Today is my 1st anniversary of going full-time. Even though it seems like yesterday I've actually been living in the Arctic Fox for one full year. It kind of snuck up on me because the days seem to be flying by so fast it's hard to imagine it's been a year.
I felt like I should do something to celebrate so I drove into Carlsbad and had dinner at a restaurant. And that's kind of a big deal because Carlsbad is about 25 miles away and I hadn't planned on going there until next week sometimes. But Carlsbad has a Walmart and a Lowe's so it's considered the big town in the area.
Seeing as how I've been doing this for a year now I figured it would be a good time to mention some of the things that I've learned in that year about full-time RV living so here goes.
1- I've learned that my biggest expenses are diesel fuel and food. I guess you could say food for me and food for the truck. Over the year these expenses very wildly. In the spring and fall I'm going somewhere, either North or South and my fuel bill increases dramatically. As for food I'm not a big eater but when I don't have much to do I tend to eat more, and when I'm Boondocking there's not much to do and my food bill goes up.
2- I've learned that Boondocking can be a big money saver.... If done properly. Now I know that sounds pretty obvious but it didn't occur to me when I started that Boondocking out in the middle of nowhere can make you want to drive 35 miles into town just to have something to do, and if you do that often enough you may spend enough on fuel and wear and tear on your truck that you could've stayed at an RV park near town.
3- I'm still learning that you have to slow down. Not only driving, but your whole life. Even though I have no place I have to go, and no time to be there, I still find myself hurrying. Anyone who's worked their whole life knows what I'm talking about. Hurrying has been baked into us since we were little kids, we've always had places we had to go and specific times to be there, and Believe me that is a very difficult feeling to get rid of.
4- I've learned, or should I say reinforced something I already knew, that buying an RV that puts quality before beauty will keep you much happier when you move into the RV full-time. When You go looking for an RV to buy you might not like the color of the sofa, or the kitchen may seem a little too small, and possibly you may want a bigger TV. But those problems will shrink into nothingness when your cheap tires are blowing out, your thin insulation won't keep the heat in for more than 15 minutes when the heater turns off, and when your camped near a highway the road noise keeps you awake all night because your single pane Windows let in every sound. Yes you can have strong and pretty but that can be very expensive unless you choose wisely.
5- I've learned that freedom really is what makes me happy. I learned long ago that money didn't do it, and more stuff didn't do it, but for me freedom does. Waking up in the morning and doing what I want when I want keeps me happy all day. Now you don't have to live in an RV to do that but I think to be able to go where you want when you want is a big part of feeling that freedom.
I've learned more than that of course but that's all that comes to mind right now. One of these days I'm going to add up all of the money I've spent over the last year for all the different categories I keep up with in my logbook like fuel, food, camping expenses, things like that. And then I will be able to give you all some actual numbers of what my lifestyle costs.