Sorry, the “pictures to words” ratio is opposite of normal for this post!
So…we didn’t quite make it to the one year mark of fulltiming in the RV, but that’s ok! It’s been an awesome experience and we now know what it’s like to do that and not have a stick ‘n’ bricks home base.
We’ve been living in the RV for nine months now, and traveling much of that. We’ve done a LOT of fun stuff in the 13,000 miles we’ve traveled in this motorhome (25k miles if you count the last motorhome and the year we had it!). It’s actually a little overwhelming to think back about every place we went and the things we saw and did over the past two years. Our kids are probably going to grow up with a bunch of random memories from all over this country, not knowing exactly which place the memories are from. Good thing I took a bazillion photos and videos along the way, and kept track of it all in this blog
While the motorhome currently feels like home (hard to imagine if you haven’t done this before), the newness of the RV and living in it has worn off, and unless we are traveling to fun places we can’t help but to want a house again. Even while traveling, all of us have been getting the itch to have a little (ok, a lot!) more space again and to be near family and friends, as well as get back into church on a regular basis.
Oh, how nice it would be to have an office again with a real desk and large computer monitors! Carla would love to be able to soak in a bathtub again, and the kids would love to have their own rooms again. It would also be so nice for the kids to be able to keep their toys in their rooms and not in the combination “living room/kitchen area/play area/office”.
We are also looking forward to having steady and fast Internet connectivity again, with no data limit per month to keep an eye on, and no campground / hotel WiFi login page just to get on the Internet (I’ve come to despise those WiFi login pages that our WifiRanger doesn’t always work with, meaning every WiFi device in the RV has to then be individually configured to login to the RV park WiFi). This usually translates into ”Dad, the Internet’s not working!” within 5 minutes of parking, before I’ve had a chance to even hook up the utilities!
I think we’ve done pretty well to live in roughly 400 square feet for nine months, with all of us there all of the time, especially with me being on conference calls frequently (“Everybody please be quiet, I’m on a call!!”, as I rush to the bedroom and close the door). We will also have the desire to use the RV more if we have a home base to stretch out in between trips.
For me, though, it’s also a little sad to be buying a house again. Almost like “been there, done that”, and now we’re going back to the suburbia lifestyle that I was so excited to ditch nine months ago. It also feels like I’m about to lose the freedom that comes with RVing, which includes not having the responsibility of having and maintaining a house and yard again (I had established a “no mowing” policy upon moving into the RV!). But, we’ll still have the RV and will still travel a lot (more on that below), so it’s not like we’re giving it up…I have to keep reminding myself of that. Another thing we’ve talked about is the fact that our kids will have jobs someday (guessing 4-5 years until Avin gets a job, which I don’t like to even think about because that means he is growing up too fast), and that will put a serious damper on traveling. Therefore, we want to travel with the kids as much as we can stand over these next 4-5 years so we can all have as much fun together as possible.
It has definitely been a neat experience doing what we’ve done so far. We were just talking about that in the car recently, how it’s been fun to buck the system and do things our way. Seriously, who gets to work on the beach, take a lunch break to check out Mount Rushmore, spend a month of evenings and weekends visiting Disney World, spend a lunch hour paddling with Sea Otters and Sea Lions, cooking hot dogs over a campfire in the beach whenever we want, and how about driving a beach buggy up the moonlit beach and watching the surf almost touch the wheels as we buzz a few miles north to grab food and donuts in downtown Port Aransas? Hey, let’s go to the San Diego Zoo this weekend! Or, let’s find the best seafood place in Cocoa Beach! How about we buy skateboards in Santa Cruz and go to some local skate parks? Legoland? Sure! Celebrate a birthday at the top of the Space Needle? Ok! How about tidepooling up the coast in search of starfish and crabs? How about going crabbing out in the ocean (and the boat taking on water!)? All of those things, and many more, have been so much more fun and fulfilling than being in a house all the time.
Yep, there is a lot more paperwork and answering questions / explaining our living situation when it comes to things like taxes, health insurance, obtaining an auto loan for a vehicle in Oregon when you live in Florida and travel in an RV fulltime, obtaining a house house mortgage, establishing Florida as a domicile, explaining to various places why our driver’s license has our RV license plate number for our address, etc., but it’s worth the effort and the funny looks we’ve gotten from people along the way (“Remember the time we went to that bank…”). Some funny stories to remember for sure!
Finding and Buying a House
We talked seriously about building a new house again, but knowing it would take six months or more means we we wouldn’t be getting a break from the RV anytime soon.
For the sake of our mental health, we decided to just buy a house that’s already built. Easier said than done, though. We initially searched for a house on a lot large enough to build an RV garage, but the cost of building a garage (~$40-60k) vs. the cost of storing the RV in an enclosed garage at a mini storage facility ($250/month) was no comparison. Not knowing how many years we would have the RV or stay in the same house (hopefully many, though) meant renting a storage unit was the way to go. It is also hard to find a house for sale in a neighborhood we liked with a both a large lot and a POA that would allow an RV garage to be built. It was harder than you might think.
With the RV storage option decided, we needed to find a house that had a driveway large enough to park the RV while loading / unloading for a few days (while leaving enough room to park the car). We also had to be able to drive the RV to the house (some neighborhood roads were too tight or had turns that were too tight) and also be able to make the turn into the driveway, with the driveway not being too steep or we would drag bottom. That’s a lot of road and driveway criteria that you can’t just put into the Realtor or Zillow apps when searching for a house! We spent a lot of time looking at Google Earth to see what the roads and driveways looked like for any potential houses. Soooo many hours spent researching houses!
After a lot of searching, our new home town will be Cave Springs, AR! This is in the same town as The Creeks RV and Golf Resort we’ve stayed at a few times. In fact, that was the park we stayed at as we transitioned to RVing full time!
We are super excited to move in and are also looking forward to WANTING to be in the RV after we spend some time in the house. We will enjoy the RV so more when we are not living in it full time.
After settling on this house, we then had to run the gauntlet of filling out the bank paperwork, which was a little different this time when compared to other times we’ve bought a house. We had to explain how we had been living “rent free” for the past 12 months. The bank was not used to dealing with our situation of living full-time in a motorhome…we’re like urban hippies or gypsies to them.
So….we will have made it nine months out of the twelve we set out to do. Not too bad! We plan to continue to travel up to six months out of the year, with our next trip being to the gulf for the winter (big surprise, eh?). That is only about eight weeks from the day we get the house!
We also already booked two months at Lake Pleasant in Bothell (Seattle area) for late next Summer as well, so traveling is still a big part of 2018!
Until the next trip…