Saturday, June 7, 2008

Making the RV Full timer leap -- 6 Choices that Changed Everything

We have thought about where we want to 'retire' for years. We haven't had much success in finding the ideal place. So over the course of a few months last summer the idea of becoming RVers made more and more sense. Early last fall (Aug 07) we decided to chart our course and go for it. In the process of deciding to become RV 'Full-Timers' we have made ?hundreds? of decisions. Here are six I wanted to share with you.

The process has been fun, invigorating and challenging. I have tried to highlight some of the many things we have worked through. Maybe you have been thinking about some of these same decisions.

- Decision 1 - We went to an RV dealer just 'to look". That got the ball rolling in our head. Two years ago we looked at model homes in Florida. Looking a new homes was fun but we couldn't really get excited about it. So a little later, when we were on a drive and passed an RV dealer it was no big deal to stop in. We were used to looking a model homes. Only these were different. At first it was interesting, but we thought people were nuts who paid such big money on a depreciating asset.

- Decision 2 - Then, we went to another RV dealer 'to see what they have'. We became more and more interested. We decided to check things out and see how people did this RV thing. We spent over three hours this time and drove a Class A for the first time. It was amazing. We had a lot of questions. Now the wheels really started to turn. We were almost hooked.

- Decision 3 - We decided to 'really' learn about RVs. We went to bookstores and scoured magazine racks and the travel section looking for information. It was not very productive. After three or four bookstores we were pretty disappointed and determined that wasn't the place to find out about RVs.

- Decision 4 - I decided to look on the internet. Bingo. My first significant find was www.RV.Net/forum. What a wealth of information. And people actually returned emails and answered posts. That is where we really started to get some good information. We began to personalize it and see ourselves doing this RV thing. Maybe. Again one of our biggest questions was, 'how did people pay for these things'? After three or four months of jumping from one site to another, some things started to come together. Then I found www.rv-dreams.com. If there is a better site out there I haven't found it.

- Decision 5 - Next we decided to put a real gameplan together and said 'what if', and 'when'. Those thoughts grew into a commitment and a serious set of steps we hope will put us on the road in the Summer of 2009. So far we have considered a number of things: selling the house first; being debt free; working (workamping); and volunteering while we are 'out there'. Plus a whole lot more.

- Decision 6 - We decided to be debt free. We will need to sell the house and buy the RV outright. This decision helped clarify a lot of choices and reduced some financial stress on our planned monthly budget. We have shaped our plans around this idea and given ourselves some boundaries on the RV price we are willing to pay.

As you can see, we have decided on a number of choices while other ones are still options. We continue to visit RV dealers to consider possibilities. Everytime we go to a dealer we learn something or clarify something. We always try to learn and ask a lot of questions about things we have heard of or don't understand. Gaining more knowledge is giving us more confidence. And we are daily talking about aspects of our gameplan and working on something to achieve it.

These six decisions have brought some clarity and definition to our pursuit of becoming RV full timers. And they point to more decisions which we look forward to making in the next nine months.