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 When the Going Gets Tough, Move On
I posted a question to our new Yahoo group wondering if the war with Iraq made them want to think more or less about full-timing. The responses were not quite what I expected. The war wasn't the problem; it was the loss of savings because of the stock market and economy. Some wrote that full timing is what they think about all the time, but they have to wait. If you have always dreamed of RVing full time there are ways to do it without a lot of money.

When we started out we were in a little motorhome because it was what we had and it was what we could afford. We had a pension and a little savings and Ron was 6 years from getting Social Security. We left a very comfortable 3 bedroom townhouse for that 24 foot Type C motorhome. The priority was that we wanted to see some of this great country of ours. So we didn't start out in a 40 foot diesel pusher or 35 foot 5th wheel and we didn't have all the bells and whistles. We were comfortable without TV, cell phone, microwave, and lots of other things because it was what we could afford. Remember the days when you were newly weds and you didn't have much? When you look back there are usually fond memories of toughing it out. We have the fondest memories of our first years on the road in that little motorhome. Read some of the stories from our first book, An Alternative Lifestyle and you will see what I mean. 

From our observance of folks getting ready for full timing we have noticed that many won't even think of going out without something on a par with the home they left. They aren't willing to trade off some luxuries for the lifestyle. RVs are getting bigger and more costly and that is what everyone seems to think they need. Do you really need all of that? Couldn't you live just as well in something smaller if you were having a great time exploring the little towns and historic sites that make up the United States? 

Last month I wrote about the trend of full timers to sit and watch TV and/or play on computers rather than getting out into the campgrounds. I think that that goes hand in hand with people feeling the need to have all of the comforts they had in their home. That kind of thinking is all wrong. Getting out to see what is around you should be the goal of full-timing not just trading a house on a foundation for a house on wheels. 

The best way to see this country is slowly; that means that you won't be spending a ton of money on fuel. And when throwing in a lot of volunteering or Workamping you won't be spending money on campgrounds. If something happened to Ron and I didn't have much money, I would get a used Type C motorhome and go from one volunteer assignment to another. I would always be learning about this country, I would be comfortable in my own little home and it would not require much money. If the only thing you need to spend money on is insurance, food and fuel (and if you go some place and sit for three months the fuel costs would be minimal) what is holding you back?

After fourteen years on the road I can tell you that there is a whole lot to see and I am not necessarily talking about big cities and expensive places like Key West, Florida, although we did that once too. I am talking about our four months at Yosemite National Park or the three months we lived at the LBJ ranch in Stonewall, Texas, or our two months at Hot Springs National Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Yes, we had to work a little (part of four days a week) but it was fun work. On our days off we took drives in our fuel efficient truck and learned all about each area. There are thousands of volunteer jobs in our national and state parks. They need you because of the budget cuts in government. 

A good friend, Katherine, has been a full-time RVer for a long time. She is on a very limited budget and spends 6 months at one southern national park then 6 months at a northern one. She loves her work, is always with people (never alone) and her costs are minimal. 

Before we took off in 1989,  and when Ron was concerned if we had enough money, I suggested that we could always get a job at any Mc Donalds if we needed money. We never had to do that, but volunteering saved us more money than we could earn at a minimum wage job.

So what are you waiting for? The right time, the right amount of money, or the biggest bestest RV? What is your priority? Do you want to travel in style or see the country from the comfort of a modest RV? 

It is a seller's market in real estate. If you sold the house now and put your savings in a minimum interest savings account it would be there if and when you wanted to settle down again. Most full-timers do settle down again some time but they usually get a small place (like a condo or apartment) and still travel a little.

Maybe I am too adventuresome. But I am glad I was (full timing was my idea) and I wouldn't trade our full timing days for a million dollars. Ron and I are both so full of wonderful memories and have a knowledge of this country like we never had before we hit the road. We just want you to have the same kinds of memories and not waste the time you have. 

Where there is a will there will be a way. 

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