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Old 06-12-2006, 01:05 PM   #1
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Question re Full Time Living

My wife and I are intrigued with the idea of becoming full-timers, traveling around the country and working as we go.

We have just started to do our research into all of the aspects of this, but one question that immediately surfaces for us is this:

Do any of you folks who are currently doing the full-time life ever get burned out on the traveling part, more specifically, do you ever start to feel that you have “been there, done that” and find that the whole thing is quickly losing its original allure?

Your thoughts and comments on this and any other aspects of the full-time life will be greatly appreciated.


Seattle, Washington

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Old 06-12-2006, 04:18 PM   #2
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Hi Curt,
I did feel a bit "been there done that" about my wife and got rid of her, although I suspect she would claim the same.

I have been full timing solo 6 years, 4 in a class A and the last 2 in an Airstream,
I do change routes to explore new areas of the country every few years.
I still enjoying wandering and supporting my travels with my artwork.
I have no immediate plans on settling down.

I love the traveling, meeting, seeing, overcoming, the newness of the land just around the corner, the small towns the waking up at 2 in the morning and wondering for a few groggy moments "where am I" and then feeling the cold steel bars of the jail cell pressed against my forehead….wait that's another story

I mean waking up at 2 in the morning and wondering for a few groggy moments "where am I " and then feeling the fuzzy wall covering of my Airstream pressed against my forehead and realizing I'm in a Walmart parking lot in Kickapoo Texas, safe, warm and comfortable in my little silver cocoon.

On another note, I have decided to cancel a planed non-working 6,000 mi. trip due to diesel fuel prices and will wait till I can jury into an Art show in the west.


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Old 06-12-2006, 04:24 PM   #3
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I've seen so much of the world, during my tenure in the military, and I really feel like there's so much more to see in the U.S., which is why the wife, kids and I are taking a month to travel around, before we settle down in the Airstream, in Sierra Vista, AZ for two months. I guess that you could say that we'll be temporarily full-timing. I'm looking forward to it, because the way I look at it, it is what you make of it. If you get sick of the Interstate, get off and take a secondary road. Then you can't say, "Been there, done that".


Sorry to hear about you and the wife. I couldn't imagine my life without mine.

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Old 06-12-2006, 06:58 PM   #4
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I spent close to 4 months in my Airstream, 2 years ago. I loved it, it was a nice experience. Just my little Jack Russell, Cali and I, in a nice small Florida campground. My poor wife was stuck up in Ohio trying to sell our house, during the cold, cold winter of 2003-2004.

The Ohio house sold in April, and we were in our new Florida house in the first week of May. It was great to be back into a house again. Would I spend 4 months in an Airstream again? Sure would! But, 2 people and 2 small dogs is a bit much for even a 31 foot coach for more than a week or two.
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Old 06-13-2006, 02:57 PM   #5
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Thanks for all the replies so far.

Update to my original post:

My wife and I own a condo in Seattle and we are considering selling it, buying an Airstream and living the work camper life. Needless to say, we are concerned over the possible long term consequences that making such a drastic financial decision may involve.

I guess what this all really boils down to are the following questions:

How do we really want to live our lives? Are we willing to settle for bird-in-the-hand security or do we want to take a chance at what may make us much happier?

Do we just stick with the security of paying for a home in a prime location that we will own someday while working two steady jobs and just try to be satisfied with that ordinary lifestyle?

Or do we want to take a chance at living a life of travel and adventure, even though it may be a roll of the dice financially?

We both agree that it is a very scary choice (with either decision, LOL!)

The middle class, ordinary citizen part of me says stay hitched to the wagon and keep on pulling it day after day because eventually we will get to the top of the hill and will have "won the game" in that we will have more of a guarantee of financial security many years from now.

The non-conformist, bohemian gypsy adventurer part of me says, let's take a chance that we might just find that we can actually be happy with a lot less than we think we can and that freedom from the mundane rat race is worth it over the stagnation that the option above represents. (We already live pretty frugal lives, are not very materialistic and our condo is probably smaller than some of the larger Airstreams on the market).

I know that this is essentially a "million dollar question" and one that we would have to ultimately decide for ourselves, but would still like to hear how others may have grappled with the same questions themselves (and what you decided was best for you).

Your thoughts?


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Old 06-13-2006, 04:13 PM   #6
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Curt and Wife,
Do it and don't look back. The thrill is out there waiting for you.

Another suggestion would be to save for a few months while planning your route. Don't let the cost of gas, stop you otherwise you'll away have an excuse.

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Old 06-13-2006, 04:26 PM   #7
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Thanks for your input, K.

FYI: We are already starting to save with the full time idea in mind. We figure that even if we change our minds, our bank account will not mind the extra baggage!

We are not all that concerned about gas prices; our concerns are more along the lines of whether or not we will be burning bridges and making sound choices.

Reading through the threads here and learning about the experiences of other full timers is very encouraging, but we still want to make this as sound a decision as possible (and we aiming to implement this plan in about a year; you are talking to some early starters, here!).


Curt (and Melissa)

Originally Posted by kitchenclose
Curt and Wife,
Do it and don't look back. The thrill is out there waiting for you.

Another suggestion would be to save for a few months while planning your route. Don't let the cost of gas, stop you otherwise you'll away have an excuse.

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Old 06-13-2006, 04:43 PM   #8
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Curt and Wife,

Might I suggest bringing two Airstreams. One for the both of you and one when your "in the doghouse" so you still have a comfortable place to sleep.
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Old 06-13-2006, 04:44 PM   #9
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Try before you fly..


While the "Go for it.." school of adventurism sounds romantic, I'd argue for life jacket model.. Just read great book on secrets of great retirement, and authors strongly urge trial periods before moving, full-time RV'ing (you're not alone in thinking of this..) or other major life changes...

Can you lease out the condo and leave it without having to sell it? Can you try full-timing for 6 months or a year and still go back? It is also possible that Seattle real estate is overpriced, and you can sell now and buy somethign else in a few years for less...

I remember years recently in Yacht Club with members dreaming of taking time off or retiring and "sailing around the world" or heading for Costa Rica and dropping anchor.. Most of those who did it left boat somewhere with a broker and came back, having decided they liked idea more than experience..

There are a number of full-timers here, including Porky and Petunia, who seem extremely happy with their choices, but others would struggle after a few months of intense togetherness and small quarters...

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Old 06-13-2006, 05:16 PM   #10
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I think it sounds great and is one of my dreams, but would agree that you have to leave a back door open until your sure it works for you.I think it's a perfect life style for frugal non materialistic people. There are a lot of people that can't give up their "stuff" and we live in a country and culture that promotes spending and buying so much that you end up renting a storage unit to deal with it. As long as your not emotionally married to your stuff, I say go for it and give it a try. Both Porky and Rich Luhr look like they're having fun.
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Old 06-13-2006, 06:20 PM   #11
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Less IS More!

I sold a house that was over 3000 sq ft and moved into a 22ft CCD. Lived in it happily for a year then fell a** over tip for the 25ft Safari Front Bed Special Edition which I bought this spring. I have my own business with one partner, and I've stayed in my home town, living in a condo campground. I travel whenever I can find an excuse that is "for the business" and whenever I take vacation. I also take weekender trips of 50 miles or so. With a little chutzpah you can meet a lot of nice people in out of the way small towns, and they'll welcome you back week after week. I haven't been on one of those "25 states in 50 days" tours yet, and I don't really want to do that kind of camping.

Do I think I have the best of BOTH worlds? YES.

Can you "go gypsy" and travel while work camping? That question is better answered by a competent financial advisor who can offer you a detailed analysis of your financial future. Your current net worth, age and general health are important factors to consider.

Work camping is IMHO darned hard work for very little return - where else do you work for $25 to $40 per day? MacDonalds pays better than that. On the other hand, perhaps you have a job which can be reworked so that you can telecommute AND maintain health benefits AND build a retirement income. If that's the case, and you're spouse is game, I say go for it!

Cautionary Tale: I very recently had a neighbor (lawyer) who thought he had all his bases covered and walked away from his career at age 50, bought a huge moho, then six months later was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer (non-smoker) of the most virulent type. The moho was sold for a 40% loss and the man died three months later leaving his wife with $250,000 in medical bills that his "bargain" individual policy didn't cover. After everything is paid his widow will probably be left with too little to buy another home OR ever retire. Bad things do happen to good people. Look at what Ben Roethlisberger almost did to his career yesterday! Never think that it can't happen to you. If your plan to full-time doesn't include rainy day coverage, you're gambling with your whole life. The main difference between full-timing and being trailer trash is really just a financial plan based on the harshest possible reality.

There is a LOT to be said for living in a trailer or moho - even if you do as I did and stay in your job. Examples:
  1. Cost to live last year excluding fuel and maintenance for the Suburban - $4,500. My financial planner nearly cried when he saw that figure! He spends that in a month.
  2. Vacuumed the whole house yesterday - Hadn't done it in 3 weeks and it was a fuzzy mess so it took me considerably longer than the standard 7 minutes; closer to 15 in fact. Cleaned the bathroom, changed the sheets (hint - twins gotta be much easier than a full or a queen to change, big mattress in a tiny room isn't a good combo!), washed the dishes and wiped away all the interior fingerprints.
  3. Longest job is washing the outside - but then there are always big truck stops if you hate that job. Walbernizing the outside - drink while doing that it's the only way. Geez. But it beats painting the exterior and maintaining the lawn and.... ad nauseum.
  4. Actually, I've found less IS more. I've learned to "give away/throw away" or just don't buy it in the first place. Crap tends to accumulate in direct proportion to the space you have to store it in. You'll have to part with a LOT of stuff to full-time. Oddly I have yet to miss my antiques, collection of depression glass, 35 pairs of shoes, etc.
There are some new skills to be mastered and some problems too.
  1. I had to learn little stuff like torquing nuts (or bolts if you have aluminum wheels and you thought I was gettin' dirty didn't you?), checking your tire pressure, cleaning your black tank when your idiot guests flush feminine hygiene products after you've explicitly explained how to properly dispose of them.
  2. Dealing with really bad weather can be challenging too. If you're claustrophobic a week of rain can drive you nuts.
  3. If you have a partner and you're both stuck in a confined space for a rainy week, how will that work? If you're single, can you stand the isolation? Better have a few inside hobbies that you can do in a confined space.
  4. Wrestling big propane tanks on and off the rig isn't exactly my idea of fun either. Why do I always run out AFTER I've unhitched and finished my setup?
Hope this gives you some of the pros and cons. I'd try taking a couple of months leave of absence from your jobs and doing trial run. That way if it palls you can go back to "normal" and camp on vacation only.

Paula Ford
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Old 06-13-2006, 08:20 PM   #12
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Lawyers are good people?

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Old 06-13-2006, 09:15 PM   #13
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Just do it

Go for it! Don't let the neigh sayers scare you off. I have been fulltiming/workamping for 4 years now, in a 27' moho. Yes I am by myself( great company and conversations) . My "landed " friends said I was crazy but now they are all enviuse. As for been there done that..... One summer, a gunfighter in Deadwood, SD. got killed twice a day 6 days a week. One summer harbor pilot at Lake Mead piloting 50 to 70 foot houseboats in and out of the marina, 2 summers as camp liason (security) at a family campground, 2winters selling firworks for New Years in Fl. and one winter as a Mall Santa, (real beard required).......You get the idea If you havent found it yet go to and you will see that there is a variety of jobs to do as a workamper besides camp host.
As for those that say the pay is low.....NOT.....what is low is the stress level
6 years ago I grossed $800k and netted only $35k stress was so bad I was tyed in knots and Doc gave me 6months. Sold the bussiness, sold house, land, everything. Bought AS moho put motorcycle on the back and have been enjoying life. Made the Doc blood pressure is normal again w/o meds, cholesterol levels below 160 and have more friends than I ever had when landed. You never said how old you are. I was 48 when I started, now 52 and still loving it. If you don't try you will never know. If you try and don"t like it.....fine settle down and go back to a m-f, 9-5 and build your nest to die in. By the kids think this is the coolest thing for Dad.
Good luck
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Old 06-13-2006, 09:28 PM   #14
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Killo1, Condoluminum, Craftsman, Foiled Again, Whipsas270:

Thanks for all your replies. You've given us much food for thought and important things to consider.

Just a tad bit more background so that you will have a better idea of our situation:

Both of us are writers who can easily take our work on the road with us, so earning money while full timing would not be a huge concern of ours.

We both have good health insurance and plan to hang onto it in the case of unforeseen accidents and/or illnesses.

As for a back up plan in the case that we found that the gypsy life was not for us after all, we already have money saved (and I have a guaranteed VA loan) and will continue to save so that we can put a down payment on a future fixed-in-one-place, traditional home (but not too traditional; outside of our love of Airstream design, we are also into modern modular housing, such as the “flat-pack” and “wee home” designs).

The idea of full timing is something that we will keep in mind as a way to get out of the rat race that both of us know only too well that we are just not cut out for.

We’ve got a minimum of a year before we can put any plan into motion, so this, the very beginning of the learning and planning stage, gives us plenty of time to think about this in grand detail.

Again, thanks to you all.


P.S. I'm 49 and my wife, Melissa is 30-something

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