I have found it hard over the years to really take a vacation, get enough sleep, or take a complete break from working 11 hrs per day. The jobs I’ve held have been exciting, invigorating, exhausting, and over time, not as rewarding financially as they should have been. After 20 years in the workforce, I am burned out, gray, flabby, bitchy, and itching to do something different. So I’m going to travel full time and work part time. Yikes! How can I do that? I’m in debt, have no savings, and need a job that lets me work from the road. Plus, I’d rather be painting than working in a cold, dark office all day. Voila! I’ll paint and teach online. I can always continue to build web sites for clients as well. This can be done. Two sets of friends and I would discuss this idea of traveling full time but it seemed so daunting to get from here (day job, kids, car, mortgage) to there (anytime/anywhere job, motorhome, gas money, kids). One way I overcome a daunting future is to dream. So I visualized every aspect of living on the road…what would the motorhome have to look like? What tools would I need? Where would I park? Would I feel safe? Could I take the dog? Could I homeschool my daughter?
Whether I’m dreaming or not, I like to get out the computer to help me. The following 3 screenshots are taken from Quicken’s customizable budgeting reports. Because I have used Quicken to track all home and business expenses for the past 7 years, it was able to automatically set up the budget for me! Quicken showed me my monthy and annual expenses and income based on past years. Before I put the house on the market, I reviewed my budget from 2003 and projected what it would cost to live in an RV 1) while still in Corvallis and then live in an RV 2) while traveling for a year. The screen shots below are examples of these budgets. The budget shows me that I’m trying to live outside my means! But, the idea about working part time (not 11 hours per day like I have been), traveling, having and accumulating less, and having FUN will keep me alive longer, which, day to day, should cost me less per month. We’ll see. Quicken allowed me to customize my columns and rows to generate a report that fit my mindset. I was able to hide/show detail of expenses depending on my needs for a report.
Budget Projections and Variations
The next thing I did was to project what it would take to get rid of the debt; pay a year’s worth of health, life, and auto insurance; and purchase the motorhome. For this task I switched to an AppleWorks Spreadsheet file. The three columns below use a few common calculations to show what I have available to spend on the motorhome and other expenses if I sell the house for $190k or $180k. If I changed the down payment amount then referenced cells will automatically adjust themselves. If I add more income then I can put more down on the RV or if I sell the house for less, I can see how much more income I need to maintain the budget. The columns adjust themselves. If I purchase a used or lower-priced rig, and teach distance classes, paint murals, and continue developing web sites for clients, I should be able to stay on the road for a year (or more).
Who else is living this dream?
Thousands across the country are quitting jobs, selling homes, and living full-time in motorhomes and trailers. Some are what might be considered trailer-trash, but many are retired or semi-retired professionals who want to see the world and live where it’s warm. Many work while on the road. WorkCamper magazine lists many jobs for fulltimers (as we’re called). Workers On Wheels covers many topics for And Full Time RVer tells us how to save time and money while on the road. Motorhome Magazine published a great article about the cost of fulltime RVing in 1999. I haven’t seen another one since, it’s time to update the figures; I believe costs have doubled.
When I was asked to teach a distance course, I knew I was on my way to living my dream. And not one of my friends or family has tried to persuade me to continue life as is. The only barriers are time, organization, and money. I project the process to go from fulltime worker to fulltime RVer will be about 9 months. I must stay focused on preparing the house for sale. I must continue to seek out other online teaching opportunities and start painting more.