I live an unusual lifestyle. I am called a “fulltimer”—a term for people who live and travel fulltime in an RV (recreational vehicle)—mine is a motorhome. We have done this for fourteen years.
Our decision wasn’t to actually “fulltime.” We wanted to get away from the work and costs of a house and yard, plus travel extensively. We were newly retired, owned a motorhome, so this was possible.
Our home sold. We temporarily moved into our motorhome and instantly traded 3,000+ square feet for 400 square feet of expandable living space that could be driven about anywhere in North America. So we could travel with our entire household going with us to virtually anywhere—then stay there indefinitely—but, we didn’t fully realize the freedom we now had.
The biggest surprise for others is we did not plan this—not at all—plus, we never had a single conversation about this lifestyle before we did it! We sort of “fell” into it by accident through a series of incidents.
What We Planned
Our much-discussed “plan” was to sell our lovely home and move into something smaller. After all, we joked we had bathrooms and bedrooms no one even walked into except to clean! After sixteen years there, we had stuff tucked away in every nook and cranny. We really didn’t “use” a big house.
We agreed to focus on a condo and not have the time-consuming, recurring maintenance, yard work, “fix-up,” and other “house” stuff that keeps you busy maintaining a property. We simply wanted to get rid of the minutia, schedule, structure, and cost that constantly ties you down with home ownership. This was not a financial decision but a lifestyle-change decision.
Our thinking was we could travel a month here, a month there, maybe Alaska one summer. What a great idea! The new condo would be “home base,” a place we could come back to when not traveling. What a great plan!
We got a good offer on our house but—surprise—the buyers wanted possession in three weeks—non-negotiable. Okay, we could temporarily move into our motorhome and have a place to live while we looked for a condo. We packed, stored, sold, or gave away most everything, and turned over the house on time. It was a whirlwind packing, sale, and move and we were exhausted—”wiped out” from the intensive effort. Now, we were sitting in our new home (motorhome), in a campground, close to our previous house.
Our realtor started calling with this nice condo or that nice condo ready for us to see. That’s what we told her we wanted. But at that moment, we were just too tired to look. So, please, leave us alone.
What Actually Happened
To help recoup, we decided to reward ourselves with a relaxing trip before we started looking for that condo. After all, our grand plan included lots more travel—so let’s travel somewhere! With little planning (we were already “packed”), off we went on our first motorhome trip. We headed to Nashville for a week to eat, play, hear some music, tour, relax, and be a tourist. We agreed those condos would likely be there when we got back.
Our joke today is, fourteen years later, we are still on that first trip! It worked for us. We still haven’t looked at a condo! We haven’t looked back. We love this lifestyle!
Why Do You Live Like This?
Sandy and I love to travel. That, combined with a desire to see/visit the gazillion places in our great nation and our wonderful northern neighbor (Canada) make us the perfect couple for this lifestyle. We are not “on the run” from anything, not trying to get away from anybody, not antisocial, and didn’t have to do this for financial reasons. We just want to see North America and what it has to offer. Plus visit lots of friends and family now spread all over.
From another perspective, when we lived in our house, neither of us had the type of lifestyle where we belonged to numerous clubs, we didn’t have to attend any regular meetings, and we didn’t meet our “group” for lunch, cards, whatever on some regular basis. While we did visit and get together with friends and companions from our respective workplaces, we were not locked in to some regular schedule with any of them.
So, why do we live like this? We love the opportunity to visit new places, meet new people, visit old friends, and family. We love the unencumbered, uncluttered freedom, to enjoy being able to keep more of our income, to not be forced to change our lifestyle due to economic fluctuations, and maybe the most important reason… to never have to mow another yard nor shovel snow again. I absolutely guarantee there are more fun things to do.
A Great Lifestyle
Fulltimers nearly all fall into one of two categories. One group may actually travel (constantly meander) full time and may only stay a few days or a couple of weeks in a given location.
The other group may go to a specific destination and park their RV in one location for a more lengthy period of time—up to several months—for example, all winter. You have likely heard the term “snowbird.” This refers to the RVer who will go south for the winter, stay a few months, but then go back to their home (usually) somewhere in the north when the weather warms up. Snowbirds often live in their RV several months of the year. They simply use their RV in the place of an apartment or condo-style of living but not necessarily traveling.
Sandy and I fall into the first category—i.e., we meander. Staying in one place more than a week is a long time for us with one exception. During the holidays, we go to Texas and are usually there from roughly Thanksgiving through Christmas. We are visiting family (one daughter, three grandkids, six great-grandkids) and taking care of those annual medical and dental things that everyone needs. We rarely pass though there at other times of the year.
So, we meander the rest of the year. Driving long distances is not our goal. We may spend a few days in one area and drive 30 miles and spend a few more days. We may spend a few days in one area and drive 150 miles to do it again. It all depends what we see, find, hear about, and what we want to do. It should be noted that finding a good local restaurant is reason enough to stop for the night!