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Living In A Tin Can
The Full-Time Airstreaming Lifestyle

The first thing strangers ask me when they see my license plate is, "Where are you from?" I explain that I'm from nowhere and everywhere at the same time -- that I sold the house, ditched the stationary life, and now I travel year-round in an RV. The next question is usually, "What made you decide to live on the road?" I like to joke that I simply got tired of mowing the grass. Choosing to full-time was a pretty easy decision for me -- suburban life didn't suit me, I didn't enjoy being a homeowner, and I wanted more freedom to see the world. But the actual transition from stationary home-owner to traveling full-timer was a bit more complicated -- there were a lot of details to work out before hitting the road. I needed to set up all of my financial accounts so that they could be accessed online. I had to choose a state in which to declare domicile and transfer all of my legal paperwork. I was forced to consider roadside service options other than AAA. And most importantly, I had to determine what to take with me, sell the rest of the "stuff," and then figure out where to put everything in my new home. I spent a lot of time at the library and on the internet, perusing books and magazines and websites dedicated to full-time RV-ing. They helped me with questions like "How will I get my mail?" and "What kind of insurance do I need?" and "How do I make sure I have power and water when there are no hookups?" While I found some good information about living in transit, much of it was written from the point of view of the retiree -- someone who wanted to roam around "antiquing," make occasional stops to see the grandkids, and spend most days in a lawn chair gossiping with other full-timers. My life would look very different than this. As I always do when confronted with a challenge, I turned to the internet -- and found quite a few sites dedicated to RV living. Full-time RVers are hugely generous with information about hitting the road -- they are more than happy to tell you which steps to take and what obstacles to avoid. But of course, most of them are either retired or earn their keep through "workamping" (swamping out toilets at an RV park in exchange for your campsite does not appeal to me), and none that I found ran a nomadic business -- so there was a lot that I had to learn on my own. I would be working on the computer, and needed reliable internet access and a desk (something NO recreational vehicle seems to come equipped with) to do so. I would be traveling with my cats, and wanted to make them comfortable. I insisted on being able to engage in both "urban" activities (going to museums, clubs, and restaurants) and outdoorsy stuff (hiking, biking, canoeing, etc.) And if I felt a burning desire to play "Guitar Hero" or join a drum circle or dress up for a Renaissance Festival, I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed -- all in less than 200 square feet. It was clear that my situation required a few extra steps to accommodate my age, active lifestyle, and work status. I have been full-time RVing since July of 2008 -- and each day brings a new life lesson (help, I'm growing, and I can't stop!) I am having a wonderful time, and wish that more people would break free from the shackles of stationary life to join me.  This weekly blog shares my experiences living the nomadic life -- tips about the mechanics and practicalities of full-timing, obstacles I had to overcome to be able to travel year-round, what it's like to work on the road, and my observations about the world as I see it from my Airstream.

Living In A Tin Can

RV parks (many parks in this country, especially older ones, simply can’t accommodate the kinds of big rigs that people are buying these days — wIve even come across spaces that were too small for my 29-foot Airstream, ones that could only hold an RV up to 18 feet in length — I want as…

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February 22nd, 2017

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Living In A Tin Can

Are you one of those soon-to-be RVers who plans on delegating behind-the-wheel responsibility to your other half? Then I’m going to suggest that you’ll probably be bored by this post — because it’s all about choosing a rig based on how it handles. I apologize. But I’ll further suggest that you should care (and I…

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Living In A Tin Can

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….. Oh man, I’m so sorry about that. I dozed off! Late night. Not my fault. So where were we? Let’s see. Why I’m a full-timer. No I don’t camp. Getting rid of the house. Taking your work on the road. Nope — something else. What was it? Right! You were shopping for an RV!…

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Living In A Tin Can

Yes, this is literally a picture of a toilet located inside a shower stall . Call me crazy, but I don’t want a leaky faucet dripping on my head while I pee — nor do I relish potty-squatting while I shave my legs. I include this visual aid as a PSA, a reminder that “space-saving”…

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Living In A Tin Can

We recently launched into a protracted multi-part RV-buying discussion that will end up covering many weeks and numerous topics — but today, our gaze is focused entirely on la ligne du bas. (That’s French for “the bottom line.” Oui, it is.) Nearly every sentient being I meet asks (and I’m talking within the first 15…

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Living In A Tin Can

The most important choice you’ll make as a full-timer is picking a rig. This isn’t just some fun-bus you’ll take on one weekend trip, then leave in your driveway — it’s your HOME, for fuck’s sake! Although it (hopefully) won’t set you back as much as a plot of land, you still need to treat…

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Living In A Tin Can

You know the time is right for something to happen when opportunities just seem to fall out of the sky, landing unexpectedly in your lap — and this was sure-as-hell the case as I made my decision to full-time. (In fact, I ended up with some pretty grody-looking bruises — thanks to all those big-ass…

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Living In A Tin Can

I was talking with a couple yesterday as they bemoaned all the many seemingly-insurmountable obstacles standing in the way of their becoming full-time RVers. Money. Work. Family. Timing. But I could tell there was something else going on, lurking right beneath the surface. After a little coaching, it finally came out that they weren’t quite…

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Living In A Tin Can

I’m a born cheapskate (also inherited from Richard, along with the itchy feet and doofy sense of humor). All I can say is never let me on The Price Is Right — my “how-much-is-it-worth” barometer’s perpetually stuck in about 1985. (I’m forever saying things like, “When did a dozen eggs start costing more than a…

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Living In A Tin Can

Soon after discovering that I’m a full-timer, whoever-the-non-nomad-is to whom I’m speaking usually says something like, “Gosh, I sure wish I could afford to retire so young.” My response? Well, so the hell do I! Why do folks automatically assume that a traveling life means a life of leisure? Not all RV-people spend their days…

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