Wednesday, March 7, 2012
First, we did the research. If you know anything about me, you know all too well that I immerse myself in information. I am a research junkie. Seriously, one hit(or reference) will not satisfy me. When researching or learning about something new, I devour all/any information I can get my hands on, you name it I used it...books, magazines, people, web, video. I found a lot of helpful information some of which I shared at the bottom of this post, for those of you interested in learning more about RVing full time.
After the research, we had to find an RV. It is pretty hard to live in a RV if you don't get one. Making this decision was a bit more difficult as there are a lot of options. RVs come in a few different styles. After much search and test driving, we chose a Class A Winnebago Chieftain. A Class A whattity what what? First let me explain our RV has a truck engine built with living space attached. It features a truck like cabin area(I call the cockpit) with the pilot and co pilot chairs(driver and passenger) and a hideaway bed above that space. Behind the cockpit area is a full kitchen area with dinette set. Our kitchen has a double sink, four burner stove with oven and nice size refrigerator. Behind the kitchen area is the main bedroom with a full size bed and a bathroom with a shower, tub, and sink. Did I mention that like most RV's our dinette folds down into a third bed. Or that I have tons of storage under the beds, in a wardrobe, cabinets and under the RV? Not as bad as you(or I at one time ) thought?
While the "bones" of the RV were great, I personally hated the decor. The wall paper was discolored yellow beige and outdated floral with tacky pink and blue curtains to match. If this was going to feel like home, it needed to look like home. I painted the wallpaper a nice bright happy color, bought coordinating fabric and made curtains. Now our kitchen, bathroom and bedroom look fresh, modern and most of all like home. You can't put a price on comfort, but the redecoration cost less than $50. Next project will be to redo the dinette fabric and get matching comforter/bed linens, but that is another story.
The next phase of the plan was to test living in a motorhome before completely abandoning our sticks and bricks house. To do this safely as we were inexperienced and newbies, we did a test stay in our drive way. I suggest test runs for newbies before hitting the open road, as RV's have many complicated systems that could break or need slight repair if you use them incorrectly or have bad luck. Dealing with these issues, learning the basics close to home rather than in the middle of the woods is safer and smarter.We packed the RV with the essentials for a nights stay and lived in it without the use of the main house.
Even carefully researched and thoughtful plans must yield to a mistake. Our first mistake was not checking the weather forecast before the planned test stay.Our plan of buying, selling, packing, sharing had a very strict time table. Unfortunately, we learned that the night we chose was later put on record for the coldest night in Alabama for the entire 2011-2012 winter. Rather than be discouraged, we forged ahead determined to stay on our planned schedule. If we could survive the cold, new and inexperienced, we could survive anything. At worse if everything went to heck in a handbucket, we could always abandon ship and go inside the house defeated.
We played a couple of games of Monopoly, Scrabble Slam, and watched a movie(Into the Wild). Dinner, despite the evil weather conditions, was grilled and delicious. We drank hot chocolate and snuggled until our modest little heater warmed the RV to a comfy temperature. It should've been horrible, misserable and a complete disaster but it wasn't. It was fun, memorable, and hilarious: if it wasn't me looking like Ralphie's little brother in Christmas Story with my arms spread out while attempting to dress in several warm layers, Que building a fire in the freezing sleeting rain(as if rain isn't enough), it was Kaeden(2) trying to cheat in the games we played! "I not a cheat-wer!"
You know those rare moments in life where everything comes together similar to the perfect balance of nature with individual components independent but in perfect harmony with each piece fitting and working together as if God designed and intended one for the other? That is exactly what our life began to feel like after we began to pursuit our new dream life; as if each piece of the puzzle was being presented to us to put in place so that we could begin the journey to find happiness and peace. Needless to say that despite the circumstances given, the trial was a success. Feeling empowered, we forged onto the task of letting go of materialism by getting rid of the house, furniture and unnecessary gadgets.
If you are still on your own search or haven't begun, I challenge you to be brave enough to be completely honest with yourself regarding your goals and aspirations and how they differ from those life expects or demands of you. Only then will you really see what it is that you really want, without the tainted view of outside influences. Abandoning the impulse to live according to others is both freeing and empowering. If you have completed your search, I encourage you to write a plan of how you will accomplish what you really want in life and wish you the courage to bring the plan into fruition as we have done. Research, research, research! Remember to not only present this plan to your family and friends, but to God and ask Him to guide your journey. Good luck and courage to you all!
Our next step is to break the news to both sides of the family as we get rid of our traditional life, sell 80-90% of our worldly possessions, leave our house and begin life on the open road. Don't forget to check out the links below if you are looking for more information regarding the RV lifestyle. If you are a reader that knows of some helpful links, feel free to add them in the comment sections; I will approve blogs, webpages, books, videos, just about anything but commercials/advertisements.
Families On The Road: For families on the road full time, on extended road trips or are just dreaming about it. http://www.familiesontheroad.com/resources.html
Live. Work. Dream: Working to find the dream life.
Your RV lifestyle: What is a RV lifestyle? Choosing your RV
Camp Columbo: Video episodes about a young family living fulltime in a 5th wheel.
Traveling on the outskirts: A cute webisode series that follows a young couple living the fulltime lifestyle.