Internet for Nomads

Y’all…seriously. It should not be this much of a challenge to find a solution for internet while RVing full time. So much info out there.

We joined the Mobile Internet Resource Center to help research this and get advice. Such a great website run by helpful and super knowledgeable people. But, holy cow, it’s overwhelming! I’m not a network or connectivity expert, but I can hold my own for most everyday applications.

At this point I may have to take up drinking. A lot.

Just kidding.

Back to the research. At this point we’re strongly leaning toward Bix Wireless. But who knows where we’ll ultimately end up.

Downsizing: Five Tips

After spending the last year downsizing in our preparation for full time RV life I’ve learned 5 tips that can make the process easier. These tips will work whether you are downsizing your entire life, as we are, or decluttering an overstuffed room

There are also many helpful blog articles and YouTube videos out there if you want to dig deeper into downsizing and purging belongings.

Number One: Start Small

When we first started talking about getting rid of most of our stuff and hitting the road in an RV I looked around the living room and panicked. Overwhelm doesn’t even start to cover the emotion. But what’s that saying? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

That’s how you start downsizing as well. Start with one drawer. Just one. Don’t look beyond that drawer. Once you complete that drawer stop for the day. Celebrate that success. Then choose the next drawer. After a couple of drawers then tackle a whole cabinet. Move from there to a closet, then a room. Maybe tackle a season. For example, can you go through all your fall décor? Do you really need three fall wreaths? Four Christmas trees?

Number Two: Start With Non-Sentimental Items

When you start downsizing don’t start with your grandmother’s china. Just don’t. Start with something very benign. When we started with our first drawer it was the kitchen junk drawer. Easy-peasy. It took me over a month to tackle anything remotely sentimental. Understand that purging those sentimental things will exhaust you. Not just emotionally. A couple of hours of going through sentimental things is enough to wring you out physically as well. Be gentle with yourself. You’ll be grateful if you don’t start with those things. And don’t save them all for last either. Intersperse those tough decisions in between some pretty easy ones.

Number Three: No Maybes

When you start downsizing you’ll want three piles or bins. Only three. Sell. Donate. Trash. Notice there is no Maybe or Later pile. Don’t do it. Just don’t. Maybe becomes Keep. Then everything goes into Maybe. Don’t fall into that trap. In downsizing there is no maybe.

Number Four: You Aren’t Going to get Rich

You might sell some of your stuff. Understand you are not going to recoup your money. You are not going to finance your lifestyle. You are not going to get rich. You just aren’t. That necklace you paid $50 for might bring you a dollar. Maybe. And don’t think you’re going to have a garage sale and get rid of everything. You won’t recover your time. After selling a few things we decided to either donate or trash stuff. Honestly, the quickest way we found to get rid of stuff is to set it out on the curb with a sign saying “Free.” Goodwill is your friend. Just donate stuff. You’ll provide a job for someone and feel a lot better about yourself. If you are really determined to sell your stuff, try resale apps or Facebook Marketplace.

Number Five: Get It Out of the House ASAP

Once you have stuff boxed up get it out of the house ASAP. Those boxes sitting around start talking to you, whispering that they really aren’t junk, you really want to keep them. You don’t. Just let it all go. Get those boxes out of the house. Rip it like a Band Aid.

Bonus tip: set a due date for the downsizing/declutter to be completed. Schedule the tasks.

What tips would you add to this list? Have you ever downsized your entire home or life? How did it go? How long did it take you?

A God Thing

I’m not a patient person.

Seriously, I’m not.

Last Tuesday we drove to A&L RV Sales in Columbia, Tennessee to look at travel trailers, specifically the Forest River No Boundaries 19.6. We looked at others as well. You know, covered our bases.

But that NOBO 19.6 spoke to us. Well to me. Daniel liked it a lot. But as soon as we walked through, opened all the doors, looked at the storage, the decor, the floor plan, we both knew. We found THE ONE. Or at least the one we want to start our full time RV life with.

Trying to do the right thing, we took the salesman’s card, asked him to email us a deal sheet, and drove home.

We talked.

We prayed.

We watched YouTube videos.

We decided we want the NOBO 19.6.

Wednesday afternoon I called the dealership, but our salesman was with another customer. I emailed him that we like the camper, but will need three to four weeks to get our finances settled. I asked him if he would take a deposit and hold the rig for us.

No response Wednesday evening.

No response Thursday morning.

No response Thursday afternoon.

Friday morning I called again.

The NOBO sold to someone else on Wednesday. I almost cried until I heard him say “But we’ve got more on order.”

Wait? What?

So not only had they already ordered more of the same RV, one of the new units they ordered is already equipped with solar, which is something we want anyway.

Trying not to sound all trembly and whiny, I asked him if they would possibly take a deposit and hold the solar equipped unit for us.

Yes, it turns out, that is something he is willing to do. And the deposit was about 10% of what I anticipated.

So, while I was fretting for a day and a half, God had a better plan going. You can call it serendipity if you want to, that’s all good. I call it a God Thing.

And I’m grateful, so grateful we’ve found our RV. We should be full time RVers in six to eight weeks.

We Bought All the Things

RV life…it’s so close. SO CLOSE! We’re trying to stay calm and only buy necessities for now. I’ll be honest, though. Sometimes it’s a challenge to differentiate between a want and a need. You get me, right?

But I think we’re doing pretty well over all.

We did buy a mat for the bed of our truck. We also bought a cover and will install it tomorrow.

We also bought a few necessary items like a sewer hose, stabilizer pads, curved levelers, water filters, water hose. You know, exciting things. LOL

But this is exciting to us. And if you’ve read this far, you’re excited for us, so thank you!

We Bought a Truck

Yep, we sure did. A big truck. One step closer to full time RV life.

We bought a 2012 Ford F-250 Lariat Turbo Diesel 4WD. We both love it. It is super fun to drive. But y’all it’s A LOT of truck!!

Now to get a bed liner, bed cover, buy the camper we decided on.

But we’re on our way!! Woo hoo!!

Changes

To say life changed in the past two months and five days since my last post is beyond understatement. From changes in our personal plans to global upheaval in a fight against a novel virus, nothing seems the same.

The third week of February one of our three dogs had to be humanely euthanized. We’re not talking about details. That’s enough to know.

Another of our dogs required extensive veterinary care which took a great deal of money and time to complete. He is almost completely healed.

We cancelled our Elkhart trip in February due to a predicted snowstorm in that area. We also finally admitted to each other that van life might not be the best RV life option for us, so we started exploring Class C RVs that would give a little more room for the two of us and our two dogs.

Then the novel coronavirus hit our area.

Our retirement savings took a huge hit just like everyone else’s. We began to realize that might be the most minor of changes in our lives for the next few months.

But we decided not to give up on our dream of RV life. We prayed, soul-searched, talked. I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve cried a lot over the past couple of months at the sorrow and fear and inability to know what to do and when to do it.

We took to heart the thought that it’s the RV lifestyle we truly want. The vehicle is less important. With that mindset we decided to go the least expensive route to get us on the road.

Truck and travel trailer.

We’ve narrowed our choices by shopping online. We had toured a few travel trailers during our RV search you know, when we could still go out to shop in person. We’ve done enough research to know we want and what we think we’ll need.

Late last fall we had thought to leave our jobs maybe at the end of March. Now it’s looking to be a bit later. We both work in healthcare, so the timing stinks. But, honestly, now may be as good a time as any to get out of healthcare. Praying about that too.

Regardless of when we leave our jobs, when we buy our truck and trailer, when we sell our house, we are moving forward with our dream and the vision God has given us. Neither of us knows what this is going to look like, but we know who does, and we trust Him.

Closer to Van Life

We’ve been prepping for full time RV life for a year now. But sometimes we take a step that makes this plan super real and significantly closer.

Today was one of those days. As I was booking our motel room for our February visit to Embassy RV it hit me. This is getting REAL! We are really prepping to change our entire lifestyle! It’s exciting, scary, and exhilarating all at once.

We’re so ready for this move. We see God making a way every day as we move closer to this transition.

Love how easy to use this app is!

Learning to Declutter without Panicking

Downsizing from a 1200 square foot sticks and bricks home to a Class B RV that is only 22 feet long overwhelms me, if I’m honest. We’ve lived in this house since the first weekend of January 2004. Lots of stuff accumulates in that amount of time. Not to mention the stuff from the six years of marriage before we bought our house.

When we decided to downsize and move into an RV full time we knew we had to purge our belongings. We knew we had to be brutal. We knew we couldn’t look at anything through the lens of nostalgia or sentimentality. We knew it would be a lot of work. And, y’all, I mean A LOT OF WORK.

Thinking about downsizing our whole house sends me into a panic. Seriously. I’m not a panic-y kind of person usually. But I did some hardcore hyperventilating the first time we sorted through our kitchen junk drawer. I couldn’t stay focused on the drawer. In my mind that one drawer morphed into an entire house of kitchen junk drawers dancing around me and mocking me. My heart raced. I broke out into a sweat. After Daniel and I went through that drawer I had to stop. It completely drained me.

But other people have done this. People do this every day. Lots of people go through their stuff and declutter at least once a year. How do they start? How do they survive the anxiety and panic? I’m learning how, and I’m going to share it with you.

Remember the old cliché: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It’s that simple and that difficult.

How do you downsize a lifetime from a sticks and bricks house to a camper van? One bite at a time.

Pick one spot, one drawer, one shelf. Daniel and I had the right idea starting with one drawer. I just had to learn to narrow my focus. Instead of thinking about what comes after that drawer and the next one and the next one and the next one, think only about that one drawer. Set that one drawer as the goal. Not the whole house or even the whole room.

Another technique that works for me, especially for spaces larger than a drawer, is to set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes. Purge stuff like mad for 30 minutes. When the timer buzzes, stop. Take a break. Go for a walk. Drink some water. Do 15 minutes of yoga. If you have time after your break, purge for another 30 minutes. So on and so forth.

That’s how I faced cleaning out the closet in our spare room this morning.

In 30 minutes, the closet went from this (which I’m truly embarrassed to share publicly):

To this:

From that closet, I took two trash bags full of paper and plastic to the recycle bin. I took a handful of garbage out. Daniel took a box of stuff to Goodwill. I did keep my mother’s old sewing machine which I’ll store at Dad’s house for now. I also have a quilting frame that I will sell. But all of that took 30 minutes. Yes, that room is still a disaster. But that closet, that one space, is clear. It’s done. I don’t have to think about it again.

The 30 minute rule works really well for me. Some people suggest 15 minutes. Others suggest an hour. Find the time limit that works for you. Break it down to small chunks. Focus only on that chunk, no more. Then take a break before facing another chunk.

Do you have any special ways to deal with decluttering? What works well for you? Do you declutter on a schedule? Or are you like Daniel and me, facing years of clutter with only a few months to go through it all?

Winnebago Adventurer 30T-Have We Found Our RV?

We are 90% sure we have found our RV! We know we want a Winnebago. This is after a lot of research. We thought we liked the Jayco Alante, but the difference in the look and feel between Jayco and Winnebago is night and day.

Our final decision is months away. Of course we could change our minds before we buy. But we both really love the Adventurer 30T. We love the floorplan. We love the storage. We love the colors inside and outside.

Finding our rig is a big step toward our goal of full time RV life. Huge step.

Big Step Toward Freedom

Tuesday morning Daniel and I met with our financial advisor, Debbie Murphy. We want to put our retirement money in one place and with someone who has a more vested interest in us and our goals instead of a huge company’s goals.

Daniel met Mrs. Murphy when she worked for a huge financial company that administered retirement accounts for the company we work for. Five years ago she left and began to work for herself, following her passion and gift by helping those of us without any financial know how reach our dreams.

After meeting with her today, I’m confident God led us to her. I have complete peace that she will get our retirement account where it needs to be to fund our dreams.

Do yourself a favor and give her a call. Click here to go to her website. You won’t regret it.