3. SIMPLE LIVING

In mid 2013 I was in my office working. We were experiencing a typical Florida heavy downpour; best to just stay home than chance an accident. Found myself looking into my 6 foot wide office closet with shelves going over 8 feet. Time to organize and clean out. I’m sure everyone has had a similar moment. Started on the side shelves, moved a great amount of “stuff” to a lower shelf in an half-empty box.
Then it dawned on me (this is a college grad), did I really need all that stuff”? So in came a barrel with liner from the garage. In less than 10 minutes it was overflowing with stuff I honestly haven’t looked at in years, but knew some day I’d be glad I had kept it: Sure!
e sides of the closet have never looked better. Now for the 6×8 foot area of shelves at the back of the closet. About an hour and 3 barrels later, except for about half a shelf,  everything was gone, I mean everything!
Why do we feel so motivated to Store, Accumulate and Acquire STUFF?
It was on our vacation, in 2013, to the Grand Canyon that we truly got the bug to consider full-time RVing. So many campers visiting the GC Campgrounds.

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Unlike us, many of them had no clocks, calendars or schedules to keep. Like  it or not we only had 4 days and nights, and our time was over and we left the area wishing we could stay longer. Sometimes it only takes a vacation or unfortunately an incident at your job to make you realize it’s time to explore other life options. My goal was to hopefully work for another 2 years and retire at 72, but things happen, and you must adjust. It was just before my last deal ended when a call from an associate helped me accelerate our plans. When you work for an awesome company doing deals you could not ever imagine being involved with, it’s just priceless. But not everything turns out the way we want, but it was one hell of a ride. My Broker has said so many times, “if this job was that easy, everyone would be doing it”. Only a very small percentage of Realtors can succeed in Commercial Real Estate. I will never forget my years at School Investment Properties.   By December of that year, as a result of that phone conversation, I was confident we were on the right track and we could make it as full-timers.

You will never feel you have enough money to retire,
however, once you feel you have enough money, 
will you have the time?

It did not take us very long to begin planning the next phase of our lives. But disconnecting yourself from the real world, one that revolves around owning a home, takes a great deal of time and patience. Now comes the challenge of shrinking your life that always fit so comfortably in 2500 SF and make it fit into 400 SF.

The idea of cleaning up and cleaning out gets to be addictive after awhile. In January of 2014 we found a truck that would be able to tow the RV size we had in mind and shortly thereafter, in Jan 2014,  we attended the Tampa RV Show and found the 5th Wheel that would be our new home for years to come, so we thought.

As you might have read in my Living Simple page, Carla and I have downsized from a brick and mortar home of 2500 SF to our Open Range Mesa Ridge 5th Wheel 345, which only has 250sf.

The only downsizing we’ve done is mental. We’ve downsized from an abode providing us space, at a steep price, for STUFF we “want”. Now we live in a Fiver providing us adequate space for everything we “NEED.” I can hear the naysayers now, saying no way. On the contrary. I’ve read where 3% of the population is living in Motorhomes, 5th Wheels and yes, even travel trailers.

Motorhomes, by far, appear to be the finest way to go, but buses were built to be on the move, not to mention the additional expense of such a vehicle. These are vehicles meant to be motion, in order for them to remain operational. They are equipped with large gas or diesel engines, not to mention powerful transmissions. Motorhomes can weigh 30,000 pounds or more. The best thing about these giants is that even though they come with weight limitations, diesels can virtually carry and/or tow any amount of weight.
The travel trailer (TT) is a much lighter way to travel. No engine, transmission and usually between 8-12,000 pounds. Yes, these must be towed. A heavy duty truck, no diesel needed, should be sufficient to do the job. These trailers come with all the bells and whistles as Motorhomes and 5th wheelers. What they do not have is the storage of a MH or fiver. Neither do they have a generator that MHs and Class-C vehicles have. A big bonus is good travel traller can be purchased new from 20-$50,000. Less for used ones. Another plus is that they can have floor plans equal to their big brothers Motorhomes and 5th wheelers, including slides. Generators can be added to these units.
The 5th Wheel is my favorite; it’s what we have.

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Even the campground were in currently is divided evenly between fifths and Motorhomes. The motorhome, even if we could have afforded it, would always worry me. I’m over 70 and my options for large commissions and additional income is limited. If anything happens to a motorhome, after the warrant is over, it’s expensive. We’re not in the market for big repairs or maintenance at our ages. The 5th wheel is a travel trailer with a ton of storage space. It does, however, need a more powerful truck to do the job, and even a used truck is expensive.
Why this dissertation on Recreational Vehicles?
Simple. There are groups of individuals and even families that might find salvation in considering opting for an RV as opposed to a home. Just think; no property taxes, maintenance expenses, little insurance, no water bills, sometimes no electric, and if so, not merely as much as a home. In choosing a fifth it also comes pre-furnished with all the furnishings you “need”. Kitchen comes equipped with all you will “need”, as well. Most likely, no dish washer. That’s why HE gave us hands for. Most have pre-wired TVs, and TVs, in both living and bedroom; what more could a young adult ask for.
For the student attending UCF (Florida), apartment rates range from $2500-$3500/month with 5 to an apartment; let’s say $500/student. You, as a parent, will be paying UCF in addition to the tuition rates. OR, possibly stay at Christmas RV park, drive 15 minutes to UCF, and rent a spot for $500/month. Share your RV with another and pay on $250/month and with fewer kids, less noise, fewer distractions you child might even graduate.
So many young married people are struggling to pay rents from $900 to $1500 a month with little or nothing to show for it. Then you must furnish it as well. For the price of furnishing an apartment you could be your down payment on a really nice fifth. Must you have a Diesel Truck right away? NO! Buy your fifth and pay someone a nominal fee to truck it to your campground; $200 should do it. Think of all the money you could save, think of the vacations you would have, the cash to enjoy and not have to use plastic. Think about the luxury of living debt free, Priceless!
Kids! Read the blogs of families with children in MHs and Fifths. The fifth next to us has 3 kids and a dog, and they are doing fine. Just a suggestion!
Single guys and especially gals, awesome opportunity. This generation is mobile and most likely will be for most of their lives; why trap yourself in a home or leased apartment when you could have the luxury of picking up and moving whenever a new opportunity presents itself. For the price of just the moving expenses you could easily afford the expense of paying someone to tow you travel home to a new location; think about it! 
Talk about a timely visit on the topic of HOME OPTIONS. Virtually all the renters here are seasonal. This, if it were open 12-months of the year, would be great for those thinking of other HOME OPTIONS in place of the typical family home.
It’s now 2015…What a difference a couple of years makes.

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We’ve grown up, we now own an Itasca Suncruiser. The fifth wheel just got to be more than I could handle as far as backing into camping sites, not all sites, but enough to make me realize I must make a change.

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Living does not get much better than this.

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I know some might just say, it’s a fancy bus. Ya have to try it. It’s awesome living! What you see is not what we bought. Some new carpentry, another lazy boy and hard wood floors would bring our 2006 Coach up to date.

9.3.18 Monday/ Labor Day
Carla and I were spending our morning watching three three families with grandpa and ma with about 12 grandchildren on how nice it must be to see your family grow both in size and success. They head been here for four days intermingling and ever feeding both themselves and family. Each had their own RV stiles. There was a small camper and two travel trailers and an assortment of tents. Reminds me of the days when we had the cabin cruiser. We had all of possibly fifty square feet of living space to ourselves, but that was okay. We did find ourselves looking at the bigger cruisers and motor yachts telling ourselves someday. Like the day would evader come that we would own a million dollar trawler or whatever. In a way many might look at us who own motor coaches as they sit by their tents and/or popups and say someday.

10.19.2018-Friday-Son Michael calls; awesome!
WP_20150708_001-e1539973582380.jpgKAn hour ago Carla was reading and I was doing a Sudoku as we waited for the French Onion Soup to heat up for the lunch-time meal. Then the phone rang. It was my son Michael calling to say HI! For most everyone out there, you’d say; so what! Back in my early twenties I assumed all marriages were “happy ones.” My highest priority was Happy Family. There again I assumed all or at least most were happy. I’d always lived in a happy family.
My parents lived frugally and the operative theme for my mom was to keep the children happy and try to ensure their success through education. My fathers’ role was a tad bit simpler. His was to instill a good “work ethic” and a caring parent. My father had a very limited education and all around us were examples of families experiencing difficulties do to minimal incomes and unemployment. Steady employment was a mandate in his daily life. We all knew we’d never be rich, but for years he persevered in a job he knew he was stuck in for life. In the early ’40s he owned his own business and would talk about it from time to time. It was only a corner market but he ran it himself, did his own bookkeeping and was modestly successful, then came the war, his life would never be the same again. By the time he reached his fifties, although we were still not “rich,” the family did have a few dollars in the bank. He wanted so much to get back into business for himself again, but HE would have other plans for my father. He never found his new business niche. By age fifty-five he would leave us through no fault of his own.
None of this history is any justification for my own life. Unlike my father I got a great education as a Pharmacist. However, there was rarely a day that I ever went to work optimistically, but my only saving grace, I hoped, was to provide the best I could for my family. Therein was the problem; to much emphasis on providing and not enough on enjoying what I had. This is why when little things pop up in my life, thing that most fathers would never think twice about, I call Red Letter Days. I take a great deal of satisfaction in a phone call or even a card. I try not to dwell on the past but rather be optimistic about what might lie ahead.
I guess this lifestyle I now enjoy with Carla, is just so beautiful. We are the first to admit we’re not as well off as we might have been if we’d work a little longer to “provide for ourselves” a little more savings, but we continue to live within our means. I only hope my kids, Mike and Cheryl, and even surrogate daughter Abby, will place less emphasis on amassing material entrapments and much more emphasis on enjoying the life presented to them at this time.


01.2020
Carla and I have been experiencing this lifestyle for over six-years now and have never looked back once. We’ve met so many awesome individuals. It is truly unique how all of us continue to keep bumping into one another as we all travel the awesome nation. Carla’s navigation skills have mushroomed to the point that I rarely ever double check her directions. I continue to become a little more learned concerning the blog on our travels. Scoots continues to tolerate the on-the-go lifestyle. I have to compliment the coach as well. For months now we’ve enjoyed a coach with NO problems, everything works. It’s not to say that here and there she’s not showing her age, but, then again, so am I. It will be almost impossible to surpass the awesome experiences we took in last year, now just a distant memory. Thank good for the blog. We continue to give thanks to Him who is making this dream a reality and keeping us out of harms way.


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