The story you are about to hear is all positive. We share some of the information just to let some of our wannabee fulltiming friends know that life on the road has just as many curves (pun intended) as life in sticks and bricks. And, just as in our previous life, issues arise and decisions have to be made. Let us digress a little.
When we began our fulltiming journey, in October of 2006, we had visions of traveling all forty eight continental states in our rig and taking time to savor the culture within each state. However, being that we were living off our savings during the first three years it was necessary to spend a portion of each year augmenting our savings account with some workamping dollars, which we did.
The second phase of our fulltiming life, which began in September of 2009, was to begin drawing income from three pensions and social security as well as with drawing some money from our 401k accounts. With the economic downturn in the fall of 2008 the value of our 401k accounts was greatly depleted so we’ve elected not to take any money from them which meant that we would be living on about ten grand less per year than originally projected.
Well, the good news is that our 401k accounts have returned to better than 90% of their value, but our priorities have changed and we have decided to still not draw monthly income from them. We want hold onto that money for our exit strategy which includes buying some land and building a small home for cash, more about that later.
So, being that we’re living on a lower budget coupled with the increased cost of health insurance ($111 per month for Judy’s insurance), of diesel fuel (we’re estimating about a dollar a gallon increase), and of food (about 5% increase), we’re finding it necessary to cut back on our travel plans for 2011. Also, to help reduce travel costs, we’ve added some volunteering assignments to our 2011 plans.
We’ve eliminated a trip to Big Bend National Park in April and a trip to Michigan in June. So, we’ll leave Rainbow Plantation heading “just plain north” to Tennessee for a munchkin fix. From there we’ll head due east stopping to visit Don and Jenny “on a mountain top in Tennessee”. Then it will be onto Virginia to spend some time with our daughter and her husband (good night John Boy).
We’ll make our way to Maine where we will volunteer at a campground for six weeks (Ayah!!). From there we’ll make our way to Belfast, my home town (a childhood revisited) where we’ll spend four to five weeks walking the beach, reading, and basket weaving. Judy will be working on her Christmas projects and I’ll be sharpening my paint brushes. Also, Marc, Amie and kids will spend some time vacationing with us while we’re there – another grand kids fix.
From there we’ll turn west stopping in New Hampshire for more grand kids time and our annual Christmas Shopping in the tax free state. If my aunt hasn’t sold her home on the Cape we’ll head that way for a few days of hob knobbing with the Kennedys.
On August 1st you’ll find us volunteering at a National Forest in Virginia for the month where we’ll be able to visit Mary and Joel and do quite a bit of sightseeing in Washington, D.C., Williamsburg, and other Civil War sites. And, no, while we’re there we will not try to change Congress. A friend of mine once told me to never try to teach a pig to sing – it can’t be done and it annoys the pig!!
Come September we’ll be making tracks to Michigan where we’ll stay for about a month visiting family and friends while working on basket weaving, reading, and relaxing. From there we’ll turn south stopping in Tennessee for more grand children time and, hopefully, attending the Beechcraft Fly-in in Tullahoma. Also, there’s another gathering being planned for Defeated Creek in October that we would like to attend. Then it will be homeward bound for Rainbow Plantation with mission accomplished.
Now, just a little about our “exit strategy”. Our thinking right now is to purchase land (most likely in Tennessee) next year (2012) where we’ll set up two (or more) RV sites. In twenty-thirteen we’ll begin building a small home for cash. Once the home has been completed, we’ll downsize our rig and continue to do extended travels thereby giving up our fulltiming status.
So, yes, “for the times they are a-changin’”. We are truly blessed to be living debt free and able to move about the country freely. Even though we’re not able to do the traveling that we had originally planned, “we’re satisfied”. Family is high on our priority list and our lifestyle enables us to see them every year so, like we stated in our opening sentence – it’s all positive.
Take Care Until Next Time - - - - -