks.

Peggyy

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2017, 09:39:16 PM »
Yes i dont think full timing is for us.  But i am curious about it all and happy for those that choose that path.  I mean no disrespect to anyone with my questions.
GMC Sierra 2012
2016 Jayco Jay Flight SLX 264BHW Travel Trailer
sweet home Alabama

Jeff

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Re: What advice do you wish someone told you before you went full time?
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2017, 10:31:43 PM »
If there are two of you makes sure both are ready to FT. We have owned motorhomes since 1975 or so and love RVing but 5 years was enough time without a nest for my wife. We have reached a great compromise living in an active RV community here in AZ in the winter and spending 5-6 months in the summer on the road plus two or three short trips in the winter.


I had originally thought it would be great to RV until age 75 but with my 74th birthday coming up the new target is more like 80.  ::)
« Last Edit: February 14, 2017, 10:33:48 PM by Jeff »

 

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