Joan: We visited friends in Platteville last evening; they have a beautiful large home on acres of land with lots of trees and lovely scenery. Their home is filled with character and is welcoming and cozy. For just a little while, I found myself missing our traditional home, but the feeling passed quickly. I’m sure it is only natural to miss our old life sometimes; we had comfy furniture, plenty of room to spread out, friendly neighbors, and family close by. We had things we collected, books, many hobbies, and a yard with trees and flowers, and a great view of the setting sun. Unfortunately, owning a home meant that we also spent many hours each week taking care of the house and yard, keeping everything clean, repaired and functioning smoothly. David and I built a two car garage, a large deck on the back of the house with a pergola, did loads of remodeling inside to make our home the way we wanted it. We had many “things”; what we were short of was time. We never seemed to have enough time to do what we wanted to do. Work and everyday obligations kept getting in the way.
Our life has changed drastically since we moved into our motorhome on July 17th. The first two weeks were very busy, until the closing of our house was completed on July 30th. We still had yard work, the final garage sale July 20th, cleaning the house and garage for the new owner, and donating what was left over after the garage sale.
The biggest difference in our life now is TIME. We have so much more time. Even though we have been busy during August-getting our address changed on our driver licenses, at the bank, with our insurance agent, notifying everyone of our new address; signing up for Medicare supplement and drug plans, completing the process for David’s pension payments from the Teamsters, getting new license tags for our vehicles, going to two funerals, having visits with out of town friends-even with all that we have more time to do what we want to do.
For most of our married life, David worked long hours at his job driving semi. I have worked full time for most of my nursing career, and also managed our household. After my shoulder surgery in January, I retired but this did not mean I was done working. There was still plenty to do: I did all of the yard work, all the housework, paid bills, did the grocery shopping, arranged for any repairs that David or I couldn’t do, and ran errands.
During the warmer months, we went camping with family and friends, but it was lots of work getting ready to go camping, and cleaning up the camper afterwards. Not to mention the hauling in of stuff we needed for the weekend, and hauling it back into the house afterwards (several hours of work each time, a job I usually did). When we did take a vacation (which didn’t happen very often), we were exhausted after getting ready to go on vacation, and would go back to work feeling like we needed another vacation to recuperate! A year ago we decided to sell our house and become full time RVer’s. We didn’t want to keep a traditional home, and knew we would have more money for traveling if we didn’t have the expense of keeping our home. Even though it was paid for, it would cost quite a bit for utilities, property tax, insurance; and maintenance.
Our life now is so different. We get up in the morning, sit outside and drink our coffee and talk about what to do that day. Depending on what we feel like we either stay “home” or take a day trip somewhere. Once we are on our travels, this scenario will change slightly; we will likely plan ahead depending on where we are going and what we decide to do once we get there. We aren’t going to be in a hurry so the plan is to slowly explore the United States, concentrating on warmer locations in the winter months, and the cooler states in the summer months-spending some time in the midwest to visit family and friends in Iowa. Now both of us share the household tasks; I do most of the cleaning inside, and David does most of the cleaning outside. We take turns doing dishes, laundry (we have a laundromat right here in the campground), making the bed, taking care of Smoke, and whatever odd jobs come up. It takes me about 30-40 minutes to thoroughly clean the camper once a week; the daily cleaning takes about 15 minutes. I tend to clean whatever needs it at the time I notice that it needs it. Dave keeps the garbage and recycle containers emptied, and I keep an eye on the groceries/toiletries/misc. supplies and write down whatever is getting low. Because we don’t have the storage space in our cabinets or fridge that we did in our traditional home, we do go to the store more often but it isn’t a chore because we are out and about at least every other day anyway. We don’t have many bills, and almost all of our payments are electronic so it’s just a matter of checking our online bank accounts occasionally to keep everything balanced.
Compared to all the tasks we did as home owners, the maintenance we are doing now on our motorhome is minimal. We will get the motorhome serviced professionally at least once a year, depending on how many miles we put on it. David doesn’t feel comfortable doing service work on such a large vehicle, so he is going to let the experts do it. Meantime, he is taking care of the smaller jobs himself, such as putting on new wiper blades, tightening up loose screws, and putting in some new drawer slide mounts that were cracked.
I decided to keep track of our expenses each month; I write down everything we spend, and have divided the expenses into categories so we can keep track of how much we spend in each area. We are well on track so far staying on budget. Our plan is to keep basic expenses lower than our monthly income; allowing us to save money each month for our emergency fund. We joined the Good Sam Club so we could sign up for their RV road service plan, which we have had in the past; it covers towing, emergency starts or gas, and other basic services.