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Kai in Seattle 07-12-2019 04:11 PM

IF You Ever Considered Full-Timing
If you've ever considered full-timing, what did you decide?:confused:

What tipped the scales for you? That is, if you chose to do it, what was your biggest reason(s), and if you chose NOT to do it, what was your biggest reason(s)?:cool: :D

What did you HAVE to keep from your house-bound life...and what were you most glad to offload? :wub

I see people here who travel a lot, some talk about full-timing, and then I see people who move into those tiny houses, some even on wheels to be towed from site to site, I assume not frequently. Fascinating, all of it! :chatter:chatter:chatter


ZachO 07-12-2019 04:23 PM

People who truly full time will know better than me, but I have some experience. Other people spend the winter in the desert, out on BLM land. I'm very localized, since I have a place-based job.

I love living in small spaces. Fire lookouts, cabins, campers. When I first bought a tiny motorhome, my first thought when I camped the first time was "I'd love to live in here".

Some of the practical considerations which come to mind:

Neighbors. You don't have time to build a relationship, most of the time. I can't tell you how many people think it's ok to be around camp all day, then turn on the generator at 9pm. On for 2 hours, then back on again at 5:45am. Or the guy I run into a few times every summer who never, ever turns off his generator.

Parking on public land in a structure which is very easy to break into. All of my life is in my car and trailer.

Where to leave the trailer if you want to "get away" for a few days?

Then there's the really pessimistic, but realistic side of me that knows this is all temporary. The heyday is now. Boondocking? Good luck. As more and more people crowd public lands, dispersed camping will no longer be allowed. Developed campgrounds for all. "Camping" will consist of what's essentially a youth hostel-style sleeping arrangement, one next to the other, whether in tents or RVs. Then follow the conveyer belt-like line of people along trails to see the sights.

But right now, you can still find a little solitude, still find a small group of people to camp with for the winter out in the desert, away from it all, more or less. Enjoy it! It's going away.

If for you full-timing can mean driving from one RV park to the next, paying $50+ a night, it's still going to be possible for a long time.

Back on topic...I chose to because I love living in small spaces, and I love not paying rent.

Cathy P. 07-12-2019 05:40 PM

There was something about having everything we owned right there behind us on the highway. We could go any direction or no direction at all. Having moved around for many years with the military and then requesting transfers with a federal government contractor, it is just impossible to sit still, and we have tried but in 2 years if it doesn't feel like home, time to give it up!

Probably the hardest thing about it, any time you pull up roots, is that some, myself and a few people I have talked to, you can lose "home". You know, when you are really tired or at "the end of your rope", you just want to go home, but it really isn't there anymore. That comes with being mobile for some. It is a trade off though as I wouldn't trade the moving around and the time we spent full-timing (which we are currently debating on returning to again) for the sense of "home" that I lost. They say, "Home is where you park it." - not the warmest fuzziest feeling from that though.

It is nice to just move when you have crappy neighbors, that can be a real bonus!

Spongelander 07-12-2019 09:39 PM

Kai, hope you are feeling better. We've discussed doing this at some point in our lives, but we live in a great neighborhood and are able to travel quite a bit, and inexpensively (with a Casita :). Northwest summers, as you know, are awesome, and not to be missed. On the other hand, the rain, well, I don't mind missing that. We have hobbies that would be difficult to continue if we were full-timers. That said, at some point, we'll move into a smaller, simpler place, and I'm hoping to pare down stuff and travel the country for a year in between. I will say, time slows down on the road, and I have such fond memories of our travels.

Glenn Baglo 07-12-2019 09:47 PM

I will remind all that you are getting older, and frailer.
You might prefer a house to a trailer.

Raspy 07-12-2019 10:49 PM


Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo (Post 748632)
I will remind all that you are getting older, and frailer.
You might prefer a house to a trailer.

Eventually, yes. But if you don't do it now, then when?

I think its harder to start full-timing after being settled in a house because a lot of things have accumulated. And if you are thinking about full timing, but haven't yet, you probably already have a house.

I lived full time on my boat for many years, and gradually I began to want more than the boat would allow. I also had a business, so I wasn't completely free to wander. But I was starting with less and moving toward more, so it was a gradual choice to move toward land. Meanwhile, I travelled thousands of miles around coastal California, went to Mexico for six months, and had a wonderful time living in marinas and anchored out.

Now, we have a house that we can leave for months with no problem, so full timing in the trailer could work fine, and be the next interesting chapter. We even bought a new trailer that is well suited to full timing. So, the potential is definitely there. The best solution is to just go until you don't want to go any farther, or any longer. Then come "home" to a place of refuge. Then go again if you want to. It doesn't have to be some absolute definition of "we're full timing!".

We recently met a couple that were out indefinitely in a cute little 15' sticky. She said they were "between Houses". I like that. It might go on for another month, or another year. They had no idea and were not trying to define it. They were just having fun and spending time in their trailer enjoying life. Cool.

I have no intention of giving up our house, but I intend to do lots of traveling. So, for us, I guess it's a mix of of where do you want to go and how long to you want to be gone? As usual, I'll play it be ear. Either way, our dog Gogo is delighted to go.

Glenn Baglo 07-12-2019 11:25 PM


Originally Posted by Raspy (Post 748633)
I have no intention of giving up our house

Which is a good thing given the twists and turns of life.

MyronL 07-13-2019 06:08 AM

I keep telling her, if you die first I'm selling the house and going full time in the trailer. But then, I think, wait, how can I survive out there without my table saw?

ZachO 07-13-2019 07:47 AM

Oh if you have enough bed space in the truck, you don't have to do without!

I have friends who travel the US in the summer doing carpentry projects, then have a small lot in Baja where they park for the winter (and are starting to build a little house for themselves). They have all the tools they need to build a house, or if they don't have it, they rent or borrow. Seems to work for them!

I agree about the hobbies. I see young people (and old, also) living in smaller campers than mine. I've accumulated some skills and hobbies...and they do take up space. I mean I have my x-country skis and poles in my way in the back of my truck right now. Backpacking gear, car camping gear, bread baking gear, musical instruments (the one thing I have stored at a friends house is an upright bass), a canoe, a bike, books and a lot of tools.

There's something very difficult, and very satisfying about getting rid of a bunch of crap you thought you needed, though. In the end, if my camper and truck burned to ground, the only thing I'd hope to get out in time is myself and my dog. As for the rest, good riddance.

ZachO 07-13-2019 07:49 AM

John, when did you buy a sticky? I missed it.

Jon Vermilye 07-13-2019 08:10 AM

I don't fulltime, but do "long time" usually on the road for 6 - 8 months per year.

I won't give up my house - first it is in a great location on the shores of Lake Ontario. Small enough (1200 sq ft) that it isn't all that difficult to keep up, and, not like my brother who over 40 years had an $80,000 house turn into a 1.2 million dollar house (there is an advantage to living on a small, popular island), houses in my upstate NY area have not appreciated that much. I doubt I'd be able to purchase the same house for what mine is worth in many other parts of the country.

I sure understand the problem of accumulating "stuff" living in the same place for 50 years. Last week I filled a 30 yard rolloff with stuff from the basement, attic & barn, and probably could do another one.

The only bad part about the area I live in is the winters - 150" - 200" of snow. My solution is to head to Quartzsite & the southwest. I'm comfortable living in the trailer, and certainly could do it year round, but I have to admit it is nice to have a house in an area that has great summers.

Raspy 07-13-2019 10:02 AM


Originally Posted by ZachO (Post 748652)
John, when did you buy a sticky? I missed it.


We ordered a new Black Series HQ19 in June. We'll have it at the end of August. My Oliver sold last week. The next chapter begins!

Not really a sticky, it has an aluminum tube frame for the body, hot dip galvanized frame, independent swing arm suspension with dual shocks per wheel, 12" brakes, full articulating hitch, solar system, inverter charger system with 12V circuit breakers, twin spare tires, etc.

This is one of the Australian trailers that I have been looking at for some time, that are made to venture into the outback, but were not available in the US until recently. They seem to have their manufacturing perfected and are making them in a mirror image for the US market with the doors on our curb side.

Here's a link:

thrifty bill 07-13-2019 11:41 AM

I don't see us full timing because we have too good of a group of friends in our current location, and we like stuff too much. We are amateur pickers, buying and fortunately, selling stuff regularly. So part of our travels are buying/sourcing trips.

Jon in AZ 07-13-2019 12:01 PM

IF You Ever Considered Full-Timing
Since I sense the question is more speculative, I will venture my thoughts.

I love to travel, and Iím looking forward to a season in which we can travel more, but I also love to come home. We have deep roots in our community, and I enjoy gardening. There will eventually come a season in life where RVing is no longer possible, and I donít want to have to start over with buying a home and settling into a new community.

Fortunately my wife and I are like-minded, so for us it will always be both home and travel, never full-timing.

We have a modest, low-maintenance house with no mortgage or HOA and just enough yard for a small garden, but not so much it will be an impediment to more extended travel in the future. A large garage, big enough for a smaller molded trailer, is a huge bonus. Weíre set, I think!

Lisle 07-13-2019 12:39 PM

Just retired and planning to pack my stuff, give up my apartment and full time starting next month. Couldn't afford my house in retirement, so sold it, and can't afford both a rental and a camper. Love the small space in my 16' Casita complete with double bed, two chairs and table, kitchenette and bath with shower and toilet. Room to do morning yoga in the aisle. Really everything I need. Love the idea of being able to take my home with me, and sleep in my own bed every night. Hoping to maintain connection with my community here by blogging and visiting. Considering settling back here once I'm done full timing. In the meantime, lots of new friends to make as I travel. Check back with me in a couple years and I'll tell you how it's going. :)

Kai in Seattle 07-13-2019 03:00 PM

Thanks, all for your thoughtful replies.

Spongelander, thanks, yes, I'm some better now than I was a few months ago.

Thinking at least a few minutes a day of how to incorporate my new needs into our old Peanut routines...and that led me to wondering how people deal with the idea of total trips. What all would you have to give up, and what must not be left behind. And would you, if you could?

A lot of interesting answers. Believe it or not, they help me focus on what matters most here and well as for the possible future of short trips, all the way to the fulltiming world.


Lisa M. 07-13-2019 03:04 PM

Interesting you should bring up the topic. I've been thinking about it. As long as I'm teaching and Tom is retired, we usually take shorter trips in our Casita. He doesn't like to be away from home for very long (long=more than one week!), so I sometimes take longer trips alone, or travel with friends or family. But lately I've been thinking about when I'm retired and what if I outlast Tom (as he is 12 years older, it's quite possible). The house will be paid for. What if I were to rent out my house (just in case) and go full-time, just the dog and me? I'm really not attached to stuff and could let it go, except for a couple of plastic bins of stuff that I could leave at a kid's house. I think I would be good with making new friends along the way and visiting new churches. It's interesting to read and watch videos about people's experiences with full-timing.

Kai in Seattle 07-13-2019 03:09 PM

Lisa M,

Interesting you mentioned visiting new churches. We knew people who travelled, making a point of visiting all the Elks and Eagles clubs along the way.

Ray Bradbury wrote a story about "The Man Who Travelled in Elephants," going from circus to any street fairs where an elephant would be present.

Maybe it helps to have a small focal point to some trips. I hadn't thought of a "focus" to the I will.

We once did a two-week car vacation with a focus on animals; Emu Farm, Raptor Center, Big Cats Sanctuary, Wolf and Bear Haven, zoos, etc. It was good.



Daniel A. 07-13-2019 03:41 PM

Some nine years ago I considered full time but decided I still wanted a place as home. So what I did was buy a Mobil home as a base its in a major center very rare I keep my Bigfoot some 30 miles away in storage.

The Mobil home park works well in terms of cost I'm part of a community and can hit the road anytime. One benefit is there is an RV park next door that I can wonder around in and talk with fellow RVers that are on the road.
I've spent a couple of winters in Cabo Mexico get away from the rain here in Vancouver,BC. I still have a home that is fixed with costs less than 1000.00 a month total. My trailer is on the road mostly in spring and fall a month here and there works well. At this time I'm looking at Satellite TV costs given I'm alone on the road and could use this when its wet out. Being retired for the past nine years has given me plenty of time to figure out my needs and wants.

Nor Cal Mike 07-13-2019 10:31 PM

Our house which we built ourselves 30 years ago is paid for, our property taxes and other costs are reasonable to our retirement income. I doubt that we could boondock for what it costs to live in our house.Our kids grew up and flew the coupe for life in the big city so they aren't keeping us here. My wife is very social and would never give up her rather large group of long time friends.

All that said, "part timing" for say 4-5 months a year is very doable for us.

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