Around 2007, we started thinking about where we might want to live in the next phase of our lives. At the same time, we’d decided to buy an RV and purchased our Airstream travel trailer, Luna.
On a vacation trip to Alaska, Hector, who is an avid photographer, was taking a photo from an overlook when a couple walked over and started chatting with us. When we asked them where they were from; the wife looked at the husband, hesitated for a moment, and said, “I guess we’re fulltimers”. We thought we understood what they meant and soon confirmed that full timers are people who live in their RV’s year round. We were discovering more about this lifestyle that we found intriguing.
In 2008, while still living in Denver, Hector became concerned about his job security and we decided to “downsize”. We sold our house in Denver and moved to our vacation condo in Keystone, Colorado. Hector continued to work from home, and I left my job in Denver. Even though we now were living with uncertainty about both our jobs, we now decided to take real action on our dream of traveling the country in our RV. We made the decision that we would not wait until “retirement” (if in fact retirement was going to be possible). As Hector said “tomorrow is promised to no one”.
Hector christened this future journey “our walkabout” and we continued to hatch a plan. It was going to take us several years to financially prepare for taking time off work to do this, and we began by continuing our downsizing plan and putting away money for this future adventure. We decided to budget for two years of travel and continued doing our research which now included multiple books, blogs and other internet sites, and more RV shows.
As it turned out, Hector’s job security improved but my prospects of finding a job worsened. I was a new resident in a small town during the beginning of the downturn in the economy and there were no jobs. Around that same time we lost our dog Shasta to cancer.
At the beginning of 2009, we decided to move back to Denver and bought a smaller house in Centennial, a suburb in southeast Denver. I was still devastated about losing Shasta and discovered the Peak to Peak Keeshond Fanciers Rescue group on the internet. When I found a photo of two older dogs whose owner had died with the caption “we talked it over and decided that if we needed to be separated it would be ok, but we would prefer to stay together”, I decided to go see them. About a month later, on Easter Sunday, we officially adopted Angel and Rags. At that same time, I found another job in Denver.
By now Hector was beginning to develop a massive spreadsheet detailing our budget for the walkabout. He found valuable information on many blogs where full timers provided lots of specifics about their budgets. We were realizing that fulltimers (and other RVerss) are extremely generous and helpful and love to share information with others that are interested in this lifestyle.
Meanwhile, we started to think about some of the places we wanted to visit on this trip – not specific places but rather regions of the country. As we realized the distances that we wanted to cover, we decided to extend our walkabout to three years instead of two, which is our current plan.