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 Security
 What is security to you? Is it having a job and not being in debt? Is it knowing that your husband or wife loves you and would never leave you. Is security to you having a loaded gun by the bed and locks on every door and window? As a full-timer is security having reservations at campgrounds for the next six months so you know where you will be?  As a full-timer is security knowing that you have enough income to maintain your lifestyle?

Before I go farther I need to share a little story. In 1981 my former husband and I divorced. Bob and I owned a photographic studio so we were self employed. It seemed that there was no security in being self employed so on my own I looked for a secure job. My first job as a single parent was in a photographic studio and I loved the job, but after several months my pay checks started bouncing. That was scary because I counted on that money. When it happened too often, I decided to try another job. I had worked as a medical technologist before Bob and I opened our studio so I found a job doing that work in a doctor's office. I felt secure.  But at 5 p.m. on Monday, February 14, (Valentines Day) 1983, I was given two weeks pay and was told I wouldn't be needed any longer. To make a long story short, the doctor and the nurse had been together a long time so when the nurse and I had a personality conflict, I was history. It was the first time in my life that I had ever been fired and I remember it yet today. So much for security. With two "secure" jobs down the drain, I decided that I would go back into sales; I would be in charge of how much I would work and how much I would earn.  I had been a Tupperware manager for several years when my youngest boys were young.  By Thursday that same week that I was fired I had my sales kit with Tupperware and I had my first party the next night and in four weeks I was a manager with a car. I made great money and was able to give myself a raise anytime I wanted to work a little harder. I decided then and there that as long as I have myself, I can feel secure. By the way, I met Ron at one of my Tupperware parties that year. 

When Ron and I were making our plans to travel full-time, he was concerned about whether we would have enough money to live on in this unknown lifestyle. I remember telling him that we could always get a job at McDonalds if we needed to. There was a certain amount of security  in just knowing that we could probably find some way to earn extra money if we needed it. We never did need any extra money but it still was a nice feeling to know that we could supplement our income any time we needed or wanted to.

We discovered that just being in our little cocoon was security. It was cozy and we had everything that we needed for a complete life. We had food, shelter and transportation. We found out early on that it didn't really matter where we were; we had all the comforts of our little home. I need to stress that we did not have a 40 foot diesel pusher with three slides. We didn't even have a microwave, electric coffee pot, toaster bread machine or a sattelite for our portable TV that we never turned on. There were a lot of material things that we didn't have but we weren't deprived.

Reading the emails on our Yahoo site it seems that folks today aren't ready to venture out until they have everything perfect. They have to start out with the biggest of RVs and they have to have all the bells and whistles including satellite for their internet access before they will take the plunge. Is this all because of the need for security? Are they wanting to full time to see this great country or do they just want to move a big house from place to place and stay inside doing their thing. 

If only I could wave a magic wand and make everyone start out in a small or moderate sized RV. I would have everyone go with as little as they can possibly get by with then after they are out for one to three years they could trade up to a bigger RV and add more stuff. Approaching the RV life this way will do several things. You will learn that it is not things that make you feel secure and happy. You will learn that visiting with people and visiting places in person is much more enriching than chatting on a internet site or surfing the web. And playing a game of dominoes in the club house with a bunch of other full-timers is much more fun that playing any on line or computer game.  Even if you wait until everything is in place and you feel secure things can go wrong.

We emailed Kate and Dale Ankrom for many years as they got ready to hit the road. We counted down the years with them and were very excited when we knew that they were picking up their brand new Teton 5th wheel trailer this past summer. We were also excited that we would finally be meeting them because just a couple of weeks into their new lifestyle they were scheduled to attend the Life on Wheels Conference in Moscow, Idaho. On their very first day on the road, pulling their new trailer from Wyoming to Colorado, there was a malfunction in the rear brake on the trailer which caused the whole trailer to burn. Imagine being so excited to be finally full-timing only to watch everything go up in smoke. Luckily they were safe and their big truck was unhurt in the fire.  They came to the Life on Wheels without their house and attended all the classes while fighting with the insurance company and Teton. While staying in a motel back in Cheyenne after the conference, someone stole their expensive bicycles which were locked to the truck with kryptonite locks. Imagine this new blow. To get right to the happy ending they got a new trailer, revised their travel plans and went to work but the fire had cost them financially. To get back on their feet they sold Christmas trees in Arizona and made good money which helped them a lot. Now they are volunteering at a BLM site in New Mexico and they love it. Their pay is great and the hours are short so soon they will be completely back on their feet. Kate just wrote and their newest experience is so interesting that I am adding it to our guest articles. We hope you will read The Fish Fry

Don't wait to go full time. Do it now while you have your health. We know many who didn't get far before sickness befell one or both of the partners. We also know a brave gal who went full time even though she had full blown cervical cancer. She only lived a year or two but at least her last days were a fullfillment of a dream. I have said it before and I will say it again, "What are you waiting for?"
 

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