We’ve had a lot of comments from people, ranging from what seem like little snipes to full-on congratulations, on our decision to move into an RV and travel full time. Among them, we’ve heard…
- “You must be rich…”
- “When you come back to the real world…”
- “How can you afford to do that?”
- “Must be nice, always being on vacation…”
- “I would love to do that…”
- “Maybe once I retire…”
- And an assortment of positive feedback and congratulations on our decision
We wanted to take a few moments to clarify why and how we are doing this, and how you might do it if it interests you.
First of all, we don’t consider this a vacation. You can only be in vacation mode for so long, and for us that wears off pretty quick. This is our every day life. We have a small house that we have to maintain — that means cooking, cleaning, laundry and dishes, maintenance (probably more than most of you do on your house), tending to pets, and bills to pay just like everyone else.
We aren’t rich and are able to afford this through lots of planning and years of learning and working. I hold a full-time job, and plan to continue to do so while we are traveling. My job as a Network Security Engineer is 100% remote and I rarely, if ever, set foot in an office. When I applied at this company, five years ago, they offered 100% remote work after a 6-month trial in the office, and that is how I got started on it. It was one of the primary factors on why I took this job over other offers I received. All of that being said, the company I work for restructures often and I’ve seen a lot of good employees let go, so I have to be careful to factor that possibility in when planning finances, especially with traveling that requires remote work for income.
In addition to my full-time job, we’ve run a consulting company since 2007, which offers a second stream of income to us. Kelly and I both work to manage it and pay a small retainer sum to a contractor each month to ensure services are uninterrupted when we are unavailable. Building this company has taken years of work and many risks, most of which have worked out in our favor. This doesn’t provide benefits, so we rely on the ones my day job provides.
Both of those income streams require reliable Internet, and that is one of the biggest concerns that we had with traveling. We are currently paying $238/mo for Internet alone (not including a couple hundred more for cell phones) so that is a large recurring cost just to keep working. We might have to add alternate Internet services as well, increasing the monthly costs, and have a substantial amount of money invested in the hardware that provides that connectivity. This required a lot of planning and is essential to our ability to do this.
So, in summary, while we are doing this, we are continuing to work and live a normal life – just varying where we live it from month to month and spending our weekends and after-work hours on day trips to various new destinations. We’ve traded the mortgage and commuter car for a large truck and RV for the time being, and campsites to stay in. We no longer really have any utilities except for mail forwarding, cell/Internet, and sometimes electricity and propane, so a lot of the costs are being offset by not having a house. Of course… we had the truck and RV before deciding to do this, so in our specific case we’ll be saving money over living the way we did before.
So for those of you who think that you’d love to do this, but can’t, or that you might, but only once you retire – we decided to take the leap now, while we can enjoy it. We have owned RVs for the last several years and stayed in a lot of parks, talking to a lot of people. We’ve met a lot of retired full-timers and nearly all of them have told us that they wish they would have done it at our age, when they could enjoy it more. Hearing that time and time again is one of the major factors that encouraged us to take the leap. That, and, our house.
When we moved into our house, it was a starter home that didn’t check off all the boxes we were looking for in a home, but the price was right and the house was good enough. We put a lot of time and money into the house, but it’ll never be exactly what we want it to be and eventually we will have to move on if we want to see our dream home. We decided that taking a break between our starter home and our (hopefully) forever home to travel would be the best way to make sure that we’re getting all the things we want, in the places that we want, and have the funds saved to get what we want. It’s a win-win-win, in our book.
If you are on the fence about it, and aren’t fortunate enough to work in a field that allows for you to work remotely, there are lots of career paths to consider if you want this enough to consider a change. A lot of people we’ve met on the road are traveling nurses, IT and marketing people, and people who move from place to place working at the actual sites they stay at, in exchange for a free site and a paycheck (it’s called workamping, and is quite popular). You don’t have to have an expensive luxury rig and can go as simple and cheap, or as complex and expensive, as you want to — much like on a car, house, or any other purchase. There are ways to make it work for you, whatever your situation and budget – but they may take some planning and time to become reality.