A concern that was mentioned in an online discussion was how much of a financial cushion does one need in order to start the full-time lifestyle?
This is something that I would think would apply to "sticks and bricks" (although we live in a mobile home with neither - lol) living as well. There are always unforeseen expenses in life, no matter where or how we live.
We live without a financial cushion. And every single need that we have had has been provided for. EVERY need. When we walk with Jesus every day, when we recognize that nothing we have is truly ours, but rather provided for our use in serving Him, and when we acknowledge that He is the source of all we need, He never fails to meet those needs. I cannot imagine that He would stop keeping His promise to take care of His children just because we would be living on the road rather than on a lot.
His love and care for us is endless, and as we live for Him, He provides for us. I can count on that as surely as I can count the fingers on my hands :).
God never fails.
I've been considering whether we should wait until 2016 to take this plunge. And I've started to pray earnestly about it. If you don't mind, I want to think "out loud" here for a few minutes...
Neither Pete nor I are in perfect health. I've had a stroke and have cardiovascular disease; I also have arthritis in my spine and elsewhere that make things painful and difficult at times. I've had some other serious health issues over the last few years but these have been mostly resolved through surgery. Pete, however, has some more serious things going on, things that will likely affect his quality of life and his physical abilities to do the things that he enjoys at the least, or will shorten his time on earth at the most.
I have had this on my mind, and have started praying about it recently - very recently - as well as look for God to send confirmation that this would be within His will and plan for our lives. And here is what I've seen/read in the last 24 hours:
A post in an RVing Facebook group
urging people not to wait until retirement; she makes some excellent points: "...don't look at life on the road as an extended vacation where you have to have all of the money ahead of time. Look at life on the road as...well...life. Many people have a wide variety of jobs while full-timing which they use to pay monthly expenses. If you wait until the time is absolutely perfect, it might not ever happen."
In that same thread, another woman tells of a life-threatening medical emergency that she survived, and how ever since then she and her husband "decided to never pass by anything we wanted to see or do."
Then this morning I was just browsing the web and "happened" to land on a website that advertised a new magazine that is just out - Faith and Travel
. Normally I wouldn't have followed certain links that eventually led me to that site, but today I did.
So today I discussed this with my husband. Oh, we've talked before about "hoping" things would work out so that we could do this earlier rather than waiting until "the time is right"...but today we talked about making it happen, praying about it, asking God to prepare us for this sort of lifestyle and ministry opportunities, assurance that it is indeed His plan for us (although He's already answering that one!)...and showing us how to get from where we are now to where He wants us to be.
We are still in the planning stage, but are now moving into the preparing stage, discussing and deciding what exactly we need to be doing. Selling/giving away most of our belongings, preparing the house for (a) renter/s, training our dogs to be good quiet pets who don't bark at every tiny noise and who will walk calmly on leashes, etc. I'm sure the list will grow a lot longer before it gets shorter!
I know it has been 5 days since we went to the RV show
in Flint, MI but it has been an incredibly busy 5 days! We are in the midst of a heat wave in the middle of March, and I work (WAH) for a pest control service. I answer the phones and schedule the technicians during their busiest season, April-October, but this year I have been called into service in March because they are so busy! Plus I have my 3YO grandson here much of the time, as my daughter works 2 jobs...plus I've been sick! So blogging has been low on my list of priorities :).
First of all I want to say that this was really an excellent RV show! I went for the RVs, not for the campground booths, although they were all very nice too. But since we don't have an RV yet, that was really secondary.
Second, I was quite surprised at some of my husband's insights, and even - dare I say it? - a little show of enthusiasm! It's not that he isn't enthusiastic, but he's such a realist (he keeps my feet on the ground) that he doesn't get excited about things until they actually start happening. So to see him show enthusiasm at what we saw, considering this won't be happening for a few years yet, really thrilled me!
I had planned to write about the models we saw and which we liked best, but instead I really want to write about features. We did see many of the models I'd already seen online, and it was great seeing them in person, gave me a much better idea of sizes and textures (some of those shiny silvery sinks are really just PLASTIC! they don't tell you THAT on the videos!) and also of how much stuff we'll have to get rid of - I figure about 98%. That won't be a hardship on me, except for the actual work, because I hate "stuff"!
I'm dying to write about the most surprising thing though: Pete really caught on to the toy haulers - and so did I! That was such a surprise to me! But we both loved the big "room", and spent more time talking about them and imagining what we'd do with them than we did any other type. We really think we'd have more options in a toy hauler. Pete suggested putting the bird cages along one side, and putting our musical stuff (keyboards, QChord, whatever) along the other. And I really love the idea of a big screen across the back during the day - I love our sunroom in our house too - and a DECK! While we didn't see any at the show, I'd seen a video with a deck like these
and thought it was nice, but actually being IN the garage sections of these trailers and seeing it all in my minds' eye...well it really got me thinking that I WANT ONE! So that was a big surprise, and probably the best thing to come out of the show!
Other things we saw that we liked in various models were the outside kitchen (not with a stovetop, but the ones with the gas grills)...the bathroom with an outside entrance...the bunk rooms. There was one with a bunk room that had 3 bunks - 2 on one side, 1 on the other with storage beneath it - and a couch across the back, with another flat-screen TV facing it. I could see that being usable space, with the birds on the uppermost bunks, the dog crates below, storage for all of the pet paraphernalia, and for those occasions when our grandson might come with us, his own little spot for watching TV or videos or whatever. A model that might have all of the above may be a close 2nd favorite.
Size-wise, we felt cramped in anything less than 28 feet; 34 feet and up seemed like overkill and almost overwhelming to tow. Even when we were imagining being stuck inside during 3 days of rain - lol. So we got a good idea of the sizes that we liked best, although of course the layout did play a part in that as well. But 28-32'-ish felt good to us, imagining bird cages and dogs and whatnot taking up space too.
So I feel this was a great show, it answered just about every one of my questions, even ones I didn't know I had. I don't feel an urgent need to attend every show around, now, because I've got my answers, but it is a fun way to spend a day. AND I learned that what I thought I liked best wasn't necessarily THE best - and most of all that my Petey, when the time comes, will be every bit as into this lifestyle as me!
...this video has me wondering if we could make it work. We're not considering a toy hauler either, but...
There are some things I like about this - namely the garage and the patio areas. With the screen closed over the big door, I can see that as a lovely room for my birds, and with the sound hookups back there, it would also work for keyboards. There is adequate room inside, but that whole outside setup is pretty great, as long as we're in warmer weather.
But in the end, it's probably not realistic. First, we're not going to always be in warmer weather - I'm still a winter-lover at heart, it is my very favorite season and I don't plan to give it up completely. Second, when we're moving, we're going to need a place to carry the birds (in smaller cages - their living cages will be bolted down, but removable for cleaning inside) in our vehicle, in addition to 2 dogs and a cat. And there simply isn't enough space in a pickup, even one with a full back seat. We are going to have to use a full-size van to haul a travel trailer (preferable), or drive a class C with a toad...
Anyway, here's the video that got me to thinking about it all:
[This video has been removed from YouTube]
his LaCrosse travel trailer has a LOT of features that I like! The layout is great, with the "bird room" at the opposite end as the bedroom, yet not totally closed off from the main living area. As I've mentioned previously I'd rather have a couple of chairs than a sofa in the living area, but that's not a deal breaker. And I could live with the U-shaped dinette, the free-standing table means it could be moved for easier access, or to set up a keyboard to make some music. And I LOVE the 12 cubic foot fridge/freezer! That means shopping more like I do now, which is better for the budget. I don't really know how important this is in practice but it has a fully enclosed underbelly as well, which seems nice to me even if I don't know why :). The outside kitchen is a bonus but would be lovely to keep from heating up the trailer when cooking on hot days.
Yup, this one may very well be a favorite of mine so far!
NOTE: Video has been removed from YouTube.
I like most things about this layout, do love the bathroom with the outside entrance so when we're spending time outdoors (something I anticipate we'll do as much as possible!) we won't have to traipse through to use the "facilities", dragging sand and dirt with us. I like the kitchen area a lot, with the exception of the booth for eating of course; more counter space than many others, not as much cupboard space as some. As with all of these, though, I'd adapt in the kitchen if the unit were otherwise suitable for us and our pets. In the living area I'd rather have a couple of chairs than a couch, but that might be easily modified.
I also like that it is laid out with 2 separate sleeping areas. In the "kids' area" I could use the upper bunk on the passenger side (which has a window) for bird cages. Since there is minimal storage in the "master bedroom" area, I could use that storage space in the back for our out-of-season clothing or whatever, and have even more storage on the driver's side after removing the davenport. Back up front, he didn't mention if there was storage under the queen bed - that would be a drawback if there isn't. Ideally I'd rather have the birds where the queen bed is, and the "master bedroom" in the back with that big slideout...but this could work for us.
Anyway, just another video of a travel trailer that might suit our needs, at least as what I anticipate they will be in a few years.
It's a couple of hours away from us, but this weekend is another Camper & RV show that I think we can go to! My husband only has 1 night (he works midnight-8 a.m...or 9:00, or 10:00...) off out of the next 10, but he said we can go. (Click on the title above to go to the information page for this show.)
This has been a rough weekend for us, our 14YO dog is failing fast. I am frankly surprised she is still with us...she has an appointment with the vet at 3:00, and I know in my heart that she won't be coming home. This, plus some other things that are going on, and I am really ready for a "date" like this with my husband...what a perfect date this will be for us!
And I will be excited to come home and share with you what we saw as well, though we're not ready to buy anything until next year - depending on God's plan and how He provides - it is so much fun to look and talk about right now :). Besides, a big purchase like this one requires lots of research, right? ;)
Our first RV won't be new anyway, according to what I'm thinking now at least. I would like us to buy a used one to try out for a couple of years before The Big Day, so that we have a better idea of the features, layout, etc. that are most important to us in actual living; only then will I feel comfortable with the big purchase of a brand-new model for full-timing.
Anyway - really looking forward to a much-needed fun day with my husband later this week!
I really love the Class C motor homes. Don't know why, but I am drawn to them whenever I watch videos or look at websites. I just keep thinking a travel trailer would be more practical...but I can't help loving the Class C's!
This is one that would be great for us, with a couple of exceptions, all in the kitchen: I want chairs instead of a booth, an oven, and a pull-out spice rack. I mentioned all of these in a previous blog post, so I will say no more about them now. But by pulling out those bunks, I'd easily have space for a few bird cages, elevated on stands or chains, with dog/cat crates beneath. Perfect space for those, with the windows, and close to the living area.
We - ALL of us - could be pretty comfortable in this one.
(Reminder that we're not looking at prices, brands, etc in these early days - just looking at features right now.)
I am passionate about cooking, and am learning to enjoy baking as well. As I read this post, How To Plan Meals For a Camping or TV Trip
, I started thinking more about what day-to-day life will be like without my fully stocked kitchen, full of gadgets and cupboards packed with ingredients and counter space for creating and kneading and mixing.
First I want to mention that this is speculation, given that we aren't actually living Vita In Via (life on the road) yet. Camping is easy, for a limited time we can manage just fine. Full-timing will be different, I'm sure, even though we haven't done it yet I can still somewhat imagine how different it will be. And I won't know for sure until we're actually doing it. All I can do it try to plan the best way I can, and then be flexible when the time comes.
Second, we have lived a low carb lifestyle for 8 years. Our pantry won't be full of pasta dinner kits, no pot pies in the freezer...we don't eat packaged food very much (exception being the occasional frozen pizza - a weakness of ours!), and I cook from scratch. However, this is also a good thing, not only for our health, but also because there are a whole lot of foods that we don't have to make space to carry: canned soups, breakfast cereals, frozen dinners, loaves of bread, crackers, cookies, cake mixes, etc. And because we eat mainly fresh, a lot of our food doesn't have to be stored at all! Farmer's markets, roadside stands, produce markets, butcher shops all carry the fresh meats and produce that we live on, and buying just a few days' worth at a time means no long-term storage space for the majority or our groceries! These will take up fridge space along with our eggs, butter, cream, and cheeses.
Baking supplies will be the main storage issue, I believe. And baking is a bit more interesting when it's low carb. I don't just have a bag of flour and a bag of sugar and a few spices in my cupboard. I need a combination of flours (almond, coconut, gluten, fibers, protein isolates, etc.) to achieve good results. I anticipate that these will take up a good portion of our cupboard space, along with other baking ingredients (baking powder/soda, sweeteners, extracts, etc.) and spices.
Counter space is at a premium in these travel trailers. I can certainly use the kitchen table as a workspace, which will help somewhat. And I will have to be training myself to clean up as I go, as well, since I won't have 5' of spare counter space and a huge kitchen sink to stow my dishes until I'm done. That is something I can start working on now, developing this habit.
Cupboard space is also limited, so I don't know that I'll have every different type and size of bowl or utensil or baking pan available to me; where would I keep them all? Now, I can use a dozen different items in just creating a single meal. In a TT I'm wondering how much space I'll have for these?
And this brings me to another feature that I see as almost a necessity: a pull-out pantry (or 2!). I can't imagine, when I'm in the midst of a project, having to drag out everything from a shelf and find a place to set it, so that I can get to something I need way in the back! Ugh!
One good thing: GRILLING! Grilled meats and vegetables, and even baked goods such as flat breads, will be done outside. My husband is an expert on the grill, and the ability to grill many of our meals will definitely be a godsend!
For budgeting purposes, I will have to shop differently as well. I stock up on meats and frozen vegetables now, filling my freezer so that I can "shop" daily from my stock for that day's meals. The more often I go shopping, the more I spend. Typically if I go to the store just for 3 items that I need, I come out with about 20 items. And my grocery budget goes to the dogs. Since I won't be shopping the same way, this is a problem I will have to work on!
If you are interested, I have found a couple of video resources for cooking in an RV:The RV Cooking Show
is put out by Evanne; she and her hubby also blog about full-timing for younger RVers.
George Murphy is the RV Chef
. I haven't watched many of his videos yet but like what I've seen!
There are also numerous single videos that some RVers post, as well as numerous blog posts. I'm making my way through them as I have the time, trying to learn all I can from those who already have the experience I lack.
Food is my passion. Shopping, creating, cooking, feeding people - I love it all! And definitely this is something that I will need to accommodate when we purchase our RV home when the time comes. So it's something that I'm already thinking about (one of the many things!) and planning for.
"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." 1Cor.10:31
You know, I realized I say "I" when talking about our future plans, even though the plans are for both my husband and I. The reason for this is that he doesn't really get excited or too involved in early planning stages of most things. Not that he isn't looking forward to it, but for right now he still goes to work at midnight, comes home by mid-morning, sleeps, and does it over and over again. Meanwhile, I've always been the investigator, the researcher, and the planner. He will always talk about it with me and let me dream/plan out loud even though he's not a dreamer (he's the opposite in fact!), and when there are things to be done - physical things - he is right there and ready to jump in and get 'er done. But in early stages of any project, that's my thing :).
Also wanted to mention something I've neglected writing about so far: I'm also researching solar power for our eventual rig. That's been important to me almost since the beginning of our discussions. I am not an environmentalist, haven't gone "green" - unless it involves the green in my wallet :). But I don't want to be dependent on electric hookups, or a noisy generator. So from the early stages of choosing our travel trailer or motorhome, that will be foremost in my mind.
I don't know ANYTHING about solar except what I've read and seen in videos online. I don't understand electricity or anything else but my husband does, and also how solar power works, so that's one of the things that he will be involved with, when the time comes.
Speaking of "when the time comes"...we don't currently have an RV. We have used a travel trailer, but don't own one. And we won't be buying one this year. We don't pay interest to others; we save for what we want rather than use credit and end up paying way more in the end...this year we will have saved enough for a (used, newer) full-sized van, and will have in mind when we buy it that it will, if all goes as planned, next year be pulling a smaller travel trailer, in which we will be spending as much time as possible. It will be our "practice trailer"; we don't plan to buy our full-time RV until we sell our home...and we don't plan to sell our home until the real estate market improves. (The possibility exists to rent it, if things come together before that, and use the "practice trailer" for a while longer - something we will have in mind when we buy it.)
The last couple of days have been really busy, so I haven't had a lot of time to spend online, researching and dreaming. But I want to start sharing some of my favorite floor plans and photos here as well, as I run across them. So lots more to come! :)