I want to become a full time Rver and live a gypsy lifestyle. What’s the pro’s and con’s. What is the greatest advantage fith wheel or motorhome, besides the cost difference in purchase and upkeep? What are the diffence in safety concern?
Can’t answer those questions. We lived in a car. No motorhome, not trailer, nothing. Three people, 2 (big) dogs and a 3 cats in a 4 door sedan, for 9 years straight. =P That was 34 years ago, and I was the kid.
I’ve been part-timing in my car off and on ever since (34 years total).
I’ve am planning on going back into full timing next year. Spending this year getting everything in order. I’ve got a friend who’s letting me keep my car (the very same 1964 Dodge we lived in all those years ago) in his garage and things I want to keep but can’t take on the road, in his attic.
This time around I’ll be living in a 1992 Volvo 240. I’m currently looking for a lightweight travel trailer (probably around 12’) for the Volvo, so that I can take a bed, a toilet, and a few days supply of food along with me.
For me a VolVo with a 12 foot trailer is all I need. It’s just me and 5 cats, so, I don’t have a need for anything bigger. I’m one of those people who would rather sleep on the ground in a sleeping bag, than sleep in a bed, so I would only need the bed when it rains. I don’t need a stove because I tend to eat stuff raw (apples, nuts, sandwiches, etc), and whenever one is around, I tend to do all my eating at SubWay anyways! LOL!
I’m very much an outdoor person, so I don’t need a house, seeing as I never stay inside. That means I also don’t need a TV, chairs, table, and practically everything else that comes with a big camper/trailer/motorhome. I’m never indoors long enough to use them, so why get a camper that has them?
I don’t need a shower, because I tend to go from beach to beach and it’s a simple matter to bath in a rinse off stall while wearing a bikini. And yes, I have even done that on Christmas day when the below zero wind chill on the beach was -48F. I go to Lobster Dips and Polar Bear Dips on New Years Day too. I got a thing for frigid cold North Atlantic waters. I’m a beach bum I suppose you could say. A good 3/4 of my time is spent at Old Orchard Beach, (off season and in the winter when the best sea shells can be found) where I have many, many, many relatives who let me park in their yards.
Also, in 34 years, I’ve yet to set foot in a campground.
But yeah, basically, it’s about personal style more than anything else. What do you need? What can you live without? What will just be in your way? A lot of people are like me and would never spend enough time in the trailer/motorhome to warrant having anything bigger than 12’. Than again, there are just as many people who couldn’t survive in anything under 30 feet.
There are a lot of things to ask yourself:
Is it just me? Is it me and my spouse? How many children are going to be living in it? How many pets? How much room does each person/pet need?
What about money? How will I earn my keep? Am I living off savings/pension? Will I work online? How will I get internet access? Will I sell arts and crafts at shows? Am I part of a traveling band? Will I work are carnivals and campgrounds? Do I need room to store products I sell? Me personally? I’m an artist and an author. I make 100% of my income online by selling my drawings, paintings, and photography via www.zazzle.com and by writing articles for sites such as www.squidoo.com and www.associatedcontent.com and I sew dolls and small cat/dog/pet quilts and other assorted small crafts through www.Etsy.com . All of my artwork is stored on the hard drive of my computer so there is no need of storage space, and the crafts that I make are small, so I keep them in a cardboard box that is about 3 feet square. I don’t have any credit cards and I pay for everything online via my PayPal account or offline via cash on hand. Also, for those wondering how much I make: my income varies from $90 to $200 per month. The most I ever made in a single year was $2,800. My income is less than $3,000 per year and I get by quite well and never want for anything.
Will we be eating at fast food places or cooking our own meals? If cooking our own meals, will it be stovetop, oven, microwave, bbq grill, or campfire pit? Will we need storage space for food or will we be going from WalMart to WalMart and be able to buy what we need one day at a time?
Do we need a toilet or will there be enough rest stop places to go without. (I have an over active bladder problem and have to stop to pee about twice per hour – thus why a toilet is a MUST for me.)
What about health? After a 2 month long coma, my dad is disabled. He has diabetes, his medication has to be refrigerated. In spite of his disabilities, he’s planning to get a motorhome when he retires, the need for refrigeration is a contributing factor that he has to look for when looking at RVs. Because of a heart condition and a bad leg, he can not be more than an hour away from a hospital. He has to map his travel plans around hospitals and Rite Aid/CVS locations. Because of his leg he needs a motorhome that can accommodate a walker and has a wheelchair lift – not easy to find. If you or anyone traveling with you has health issues, you have to look at what their needs are and base your RV buying decisions on those needs.
Than there is towing and drivability to consider.
For starters: What type of car do you drive? There’s a big difference from a SMART-CAR to a Dodge Power Ram 1 Ton Pickup. What you drive now, will help you decide what you will drive once you start RVing.
If you want to keep your car instead of buying a pickup truck, that will seriously limit your options as anything over 16 feet will be way out of your towing capacity. If you don’t have one already, can you afford a $20,000 – $40,000 pick-up that is big enough to pull your trailer? Or if you opt for a motorhome, will you be towing your car/truck/motorcycle along behind it?
What about gas mileage? There’s a big difference from 50mpg to 5mpg. If you are going to drive a super sized motor home while pulling a car behind it, every day, do you have enough savings and monthly income to pay $100 or $200 or more for gas each and every day? I was pumping gas one day last summer when a guy in an giant mega sized RV was also pumping gas and complaining that he was paying over $500 a week for gas and was going to have to stop using the RV. What are your gas spending limits? What are the mpg rates for the car/truck and the camper you want? Can you afford to go as big as you’d like or will you have to go smaller just to be able to afford gas?
The bigger the camper/trailer the better your driving skills need to be. Some RVs are as big as an 18 wheeler. If you are going that big, you may need to get a bus driver or truck driver license depending on what state you register it in. How big of an RV can you reasonably and responsibly drive… really? Think about it: have you ever driven either a bus or an 18 wheel rig? Before you dish out a lot of money on a super sized motor home, you need to try test driving a few to see if you are personally comfortable behind the wheel of one or not. Some people are, some people are not.
Likewise, some folks are great at towing, while others are not. You may such at maneuvering a trailer and find a motorhome easier to do or the other way around. Until you get out there and actually test drive one of each, there really is nothing any one on a forum can recommend as to which is better because each person is different.
And than there is towing capacity. How important is it to keep the car you have now? If you plan to keep the car/truck you have now, how much can it safely tow? I have a Volvo. I love my Volvo. I’ve had it for years. It’s maximum towing weight is 3,300 pounds. However, it’s an old Volvo, it has problems…lots of them. I’m constainly having it worked on. It has fits of temperament whenever the temps hit 30F and every time we get a heavy rain. Every one is always telling me I should get a better car, or at least a better Volvo. But you know what? I like this car. I used to this car. I’ve also be told by mechanics that there is now way in hell that this car will tow it’s recommended 3,300 pound towing capacity. They say 2,500 pound tops, and the more I can stay under 2,000 pounds the better. Will, that means I need a VERY lightweight trailer BEFORE I put anything in it, because it has to weigh under 2,500 pounds AFTER I load me and my stuff into it! So that drastically limits the trailer options out there for me. Now if having a big trailer with a lot of space was a high priority for me, I would have to sell the Volvo and get a car or truck with better towing capacity. But for me, keeping this car is more important to me than having a lot of space in the trailer, thus in my case at least, the smaller the trailer the better. I’m still looking at trailers at this point and right now Thor’s T@B and T@-DAH are looking like my best options, because they are small, lightweight, designed to be towed by compact cars, and fit my personal needs. So, yeah, if you will be towing, you have to consider the car/truck you already have and wither or not you are keeping or trading, and match your trailer to what your car can handle. I mean, the last thing you want to do is overload your car and have to buy a new transmission!
As a general rule the more income/savings you have, the bigger you can go. But than again, why do you want to be a fulltimer? Are you planning to do a lot of wilderness boondocking? If so, a car and tent will suit your needs, as the dirt roads to get into the wilderness are not rv friendly (I know – been there, done that. Deep wilderness boondocking is my own personal style, thus why a car and a small trailer are personally best for me). Will you be going to a lot of state fairs and craft shows? If so, you’ll need something with a lot of storage space, thus a bigger trailer or motorhome would be better for you.
So you see, there are a lot of variables you have to consider. Why do you want it? How much can you afford? What are your driving skills? How will you be using it? How many people/pets will be going with you? What health issues are there to think about? Where and how will you get your meals? Where and how will you sleep?
In short, no one answer is right for every one and you may have to buy and sell a few RVs to find the size and type that best suits your personal needs. What I did was to sit down a write of a list of everything I could not do without, and everything I could live without but didn’t want to live without, and everything that would in some way effect my choice. In the end, I found out that for me a Volvo with a 12’ trailer was more than I needed and would suit my needs perfectly. Only you can decide what it is that will best fit you.
Hope that helps.
Any regrets on saleing house to go full timing?
We didn’t sell our house. Instead we rented it out, which gave us a monthly income while on the road. It also gave us the option to still have a house to go back too, should at some point we decided fulltiming wasn’t for us, and we still had a permanent mailing address. (Our mail still came to 146 and the renter’s mail came to the new 146-A.)
What was it like being a gypsy? Why did you give up the gypsy lifestyle and how do you plan to get back into it?
I was a “fulltimer” for 9 years back in the 1970s. (I lived in a 1964 Dodge). I never did any cross country traveling, and basically lived in a different town on Maine every week, and over the years have lived in practically every town and city in Maine at one point or another. I love Maine, I never had any desire to go any place else. I was born and raised in Maine, and am a full time resident of Maine, I just didn’t live in a house and made the entire state my home and I loved it. So, I guess I’m sort of weird when it comes to fulltiming, because I always hear others saying the “whole reason” for fulltimeing is to travel from one side of the country to the other. Well, okay, that’s great if you like traveling, but, that’s just not my style. Anyways I did this for 9 years, and than everything changed.
I gave it up for a “normal” lifestyle because that’s what all my friends and family and my 264 relatives told me I was “supposed” to do. I will point out at this point, that my relatives until the 1960s were gypsies – in race and culture and lifestyle. We all lived together in a caravan of cars, vans, campers, and buses – all 264 of us, aunts, uncles, cousins, in laws, each couple with no less than 8 children, one wife with 15 children and there were 4 polygamists in the group, thus why there were so many children over all. I was still a baby back than, so I have no actual memories of living in the big caravan group, which disbanded when I was just 2 years old.
Anyways, the whole kit and kaboodle of them, went their separate ways and took up “normal” lifestyles with houses and jobs and living the whole “American Dream” thing. They shun the “gypsy lifestyle” and go out of their way to hide their race and culture. Me, I guess I sort of had lingering memories of that life, even though I was still a baby when the whole thing ended, because by the 1970’s I had started living on the road as mentioned above. I did that for 9 years, but than gave it up to live a “normal” life with a house and a car and a job. I did this because my relatives were very persistent and very good at making me feel guilty about not being “a normal person”.
Anyways fast forward to today, 34 years later. I tried to “live a normal life” doing the whole living in a house and having neighbors and working at Macy’s part time and selling Avon part time and writing part time. I tried to “fitin” and for 20 years I have been miserable! I’ve gotten more and more depressed with each passing. In the past couple of years I became suicidal. I could not understand why. I mean, I had a “normal” life. In theory I have the “perfect” life, or so I was being told. I should be happy, right? This past year I’ve done some serious soul searching to try to figure out what was causing my depression, and it occurred to me, that it started when I moved into a house! It got worse when I got a “regular” job and started living a so-called “normal” life.
Than last summer some one asked me: “Why do you do what your family tells you to do? Why don’t you do what you want to do? Why do you care what they think? Look at them, they are far from happy with their own lives. They are only busy bodies trying to control your life, because misery loves company and they are miserable and they were jealous of seeing you happy so tried to make you be miserable right along with them.”
Hearing that was a real eye opener. I started looking at the people telling me how to live my life, and realizing, OMG! They are not happy! I never even noticed it before. I was too busy trying to do everything they were telling me I was supposed to be doing, to even step back and look at why they were so bent on telling me what to do.
Suddenly it occurred to me: I have spent the past 20 odd years doing what OTHER PEOPLE told me I SHOULD be doing instead of doing what I WANTED to be doing.
But than I had to ask myself, if I could do anything, anything at all, what WOULD I be doing?
The answer: I never would have stopped living in a car on the side of the road. I never would have stopped going from the bottom of Maine to the top of Maine and back, year after year. I never would have stopped going from one Maine beach to the next week after week, each week living at a different beach. I would still be bunking down in fishing villages and eating at fishing shacks and conversing with fishermen on the docks. I would still be parking the car at nature preserves and spending hour after hour hiking through Maine’s glorious green forests. I would still be eating soggy sandwiches out of the trunk of my car, while photographing Maine wildlife. I would still be sleeping under the stars, without a tent on the ground with nothing but a sleeping bag, and listening to crickets chirping. I would still be doing what I loved best of all: living close to nature. I would still be happy if I had not giving up this “fulltimer” lifestyle I had had all those years ago.
I guess I’m just a nomad at heart and settling down in one spot, is simply not for me. And so, I am spending 2010 getting my life “in order”, paying off bills, getting rid of stuff, downsizing big time, getting my car fixed up and ready to become a full time road trip car, and seeking out the “perfect travel trailer” to suit my needs. And by this time next year, I will be back on the road, back in the life style I love, back to living full time without a house and calling once again the entire state of Maine my home address.
Sorry for the long story. But I just needed to tell this to some one who would understand the need to live houseless and on the road, and at the moment none of my friends or family understand me or my desire to live this nomad lifestyle, they think I have lost my mind, literally, they keep setting up appointments withpsychiatrists and psychologists! The doctors have pointed out, that it is my relatives and not me who have some serious mental issues here, because as the doctors have pointed out: I’m in my 40’s and these relatives (uncles, aunts, and distant cousins, some of whom I’ve never even met because they live in Utah and I live in Maine!) have no right to tell me how to run my life, and the fact that they have gone so far as to call in doctors is proof itself that they are suffering from a serious condition (I forget what he called it) that causes them to need to be in control of everything around them. WOW! You know what, in a way, I’m glad they sent me to all these doctors…now I know that I’m not crazy for wanting to live the lifestyle I want to live, and what’s more, now I am able to look at the people who stopped me from living the life I wanted to live and realize, they have no say over anything I do and I don’t have to listen to them. What a load off my mind that is! (I know, I should have thought of that on my own and I feel stupid for never thinking of it. I guess sometimes we just need an unbiased outsider to force us to see things as they really are!)
But anyways, I was wondering, is there any one here who has ever had a similar problem? Did you live a fulltime rv lifestyle and give up on it for some silly reason than go back to it years later? Did you dream of doing it for years but put it off because family/friends made you feel guilty for wanting this life? If so, please share your story about what stopped you and how you got back into it.
What got you thinking of returning to your old lifestyle?
My car was vandalized over the course of several years. My tiny beach house was burnt to the ground by these same vandals. 2 months ago these people (members of my family btw – those same relatives I mentioned earlier) cut my car in half and stole it, and sold it to a junk yard. see http://www.squidoo.com/stolencar for pictures of the before and after of my car and the details on why they did it.
Well, while that has been going on, I’ve been trying to live my life and ignore these people and do what Jesus taught: turn the other check. But there are just so many times I can ignore these stupid acts of violence, I mean they’ve been doing this stuff on a weekly basis for well over 27 years now! The car was the last straw, it just made me start rethinking everything. I mean, they cut my car in half! I lived in that car! I don’t have a place to live now! And I realized, I had to do something to expand my income so that I could fix my car and than go back on the road full time once again. On the road, they did not bother me, largely because they never had any idea where I was or how to find me. I was happy and peaceful and free. I want to be happy, peaceful, and free of these over bearing relations of mine once again, but to do that requires I start making a bit more than $3,000 per year, due to the fact it’s going to take $50,000 to put my car back together now!
I’ve been going over ways to expand my income using Etsy. I sew everything: cloths, dolls, quilts, tote bags, dog beds, you name it I’ve probably sewn one! I embroider, cross-stitch, crochet, needlpoint, bargello, chicken scratch, French knot, blackwork, and crewl. I pleat, I smock, I yo-yo, I do 3-d beading, and I even have the patence to make cathedral window quilts and king sized hand beaded and embroidered crazy quilts. Seems like I should be able to do this as a career instead of a hobby, right?
So – uhm – a sudden and unexpected gift of money (from not one, but two different people, both with an attached note saying to use the moneey to expand my home business) has resulted in my buying a lot of sewing supplies the past couple of weeks. Ben has cleared out one side of his living room and turned it into a mini-sewing room for me, and I will not likely be online much for the next several weeks, as I will be spending the rest of the summer at his house, sewing a whole lot of stuff, that you should see show up or sale on my Etsy shop in late summer early fall.
And I will be doing something I haven’t done since before the fire that left me homeless 4 years ago: quilting. So with Ben’s ok, I am turning my quilting hobby into a full-time career. Getting back into sewing full time again, should also have a huge effect on my mood, seeing how not having a place to set up my sewing machine, thus not being able tosw was one of the things that wascausing my major depression fits. I love sewing and not being able to sew was like cutting my arms off. I mean, before the fire I was sewing every day all day long.
And the goal now is:
Short term: make enough money from Etsy, to buy a booth and do what I really want to do: become a full time artisan taking my crafts, dolls, and quilts on the road to fairs, festivals, and shows.
Long term goal: make enough money to restore the Goldeneagle ( http://www.squidoo.com/stolencar ) and get a careval wagon style … See Moretrailer to match it, pack up my cats, my comic books, and my sewing and become a full time artisan living on the road, traveling across the country from one fair to the next – doing what I loveost of all: sewing, attending fairs, and living in the old Dodge.
People have called me a gypsy, like it was an insult, but that is the life I grew up with as a very small child. We were gypsies. We lived on the road. We lived in that car. We followed the fairs. In the late 1970’s we settled down and became farmers. I have never liked farm life. I am not a farmer.
A wek or so ago, it was pointed out to me, that I have spent the lat several years “taking orders”, living life he way other people around me thought my life “should” be like, and I was not living my dream. They tol me, I not only was not living my dream, but I was burying my dream alive and killing it and it in turn was killing me. It has damaged my health and put me on a dangerous downward spiral into depression. Then this person asked me: You are always doing what every one tells you to o. What do you want to do? If there was no one to tell you what to do, what would you choose to do?
I’ve spent the past 2 weeks thinking about that question. I used to have goals. I used to have dreams. And than…something else happened…on a whim, I went to a psychic and had my first ever psychic reading. I don’t believe all that psychic stuff so my having a reading done was more for a laugh, until I actually got the reading done.
The reading said: In a few days you will be taking a trip. That trip will change your life. It will revive old memories and hopes and dreams long ago forgotten. It will set you on the path to a new life and a new career, one you have dreamed about but tossed aside.
Well, here I am, me, the agoraphobic who can’t leave the house let alone go on a trip. Me? Go on a trip? LOL! I developed agoraphobia 9 years ago. Weird, seeing how before that I never wanted to be in a house at all! You see in 2001, there was a really huge vandalism event that resulted in the police calling the state police, who in turn called ABC news reporters, and than for the rest of the year I had paprazzii all over my lawn, along side of people also throwing rocks at me, and a couple of drive by shootings which resulted in me having 2 motorcycle cops camped out on my lawn as 24 hour guards for the following 6 months. Suddenly I found myself on front pages of newspapers and on the evening news, and strangers would drive up in the yard and start bombarding me with questions. I just did a total freak-out melt down, locked myself in the house and refused to set a foot outside, and wouldn’t even leave in 2006 when the vandals set fire to my house. I had to be carried out and by that time my hair and cloths were in flames. I’m lucky to be alive right now. So, now here I am terrified of going outside due to the vandals and a psychic is telling me I’m about to go on a trip?!? LOL!
But than, as many of you already know, last week, the Yarmoth Clam Festival happened. As is usual for the festival, a band of gypsies who opperate New England’s largest side show and carnnie attraction, set up there carnival on the outskirts of the Clam Festival.
During my early childhood the Clam Festival was a yearly event for my family, as was the State Fair, the Strawberry Festival, the Moxie Festival – you name it, if it was a carneval event we were there. (This was before the whole “White Monkey” event that has a drastic effect on my life and changed everything)
We lived in the Goldeneagle back than, sleeping on the side of the road. I loved it. I thrived on it. I loved being part of a band of gypsies, following carnevals and living on the road. Part of the reason I kept the Goldeneagle all these 34 years was because seeing that car brings back memories of our old gypsy lifestyle from way back than. And that was always my intention with rebuilding that car – to once again take it on the road and follow the carnivals and sleep in the ditch. I know to some people that sounds crazy, but I really love that lifestyle. And, I forgot that.
It’s been so many years since I have been to a fair or a festival or a carnevail, and that used to be such a big part of my life. The lights, the cotton candy, the ferris wheels, the merry go round, the popcorn, the booths of plastic junl for sale next to the booths of fine art crafts, the clowns, the freaks, the drag queens, the costumes. I didn’t realize how much I missed that, until out of the blue, last week, Ben suddenly decided (after reading my now deleted FB note) that I needed to get out of the house and back around people again, and he took me of all places, to the Clam Festival.
But he took me there, not realizing that Smokey’s Greast Show had set up their huge traveling side show-carneval-circus in a feild just behind the Clam Festival. Smokey’s Greastest Show is THE VERY SAME carneval that we used to follow around in the Dodge back in the 1970s! I know these people. I remember these people. They are all the same people I remember running the show 30 years ago! I couldn’t believe it when I saw them. The same rides, the same acts, it was liking going back in time, everything was still the same. The people were older of course, but they are still the same people.
I spent 3 days and nights there, just soaking in all the carny life atmosphere, that has for so long been missing from my life.
And than I realized. This is what I want. This is what I have always wanted. That’s why I kept the Goldeneagle, because it reminded me of a lifestlye that I haven’t lived for 30 years. And that’s when it hit me: that was my dream, that was my goal, and I pushed it aside because other people told me it was a stupid dream. I buried the goals that were my heart’s true desire, in order to live a life I hated, because that’s what other people told me I was “suppossed” to do.
I actually have some old blue prints I drew up years ago, of the booth I was going to have built. Living on the road, being a full time carny worker running booth at fairs THAT WAS MY DREAM.
And now, with everything that has been happening the past few years and weeks, I’m starting to realize, this all happened for a reason – to get me back on track to a dream that I tossed aside, because others thought that dream was silly. Well, maybe it was foolish and stupid and silly to them, but it wasn’t to me. It was the think I loved dong. I’ve been miserable ever since I gave up that lifestyle. I’ve been depressed ever since I let other people control my dreams. That has to change. And I’m going to change it.
But the psychic was right – I did go on an unplanned trip and it did revive old memories and it did result in some major life changes, namely that it just smashed my agoraphobia and set me back on track to a lifestyle that I had lost sight of and forgot I loved so much.
And that now, is my long term goal: to revive my goals and live my dream.