We have been home for almost a month now. We actually came home two weeks earlier than we planned. Our plan from the beginning was to spend November at home and decompress, take stock of our lessons learned on the road, and prepare for the last leg of our trip working at Amazon. Plans have a way of changing, so I decided to share our mistakes so if you decide to try living on the road you won’t make the same ones we did.
1. We bought the wrong camper-We couldn’t admit it when we first started out. We love our camper and we have had absolutely no problems with it. Grand Design is a wonderful camper manufacturing company and we love Dixie RV Superstores in Hammond, Louisiana, but we bought a camper based on our life 10 years ago when our boys were little and lived at home. We bought a camper with bunk beds thinking they would need a place to sleep if they ever came to visit us. The both have slept with us in the camper, but two guys over 6 foot 2 inches tall don’t do well in bunk beds (Michael is 6’5”). We should have bought a camper with couches that turned into bed. We will be selling our camper in the spring. If you know of a family that wants a camper with young children hook us up.
2. We owned the wrong truck-This one was a big problem that impacted our budget, you can read about that in this blog, Nightmare. I owned a 1992 Ford F250 with a 7.3 Diesel Motor with very low miles. I thought it would do the job, but it couldn’t pull the weight of the camper, so I had to purchase another truck. I purchased a 2005 Ford F350 with a 6.0 Powerstroke Diesel. It has done a great job up onto this point, but 6.0 Diesels are notorious for having heating issues. Do your homework here. We had to spend 17,500.00 in the beginning we were not prepared to spend. This monthly payment really hurt our budget. Ouch! If you are going to buy a travel trailer or a fifth-wheel camper I highly advise you to do your homework on trucks. Also, you can’t trust dealerships to understand all of the nuisances of towing; they don’t! One of the families we follow did a great video on understanding towing, Roadtrip Images.
3. Multiple Income Streams-This is the biggest mistake we made. We are not independently wealthy. I am fortunate to have two rentals houses, and an apartment that Sandra and I live in, so our mortgages have been paid throughout this trial, but we only had one income stream when we left and that was working the SugarBeet Harvest. We should have made between $6,000.00 and $9,000.00 in a month. We made $600.00. It cost us more than that to get there. They did pay for our site the whole time we were in North Dakota, so it was a nice relaxing vacation, but our goal was to see if it was possible to live full-time at this point in our life. You must have multiple income streams. We are currently working on this issue.
4. Our Budget was not correct-This is the second biggest mistake we made, not all our fault, but a mistake. We figured that we could live in the camper and with all of our expenses we should be around $1,800.00 a month. This is really cheap living, but the truth is we underestimated the fluctuation in fuel prices, food costs and how inconsistent income is for people doing migratory work. We had too much personal debt, so we are back home deciding if we will continue on the road. Sandra has hit the road running with her real estate career. It has been such a blessing for us. She has sold a house, has another two listed and has a few new buyers. I am proud of her. We both quit our jobs when we started this adventure, so it wasn’t going to be long before we started eating up our savings.
I will be headed to Kentucky by myself for the month of December to work at Amazon. This was to be our last leg of the trip. Sandra is staying in Mississippi to work real estate. Too many people this may sound like failure, but for us it was a wonderful experience that we wouldn’t trade for anything. We would have never camped in Watertown, South Dakota or Grafton, North Dakota. We would have never dreamed of visiting Winnipeg, Canada. We would not have hiked the trails holding hands and rekindling our relationship while we enjoyed nature.
Everyone needs to recharge your soul! That is what this has done for me.
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Thanks for reading our stuff.