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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Comments

I like Linda's idea ... the thermometer on the website. $12. per year is a bargain for all of the info you guys provide to us historically and on an ongoing basis. We will be fulltiming next year. Your site has given us the education we need to do that. Thanks.

Howard, Very insightful and once again you stayed true to yourself and us no matter how uncomfortable it may have become. IMO you need to stay true to the reason you went on the road in the first place. Only you and Linda know what that reason truly was. I don't recall that you ever promised me or anyone else that you would write every day.

Sounds like your instincts are right-on. Ultimately, it sounds like you're craving variety. Being tied down to one thing full-time (whether it be an RV club, a workcamping gig, or a full-time "real job") is really what you're trying to avoid. It must be something about this stage in life (preparing for 50) that makes many of us start thinking this way, because I'm right there with ya!

So maybe the real answer is "alittle bit of everything"?-- a scaled-back, lower maint, lower cost club to cover some expenses? Some shorter term workcamping gigs? Maybe also re-evaluating your professional skills to see what might lend itself to short-term consulting/contract work that can be done remotely/online?

I'm a project manager for a healthcare software company and am able to work from anywhere there's an internet connection. Business is booming and money is terrific, but hours can be long at times and stress can be high. Still, I think the answer for me when I start full-timing will be to continue that line of work for one reason only-- because it will earn me the highest rate of income per hour invested. My plan is to just scale it back from full-time to more part-time contract-based work. That way, I can control how much "work" I want in my life and when.

Howard, you've got many advanced skills and talents that most other full-time RVers don't have. Don't ignore that & "throw the baby out with the bathwater" here. If working a few hours a day (or a few months a year) from your rig earns you much more than 12 months of full-time "Rv focused" work or workcamping, it might not cramp your style as much as you fear it would!

I agree with Flyone Howard, you never promissed you would write everyday but I read everything you write as I want to know everything possible about the fulltiming thing and especially work camping. I would rather read your outlook on it and atleast know what I am getting into instead of you just sugar coating it. Thanks for everything you have done so far and if we ever get a chance, we WILL be at one of your Rally's...lol!

Now you know why people don't full-time before retirement age. You have no plan for how to replace a depreciating asset, you're draining your reserves and still have 15+ yrs until social security. Good luck!

Howard, write that book you have been talking about for so long! It could be # 1 on Oprah's book club and she may invite y'all on the show before she retires. I would be first in line to buy the book and you can travel the country in your RV, doing book signings!!

The thermometer, a link to PayPal to make a donation and fund raisers at the rallies.

Howard, I would gladly pay a nominal fee for something like a premium membership with benefits that the free memberships don't receive.Maybe the best of both worlds.Wouldn't have to be a costly benefit.

Again you give us more to think about. We are in a tough situration with a business and house to sell in an economy that is down right awful, yet I still dream of the fulltime life style, you both are my inspiration to keep on Dreamin

Pam

I'm with Bear. I am more than willing to donate money for all the information you already provide us. I have not found any other website with this amount of information. I am another one that likes to read all about your workcamping gigs. It may be hard for you to write everyday but I love to read everything. I have donated before and have no problem doing it again.

I would gladly donate $1 per month to read your journal...and it's worth far more than that to me. Keep brainstorming and you will know when you've found the best plan! Good luck!

Hey Guys...all these different things you have going..adds up to a full time job...why not go back to your old work for 2 years...save your $'s and buy a few 'freedom' years on the road...meet a 30 years old that worked one year and traveled two years..single status

Howard,
You started this RV lifestyle to get away from the stress of work. The last thing you need is to replace that stress with a new stress. You guys give away a lot of information and for that I and probably all your reads are grateful. I've bought and read many books on the RV lifestyle, none compare in quality of information you provide. Is it fair for you to give it away? That is your call. Perhaps those like me should begin donating to the cause. If I would pay for a book, why not provide a donation for the free information that is available here. Now, I just need to go to that donation button. Your inspiration is what keeps the dream alive.
Going Live in 2012.

Howard,

I really appreciate your honesty and openess. I think that is why I and so many others find the RV-Dreams site so helpful -- I relate to the dilemna and challenges and feel like in spite of the challenges there is a way to make it work and our dream life happen.

We are not in a position to retire, but for a variety of reasons we're not willing to wait for "some day" to hit the road.

Right now Johnny has been working short-term projects to pay bills, pay off debt, etc. The difference between what he's doing a "real job" is that while he's doing the same work it's typically only for a couple months at a time. And for that time he gets paid much better than the "real job" would. Plus the job assignments typically include some sort of per diem to cover living expenses. That makes the time he works very lucrative.

I'm trying to figure out what I can do that will result in a similar situation. Right now my struggle is that while what he's making will more than support us, I've never not worked and never not supported myself.

So lots of soul searching going on...

I do actually like the "fund raiser" thermometer idea. I've actually wondered what it costs to fund this site and while there are some ads I know there's not enough to pay for it. Sometimes I feel guilty about the amount of times I visit in a day because I know it costs you $. So if you put up a thermometer showing the amount needed to cover the cost of the site and a pay pal link for donations as users we could choose to help pay for the value we find in the site. And you could continue to do the site out of love and passion rather than responsibility.

I know it wouldn't fund your lifestyle, but it could free up ad $ to pay for other things...

A sincere thank you for continuing to share your journey -- warts and all!

Carol & Johnny

I agree that the info on your blog is worth $36/year. Plus I would hire you in a second for a consultant as soon as I could seriously begin planning my FT escape. As others have said, I value your honesty and your insight. Hang in there... part of your mood comes from having a long workamping stint. But bear in mind, it came with a TON of golfing, which you evidently love... who else has a job with that kind of perk? Keep your balance and you will come up with something; you are too smart not to find a balance for your life.

Sounds like hitch itch to me:)
I think it's good that you've but the idea on hold until you got back on the road. I've been with you guys since the beginning but I'm a "not sure" on the $36 membership. I'd hate to see you get overwhelmed with the running of a club too. Why not go with Linda's thermometer idea for now & see what happens!

Thank you again Howard for your frank honesty and sensitivity to yourself and your readers. This is why I come to your website. Yes, you provide good quality information too, but your humanity, and the community that you engender with it is of most value to me. I will (and have) contribute to your cause.
I also agree with Lynne that you've got skills that you may not be tapping yet. But you may not want to. I understand that it is sometimes hard to engage ones old "professional" self and stay true to the other aspects of who you are that you have given a life by making the choices you have. That's that balance that I struggle with. Different lifestyles bring out different parts of us.
Thanks again for sharing your deliberations.

Howard, Todays post was one of the most interesting I've read on your blog, and one of the most honest. I've sometimes felt that there were a little too many :)'s in your writing to be real, but that you felt you had to "market" you life. None the less I've been a regular reader and appreciate your perspective. My personal reaction to the club idea was negative - no way would I pay for what other sites do for free. But, some of you other readers clearly disagree.

Perhaps you should take Linda's idea and build on it. Consider the NPR model where there is always a chance to subscribe, and maybe figure out some perks you can offer to subscribers, and then a couple of annual "membership drives". All the while offering the same quality "radio" to everone. Here in Seattle there is even a web newspaper called Crosscut (http://crosscut.com/)that uses the same model.

Keep thinking, the last thing you want to do is go back to the 9-5 life, been there done that!

Howard, great post! My wife and I are about 11 months away from beginning our fulltime adventure. Like many here, our financial outlook has changed considerably in the last 24 months, too. A couple of things come to mind....have you considered doing one, or two of your rallies in the western half of the U.S.? I may have missed it if you already have as I just started following you about 1 year ago. If you haven't I think you are missing a big opportunity, and income....there are a lot of "us" west of the Mississipi. The other thing is, and I have no doubt you have already thought of this, you can modify your 5th wheel to enable you to live more off the grid and really cut down on your expenses.....solar panels, etc. Of course, it really comes down to the fulltime lifestyle that most appeals to you. If you like to stay in one location for a few months at a time then that wouldn't make sense, but if you want the freedom to move every week, or so, then you may want to consider living more off the grid. There are many who do it and really enjoy it. All that being said, we will enjoy following your decision making process.....Clarke and Elaine

I believe you are anti credit card but a good cash back card will deliver some money to you. I have a Wal-Mart Discover cad that has a $10 check attached to my statement every time I spend $1000 dollars. If you would charge everything you can and put your cell, internet, TV and anything else you can auto pay on the card then pay it off every month you will get quite a bit of money back. Only having one bill a month instead of several is worth something and you don't have to keep money in checking for debit purchases, just put in money when time to pay the credit card. Also remember to use the grace period and don't pay before it's due and make big purchases the day after a new billing period to use their money longer.

Just some food for thought.

Howard,

Suffice it to say that your website is a value to all of us, and I recommend your site to a lot of folks who have expressed any interest at all in the RV life. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't "check in" to journal and forums areas. Keep up the good work.

As for the club, I have to fall into the "don't know" category at this stage. But just as an idea as a "money-maker" for you, with your skills of setting up websites, perhaps you could travel around the country doing that kind of work. With your photographic, writing, and creating skills, I think that as you "hit an area" to kind of look around and see if there are businesses in a location that might use your services.

As always, good luck with whatever you choose to do, and know that your readers all wish you success and happiness.

This is my first visit...Jumped on here from Jack Mayer's web site.

As I read your post, my mind kept going to all the things we are trying to get away from...and remembering conferences and things...how much work it was, even with GOOD help!

I look forward to browsing around your posts, and I do hope that you are not going to disappear.

Writing every day is hard, no matter what the topic. Searching your soul is much harder.

I hope to see you around!

Your daily postings have been an insight into the daily life and what happens in your world. I enjoy reading about how you had a great game of golf other things you do, but how does that help me as a fulltimer? When I read the post of ya’ll starting a club I thought….oh no, here goes another person trying to get money from me. As a fulltimer and retired we like you have to watch every penny. Being a former business owner I also know that your web site isn’t free, so where does that leave us. I believe that your best path would be to pursue the advertising dollars more. You seem to have a loyal readership and if you can supply companies with the numbers of readers there are still dollars to be spent on advertising. Just look at the 100’s or even 1000’s of companies that still market to Rv’ers. I just can’t believe that with your drive and passion you can’t get some different type of sponsors. It seems it would be easier to land a few big fish than to worry about keeping your numbers up with several same fish. Having a club will require a huge about of time on yours and Linda’s part, because we all know once you have taken a dollar from someone then you owe them. And if that is the case then you might as well to back to a 9-5 or in your case 8-8 job.
Have you looked into contacting the Rv publications about writing for them? Or even writing that long awaited book you have talked about?
Howard, I am not trying to be insensitive, but I also retired at a young age (53) when I sold my business and yes sometimes I miss the hustle and bustle but then I wake up.  I would think long and hard about starting a club and if you do make sure you have it well planned out because as earlier readers have said there are more clubs to belong to than there is money to spend and time to read.
Keep the faith and remember why we all chose this lifestyle….. just think how many people would die to wake up each morning with the opportunity to see a new landscape each morning. Good luck.

Howard,
We suggest you use your boondocking and writing skills and find the right spot, and hunker down and write that book.

Find a place that has no distractions, a place where you and Linda feel like you can cut the rent, re-evaluate without outside distractions, and spend more time organizing your life-dreams, cut the costs.....and of course, worry less. We would be happy to share some of our favorite spots.

We find lots of enjoyment out of your blog, and know as full-timers for the past 4 years that experience is what really counts.

Attitudes, health, costs, and personal expectations dictate the lifestyle. We never dreamed we would put so much effort into cutting our costs, becoming true boondockers and living a full life in a RV without the need for utilities. Most RV’ers would never want or be able to survive like we do, but we just love it, and we’ll compare our costs and enjoyment to anyone stuck in any RV park.

You of all people know that there are many ways to do this RV lifestyle and maybe some changing by the expert(s) might at this point be appropriate.

Here's a hypothetical you might want to crunch. Reduce expenses by closing the website, boondocking a greater part of the time, reduce your income to the point where you qualify for food stamps and medicaid, move to a foreign country...radical but doing the "what if's" of changing your lifestyle AGAIN could reveal some other alternatives.

Think about retaining everything that currently exists to avoid losing readers, but add any extra features to the member-only side.

At first, your members will consist mainly of die-hard fans, but money is money.

Perhaps you could offer a month to month membership at the beginning. Say, $4. Then see if the undecideds come around. Also, you could offer something "free" to annual members. Perhaps a hat, or shirt, or entry into periodic members-only raffles.

Some of these ideas were used by geocaching.com, podcacher.com and paddling.net.

An additional members-only feature could be video podcasts. Imagine all the video you could have posted from Arches National Park, etc. I would imagine that this would be fairly easy to do, but I'm not sure. But, by offering this NEW feature to the members-only side, non-members can't complain about LOSING features they already get for free.

Read the 4 hour work week by Tim Ferris. You seem to be pretty intelligent people. Think outside the box. Without knowing you but reading this post it seems you have a preconception about what constitutes work and play and what defines a job. I found this website via a random Google search on upgrading our 5er suspension. You have content and quality it seems the club route is a good path. Look at the items that will constitute "work" in your mind and delegate it to others. Judging by the following you have maybe a few folks would be willing to help manage your club.

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