When you are on vacation, all the dull day to day chores are put on hold. You say, I'll get to that when I get home. Well for those of us that live on the road, that is not an option. We need to weave in the everyday chores with our travels and sometimes that is a challenge. Over the past months, we have gotten alot of questions about these various tasks, so I will try to address those all hear in hopes it might help someone else who is considering this lifestyle, or who is just wondering.
First, mail. How do we get mail if we are always traveling, especially since we no longer have a sticks and bricks home? Well there are actually several different options. Some folks use a relatives address and arrange to get it from them. Some use a P.O. Box and others use a mail forwarding company. We have chose the later. Since we have decided to establish residency in FL, we chose a mail forwarding company there, St. Brendans Isle, and they also are very helpful in helping to establish residency and change license, etc. So far we have been very pleased with their service. They are a very popular company with RVers but they still have a personal service perspective of a small town business. It is nice to call up and get the owner on the phone who chats with you about his earlier years in WI, how we should orchestrate our visit to establish residency that will be the easiest and then checks to see what and how much mail we have so I can decide if I need them to forward it now or hang on to it until I get something I really need. Now there are some companies that are more tech savvy and you can have your mail scanned in and see it on your online account and give directions for them that way to send or shred. Most who know me would think that I would have gone for the online conveniences and I did think long and hard about that but at the end of the day, St Brendan's won me over for 3 reasons: low price, rural county for cheaper insurance and good old fashioned nice! Coming from a customer service background, I cannot say enough about good customer service and that is a big plus for me. I know that if I were in a jam to get some mail in a hurry, they would have my back and find a way to make it happen. Another thing that they just jumped into with both feet on helping their customer is to advocate for our right to vote. As being unconventional residents, FL is looking to block our ability to vote. Well St Brendan's Isle has a legal team working in coordination with other mail forwarding companies to fight on our behalf for our right to vote. Now, to me, they are good people. We will see how that turns out. They are keeping us all well informed of the progress.
As for the laundry side of things...I sit here writing this from the lovely Maytag laundromat in Sturgeon Bay, WI. We make the 45 minute trek here every week and a half now because I cannot bring myself to pay $3.75 for a regular size washer when I can get a double washer here for $2.25. Door County has only one other laundromat up in the peninsula where we are staying, which is only 10 minutes from us, but it is extremely expensive. Plus, when I come here, we can visit the Walmart and get our groceries cheaper. The peninsula has a little Piggly Wiggly which is good for when you need something in a pinch and then another little novelty grocery, but if I need my staples of laundry detergent, shampoo and such, Walmart it is!
As I eluded to, Walmart is a travelers best friend. I usually find the lowest prices there and I also use their Savings Catcher on the app to scan for any possible lower prices elsewhere. I have been lucky in getting back a nice chunk of change. Saving money there, then allows us to splurge for some things, like good meat, wine and when in WI...cheese!!! We have also been visiting the farmers markets and orchards for some fresh fruits and veggies. We have certainly done our part in supporting the local economy here. Door County is known for its cherries and we have certainly taken notice. It seems we cannot get enough of the Cherry Splash wine and the dark chocolate covered cherries!!! Now we need to balance that with some more walking and kayaking!
We have been getting out to visit some of the areas and live a bit more like a local. We've visited some lesser know county parks and cute wooded city walks that lead to amazing little beaches. We'll leave you with some of those pictures.
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Fast forward to late 2016...
We started to uncover answers to alot of our questions about the full time RV'er lifestyle.
How would we get mail? Well, come to find out there are several mail forwarding companies that cater to the full time traveler. My Dakota Address, America Mailbox, St Brendans Isle and Escapees, just to name a few. They also have several levels of service they could provide from simple mail forwarding to scanning all mail to a site for you to review.. You also can have mail sent to a general postal address and pick up your mail at the local post office, if they allow. Who knew!
RV Insurance-How is it different if you live in your RV? There are specific policies offered by several companies such as National and Geico that insure your vehicles, RV and personal belongings as full time RV'ers.
A big one for us, what do we do about health insurance? There are a couple options for Full Timers including buying a policy on the exchange, starting with a COBRA policy, even exploring faith based sharing programs.
All of these questions and more all funnel up to an important decision of determining where we establish residency. For FT RV'ers, this is one of the most important things to determine. It seems there are a couple states that, for a variety of reasons, float to the top. They are Texas, Florida and South Dakota. As of the moment this blog is published, FL seems to be our front runner as they are the only ones to have a national network for their marketplace insurance option with BCBS. However, that could change so we will monitor that closely.
Next we move on to the all important topic of money.
We met with a financial planner and found we could make this dream a reality, thanks in part to hard work, good investing and the ability to workcamp as we embark on our journey. That was the exciting part! We were going to trade our corporate life for jobs like cleaning fire pits, checking people into their campsite and many, many other camping life type jobs. It also gives us the opportunity to use our current skills to make a living too. If you've read our ABOUT US PAGE, you will know that Rick is a chef and he is really looking forward to making some food at an RV resort for a couple hours and then retiring to the RV. No more staff to manage, corporate clients to please and budgets to meet. Who knows, maybe cooking classes at an RV resort. The possibilities are endless! As for me, I am exploring all sorts of passive income opportunities, dabbling in this blog and other online jobs. I am getting pretty good at being a Secret Shopper, Shipt grocery shopper, etc. You would be amazed at what is out there! I am also now signed up to be a virtual juror. Crazy!!
So at this point, the plan is starting to come together. We still have some unanswered questions like, what are the boys going to do, what kind of RV are we getting, do we have a tow vehicle to use for local drives, etc.
Up next, some big purchases coming in our future.
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