While doing the June Financial Summary today, I noticed a few things in the 2009 numbers. Mostly, we just continue to confirm our prior numbers. :)
With our combination of workamping/volunteering some months and just traveling the rest of the time, we have consistently averaged $28,000 per year in Basic Living Expenses. For the first six months of 2009, with three full months of workamping/volunteering, two months of just traveling, and one month of half-and-half, our total for Basic Living Expenses was $14,000.
That's basically four years on the road with a combination of approximately half a year workamping and half a year not workamping each year, and we keep coming back to that $28,000 per year, $2,333 per month, and $77 per day averages.
If we don't workamp at all and travel throughout the year, the trend is that we will spend about $33,000 per year, $2,750 per month, and $90 per day.
If we workamp year round, the trend is that we will spend about $21,000 per year, $1,750 per month, and $58 per day.
I'm telling you we have this down to a science. And, by keeping track of every single penny (many people didn't think we would keep that up over the years), our numbers are not only accurate, but they provide us great comfort. We can adjust quickly, and it doesn't take much for us to survive and live a moderate, comfortable life.
And that brings me back to my often-repeated point. Full-time RVing for us is as much about living a simple life together as it is about traveling.
Of course, we would love to be completely retired and have enough fixed income to do nothing but travel. We don't particularly care to be stuck in one place for several months at a time. We don't particularly care to have to "work".
But, since we don't have a fixed income and we don't want "careers" anymore, and we don't have enough in investments to sustain us, we have to weigh our options and we have to generate income - a premise we knew from the beginning.
Let's see. We can quit RVing, go back to a sticks and bricks, get our careers back, have lots of money, travel only a couple weeks a year, put up with the fast pace and high pressure, and allow our marriage to go back to the disconnected state it was in. I can tell you right now, that ain't gonna happen. :)
Or we can live in our RV in one location and get jobs. We could earn lots of money and still live the simple life. But there is still that potential for a fast pace and pressure and still a pretty good risk of disconnectedness. Plus, travel would still be limited.
Or we can live in our RV, move from job to job year round, and enjoy the travel in between. We wouldn't make much money, but more than enough to survive. Our travel would be limited, but we would still be living the simple life and staying connected as a couple. But we wouldn't have the spiritual and mental boost that nature and travel provides as often as we'd like.
Or we can live in our RV, work half the time and travel half the time. We can volunteer to keep expenses down, or we can workamp to keep expenses down and earn income to cover some expenses. This is sort of where we are now. We don't make enough money to cover expenses, but we aren't completely tied down, and we get to be picky about when and where we work. The downside is we still have to work to keep from depleting our limited investments/savings too quickly (especially in rough economic times), making decent money requires working more hours than we'd like, we do get stuck in one place for a few months of the year, and writing about our experiences (which I love) becomes cumbersome.
Or we can live in our RV and just travel. The problem with that is our investment income can't cover us, and we still need to come up with income to cover expenses and keep from depleting investments/savings. Can we just grow our own businesses and creat the necessary income? We think we can, but we're not sure. Even though we love doing the website and rallies and selling jewelry, etc., will the effort it requires and the commitment it requires be worth it? Will we find the income-producing pressure takes all the fun out of it? Will we find we will be on more of a schedule and have less flexibility than we do now in order to generate the income we need? Will we have the discipline to spend the time we are obligated to "work" in our workamping now on our own businesses if we give up the workamping? That's a big question. :)
So, at this point in our adventure, we're deciding what the next chapter will look like. The current chapter includes a half-year of volunteering/workamping with a half-year of travel, and a daily, although sort of passive, dose of working on our businesses. We are on our sixth workamping/volunteering stint. They have ranged from two-month to four-and-a-half-month commitments. We have worked three days a week to five days a week. We have volunteered for our site and perks, and we have workamped for our site, perks, and cash. We prefer the three day a week volunteering, but we need the cash. :)
I'm thinking it is time to transition to more concentration on our own businesses: more seminars, more rallies, more public speaking, more aggressive web promotion, maybe a book or two, maybe videos, etc. Linda and I have kicked around so many possibilities. But we believe it's time to make some decisions and go forward.
Through this winter, we will still be looking at volunteering/workamping opportunities. But once we are finished with our workamping here in September and the 2009 Rally in October, we'll probably step up the intensity on growing our own businesses which have grown out of passions. After all, RV-Dreams is about following passions as a means to living a simpler, happier life - that doesn't mean a perfect life, but a better life. No matter which option or combination of options we choose, full-time RVing for us is certainly a better life than what we had before. :)