Several people have inquired as to how we have determined a timeline that will launch us into a full-time mobile lifestyle a.k.a. living on the road in a travel trailer. First of all, our timeline isn’t cut in stone. What has been beneficial was the advice of my friend, Judy, to join several Facebook groups related to “full-timing.” Soon after my call with her in early October 2017, I joined these groups. Three such groups include Frugal Full-Time RVers, How to RV for Newbies, RV Tips and Helpful Hints.
As we read the various posts and comments in those groups, we have been taking notes and keeping them in a separate Google document in categories. It helps to foresee some potential concerns as full-timers. The many tips that saged travelers are sharing will hopefully serve us well. Plus, the timing in joining the groups has been perfect, providing us with roughly a year of tips and notes, if we launch in October or November of this year!
During most weeks since October of last year, household items are earmarked to give to family, sell, or donate. This process also helps in recording an actual inventory for insurance purposes. I take photos. Later, I add items to a Google document inventory list. We label the boxes or tubs with numbers to track their contents. We are setting aside utensils, cookware, towels, and bedding for the trailer. The bulk of our belongings should be gleaned by June, except for some furniture, which may be a bit later. Key points to consider: when was each item last used/worn, would a photo of it suffice for memory’s sake, there is a price for storage.
Climate Controlled Storage
Once the number of household belongings have shrunk noticeably, this will give us a better idea of the unit size. Our goal as of now would be a 10’ X 10’. Climate controlled will be needed so as not to freeze or bake our belongings depending on the season. We have used two different storage facilities in the area in between prior moves. We will visit them to see what options and pricing work best. We will move belongings into the unit about one month prior to leaving. Key points to consider: price, security, access, potential water leaks, potential rodent issues.
We anticipate looping back to the Metro Denver area several times a year. During those times, we will need a space to store the trailer unless we camp at one of the state parks in the area. The best option if we need to store it, is having RV storage at the same facility where our household belongings are stored. Key points to consider: security, access, possible electric hookup to keep the batteries from draining, waste water dumping station, access for filling water tank when leaving.
Diesel Pick-up Truck
We test drove pick-up trucks last November and December. Some factors for determining the tow vehicle: the weight range of the trailer, its tongue weight, estimated weight of contents, and desire to drive on off-the-beaten-path roads. A diesel truck with good torque power is in order. Research is on-going as we have tagged our favorite Ford 250’s and Ram 2500’s on Car Gurus based on the specifications we need. I had a phone consultation with Alec, a diesel mechanic (he maintains the corporate fleet of trucks for our son-in-law’s company), to assure that we had a good understanding of the specifications needed. (Plus, he’s a phone call away to inspect the truck once we find one). It’s fun to watch prices drop on some of these vehicles. We hope to find a truck in March or April. Key points to consider: price, bed liner, tow package, cab comfort (we’ll be spending a great deal of time there, our windshield will be our new picture window).
As a child, our family had a 16′ Concord Trailer. During their retirement, my parents purchased a 32′ trailer when they were snowbirds from Iowa, enjoying warmer weather in the South. Family and friends have trailers. Thus, we have familiarity with them. As we began our research, last fall we visited two RV dealers in Metro Denver. Then earlier this month (January 2018), we attended the Colorado RV Show. We know what floorplan and features we prefer in a 4-season travel trailer. Lance and Northland are the two brands that we are following. Our favorite used models are tagged to track price changes on the RVTrader website. The timing of the purchase will be based on price and location. It may mean driving to another state to purchase it. It could be as soon as June and as late as September. Key points to consider: price, separate seating area besides dinette, insulation R-factor, thermal/double-pane windows, insulated underbelly, heated tanks, higher off-road clearance.
Personal Business Affairs
Getting our personal business affairs in order begins in April or May to give us ample time. We will keep Colorado as our domicile state. Without an apartment or a house, options for one’s address include using a family member’s address or establishing personalized mail service through a business such as a UPS store, where we can use their street address. Everything will need to be updated: drivers’ licenses, vehicle/trailer insurance, health insurance, voting cards, bank accounts, credit card, and cell phone plan. Our will and Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare were updated in 2016-17, so they are set. Key points to consider: crossing “t’s” and dotting “i’s” to assure all is in order, mobile access to accounts, tracking renewals that need to be done in person, when to return for our physicals and dental appointments, not burdening family.
Technology and Devices
We love to read books. It may be time to shift to mainly e-books. Our laptops are out-of-date, so we’ll explore options. I edit photos, so I would appreciate a good quality RGB screen. Our scanner will be left it storage and await scanning the photos that don’t get scanned this year. We will not need a printer. We will take advantage of free wi-fi when we get fuel, visit libraries, or stop at coffee shops. If we need to print something, libraries and office stores have them. We will purchase devices across time based on our budget. Key points to consider: budget, being off grid, Google voice.
Leaving Our Rental Abode
Later in 2018 when we see that we’re nearing 30 days from launching, we will give our one month’s notice to our landlord. We’ve already had a conversation with him, so he can anticipate our leaving. Key points to consider: avoid having to pay an additional month’s rent if we can comfortably be out sooner.
Because we have experienced several big transitions and many moves during our marriage, we know how we both tick. Communication is key. Stepping away to gain perspective is healthy. While we both are good at organizing, my tendency is to get things moving now. Steve is more methodical. Thank heavens for a healthy balance, right?! Overall, our timeline is flexible and open to being tweaked along the way. Besides, we want to take joy in the journey and be mindful of the shift to a simplified lifestyle, embracing it as a gift!