Saturday, June 25, 2011

Living Full Time On The Road Reality Check

This Month is our one year anniversary of living Full Time on the road and I thought perhaps I would do a reality check on how we really feel about it over the next few weeks.

Our First Rig, leaving for Florida, we lived in a tent all Winter
We had lived on the road for the last 5 years, but we still had a house and an "anchor" mentality. We did the satellite thing, we would strike out for a week, work, then return home for a day or so to do laundry, restock and then zoom off again. If we had time down, we would do household chores like mowing, cleaning and maintenance. We seldom took time to do any "touristing" or visiting with friends or family.

Our First Toy Hauler Home
When we were on the road we snatched fast food as we went, we would stop, gas up and grab the nearest edible item, as well as a sugar and caffeine laced beverage and run. While at the house we ate mostly prepared dinners, because of time factors and convenience. Everything we did was determined by how soon we could get home and get something there accomplished. 

For the last two years we had weaned ourselves over to the full time possibility and got to the point where we would pull the trailer in the yard and not even sleep or eat in the house. It took too much effort to move things back in forth. 

The property was still our main focus and concern as we traveled, even when we went to Florida for the Winter, we had to arrange to have someone look after the house, and I spent many a sleepless night wondering how my possessions were faring during several nasty snowstorms that knocked out power.

Our Old Home
It turned out my concerns were well founded as every year we returned to one crisis or another, frozen pipes, flooded basement, break ins.

Not that it was all bad, I loved my 1800's home and my beautiful antiques, walking through my front door you would think you were in a museum, (or "mausoleum", as my Sister referred to it). I loved the land we lived on, high on a bluff overlooking both the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers, cattle and corn all around us. You could walk for miles in any given direction through the canyons, (or Coulees as the are called here), enjoying quiet bubbling springs and lofty shaded oak groves. It was what I call a "Climax" living arrangement, I had always dreamed of living in a place like this and at this spot I had what I always thought I wanted.
The View!

I also had 13 acres in Northern Minnesota of pristine forest land, with a small remodeled mobile home gracing it's hills. It was a Spiritual place that at one time had been a Native Village. I had been renting it to potential buyers, which, in the end, turned out to be a disaster. No need to go into the details here, lets just say that when my Nephew offered to buy it on Contract as is, I jumped at the chance and sold it to him with the clause that whenever I wanted to stay there, he would allow us to plug in and visit.

After two years of planning, we finally decided to chuck it all and try living Full Time sans home. We arranged for an Estate Auction, which essentially means that nothing is left when the auction is over, even if it doesn't sell, they haul it away.

A tough day, hard to say goodbye to stuff!
The sale went very well considering the economy and we took what cash we garnered in our tight little fists and went straight to the RV dealer of our choice, (after three years of research), and plunked everything down on a brand new Fifth Wheel Toy Hauler.

Switching homes, goodbye to an old friend


We had to rent a storage garage because of our business but other than that, we were now officially homeless. We even had our official first health crisis without underpinnings and came through it just fine, one doesn't have to have a house to get well, we found out.

Driving off in our new home
We struck out for Florida for the first time with no concerns or worries about what we left behind. We traveled slower and more thoughtfully because we didn't have to stay at the house till the very last minute taking care of winterizing it. We took two weeks to travel instead of four days. 

The first thing to change was our dietary habits. We stopped the "grab and run" eating. We bought fresh food and cooked it to our liking. Because of this we started feeling better and losing weight.

We stopped sleeping in Walmart parking lots and stayed at reasonably priced RV parks for the night and often stayed and rested two days or more. This was partly financially possible now because we didn't have household bills to pay.

Home Cookin!
We had also made a pact that if we were going to live on the road we were going to have some sort of quality of life. I began cooking from scratch and we stopped eating out. Period. We began taking Evening strolls and holding hands at sunsets. We woke up to sunrises through our slide out living room. This was beginning to feel GOOD.

We started meeting and talking to other like minded people on the road and Internet. This was tremendously helpful, we learned so much about potential pitfalls we hadn't considered in our planning. It was also just great to hang with people who understood where we were coming from.

Scrufty's in Florida
We decided the best thing for us was to have some kind of stability, so we set about researching the two main areas we work in, (Wisconsin and Florida), and found two places to lease a lot at less than $300 a month plus electricity that were within reasonable striking distance to the various Events we work at.

Hunter's Slough, Wisconsin
We also made sure they were the kind of parks that have our lifestyle in mind, both are rural, isolated and essentially fishing resorts that have fewer than 20 unit rentals. This might not suit others, but it's how we like to spend our downtime.

We spend our downtime visiting local attractions now, instead of doing household chores. Yesterday we went to the local ancient mounds that we have lived by for several years but have never had time to check out before.

We are currently living at our Summer lot on the Mississippi in Wisconsin. I am typing this as I look out my open window in the living slide out we remodeled to our liking a few months ago. The birds are singing, boats are drifting by and an occasional eagles swings into view. Not bad.

Caught just out our back door
Last night Doyle caught fish, we had a small fire and we roasted marshmallows. I brought out my ipod and speaker deck, I just couldn't resist putting on my Credence Clearwater Revival album and thinking back to when I was a young girl listening to this, my first record album ever bought with my babysitting proceeds.

I dreamed then of someday living on the river, as "Proud Mary" played on in the back round. To a 12 year old back woods reservation girl, this seemed an impossible and lofty goal, and yet, 45 years later, here I am.

"If you come down to the river,
Bet you gonna find some people who live,
You don't have to worry:
If ya got no money,
people on the river are happy to give.

Big wheels keep on turning,
Proud Mary keeps on burning,
Our Camp, official Marshmallow roasting headquarters
Rolling, rolling, rolling on a River....."

10 comments:

Levonne said...

I hear your serenity! Love your writing! Keep on Rolling!

Donna K said...

Great post - it's great to live the life you have desired.

ain't for city gals said...

Even if one home is on wheels..two is too many. There is always something to take care of..pay for...Everything takes time to figure out...sounds like you made some good choices along the way...btw...glad you quit eating the fast food junk..

Anonymous said...

Another great full time blog to follow! Really enjoyed reading and hope to join the FT group one day. MW

Pat said...

It's a good live you live. I'm a wee bit jealous.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

A great post and a wonderful encouragement to us as we're on the brink of going FT.

Thanks for you comments to our blog on our house sale, going to look into the tips you gave us.

Andrew Kraft said...

Your writing is FANTASTIC! I love the Proud Mary reference too!

The nice thing about traveling in an RV is that you have your home with you... My wife and I spent 2 years traveling the planet and living out of a suitcase and backpack each.

You really do realize how little you need, and just how good people are.

Keep writing! You're fun to read!

Andrew
Mattress Insider

driving in singapore said...

There are so many problems. You enjoy it if ur well equipped

Anonymous said...

WOW that was beautiful it made me cry that is just what we are working toward. thank you Darlene price

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