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Monday, April 19, 2010

Marti's Musings - a wife's perspective


Ah, yes.  We have been RV-ing for several years (see Paul's initial post/blog) - and have graduated to a Class A, Winnebago Journey.  We started out, on our honeymoon nearly 33 years ago, in a pup tent, so wow, have we been blessed and come a long way!  Yes, our honeymoon was in a tent, and then the kids (3 to be exact) came along, and we bought a bigger tent to allow all of us to sleep comfortably.  It was a big step getting our first motorhome, and the kids loved it!  It didn't matter that it was 25+ years old, it slept all of us, and boy did we make good use of it.  Besides all the vacation trips, on Sundays we spent the day in our MH - partially out of necessity as we lived on the shore, and getting home after church was nearly impossible.  So, we just enjoyed our 'day out' and had our home away from home, enjoyed by all.

We sold that when we moved to VA, to purchase our first home.  It didn't take long to realize we missed having a motor home, so were able to purchase another MH several years after moving here.  Since then, we have purchased 3 new MH's and the current Journey is our 'retirement' home- of sorts. 

Our plans include retiring (when?  who knows?!) and doing an extended vacation traveling throughout the US and visiting our family.  For now, we enjoy our vacations and weekend quick trips to recharge our batteries.  Although we only take about 2 real RV vacations a year, because of our weekend jaunts, we put approximately 10k miles on the MH each year - the primary reason for having a diesel engine for retirement. (diesels do well with lots of mileage - unlike gas engines). 


We recently attended our first RV rally - put on by RV-Dreams.Com,  Howard and Linda Payne. 

We have been discussing, planning, and trying to figure out what OUR plan will be for retirement/travel.  The rally was great, because it had a wealth of information to offer, for Full Timers, Part Timers and all those in-between. 

Because we have owned several motor homes, the WHAT we will use has been decided  (our Winnebago Journey). We have used Motor Homes primarily - for us it was preferred for several reasons.  One primary reason was, because we do so much weekend, and short trip traveling, constantly hitching/unhitching was not appealing to us.  Plus, with the short travels, time is of the essence, and having a ready kitchen and bathroom, as well as beds was essential.    On weekends, we rarely pull a vehicle, so it is a quick 15 minute set up/tear down.

The WHERE has been decided - those points of interest we saw via the windshield on our 12 day vacations across country (yes, there AND back!) plus, visiting the kids/grandkids for extended visits.

Our family is pretty well spread out throughout the country.  Our daughter and family is planning to move south - not sure of the exact location yet; our oldest son is in the US Coast Guard and currently is in Oregon; and our youngest son  is looking to join the USCG - location unknown at this time.  Paul's family is primarily in NJ, while mine is in New England, New Jersey and Ohio.  See?  Destination will never be a problem!  :-) 

The WHO of course, will be Paul and me. (with an occasional family member along..)

The HOW - well that is our current planning and discussing phase,

...and the big question is WHEN???


Through the years, and more recently - often - we have discussed, dreamed and loosely planned for our retirement.  Of course, when we have a tough day at work, the discussion of when is more readily brought up.  The options have been looked at - Paul literally spends hours on the internet researching and reading blogs of RV-ers.  Many folks who Full Time have chosen that as a way of life indefinately.  We have met several of those folks, and although that often sounds tempting, we will be Full Timer, modified.

Our decisions have been, hopefully, realistic.  We have looked at our financials, to see the feasibility of Full Timing.  Thanks to several brutally honest folks out there, we have a good idea of the cost of full timing.  As I mentioned, we have been mightily blessed through the years.  Because Paul is active duty military, retirement will be easier for us than several others who have paved the way ahead of us.  His pension will enable us to have a moderate lifestyle, and the health care benefits are huge.  The decision, for us, to sell the house when we retire was not all that difficult.  None of our family lives in VA anymore, so there is little reason to stay.  Plus, it is not attractive as a retirement state due to the taxes. 

Part of Paul's research has been looking at the most attractive states for retirees.  Thankfully, we won't have to make THAT decision right away.  We will make a final decision on where to retire, after we are done travelling.  See, we want to travel for several years, but not indefinatley.  We plan on purchasing a smaller home, near family - if possible- also near a military base and a major airport.

 Because of that plan, we - well, ok, I - do NOT want to give it 'all' up.  I don't mind parting with the house, or even the furniture.  (hey, who doesn't like new furniture for a new house?)  But, there are some things I will NOT part with, and could never replace.  I am, truly, NOT interested in 'starting over'.  It has taken us 33 years to earn, accumulate or whatever you want to call it, the things we have. 

I don't have any desire to disregard and dispose of so many memories and memorabilia that I have, that carry sweet memories!  So, when we decide to 'pull the plug' as we lovingly refer to the decision to retire, we will still have to sort, dispose of, give away, donate etc lots of things, but there will be several things that we will hold onto to begin the final chapters, when we once again settle down. It will be like Christmas to open the boxes full of our memorabilia and memories and have them around us when we settle down again.  So, we are discussing and researching the best way to store our sentimental items for future use and enjoyment... stay tuned on that decision!

The WHEN - well, there is the crux of this whole thing.  Paul has to retire from the military in 4 years, so that is a loose target date.  Because of his specialty, there is a possibility of him doing a related job as a civilian, either while we still live in VA, or even take it on the road.  He is still researching that.  As for me, my job is not portable, or not easily portable.  I could do temp work in my field, but the stressors related to the job, are not attractive for a retirement boost.  The benefit to Paul staying in as long as possible, of course, is the increase in the pension.  However, that has to get weighed out with the ongoing stressors we live with. 

Thankfully, our health is still intact and we can continue, for now, until we make the decision 'to pull the plug'.  Our heartstrings are pulled, however, when one of the grandkids calls, or wants to video-chat on the computer. 

Those are the times we are tempted to throw in the towel, and take off for an extended visit with said grandkids.  For now, we enjoy brief visits, brief jaunts and extended planning and dream sessions of life on the road.  So, as we continue on our journey to retirement, check back and we will keep you posted!  Of course, with my job, I don't typically have all that much time for blogging.  This week I am recuperating from a minor knee surgery, so I thought what better time to get the background done for our future musings...  yup, that's it for now.   Marti, signing off.

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