I thought it appropriate that I should give you an update on how we are doing since we left Ohio back on Labor Day 2016.
We didn’t really “sneak” out of town, but we didn’t talk a lot about our leaving beforehand either. Since I was then in a business partnership with Carol, I didn’t want to talk a lot around town about my retirement and have it affect the business for Carol immediately before or after I left. The business had nothing to do with why I retired when I did.
In fact, the business relationship with Carol was wonderful and made the decision all that much harder. But in the end, I/we had to do what we felt was best for us.
I’ve been posting our experiences regularly on this blog as we’ve traveled along. Some posts have been about things we’ve done and places we’ve been to, while others have detailed some of the technical or mechanical issues we’ve had along the way.
Many have asked our intentions….
After we bought the coach last fall, we decided to take a cross-country trip this past April to visit Kathy’s cousin Judy and her husband Bob who live in Encinitas, California near San Diego.
The purpose of the trip was two-fold. Not only to visit Judy & Bob, who we hadn’t seen in probably 10 years or so, but also to see how we might like to change our lifestyle … that is, to retire from our “jobs“, selling or giving away most of our possessions, and hit the road to become full-time nomads / rv’ers / workampers. We also wanted to get a sampling of how it might be for the two of us to live together in such small quarters – about 300 square feet!
While some thought we were crazy for “chucking it all” and hitting the road, many more wished they could join us and wished us well on this new phase in our life journey.
I’ve wanted to travel in an RV and go “camping” for years, but Kathy wanted nothing to do with it, as she felt that living even part-time in a small metal can with two young children would not be her idea of living in paradise, but rather some form of hell on wheels. But that was the past, the “kids” are now adults and have their own lives and dreams.
Our decision to change our lifestyle was not so much predicated on wanting to retire (stop working) but more to be able to enjoy each other with the time we have left in this world. We have come to realize, as a result of my heart attack back in 2003 and Kathy’s bought with cancer in 2013, that life is short …. and it’s getting shorter every day.
After some careful consideration and crunching the numbers, we realized that a change in our lifestyle was possible, so we decided to pull the plug as of the first of September, 2016.
But we also knew that if we were to just travel from place to place and see the sights, we could very probably go broke in short order between the cost of diesel fuel (@ 10 miles / gallon) and the average cost for an overnight stay in an RV park at about $35-$40/night. We studied sites online that talked about living on the road and how people do it and we became intrigued by this lifestyle called “Workamping”.
There are literally thousands of workamping or hosting positions out there that typically trade 10-15 hours per week of your work in exchange for your RV site, propane, electric, wifi, laundry and other perks. Some parks pay a small hourly wage for any hours worked over the minimum required to cover the cost of the site while others pay better wages and then charge for the site.
So you can get a better idea of the sorts of positions out there, check out some of these popular web sites that advertise for workamping and hosting positions.
We wrote our resume and posted it on some of these sites and “bang” right away got our first workamping position here at Rancho Verde RV Park at Camp Verde, AZ. Camp Verde, as it turns out is a great location, geographically about half way between Flagstaff to the north and Phoenix to the south. Not too cold in the winter (currently about 60 degrees) and not too hot in the summer.
Kathy and I have had four months now to “soak it in” and we’ve determined that we are very pleased with our new lifestyle. We are comfortable in our new 36′ home, we have great neighbors in our fellow workampers here and the residents, and the money part is working out too.
We work two days each week in exchange for our site and the other amenities, so we have plenty of time to make day trips to see much of what Arizona has to offer, and come March 15th our commitment here will be finished and we’ll move on down the road.
We’ll pull out and take probably about two weeks to meander back to Ohio to stop and visit family and friends, staying there a couple of weeks and then head on to southeastern Michigan where we’ll camp for another couple of weeks while we visit family and old friends we grew up with (we’re making a list of who to see) and then after that time we will move on up further north and west in Michigan to start our summer workamping job near Ludington.
Kathy and I have a lot of great memories of our time spent in northern Michigan back while we were dating, spending our honeymoon there, and then making many return trips after we had moved to Ohio back to see family and good friends.
I know this post is longer than most I have written, I know as a reader I get bored of the longer posts and often move on before the end, so I try to keep my own posts generally shorter and more to the point. I hope you’ll forgive me for rambling on.
But it’s rainy here today (New Years Day) and so we’re taking advantage of this time inside. We did however get out for our morning walk in between rain showers.
We are looking forward to a great 2017 filled with many new places and meeting many new friends. We wish all of you only the best in the new year and who knows, maybe we’ll be able to meet around a campfire somewhere and enjoy each other’s company. We’re looking forward to it!