Yesterday we responded to a great question from Mary about the best and worst of full-timing. When you first saw yesterday’s title a couple of readers with us through April Fools Day might have thought we were going to pull your leg again. No, we’re on a really straight streak here.
Mary also asked, “How do you do this gig” (in so many words). We thought we would present an overview of ten somewhat distinct functions we deal with on the road. These things are common to all of us, but how we do it on the road may be a little different from when we owned a house.
Banking, mail forwarding, medical care, hair grooming, clothes replacement, grocery stuff are easy to manage. Also easy is cell phone and wifi/internet. What about residency and hauling books around? Okay, these are the ten things for today.
You have many choices on how to do approach all these aspects and to what degree. We bank electronically, have our mail forwarded by Escapees (Escapees.com), carry health insurance for physicians across the nation, are happy with Great Clips or SuperCuts, buy clothes at good thrift stores, and have courtesy cards for discounts at grocery stores from Alaska to Florida.
Our cell phone is Verizon, it works almost everywhere it should. But some of the western states have a lot of nothing in between the coverage areas. It just happens. Ham radio still has coverage in those zones, so we’re both licensed amateur radio operators and truck and trailer are equipped for listening and talking.
If we can’t get wifi from a bakery or coffee shop or grocery store then we’ll use our Verizon usb modem. At only 5gb/month we can’t stream movies or much music. We use it for email, internet look-ups, and maintaining our blog and website.
We have XM radio in the trailer and listen primarily to sixties and seventies rock and public radio. Some states have good National Public Radio broadcast coverage and we enjoy picking it up on FM broadcast. If we don’t like those choices we can resort to our iPod’s music collection through the trailer’s stereo.
Our library is almost exclusively paperback or e-books. We keep four or five paperbacks we can swap out at a campground for some we haven’t read or at least don’t remember. We don’t store much paperwork, generally we scan and save documents then destroy the hard copies. A couple of vital records stay locked in our safe.
Twice we’ve sought urgent medical care, once in Great Falls and once in Dayton. The care was prompt, adequate and effective. We paid out of pocket (with HSA pre-tax bucks) because our deductible is very high. We have high deductible to keep our rates lower.
For now we continue to get our dental work in NC with our same wonderful dentistry. We’re visiting once a year anyway and we schedule this for our time there. Sometime it may not work out but so far we’ve liked this plan. Again, we pay out of pocket for this care.
We did not change our residency from NC. An exhaustive study will show what is best for you. We considered property tax, income tax, sales tax, vehicle registrations, impacts upon health and liability rates, and we found no compelling reason to change our residency. Most of our family lives in NC so we’ll visit every year and can usually take care of business while there.
We can vote absentee if we’re too far from the polls. Our income is below the cut-off. We have only a truck and a trailer, both seven years old, as property. Sales tax is of no consequence since we don’t stay anywhere long enough to spend, and don’t foresee buying another RV. NC has worked well with us on inspections and annual registration and our insurance rates are fine, for now.
Life on the road is good for us. We fly home to see our children, siblings, and parents at least once a year. We have fun, play tennis in as many cities and communities as we can. We enjoy taking it as it comes, seeing the select cuts of North America.
What are we missing? We miss our Dilworth United Methodist Church, we miss having space to entertain indoors, and we sort of miss our beautiful home. But we don’t miss these things: shrubs to trim, tree limbs falling or gutters overflowing, driveway cracking, or drains backing up. What keeps us going without all these joys of home ownership? Life on the road is good! We’re loving it and when we don’t, we’ll quit.
This has been a pretty quick overview. Most of these, we think, are covered in our web site’s FAQ pages (hmm, maybe we should look into this?) What did we leave out? What else would be helpful? Let us know, we’ll go some more.
Jim and Debbie
dreamstreamr odyssey, chasing 75 degrees
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