In a recent post, I shared 8 Things I Did Wrong on the Road to Full-time RV Life. Today’s post is similar. It isn’t quite as much about what I did wrong as it is about things I just didn’t do. It’s the things I intended to have done before hitting the road.
I continue to scratch my head at how I could’ve run out of time when I worked on this project for more than three years. You may be tired of me saying that, but I continual come up against it. And I pause in wonder.
I’ve read other full-timers’ stories where they go from decision to execution in a year. Some even in months. I’m equal parts awed and dumbfounded by those folks. I hope to meet some of them on the road. And, perhaps, get schooled in their method.
Do you remember that movie French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline? Ryan is an American living in Canada and engaged to a Canadian. She travels to France without the proper approvals and ends up needing help. She speaks to both consulates without success. There is a line from the movie that has always stuck with me. When asked about what country she is from, she says, “I’m currently without country.” It’s funny and apt.
And now, for me, it’s ironic that it is the line I remember. I frequently find myself thinking, “I’m currently without state.”
The plan was to have all my ducks in a row. I expected I’d know the state where I would domicile, the town where I’d set everything up. It was such a perfect pretty plan. My thought was that when I went to Tennessee to pick up the trailer, I’d hop over to the Sunshine State (because all along I’ve assumed it would be Florida) and become a resident.
For US residents, even if you are a full-time traveler you must have a state in which you are a resident. Even if you never go there. I didn’t realize—or just hadn’t given it much thought—how much is tied to one’s state of residence until I started researching this topic.
You are tied to your state of residence in many ways. Though I likely missed a few, here are the ways I came up with:
- Driver’s license
- Car and/or RV registration
- Car and/or RV insurance
- Voter registration
- Health insurance (if not covered by an employer)
- Federal and state taxes
- Permanent Fund Dividend (for Alaska residents)
- Obviously, number one on this list has to be that I intended to have a domicile plan. And all of that boils down to a single item. I intended to have a new permanent address. The entire list above is tied to having an address, physical and mailing. Right now, I am using my dad’s in Wyoming. The remaining items? As patchwork as it is, some are in Alaska and some are in Wyoming. All the while, in my mind, I am a resident of Florida while Florida has never heard of me. The new plan is to get this figured out and finalized during 2018.
- More than a year ago, I wrote in a post that I was in the process of establishing a business. SupersizeLIFE, LLC was supposed to be up and running by the first day of 2017. Now, we are counting down the days to 2018 and the business still doesn’t exist. The process is easy and fairly inexpensive. Or at least it was in Alaska. So no real excuse. Except maybe one. As I was doing the research, I learned that if you have an LLC in one state but do business in another, the protection of an LLC is not applicable in the state where you don’t have the business. With an LLC, you separate your personal finances and your business finances. So, if your business is sued, only the assets of the business are affected. Your personal assets remain yours. Establishing the business in Alaska and then leaving wouldn’t have offered me the protection of an LLC, as I understand it. That said, it seems crazy that would be true in the age of the internet. So many contractor’s work is not location dependent. I cannot fathom with the far-reaching ability that they would limit their contract work to the state in which they “reside.”
- My aversion to spending while I was saving for my dream led me to not purchasing the items I wanted in preparation for full-time RV life. Some of the most essential items, I purchased in a flurry in the two weeks before I left Alaska. But so much remains not purchased yet. Some are what I deem essential. Some are not but remain items important to me. All of which I intended to have purchased. Items like a tire pressure monitoring system, covers for the tires, a good camera, a telescope, a water filtration system, binoculars, screens for vents to help with bugs, screens for the drains, a generator, memberships to RV clubs and groups. The list is long. The good news is that by staying in one place for two months, I have time to address this. With Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I began to chip away at the list.
- Believe it or not, I have never had a cell phone. Well, I haven’t had one in my name. With the rise in popularity and all the family plans available, my sister handed me a phone about a decade ago. She wanted me to have it for emergencies. And every few years, she hands me a new one. I’ve been able to justify this by the fact that I really only use the phone to text which is free with her plan. I rarely call. I never use the internet. Still, going on the road, I knew that would change. Therefore, I intended to get my own cell phone. And to learn to make use of the technology.
- RVers talk about apps that greatly help the lifestyle. Figuring I can use all the help I can get, after I got my own phone, I was going to learn about apps. Then I intended to get myself one or two.
- Also, technology related, I intended to have a system for internet access. This is a big topic among RVers, particularly those who love to be in the wilderness. Whether in a national park or a remote boondocking area, internet is an issue. In preparation, I ordered a wifi booster as an add-on to my Oliver. I suspect what makes the most sense is to tie the internet plan to the cell phone plan, probably using the cell phone as a personal hotspot. Doing this is contingent upon having a phone. See #4 on the list. To date I have used coffee shops and the wifi offered at the RV park, but long-term, these are terrible options.
I welcome and appreciate your thoughts and comments. I’m particular curious if anyone has information about #2 on this list.