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Old 02-03-2015, 01:12 AM   #1
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2004 22' International CCD
2015 30' International
Box Elder , South Dakota
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Full timers: how long, and what have you learned?

After 4 years in a 22' CCD, I'm feeling cramped and I want to design a Tiny House to my own specs, rather than fitting my life around the lovely design that AS provided me with. I'm wondering if that's just me, or an inevitable reaction.

How long have you been full-timing?
Do you park rooted in one place, or do you travel?
How long will you continue?
What led you to full-timing, and what would make you stop?
What would you do differently if you could?
How much space is enough?
Do you ever dream about a Tiny House instead of your AS?
How do you handle maintenance in something you'd rather not tow to a dealer (and become temporarily homeless)?
What other thoughts would you want prospective full-timers to know?

Thanks in advance for the benefit of your experiences!
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Old 02-03-2015, 06:22 AM   #2
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NE Central , Kansas
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I've been living in mine since September of 2011. I still love my Airstream, but there are issues. Since I can't flee south in winter, I have to admit that an AS is not designed for winter living, nor high summer in the SW unless you can park under full shade. Of the two season failure, winter is the one when I think most of living in a brick and stick again. I've moved twice since I started living in a house with more wheels than my car, which is the best advantage of full time living. It is easy to change one's address.

While I've never considered a Tiny House that was not my Airstream, I've often thought of the best solution for the seasonal disadvantages is to build an oversized garage of sorts, with wall of windows on one side (curb side), which could simulate a camp ground living room, especially since I'm living too far north (NE Central Kansas). Add a full bathroom/kitchen and spare bedroom, perhaps, and you have a garage-dominium for your AS. Or go full tilt and build a two story garage, with the upper an apartment for use as a base. Sorta defeats the purpose of tiny house living, though. Oh well.

To answer some of your other questions: I started full timing because I had already refurnished a house twice. I thought it would be easier if I could just move my home into storage if I moved overseas again.

Initially I had to live near my ailing mother to see to her end of life experience. I have some freedom to live where the wind takes me now, but that seems to have been Kansas, a place I love/hate. What I do now depends upon how rooted I become. I need to ensure retirement income so I can truly full time on the road. I need to decide if my roots need to be here (friends, but sadly no more family), or someplace more 'tropic'. Time will tell!
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Old 02-03-2015, 07:40 AM   #3
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things must…….and always do……change

There are disadvantages to most lifestyles. Whatever they may be, they get very annoying after awhile, so, many full timers leave the road after awhile.

I planned on living my life out in the country, so I bought a very secluded property, semi off grid. It is a lot of work. I realized that when my body got old and weaker, that I would not be able to handle the physical chores that go along with being semi off grid.

My point is….there is very little talk about getting off the road
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Old 02-04-2015, 02:40 AM   #4
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2004 22' International CCD
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Philip, I'm sorry about your mom. I also downsized into the AS in order to have the flexibility to take care of my dad. Now that he's gone, I'm deciding what's next as well.
I've also thought of building a Butler building! Or something similar, to shelter the Airstream and extend the living space. Though my wet bath is not ideal, so I'd want a different AS with a separate shower, and then the expense increases to the point where modular or conventional construction could provide a more practical, functional home. I have a nearby neighbor who took a non-Airstream trailer from the 50s, put a shed roof over it, and attached a trailer-sized stick-built addition onto the side of it, doubling his space. So the trailer is the kitchen, and the addition is the living space.

The idea of designing a shelter that suits my needs perfectly is compelling, though.
You could relocate someplace warmer and not too expensive for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilipKS View Post
I've been living in mine since September of 2011. I still love my Airstream, but there are issues. Since I can't flee south in winter, I have to admit that an AS is not designed for winter living, nor high summer in the SW unless you can park under full shade. Of the two season failure, winter is the one when I think most of living in a brick and stick again. I've moved twice since I started living in a house with more wheels than my car, which is the best advantage of full time living. It is easy to change one's address.

While I've never considered a Tiny House that was not my Airstream, I've often thought of the best solution for the seasonal disadvantages is to build an oversized garage of sorts, with wall of windows on one side (curb side), which could simulate a camp ground living room, especially since I'm living too far north (NE Central Kansas). Add a full bathroom/kitchen and spare bedroom, perhaps, and you have a garage-dominium for your AS. Or go full tilt and build a two story garage, with the upper an apartment for use as a base. Sorta defeats the purpose of tiny house living, though. Oh well.

To answer some of your other questions: I started full timing because I had already refurnished a house twice. I thought it would be easier if I could just move my home into storage if I moved overseas again.

Initially I had to live near my ailing mother to see to her end of life experience. I have some freedom to live where the wind takes me now, but that seems to have been Kansas, a place I love/hate. What I do now depends upon how rooted I become. I need to ensure retirement income so I can truly full time on the road. I need to decide if my roots need to be here (friends, but sadly no more family), or someplace more 'tropic'. Time will tell!
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:50 PM   #5
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We are 1 year into our full time AS life. We have traveled through 20 states west of the Mississippi, staying for two months each in Mississippi and Missouri to be with friends and family and help out with post surgery recovery. Nothing beats connecting with family and friends for a non-rushed visit that ends when you want it to. We are rooted in Desert Hot Springs California for 4 months - mainly to winter over in a nice warm place with hot mineral water. We planned on staying in coastal southern Oregon all summer 2015 but our plans have changed to some international travels (without AS).

So far, no serious problems with our 1997 25' Safari. Ongoing pesky issues like water heater not firing without frequent cleaning of igniter anode, gray tank leak when partially filled, smelly gray tank odors which took us nearly the year to figure, thinking it was the black tank all this time etc.

We are very happy living this nomadic life and only occasionally think about and discuss settling down somewhere. Because we have retired, are healthy and active and relatively young, we have lots more to do and see before we park permanently.
Geocaching is something we really enjoy too. If you haven't geocached, check it out. This fun pastime activity has lots of great benefits like exercise, historical discoveries and meeting new people.

When you can pick your location based on weather and activities/interests, the world is wide open.

Living outside of the US is something else we'd like to do.

We'll see...

Best wishes and happy travels.
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Old 02-04-2015, 02:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B_Pi View Post
smelly gray tank odors which took us nearly the year to figure
Care to share what it was? We basically have the same trailer as you (and full time as well) and have a grey tank odor from time to time.
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Old 02-04-2015, 04:36 PM   #7
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you will probably get a lot of this !

Six years full time in a Big 43' Bus traveling coast to coast, NE-SW, N-S, NW, SE wintering in Fl and 5yrs in Rockport, Tx north of Corpus Christie.

The joy of having the woman I love riding beside me, seeing what we have seen, meeting so many wonderful people from such divers backgrounds and sharing happy hour from 4-5 in lawn chairs chatting about our days our experiences. Telling good jokes, drinking wine. Going back to the rig and preparing a nice meal and watching a Netflix or Red Box movie. Stay up as long as we want, sleep as long as we want until the dogs take over our daily lives (ie we have truly gone to the dogs!) Seeing sooo many things.

I remember before buying an RV we went to a RV show in Hershey Pa. and attending a seminar about full timing. One of the topics was about having an exit strategy. At the time that seemed to be the farthest thing from my mind and felt that we would be full time forever or the wheels went square. We did not have a strategy and it cost us dearly. Big $ !

As we have gotten older, age related health issues (nah we would not have any of those) are becoming more of a problem. Hard to be on the road and deal with illness that requires longer term care than a office visit. So at age 69 we hung up the keys to the Big Rig and bought a 30' AS and drove from Portland Or (no sales tax) and bought a 3 BR 2 Bath in northern Fl. We lived in the AS for 2.5 months and after the 43' the walls were beginning to cramp our style and temperaments. We are now renovating it to be more comfortable for just the two of us for a few weeks or months of non winter camping.

But now some of my joys are watching movies and TV and seeing places we have been and saying to myself... ya I remember being there and for me it is the memories that we have stored in our minds and the stimulants that come out of the blue and bring back those fond memories of those place and what we did there that are the unexpected joys. As we look forward to the time we have left we hope to continue with grace to continue that journey until the wheel go square.
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Old 02-04-2015, 05:41 PM   #8
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1999 25' Safari
Salinas , California
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Love that "Old Time (re)Livin'"

I have been living in a 25' Safari for over 10 years and really like the lifestyle. I mostly stay rooted. I also have a pickup camper for most traveling. I intend to spend the rest of my life (now 78) "trailerin".

Before retiring I had decided to devote the rest of my life to volunteer work around the USA. I purchased the trailer in 1999 and retired in 2006. It's great to go where the opportunities open up. I don't think I will stop full timin' until I become infirm looking to the high 90's.

What would I do differently, well, I would have done far more research before purchasing. I have been shocked with the poor workmanship in the Safari (I bought it new). The exterior is OK but the interior and infrastructure (plumbing and electrical) are trash. I choose Airstream because of the name, bad mistake.

I like the tiny house concept but will probably stick to the AS as I have put so much into correcting Thor's poor quality. I do my own maintenance. Fortunately I am gifted in this way.

If you are considering full timin' look over the unseeable part of your rig. The unseeables are the things that don't hold up well under 24/7 stress
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Old 02-04-2015, 05:45 PM   #9
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Everyone is very specific on their needs. Just have to figure out yours. We have been on the road 2 yrs and love it. First year you travel a lot then slow down and slow down but still see wonderful parts of this great country. We are not ready to stop. Just got to search your own soul.
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Old 02-04-2015, 07:25 PM   #10
demijac
 
2014 27' FB Classic
Livingston , Texas
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15 Months Into a 11 Year Gig

Here's our answers to your questions:

Q: How long have you been full-timing?
A: 15 months

Q: Do you park rooted in one place, or do you travel?
A: Our goal is to travel the US and Canada in the Airstream 10 months per
year and spend two months a year at our home base on the Oregon
Coast. Most of the year, we rarely stay in one place longer than two
nights.

Q: How long will you continue?
A: The original plan was to make this an 11 year gig. So far, so good.

Q: What led you to full-timing, and what would make you stop?
A: We were looking for a way to see all of the U.S. and Canada at a more
affordable cost with as few constraints as possible. Haven't thought too
much about what would make us stop; we are loving this lifestyle so far.
Maybe it would take a serious health or family issue to alter our calculus.

Q: What would you do differently if you could?
A: Outfit the trailer with a more powerful combination of batteries, inverter
and solar that would enable us to run more things while boondocking.

Q: How much space is enough?
A: That answer is different for everybody. For us, we like our 27FB Classic -
plenty of room for two full-timers, maximum parking flexibility at
RV parks and campgrounds and easy to pull with a 1/2 ton pickup truck.
We may trade-up to a longer model down the road when we stop moving
around so much.

Q: Do you ever dream about a Tiny House instead of your AS?
A: Yes; but not because we are tired of Airstreaming. It's more about where
we want to live after we stop full-timing. We look at our Airstream
voyages as an opportunity to discover places where we might want to
settle down someday.

Q: How do you handle maintenance in something you'd rather not tow to a dealer (and become temporarily homeless)?
A: We just handle the minor things by ourselves. For anything major, we
rely on Airstream or Camping World dealerships for emergency repairs.
This can be a problem for us because we are rarely in one place for long
and do not have a rigid travel plan or schedule. We make it a point to
look for Airstream dealers who are open to taking us on short notice and
who will also let us overnight on premises during the repair if necessary.
For truly major repairs, we would bite the travel bullet and schedule some
time at the Airstream Factory in Jackson Center, Ohio. We also schedule
a regular annual inspection, preventative maintenance and fix for minor
repairs/warranty issues at our home base Airstream dealer in Oregon.

Q: What other thoughts would you want prospective full-timers to know?
A: Happy wife; happy life!!!! - even more important living in a small space.

And finally, if you haven't considered this already, there are eight Airstream-only parks in the U.S. Their monthly and annual rates are a steal and depending on your membership level, some let you buy lots and build small houses, sheds, shelters and garages. We've been to one in Hillsboro, TX where you can buy property and even build a regular brick house.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-21-2015, 01:31 PM   #11
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I pretty much stay in one place, so towability is less of a concern for me than I thought it would be initially.
Buying land in a park would be fantastic! If I liked the area...
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Old 02-21-2015, 07:09 PM   #12
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In a separate thread we estimated full timing budget is about $3500 a month. There is a lot of variation in this of course.

Do you full timers find this a reasonable estimate of the cost of full timing?

David
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Old 02-22-2015, 02:02 AM   #13
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What are you counting in that budget? Food and incidentals too, or just gas, insurance, parking, propane?
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Old 02-22-2015, 09:59 AM   #14
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What expenses are not included in the $3,500/mo budget?

We would love to get our monthly full timing budget down to $3,500. Are you counting total expenses or just Airstream related expenses? We count all expenses; not just Airstream related expenses. You?
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