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Old 09-05-2016, 09:33 PM   #29
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I really like this topic. My wife and I are a couple of years away from full timing and my wife is already getting excited. It is a scary thought to change our entire way of life. Not just the location but how you live day to day. We both want to embrace it fully. Selling everything is like Cortez setting fire to his ships. Retreat is easy when you have the option. I'm not saying you can't go back but if it not just sitting there then you will get through the hard adjustments and see it for the adventure it is.
At least thats what I hope. Won't know until we do it.


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Old 09-05-2016, 09:44 PM   #30
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This is great discussion.

As an observer, I have noticed this pattern in many posters in other discussions.

Often it seems that people are ready to be freed from feeling tied down by the physical things in their life. The big family house--once the family has grown up and moved on, the large yard with tireless chores associated with it, the taxes, the remodeling, the decorating to be in style with the neighbors and to maintain that "resale value", the boxes of belongings and loads of furniture from passed away relatives, all the stuff from their kids' childhoods, (and for some, the adult child who won't move along).

But it is not easy to become un-entrenched.

I think for some, the "going full time" is a way to rip that band-aid right off.

I don't think it's always about wanting to be on permanent vacation. It's a focused way to get out from under their current way of living in a deliberate manner. In a way that is viewed as positive and a bit exciting/escapist.

I think it has become an acceptable way to manage this maneuver.

So unless you would be selling a home that you could never afford to buy back if you had regrets (in which case you might consider renting it for a year or two), then try it and see.

But if you do have family and good dear friends where you live now, I do think that eventually that does matter enough to want to spend part of the year where you are, even if it is not in the same residence you are now in.


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Old 09-05-2016, 09:54 PM   #31
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This is the 2nd day that Alta & I have been staying in Jedediah Smith Redwoods Natl & CA Park. Today, we walked through Stout Grove & then drove some 6 miles on a more or less one-lane, dirt road, Howland Hills Road, in Smith Redwoods Park to Crescent City, where we went to the park headquarters, then drove along the shore to Point St. George (with the St George Lighthouse 6 miles offshore), then drove to Walmart for supplies, then drove to Pelican Bay State Prison (CA's max prison), where we had a long talk with the guard at the gatehouse, then back to the park --- a more or less typical AS (ie, non-travelling, high mileage) day.

We drove down here from the Charleston/Cape Arago area of Coos Bay, OR, where we attended a 4-day rally sponsored by the AS OR unit --- great people & great time. Before that, we spent 2 days in an OR state park in Newport. Before that, we spent another 4 days in Nehalem Bay State Park, north of Tillamook, at another rally sponsored by the AS OR unit --- different but equally great people & great time. We drove there from our home in Woodinville, WA, half an hour NE of Seattle (north of Bellevue, east of Lake Washington).

Tomorrow, we leave for Eureka & more redwoods, probably for another week or so. Then we'll likely head East to Redding, get on I-5 North, & make the 600 miles back to Seattle in a long day.

This trip for us will last around 3 weeks & probably be good for a shy 2K miles.

Before leaving for this trip, we spent around a month at home, sorting things out from our "AS maiden voyage" --- 9K miles over 6 weeks --- from Seattle to the WV AS rally, then up to the upper peninsula of Michigan, then to the Black Hills, then to Kalispell, MT, where we attended the annual NW Region AS rally, at the foot of Glacier Park. (Also Hershey Chocolate Park (whose RV park costs $89/night --- egads!!!), the AS factory (in the middle of nowhere --- not even a restaurant available --- where do the AS workers go when they want to go out to eat?), the NFL Hall of Fame, the Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg Museum (WOW!!!), the H-D Museum, the Packers Hall of Fame, Escanaba (a year early), Mackinaw City, etc.)

Now some reflections from the above experiences:

1. Both Alta & I were glad we spent the 9K miles & 6 weeks --- no regrets.

2. Both of us were glad to get back home, perhaps I more than Alta. For me, 6 weeks was enough --- I got restless. Not that I didn't like what I was doing or who I was with or had anything really negative about the trip. It's just that for the great majority of my life, I have defined myself as having some purpose that's meaningful to me, some project that I'm working on, some problem that I'm trying to solve, some issue that I'm trying to understand, etc. Going on vacation for me is just that, a vacation from my purpose. Vacations for me are fun & relaxing & enjoyable & meaningful, but I don't define myself by my vacations. I define myself by what's important to me, in a phrase, solving (or at least working on) problems that are personally meaningful for me --- and that's not my experience with going Airstreaming &, as much as I do enjoy it, I don't look to Airsteaming as providing a personal purpose for me.

Consequently, what I see as my & our AS future is taking occasional long, perhaps 1-2-possibly 3-month trips interspersed with more frequent several week trips, such as we are now enjoying on the OR & northern CA coast.

3. Another thing that both Alta & I discovered after having done our 9K miles is that, somewhat to the surprise of each of us, neither one of us found anyplace that we had been on our trip that called to either of us as a better place to live than the coastal NW & particularly Seattle. What I can say for myself is that I like temperate weather. I melt at any temperature over 80 to 85, I freeze at any temperature under 30 to 35, and I don't like either high humidity or flying bugs (eg, mosquitoes). Seattle has a remarkably narrow annual temperature range from around 30 to 80, little humidity (other than wintertime drizzle), & a wonderful absence of flying bugs. That works for me. I think I'll keep calling the coastal NW & particularly Seattle home for the foreseeable future. And I'll leave the full-timing to others --- with my sincere blessings. If it works for you, go for it.

As an aside, I will admit that Seattle is not perfect. Although it has the reputation for having lots of rain, that's really false. Seattle gets less rain than most places above the southern US. What it does get is lots of drizzle --- not heavy downpours --- just lots of wet foggy dew: drizzle. So from around November through March or so, Seattle is overcast, damp, and generally around 35-45. Lot of people go to Hawaii, southern CA, or AZ for a spell in the winter --- to find some sun & get away from the overcast skies. A likely Airstream trip.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:54 PM   #32
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Loved reading this thread and following. DH retired and I am retiring in a few months. Trying to decide what to do now and where the road will take us. Loving the thoughtful comments. Thanks to all for sharing.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:06 PM   #33
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Following thread.

Cannonball, Deep in the Heart of Texas!

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Old 09-05-2016, 11:30 PM   #34
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Dave - Thanks for this thread.

I am older (53 - yeah, I know not that old) but I have two young children (8 and 12). In a lot of ways we believe that children need a "home base". I work for Gibson Guitar running an online community, and although I am technically a "remote employee", I do report into an office every day. So, when we can, we like to get away. As long as I have a great cell signal to tether to, I am able to do my job.

We talk often about full timing. We home school our kids, so other than the roots we've grown, we do have the ability.

What we've considered is finding a happy middle ground. This might work for you.
Eventually, we believe that we'll build a smaller home (around 1000 feet) with a full garage door to pull the airsteam into the home itself. We'll use it as a guest room/quarters. We envision something in the mountains where we have an all glass front and in the rear, I believe we'll use all glass garage doors on each end of the house ... where we can pull the airstream in as part of the home's interior. This will allow us to build a smaller home to keep the things that have been handed down and allow us that "home base" but to also integrate the airstream as part of the home. This way we can use it, maintain it, it won't be sitting in the elements, and when we want to go, we open a garage door, hitch up and go. This would allow you a more spartan home so your taxes might be lower which would allow you a place to call "home" and then your airstream (argosy) becomes your home away from home.

Call it a tiny house meets airstream.

Anyone else ever had similar thoughts?
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Old 09-06-2016, 12:28 AM   #35
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BoldAdventure, I know a pair of the Homeschoolers you wrote of. He's a part time flight instructor (translation: unemployed pilot always looking to pick up a flight for someone) and she dabbles in arts/crafts shows and teaches the kids when she wants to, sending them to the local public school when she tires of it. They park in whatever RV park that's in the school district they want the kids to attend and the kids ride the schoolbus to/from class. Their 5th wheel is registered in her "business name" for the write-offs, and they pay few/no taxes. I have no idea how the kids will socialize when grown up.

I have a couple questions about "long-timing". What about snail-mail reception, and what about medical needs, i.e., regular prescription-renewals, kid's pediatric and dental needs? How do the women meet those typical womanly needs of community-participation and community-citizenship-participation of which they are so fond?
How about keeping professional licensing renewals(if any)?

Having spent a lifetime gathering all my toys together at a country-home, I'm trying to figure out how the place would fare unoccupied. (Not good, I suspect), but making the place useable for another occupant or renter... I can't imagine how that would work out without emptying the place into storage for their stuff.
I wonder if a nice foreign couple might like to live in the central Tx "hill country" for a year.... Hmmmn....probably more likely they'd like to borrow the TV and AS and ..."See the USA....(in your Chevrolet...)".. anyone remember that 1950's television show with Diana Shore? LOL

Really enjoying the posts, especially those of BoldAdventure, mandolindave, PiggyBank... Thanks.
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Old 09-06-2016, 02:07 AM   #36
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My parents were full-time Airstreamers for more than five years during their retirement. Sold the house, gave all the stuff they didn't want anymore to my brother and me, and took off in their Airstream. As a joke, I liked to tell friends they were "professionally homeless." They started with what I believe was a 31 or 34' trailer and later moved to a Land Yacht motor home (the one with a swept-back windshield, not the silver one).

They stayed connected with people via WBCCI, Mom's ham radio, and Thousand Trails where they had a premium national membership. For them, WBCCI was about rallies, caravans, and other various Airstream gatherings where they met and hung out with like-minded retirees. They didn't really do any BLM camping, depending on TT for cheap camping when they wanted it. Otherwise, it was campgrounds of varying types, everything from RV Parks to National Parks/ Forests / State Parks / County Parks, etc. They moved around on a regular basis, the goal being to see and enjoy as much as possible. They never settled down for the season in any one location, preferring to wander. Woodalls guide and a big Rand McNally atlas were two primary tools of their trade. They loved it. I'm sure there were days that were less than perfect, but the others were so good they didn't mind the occasional downer.

Even after they decided to get a house in the Phoenix area, they kept right on using their Airstream for as much as 6-8 months of the year. Later, they downsized to a B+ motor home and camped fewer months, but they loved that too and spent as much time on the road as they could during those months when it is so hot that nobody sane stays in Phoenix if they have another option.
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Old 09-06-2016, 05:41 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
Authors note; I have a tendency to write the way I talk in expositional conversation. Sorry if it's hard to follow.

We've been full-time for about a year and a half. I don't think anyone who lives in an RV park all year is really "full-time". You're just living in a van in an trailer park.

That term is applied to those who travel full-time and live in their RV/Trailer "full-time".

You're right, there are a lot of people who have romanticized this lifestyle to some pie in the sky ideal. Particularly those in my generation. It's actually becoming more and more popular. I know so many people who have just gone, or are going full-time. I run a group - that is for full time travelers, and we get new folks all the time asking questions.

I generally try to tell people to be realistic about how they see themselves living.

For us, we had a very real idea about how we wanted to live. And what that would look like, and set about doing it.

Can this lifestyle be cheaper? Yes, significantly. Can it also be very expensive? Yes, significantly. I'd say it can be even more costly if you're unrealistic and stupid.

I don't say that to be mean, but let me give you an example of stupid I read about earlier this year.

A woman and her husband, with 4 children who are very low income, get the wild idea that this lifestyle will be more affordable for them and they'll live this amazing life on the road. They buy a 1982 school bus, with no mechanical knowledge. And proceed to drive said bus across the country.

Two weeks in, they blow out 4 tires, are told all need to be replaced. So now they have spent their entire emergency savings of about $2500.

The next thing that happens is the engine blows up. Yup, now they are stranded in Colorado. And begging for help. Mind you, NO INCOME. NO SAVINGS.

This was posted on another forum, and people, trying to be nice, wanted to help them. But all I could think, being a parent myself, is HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE TO DO THAT. I have no money, so I should buy an old bus I know nothing about, and attempt to drive it across country, with no money?? WTH people. NO, just no.

There are several types of people I've found on the road. They sort of fit into these groupings.

Retirees - broad group, with various budgets and styles, most are on fixed income. Friendly bunch sometimes. Older generation. Most have all their stuff together. Nothing negative to say.

Becuase we can - I fall into this group, and do a lot of my friends. We have careers, and we all make good money. We like this lifestyle, and the life it affords. We aren't rosey eyed about it. Most of us are 30 ~ late 40's. We just figured we could do like our grandparents without waiting to retire.

** There is a subgroup of "Becuase we can" that I would accuse of being posers. I have met a few, and they put A LOT of work into their online presence. These people really play up the: Our lifestyle is so awesome and you should be jealous. They post pictures of them hiking or biking at noon on a Tuesday with quotes about how it must suck to be in a cubical and living in a sticks and bricks house. But the truth is, it's not as awesome as their social media presence would suggest. They will never share bad experiences or anything real about their lives. Everyone has a bad day, accept these folks. They are easy to spot, because they are always doing something awesome, and have a new video about it. Their lives are awesome, and everyone should want to do this. Also, here is a qoute about travel. Or not all who wander are lost.

Hippes/Bums - I've meet a bunch of these too. They're mostly RVers and van folk. They have non-traditional income sources (or none) but somehow make ends meet. These are the ones who don't want to work, but will to put gas in the tank and eat. But they'll try to bum first. They're against the modern system. They post fancy photos of them living an amazing life in their Vanagon on the beach on Instagram and are the most poetic group about the lifestyle. While being bums who are against the system, these hipsters will sport iPhones, MacBooks and be incredibly trendy in their choice of clothing. They've got the most instagram photos, and everyone thinks their lifestyle is awesome. Until you realize they probably have $20 in their pocket.

Hybrid Becuase we can/Hippes - there is this hybrid group too, they have jobs, but they choose to boondock and live this way, because it's cheaper and enjoyable. They almost always do free. They can go for a campground now and then. But they're more likely to have an older setup they fixed up. They're budget conscious.

RV Park living crazy homeschooler who thinks it's cheaper - Often times they have gaint 5th wheels. They don't move as much. Sometimes, only month to month or even less. They will go where the homeschool convention is. Boondocking isn't for them. Usually low income. Although I met one who was a forex trader once. These people usually had bad credit or some sort of problem that lead them to the belief this lifestyle would be cheaper. However, they aren't onboard with boondocking and moving as much, or can't afford it. So living in an RV park for $400 a month is cheaper.

Delusional Wanna B's who fail - Sadly, I have watched a bunch of these people lately self-implode. And I'm even watching some set themselves up for failure. They make all kinds of stupid decisions because they really want to chase this lifestyle. They have unrealistic ideas about what to expect. They come in various budgets and backgrounds. I've watched one couple with more money than brains, do this for 4 months, only to quit, because "it was so difficult and we all made it seem so easy and wonderful." Another couple with money problems, financed a new Ram 2500 and new trailer. Now all they do is complain about how expensive it is. They've had 3 blow-outs, and tons of problems with their 5th wheel. And are talking about quitting because this is so rough and expensive.

Poor People - These are the ones living in a Walmart parking lot full time. These people, generally are 100% poor, with no income, or government assistance. You'll feel bad for these folks, especially when they have kids. They are often the ones that will trash boondocking sites the most, and will ruin boondocking for others. It's sad, but true. Cities put up the "no overnight camping" signs because of these people. Most are in vans or some sort of very old RV.

This all sounds incredibly harsh and judgemental, but it's kind of true.

Stuff does and will happen on the road. You need a budget. You need a real idea of how you will live, day to day, week to week, month to month. You need real expectations. And you need to be honest about your personality vs who you imagine yourself to be.

That last bit, is the hardest. It's easy to look at instagram, see these blogs and videos and think, man I want to do that and be just like that. And maybe be unaware of the reality of it. Unaware of what it's like living on the road and the things you have to deal with.

I really saw myself as an adventurer. I was when I was younger. Hiking, kayaking, biking, mountain climbing. And I thought we'd be getting out there a lot more than we do. The truth is, with two young kids, we can't go on long hikes. We can't go white water rafting. I can't go down the super steep sketchy climb to get the perfect shot. We spend more time just hanging around camp. It's a reality that has developed. It's opposite of how I imagined things. But it's also just us. And we are happy. We boondock a lot. We spend time with friends. It's not always awesome 100% of the time every day. Most days, we just live a normal, boring life. Except that we're in a forest or national park in an Airstream.

Judge me by this post how you will, I just figured I'd give you some straight talk since you asked for it.

Oh, and is it cheaper? I think that depends on you. But we spend about $3000~$2800 a month. That's only 25% of our monthly income.

But blowing out all 4 tires won't send us into a panic. It's in the bank. And in all honesty, I think those of low income shouldn't consider full-timing if they can't handle a budget and be realistic about the problems you could encounter on the road. This means, have a REAL emergency fund. Most retirees already have this figured out. So ignore it. But if you are considering full-timing because you're already poor and you think it will fix your life, chances are it won't.

Don't drive an old bus across the country with no money on a whim.
Great post, thanks for the insight!
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:21 AM   #38
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This is the most thought provoking thread we have seen on the Forum. Predict it will be one of those that live on in the manner of the "What have you bought for your Airstream today?" thread. When I brought DW her morning coffee (can you say "spoiled"?) this morning, we sat with our Mac's and read the overnight posts to this thread.

The subject of Fulltiming resonates with so many of us; many are at or nearing retirement, and once you own or otherwise experience an AS, how can you not think of what it would be like to leave it all behind and head for the open road?

As for us, I retired last Feb; DW retiring Aug 2016. Gives us time to become educated on our new AS and TV. It has also been a period to meet other AS'rs at rallies and via the Forum. We joined the Razorback Unit here in AR, we have attended a local rally (have two more in AR over the next several weeks). First thing after picking up our AS last Jan was to drive directly to Canopener in FL; in April we attended Alumalina in SC. Registered for Alumapalooza, but had to cancel due to a premie grandson (named for Yours Truly!). What we have learned from this is a) we love being in our AS, b) we really like the people we encounter at AS rallies, c) we are not so fond of several types noted by BA above, d) we have quickly become ASS ("Airstream Snobs"), e) we, or more accurately I have a huge experience and knowledge deficiency (checklists really are important), and f) we will never be without a home base of some sort.

We do have wanderlust. Married 41 years; blessed with three great children all in good marriages and good jobs; blessed with 13 grandchildren, none of whom live near us (424 mi is the closest). We travel to see kids/grandkids or they travel to see us a lot. It is a rare month that we are not together with some of them. On top of that busy travel schedule we have consistently managed to travel. Family Beach Week, three Family Cruises, Family Week at our house (happening as I write this), plus a few getaways with DW each year.

Along the way of our life together we have had a MH (diesel pusher), airplanes and various boats, finally an ocean sailor we kept in Galveston Bay. At several points along the way we considered chucking it all and living on the road or water full time. Kids education and sports and our own careers, plus the strong pull of my piano kept that at bay. What it did not keep at bay was travel; we did that a lot and our kids seem to follow suit.

In retirement we are looking for a mix of home base (we are now members of North Texas Airstream Community and will be building a second home for the AS there) and small enough home base upkeep/security concerns to allow us to attend rallies, caravans (very excited about that; have signed on for a few big ones in the next three years) and cruises (we are fairly active cruisers, just returned from one with a couple of granddaughters and next up is a transatlantic from Barcelona).

We all worry about healthcare; at home in Little Rock we have great healthcare. I am fortunate to serve on the board of a hospital system; that is more than a little work, but we do get rather instant medical attention as needed. That is awesome when we are in AR, but healthcare on the road is a different matter. DW went to an urgent care place in Houston for an earache; the bill was $3,000. Yep, you read that correctly. In and out in less than an hour for the bargain price of three grand. Criminals. Drug costs are completely out of control as well. We are healthy and active people; we walk, ride bikes and have been blessed with good genes (no substitute for genes!). Still, the potential for excessive expenditures is frightening.

Okay, I am rambling.

Let me close by thanking those who have contributed to this thread and those who will contribute over the next days and months (I still think this one will be years long). You have provoked serious thought and great interest.
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Old 09-06-2016, 07:40 AM   #39
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To Djarrett

Yes, getting a small house, to park my rig next to is/was my plan. Giving me a legal place with sewer, water, and electricity, to park my trailer

It's a long involved story, but for financial and emotional reasons, as well as some lifestyle issues, I will be selling both of my houses. Location is also a reason for selling them.

I have been struggling for years trying to get my houses back in shape, another long story, with frequent set backs.

Financial, and Retirement Consultants are advising folks to rent when they retire. They also advise against getting an RV, but I pulled that trigger a long long time ago.

Family and friends also plan to rent, when they retire. Right now, I feel like I never want to be trying to sell a house again. Renting would afford us the ability to change our minds if we were unhappy with a location.

I am tempted to cut off my tongue as I say this but….I do like working on my houses. ( upgrades more so than repairs). I do enjoy having a place that is dolled up to suit my tastes. (Yeah…the whole cake and eat it too, thing )

Yet another option is to rent a room/parking space from a friend. I could be a border/caretaker/house sitter/dog sitter. Hopefully giving me the opportunity to travel.

I am going to full-time for a few days, or a few years. I don't want to live in a campground, yet I don't want to be a slave to land and a house either.

I am usually a keep my chin up kind of guy, but I am still nursing a broken heart from loosing my dog. She was 17 1/2 almost blind, almost deaf, and the best friend I ever had.

The thing is….Life, women, and the economy have made a lot of decisions for me. Maybe I am just wanting to regain some control over my life. On the bright side I will have a new found freedom.
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:03 AM   #40
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To Boogieshoes, DH of Judy Judy, and Judy ( his wife )

You brought up another aspect of fulltiming ….FAMILY !!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm up north, so is the family. Fulltimers tend to need to go south in the winter. BUT…I would want to spend the holidays with the family, White Christmas, chestnuts roasting on an open fire, and the whole nine yards.

Not a big problem, but something that has to be a part of planning
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Old 09-06-2016, 08:15 AM   #41
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Mandoline Dave -

For us, we want to make the trailer an integrated part of our lives at home and on the road. This way, it still feels like home when we are away from home. I too, like you ... enjoy having a place to "work" on, although our current 3800 sq feet/2acres/pool are becoming more and more burden as things refreshed 10 years ago are now in need again and the list of "things to do" grows.

Renting? No thanks. I've seen the way people take care of other people's stuff. I want no part of that. It seems like more of a headache than a help.

And I understand the "struggles." In 2001 we opened a small business. Within a year, I was able to stop working, and we were doing very well. Then 2009 hit. The economic collapse took a huge toll. We lost almost half our staff. Within a year, I had to go back to work. While we still have the business (currently listed for sale), I wound back up at Gibson (the company I was originally recruited to when I moved to Nashville), and I am happy to be there.

Loosing a pet can be extremely difficult, but keep you chin up Dave. You'll be A-OK. And I am not certain if you play Mandolin or if that is just a coincident name. But if you do, ... pull that thing out and play a little. Music can soothe the soul.
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Old 09-06-2016, 09:02 AM   #42
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What others have said, and....

Never full time, always with a small home base, Doug & I traveled 6 1/2 years for months at a time, and loved it.

If you are going to be full timing alone, I think the concern about loneliness and despair setting in from too much isolation is a very legitimate one.

Now traveling by myself these past 2 1/2 years, still for months at a time as I am just not ready for Bingo and the Senior Center , I have found that a mix of alone time and being with others is critically important....also the connectivity of the Internet and phone signal to stay in touch with family, friends, and AirForums.

Whatever we do to interact with others, important that that stay a viable element in extended or full time travel.

My 2 cents.


🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
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