<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> Tips for Full Time RVing
NOTE: While this is designated as an ARCHIVE FILE, it is retained despite the date of first publication because it offers information of continuing current interest and/or for its historical perspective. Please be guided accordingly.



Course Topic: Fulltiming (First Presented at Life on Wheels, 1966)

Instructor: Gaylord Maxwell

[Ed Note: This piece is preserved not only for its timeless value, but also because we consider it the quintessential presentation on Full Time RVing ever offered in a classroom situation. Gaylord Mawell will always be remembered for his enthusiastic championing of the RV lifestyle; and for his literally "writing the book" on the essence of Full Tim RVing.]

What do fulltimers do? This depends on individual interests. Everyone does it differently. You can be completely structured (if this is Tuesday, this must be Phoenix) or completely loose (which direction shall we go today?) Fulltimers go to campgrounds or they boondock.. They visit relatives. They visit National parks, historical cities and "fun" cities, (Las Vegas or Anaheim). They join RV clubs, or take tours (e.g. Baja California). You make the choices, it's a free lifestyle.

The lifestyle is not for everyone, Everyone CAN fulltime, but not everyone is suited for it. If you decide to go fulltiming, do it while you are young enough to enjoy it.

Can you hack it as a full timer? It is a major life change. It is equivalent to a major life event such as marriage. It requires a great deal of thought to ensure this is a lifestyle which will be successful for you. Too many people fail to consider the characteristics which comprise the profile of full timers who really enjoy that status:

Dissatisfied: If you like your life the way it is, it's not likely that you'll find full-timing your bag.

Adventurous: Do you like maps? Do you like to go new places? Or do you tend to find comfort in a fixed routine?

Daring: Are you afraid to drive through New York City or Los Angeles? Do winding or steep mountain roads bother you? You can't be a wimp!

Curious-Active: You need to be curious about places and people, and be willing to do something to follow up on that curiosity. Full timing is perfectly suitable for persons with disabilities.

Patient: A very important ingredient for RVers. RV life will be full of glitches. It's not like being at home in a much more "controlled" environment.

Tolerant: Goes along with "patient", and is the quality of dealing with unexpected -- and sometimes even unwanted -- situations.

Gregarious: The quality of enjoying talking to new people. In cities, people walk by and never even look at each other. At an RV park, people RVers tend to strike up conversations with other RVers they've never met.

Practical: Can you do some basic fix-em-up things? You'll find you'll become a plumber, a mechanic, a carpenter, and whatever. The first thing you'll tend to pack is a substantial tool box.

Likes Spouse: Love is okay, but "like" is really important too... 24 hours per day, 365 days a year, you're within shouting distance -- even striking distance! You'd better get along.

Resources for Full Timers: Bill & Jan Moeller's book on Full Timing is a very detailed book, covering all the basics of RVing. The Instructor has also has a small book called "An Introduction to Full Timing". It's about an hour's worth of reading, intended to help persons consider whether full-timing is for them. Trailer Life, Motorhome, and Highways magazines are good sources. Talk to other full timers. If possible, attend a seminar with a panel of full timers.

What do you need to give up to become a full timer?

Fixed Place: Most of us are used to having an address. Where are you from? 123 Elm Street. But ask a full timer, and the response will be "which week". Call home and the first question will be, "Hi Mom -- Where are you?". You give up familiar places, familiar faces, and familiar things.

Routine: No more bridge with the familiar group on Wednesday night.

Boredom: If you enjoy it, forget RVing.

Chores: No more mowing the lawn. If there's grass, someone else mows it. Housekeeping? Sure, there's some. But you can vacuum the whole place in five minutes.

Some Expenses: They can change. There are options for living a rewarding RV life on almost any budget.

The benefits of being a fulltimer are many:

The most important is Freedom. There are fewer responsibilities and restraints.

New people and places. You will find these are additions to your life, not replacements, as you will also keep your family and old friends.

Excitement to replace boredom. If it doesn't, rethink this lifestyle. Many snowbirds with limited home lives "bloom" when confronted with the many opportunities at some of the larger RV parks, which can include, dancing, painting, carpentry, rock hounding, etc.

Travel equals education. There is nothing quite like being there to learn about geography, history, archaeology etc.

Security -- Crime rarely occurs in RV parks and campgrounds.

There are basic questions which must be answered before attempting this life change:

What to do with the house? If you feel you cannot give it up the options are to rent or lease it, or to let it stand vacant. You will still have the bills and problems, but if you change your mind, you can still get it back.

Where to "home base"? Even as fulltimers, you will need an address. You will need a driver's and vehicle license; and these require a state residence. Taxes: it will make a big difference in which state you choose to "live". You may need a physical address instead of a P.O.Box. There are potential problems when your rig is licensed in one state and you claim residency in another. And some states, Washington being a prime example, are beginning to crack down on this.

What about the kids? You will have to be able to leave your family, although in this day & age, many children no longer live close to home anyway. Now you can go visit them!

What to do with your "things"? We all have a lot of "stuff" we no longer use. Throw it out. You will need to take some things. and the rule for packing is:

If you haven't used it for a year, you don't need it

Each partner has a veto over what the other takes.

Don't pack your RV more than 3/4 full. You'll quickly collect new "stuff"

Give the rest to your kids, or have a garage sale.

Note: Gaylord Maxwell's presentation was so entertaining and "on-point" about full timing that we find it impossible to convey the full benefit of his remarks. He is an extraordinarily accomplished speaker. The session was videotaped, and will be available following the conference. We think RVers contemplating becoming full timers would find the tape of this course extremely valuable.