In perusing the internet, I find a lot of people planning years and years ahead to go full-time. While I’m a planner, I’m not what you would call a patient person. My plan is go to full-time in six months.
A Little Background
In the summer of 2016, my (then) husband and I drove a rental RV from Austin, Texas to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to help his parents who had been flooded out. The rental shook like a leaf and the AC had trouble keeping up with the Louisiana humidity, but a spark had been lit. I started researching living in RV’s full time and found that it was a lot more common than I had ever imagined.
We were intrigued. We did more and more research and decided on a fifth wheel and were close to buying a Redwood when he dropped the bomb: he wanted a divorce.
Flash forward two years and I’m living in south Austin with a roommate, her two cats, and my senior dog, Lola. I am at a new job that I don’t particularly enjoy and my “wandering foot is getting to itching “ (in the words of Pa from Little House on the Prairie).
When we first sold our house, I briefly considered pursuing my RV dreams right away, but things were so crazy that it didn’t feel like the right time. Life was chaotic, my marriage had fallen apart, and my dog was getting older.
Now that I’m a year removed from all the chaos, I feel like it’s the right time to reconsider. I’ve since switched jobs and now hate where I’m at; and in general, I’m over the commuting into the office, 9-5, sitting at a desk culture. All that means is that there’s nothing holding me directly to Austin, so now feels like the right time.
What happens now?
My lease is up in February, so I have exactly 6 months to get my life in order. I’m currently researching my rig options, and I think I have it narrowed down between a Class A with a car to tow, and a travel trailer towed by a large truck.
The plan is to go shopping around Christmastime while my parents are visiting (ironically, in their RV they’re driving down from Massachusetts) and make a final decision and a purchase. I’ve found a local storage place I can park my choice for $50, and I’ve made my first reservation at the local state park, McKinney Falls.
That way I’ll have somewhere to keep it while I renovate it and add a workspace, and my first nearby destination reserved so I can try it out locally before traveling.
What about all my stuff?
In the meantime, I’m working to downsize my possessions. When I moved from my 2,000 square foot house to my 700 square foot apartment, I got rid of the lion’s share of my stuff. I’ve since bought more stuff and now I’m happy to start getting rid of it again.
Since I used to work for a furniture company, I have a few fairly nice, expensive pieces. The plan is to store those items for the first year and then reevaluate if I want to keep them. They’d be a lot more expensive to replace than they were to buy them the first time, so it’s worth it to me to store them for awhile.
I also have a couple Ikea and Target furniture pieces. Those I’ll sell to finance my adventures. They’re definitely not worth the cost of storing.
The only other items I plan to store are artwork I’ve collected. When traveling, I prefer to buy paintings and pictures from the places I go, rather than tchotchkes that just need to be dusted. I like being able to look at them and remember my experiences, however, they’re not practical for RV living.
I’ll need to work on downsizing my clothes, too. I recently lost a decent amount of weight, and then gained some back, so I have several different sizes depending on how I’m feeling that day. That may make downsizing a little more challenging, but since I won’t need to be going into an office I can probably get rid of a lot of ‘presentable’ clothes and live life in my lounging outfits!
What about money?
Aye, there’s the rub. My current job is onsite, so I’m on the hunt for a full time telecommute position. Due to my fairly high debt, I’ll need a job that’s just as well-paying as my current one, so I have to be picky about what I do.
This is a lot! How are you keeping track?
I love Trello for tracking all the things I have to do. It’s an easy-to-use, free website that allows for multiple boards (I have one for to-do’s and one for tracking places I want to go). It uses a system of ‘cards’ (like you would have notecards on a wall) in customizable lists that allows you to drag and drop between them so you can track the progress of the to-do’s. I’ve also started creating packing and donation lists, and the system also has Labels that you can filter on, in case there’s a subset of cards you want to quickly see alone.
I use Trello both for tracking life changes and at work. Boards can be shared with anyone or be totally private. It’s infinitely customizable to your needs and makes keeping track of projects big and small a breeze.
I know, right? It’s a lot to make a big life change, but I’m the sort of person that lov
es change, especially with a plan. That’s why I think this lifestyle is the right choice for me! Always changing, always seeing new places.
What is your planning process like? Are there any tools you use for planning big life changes?
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