We have been thinking about retiring for quite a few years. And planning for it. But after a few trail balloons, Pam and I could not decide where we wanted to retire. I had the goal of retiring at 55 when I worked for a 'dot.com' back in early days of 2000. Also - we had been in Northern Virginia for about 15 years and wanted to live somewhere that the traffic was not so bad.
We took a few vacations to Virginia Beach and liked the area. We even began looking at houses down there. But there was always the question of how we could afford another mortgage and if I could get a good paying job down in the Tidewater area.
One year we were invited to house sit at a friends house in the Orlando area. By that time I was working from home for my company and we spent a couple of good weeks there. We got a realtor down there also and started looking for houses. Again the same question arose as to how I could get a job to pay the mortgage down there.
I don't know exactly what prompted us to stop in at an RV dealer and talk with them but it definitely got the wheels churning. My first question was how 'regular' people could afford this. I began looking into it and looking for books and magazines on the RVing lifestyle.
I remember once while we were renting a place at the Outer Banks, I went next door to a KOA to get some coffee early in the morning and talking with some folks who were working there and lived in there RV. I didn't think much of it then but eventually we became aware of 'workamping'.
That was one way people financed living in an RV. The other way that became clear to us was that people financed their RV and paid for it while they continued to work. We seriously thought about renting out our house but then our problem how to pay for the RV.
Eventually I got immersed in blogs on the internet and was reading them for hours a day. And I found a number of forums to answer my many questions. And we started taking day-trips to RV dealers climbing all over hundreds of RVs. And we'd look at RVs when we went on vacation (to Orlando, Tampa, California, etc). Over the 2 1/2 years it took us to think about it, decide and go for it, we ended up visiting 10 states and 32 dealerships. We test drove 16 motorhomes before we decided on our 2007 Tiffin Allegro Bus.
We thought the best way for us was to sell our house, take some of the money and buy the RV outright so we did not have a mortgage hanging over our head. And that is what we did. In fact, it sold at full price in four days!
We have been on the road since May 2009 and are in our seventh year. We learn something new everyday and like to see and meet new people. We have gotten reacquainted with family and friends from coast to coast and border to border. We have travelled over 100,000 miles. At this point, it seems as if we are just getting started.
One thing that we love is volunteering and we have done that with two groups: NOMADS and Care-A-Vanners (RVers with Habitat for Humanity). It gives us a sense of purpose and we love learning about building and fixing up houses.