The 5-Step Full Time RV LIFE SYSTEM For 2019 [Downloads Including Departure Checklist & Glossary]
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We have been living and traveling in an RV full time since 2016 which is a dream for many people.
The idea of having freedom away from the office while still making an income as you enjoy ever-changing landscapes is a trend spreading through this country faster than a Northern California wildfire.
According to the RV Industry Association, 1 million Americans are living out of an RV redefining the definition of the American Dream. That doesn’t mean 1 million people roam the countryside in search of the next vista. Some of these individuals (probably half) are permanently parked in an RV campground who never see the other side of the state.
The other half living in an RV full time take their RV with them everywhere they go. The popular saying for this type of RV lifestyle is “Home is where you park it.” And park it they do; in RV Parks, campgrounds, driveways, wineries, shopping centers, and out in the wilderness called boondocking.
This website is dedicated to wannabes, newbies, and masteries who want to learn more about living a life on the road.
Stick around, because I’m sharing everything we know about how to live in an RV full time so you can also view What’s Outside Our Door in this step-by-step guide!
Let’s get started!
CURRENTLY IN PROGRESS
[Click on topic to go directly there.]
1.2 Take This Quiz
2.3 Mail Delivery
2.4 Health Care
2.5 Making Money
2.6 Staying Online
- Step #3: When is the Best Time to Start Full-Time RV Living?
3.1 RV Cost
3.2 RV Rentals
3.3 RV Sales
3.3.1 Types of RVs
3.3.2 RV Loan
3.3.3 RV Trader
- Step #4: Where Should You Go When You Full-Time RV?
4.1 RV Parks
4.3 RV Membership Clubs
- Step #5: RV Safety
5.1 RV Driving & Handling Training
5.1.1 Checklist Download
5.2 RV License
5.2.1 State-by-State Requirements
5.3 RV Maintenance & Repairs
5.4 RV Supplies & Accessories
5.5 RV Tips
6.1 Progress Chart Download
6.2 Glossary Download
Step #1: Why in the Heck Would You
Want to Live in an RV Full Time?
When we decided to live, work, and travel full time in an RV, we didn’t know the first thing about what it would take to achieve our dream.
What we did know is that life is short, and we didn’t want to have a “could’ve/would’ve/should’ve” moment after it was too late.
We decided to create a different life today instead of hoping for one tomorrow.
The late Senator Paul Tsongas said, “No man ever said on his deathbed, ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office.’” So we took the office with us for a ride along America’s highways and byways.
This 5-Step Beginners Guide for RV Full-time Living is meant to share our experience so that it may enhance yours.
It might be easier than you think!
Why do you want to live in an RV full-time? You must be crystal-clear of your priorities, especially if there are more than one of you (including pets!).
What is most important to you?
Is living a purpose-filled life full of experiences more valuable than having a regular income (salary from a desk job) each month?
Is living a minimalist life important to you or are you the type of person who enjoys collecting things?
Writing down your life priorities creates a clear path toward what matters the most to you.
Write it Down
Writing it down is the secret to following your dream. Get your goals on paper, and the rest will fall into place.
List the five things that are most important to you in order of priority:
1. ________________________________ __________________________
TAKE THIS QUIZ
Do you really want to RV full time?
Living full-time in an RV is a major, life-changing decision.
As with most things, it’s the little things that grab the heart. Picking garden tomatoes to make a summer salad. Taking a bubble bath. Handing out candy to trick-or-treaters.
But sipping coffee with a million dollar view right outside your door can also stir emotions. Or strolling down a forest-canopy trail before lunch. Or planning your next adventure.
Is it Worth It?
Is living a life in an RV worth missing the little things common in a suburban-ruled life?
Or is living a “normal” life steeped in societal tradition more important than driving to your next destination?
Only you and yours can answer these questions.
Paulo Coelho, the author of The Alchemist, says, “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine; it is lethal.”
Full-time RVing is not routine, and, therefore, not for everyone.
So how do you know if you “could’ve/would’ve/should’ve?”
Step #2: HOW in the Heck CAN You
Live FULL TIME in an RV?
FIGURING OUT THE HOWS
How do you go about preparing to live full-time in an RV? Where does your mail go? How do you go to the doctor? How will you make an income? And most importantly, how do you watch Netflix??
There are many things to consider and plan before embarking on a full-time RV life.
But getting bogged down in the “cursed hows,” as Mike Dooley of Thoughts Become Things describes them, can be dangerous.
Dooley says, “It’s common that when we have a dream, we spend our time worrying about HOW we can make it a reality when the truth is that letting go of those “hows” is the only real way to move closer in the direction of our dreams.”
Make it Simple
We won’t let go of the “hows” here, but we will simplify them by describing our experience and sharing resources that helped us.
The full-time RV living “hows” are important and need planning, but don’t let them stop you. We realized after everything was said and done, getting organized for full-time RVing was easier than we anticipated.
Hopefully, you will agree as you move closer to your dream.
LEARNING TO DOWNSIZE
The hardest thing about getting rid of stuff is dealing with FEAR.
FEAR causes us to buy something we don’t need and then hold onto it “just in case.”
FEAR of being Unprepared is what causes over packing. “You never know what the weather might be.”
FEAR of not being Good Enough is the reason we hold onto inspirational books and exercise equipment. “One day I’m getting on that exercise bike.”
FEAR of losing Love or not having enough is the reason we hang onto sentimental items. “I could never get rid of Granny’s serving dish. She loved me so much.”
FEAR of Money is the reason we hold onto expensive items we don’t use. “I paid a lot of money for that stereo!” I could never give it away.”
Understanding the FEAR of Unhappiness helped the most during our downsizing process.
As emotional humans, we want to hold onto material items that represent happiness we experienced in the past.
A bronzed baby shoe.
A love letter.
A high school yearbook.
A wooden rolling pin.
Our FEAR is if we get rid of sentimental objects, the happiness surrounding them will also go away. We fear we will never have that type of happiness again in the future.
So we cling to the items to hold onto the past because we fear we will never have it again.
But in reality, clinging to inanimate objects from yesteryear only holds us back from real happiness today.
Purging is a mindful process.
You must be present during this process. It is not something to take lightly. You are purging years of accumulation. It is a process to honor and recognize.
Learn to D.I.T.C.H.™
Section off five areas of your living quarters for purging stations. Each zone will have a designated purpose labeled:
D for DUMP. These are the items you are throwing away.
I for I WANT TO KEEP. These are the items you are keeping in storage.
T for TAKE. These are the items you are taking with you in the RV.
C for Charity. These are the items you are giving away to charities, such as The Goodwill and The Salvation Army.
H for Hand Over. These are the items you are handing over to your friends and family.
Fill your D.I.T.C.H.™ stations with boxes, garbage bags, etc. to prepare for the next step.
This step took us about six months to complete. You can take as much or as less time as you need.
We found it easier to take part in the Decide step as we went through the day. When you pick up an object, give it a DITCH decision.
Look at what you are holding in your hand.
Is it going to the dump? Be placed in storage? Travel with you in the RV? Given to charity? Or will you be handing it over to a friend or family member?
Set it aside to decide later if you have to think twice about it. There’s no prize for how fast you DITCH™ an item.
On weekends we participated in DITCH™ Marathons. We DITCHed™ a room until it was clear, and then we worked another room.
Slowly, things started to clear out. More than once we looked at each other with a, “What are we doing?” face. But the more DITCHing™ we did, the more exciting it became.
MAIL DELIVERY: HOW TO ESTABLISH A DOMICILE
One of the most frequently asked questions about RV full-timing is “HOW do you get your mail?”
The first step is to create your domicile state. This is the state where you file your taxes and where your mail is delivered.
The easiest way to establish your domicile state is to choose a mail service. The mail service then provides your “official” address.
Mail Delivery Resources
Earth Class Mail
Offers more than 85 address and PO Box locations covering all 50 states.
Escapees RV Club
Domiciles for Texas, Florida, and South Dakota.
Sasquatch Mail offers the best in mail forwarding service for business and individual needs. Get an address with a suite number, open and scan.
Get a USA address and have mail forwarded to you anywhere in the world.
Another frequently asked question about RV full-timing is “HOW do you go to the doctor?”
You can insert any profession in that question including the dentist, hairdresser, optometrist, and even your gym.
But here we will focus on health care.
The first requirement when considering full-time RVing is your level of flexibility.
How flexible are you with medical care?
If it is imperative to be close to familiar healthcare professionals, then full-time RVing is probably not appropriate for you.
And if you have a health care plan that will not allow you to see doctors outside a local network, then again, full-time RVing may not be for you.
For those with flexible health care plans, and don’t go to the doctor frequently, full-time RVing can work fine for you.
Health Care Resources
65 and over:
The 65 and over age group is the easiest to maintain good health care coverage. Once you have Medicare, a Medicare Supplement is a good choice to buy which allows you to see any Medicare doctor at any location.
Some Medicare Advantage Plans can also work that have PPO coverage. These plans are usually less expensive than Medicare Supplements and typically provide extra benefits, like vision and dental.
If you’re not covered under an employer plan, you will need to purchase your own health care coverage. There are many options available, and with the current confusing government rules, choosing a health plan can be daunting. The main issue is to make sure you have a plan that provides flexibility.
Take Command Health
Take Command Health guides you through the daunting maze of health insurance coverage online. Imagine someone taking your hand and comparing health insurance places in one place.
There’s no more hunting, and pecking, and getting frustrated because information is provided to you in plain language that you can understand so you can buy the best health care coverage for you.
[Currently in progress. Thank you for your patience!] Last update 08.11.19.
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