July 29, 2014

"Do you REALLY want to do this?"

As you see from the blog title changing twice within four days, I've come a full circle from a couple of months ago. At that time I had decided to stop this blog, start a 2nd blog to talk about retirement life in general, since I was not traveling. I then decided for convenience to my readers and to myself to merge back to one blog about a month ago.

This blog is like one big broken record, around around we go, what I do nobody knows.

From my last post on Sunday you see I've been looking at trailers to buy again. I've also looked at all the different kinds of RVs, except truck campers ~laughing.

While I am shopping again, I am hesitant to write updates about my search because I don't want to put everyone through the agony that I have put my readers through the past year or so while looking and discussing different rigs.

I just don't want to go through the roller coaster ride of trying to decide what to buy and driving readers insane doing it.  The fact is I am just as confused recently on what to buy as I have been for two years. Some days I feel like packing the tents, the camping equipment and the hounds and head west to tent camp for a while or at least take a road trip.

With below average temps locally and a "polar plunge" in the forecast it's hard to decide to leave that kind of weather here in the "tropics" of southern Indiana and drive toward western states that have above average temperatures. This summer weather has not only been different but very livable.

Some readers have emailed me telling me once again to keep my house as a base camp until I spend time on the road with the hounds and see how things work out. I can do that and still attempt to fill the wandering urge I have. I am pretty sure of one thing and that is I don't want to spend another winter here in the land of snow and ice.

Sunday night while discussing different rigs with a friend via email, she brought up an interesting question. She has been on my rollercoaster ride for a couple of years since I have asked her a million questions over the years. She had asked this question before more than a year ago but asked again Sunday night.  It left me thinking about it.

"Do you REALLY want to do this?"

That's a valid question and one that has been thought about. Over the past 15 years I have gone through a lot of different cars and trucks. Buying them and trading them with NO hesitation. In some cases I didn't keep most of them for two years and a few less than a year. Spending money on other things was not a problem. There was always a little analysis and research before making the purchase but all purchases were made fairly quickly.

When I decided to move 20 years ago it was almost on a whim. I've been here every since, partly because of the jobs I had. My whole life I have made changes in locations, employment, cars, trucks etc and never, ever took this much time in deciding what to buy. So why can't I "pull the trigger" on a decision to buy a rig of some kind??

We both went through some questions back and forth to try to find where the root of my indecision might be.

Would money be a reason?

I'm not sure, I have enough but I don't want to buy something new and use a lot of my savings account to do it. If I sold my house I would buy something with cash and a rig between old-new, if you know what I mean. I must admit when I decided a year ago that I would most likely retire in May 2014 I had to decrease spending and I have done that so far in my 3+ months of retirement. I stopped buying things on impulse sometime last year during my downsizing. So maybe the dollar plays a part of indecision.

Any fears where you think you can't do this type of traveling?

I love to travel. I love moving down the highway, whether it's a 4 hour trip or a cross country trip. I love to drive and I love to see different parts of the USA. That is the point of RVing, slowing down enough to stop and see what I have driven though over the years at a high rate of speed without taking the time to look around. My cross country bicycle trip comes to mind and how much I enjoyed pulling into a new place while on the road.

I have no doubts I can do that type of camping/traveling. Even though I owned the Class C for only a short time over the fall/winter, I was able to learn how all the RV systems operated, how to winterize a rig, and how to fix truck stuff that broke. So I don't believe any kind of fear is involved in my indecision.

Can you RV and live on your income?

A couple of years ago to not only answer questions I had like this one but also to see if I could afford to retire, I set up an excel spreadsheet listing all expenses and income that were known at that time. I did estimate for instance fuel expense at $4/gl gas, 6,000-8,000 miles driven per year and based on my FJ's mpg, it was roughly 24 cents per mile towing a small trailer. Each option had it's own columns. I had columns for current, retirement no travel, keep the house and travel, sell the house and travel...columns for selling each car, etc.

In all cases I could afford to RV and live on my income. I also added a fudge factor into the analysis because I knew I might spend a little more than planned and I still had money left over every month.

Can you keep the house and RV?

I can keep the house. I'd prefer not to rent the house nor would I like someone housesitting, so it would sit empty while I was gone. Water turned off going to the house. I do not have a furnace but baseboard electric heat all controlled with individual thermostats in each room.

Basically the numbers show that whether I live on the road or live at home, its about the same cost to do either, in fact the only difference is a few hundred dollars.

I assume from those answers, money is not an issue in my indecision. I have had a local friend tell me that I have turned into a 'tightwad' with my money since I started downsizing last year and that might be true. I hate the thought of losing what I have saved and I wonder if I will need a large sum of cash for any future emergencies that might happen.

So maybe she is right when she says "you may not want to do this bad enough to buy a trailer or a motorhome.

I don't know.

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