Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Sunday, February 28, 2010


We had two showings on the house today so we needed to leave for a few hours. We went to see Avatar 3D.

Wow, what a great movie. It reminded me of a mix between Matrix, Lord of the Rings and Jurassic Park. Yet it was a totally original movie unlike anything we've seen before. The special effects were astonishing. This movie has set the bar for special effects. And I liked the message as well.

We're keeping our fingers crossed on the two showings today :)

"Home is where we park our RV" Hopefully, soon!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cart Before the Horse

Yesterday we got a call offering us a position as a volunteer camphost for the summer at a county park about 30 miles from our home!

There is just one small problem. Our house hasn't sold yet. About a month ago, we had accepted an offer and thought we would be closing at the end of March. We started checking around for a place to stay for the summer. When we contacted a county park we have enjoyed camping at, they told us they had a volunteer camphost position available for the summer. They sent us an application and we applied. We thought this would be perfect. We could stay in the area for the summer while organizing the RV for fulltime living. My mom has a farm nearby with a large garage we could store things in. The thought was to put what we wanted to take with us in her garage and organize in a relaxed manner; rather than throwing everything in the RV and taking it from there.

Well, in the meantime the offer on our house fell through. Yesterday the county park manager called and offered us the job. We decided to take it! We have had many showings on the house and a few who want to come back for a second look. Our agent is pretty confident we will get an offer by April as the government homebuyer incentives will expire at the end of April.

If the house hasn't sold by May, Kevin will do the camphosting. I will continue to work; staying at the house during the week and camphosting with him on the weekends.

It feels like this is right for us. I believe things frequently happen for a reason. I am hopeful the "cart is before the horse" because our house will be sold in time.

Keep your fingers crossed for us! I will close with a quote about patience. I'll just keep repeating these words to myself every day while we continue waiting and waiting and waiting......

"He that can have Patience, can have what he will" Benjamin Franklin

Friday, February 26, 2010

What About Your Family?

What about your family? This is another question we are often asked. So many people who hear of our plans, immediately say "Oh, we could never do that. We can't leave our children/grandchildren/elderly parents/friends, etc." I have to admit being away from my children was one of my biggest concerns when we first started exploring this life change.

I have been a lurker on many fulltimer websites, blogs and travel journals for a few years now. I was surprised to find out how many of you have family members you "left behind" in order to fulfill your dream. Knowing this made me feel better about our plans. Thanks for sharing your stories!

Our immediate family consists of our two grown sons and my mother. Kevin's parents are both deceased. We do not have grandchildren yet. I also have a brother in the area and Kevin has a sister in Wisconsin and a brother in Iowa. Our youngest son moved to Minnesota last year for his job. Just so happens his girlfriend lives and attends school in Minnesota as well :) Our oldest son lives in this area, but is considering moving to a warmer climate at some point. My mother has been a widow for four years. Last year she met a very nice man and they have been dating ever since. She is very happy. I guess what I'm saying is that everyone in our family has their own life to live; just as Kevin and I do.

When we started discussing our plans with our family, we got mixed reactions at first. They are all very happy for us, but had emotions of their own to deal with. I think both boys at first felt a little sad seeing their "home" going up for sale. They lived in the same house most of their lives. My mother was worried that we might be making a financial mistake and that we would be leaving her. She will not be alone as my brother lives nearby. Once I pointed out that she and my dad had spent many enjoyable years after retirement traveling and that it was now our turn, she understood better.

Does this mean we won't see them often and call frequently? Absolutely not. My children bring me great joy, and I can't imagine going more than a few months without spending time with them. I believe that by living a mobile lifestyle without many of the encumbrances we now have, it will be possible to see them often. We can drive to where they are, they can visit us or Mom (that's me) can fly in for a short visit (get ready boys). We plan to spend time each summer in Wisconsin so I will be able to see my mother as well. With cell phones, Skype, blogs and mobile internet; my family will probably be sick of hearing from me :)

"Change your thoughts and you change your world"....Norman Vincent Peale

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Our Decision

As I have been writing this blog, I realize I don't have many pictures to share. Yesterday I wrote about our RV. This picture is from the first time we camped in it. Since we bought it in late October and live in Wisconsin, you can understand the clothes we are wearing.

I have read the blogs, websites and travel journals of quite a few fulltime RVers. There seems to be a common thread as to why most of them chose this lifestyle. Words like simplify, peace, freedom, spirituality, and happiness seem to be a common thread for most fulltimers.

Kevin and I have been fortunate to have spent the last 32+ years in a great marriage raising two terrific sons. This is not to say we didn't have problems; everyone does. But, overall our life has been very fulfilling and we have nothing to complain about.

As the boys neared high school graduation, Kevin started talking about "retiring" early and becoming fulltimers. I was OK with the concept, but wasn't sure about giving up my "home base" and my cherished "stuff". Kevin has been working in the automotive service business for 35 years and is quite burned out. He was ready for a change.

My goal was to return to school to update my degree as an administrative assistant. I returned to school in 2000 and received my 2nd associate degree in 2003. I dreamt about obtaining the ideal job with a higher income in a place where I felt I could make a difference. I had been working the previous 15 years in the school district where my children attended school, but it was a part-time job. With both boys grown, I was ready to get out there and find that fabulous career I envisioned.

You know what they say about the best laid plans. I found a job with a different school district as the executive assistant to one of the assistant superintendents. The entire interview process was very strange; my gut told me something wasn't right about it. I so wanted to find that dream career so I made the mistake of not listening to my gut. Unfortunately for me, I got the job. The next three years were some of the worst in my life. My boss was extremely emotionally and verbally abusive. I carried the health insurance for my family so I didn't want to just quit as so many people were urging me to do. I tried for 3 years to make it work. Eventually, I got quite sick and my doctor put me on medical leave. Luckily for me, I had been keeping notes of what my boss was doing and saying. I had numerous meetings with the superintendent and was able to work out an agreement with the school district to place me in a different position. What I learned from that entire experience is that a career and more income doesn't bring happiness. My priorities had totally changed.

At about the same time I was dealing with the stress of that job, Kevin and I met a very nice fulltime RVing couple who were working at a county park in our area. I believe God put them in our path to tell us their story of how happy they were. The last thing they said to us was that they wished they would have made the decision sooner in their lives. Now I was excited to start working on the dream.

Our youngest son was still in college and lived at home during breaks. We spent the next three years getting the house in tip-top shape for a sale. I watch HGTV so we repainted many rooms to a "pleasing neutral color palette" and worked at staging each room so buyers would see a move-in ready home. Just as we were ready to place the house on the market, the economy fell apart. The housing market took a huge dive.

The last piece of the plan is for the house to sell. As soon as this happens, we will begin the life we have been dreaming about. They say patience is a virtue. Believe me when I tell you I apparently am not very virtuous :) This waiting is extremely hard. We have had our hopes up with 2 offers, but each time it fell through. There is much interest in our house, but so far the right buyer just hasn't been found. The last several months have been an emotional roller coaster.

Our dream for this new fulltime RV lifestyle is to simplify our lives. We want to have the freedom to explore this beautiful country; work when we want to or need to; enjoy more time spent together; live a more stress-free life; and enjoy more harmony and peace along the way.

Over the past few years, I have been collecting quotes from numerous places that I found inspirational. I did not keep track of where they came from or who said them; just the thoughts and words. I plan to share some of them with you. Hopefully, they can inspire you, too.

"Take heed, you do not find what you do not seek"

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

About Our RV

Welcome to the followers who have signed up for my blog. I apologize if anyone was trying to leave me a comment. I thought I was set up to receive comments, but apparently that was not the case. I was disappointed when I hadn't received a single comment after several days of blogging :) I investigated and low and behold, the comments feature wasn't working. It now works and I look forward to hearing from any and all of you.

A follower asked a question about what type of RV we have and how long we have been camping. We have a 2008 Jayco Designer 34RLQS. We bought it in October of 2008 from Gillette's Interstate RV in East Lansing, Michigan. You may ask; why not purchase our RV in Wisconsin where we live. We looked in Wisconsin, but we have not found a single Jayco dealer in Wisconsin that is willing to work with us or that has decent service. We have owned Jaycos since 1981. We have been very pleased with the quality of each one we have owned from pop-up to travel trailer to 5th wheel. We had purchased all of our Jaycos from a wonderful family owned dealer in the Milwaukee area. A few years ago Jayco decided to phase out the smaller operations and would only do business with larger mega-dealers. Since then, we haven't found a decent dealer anywhere near us. Oops, I guess I got off on a bit of a tangent.

I do highly recommend Gillette's RV in Michigan. We got an excellent price, their employees were all extremely friendly and helpful, and the service was fantastic. We had a few small warranty problems we needed correcting. We contacted our local Jayco dealer to see when they could do the warranty service. Since we did not purchase from them, they refused to work on it. Gillette's has bent over backwards to help us from afar and has shipped all the parts we need so Kevin can fix it himself.

We love our 5th wheel. It has a great floor plan, and we think it will suit us very well for fulltiming. We have camped since 1981 when our oldest son was born. I'm never quite sure whether to say we camp or RV. We prefer to stay in national, state or county parks. We enjoy natural settings with hiking and biking trails. To me, that's camping. Don't take me wrong. We have nothing against RV parks or private campgrounds and have stayed in many wonderful places. It's just that in my mind what we do is camping. Kevin loves to have campfires. Can you believe there are many campgrounds that don't even allow them :)

Tomorrow I plan to post a message on how we came to the decision to be fulltime RVers. By the way, we had a second showing of our house yesterday. Our realtor says they are very interested and will probably make an offer. This waiting is killing me :)

"The Worst Day In An Rv Is Better Than The Best Day At Work"

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

24/7 With Your Spouse?

The most surprising question I have been asked has been whether we think we can stand being together all the time in a small RV. I realize this lifestyle is not for everyone, but being together all the time has never been an issue for us.

It may sound cliche, but Kevin and I are best friends. We truly enjoy spending time together. We also realize that everyone needs their "space". So, if one or the other of us needs to be alone for a while, the other does not get offended. We have friends, but are not all that social. We are "homebodies" and enjoy our time together at home. I have read on many fulltimer blogs that making friends is very easy in the fulltime community. I look forward to joining that community and making those friendships!

We are so looking forward to exploring this amazing country together. Since we are too young to retire, we plan to work along the way. Again, this is not a problem for us as we work well together.

If you are considering the fulltiming lifestyle, I would urge you to really think about spending most of your time together with your spouse. Many people have told us they couldn't do it. Just one more thing to contemplate before you dive in.

"Not retiring -- in the classical sense but retiring from the rat race."

Monday, February 22, 2010

House Sale

We have had our house on the market since April, 2009. We've had some experience in selling a home before and thought we could save money by listing with a flat fee broker and handling the showings ourselves. A flat fee broker charges a flat fee to list your home in MLS, takes the pictures and provides the sign. The fee here in Wisconsin was $450. We thought we would try it. We listed for six months and had only 6 showings in that entire time.

So, in December we decided to list with a full service broker for a 6% commission. Since then we have had over 20 showings and 2 offers. The first offer was contingent on the buyer selling their home and that hasn't happened. The second offer was an insult and the buyer's demands were more than we were willing to give. Tomorrow there is a second showing for a buyer who is very interested. We're hoping for a sale soon.

My impression in this tough economy is that you need a full service realtor to sell your home. I think realtors don't want to show a home that has a flat fee listing. They tend to show homes listed with a full service broker. This is very obvious to us in our situation. Most of the showings we had last summer were people without a realtor who saw it listed on the MLS site on the internet. I really thought buyers would be searching more on their own online, but it seems most buyers rely on an agent to find them properties to look at.

We're keeping our fingers crossed that the buyers tomorrow will make an offer. If not them, there are two other buyers who looked at it over the weekend and have a strong interest in it.

Wish us luck!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Health Insurance Questions

People have asked us many questions about our future lifestyle as fulltime RVers. By far, the most frequently asked question is regarding health insurance.

This issue strikes tremendous fear into the hearts of many Americans. I have excellent insurance coverage through my employer. Obviously, once I leave I will be giving up that coverage. So, what to do? COBRA through my current insurance would be well over $1,000 a month. This is far too expensive for our budget. I have researched the health insurance issue at length. Websites of other fulltimers have been very helpful. Howard Payne at has written an excellent article about health insurance issues. I encourage you to take a look at his website if you are interested in fulltime RVing. I have learned so much from his site.

We have found the best option for us will be a high deductible policy. For about $165 a month we will be able to have a policy that will cover both of us, but we will have a $10,000 deductible. After that, all expenses are paid. This means doctor and dentist visits and prescriptions will be entirely our responsibility. However, if something major happens requiring hospitalization, that $10,000 will be gone in no time. After that, we are covered. This policy gives us peace of mind in case of a major illness or accident.

We have both had full checkups in recent months. Lucky for us, we are both in very good health. We will place the $10,000 deductible in a savings account and leave it there in case it becomes necessary to use it. We understand we are taking a risk with this type of policy. However, considering we are both in good health; we feel it is worth it. We're not willing to wait until we reach Medicare age to begin the dream. I believe many people allow fear to rule their lives. It is a calculated risk; we know that but are willing to take that risk.

I know there are people out there who are not in the best of health and need full coverage insurance. I wish I had an answer for you. Until our country makes health care a priority for all, there are those who won't be able to follow their dream. We are very willing to pay for our coverage. I just wish there were more options available for all.

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Franklin Roosevelt

Saturday, February 20, 2010


We have been dreaming of becoming fulltime RVers for over three years. Our home has been for sale since last April as the final step in making the dream become a reality. We had an offer and thought we would be closing at the end of March. At the last minute, the buyers backed out for financial reasons. So, we are back to showing the house. There are a few other interested parties so hopefully, we will have it sold soon. I wanted to get the blog started before we actually hit the road to share our journey in the process of becoming fulltimers. I hope our experiences and insights can help others achieve the same dream. I will let you know how things are progressing for us and try to share how we have gotten to this point in the adventure.