Friday, April 25, 2014

Why the heck is this guy blogging????

Today seems like a great day to explain why I’m blogging in the first place. I have been on the search for blogs/people online that can provide advice and inspiration for their journey in the fulltiming lifestyle. So many people are out there living this fabulous life and can provide an enormous amount of information, tips and help for aspiring fulltime RVers seeking more information. Currently I follow about two dozen blogs and try to comment on all of them if I have something to offer (hint hint). So for all of you visiting my blog, I thank you and hope you follow along for the next eight years to see our progress. I have a feeling it will be an amazing journey.

For all of you who currently have blogs, I would love to add you to my blog roll, so please comment on my blog with your blog’s address or drop me an email at If you have words of encouragement please also leave that in the comments. I would love to answer any questions you have.

Things I would like to hear from you are:
       1. How much does it really cost to fulltime?
       2. How much savings do I really need for five years of fulltiming?
       3. How has your life improved since you have been on the road?
       4. Would you do it all over again?
       5. How much earlier would you have set out on your adventure?

I really hope this post will generate tons of conversation...


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

414 weeks remaining...

What a great start of the week. I just added 2% a week to my 401k. That's a lot of loot. Besides that everything is on track. We are in the final countdown to our spring vacation to Yosemite via the back route up 395 from Los Angeles. I bought an inflatable kayak that I saw another blogger post and it should be here in the nick of time. Cait and I are excited to try it out.

The countdown to retirement is 414 weeks or 2900 days from now. 

Saving money for a rainy day has always been hard for me, but lately I have been thinking about the goal of retirement and everything seems to have changed. I have started to examine what I spend on and not spend if I don't "need" it. I waited about 5 weeks before purchasing the kayak and only bought it after I got my annual bonus at work to cover it. The rest of the money will go into savings for our October trip to a friend’s wedding up north with a weeklong trip following the California coast back home. Should be awesome. That's enough for now, stay on the edge of your seats for next week’s blog... :-)

Monday, April 21, 2014

How do I get rid of all this stuff?!

The thought of paring down our possessions for life on the road has been overwhelming.  I figured I'd start in the guest room and work my way through that first.  But every time I walk into the room and take a look around, my eyes roll back in my head and I just walk right back out.  It's going to be a lot of work.

In trying to mentally prepare, I've been doing some reading and have found several bright, interesting people out there who are devoted to minimalism and living a simple, meaningful life.  And they’ve given me some terrific ideas.

For sentimental items that I can’t keep with me, I can take a picture to remember it, then sell it or give it away.  Genius!  And luckily for me, my husband is a very talented photographer.

I’ll be attempting to sell my collections of snow domes, salt and pepper shakers and other souvenirs.  It will be painful to give up these beloved little things, but the joy of them really just resides in my mind.  The things themselves are ready to go to a new home.

A good place for books to go is the local jail or prison.  Who knows?  It could mean the difference between a human life staying stuck in misery, and actually breaking good.  I have a friend who is a social worker at a large county jail.  Their library cart used to contain one spider and one Spanish-English dictionary.  She and I can help change that.  The Prison Library Project in Claremont, California is doing admirable work in the area of literacy.  And just down the street Gloria Killian is doing imaginative, beautiful work on behalf of women prisoners and their children.  Check out her Greeting Card Project – it’s incredible.  Also, the kids could use toys for Christmas.  No time like the present to start filling up Gloria’s garage….

For the rest of the books that I’ll never read (or re-read), Bookcrossings is fun a way to set them free.  The website generates a unique identifying number for each book, you jot it down on the book along with simple instructions, then leave it at a coffee shop, bus bench, anywhere.  It could even be part of a geocache.  Then you get to watch the book’s progress as it moves around the world, being read and released, over and over!

I’ll give a lot of stuff to the Out of the Closet thrift stores, which raise funds for the AIDS Healthcare Foundation.  My local rescue mission also accepts donations both directly and at their own thrift store.

If I can get excited about where my stuff is going, it helps motivate me to start the process.  Come on, fists.  Unclench….  You can do it!

I'll let you know how it goes.   -Cait

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

415 weeks remaining....

Well Cait and I spent Sunday afternoon walking around an RV dealer looking at Class A RVs. Boy are they nice, and the price tag reflects it. I do like the option to setup without getting out of the rig.  We have decided to make a final decision on what rig we will get when the time comes to buy. If we can get a super duper class A for cheap then we might just jump on it.

Soon we will be on a “full time” practice run, visiting the Alabama Hills in California and then heading to Lee Vining to see Yosemite and Mono Lake. I am very excited and will fully document the location on my other blog “The Massey Family – On the road again”.

On the financial front, we are way ahead of plan right now. The savings is getting larger and the 401k was upped to 6% and will go up to 7.5% in 2 weeks (I hope). The housing market in California is starting to boom again and I hope we will be in the $600k range in 4 years or less. This will put us in the prime position to sell and make some money.

I really appreciate bloggers who outline their budgets and how much they spend. It gives me a better idea of how much I need to have before I retire. I am calculating $30k per year. Let’s hope health care costs are lower by then.

Monday, April 7, 2014

416 weeks remaining....

This week I have been focused on two things: how to make money after we go on the road and downsizing all our stuff in the house. I was able to sell some tools and lawn care items this weekend and the garage is clearing out nicely. Cait is going through old boxes, figuring out what to keep, sell, give away, etc.

Working on the road is not that necessary but I think it will be a good way to transition into retirement and also a good way to delay taking social security. I found a few good blogs that spoke about the sugar beet harvest, oil field gate guarding and working at Amazon. All three of these sound like really hard work. That definitely is not what I was looking for. I also have found camp hosting jobs along with other interesting jobs volunteering. Being of service is what I would like to do.

I need to look more into LED lighting and LED TV and energy consumption using solar on the rig.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A few words from The Wife

Eight years and counting till the old man and I hit the open road.  We want to do it Blue Highways style, really taking our time and exploring America close up, having little adventures along the way.  No interstates and no chain restaurants.

We made the decision to start fulltiming as it slowly dawned on us that we were chained to soul-depleting office jobs that we had to do to pay for a house, car, and a pile of material possessions that we didn't really want or need.  In the spirit of Helen and Scott Nearing's "The Good Life," we wanted to reduce our cost of living, work less, and have more freedom.

I hope we'll be able to strike a good balance between living simply and still having some security, being smart about the future and living for today.  Who knows how long any of us has left on this earth?  I have some fears about finances, but frankly the future is uncertain whether we're living in an rv or a stick-and-brick house.  And I'm confident in my honey's ability to make a living wherever we are, whatever we're doing.

I think Honey and I are ideally suited to life on the road together.  We started our relationship in a studio apartment so small you could almost touch opposite walls at the same time.  And we love nothing better than a road trip.  We have camped in a teardrop trailer in rain, snow and glitzing heat.  I have bathed outdoors in a swimsuit, while Honey poured water on me.  When we have differences, we work them out pretty quickly.  We are perfectly matched travel and life partners.

I'm really excited about doing lots of different kinds of workcamping.  I can totally see us traveling around, doing all kinds of weird stuff.  Babysitting a salmon hatchery, hosting a campground in the middle of nowhere, giving tours of a lighthouse, scooping ice cream in Yellowstone.  Working crazy hard for three months, then sitting silently in a forest for three months, then moving on again.  Eventually I would love to have set foot in 49 of the 50 states (sorry, Hawaii).  And I want to see every giant ball of twine, miniature horse, strange tourist attraction, local festival and fruit stand along the way.