Onwards and Onwards!

As you know, I sold my car over the weekend.  Two months ago, I started shopping for a RV.   It was just window shopping online, actually.  I knew I wanted to get one, but for some reason, I had it in my mind that it would be something only possible “In the future”.  Yes, having a dream and vision is all good, but I was paying attention to concrete reality.  Even used, these beauties can be expensive!

Despite my perceived financial obstacle, RV living was stuck in my head and I couldn’t help but indulge myself anyway.  I subscribed to full-time RVers’ blogs, (especially female ones) and joined several Facebook pages dedicated to the lifestyle.  I stalked RV Trader and Craig’s List like a leopard.  The more I researched, the more excited I became.  The more excited I became, the more I was compelled to act.  I committed myself to the decision to get my RV now.  Given my newly adopted No Waiting Credo, I had to make this happen.

I examined all my options.  I chose the quickest and most straight forward approach;  simply sell my car and “adjust” my sights to something older and affordable, yet good.  I could’ve looked into financing something newer, but that would defeat my purpose of being financially free.  I could’ve waited and give myself a year or two to hustle and save, but that would go against my newly held beliefs.  A lot can happen in a year and I’m not giving anything room to wiggle itself in my way.  Selling my car as soon as possible was the best way to go.  Thankfully, Rugby had retained much of his resale value… it was his final gift to me.

It’s a good thing that I didn’t postpone shopping around.  There are a lot more affordable options out there than I thought.  There’s a RV for every budget… So, I got to work…

I found this beautiful Falcon (above) on Craig’s List, listed in Upstate NY for $11,500.  It had everything that I wanted already installed: hardwood flooring, solar panels, and a generator. The owner even replaced the standard sofa with a futon with custom made organic cotton covering!  Another plus was that it was the same model that Glenn Morrissette had when he first started his journey.  I wanted it so badly and almost bought it immediately, but a good friend of mine (who knows all about mechanics and car stuff),  pointed out that it was way overpriced for a 1996 model… especially with 120k miles.

After looking up its value on the N.A.D.A. website, I saw that he was indeed correct.  It’s actually worth around $6,500 and that’s with it being on the high end of the spectrum.  The owner wasn’t willing to go down anywhere near that price.  She had put a lot into her Falcon, but failed to see that those extras also had depreciated over time along with her vehicle.  She was too emotionally invested in her RV and wasn’t going to let it go for what it was actually worth.  She was a pleasant lady to speak to and I really liked what she did with the RV.  I would’ve paid around $1,000 above its valued price, but we couldn’t come to an agreement.  Though disappointing, I looked at it as an exercise in the RV buying process.

Note that I never drove upstate to see the RV in person.  After viewing detailed pictures and asking the seller a lot of questions, I found a mechanic in the owner’s area (with a good online reputation) who would do a pre-sale inspection for $100 when I come up to see it.  Then I would negotiate a deal with the seller at that point based on what the mechanic found.  Since the owner let me know over the phone that she was more or less firm on her price, I cancelled my two hour trip.  Moving on.

With this RV, I wish I had exercised the same common sense that I had with the Falcon… but I didn’t.  I found this 1994 Chinook for only $7,500 and 50K miles on Craig’s List and got carried away!  To give you a little background, Chinooks are the Cadillac of RV’s and they’re built solid like tanks. I also liked that it had a completely enclosed bathroom and a great layout.   Also, they stopped making Chinooks years ago, so they are very much in demand and usually don’t stay on the market for long.

I was so sure that I was going to make a purchase, that I drove five hours to the southern most part of  New Jersey to see it… and it was a BIG disappointment!  What the pictures didn’t show was the faint black and grey splotches of mold all over the outside of the RV.  What the pictures didn’t show was the overwhelming smell of dampness on the inside of the cabin that made it smell like an old boat.  I’m no expert, but any type of water damage can’t be a good thing.  Moving on… to FIVE MORE  hours back on the highway!

They say the third time’s a charm.  In my case, it may be true!  The moment I returned from my exhausting New Jersey excursion, I searched for a cute RV that stayed in the back of my mind since my online window shopping phase.  I called the owner, found that it was still available and made an appointment with my mechanic to see it the very next day.  And yada, yada, yada… I put down a deposit on my new home that I’ll be picking up first thing tomorrow morning… BREATHE DEEP!

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Dearest Rugby

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I sold Rugby, my Toyota Yaris yesterday.  Is it possible to miss a car?  I think so because I do.  I had him for four years, since I became single.  Maybe I miss him because like me, he was reliable, versatile, resilient and full of moxie!  Jung would say that since I named and identified him as a male, he represented my animus, the hidden masculine side of a woman.  He may have been onto something.  After having too many brushes with Internet serial daters and damaged, self-absorbed Hamlets, it was Rugby who was the constant masculine force in my life.  I even joked once that we were dating… If only I were that lucky!

Maybe I miss Rugby because selling him represents a closed chapter in my life and the beginning of a new one that is completely unknown.  It was nice to have an imaginary friend, I needed it.  I hope his next girl finds just as much joy.

Baby Steps, Big Leaps Part: 2

“This man lives full-time in his RV, has no rent, no car payment, and can live wherever he damn well pleases?”, my mind raced as I read through the article.  I was pleasantly surprised by the photo of Glenn Morrissette’s home on wheels.  It was a 19 foot, fully self-contained camper van.  I never knew RVs came in that size… I thought they were all large and imposing.  With a motor home that small, he really could drive and (most importantly) park wherever he wanted!

I felt a sense of relief and validation.  Here is someone who is free, self-sufficient, and enjoying life on his own terms.  I felt a rush of inspiration… This is how I want to live!  Wait, could I do that?  It couldn’t possibly be that easy to have an idea to completely change your lifestyle and then simply do it.  I felt that it was best to bounce this off of someone whose opinions I respect.

I casually mentioned the idea to my closest friend, *Mae over the phone during one of our lengthy conversations.  She is much older than myself, a wise maternal figure who has helped me navigate through a lot of rough spots in my life.  “Ugh… You’ll have to empty the poop!  When I had my camper 30 years ago, I absolutely hated it.” she said.   Of course… the poop! I hadn’t even considered that and became equally disgusted at the notion of opening up a camper’s sewer line.  I also found this process, of which I knew nothing about, intimidating.  And that was that, I was deterred.

That was over a year ago.  Looking back, I regret not pushing forward with my idea despite my little hang-ups.  I couldn’t blame Mae for being discouraging because her intent was to save me from unpleasantries that make grown men gag.  Remember what I said about listening to your gut at every turn?  Do that.  If you listen to other people over what you feel tugging at you inside, you will be setting yourself up for a very sad and miserable life.  Friends and family (for most people) mean well, but they’re only capable of giving you advice from their point of view, slanting towards what would be important to themselves.  It is almost impossible for them to deeply understand what would be truly important to you. You must always keep that in mind, doubly so if you’re considering doing something that’s off the beaten path and unconventional.

Also, don’t wait… take action as soon possible!  Never leave a life decision on the shelf.  The thought came to you when it did for a reason.  I’ve found that whenever I waited to execute a decision,  the task only became more difficult to pull off down the road.  When I worked in real estate, I waited to pursue a Broker’s License and the state raised the class hour requirements.  I waited six months to divorce my ex husband and the economy tanked.  I waited to shop for an RV, and now must sell my car first instead of after because my savings account just ain’t what it used to be.  Whether you have to take baby steps or big leaps… Don’t wait!

Thankfully, I managed to land on my feet.  Things are good… but they could’ve been better.  I was hired for a job eight months ago that allows me to use some of my creative talents.   For the first time in my life, I go to a 9-5 that doesn’t make me feel a sense of dread on Sunday nights!  It’s a nice place to be, but two months ago, I felt something familiar tugging at me.  My thoughts went back to Glenn Morrissette.  This time, I dug deeper and started following his blog.  Though content with my current situation, I knew in my soul that I have to move on.  FIRST GOAL: Replace car with an awesome camper van.  Baby steps…

Side note – I saw this movie when I was fresh out of college and loved it!  Hmmm… Perhaps it had planted a seed in me?  Lost In America

*Fictitious name to protect the innocent and infamous.