Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Road to Fulltiming

I've been asked to explain how and why I came to be doing what I am doing.

My first experience with camping (other than Girl Scout camp) was in my parents brand new 1964 Chevy Greenbrier camper van. My sister and I slept in the tent on top. Okay as long as the wind didn't blow too much...


Then in 1970, my parents got a truck and slide-in camper. My ex-husband and I went on our honeymoon in it - this is a picture of our wedding night!


Skip forward to the mid-1990s. My kids were in college and I was a self-employed CPA, primarily doing taxes, so I was able to travel a lot when it wasn't "tax season."

I realized I could travel for months at a time if I had an RV. So I bought a 19-foot Nomad travel trailer and the first of two Jeep Grand Cherokees to pull it.


I met up with other single RVers at campouts with the Virginia LoWs (Loners on Wheels), then later with the WINs.


I hardly ever stayed in campgrounds with electricity, but I managed to find it whenever I had some work to do. (My laser printer would not run off an inverter.)


I was having a wonderful time, but every year I had to come home to this! So I finally figured out that I could either have a house and a job, or have no house and no job. The second option sounded better to me!


So I sold the house and the business in early 1999, and took off for good.


Unfortunately, I had a major setback in July 1999 when I went for a walk in an Oregon forest and came back to find the trailer in flames. Fortunately, my dog was with me, and I had disconnected the car. Notice that the only thing that didn't burn or explode were the propane tanks! I still don't know what caused the fire.


But within days, I had a brand new 21-foot Nash trailer with the same layout as the Nomad. And I had a wonderful time shopping for the perfect things to replace what I had lost.


In 2003, I got a new tow vehicle, a GMC Yukon. Then in 2007, I replaced the Nash with a 23-foot Arctic Fox. And then in 2012, I replaced the Yukon with a GMC Sierra truck.

So that's a little about my fulltiming history.

28 comments:

Linda and Terry said...

My what a trip down memory lane. I had forgotten the Greenbriar. Of course the camper is the one mom and daddy bought from your dad and then painted it to match their truck. That camper crossed the country numerous times.

I think we missed our window to the west. If it hadn't been for Terry's health issues, we could have traveled for a while. I would have loved to store our stuff for a year before buying our retirement home. That year could have been spent as nomads. I never wanted to leave Colorado and wish I could see it again. Oh well, our roots are too deep I guess.

My real dream is and always will be a log house in the mountain. I wanted to try and be as self sufficient as possible.

Guess we really are related :-) I am a loner and if you remember when I was in high school, my goal was to be a forest ranger with the forestry service and live in a fire tower.

I am a bit jealous of your lifestyle.

Love 'ya and miss you. Looking forward to your next trip East to where the roads are full of crazies.

Merri and Steve said...

Thanks for sharing Diana! Always love the vintage! Sorry about your loss but it sounds like you had a great time finding a replacement. Cheers!

E Squared and Mui said...

What a great trip down memory lane ... sounds like this way of life was in your blood and you made it a reality.

John and Ellen said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I also enjoyed the vintage pictures.

sally said...

All these years I've known you but didn't know all THAT!!

Is that a little white mountain goat in the 7th picture?

Barbara and Ron said...

Very cool. I didn't remember that your first trailer was a Nomad. Love the Greenbrier. We really had some fun times in that!

pweaver said...

WOW!....what a wonderful story. This was a GREAT blog. It's neat to see how people progressed to where they are today. Be safe and have many more years FTing.

Paul
www.wheresweaver.blogspot.com

Tom Gardner said...

House or Travel? You made a great choice and glad I got to meet you during your travels.

Dixxe said...

Well looking at that pile of snow you had to shovel I can see you made the right decision!! Your progression is one to admire!
WOW to that fire has to be an unfinished symphony in your mind, wondering what happened!!!

www.travelwithkevinandruth.com said...

What a great story of how you came to be where you are now and living your dream.

That must have been a real shock to have come back and seen your trailer in flames. So glad no one was injured and that you still had your vehicle intact. Sounds like you always look on the bright side of things and can carry on. I like that!

Kevin and Ruth
www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

Bob Parker And Donna Huffer said...

Loved the curls too. 5th pic. Where was all the snow? We don't miss that either.

Paul and Marti Dahl said...

A very nice story, thanks for telling it. We still come home to snow like that (howdy former neighbor) but not too much longer.

You're an inspiration! ;c)

Chuck and Anneke's RV travels said...

Thanks for that well written story of your journey to full timing. I think it will be an inspiration to some who are considering this life style.

I must admit that I sometimes wonder how we would deal with losing the coach to fire or other mishap. Your approach is, I hope, how we would respond.

Again, great story.

ourtakeonfreedom said...

What spectacular photos! I need to start taking more shots of the RV! :-)

Ted and Mary Ellen said...

Loved it!!! Made me think back to my own travel history and relive many happy memories. No fire though.

Nancy said...

Thanks for sharing your history of RVing. Great post on a GREAT BLOG!!

Sue and Doug said...

what a great trip down your memory lane!..boy, July 1999 must have been a scary time!!..you are a true inspiration to all of us who still don't have wheels under us!!

Levonne said...

Thanks Diana for the post. It is good to know your RVing history. I admire how you take care of yourself!

Me and My Dog said...

Great progression from there to here in mostly photos. Bet there's a book there somewhere.
Thank God you had your dog with you on the hike - it must have been so scary to come back to a burning RV.

Lynn said...

I love this post, it was great to see some of your past campers. Im so sorry about the fire you went through and loss of your things, but it seems you bounced back really great. Thanks for sharing and I hope you had a good weekend :o)

Anonymous said...

This was a great post thanks.

Dan (bubbadan)

ladynomad said...

Great memory trip. Makes me remember my first camping (I was 6) in a tent at the lake.

Jim and Gayle said...

Always enjoy hearing about how people become fulltimers. I can't imagine coming back to find our rig on fire, since the cats would be in it. That must have been a stressful time. Thanks for sharing your story.

Gayle

Randy and Pam Warner said...

Great post Diana. I love the series of photos from the past. Except for the one with your RV in ashes. Yikes! But it looks like you handled it well and are doing great. We like to boondock too but have only spent a few weeks doing it.

Maggie said...

I like that Yukon. It doesn't get very good mileage tho, but I do love the way you live. That was a really good interview. Thanks for posting the link. Sometimes I get to thinking my life has shrunk to nothing but the small, repetitive stuff. Then some cold mornings, I revel in the comfort of it all.

Jennifer said...

Love this post and the pictures - especially the first two!

That fire? Yikes. Scary.

Take care,

Jennifer

Anonymous said...

You inspire, Diana. Thank you. You've been out there 12 yrs, too, and still enjoy it!I love the outdoors and use to love camping. Maybe I will be able to quit, sell, and fulltime in 2 yrs. I've always been pretty independent, but when I seriously think about it though I get scared--leave "my people", sell my house, do what with my stuff. I guess it's all my security blanket and to leave it starts feeling unnerving. You say you have lots of friends though and you travel on the cheap like I would have to. Did you have trouble starting out? Janie O--not normally a scaredy cat!

Kim@Snug Harbor said...

Totally love your lifestyle. I've been reading back through your blog and its all so interesting.

Do you work along the way? I'd love to see a post about how you handle bills and finances if you cared to share that.