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Old 09-05-2016, 06:37 AM   #1
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Is Fulltiming all it's cracked up to be ????

Well, you'll see thousands of posts from many who have been doing it for years, and love it.

Those happy Fulltimers, post youtube videos, post on forums, and blog, about how great it is.

I'm just thinking that the folks who tried it, and were miserable, lonely, struggled to find places to park, woken in the middle of the night by local police, and suffered financially, don't publish their failures.

I'll be retiring soon, and won't want to fork over five figure real estate taxes anymore. Don't know how much longer I want to deal with house and yard maintenance. Not thrilled about Condo Prison.

Let's hear from people who didn't like it.
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Old 09-05-2016, 06:43 AM   #2
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Fulltiming has really been romanticized .

I just saw a few videos, with Fulltimers, criticizing home owners, for being materialistic, and being sheep who buy into advertising tricking them into thinking that they need all of this " stuff ".

I just think that people who are contemplating the full time lifestyle, should have a more balanced view of what it's all about, and how much it costs.
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Old 09-05-2016, 07:32 AM   #3
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ANYTHING has its downsides. Decisions like that are personal. The idea that someone criticize another for their decision is unwarranted. I am preparing for retirement and face the same things most face- more time, less money and freedom. I know that initially I will have a home and Airstream; however, I often consider just one abode, the one on wheels since it is just me that may have to be a different RV in the future if I carried it beyond part time. I enjoy time alone but I am not sure to what degree AND I think about safety. Beyond that I believe that full-time RV living is a worthy option.
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Old 09-05-2016, 08:22 AM   #4
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My wife and I just retired. Neither of us wants to full time. I like my house and my AS, and I like the balence between the two. I'm pretty sure in the next few years we will take some extended trips, Banff, the East coast, New Orleans, but living in a 27 ft trailer forever is not for me.

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Old 09-05-2016, 08:59 AM   #5
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We used our AS more this year than in previous 10 years during the summer and winter months. Longest trip was 8 days, before a 2 day break and laundry stop at our cabin in MT, then we went back out for another 5 days to Glacier. The 25' works for us, but not sure we could go full time yet. We did use "Don Wrights Guide to Free Campgrounds", as we found camping "free" in Borrego Springs earlier in the year opened up new adventures and helped guide our routes from CA to MT through OR, WA, and ID., while keeping costs down. We were surprised at all the new places we found many right on or next to rivers and lakes. I think if you have a few places where you can stop, refresh, reload, while sleeping in a larger bed a couple nights every now and then would make it easier; at least for us. We plan to try longer stretch to Alaska next summer for 6 weeks, but will still use our place in MT as starting place. I know many go full time but I like having the option of a place to break it up.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:16 AM   #6
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We spend six months a year in our Airstream traveling and spending the winter months in the southern states. We love it, try to travel widely on different routes each year and see the country. A few months each year we meet meet up with fellow Snow Chickens from about North America at a large RV resort with plenty of amenities and community life and have the time of our lives. They have become some of our best friends. But there is more.

In the Spring we are anxious to get home, our own land, family, my workshop and projects (tore down the old house last year and building a new one), her hobbies, buddies stopping by, gardening, fishing, swimming, biking and going for walks and seeing friends. We could never give it up to live in an RV year round, the combination is terrific.
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:45 AM   #7
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Old 09-05-2016, 09:46 AM   #8
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"Snow Chickens". . I love it. Thanks for a thoughtful response. That about sums it up for us if you add in grandchildren...Al

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Old 09-05-2016, 10:07 AM   #9
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One of the reasons that I full time is the search for a community to live when my personal "wheels" fall off. Other retirees I know cashed out of Ca. and bought the "forever" retirement home, but found out that weather or neighbors fouled that idea, and wanted to sell.

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Old 09-05-2016, 10:26 AM   #10
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My wife and I are considering retiring in our AS, but I don't think I could live there. We recently downsized from a huge home to a condo, and that was an experience. I'm ok with condo size living space, but AS living space? I doubt it. I can stay a week in my AS with no issues. Perhaps when we are retired I'll change my mind. But having a 70" TV and an office all to myself seem like non-negotiable items at this point.

You are right, people will likely not publicize their "failures". So you are right in seeking out alternative view points. Good luck in you search.
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Old 09-05-2016, 10:48 AM   #11
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It is not for everyone. Just as retirement is a struggle for some and not others. Personally, full time in an AS, seems crazy. No place to store the other toys. But, it somewhat depends on your toys .... a fly rod, back pack, and camera will fit just fine. What is important is to understand what full timing is with respect to who you are. The rest is just a set of innovative solutions that meet your objectives.

The one thing full timing is not, is a perfect solution to all your problems. The boat folks have a perfect description. They say cruising is doing a series of maintenance projects, usually with the wrong tools, in exotic places under less than ideal conditions. Folks still do it, because going places is a dream for many, but they leave the dock with their eyes and wallets open or soon meet with distressing results.

To be blunt - guys often want to full time in an RV, boat, or mountain cabin. Ladies often want a home base, even if they do enjoy travel. Had an aunt who lived in a trailer her whole adult life. She was exceedingly happy to live the last couple of years of her life in a modest little brick house.

Good luck with your research. Know thy self. Pat
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:07 AM   #12
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So far we love the lifestyle of being on the road, staying a week or two some place to really get to know it.

We have been married 41 years, so we know what to expect from each other and living in our Airstream is a dream for us.

We are blogging why we are doing this, what we expect, how we got rid of all our possessions, and the travel adventures at

We have posted blogs about tire blowouts and black water tank failures, so we are trying to be honest about the lifestyle.
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Old 09-05-2016, 11:08 AM   #13
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These days I have noticed a lot of people who have lived in the same RV park for two or three years refer to themselves as "full timing" (and subsequently cheaper than what they were doing in sticks & bricks). I don't think of that as full timing. I think of that as trailer park living. There is a distinction there.
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Old 09-05-2016, 12:46 PM   #14
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Yes there is a BIG DISTINCTION.
In the almost three years that I've had my first RV, a classic 345.
My time has been split between time on the road exploring new areas and traveling to old favorites. With periods staying in a trailer park in Chino Valley Az, to be near family and aging mom.

The personalities and interactions could not be more different.
On the road and in parks I find folks to he happy and into sharing their adventures, fun stories, travel tips etc. very up spirited

Here in the trailer park. Folks are living in close quarters long term with little options. They're are not out enjoying themselves having travels, or making choices about what to do next for fun, etc. they are trying to live within their limited means. Not having all that much fun.

I would clearly prefer to be traveling with the fun loving RV crew full time.
But finances and family needs do keep me based here for now.

I do admire those that are "out there doing it". On limited budgets and still making it an enjoyable lifestyle, by picking up work along the way.

As the saying goes, you make your bed, now lay in it

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Old 09-05-2016, 12:47 PM   #15
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Cool Realistic Full-Timer Here

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.
Family of 5 exploring the USA with a Ram Power Wagon & Airstream in tow.
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:29 PM   #16
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Feel the same way. Coming up will be our third season traveling in the winter. This year it will be longer almost 8 months. As we will head to Alaska after being in the south west for the winter months. But still want to have a home to come back to. I don't know if it's been coined somewhere else. But I consider us long timers versus full timers

Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
We spend six months a year in our Airstream traveling and spending the winter months in the southern states. We love it, try to travel widely on different routes each year and see the country. A few months each year we meet meet up with fellow Snow Chickens from about North America at a large RV resort with plenty of amenities and community life and have the time of our lives. They have become some of our best friends. But there is more.

In the Spring we are anxious to get home, our own land, family, my workshop and projects (tore down the old house last year and building a new one), her hobbies, buddies stopping by, gardening, fishing, swimming, biking and going for walks and seeing friends. We could never give it up to live in an RV year round, the combination is terrific.
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:43 PM   #17
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To BoldAdventure

Yeah, Thanks, that's kinda was I was looking for. Not just for me, but for folks contemplating living on the road.

There are most likely a few other types of people out on the road, as well as hybrids of the already mentioned.

#1 Trust Funders
#2 Folks who lost their parents, but got an inheritance
#3 Divorcees
#4 People down on their luck
#5 Victims of outsourcing
#6 People that have no other option.
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Old 09-05-2016, 01:57 PM   #18
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mandolindave, we talked about full-timing for quite a while before we made the decision to do so. BOTH of us agreed that we wanted to give it a try. In our case, we had no real ties to where we were living. We liked the general idea of SW Missouri, but had no family there, no family history there, and the kids didn't really want to go there to visit us. We decided that we'd sell the place and spend a few years looking at the rest of the country to see where we wanted to land, either permanently or as a base of operations.

My suggestion would be that you and your wife (if you have one) honestly discuss the idea, looking at both pros and cons. Figure out what your goals are, and what sort of exit strategy you will have. Talk to your children, too, about your ideas, and take their concerns seriously. Siblings are another story. They may also have concerns, but many times they will just think you are nuts. Assure then that you are not, nor are you financially destitute (that also goes for your children).

The big issue for many people is household stuff. Many full-timers keep the really important stuff at the home of a child or sibling. Some put a lot of stuff in storage, then every six months they get rid of some of it. We were going to be in the second group until we figured out that we could buy a lot of stuff back for what we would pay for a year's storage. We ended up loading our coach with what we wanted to have with us, then set aside some things that we really wanted to keep but didn't want to have with us. We then offered anything else to our children. What they didn't want was either sold, given away, or thrown away (lots in this group). Since two of our three children lived in the same town, and both had really small places, we elected to get a storage unit for everyone's stuff and all shared the cost. After our son bought a larger house we moved everything from the storage unit to his basement.

Over the past two years we've moved quite a bit out of the coach and into the basement storage as we learned what we really needed to have with us. Our needs have changed since we bought our Foretravel and we're now looking to switch to an Airstream. That will further reduce our ability to have "stuff" with us, but by now we have a much better idea of what we really need to have along. Each time we go by our son's place we leave a few boxes there.

Hope this helps.
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:01 PM   #19
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I agree with the people who have said “it depends” as the answer to your overall question. We are in our mid-thirties. We spent two years as part-time full-timers (six months on the road during our first year, more than seven months during our second year). We sold our house in Denver last month and are now full-timers. We work from the road, so I cannot speak to what it is like to be a retiree. But, I can say that for us, the benefits outweigh the negatives. But it all depends on YOUR personality, interests, and preferences.

We really like being able to be in beautiful natural places most of the time. We are also saving money over our previous situation. FT RV life (how we live) is not cheap but it is less expensive than living in an expensive neighborhood in an expensive city. We earn a good portion of our income from nature photography and love the outdoors, so we like being in public campground and wild camping. The lack of amenities is not a problem for us. As long as we have a cell phone signal and mostly quiet place to park, we are happy. We also have had no issue fitting our stuff in a 25’ Airstream and the bed of our truck. We even have space in some of our closets and never feel like we need more space. Finding good places to camp has not been an issue for us either (the issue is having too many places we want to visit).

On the other hand, we are often fixing things on our Airstream which has been frustrating given what we paid for it. It takes a lot of time to keep up with things like cleaning, dishwashing, getting water, dumping tanks, hitching up, etc. We meet a lot of interesting people on the road but I do sometimes miss having a consistent community (which is the primary reason that we do not plan to do this indefinitely). Things can be complicated – like getting mail, explaining your situation to insurance agents, figuring out what to do with our cats when we need to travel away from the trailer, etc.

For people who are not comfortable with change and the unexpected, FT RVing could be a nightmare. Things go wrong, repairs can be costly, campgrounds are not what you expect, you run into traffic/construction that delays your plans, a cell phone signal is not as strong as expected, you have to drive for an hour to get groceries (or make another a two-hour round trip to get another part for a repair), etc.

Bottom line: FT RVing in an Airstream is not easy or especially cheap but it can be very fun and enjoyable if the pros, like being in nature, outweigh the other inconveniences based on what you want out of your life.
Sarah Marino
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Old 09-05-2016, 02:30 PM   #20
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As for me...

I am a small business owner, about ready to be forced into retirement.

A house in the Suburbs that is eating my wallet.

A house in the country that is breaking my back.

New furnace OUCH, New septic tank OUCH, Property taxes OUCH ETC…

I have no business complaining, I've been more fortunate than many

I always planned on taking a LONG road trip. ( 2 months to 2 years )
Then what….A rocking chair, watching TV?

Many of my friends are at the same stage in life. I've been polling them. Some have things all planned out. Some are clueless. Some aren't concerned. Some plan to work to the grave. Some have women that made their minds up for them.

Planning a road trip is fun. But then you have to walk the walk.

The first few months should be fun, fun, fun ( think Springtime ) Music Festivals, going places that you love or have always wanted to see. Being surprised by stumbling into a beautiful location

Then dealing with the heat and cold….not so much. But like the song " Going where the weather suits my clothes "


The emotional aspect of things. The loneliness. The dark desolate wide open spaces. The night time. The boredom. Friendships that last a day or two. The lack of people that have known me for thirty years. Not knowing if I am in a safe place for the night.
My Dad was a VERY smart, successful, influential man. He kinda freaked out when he retired, not knowing what he was going to do with his life.

I have been trying to appreciate the beauty of not knowing what's ahead. The mystery of what life has in store for me. It's a bit easier said than done, but it is what it is.

I'd sure like to hear what others are thinking about. ( I was writing while some of you answered )
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