My anxiety was through the roof just after I put the house on the market and bought the RV – which, by the way, was on the very same day. Thankfully the house sold in only four days with about 30 days to closing. There was a significant amount of things to do to get out of the house and into the RV – hence the anxiety.
So backup 5 years ago when I seriously started thinking about full time RV living. I had no idea then that my dream would come to fruition in just 5 short years.
Heck, I even built and bought a house one year before I purchased the RV. I was trying to get out of the renting market since it was becoming ridiculously overpriced in the Seattle market.
I was paying $2,100 a month for a 480 square foot studio apartment with one parking spot in the garage in the downtown Seattle area. A mortgage would be cheaper; though not in Seattle so I looked about an hour north of Seattle in Mount Vernon, Washington.
I drastically reduced my living expenses by buying the house, but I still had this urge – well maybe a nag if I'm being honest – to RV. The day I moved in I was thinking about RVing and how it's what I really wanted to do.
There's nothing like that open road when traveling.
Mind you I had never really RV'd, but I love road trips and I always wished I could forego the hotel and just have my “stuff” with me. Also I have a dog, Lily, who enjoys traveling as well and I like to take her with me so this makes traveling a bit more challenging without an RV.
Fast forward and I'm back to figuring out how in the world I'm going to sell all of these things in my house and time it with the sell of the house. So much to think about it and it makes my head hurt!
Buying the RV
For years I've been looking at RVs and researching what kind of an RV or trailer I would be most comfortable with and could handle.
My first choice was to purchase a trailer, like an Airstream, and then pull with a truck or van; however I thought it might be too ambitious for me on a first time RV buyer.
Being a single woman and traveling solo, I liked the idea better of a motorhome that was smaller, where I could pull a small car down the road if I wanted, and still get into most spots at grocery stores, national parks, and shopping centers.
My choice was a Class C, Winnebago Spirit that's 26 feet long and on a Ford E-450 chassis. I still would prefer something smaller, more like a Class B, but I found such a great deal on this RV and she's more like a small home on the inside with plenty of room for Lily and I for a full time RV living situation.
Downsizing Into the RV
Some lovely person on an RV forum told me to sell the big items, have a garage sale for everything else, and what doesn't sell, donate to Goodwill and be done with it. “You're buying your freedom”, he said. He may not have known how much I needed to hear those words in that moment. My anxiety subsided.
Thankfully I had amazing neighbors who jumped in and helped me out to save time and my back. The Cochran Family, Nicole, Steve, and Emily would come over several times a week to help me organize room-by-room into piles:
Each room would get emptied one-by-one. Then if that wasn't enough, they came out for the garage sale to help. I'm so glad they did because it was a mad house with people showing up 30 minutes before the garage sale, but, hey, what more could you ask? It's better than nobody showing up. Thank you Cochran Family!
Full Time RV Living
After moving into the RV, and downsizing about three times over the course of the move-in, I still don't have a plan on where I'm going. However I do need to have solar installed, which is down in the Eugene, OR area at AM Solar. So I'm off on my first adventure in full time RV living.
My first stop, Margaret McKenney Campground in the Capitol State Forest around Olympia, WA. My goal is to boondock or dry camp as much as possible in free areas along the way which will be quite the learning curve. Located in Olympia, the state capitol of Washington, it was free and all I had to do was register my vehicle in the specific campsite of my choosing.
Being that it was my first night boondocking in the middle of a forest, I was a bit nervous but fell asleep quickly. Unfortunately, the sleep didn't last long. Poor Lily was up all night scratching and of course, what do I read on Facebook in the middle of the night? Horsetail grass can cause serious danger to an animal if the thorny blades get in ears, noses, etc. So I look around and sure enough, there is horsetail grass everywhere.
Headed to the Vet
Lily has a wellness plan at Banfield, a national vet hospital, so I promptly found a Banfield in Vancouver, WA, just south of Olympia, and headed there to have her checked out. Thankfully after much worrying, as I do with my girl, she had an allergy, probably to the new-to-her vegetation at the campsite. So with a bottle of allergy meds and Lily medicated, we hopped back into Liz, my RV, and headed South to some wine vineyards, beautiful views, and to rendezvous with AM Solar for a look at my solar installation.
In videos to come, I'll share more about how all this came about in deciding about full-time RV living, how I finance the whole adventure, what my monthly expenses are with RVing, the apps, and websites I use, and more fun facts about each trip.
My first quest is straight out of National Geographic's 300 Scenic Highways and Byways and to visit all 300 in the United States. Who knows, maybe I'll complete all the scenic roads in Europe and Canada too!
Overnights & Places Visited
Place: Margaret McKenney Campground
Dates: March 25-May 6, 2017
RV Accessibility: Okay for 30 foot or below, heavily wooded sites
Cell Phone Signal Strength: Spotty
Park Pass: Washington State Discover Pass
City/State: Olympia, Washington
Video/Audio Equipment Used
Sony A6000 Camera – For most still images and vlogging
Sony Action Cam FDRX3000 – For dash cam and walking/talking video
Joby Gorillapod – Used for holding the cameras as a tripod or mounting to just about anything to capture a shot.