Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Balancing Freedom and Finances...

Howard of RV Dreams posted a "thinking out loud" post regarding what they have experienced over their years of full-time RVing and how things have changed for them. He wrote about the difficulty in balancing the freedom they want against the need to make money.

His post brought home an element of full-timing that is essential to understand before anyone takes the plunge.

As has been said this lifestyle is not utopia by any means.

It is a way of life that offers many great opportunities to travel, meet new people and have experiences that can enrich ones life in many ways.

As we sit here in Campbellsville and have an opportunity to talk with a LOT of full-time people we hear this issue skirted around but never directly addressed.

I can see there are many types of financial situations represented by the people here -- but the one thing they all have in common is it takes money to be able to live.

Some have retirement income -- some have savings amassed -- some live month to month having to earn money on a consistent basis.

I haven't met anyone yet that is thrilled about the effects of the economic downturn on their income or their view of the immediate future.

The stress shows in some -- in others I don't see any indication of stress.

One of the most common questions we get is about making money in this lifestyle.  We talk about workamping as well as the other opportunities that are available on the road.

We do get looks sometimes that indicate a sense of disbelief -- that it can't be done.

Except for a select few in this world money is always a consideration -- where it will come from and if there is enough.

In my opinion part of the reason for the economic situation we find our country in has to do with unwise choices in regard to money and the spending of money that a lot never had to spend.

Over commitment is a good term to use to define the basis of the meltdown.

A good question to ponder is -- Does having money give us freedom?

Another good question is - Can one EVER have enough money?

Freedom in my opinion is not just a physical issue.  It is also a psychological issue.  Perhaps more so the latter.

I get the sense one of the main draws to this lifestyle is acquiring a sense of freedom.  I wonder however if the psychological side of this desired freedom is taken into account when making the decision to take the plunge.

I have seen many people move to a new area to "make a new start".  What I have always wondered was if they bothered to make sure they didn't load up the things they were trying to get away from into the moving van and take it right along with them.

Get to the new place -- start unpacking -- and end up unloading the very things they were trying to get away from.

For us we have changed a lot from when we moved onto the road.  We loaded up some of the things that we have since learned we should have left behind -- and I am not talking about physical stuff.  What I am talking about is:

Our Habits
Our Attitudes
Our Expectations
Our Beliefs

These things had to be adjusted -- the old ones simply didn't fit into the new way of life.

We have had to learn that with this lifestyle there are things that must change to make  it work.  We have learned to change our expectations -- and thereby opening ourselves up to seeing the opportunities that were right in front us.

As far as finances -- it was a process of weaning ourselves off of our old habits.  To go from one income level to another and to have a different money earning structure to deal with takes some serious self examination and a steadfast hold onto the desired end result.

This usually comes in the form of a question -- Now why did we choose this lifestyle?

This question for us needs to never be forgotten and it needs to be asked on a regular basis.  This question keeps us focused on the true priorities.  It helps to keep us balanced.

There are many ways to get to a goal -- or as I put  it an end-result.

There are a lot of strategies being used by full-timers to get to the end result they have decided to pursue.  Not all strategies work the same for everyone.  Some may conflict with the core reason they did this in the first place.

So the keys to balance for us are:

To always keep in the forefront the "why" behind doing what we have done. 
To keep the end-result in focus.
Keep an open mind to different strategies to get where we want to be.
Always keep learning -- listen often -- talk less.
Exercise our beliefs -- but realize that even beliefs sometimes need adjusting.
Always remember money is a means to and end -- not the primary end result.
Have faith --

So the bottom line for us is this.

If we anchor ourselves to our desired end-result and keep our priorities clear then...

When a decision point arrives we simply ask ourselves...

Is the decision we are about to make leading  us TOWARD or AWAY FROM our goals.

In this way we find our decision much easier -- it becomes a much cleared path.

Just some thoughts for today.

Until next time...

Ken and Nanette

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Work...work...work!

We are settling into our newest assignment.

We are working at Amazon.com in Campbellsville, Kentucky.

It is hard work but we have met some great people here.

We are finding enjoyment here.

Over the last few months we have learned to be flexible on short notice.

We have also learned the importance of living life in moments and to capture the happiness in those moments.

Everyone is doing just fine and enjoying our new campground.

The funding situation is starting to improve as we start digging ourselves out of somewhat of a financial hole.

We still have no idea what our plans are yet starting in January.

I would say we have really began to uncover the true essence of our lifestyle. The treasures are here for the taking - in the people - in the things that truly matter in life.

When we sat in Kentucky last winter we had no idea the adventure that awaited us.

We have experienced the splendor of the Adirondacks - the family atmosphere of Western Pennsylvania and now the environment of a horse farm and a spectacular state park here in Kentucky.

As I type this the boys are in the campground owner's barn making "hay forts" with the owner's twin boys. Ah to be a child again!

Nanette is in her element here surrounded by horses.

This lifestyle has changed our priorities - redefined friendship - and shown us the preciousness of having true support and encouragement.

The last item has come to us from you.

The support we received when we were going through some anxious times allowed us to lay our heads down more relaxed at night.

This gift you all gave us will never be forgotten. The emails we received were very comforting.

The statements expressing the faith so many of you carry and practice were shining lights to us.

It is a funny thing - the difference between hearing people telling you to have faith and the rewards of actually doing it.

Each time you do it and realize the benefits of holding a belief in things unseen - it strengthens you for the next challenge - also unseen.

I don't know if that makes sense but we have lived it.

This lifestyle has also made me understand the philosophy of life that served my Dad so well.

So many of the things he said now make so much more sense to me now.

It is cool here today and windy - Fall in Kentucky.

It is good to be home!

The next adventure awaits us however and we look forward with eagerness. The journey continues - it continues geographically and in our hearts and minds.

And what an adventure it is!

Ken and Nanette