NOTE: This page was written in 1997!
“The world is a book and those who don’t travel read only a page” ~ St. Augustine
There are many considerations involved in deciding to become serious RVers: whether full-time or leisure-time. The main thing to realize is that the RV lifestyle involves trade-offs. We’ll cover this more later, but our first recommendation in helping you make your decision, is a book that really helped us. “Living Aboard Your RV” by Janet and Gordon Groene (McGraw-Hill) is a must read, but don’t be put off by their candid warnings. They ensured that we went ahead with our plans, with eyes wide open. If you cannot find this in your local book store, you can order it from: amazon.com.
To RV or Not to RV …
First let’s remove some of the common myths about the full-time RV life.
Myth: By living in an RV you can save on almost everything.
Truth: While you may save in some areas, you will spend more in others. You can live cheaply or be extravagant, just as you can living in your own home, in your old neighborhood. We’ll give you plenty of examples of unplanned expenses and neat savings in our Journal, as our travels continue.
Myth: RVers have no responsibilities, no problems, just freedom.
Truth: You’ll leave some problems behind but others will follow you. Money troubles, health problems, relationship challenges don’t disappear over night, and you will pick up some more on the road. Tight living quarters (in perhaps less space than your German Shepherd has at the kennels), more time with your spouse than you ever thought possible, different decisions to make, and a different purpose in your life.
Myth: Wide open spaces everywhere you go, with perfect weather.
Truth: There are beautiful places you will visit, but space will sometimes be limited. On some camp sites you may be closer to your neighbors than you ever imagined or wanted. If you plan properly you can avoid the worst of winter and summer extremes, but we will tell you about the “fun” we’ve had!
Be sure to make an educated decision about RVing while you still have time and good health. When people say “You’re too young to be retired”, we quote Kay Petersen, Founder of the Escapees Club 20 years ago: “You can never be too young, but (if you wait too long) you might be too old to enjoy it.”
Take a look at pictures of our RV and our “garden” (English for “yard”): Our RV.
Keeping in Touch
At first most RVers love the fact that the phone never rings … no compulsion to answer it, whatever you may be doing. After a while, however, you realize that your family and old friends are valuable and you want to be able to hear from them, and call them often. To achieve this you may choose voicemail, 800 number and/or cellular phone. We use all of the above and will share our experiences with you.
Another challenge is receiving your mail, until you discover mail forwarding services from clubs like Escapees (which we strongly recommend). We call their toll-free number about once a week and they priority mail us at our next stop. It is amazing how quickly you get accustomed to your mail arriving every week instead of every day. Life goes on just the same, and most bills can be paid by direct debit or phone. It takes a little organization, but it’s worth it.
Although not necessary for most RVers, since we run a business on the road, we have a fairly high-tech setup with notebook computer, cellular phone and voicemail.
Staying Fit & Healthy
The best advice we can give the would-be full-time RVer is to take control of your health. This includes life-style habits: exercise, smoking, alcohol, weight problems. We’ve seen too many people struggling through health problems, and unable to enjoy their “freedom”, whether in retirement or when working on the road (as we do).
Whether you are happy part-time RVers with no ambitions to go full-time, or you are several years or just a few months away from realizing your full-time RVing dream, start now. Take charge of your health today. Good health and vitality are essential if you are to enjoy your RV adventures to the full.
We can help you here — disease prevention through life-style and nutrition.
Living on an RVers Income
Freedom comes with a price tag. RVing may not be an inexpensive way to live, and most of us need another source of income to finance our lifestyle. There are many opportunities to earn while you rove; Escapees Club has a networking group who share ideas and resources, check out their web-site for more information (see “RV Trade-offs”)
If you are a full-time RVer already, and not working, either you inherited money, won the lottery or worked hard and saved for a very long time! We all need savings or investments for retirement; the question is how much?. Last year the USA Today published a week-long series on retirement, and their headline was “$1 million to Retire”: the average couple need that much invested safely at 5% interest to realize $50,000 in annual, passive, retirement income. What about pension and social security? Their advice was: don’t rely on it!
We worked while we traveled (if you can call it “work”), but our passive income was already more than enough for our needs, without us working at all. We work because we love it! Who needs to retire when you are having so much fun? In any case, we are too young to retire, and God willing, we’ll still be saying that in 20 or 30 years time!
Jenny has always wanted to write a book, and her wish to keep a journal of our travel experiences and the idea of sending her journal entries to our friends around the world gave birth to this website. It was a real labor of love, fully supported by Mick, and we hope you enjoy the fruits of her labors.