The Storm Before the Fun

Jerry handling the paperwork…

Hi Everyone and welcome back to another exciting installment of Just One More! Today I wanted to talk about what it really takes to become full-time RV’ers. In mid-2020, when Jerry and I first decided we were going to sell our house and go full time, we started following a bunch of couples and families on YouTube. We wanted to learn about their experiences and see how they made their dreams become a reality. Now, we absolutely love following their vlogs but felt like many of them glossed over the process of getting started. These vloggers made it seem super easy to just sell your house and become full-time in their RV’s.

After much research and trial and error, we have found that this process is far from easy. Is it worth it? Hell yes! But we wanted to start our journey with you all by showing you exactly what it takes to follow your dream, hit the road, and become full-time RV’ers. 

The first buzzword we learned from our extensive research was “domiciling”. The idea is that even though you are completely mobile in your RV, you have to have a home base where you legally live for tax purposes. You can have many residences, but only one domicile.

In our research, we found an amazing organization called Escapees RV Club, which is the largest RV club in the country. They have all of the resources and support we needed to understand and start the process of domiciling. 

To start, we knew that once we left California, we did not want to move back. If you haven’t heard the news in a few decades, California has very high state income and sales taxes. Shocker, I know. Through Escapees, we discovered that there are three states that they recommend domiciling with: Texas, Florida, and South Dakota.  All three have no state income taxes and have low sales tax. From there, it is up to you to do the research to figure out which state fits your needs best. 

We compared all three on a variety of factors including cost of living, medical insurance, location, and vehicle registration. After doing a lot of research in all 3 states, we found that South Dakota was right for us. I spoke extensively with a medical insurance broker, who also happens to be a full-time RV’er.  Kyle Hensen from Nomad Insurance Group is incredible and puts us at ease as I have had the same insurance my entire life. This is a HUGE change for me.  He found health insurance through the state of South Dakota that is nationwide and very affordable for both of us. We also love the mountains and location. South Dakota, we are coming for you! 

After you choose which state to domicile in, there is a lot of paperwork that is dependent on each state. For South Dakota, you can establish your residency in 24 hours. You need to have a physical address, (NOT a PO Box)  register to vote, drivers license, residency and it’s a good idea to establish yourself by getting a library card for example. Confusing, right? Basically, you have to prove that you are a resident of the state. What’s a bit more confusing is that Escapees forwards all mail through Livingston, Texas.  So, we also have a mailing address which is in Texas.  See, not so easy!  It’s amazing all you must learn before you “hit the road.”

So you do all of this paperwork, right? Then what? You actually have to go and make it happen! We are currently in the process of selling our house, which I will get into in another blog, and have ordered our RV and truck from Utah. Once the house is sold, and our RV and truck are ready, we will drive to South Dakota, establish residency, and then go to Utah to pick up our RV and truck and start THE BIG ADVENTURE! 

It’s a lot, right? Luckily, with organizations like Escapees and your own personal research, you can make this happen! We are so excited to keep sharing our journey with you! Stay tuned for the next steps in the process: selling our house and downsizing from a 1,600 square foot house to a 400 house on wheels! 

Just One More …. Piece of paperwork lol

Make sure to follow us on YouTube HERE for more from our journey!

You Want To Do WHAT?!

Welcome to my very first ever blog!  My name is Susan.  I am married to the most amazing guy, Jerry.  We presently live in Northern California.  We were both previously married.  Me for 13 years and Jerry for 20.  We celebrated our 21st anniversary in March, 2021. Jerry has two sons and between them, 6 grandchildren. I did not have children, but I do have my niece and nephew who are the light of my life!  

When Jerry and I first met in 1999, I realized right away, that this could be a very serious relationship.  I wanted to make sure that he knew one of my deepest desires was to be a full-time RVer someday.  When I mentioned this to him, his first reaction was, “You want to do what?” Not an uncommon reaction when talking about living in a home on wheels.  Let me explain why this is so important to me.  

When I was in my early 20’s, my dad told me (after a few glasses of wine) that he really never wanted kids.  Now, don’t be shocked at this statement.  I turned out ok even after hearing this.  He loved my sister and me very much, but he had a passion to travel. The minute I turned 18 and moved out of our family home in Southern California, he sold the house and built a custom home in Morongo Valley (close to Palm Springs).  He and my mother both were in the medical field.  My dad was a Chief X-Ray Technician and my mom was a Registered Nurse.  They left their jobs in Southern California and started working at a hospital in Palm Springs.  Well, after a year, the commute from their incredible home to Palm Springs was getting to them both, so they sold that house and moved into a beautiful double-wide mobile home.  That lasted a few years and they retired from the medical field in their 50’s. They bought a houseboat in the Delta in Northern California.  However, my mother hated living on a boat.  So the next and best thing was to buy a 35-foot trailer and travel all over the country.  This is where my story begins.

I was in my 20’s,  finding myself career-wise, and decided to join my parents on this journey.  I put my measly belongings in a friend’s garage and met my parents in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in my Dodge Colt.  Trust me, there really was a car named Dodge Colt. I would follow them from state to state and, of course, lived in the trailer with them at each stop. Thank goodness we had lots of family in Charleston, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, which allowed me to sleep in a real bed every so often.  After a few months of this, I realized I needed to go back to Southern California and find a job/career/do something for money. Also, traveling with your parents in a very small home on wheels really hinders your dating life.  But, I always knew I would get back to the RV living. Why do you ask?  RVing means freedom to me.  Freedom to travel from state to state, meeting people from all walks of life, experiencing what each state has to offer.  I knew I wanted to get back to that way of life. 

Back to Jerry.  When I explained why I wanted to live this lifestyle, someday, (after being a bit shocked) he said, “Why not? But, later on right?” “Sure”, I said, “but let’s keep the dialog open”. To make me happy, Jerry purchased a 25-foot trailer for us to enjoy on weekends and short trips.  That lasted a very short time. Talk about close quarters. For those of you who are not familiar with RVs, 25 feet is VERY small. We went up to a 34-foot trailer and then graduated to a 36-foot 5th wheel, which I LOVED.  It was an older model, but we didn’t care. We did a lot of great trips in that RV.  The RV started to need a bit of work and we knew we were going to have to either trade it in or sell it. Then the wildfires in Northern California started in the fall of 2018. These fires were deadly and left thousands without homes so we decided to donate our 5th wheel to a family in need.  

A little secret about me, I have a tendency to get bored pretty quickly.  Being married to Jerry is the longest thing I have ever done and that’s including career/jobs, hobbies, you name it.  When we were married for 13 years living in the same home, Jerry said, “Ok time to move”. He knew I was getting restless and 13 years was the length of time of my first marriage.  (Yes, he was a bit nervous). In our 21 years of being together, we have lived in 5 different homes. In July of 2021, we will have been in our current home for 3 years.  That totals to three homes in the last 6 years.  

Being a very active person, all I can say is that 2020 sucked. That is the best word for it.  As an essential employee at a hospital, Jerry’s schedule did not change during the pandemic. I, however, like many others, started my remote work journey. The only time I have left the house in the past year is an occasional trip to the grocery store and my 3-5 mile walks every day. I know you all can relate. 2020 changed everything.   

During our many nights at home, I found some amazing videos of people buying RV’s and going on family vacations just to get out of the house.  I looked at Jerry and said, “You are retiring soon, IT IS TIME.”  Of course, he said, “Uh?”  I responded with, “Hello! IT IS TIME FOR US TO GET A RV AND HIT THE ROAD!”

Our plans are to go full-time in mid 2021 when Jerry retires.  We will sell our home, purge our worldly goods and take off.

This is the beginning of our journey of  “JUST ONE MORE…” 

In the future,  we will discuss the process of getting ready for this lifestyle.  We are talking about finding the perfect RV, purging our home, selling our home, doing our research on how to be full-time RVers, and more!  And we can’t wait for YOU, dear readers, to join us on our journey!  

So join me in enjoying “just one more…” sunset, margarita, day by the pool, etc. The sky’s the limit, well, until we run out of gas or freeway.