Getting Started...Our Journey to a Life of Travel
Finding Our Dream 'Home'
















After months of research, including visits to seven RV dealerships in three states, an RV show, and searching online, we decided on a 5th wheel that's perfect for us. The OCD side of me forces me to analyze everything, so of course I had a very detailed Excel spreadsheet that helped guide us through the different phases of research and ultimately decide on the 5th wheel of our dreams. It started out with a list of the dealerships and what makes and models they carried in 5th wheels and toy haulers. Then, I began to list pros and cons of the various models, which made it visibly easy to eliminate those that had more cons than pros. Once we decided to get a 5th wheel instead of a toy hauler, primary reasons being that toy haulers don't have large outdoor kitchens and there is virtually no storage in the garage for clothes and toys, then I listed the top 10 models that stood out the most during our research. I had a list of all the amenities we wanted in a 5th wheel, which was quite extensive. Not one model had everything we wanted and as I looked at what was more important to us, such as lots of countertop space and storage space throughout, I narrowed it down to the top 5. We then attended a local RV Show in hopes that all of our top 5 models would be there and we could walk through them all. One model was not there but the step down model of the same make was, so I inquired about the model we wanted to look at. We were told that they had one on the lot and that some upgrades had been made to the 2014 year model. We immediately went to the dealership and walked through it. I checked the amenities off my list as we walked through and, when we were done, I realized it had every single thing we wanted. It was a done deal. But in order to get the interior theme that I wanted and the exterior paint job that my husband wanted, we had to special order the unit to be built. After eight long weeks of waiting, we finally brought our new 'home' home. A Primetime Crusader 360BHS.
How We Sold Everything We Own To Fulfill This Crazy Dream

To start from the beginning, we made the decision to RV fulltime in June 2013. My husband had decided to submit his retirement request to the U.S. Air Force and we were discussing what we would do once he retired, which would be July 2014. I had spent 15 years in the Air Force, so I understood what he was going through. I knew that he needed a break for a while and wouldn’t want to go from a 20-year military career to starting a new job right away. When I separated, he fully supported me when I expressed my desire to be a stay-at-home mom to our four children, even though it meant a slash in family income and a major lifestyle change. I wanted to give him the same support; however, I also didn’t want to go back to corporate America. So, there we were in the kitchen of our 4,000-square-foot custom-built house wondering how we were going to pay the bills when we were, once again, going to have to slash our family income in half and live on his retirement since neither one of us wanted to go back to work full-time. To lighten the conversation, I mentioned that I had taken one of the kids to a doctor appointment on the Air Force base and when I drove past the FamCamp (military campground), it looked like several campers had moved in, with their bird baths and huge grills. I joked something to the effect of, “Well, that must be the life, to be retired and just go wherever you want to go and move on whenever you want.” We both got quiet and just looked at each other. By the end of the night, I had an entire year’s budget carefully calculated out in an Excel spreadsheet. “We could do this,” I told him. “Your retirement check is enough, we could afford this.” And that set the ball in motion…

The next decision we had to make was what to do with all our stuff. We’d sell the house, there was no debate about that. Yes, I picked out that lot and yes, I built that house from the ground up. But, being in the military, moving around every couple of years is pretty normal and we needed the equity out of the house to pay for the RV and truck. We did not have any room in our budget for any debt. But, what to do with all the stuff we’ve collected from our 7 years in Europe? My ceramic, clay, and tile dishes from Spain…my lambskin lamps from Morocco…my hanging glass lamps from Turkey…my embroidered curtains from Dubai…my intricately designed pillowcases from Greece…my Murano glass from Italy…and the list goes on. I adamantly refused to put anything in storage. I felt like what’s the point, if we don’t need it on the road with us, why pay to store it somewhere for who knows how long?

I was visiting family in Louisiana for the month of July without my husband, so that gave me time away to really think about everything and figure out if it’s what I really wanted for my family. It is! So, when I returned in August, we decided not to waste any time and get busy selling stuff. Our first garage sale completely filled our 3-car garage and spilled out onto the driveway. This was the stuff that had been in ‘storage’ in our closets for years – old baby equipment, toys my kids had outgrown, old luggage, rarely used kitchen appliances, seasonal items, etc. We had two more garage sales into September, before it got too cold for people to be out garage-sale-searching. Here’s some pics of our first three garage sales:

 
In October, the organization Just Between Friends held one of their bi-annual sales at the county fairgrounds. I took all the leftover kid stuff in addition to some more I had dug out of various areas around the house and they sold it for me and mailed me a check. I took five huge totes full of baby clothes from birth-5T to Kid-to-Kid and they paid me for them. I took my nice business suits, jeans, dress shirts, dresses, and shoes to a local upscale clothing consignment shop and a lot of furniture, seasonal items, and knick knacks went to a local upscale décor consignment shop (right next door from the clothing one). Every so often, I would just pop in and collect my checks. Male clothing is a bit harder to consign because there just isn’t a demand for it and selling clothes at a garage sale is a no-no to me because it’s such a hassle and you get pennies on the dollar. So, whatever clothing items were left went to a local charity thrift store. During the winter months, I found a local Virtual Yard Sale facebook page with 13,000 members, so I joined it and started posting items as I pulled them out of closets. I literally posted everything from laundry baskets to an antique wall unit. People were showing up at all hours, and our stuff was seemingly flying out the door. The bank started giving me strange looks when, day after day, I was showing up with massive cash deposits. Yes, it was a lot of work taking pictures of everything and then writing a descriptive post and price on the facebook page, but I was able to get way more money this way than I ever would have at a garage sale.

By February, the house was down to bare basics – beds, sofas, TVs, computers, food, and the most-used kitchen appliances. We wanted to give ourselves ample time to sell the house because we didn’t want to get stuck waiting for the house to sell when we were planning to be on the road. We received a few real estate agent referrals from friends and neighbors, so we interviewed four agents but we weren’t overly impressed with any of them. We were tossing around the idea of selling the house For Sale By Owner to save us the realtor fees, so I took some pictures and, just out of curiosity, posted an ad on a free local classified website. For the next two days, my phone was ringing nonstop. I was so overwhelmed and I quickly realized that there’s no way I can handle this volume of calls for any longer. Several of the calls were from realtors trying to get me to hire them, but one actually stood out so I asked him to come to the house for an interview. He impressed both me and my husband so much that we hired him on the spot and his sign went up in the front yard the next day. Ten days later, the house was under contract! Wow, talk about putting things into warp drive.
My sister expressed interest in most of the furniture we had left and there were a few totes full of sentimental things such as photo albums and those dishes, lamps, curtains, pillowcases, and glass mentioned above that we just couldn’t bear to part with. She agreed to store them for me in return for giving her some really nice furniture for free. So in April, once the sale was complete, the Air Force sent the movers over, packed up what was left, and shipped it to my sister’s house. We moved into our RV at the FamCamp where it all started – the one we were making fun of when the bright idea hit us that this dream could be our reality – and now it is.














For our vehicles, we had to buy a truck to tow the 5th wheel (I wrote a post about the research and decision surrounding the purchase of our 5th wheel below). That meant getting rid of a 2002 Camaro Z28 that I’d had for 10 years, a family crossover SUV, and my teenage son’s Nissan Titan. The Camaro sold quickly to a collector, but we had to keep the other two vehicles for the simple reasons that: 1) I needed the SUV to transport the kids to/from school/activities every day as well as for my parents to use when they flew in to attend my son’s high school graduation and, 2) My son needed his truck to get to/from school/work because his schedule was so busy and different from ours that it would be impossible for me to chauffer everyone around all the time. After all of that was over, we took the crossover SUV to Carmax and they offered us a very fair offer, so we accepted it, and we sold the Titan to a private seller. It all worked out great!

So, that’s about it. It was a long road and felt very overwhelming quite often, but it all worked out perfectly in the end, as if to confirm that this is, in fact, what is meant to be for us. I wish you the same luck and hope that this post helped in some way.
Off We Go...
Our house sold in 10 days. Since we were already pretty much all moved out (see my post about selling everything we own below), all we had left were the vehicles. We moved into our RV earlier than expected and were lucky enough to find a spot at the Hill Air Force Base FamCamp. We needed to stay put in the area until the kids could finish out the school year, so we made ourselves comfortable. With a splash pad, huge playground, dog park, walking trails, and the fitness and bowling centers across the street, we had plenty to keep us busy. Not to mention a running track literally right outside our door, which was an open field in the middle and the kids enjoyed using this space to fly kites and have water gun wars. Living in our RV for six weeks gave us the opportunity to get used to the space, how everything works, gauge our black and gray tank usage, use our air conditioner and furnace, figure out how much food can fit in our indoor and outdoor refridgerators, and experience different weather patterns such as rain and wind. We realized very quickly that we loved this lifestyle. The kids love riding their bikes and spending so much time outdoors. We love that cleaning from top to bottom only takes about 15 minutes and then we can relax in our outdoor lounge chairs while the dogs enjoy their shaded pen area. We had lots of family visiting for our oldest son's high school graduation, so we had to hold onto our two additional vehicles until after everyone left. That gave us 4 days to sell 2 vehicles! But, as has happened all along, they sold right away (within 2 days), which once again confirmed to us that this is what we're meant to do. We had a couple of days to wind it down, get everything packed up, close bank accounts, settle any final business, and then we hit the road...
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