In the story so far:
Retirement looms in the not so distant future and I make the decision to be a full time RVer and living in a minimalist way, getting in touch with nature…and perhaps even with myself. I buy a used 2011 17ft Casita with the Freedom Deluxe floor plan. I begin parting with some of my belongings.
It’s October of 2013, and in the next 10 months I need to bring this plan all together and make the dream a reality. Looking back I feel like there were 3 major projects that consumed my time.
1. I need to continue working of course. I need to do financial planning, learn about and implement Social Security benefits, Medicare and a supplemental health insurance, and moving my residency to South Dakota. These things involve research, phone calls, meetings and paperwork.
2. Getting serious about minimizing my possessions. This entailed going through closets, cupboards and drawers and putting things in 3 piles, those to keep, those to let go of and those I wasn’t sure about. And after I go through everything, do it again. And again. The group of things I was letting go of went in further piles of things to give to friends, things to donate, and things to save for an eventual yard sale.
The yard sale was held over the Memorial Day week end and I sold or gave away all my furniture, and many household items and cloths. With still 2 months until retirement, I slept on an inflatable mattress, sat in lawn chairs, and used upside down storage bins as tables. I still had too much stuff however, so I continued the process of elimination. (and it’s STILL going on even today!)
3. Preparing for the journey. In early March I finally had time for my ‘shakedown’ with Wandering Spirit. I took the dogs and we went to Betabel RV Park, as mentioned in part 1, so I could make sure everything worked, and I knew how to work everything. Long story short, yes, everything worked just fine, I just had to figure out how it was done. With the help of the Casita Forum, I even changed my hot water tank anode!
During these months I was also packing and repacking WS and JR to get a reality check on how much I really could…or could not…bring along. I was even making diagrams on graph paper. 🙂 Still, somehow more fit in on paper, than it did in reality!
The Freedom Deluxe Casita has a small side table with a captain chair on each side. One of the first things I did was remove the chair nearest the door, so there would be more floor space for the dogs. We needed ‘turn around’ space. This is a major reason I’m glad I have the Freedom Deluxe, because removing that chair made a big difference in our space.
I decorated, adding my own touch to make WS ‘home’ and very dog friendly. I was going to use my old stuff to save money, but in the end I bought new things at minimal expense. I figured, ‘new life = new stuff’.
This was mostly new towels and linens and a few decorative items that I sewed or purchased, all in cheerful bright colors and designs.
I studied maps on and off line for hours and hours (and enjoyed every minute of it!) I highly recommend the Benchmark Atlas Books and the Allstays and Google Maps apps. I also like to have large maps of large areas to get the big picture, so I have AAA maps for that purpose.
I planned the first leg of my travels, which was a trip to South Dakota to become a resident. The plans incorporated lots of sightseeing, but also visiting friends and family on the way.
Towards the end there were various retirement parties. The last one given by the ladies I worked with was the Grand Finale, complete with showing and re-showing a skit they did and put on video to the song “Hey Micky!” I treasure that and have it on my laptop. Every time I watch it I laugh AND cry.
After July 31 I was FREE! After working for 50 years or so, it’s a little much to take in…don’t know if I’ve completely assimilated it into my being, even now.
Sunday, August 10 I headed out. First stop was in Palo Alto to visit friends Laura and Joel for a final send off and to do some fine tuning on the “Joel Pole.” That first night after getting through the Silicone Valley and East Bay traffic, I stayed at a little park in Winters, CA, beside a stream under a full moon.
Was I nervous and anxious? Yes! But the feelings of accomplishment and joy to finally be living my dream were humungous. The blog I posted then was called “I Did It!”, and gosh…I’m still doing it! And I hope to be doing it for quite awhile.
And….if I can do it, you can do it…if that is your dream. You will have your own set of lists to accomplish. You will have your own time frame. You will have your own hurdles to jump…physical, mental, emotional, and financial. Just work your plan, one step at a time, until you reach your goal. I think you will find that the end result was worth the effort!