What's it take to be a fulltimer?

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Jan 13, 2005
The subject of fulltiming comes up periodically and we have a number of what I'd call "successful fulltimers" here. Some of us have dreamed of going fulltime at some time or other, some have tried it and given up, while others have been fulltiming for a long time and are having a real blast.

Having had numerous one-on-one conversations with fulltimers who clearly love the lifestyle and some who gave up, I've come to the conclusion that it takes a certain kind of person &/or a certain mindset to be a fulltimer and enjoy it. So, what does it take to be a successful fulltimer?

The first thing that comes to mind for me is the ability to throw away all those prized possessions that fulltimers just don't have room for. I admit to being a packrat who just hates parting with anything, especially something I worked hard and saved long to buy. Similarly for virtually any gifts I've received, especially gifts from family members - they have a huge sentimental value.

AS a newbie to full timing I will second what you said about stuff! Most of the discussions Sue and I have had over the past two months of moving out of the house, shipping a lot to our daughters and a storage locker in Illinois, having three sales, and many trips to charities involve what goes, gets stored, given (loaned?) to the kids, or stuffed into the m/h.

We seem able to agree on what goes of mine, it's the rest that takes time to resolve.? :)

We can reach compromises on our travel plans, car use, meals, etc but when it comes down to what goes and stays emotions come into play. Friends stories hold out the hope that time will solve most of this but only time will tell.
Thanks for sharing that Jeff. Hopefully seasoned fulltimers will also jump in.

A related issue for me is stuff that I might keep unused for years, eventually throw it out, then 2 weeks later I need it. This has happened countless times over the years.

There's also my gotta-keep example of when we moved to CA 25 years ago. We sold everything and hopped on the plane with literally the clothes on our backs. But there were some things I just couldn't part with and they were put in a couple of boxes and shipped by sea. Six weeks after arriving in the sun I picked up the boxes from customs and took them home. 6 months later we moved from a rental house to our first purchase. 10 years later we moved to another house. 5 years later (15.5 years in all) those boxes still sat unopened in my garage. I finally opened them and the contents remained unused for another 8 years when I finally threw the stuff away.

We have friends who sold their large house and went fulltiming. Actually, they part time on their boat and part time in their RV. When they sold the house the husband was unattached to everything and it all went, either to charity shops or the dumpster in zero time.
When Sam & I decided to go fulltime we knew from the beginning that we would not be making a move that we would be committed to the rest of our lives.  We started living fulltime in our RV in Feb 98.  We did sell our house we were living in in Tx but we also have property in MT where we keep those things we do not want to part with.  We are planning to renovate the house and begin living in the house during the summer and traveling South for the winter.  This has been our plan even when we began fultiming.

We have enjoyed the fulltiming lifestyle, meeting other RVers, making new friends, rallies, seeing the wonderfull country we live in.  Fulltiming does give you a unique freedom. 

When considering fulltiming there are a few things you need to consider

1. What plans do you have if either of you have a medical problem that would limit or stop your ability to travel.?

2. Unfortunately we are all getting older and what will you do when it becomes necessary to hang up the keys?

3. What plan do you have if either of you decide you no longer want to live in 400Sq ft and need more space?

4.How will rising fuel cost affect you?

Just a few thoughts to consider.
Good questions Ron, and I'd be interested in hearing various folks' "exit strategies".
Throwing stuff away can be tough whether you are going full time or just want to reduce clutter in your house, and once it's done you don't have to do it again (hopefully).?In the end, it's just stuff.  More important, I think, are your abilities to live with your traveling companions in a small space for long periods of time.? You need to be able to get along and learn to stay out of each other's way, especially if one is having a bad day.  I met one couple who was hanging it up because if they wanted to fight there was likely to be someone 10 feet away listening.? You need to be flexible, because well-laid plans can fall apart through nobody's fault, and adjustments need to be made.? You need to be able to go without daily mail and sometimes without being in phone contact.? You need to be prepared to either miss important events and emergencies or be able to fly home for them.? Everyone should be able to drive the rig, set it up and get it ready for the road so one can take over if the other becomes incapacitiated.? You need to be able to make arrangements for ongoing medical care if it's needed, and have a plan for medical emergencies.? If you have pets it's nice for everyone if they don't get carsick or run off.  You need to be able to adapt to your surroundings and learn to fit into other ways of life, as some places you go may have much different lifestyles and cultures than you are used to.

You need to enjoy meeting great folks, because you will.? You need to enjoy seeing and getting to know new places, because there are millions of neat things scattered all over the country.? You need to be willing to learn because there are so many people ready to teach.? You need a sense of humor and sense of curiosity and adventure.? Oh - and you need to be able to read a map! :)
The first decision point, if you're a couple, is you BOTH have to agree that fulltiming is what you want to do.  The second, and most difficult, is making the decision to do it.  The rest will follow.  We have been fulltiming for over 8 years and have no intention of quitting in the foreseeable future.  Of course, health issues could change that, but right now, at least, we're both in good health.  We had very few things that we considered important enough to not dispose of.  Those are either on loan to friends, or passed on to family members, or in storage with a friend.  Not much in the latter category.

Once the decision is made, you will find it easy to get rid of "stuff", most of which you will never miss.  If you give away something you later need, you can always buy it.

Of course, there are a lot of other considerations when going fulltime, and these have been discussed at length in the forum.

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