“But I’m caught in between the now and the not yet: sometimes it seems like forever and ever that I’ve been reaching to be all that I am but I’m only a few steps nearer… yet I’m nearer!”
Amy Grant, The Now and the Not Yet, Straight Ahead album, 1984
A Strange Disconnect
While this decision to go full-timing may seem to have come up suddenly, the truth is that we have been living a lie. This idea has been formulating in our brains for years but we kept it to ourselves. I am a big believer in not announcing publicly grand plans of what you are “going to do” years in advance, for the simple reason that you never know what life holds. But keeping it quiet created a strange disconnect for us, where we acted like everything was normal when we knew soon everything was going to change.
Our Long Lead Time
Our timeline to escape to FT RV living was long since we are also retiring from employment to do it. Workcampers or “Location Independent Professionals” often make the transition to FT RV life in the time it takes them to become remote employees or start a new mobile business. Our plan included continuing to focus on our savings while setting up the rental properties that would ultimately fund our retirement. Figuring out when James could comfortably leave his job involved complex spreadsheets and detailed budgets that over time showed us this thing we were contemplating was in fact possible.
The past several years have allowed us plenty of time to research our plan by reading the many FT RV blogs online. Yet the process of learning about this incredible community of nomads has only increased the huge disconnect between our lives now and how we envision ourselves. It’s not unlike the disjointed sense I felt in my final years of employment at the insurance office: a bottom tax-bracket position that increasingly did not make sense as my rental business responsibilities and our wealth grew. I saw myself as a semi-retired/self-employed person of means, and yet I slogged away as a customer service representative. Yet my tenure in low-pay insurance sales did finally end and our wealth, rather than stagnating, grew even faster as I invested my new found free-time in improving our rentals for even greater income and capital appreciation.
Freedom From Work, Freedom to Travel
When life goes on the same way for so long, it can be difficult to believe it will ever change. But when changes finally do start to happen, you realize that maybe your crazy dreams can come true. There isn’t a morning I wake up and don’t remember the blessing it is to not have to go to the office. I never take it for granted: it is the best thing in the world and worth more than any luxury car, McMansion or designer clothes. To me, being rich is being in control of my time. But the next step is to get James out of his job for his mental and physical well-being. Once we are both retired from employment, then we can exchange our sticks and bricks home for the means to travel. Ultimately these are the 2 main reasons for our FTRV plan: to free James from the stress of his job and to explore this beautiful continent!
Finally Changes Are Happening: New Tow Vehicle
So finally something happened: after 3 years with our trailer Nellie parked at a seasonal campground, we bought a tow vehicle!
We had waited because we were saving up for our FT RV goal: our car wasn’t done yet and the longer we waited, the newer the tow vehicle would be when we make the leap. Plus, seasonal RV life is a great experience in it’s own right, albeit one very different from nomadic adventures. Our seasonal campground location is ideal – just over an hour from home, 20 minutes to the beach with a huge array of destinations and activities within a short drive. But I will admit, the third season was tough. We were definitely ready to hit the road, yet unable to do so. Now that we have our Honda Odyssey van Eddie equipped with a class 3 hitch receiver and top of the line weight distribution hitch, brake controller and transmission cooler, we are actually able to travel.
Telling the Truth
My plan is by taking some longer trips, we can test drive this new RV lifestyle. No longer just dreaming, we can get out there and live it, at least for a few weeks at a time. While these will be short-term trips, we want to approach them not as vacations but as life on the road as retirees on a budget. We can test out our boondock capabilities in terms of solar vs generator use, gain practice in managing our on-board water supplies, and experience accessing different kinds of overnight camping/parking opportunities. In the process, we can stop living a lie and start telling the truth: that we are towing our RV on great adventures on our way to becoming full-time RVers!