General chatter - My husband is INSANE (gotta love the boy)

11-16-2008, 11:50 PM
My husband and I are both on disability, and we're both very weather sensitive. We've talked about RVing full time to follow fair weather for comfort and health issues (season change throws my allergies and sinuses into a tailspin and I always end up with bronchitis every winter). Even when we were both working and never imagined we'd end up on disability, we talked about RVing full time when we retired.

I always thought it was mostly wishful talk about something we'd do way in the future, but hubby is REALLY wanting to do this, and SOON. Yes, it sounds like tremendous fun, and even practical. My husband's joint disorder is progressive, so he's not likely to be able to ever return to work, but my fibro and autoimmune issues could (at least in theory) go into remission at some point. Finding a comfortable climate might help.

So now what?! Well, we're going to check into financing and see what we can afford and how much, and whether it's possible to buy soon, or if we perhaps have some additional credit repair to do first (we had to file bankruptcy four years ago because of medical bills).

I think hubby is delusional about how quickly this could happen. There's no way we're going to be ready by spring. We don't have a house to sell, but we do have years of accumulated stuff to sort, sell, donate or store.

I just started weeding through my craft room today and I have tons of stuff that I can part with, but definitely would rather sell if I can. We don't have many true valuables, but raising a little money for this adventure sure would be nice. Hubby's ready I think to "chuck it all" and leave tomorrow. I hate always having to be the practical one, and yet I'm sitting here (with the cold, late fall dampness soaking into my bones) thinking what really is keeping us here? Just some stuff, most of which we can live without.

We're not allowed to have a yard sale in the apartment complex, and it's a little late in the year for one anyway, but between Craig's List, classifieds, resale shops, ebay and possibly etsy - maybe we can do this relatively quickly, but I think Hubby's idea that it could happen in less than six months is totally crazy!

Is anyone out there current or former RV full-timers? How long did it take you to "destuff."

11-16-2008, 11:57 PM
Think of all the fun you'd have posting adventures ;).

I'm sitting here thinking how lovely it would be to get rid of everything nonessential, and then not moving into an RV ... just living in such clutter-freeness!

My only suggestion - my BIL took a regular mattress from inside the house into their trailer on our last camping trip - made a huge difference to have a real mattress.

11-17-2008, 01:32 AM
Oh, definitely a good mattress will be a must. We're really only considering class A RV's (the full house, bus style), so while we're not looking for anything new or really fancy, but it will definitely have all the necessities of a house - bathroom with shower, full kitchen, tv's, and a generator for power...

11-17-2008, 11:14 AM
My parents were "SnowBirds" in their retirement. They would go to Winterhaven, CA when it was cold in WY, then come back in the summer. But, mom had a house, so she left us to declutter after she passed on(sneaky 'ol gal, huh).

If you can find a reasonably priced storage unit, that might work. I have one back home that's 12x12 for $50/month. You could get rid of a lot of your stuff, then come back in May or June and take care of the rest. If you have swap meets, they should be starting up again by then.

In my family, what doesn't sell during a yard sale goes right into the bed of a pick up and to a Salvation Army or the dump. In Utah, there are Deseret Industries all over the place(SA for the Mormons). That makes it really handy and you get to feel good helping others out.

11-21-2008, 09:07 AM
A storage unit may be a necessity, but right now we're at least (optimistically) planning on getting pared down to a few tubs we can store at hubby's dad's. The good (uh, bad?) news is we reallly have almost nothing of "real" value.

I almost clobbered hubby yesterday, because he started complaining that I was being unrealistic about how quickly we could do this (ME!?) I didn't hit him, but I read him the riot act, reminding him that I had told him I didn't see it possibly happening before late March at the earliest - and he had been the one to put pressure on doing it sooner. He drives me absolutely bonkers - sometimes his insanity is NOT quite so lovable.

11-21-2008, 11:07 AM
The dream of your DH and yourself has been one of our own for many years since like you I am on disability. My DH has had to give up work to care for me now since I have deteriorated. We have spent many an hour planning what we would do and where we would like to go.

Unfortunately I am unable to offer any practical advice about cluttering ones home etc as we have not actually got a motor home (RV). Though it was nice to see someone shared the same dreams as my own and in similar circumstances to our own.

:goodluck: with your new adventure and starting this new phase in your life of RVing and going where you want to go, when you want to go.

11-21-2008, 12:54 PM
Colleen~my in-laws have been full time RVers for 3 or more years now. They winter over here in So Cal and in the summer they travel all over. Also, my DH and I have an RV and at one time had to spend 5 weeks in it while our house was being finished.

My in-laws started with a 36' 5th wheel. Last year they upgraded to a 40' bus and they have a Saturn Vue as a tow vehicle. It's important to have a vehicle (whether you tow it or use it to tow) so you can get around without the rig. Sometimes grocery stores just aren't anywhere near parks.

My in-laws bought into some kind of time share like thing for Rv'ers where they get reduced or free rates at parks around the country. I don't know how much it cost them, but if you want I'll find out the particulars from them. It does save money.

IMO, busses are the way to go and be sure to get the kind with slide-outs. Ours has only one slide (it's 9 years old now) but the in-laws bus has four. It make it so much roomier when you're parked.

You'll need to really really pare down your stuff. The more you haul around the less gas mileage you'll get.

And if it's just the two of you, it isn't that bad. Try doing it for 5 weeks with two teenagers and two 70 pound dogs!!!

11-21-2008, 01:16 PM
Do you own your possessions or do your possessions own you? (I'm reading "It's All Too Much" and decluttering, myself.) You have a dream, but you're going to put off your dream because of stuff? How much money do you think you'll get for this stuff? If someone were to offer you that much money to not pursue your dream, would you take it?

You're a perceptive person, and I believe you will enter into decisions carefully and with planning to make them a success. Is the hesitation reason or fear? If it's fear, why are you afraid? What is the worst that could happen? You have six months to set things to rights. If not six months, then how long? I'm not saying this isn't a huge change that isn't scary, because it is, but you can handle it.

I've been facing the possibility I may have to suddenly reduce my life to a few boxes and leave everything else behind, no choice. After first being freaked out, I realized I could handle it because my life is not what I carry with me but what I carry inside me.

11-21-2008, 01:30 PM
Have an apartment sale! Get everything you want to sell into one (or two) rooms and treat it as a garage sale. If you're not allowed, ask a friend to host. Or a church or any other building you might have access to without it being a problem. It should get rid of the bulk of things. Then post a bunch on Craigslist. The stuff that doesn't sell there, try ebay and classifieds. I only say CL first because it's free. Donate the remainer. You'll at least get a tax break. If you couldn't sell it THREE times, you likely won't. I honestly see this being done in a month or two.

Sounds like fun!!

11-21-2008, 02:29 PM
Do you own your possessions or do your possessions own you? (I'm reading "It's All Too Much" and decluttering, myself.) You have a dream, but you're going to put off your dream because of stuff? How much money do you think you'll get for this stuff? If someone were to offer you that much money to not pursue your dream, would you take it?

I used to be terribly materialistic. I guess I got older because now I look at what I have and think "it's just stuff." The only things that I have that I would miss if it were to go missing are photos--especially those of my kids.

11-21-2008, 02:39 PM
Thanks purple orc, for me too it's just exciting to hear from people who have done it or are at least thinking about it. I've joined several yahoo full-timer groups including an RV crafters group regarding which supplies are practical on the road (and how they dispose of their handiwork - through gifts or selling). I wasn't sure our disabilities would allow us to manage and maintain an RV, and then I read of a couple both primarily wheel chair bound (the husband can get around a little bit outside of his wheelchair with a walker). I figure if they can do it, we certainly can.

Allison - we just have one old crabby cat. Our preference is also a bus style. If you can get contact information on the time share thing, I'd appreciate it. If it's a pain to do, don't worry about it as our RV dealer has a bunch of books on the subject.

Ufi - I couldn't agree more. Neither hubby or I are too stuff oriented, but it's amazing how much junk even a free spirit can accumulate. Our lease isn't up until March, but our landlord would probably be flexible - but I figure that there's really no reason to push the March deadline.

Raw - I never thought of an apartment sale. It's a really good idea. Craig's list is also. I have a few things I want to sell on ebay (I have a few books that I know fetch a great price on amazon or ebay, but that would do very poorly on a garage sale). But I definitely think everyone is right, postponing the trip to get maximum dollar on everything doesn't make much sense.

Our living room already looks like we're getting ready to move (or at least have a killer garage sale). Today I'm going to the basement storage to get a few empty bins I know are down there to sort into keep, take, sell, and donate piles.

We're not even telling family. They know that we talk about it alot, but they don't know that we've made the decision and have a timetable or that it's so soon.

I think they believe it's just a "someday" dream, and it's probably in our best interest to keep it that way in their mind. We get too much unsolicited advice as it is, and it's not worth the stress of having them try to talk us out of it. Hubby's family especially are very status conscious, and the idea of living a simple life is rather foreign to them (his divorced parents STILL try to out-stuff each other).

11-21-2008, 02:51 PM
Colleen~my in-laws also have one cat with them. He adjusted quite nicely to travel. I'll find out more this weekend from my MIL and I'll let you know.

11-21-2008, 03:00 PM
Thanks Allison - I'm sure Chub Chub will adjust just fine also. We adopted her in May and she's a huge fat old thing with a gravely voice (if she were human, she'd be a sixty year old chain smokin' granny). We got almost two pounds off of her, but the rest is pretty stubborn (the less we feed her the more she complains and the less active she becomes. I swear she's able to conserve calories by going into coma mode - sort of like me, really).

We figure she'll complain for a while, but will get used to it. She loves looking out the window, so I'm guessing looking out a window while we're moving will eventually be more fun than staring out the apartment window.

11-21-2008, 03:46 PM
I swear she's able to conserve calories by going into coma modeDon't all cats do that? :D

When I was in college, I used to take my cat back and forth to my parents' place (about a 4 hour drive). She loved looking out the window. The only thing she didn't like was the big 18-wheelers. When one passed us, she'd look over he shoulder at me and "yow!!" like I could do something about it.


11-21-2008, 05:38 PM
Oh, I know the "fix this" meow very well. Chub Chub sometimes treats us like slaves whose only value lies in the opposable thumbs. Last week, we hit an all time budget low and couldn't afford her regular food, so we did the unthinkable and bought cheap cat food. She proclaimed her dissatisfaction for three whole days. The third day was the worst, she sweared (in cat) for hours and finally I hissed loudly at her. I don't speak cat very well, but I must have gotten my point across, because while she kept complaing, she dropped the volume from a scream to a whisper as if continuing to swear, but now under her breath.

Days four and five she didn't like the food any better, but had stopped complaining. Which was good, because I told hubby we were not returning her to her "good" food until she had stopped complaining - otherwise all we would be teaching her is that complaining eventually gets her what she wants, and if she can hold on for three days, I definitely don't want to find out how long she's willing to keep complaining if she knows we'll eventually give in.

On day six, when she got her regular food back, she was very lovey, and purred louder than I've evern heard her purr before (and her normal purr puts most cats' to shame - her normal purr is so loud it can wake you from a deep sleep).

11-22-2008, 12:54 AM
KAPLODS ~ recently, we were forced into a quick move (our apartment complex was closed down) and had 2 months to pack and 1.5 weeks to move 16+ years of accumulated 'STUFF'. As we packed, we sorted, tossed, and donated; yes, we sold some stuff too (esp Dh). Then we finally found a smaller place, and as we unpacked, we started the process again; only this time we are being 'ruthless' about it, and you will have to be too, I'm sure.

My rule is this ... if I have not used this item in the last 3 MONTHS or won't use it for the next 3 months, then out it goes! If we can't sell it or give it away, it goes to GOODWILL! You will feel good about helping so many other people get a good deal too.

DH and I used to travel a lot when we were younger; when we got married, we had a yard sale and packed the rest in one trailer. Later, we settled in a place, and spent the next 16+ years accumulating way too much 'stuff'. We now realize that it is all only stuff, and having fun and enjoying your life is the most important thing of all.

I agree with other posters, you can do this in 2 months, but go ahead and take 3 or 4 or more; I definitely think you can do this by spring. We started in September and we are almost done, and it's November and we haven't been doing it every day. Just be sure to label those boxes or containers well, so they don't get mixed up.

Here's another tip: just take enuff of everything like as if you were going on a camping trip ... a few of each thing, or no more than a week's worth ie 4 plates, four each of utensils, enuff clothing for a week for each person, and so forth; a few favorite books or a few hobby things; a 'FEW' is key here, I think.

Hope some of this helps you a bit; and best wishes. I would love to do exactly what you are planning, if my health could stand it. I find the cold, damp air here hard on my body too. So far, I have been travelling via the internet ~ lol! Rosebud

11-22-2008, 11:42 AM
Colleen~this is the information I got from my mother-in-law:

They bought their membership in Western Horizon Resorts in 2004 for $4000. The yearly dues are $515. The membership gives them access to
ROD (Resorts of Distinction) (free stays per night)
NCCA ($6 per night stays)
Western Horizon ($3 per night stays)
AOR ($6 per night stays)
and one other

She says there are many kinds of memberships. One includes Thousand Trails and Coast to Coast and RPI. (I'd suggest Googling some of these names to see what is available now).

It's kind of cryptic--I apologize. Sometimes when she's explaining it to me I get this glazed look on my face with all the ROD, AOR, RPI, etc. And this was straight from her email to me!

The one thing that might be a deterrent would be that they limit your stays to 2 weeks per resort per stay. This means you HAVE to move at least every 2 weeks. While traveling, it isn't an issue, but if you want to stay in a particular area for longer you have to move to a different resort. Here in the desert there is only one resort with two others about 75 miles away in opposite directions. Obviously that wasn't a good choice for my in-laws so we ended up buying a lot at Outdoor Resorts and they live there each winter and then use the membership while traveling.

Also keep in mind that with the horrible economy, fewer people are traveling so some of these smaller resorts are having problems. My MIL said that none of the resorts she stayed at last summer were full which is the opposite of the past years. But, it means that there are some deals to be had on a used motor home! My in-laws bought theirs used. It was 1 year old and had many upgrades. The elderly couple who had it only took it on a couple of trips before the wife died and the husband didn't want to travel alone.

11-22-2008, 01:19 PM
March does make sense. Besides, you won't have to worry about winter driving.

11-22-2008, 02:30 PM
Thanks Allison - no it was plenty of information to get me started. Which why I agree with Ufi that March makes the most sense. My husband and I are both crazy enough to learn by the seat of our pants - but I like to be better prepared than that.

This may end up being the biggest mistake of our lives, but if we don't try it soon, there will only be more reasons not to later on.

With gas prices dropping, and it being a wonderful time to buy an RV (both seasonally and in view of the overall economy - it truly is an ideal time to get a great barbain), it does seem that there will not be a better time to do this.

We're going to have to experiement to see how often we have to and want to move. Most of the inexpensive spots, it seems, do require you to move frequently, so we're really going to need either a discount membership or a guide of the free/cheap spots (there are guidebooks and magazines that list these, so we'll no doubt buy one to keep in the RV), and have to pick our destinations carefully. Moving every two weeks wouldn't be a terrible pain, if another spot was within an hour of travel, but neither of us do well on long car trips (but a lot of that is having to sit in the same position for hours. With the RV, we can stop at rest stops and move around in or outside the RV (rest stops also have stay limits, often two hours or less, so you don't really stay there - besides they have such a dangerous reputation in many states at night, but it definitely would be a way to make this doable).

That is what is surprising me the most - I was sure our health issues would prevent us from doing this, but the more I read on disabled RV full-timers, the more I realize that RVing may actually be easier on our bodies than apartment life. I was shocked at how many people were able to do this, even with severe disabilities and pain and health issues.

Learning what adaptations we're going to have to make is probably the biggest obstacle. We plan on keeping our current doctors, because we really like them a lot. Since we have med reviews every three months, we'll have to find ways to get those done on the road and sent to our doctor - or if we establish a predictable yearly travel pattern, we will find doctors in those areas. We may even establish dual residency like snowbirds do.

When we first started looking into this, we thought well maybe we'll not be able to travel the way most people do - and then as I learn I've found there doesn't seem to be one way of doing this, but dozens and dozens. Some people travel with families and work on the road (I can't imagine being on the road full time with kids or working the types of jobs that require or allow that much travel). Some folks are constantly on the move. Others move only every three to six months. Some people do all of their RV maintanance. Others barter with other RVers for the services they need. Some travel alone, others travel with, or hook up with members of groups they've joined (tons of them at yahoo).

Oddly enough what inspired our decision is watching a real estate show (you know where they follow a person's house hunt). The show followed a young woman looking for a condo in Hong Kong. Her budget was approximately the equivalent of about $400, 000. So what does nearly half a million dollars buy you in Hong Kong - a shoebox. She ended up with a 400 square feet efficiency, and she was going on and on about all the "space" the condo had. The kitchen was smaller than your average walk-in closet. The stove and oven were smaller than the average RV kitchen (she raved that it had an oven- woohoo she could bake). Like many RV's the stove top and sinks had removeable countertops to maximize work space. The shower has a water heater that must be heated up before the shower. So you have to plan your shower 20 minutes ahead of time and you've got ten minutes to take your shower. And the living room was also the bedroom. The patio was maybe 4 to 5 foot by 15 foot, and she was excited that she was going to be able to have parties and have a garden.

It really redefined for us the amount of living space, and modern conveniences people really need. Now we're not going to be able to live in a 5th wheel where the bed is above the driver's seat or in the fold-out couch, but in a bus style motorhome where the bedroom has a closing door and there's floor space around both sides of the bed, and there are lazy boys in the living room, and some have kitchens with more counterspace than we have in our current kitchen and just as much floor space.

The biggest difference is going to be in not having any more belongings than we actually need. There's not going to be space for any extra stuff, so we've got to make sure that we have a place for everything and everything is in it's place when it's not being used. Clutter just has to be something we just don't allow. I'll also have to get rid of most of my fun kitchen and craft gadgets - the ones I use less than twice a year. If I don't use it at least twice a week now, it's going. So the toaster will go with us, the blender probably not.

11-23-2008, 08:53 PM
We've done a lot of RVing. We've gone on 3 1/2 week trips and traveled just under 3000 miles in that time. We've parked our RV in a campground 75 miles from home and used it as a weekend vacation home 3 weekends out of 4. We've done our camping with 2 kids. We've traveled quite a bit of the US and all but one Canadian Province that touches the US. (Did I mention our starting point is halfway down Florida?)

When we bought our first camper, we were already familiar with tent camping. We bought a used pop-up and used it over 30 nights the first year. Then we upgrade to a HI-Lo and then a 31 foot fifth wheel. Acquaintances bought a pricey new pop-up, went on a two week trip and never camped again.

So one recommendation is that if you haven't camped, before you make a big investment and discover it isn't what you expected, try it first. Borrow a camper, rent a camper. Learn how things about campers work. Go to an RV show, attend classes about RVing and full timing.

Are you used to spending all your time together? It's difficult to not be on top of each other in a small space. Do you enjoy spending time outside? Yes, the space inside an RV is well organized, but the great outdoors can become extended living space.

Make sure you are both comfortable driving a class A vehicle (bus style). Find out whether a special driver's license will be required. Even though it probably isn't required, consider taking a driver's course for a large rig - even a class for driving a semi. Learn how to back this type of large vehicle into a camp site. Some locations will have sites designed for you to pull through so you never have to back up. But somewhere you'll have to back it up and turn into a tight space.

Drive through local campgrounds. Tell them you'd like to take a look at their campground - that you're looking at local campgrounds for a possible future visit. They'll almost always hand you a map of the campground and invite you to take a look around. Find out about availability of connections or wireless for internet connections, TV access and how you're charged for these things.

Consider that if you're full-timing, you'll often be buying smaller sizes of items and paying higher per unit prices. If you currently stock up on cases of items at Sam's, Costco, or BJ's, that won't be practical. You'll be trying to keep the weight of what you're carrying down.

If you think you'll be in two locations - each for half of the year, the last comment isn't so relevant.

Find out what the GCW (Gross carrying weight - weight of the empty vehicle plus driver) and the GVWR (Gross Vehicle weight rating- the maximum recommended weight for a vehicle, including: the weight of the vehicle itself, fuel and other fluids, passengers, and all cargo) is for the type of vehicles you're looking at. You should be able to find this online. The difference between these two numbers is the maximum weight you can plan to carry - this includes gasoline or diesel, and you the passenger as well as water in the holding tank, clothing, bedding, food, tv, pots & pans, etc. Start thinking about things you want to take with you in terms of how much of that difference in weight (Payload) it will use up.

Friends of ours who hadn't camped before, full-timed for two years - traveling all over the US. Then they discovered a part of the country they really loved and bought a home there. So also, full-timing doesn't have to be forever.

We don't currently own an RV. We sold ours as part of a vehicle purchase that included a trip to Europe. The youngest is currently in HS and we wouldn't be using an RV right now as much as we would want if we owned one. However, after a few more European trips, I'm sure we'll buy another RV and travel again after retirement.

I'm sure you'll enjoy it tremendously. And you'll enjoy living without being held back by belongings. Think about storing things from your families with sentimental value.

Feel free to PM me if I can answer anything about RVing. You sound like you're already tuned into some online communities that can help.