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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten

How It All Began

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

It started with a dream. A dream of camping with a warm, soft bed to sleep in. A dream of not having to pack and unpack all of our supplies every time we went camping. A dream of having to do little more than jump in the pickup and drive to wherever we wanted without having to consider if it will rain, or if it is too cold, or too hot, or too windy. Abe and I decided we wanted a camper to load onto the bed of our F150 to go camping. Maybe, just maybe, someday we would upgrade to a motorhome and be able to travel longer than weekend camping trips.

We started looking at ads and we went to a dealer to see what we could get. We quickly realized that in order to get anything besides the bare minimum, we would have to get a bigger pickup than our ½ ton Ford F150. Much bigger. We need a ¾ ton or a 1 ton dually. Suddenly, our camper was going to be VERY expensive. It only took an hour or two for us to change our goal. We wanted a motorhome. Kitchen, bathroom, shower… And with the slide outs, they feel like a small house. Maybe, just maybe, someday we could go on the road full time. We could sell or rent our house, sell most of our belongings, and go. We both work from home, so we could try to keep our jobs and work on the road. I didn’t know if my job would be okay with that, but I could ask. And if they weren’t, I could always find another job. Surely there’s SOMETHING I could do remotely.

We refinanced our house, something we’ve been meaning to do anyway. Sold our wonderful HMMWV (Humvee), which made me very sad because it was my absolute favorite vehicle I’ve ever owned. I loved that thing! And we decided to sell my car. We don’t really need two cars, since neither of us is driving to work every day. That made our only debt Abe’s pickup and the house. We made sure to add enough into the refinance to cover a used motorhome, but the house payment remained the same. And for any of you thinking it was a bad financial move to start over on our house loan period, we’ve only lived here for 2 years.

We weren’t ready for full time RVing yet, but it was starting to seem like a real future possibility. My brain never stops, and when something is on my mind, I can’t help but think about the how’s and what-if’s. The next few weeks were very stressful for Abe as I was constantly rattling off ideas of how we could make living in a motor home work. “We’d need a lot of large totes to hold extra food in the storage area,” “We could visit friends and family around the country, and maybe we could hook up to their water and electricity” (we’d pitch in some money, of course), and I could get rid of all of my appliances except the Vitamix. I can even use it to grind flour.” FYI, I do like to grind my own flour. And we could always buy a car to tow for driving around town. While I knew that this was just me dreaming and thinking of the possibilities, Abe thought I’d made up my mind and was ready to drop everything and go. Being the main provider, this was hard for him. That’s a huge expense and commitment, and he wasn’t ready to uproot our lives just yet. Neither was I.

We went to an RV park near us to talk to the owner about prices, and the manager said she needed someone to work in the office. 20 hours per week, minimum wage, and free space rent, propane, electricity, and use of the laundry mat. And a huge bonus, it sounded like an absolute blast. Low stress work where I get to talk to all of the different people that come through. People from every walk of life. Retired people, business people checking out the area, people from New York City, people from small town USA population 25, and everything in between. One thing about me is I love to learn. When something captures my interest, I will devour information to learn more about it. Talking to all of those people would teach me more than any college degree. I started getting excited!

Then Abe started watching videos. Full time RV living videos. He watched the first one and realized we wouldn’t need as much money as those people. Abe is a handyman. He’s great working on vehicles, he’s great fixing things around the house, he’s a true jack of all trades. All of the things those people paid to have done for them, he could do for a fraction of the cost. He changed the theme of his videos slightly and started watching “Cheap RV Living” videos to see how much it would cost if we pinched our pennies. It turns out, not that much. At least, not nearly as much as living in a house. There are apps galore that list ways to save, from free dumping, to places for boondocking, to saving money on diesel fuel. He watched one video of people who spent $20,000/year. We could sell the pickup, have a giant yardsale, and a few other things to get the money we would need. We wouldn’t even need a car… we both have class 1 e-bikes that we could ride to town, even if it’s 15 or 20 miles away. That would make sure that we were getting some exercise in. And after some discussion about making sure we didn’t end up stuck on a narrow dirt road with hairpin turns, we realized that we could hop on our bikes and scope out the road before driving on it if there was any concern Before we knew what happened, we decided it was time to sell our vehicles, quit our jobs, rent out our house, and uproot our lives and head out to our biggest adventure yet.

We started talking about buying a small camper for the pickup in the beginning of November. By the end of the first week of December, we were ready do leave everything and hit the road for a year.

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