Thursday, November 17, 2011

Finding a way to get to the beginning

The idea of going from where I am to the life of a full-time RV'er is overwhelming. Most of it is fear wrapped up in the financial aspect of life on the road.

Money and survival has always scared me.

I've never been - in my mind - financially secure.  In my life I have experienced near-homelessness a few times.  I have been one of those people who has stood in line for foodbank-supplied groceries and holiday meal preparations. One Christmas I even found myself humbled at a handout center obtaining toys for my son so he would have something to unwrap under a charity-donated tree.  I have also been the proud owner of a house and have managed to recently buy a new car.

What it currently comes down to is this:  I don't have a stash of money hiding somewhere, no retirement to depend on and I'm not eligible for social security for another 10 years at the earliest. I am, with no RV, saying I'm going to start a full time vagabond life within the next few years.  The question is: HOW?

Slowly, I'm coming up with a plan.  I'm going to continue going through boxes and possessions and get rid of as much as I can.  That job will probably take about 18 months for me to emotionally let go.  It's not really the big things (I really don't have any) but it's the boxes of memories.  For example, I have over 600 record albums.  Do I play them? No. Are they preserved? No. They are records.  I bought them new. They are my connection to the 60's and 70's. I look at them and remember how cool they are.  I remember playing them to death. I remember stories and people and moments from long ago.

But do I need these records to maintain those memories?


So, slowly, I will allow myself to let go of them one at a time. I have more music than I ever listen to on my ipod and computer.

Same with books.  Though that might be more difficult.  I have a kindle, but the books I have on my shelves and in boxes are not housed electronically somewhere.  They are yellowed pages of long ago...of history and events not necessarily mine. Books are my friend.  Literature was my major. Stories are my adventures.  These will be harder to let go.

But I will continue to let things go, one by one.  This weekend I will revisit a tub o'legos and hot wheel track. I will touch the bike we bought 4 years ago and have only ridden 5 or 6 times.  These will hit craigslist within the week (though someone just told me those little lego people are worth a lot...maybe they will go on ebay!)

As for my 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment - I will renew my lease one more time this spring.  My son moves out next August and his room will become my staging area for downsizing.

Then, once THAT lease is up, I will probably move to a one bedroom/one bath apartment for a year.  During that time, with my cost of living slightly reduced, I can maybe put money aside and consider buying an inexpensive motorhome.

You can find them under $15K - did you know that?  Yep.  I've visited plenty of websites and blogs that have explained the trials and tribulations of re-decorating an RV.  It CAN be done.  It doesn't have to have a pink interior and hideously flowered upholstery. Thankfully, I am more than capable of interior decorating.

So...a year of living frugally and refurbishing an RV.  Then the big step.  Seeing if it's something I can honestly and am willing to do.

The plan is to move to the motorhome for 6 months to a year while maintaining my current job.  That will allow for me to sock money away and hopefully have enough in savings to maintain one year on the road.  Of course, I wouldn't use it - it would be a nest egg of sorts.  Instead, I would find temporary jobs wherever I travel.

I have done 30 years of office work.  While currently I am in Business Development writing job proposals - I have done everything from being a file clerk, to a typist, to an office manager and everything in between.  There is nothing I cannot do in an office. So - there's Kelly Services, or TempAide. I can freelance as a writer and editor.  Maybe I can even learn how to be a waitress.  I can work at campsites for free monthly camping and cut my costs.  The point is - I can do it.  I can figure out a way to bring in enough money monthly to survive as a full time RV'er.  And for emergencies, I will have some money in the bank.  Maybe I'll even be able to feed that account at times.

The next step is to seriously figure out a monthly budget to include the real necessities for life on the road: insurance - RV, car & medical; mail forwarding; fuel costs; electricity/generator/solar panels; communication expenses; food; entertainment...etc.

That is a puzzle though for tomorrow.

Today - I just need to get through a few more boxes...

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