PHASE 2 – SimpleLifeRVing.com – Purchasing The Perfect RV

 
Phase 2 – Purchasing the Perfect RV
 
How To Live ‘The Good Life’ in a Car, Van, RV, Bus, Boat, etc. 
                                                                                                   
Now that you have the right mindset as discussed in Phase 1 of Full-Time RVing, follow me along to the next step, which is PHASE 2, “Purchasing The RV.” Figure out if you will be a Full-Timer, Seasonal or Weekend Warrior. 
 
Before purchasing your RV you first need to figure out how you will travel using it. For instance, figure out what type of Nomad you will be?
 
Here are a few of the many types of Full-Time RVers out there: 
  • Singles or couples that stay constantly on the move and seldom stay over a day or two. 
  • Then there are the ones that set up camp and stay longer periods may be a month or so or even longer.
  • Then there are the seasonal retired full-timers that travel weather patterns and just enjoy the journey.
  • Then you have the permanent or stationary full-timers.
  • Next, you will find traveling Nurses traveling from job to job similar to contracted workers in the construction industry.
  • Then lastly there are the very wealthy that travel anywhere and stay forever at anyplace they chose. They more than likely still have a home, but do have a full- time residence in their RV. 
What type of Full-Time RVers are you?  Also, look at where your HOME STATE will be as a Full-Time RVer and if you will be a Snowbird. All of these will help you figure out WHAT TYPE OF RV to purchase. 
 
Gasoline is also a major expense. Some RVs and motor homes get just a few miles per gallon, so you’ll spend a lot of time and money at the pump. You’ll also need to budget for regular maintenance, tires, and insurance.
 
Become A Member of a Nomadic Tribe
 
Now that you are preparing to buy your RV, first figure out how you will live your NEW FOUND FREEDOM. Will you become a member of a nomadic tribe? 
 
Remember that SOCIALIZING is important for your health and you can be isolated anywhere — even in a ‘sticks and brick’ home. If you don’t have a rich built-in social structure, you might need to go out and build it. 
 
It can be a little isolated RVing around the U.S., but some people want peace and travel solo because of this, while others may want to follow a group of people or other Nomads.
 
A lot of people are part extroverts and introverts and this is how they live their lives. How much interaction you need with others varies by person. You can have a couple of people you talk to every day. Others you talk to every so often. 
 
The good thing about going Full-time RVing is if you get lonely, you can pack up and go and meet people. You will have more of an opportunity to meet people who have SIMILAR INTERESTS when you go Full-Time RVing or live in a car, van, bus, boat, etc.
 
And don’t forget — you can also start your own TRIBE. A lot of women meet every week or every quarter and travel by caravans together. Some meet every day and have lots of fun. 
 
RVingWomen.org is a community of women, 18 and older, who travel independently. Some of them are retired and travel full time, while others are still working so you can join them for weekend rallies or other gatherings.
 
Remember, it’s a million RVers out there. If you are in a tribe don’t be offended if people have to go. You get to decide how often you are with a tribe — how long you stay there and when to go.
 
Become a Snowbird
 
Snowbirds move south in the winter and then north in the summer to avoid temperature extremes. The problem with that is you may have to drive a long way to get to better weather. 
 
Much better for the environment and your checkbook is to go up in elevation in the summer and down in elevation in the winter. For every 1,000 feet of elevation you go up, the temperature drops 3 degrees. 
 
For example, the temperature at Orlando, FL may be 100 degrees, but if you drive 500 miles north to North Carolina, the temperature will be 80 degrees because it is at 6,000 feet. 
 
Or, if it is 100 degrees at Quartzsite, AZ, if you drive 250 miles north to Flagstaff, AZ, the temperature will be 75 degrees because it is at 7,000 feet. And, of course, in the winter it is just the opposite. When it is 30 degrees at Flagstaff, it will be 55 in Quartzsite, AZ. 
 
Many RVers, car, van and bus dwellers live in the western states in the winter because they have a GIGANTIC amount of public land, which is called BLM.gov (Bureau of Land Management/BLM Land) so they can live on it for FREE while they are following mild weather.
 
The southwest is mostly desert land owned by  BLM and is opened for FREE dispersed camping (also called “dry camping” or “boondocking”) in the winter. There is an equally large amount of National Forest at high elevations you can disperse camp on for FREE in the summer. 
 
Of course, many (maybe most) of us can’t leave where we are. We have family, friends or jobs that tie us down to one place. Unfortunately, most of those places have hot summers or cold winters, or maybe both. In this case, you need to work on making your RVs, cars, vans, and buses as comfortable as we can in the heat and cold.
 
Decide on A ‘Home State’ for RVing
 

The next BIG STEP after deciding if you will be a      Snowbird, is to decide where your HOME STATE will be to see where you will register your car and RV, receive mail, go for regular health physicals, and just call HOME ON THE ROAD. 

Most RVers use the below states, which has NO STATE TAXES and all of these states have great mail forwarding services specifically designed for RVers: 
  • Florida: Escapees RV Club and the Good Samaritan Club is a famous group for RVers and they have a very popular mail forwarding service. 
  • Texas: Texas is the home of the Escapees RV club, and it has a very popular mail forwarding service. 
  • South Dakota: The state actively pursues Full-Time RVers to make it their home state so many very well-known mail forwarders have sprung up to service them. 
Other options for mailbox services are  www.MyRVmail.com and www.Americas-Mailbox.com.
 
I feel so lucky because I have lived a total of 8 times (4 times each) in both Florida and Texas, so both of these states are very familiar to me, but I selected Texas as my HOME STATE instead of Florida. 
 
The reason for this is as a Veteran, I just feel the state of Texas will offer me more opportunities to take better care of myself as I AGE GRACEFULLY, even though I plan on spending more time in the state of Florida than Texas. 
 
Best Time To Purchase An RV
 
Best time to purchase an RV is in June or July when the model year changes (new RVs arrives) or Winter when it’s dead — in ‘off-peak’ travel seasons. Spring is the worse time to buy when everyone is looking forward to their Spring and Summer adventures. 
 
Where to Buy an RV
 
  • Check RVTrader.com. Used and new RV dealerships also advertise on there too.
  • Check out RV forums on facebook and other social media.
  • Check out RV blogs.
  • Craigslist from personal sellers.
  • eBay from personal sellers.
  • RV Shows (some say it’s great to buy there, however, do your research upfront. Also many say buy right after an RV show to get a good deal).     
  • Check online complaints at PissedConsumer.com.
  • Check manufacturers and dealerships on BetterBusinessBureau.org.                                                                                                                                                      Ethical RV Dealerships

So far in my research, I have come up with 4 RV dealerships they are working as ‘consumer advocates’ on behalf of their customers so these are the RV dealerships that everyone should check out: 

Read my article entitled “The Truth About the RV Industry – What You Need To Know About Camping World.”

10 Things You Never Say To an RV Salesman
 
Do your research ahead of time and understand how dealerships and an RV salesman work. Be careful of the information that you are actually sharing with the salesman. Don’t trust the sale’s person. They are not your friend. Be nice to them, but don’t be afraid to WALK AWAY from the deal.
 
One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of homeowners make is not buying the RV before they sell their homes or move. You need this ‘permanent address’ for the application at an RV dealership. 
 
Many people choose to keep their status of ‘Full-Time RVing’ a secret because many banks won’t finance you because of this, but many will though. Many banks do believe you might just take off in the RV and skip your RV payments, especially retirees because this is another trend that is happening today.
 
Again, don’t give the salesman too much information — ‘online’ or ‘in person’. Never say the following when you go to a dealership to buy a new or used RV:
 
NEVER SAY: 
  • I really love this RV.
  • I don’t know anything about an RV.
  • My trade in is right outside.
  • I don’t really want to get ripped off.
  • My credit is not good.
  • I am going to pay cash.
  • I really want to buy an RV today.
  • I need to have a monthly payment below $500.
  • You are a doctor, lawyer, engineer or in some other career where the salesman perceives you make a lot of money. 
  • And don’t ask crazy questions such as ‘where is the cup holder’, especially when you can be using this time to ask good and relevant questions. 

RV Loans – What You Should Know

 
According to the IRS.gov, you can write off your interest on your RV as a second home. For you to take a home mortgage interest deduction, your debt must be secured by a qualified home.
 
So, if your RV has these three (3) categories that make up a home (sleeping, cooking and toilet facilities), you can deduct your interest paid on your RV loan.
 
The goal is not to buy the wrong RV the first time. Buying an RV or motor home is an enormous expense. An RV can be more expensive than some houses. 
 
RV Industry Association (RVIA.org) reports that a modest camping trailer can cost $22,000, while a motor home can cost as much as $500,000.
 
Since few people have that much cash, they turn to motor home loans and other RV financing options. You should get 30% off MSRP price. But before you head to the dealership, make sure you know what to expect.
 
If you don’t have that money saved in the bank, you’re risking thousands. Even with RV financing options, interest rates and other fees will cause your balance to balloon. If you still dream of hitting the open road, consider renting a vehicle (but it can also be very expensive) or start saving to pursue your goal. 
 
Buying an RV is a recreational loan so unlike a car or house loan, you need to walk in there with a credit score of at least 700. However, a 750 might be borderline so it’s best to have a credit score of at least 800. 
 
Raising your credit score will be a plus and remember that medical bills are the most forgivable on your credit file when trying to get a loan.
 
The lowest interest rate will be 4%, but if you have good credit, you might get away with 5, 6 or 7 percent. Just remember credit unions will give you the SHORTEST TERM of maybe 8 years and banks will give you the highest interest rate, but LONGER TERMS anywhere from 10, 15 and even 20 years. 
 
RV Financing Options
 
If you’ve decided that owning an RV is right for you, but don’t have the money in the bank, there are THREE (3) financing options to consider:
 
1. Dealership Financing
Like car dealerships, most RV and motor home dealerships offer on-site financing. Depending on your credit and the type of vehicle you’re purchasing, you could qualify for a rate as low as 4.99%. In most cases, you can choose a loan term as long as 20 years. However, opting for a shorter term often results in a lower rate.
 
2. Bank or Credit Union Loans for RVs
You might be able to get a better deal from a credit union or bank than you would at a dealership. However, you can’t just apply for a car loan. Instead, you’ll have to apply for a recreational loan or specialty loan. Because RVs and motor homes are luxury vehicles, the lending criteria tend to be stricter than they are for a typical car loan.
 
If you have good credit and a stable income, you could qualify for a loan with an interest rate as low as 3.99% and a repayment term of up to 20 years.
 
3. Personal Loans
If your credit or income isn’t good enough to qualify for a dealership or recreational loans, applying for a personal loan is another option. Personal loans are offered by banks and other financial institutions.
 
Some lenders will work with borrowers with credit scores as low as 580, so you might be more likely to get approved for a personal loan than other forms of financing.
 
As you decide whether a personal loan is right for you, it’s important to know the downsides. There are limits to how much you can borrow. Most lenders have a maximum of $100,000 or less, which might not be enough to cover your RV purchase. 
 
In addition, the repayment terms tend to be much shorter than they are for other loans. You might have only five years to repay the loan. Finally, the biggest drawback to personal loans is the interest rates. 
 
If your credit is less than stellar, you might not qualify for a low-interest, personal loan. Instead, lenders might offer you loans with interest rates as high as 35.99%.
 
For example, if you bought a $50,000 RV and qualified for a 3.99% loan from a credit union with a five-year repayment term, you’d pay $5,236 in interest.
 
If you instead took out a personal loan for $50,000 and qualified for a five-year loan with a 20.00% interest rate, you’d pay $29,482 in interest charges alone.
 
Some dealerships want you to put down at least 10% of the price of the RV. But some will allow you to make the final deal with $0 down.
 
Putting money down might not work in your favor sometimes. Take a loan for more might give you a better interest rate and you can pay a lump sum on the end. 
 
Avoid Multiple Credit Polls
 
Be careful and avoid multiple credit polls. Some dealers will shop around, which means they will run your credit more than once, which might hurt your credit score.  This is called “shot-gunning.” 
 
If you decide to take out a loan, compare offers from multiple personal loan lenders to ensure you get the best rates. But you will need to do this at the same time because it will affect your credit. 
 
Other Costs of Owning an RV
 
Besides the cost of financing an RV, there are other expenses you’ll need to remember. In addition to the purchase price and interest fees, you’ll have to account for sales tax. Depending on the sales tax rate in your state, taxes could add thousands to the RV’s cost.
 
Whether To Buy Used or New
 
Check your ego at the door and be willing to learn all about RVs. Some of the best deals might be on the lot. If a 2014 is still on lot remember that it has seen 3 years of snow and the tires might have dried out. Just because it is new doesn’t mean its ‘new’. 
 
Also. be aware of “Demos.” “Demo” models mean “demolished” so don’t buy these RVs. They are display models and they have been through the wringer. 
 
The main reason to buy USED is that some might  have already broken and been fixed by the last owner. So it’s great to find an RV with a one or two person owner, who has kept good records on repairs. 
 
The only thing I see so far that might keep me from moving forward purchasing the right RV — is repairs. Most RVers are saying it doesn’t matter if you get a NEW or USED RV because they will all give you problems because of how fast they are coming off the assembly line. That sounds about right.
 
Therefore, many are choosing to purchase a used RV, so they will have needed funds to fix things as they come up. Many RVers, who purchased a used RV, should have an emergency fund of at least $5,000 in the bank. 
 
Some who have purchased USED, has said they had smells that were hard to get rid of and others have had bed bugs and soft areas on floors, which is water damage.
 
Remember that many RVers have pets, which you might be allergic to so in this case you might need to buy ‘NEW.’ The fabric holds odors so get an RV with leather and hardwood flooring. 
 
You need to consider up front the things you would need to have a comfortable living environment. Do you need a larger shower, a bigger eating area, a larger bed?
 
Some RVs don’t have a pantry. When slides are in, you can’t get into RV pantries, bathrooms or even bedrooms so check this out ahead of time. 
 

If you need any of these things, then be sure to find an RV that meets your physical needs when purchasing. Never cut corners when it comes to comfort, that is a sure way to become miserable when trying to live out of your RV.

RV Warranties (Regular vs. Extended Warranty)
 
Most RVs are manufactured in Indiana. Understand upfront that RVs are nothing but earthquakes rolling down the road, which means many will have issues. 
 
They are driven or pulled to dealerships so they might have some miles on them. And the dealers won’t fix the small things until they have a sale. Some are just cosmetics and they will fix these ahead of time. 
 

Remember up front that the RV industry is like nothing you have experienced. It might take days, weeks or months for parts to arrive from the manufacturer.

Where will you stay? Some dealerships might allow you to stay in your rig on the lot — but not for too long and — not always.

RV service shops are busy and you have to get in line. You really need to learn to do the simple things yourself or bundle up problems and to take in at end of the season.

There are very few places that take RVs so it might take two weeks or even three to get an appointment for repair. Try to google a ‘go-to’ mobile repair person or google “Mobile RV Mechanic” near you.  

If you start having issues with the RV, you want it to be covered under a warranty. New RV warranties might cover structures, but not mechanics so you will need to read the warranty to see what it covers. Take your time and read the FINE PRINT. Don’t just sign anything. 

Most warranties only cover maybe up to 2 to 3 years. But you can get an Extended Warranty for another 2 or 3 years. Most of the time at the 5 or 8-year mark, you might start having issues so you will have to take care of that yourself if you don’t have a warranty on it. 
 
If manufacturers agree to fix something, for instance, the refrigerator. But if the island needs to be removed to get to the refrigerator, you will need to pay for that ‘out of pocket’.
 
Parts might need to be ordered, which might take 2 days to 2 weeks or even longer.  If you have an issue with your RV, sometimes it best to just take it somewhere to get it fixed, or call a mobile mechanic or fix it yourself.
 
Of course with an extended warranty, you should be able to have repairs completed anywhere. Be prepared when it comes to parts and services. Again, service is one of the biggest problems in the RV industry.
 
Remember if it is under warranty, you can only bring it to an AUTHORIZED REPAIR WARRANTY DEALER to get things fixed, which might be way across the country and they might not be able to get to you right away.
 
RV Lemon Lawyers Warning
 

According to the RV Lemon Lawyers, the biggest issues with RVs are their slides letting water come in, leaking air or can’t go in or out along with the electrical systems in the RVs not working.

You need funds to pay an inspector to inspect the RV even if the RV is new. Some of the mistakes the factories are making, which are mostly located in Indiana include:

  • They are wiring the RVs incorrectly.
  • They are putting on side mirrors backward.
  • Some have loose bolts when trying to steer.
  • Fresh water tanks could fall off.
  • Some of the escape windows have been blocked.
When the refrigerators, microwave or other appliances go out, it is the responsibility of the factory to stand behind these products.
 
All those add-ons are huge profit margins such as fabric and paint protection. Germ protection is around $2500 and you can do this yourself with a can of Lysol so watch these add-ons. 
 

RV Lemon Lawyers are warning new RVers to thoroughly look at the RV warranty before purchasing. See how long the warranty is. Is it one to 6 months or 4 years? 

 
Certain brands like Jayco, who were sold from an Amish Manufacturer to Thor, is changing the time for their warranties so you will only know this if you read the warranty thoroughly.
 
When new RV buyers fight back by not buying RVs because of their warranties, it will force them to change their policies and procedures.
 
Also, make sure your name is placed on the warranty versus your business name because that can invalidate or discredit the warranty. 
 
 
Never sign anything and/or never take delivery unless you or a third-party inspector, preferably an RV inspector,  has thoroughly looked over the RV whether it is ‘used’ or ‘new’.
 
Even though the RV is made poorly, you probably won’t know this for about 6 months or more but try to take care of it before the warranty runs out. Make sure you eyeball every part of the RV every day (in and outside) so you can see what changes occur.
 
If your RV clearly needs to go back to the factory, don’t let them tell you on the phone that they can’t get to you until 3 months. Drive the RV to the dealership yourself and hand the keys over and make sure you document everything, especially phone calls with a timeline and any personal visits with video. 
 
Be careful also of RV leftovers, which are the high risk RVs that have been sitting on the lots for one to two years.  They will be marked down because they want to move these RVs, however, many dealerships are not inspecting these RVs like they should so many will come with major issues.
 

Also, some of these RVs that have been sitting on lots for a year or so will be picked for parts such as TVs and other appliances that should automatically come with the purchase.

Dealership Tricks
 
Like the car industry, the RV sale process is STRUCTURED. You have to take control to save the most you can. Don’t be afraid to walk away. Make them feel uncomfortable so be ‘armed with knowledge’. 
 
They are not your friend. Be nice because they can get you a few discounts and will fight for your deal, but don’t trust the salesperson.
 
They are overwhelmed so check the specs. They change things so much in the RV industry that most salespeople don’t know everything. And remember most of these salespeople don’t even own an RV. 
 
Other Tricks of RV Dealerships
 
Some of the tricks of RV dealerships so be ready:
  • We Won’t Work on RVs Unless You Buy It Here: Because the RV industry is so busy, most dealerships will tell you they will ONLY WORK on your particular RV if you buy with them. But this is usually just a dealership ‘scare tactic’ to get you to buy there. 
  • Bait RV: If you see an RV that you really want when you arrive at the dealership, you might want to put down a down payment to hold it. However, that particular model might not even be available. When the paperback is all completed the salesperson might come back to you and tell you, that that unit has been sold in order to get you to buy a newer unit — to get more money out of you. It was probably some type of “BAIT RV,” which was NEVER available for sale in the first place. 
  • No Longer Available: What they do sometimes also if someone don’t take possession right away — once they see an RV they want — is they, RV salesmen, will tell you later on by phone that the unit is NO LONGER AVAILABLE and that you have to pay more for another unit. 
  • Bring It Back In: Another TRICK they do is give you possession after buying or especially when you do a  SPOT DELIVERY (have them deliver, which you have to pay for), is tell you to bring it back in – in 2 to 3 weeks (after you have fallen in love with it) because your financing fell through. Then they try to get you to pay more. They do this with cars also.
What Else You Need To Know About Buying An RV
 
  • Depreciation: Think about selling it when you buy it. How you get into it will dictate how you get out of it. RVs depreciate — maybe up to 50% in 2 years. Once it has been purchased and titled, you can’t just swap it back in because then it’s considered “USED.” 
  • Seasonal Vehicles: RVs are not meant to be heavily used. They are a seasonal recreational vehicle so this is why you will have issues with them especially if you move around a lot.
  • RV Differences: RVs are much more similar than different. No RV is exactly alike even if it came from the same manufacturer. They might have run out of parts from one vendor, so they might change something when building it. They all add features from a SMALL GROUP of vendors. For instance, they choose from three (3) RV air conditioner vendors.
  • Regulating Temperature: When shopping for RV, understand up front that to regulate the temperature in the RV will be a challenge. It’s not like a home. The RV is one and a half to 2 inches thick so pay attention to the season you camp in. You might have to become a ‘Snowbird’ to live comfortably, buy a second air conditioner or follow 70-degree weather around the country until you can afford solar panels.
    • Fix Everything Before You Take Delivery: Make sure they plug up everything and fix everything before you take ownership even if you have to go back home or wait around a few days. If you purchase at an RV show, it might be 30 days or longer before they can find the exact one for you. 
    • Check Out Manufacturers: Make sure the manufacturer stands behind the plan. GOOGLE THEM. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org). Check the ‘ownership side’ and the ‘seller side’. Will you get service from the independent dealer? Find all of this out ahead of time.
    • Spot Deliveries: Always remember if they still have ownership, it’s THEIR ISSUE. If you have taken ownership, it’s YOUR ISSUE — so slow down and keep this in mind. Slow down and don’t be so quick to take delivery. It’s best not to do a “Spot Delivery.” Keep in mind, they will charge you for this too. They will do this once they know you have GOOD CREDIT. Make sure you have someone who understands your unit show you around or wait around for this person and make sure you understand everything before leaving.  You might need to do this a couple of times.
What To Look for When Buying An RV
 
  • You want to visually look at it before you buy. Look at ‘attention to detail’ within the RV? Is it going to hold up or is it cheap looking? Many new RVs like new cars, uses cheaper material so unless you are buying a name brand like Winnebago, Tiffin or Airstream then you can buy an older RV.
  • Look at the roof and make sure it’s arched. 
  • Is there a full plate outside of the RV where the furnace is available? Furnaces will go out in cold weather. Labor is expensive so if you have to fix something, it will be more expensive. Many RVers just use a smaller heaters (Mr. Buddy or Champion) instead of the furnace unless they live in extremely colder weather. 
  • Look at the frame and chassis of the RV. All chassis are made by Lippert. Is it for off-road? Do you have shocks on axil? Many RVers end up adding more shocks to their RVs so it rides better. 
  • What about insulation. There is quality material used for insulation. Your walls will probably only be 2 inches thick. Some companies use fiberglass. You should use the high-density foam or styrofoam over the pink stuff. The pink stuff is sheets of fiberglass, which can sag over time so you will have no insulation toward the upper part of RV.
  • Is there insulation in the slideouts? Many slideouts have issues with leaking and letting air in so again try to check this out. 
  • What about storage bay doors. Look to see if they are well-insulated. Is it keeping the bedroom warm? How well have they treated that area?
  • Is the shower door or outside shower door insulated? Is there an outside shower?
  • Look for an electric awning so you can shut it quick. Make sure the awning cover the slide so you can’t get debris at the top of the slideouts. Never leave the awning out when you leave.
  • Ask how many thousand-pound axil and compare to specs.
  • Look on the bottom. Is there obvious signs of rust. If you buy in coastal cities (Florida, Michigan, etc.) or colder climates where salt is laid out on roads, there might be signs of corrosion or rust on the bottom or sides of RV so look for this. 
  • Walk with your shoes off to see if the floors are foamy, which means it could be signs of water damage
  • Look for mold.
  • Look for mice poop.

Wholesalers vs. Retail RVs

Some names and websites of wholesalers include:

There are surely PROs and CONS to each dealing with wholesalers or regular dealerships. This wholesalers prices might be cheaper than regular dealerships or even personal owners that you can find through facebook marketplace, on eBay, Craiglist, etc. 

One RVer said this about wholesalers. “I have noticed some wholesale RV dealers with what on the surface looks like good deals. In one case I saw a $14 K difference in a very solid brand from the wholesale place compared to the dealer in a neighboring town. Problem is the wholesale dealer is 1000 miles away so it’s hard to put your hand on the product, plus there’s another $1500 to deliver. But still on the service looks like a good deal. But I still don’t know really if I’m comparing apples to apples or apples to lemons as in lemon law type rejects. Plus a dozen other issues have me second guessing what looks like a sweet deal. Plus the financial side of me is saying, ‘relax, wait until you are ready, there will be other opportunities when you are truly ready next year. Stay with the plan.'”
 
List Of Pros and Cons of Cars, Vans, and RVs
 
How much you spend on an RV depends on its use. Decide if you are going to go Full-Time RVing or travel by car, van, RV, bus, boat, etc. There are plenty of articles, books, videos on google, youtube.com, etc. on everything about how to camp out in these. 
 
If you plan to use it for occasional weekend trips, you can purchase something smaller and cheaper. However, if you plan to make it your primary living space, you’ll probably need to spend more so it meets your needs.
 

The key issues are whether you have a shower, flush toilet, air conditioning or heating. If you need these, then a Class B or a larger RV is your best choice.

But if ‘stealth camping’ is your highest priority (where you can fit in with all the cars and hide out in your car or van) and comfort is a very close second, then a box/step van would be a better choice. It will give you great stealth and enough room to add all the comforts you need.

On the other hand, if you can compromise on room and comfort, then you may be okay in a van. You might be saying I want to get the heck out of dodge.

Remember, if you are transitioning into that life — you are not tired to a rig — you are tired to that life. Why it comes to buying an RV, the main consideration with RV’s is their terrible fuel economy. This is why many just choose to become a car or van dweller. 

Also, remember you can pull an economy car behind the RV. A towed car gets better fuel economy, but now you have more tires and two vehicles to maintain and pay insurance on. 
 
A diesel pickup is noisy and smelly and generally doesn’t get great fuel economy and sometimes diesel is hard to find. 
 
Pros and Cons of Different Type of RVs
 

Many RVers chose their RVs for specific reasons. Many women who will be traveling solo, rather have an RV that they don’t have to get out and hook it up — apparently for safety reasons. If they feel threatened by another person, a bear, mountain lion, or some other animal, they can just hop into their front seats and drive off.

Some RVers would like to be able to take a break from driving and pull over and walk into the back of their RVs and make a sandwich, instead of locking the vehicle and walking into the back. So you see many RVers have different reasons for choosing the type of RVs they chose.

Van or Class B Van

Pros:
  • You can strip out a van.
  • It’s quick. 
  • Better gas mileage.
  • Great mobility so you can get up and go.
  • Great for stealth camping. 
  • More affordable than a Class B plus, Class C and Class A.
  • There is a demand for a smaller type of RVs that can go more places.
  • It can go into the back country and woods and stay there for weeks. 
  • You can get a used van for $3000 t0 $5000.
Cons:
  • No shower. It might have an exterior show or you can buy a shower tent or take a shower on campgrounds, at fitness clubs, etc. 
  • There is not a big refrigerator. If you are a foodie and like to cook that’s a con.
  • Don’t have a lot of room. They don’t have as much room as a Class C and Class A. 
  • There is stress to have to move every night if you go into cities (stealth camping).
  • They can get hotter than RVs so you can’t or shouldn’t leave animals in vans or maybe even some electronics unless you find a way to keep it cool.
Class B plus (also called Class C)
 
Pro:
  • You can take into cities.
  • Better on gas mileage,
  • You can take in campgrounds like national parks where they are required to be 25 ft.
  • Resale values are higher.
Cons:
  • They can be pricey.
  • They can’t go down every road because they don’t have clearance.
Class C also the ‘Super C’
 
Pros:
  • They are 22 up to 30 feet.
  • They have a cab that extends over the cockpit with a bed.
  • They are generally roomier and more comfortable.
  • You can have a bed, dinette, kitchen, and shower.
  • It’s obvious that there is someone sleeping in there so you can’t stealth park in cities. 
Cons:
  • They might have leaking problems.
  • There are so many, they depreciate quickly so you will lose money if you sale. 
  • You will need to tow a car to save money on gas and not have to break camp for day trips.  
  • Cost is $50,000 to $100,000.
Class A
 
Pros:
  • Great for those who want more convenience, features, and comforts of home.  
Cons:
  • They don’t fit in regular campgrounds so your camping options are limited. Many campgrounds have a 25 feet limit.
  • They are hard to maneuver.
  • They get bad gas mileage.
  • You will need to tow a car to save money on gas and not have to break camp for day trips.
  • They can cost up to $500,000 or more.
5th Wheels Trailer
 
Pros:
  • They can be quite roomy.
  • They are much better than travel trailers and are easier to drive and back up. 
  • Once you have set up camp, you can drive the tow vehicle on day trips without breaking camp. 
Cons:
  • Gas mileage is bad.
  • They are in campgrounds, but not in all places.
  • The hitch in the bed of the pickup takes up much of its storage space. 
  • Hooking, unhooking can be a hassle.
  • Leveling can be a hassle.
  • You might want to buy a backup camera if they don’t come with one. 
Travel Trailer
 
Pros:
  • Unlike most other RVs, trailers must be towed by another vehicle. 
  • They’re smaller than other options, but also cheaper.
  • Older ones can be bought very cheaply and have all the comforts of home.
  • These trailers hook up to the trailer hitch of a pickup (or SUV with the smaller, lighter models), leaving the bed of the truck available to carry more stuff. 
  • Once you have set up camp, you can drive the tow vehicle on day trips without breaking camp.  
Cons:
  • Leveling can be a hassle.
  • They are not as easy to drive as a fifth wheel and are unstable at high speeds. 
  • Many can flip over in high winds. 
Truck with Camper
 
Pro:
  • It’s a small place.
  • You can go into back country and set up outdoor space.
  • If something breaks — camper and car can be separated to get fixed.
  • You can get a used camper for $1000 on craigslist.

Con:

  • You cannot take your camper to a city park or you can’t stealth park because you have to walk from the car to camper.

Tow Car

Pros:
  • Not tied to your car.
  • They can be very affordable.
  • You can take the car to lots of places and go sightseeing.
Cons:
  • They can get wind gust and jackknife so the RV can be trickier to drive.

School Buses, Horse Trailers, Boats, etc.

Pros:
  • You can make a schooly (school bus) and make it into a camper. You have to have an artistic vision. 
  • You can make a semi, horse trailer and boat into a camper. 
Cons:
  • They might get bad gas mileage. 
  • Also, there is upkeep, especially if they are older.
  • You can’t stealth camp in a city.
RV Makes and Models
 
Below are the makes and models for RVs:
  • Airstream
  • Aliner
  • American Coach
  • Beaver
  • Brekenridge
  • Canterbury Park Models
  • Carriage
  • Cherokee
  • Coachmen
  • Coleman
  • CrossRoads
  • Cruiser RV
  • Dutchman
  • Eclipse
  • Entegra
  • Fleetwood
  • Forest River
  • Grand Design
  • Gulf Stream
  • Heartland RV
  • Highland Ridge
  • Holiday Rambler
  • Itasca
  • Jayco
  • Keystone
  • K-Z
  • Lance
  • Monaco RV
  • Newmar
  • Nexus
  • Northwood
  • Omega RV
  • Open Range
  • Outdoors RV
  • Pacific Coachworks
  • Prime Time
  • Renegade
  • Riverside
  • Roadtrek
  • Shasta
  • Skyline
  • Starcraft
  • Sylvan Sport
  • Thor
  • Tiffin
  • Travel Lite
  • Venture RV
  • Viking
  • Volkswagen
  • Winnebago
RV Dealerships To Avoid
 
These are just some of the dealerships to avoid when buying used or new. They all have major complaints in the RV world.
 
Just some of the dealerships to avoid include:
  • Forest River Violations: Remember that most RVs are made in Indiana so naturally the big brands like Forest River will have more violations. Violations top $250,000 in Elkhart, IN. They were hit with thousands of dollars in safety violations. Workers blame drug use and poor safety practices (click here).
  • CampingWorld.com: They have the worst Customer Service on the internet, especially in facebook forums. I even read they are looking at filing for bankruptcy. Many RVers trade in their RVs every 32 to 40 months. And that’s when many RVers at Camping World, find out how they were cheated by them. 
  • GanderOutdoors.com: This company is Camping World sister company so naturally the association can’t be good.
  • Lazydays RV: They have a bad reputation.
  • Leisure Travel RV: You have to get parts in Germany so they have bad customer service.
  • Thor: This company has a bad reputation and also owns Jayco RVs, which also have a bad reputation in the RV industry.

RV Recalls

To obtain a list of all the RV recalls subscribe to RVTravel.com

Just some of the latest recalls include:

  • Forest River recall: Bunk latch could fall off – Apr. 16, 2019
  • Forest River recall: Mirror monitors show back up images in reverse – Apr. 18, 2019
  • Keystone recalls trailers: Cooktop flames may invert – Apr. 19, 2019
  • Thor recalls motorhomes for loose bolts that could affect steering – Apr. 19, 2019
  • Jayco recalls some trailers: Fresh water tank could fall off – May 14, 2019
  • REV Group recalls some Flair, Holiday Rambler motorhomes – May 23, 2019
  • Livin’ Lite recalls some RVs for blocked escape windows – May 24, 2019

3 Top and Best RVs To Purchase
 
These RVs were top brands years ago but of course today RVs are made with cheaper parts.
 
The top 3 RVs include: 
 
Tiffin
  • Five-star warranty
  • Family run business

Tiffin’s warranty covers 10 years on the frame construction, five years on fiberglass delamination or wall separation, one year or 12,000 miles comprehensive coverage, one year of 24/7 roadside service and ongoing owner support for as long as you own your RV.

Winnebago
Most Class and Size Options  
  • Class A, B, C and travel trailers available
  • WIT Social Club
If you’re looking for a broad selection of RVs to choose from, Winnebago has nearly 30 models. Winnebago RV models include Class A, B and C RVs, travel trailers, and a fifth-wheel RV model. Prices range from as low as $21,153 to over $250,000.
 
Airstream
Most Customizable Options
  • Custom configuration options
  • The aerodynamic design saves up to 20% on fuel costs
Known for their sleek, silver design, Airstream offers nine models of fifth-wheel travel trailers ranging in price from $37,400 to $152,000. It also makes five models of Class B touring coaches costing around $149,240 to $221,000.
 
Again, read my article entitled “The Truth About the RV Industry – What You Need To Know About Camping World.” Because of the article, you might decide that RVing is not what you are willing to sign up for. Instead, you might just want to participate in #VanLife, #BusLife, #BoatLife, or even the “Tiny House Movement”.
 
 
Cathy Harris is a soon to be Full-Time RVer living ‘The Good Life’ and her blog website is SimpleLifeRVing.com. She is also an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Business and Love Coach and Self-Publishing Expert and the author of 26 non-fiction books at www.AngelsPress.com. Her books cover topics such as family and community empowerment, health, youth and adult entrepreneurship, writing/publishing, workplace discrimination, whistleblowing, government, law enforcement, domestic and international traveling, politics, media, beauty, car buying and selling for women, aging/retirement – just to name a few. She offers seminars, workshops, and consultations at www.CathyHarrisInternational.com.

PHASE 1 – SimpleLifeRVing.com – Getting the Right Mindset to Full-Time RV

Phase 1 – Full-Time RVing – A New Mindset 
 
How To Live ‘The Good Life’ in a Car, Van, RV, Bus, Boat, etc. 
 
 
Within the next year (more like 6 months), I am preparing to go #FullTimeRVing around the U.S.. You guys know I am famous for creating initiatives, projects, and movements, but this is going to be my new permanent #Lifestyle.
 
In order to prepare and encourage myself for my new lifestyle, it was important to place a map of the U.S. on my wall. As you will learn many RVers will also have a map of the U.S. in their vehicles. So this did nothing but encourage me to keep moving into the direction of my dreams. 
 
Most of you know that I am a stickler for setting goals. I set daily, weekly, monthly, 6 months, 1 year, 3 years, and 5-year goals around — 1) My Health, 2) My Family/Financial Life, and 3) My Business/Career. That’s how I have been able to stay on track in my life.
 
All of you know I love doing things in phases especially Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3. Okay, welcome to Phase 1 of a new idea and lifestyle to bring even more happiness into my life. 
 
These are my Phases as I see them:
  • Phase 1: Getting the Mindset of Going Full-Time RVing. 
  • Phase 2: Finding the Perfect RV.
  • Phase 3: Packing the RV and Getting On the Road.
Phase 1 is simply having that thought pattern and mindset with a PLAN OF ACTION how you will proceed forward. I will be #SwitchingGears and continuing to run my Empowerment and Publishing Company, AngelsPress.com, from the road but many of my teachings will be embracing the #MinimalistLifestyle and teaching RVers and other minimalists how to stay healthy and start businesses on the road — through mostly videos.  
 
Therefore, I won’t take time out of my schedule to write a weekly or monthly e-newsletter, but I will be posting regularly to my NEW BLOG “Simple Life RVing” (SimpleLifeRVing.com), which will feature videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope and Youtube. Eventually, I will start another podcast on the road. 
 
I have been able to publish some great products on my website over the years, so basically you need to keep going there to look for some great products and services and share this info with your family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  
 
Unlike my “One Year On The Road Journey” in 2013 when I traveled by car to 15 states holding seminars and workshops, this time I will document the entire journey as I also interview others that have chosen to live a #MinimalistLifestyle in their Cars, Trucks, Vans, Buses, Boats, RVs, etc.  
 
The Marie Konda Effect – #Minimalism
 
I am currently living in Orlando, FL in a Studio/Efficiency apartment so everything I currently own besides a couple of tables for my books, computer, and my bed, fits in my car so going #FullTimeRVing will be a breeze for me to downsize even further, especially after watching “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo on Netflix. 
 
Marie is kind of a ‘folk hero’ in the minimalist community. Many of the books on Full-Time RV Living mention her teachings and many folks have adopted these, which has helped them adapt to Full-Time RVing.
 
She said, “Americans have too much stuff and if the things you have don’t SPARK JOY, get rid of them.” It sounds pretty logical to me.
 
I really don’t want to have to pay for a storage unit, which can cost up to $90 a month (climate-controlled) or can run close to $1000 a year, so it will be better for me to leave some of my really sentimental items like pictures, old yearbooks, etc., with my two daughters in their ‘sticks and bricks’ homes. 
 
Some people get storage units and never come back to them so it doesn’t make sense to pay a storage fee if you are living Full-Time RVing. It’s best to get rid of everything and have an emergency fund while on the road. 
 
My goal is to find an RV that will fit my bed. I don’t need much just an area to film videos, work in my business, prepare a simple and natural diet, and rest when I get tired. Like most Full-Time RVers, I will be living my life OUTSIDE of the RV. 
 
I originally bought the bed because I had a hard time healing my shoulder that I hurt at CampGladiator.com when I lived in Texas, so I realized that investing in a better bed was what I needed to continue to stay healthy as I AGED GRACEFULLY and now my shoulder seems to be totally healed. So it was a great decision! 
 
Life Can Be An Adventure
 

My entire life has been an adventure so far and I am really enjoying myself. Just some of the things that I look at as adventures in my life include:

  • Surviving my childhood as a Black Sheep Child.
  • Going into the military and traveling to different places.
  • Getting married and having two daughters. 
  • Going to work for the federal government after the military.
  • Working on the El Paso, TX border as a black female.
  • Working and living in sunny Miami for 5 years.
  • Leaving Atlanta after 20 years and traveling around the country by car to 15 states in 2013
  • Getting back to nature and growing foods for an entire year in my backyard in Austin, TX in 2018.
Your life can definitely be an adventure. According to Dr. G, Medical Examiner, from the Investigation Discovery Channel and the author of the book “How Not To Die,”
most of the people who end up dead on her slab are white males in their 40s, who are #DareDevils.
 
So know up front at the age of 62, I am not trying to climb mountains or jump out of planes. My adventures are simple — to simply create a life that I can truly love and encourage others around me to do the same.  
 
Growing Up Living “The Good Life”
 
Growing up my mother loved old western pictures with Randolph Scott and I guess you can say her love for these types of pictures also rubbed off on me. I was always fascinated with how folks used to travel across the desert by covered wagons, hoping to make it to California, Oregon, and other areas so they could claim their share of land to homestead on and live “The Good Life.”  
 
This is my fourth time living in the state of Florida. I have also lived in Tallahassee, Miami, Tampa and now Orlando. When I always used to travel around the country or when I was on my way to Florida, I was always so intrigued by all the RVs that I saw on the road. 
 
I always remarked to myself, “What a life to live like that!” But I never knew that people were actually living these FULL-TIME LIVES in an RV or that I too could do this. It just wasn’t something I contemplated at the time. 
 
As I prepare for another BIG ADVENTURE in my life, #FullTimeRVing, I want all of you to have a front seat. Not only do I want all of you to dig deep within your hearts and minds, but I want you to realize that you too can have a life full of adventures, which I also call “The Good Life.” To achieve this good life, you need to be willing to live a “Simple Life RVing” (SimpleLifeRVing.com).
 
Many people have different definitions for “The Good Life.” Looking back on my life growing up, I was indeed living “The Good Life.” I grew up with 8 siblings in rural Georgia very underprivileged in a house on our farm that did not even have running water until much, much later. I remember taking baths in round tin foot tubs back in the day.
 
I had to bath in the water after my 2 sisters and my 3
younger brothers after me. At night my father had a big bucket in a patio room, where he would put some type of dissolvent to keep the smell down, but during the day we went to the outhouse. 
 
Coming up I lived in fear my entire childhood that I would get bit on the butt by a snake. This of course never happened, but there were many, many snakes on our farm. These are the types of things that were just a part of my life growing up.  
 
We were not only minimalists back in my day, but we were HAPPY and HEALTHY #Minimalists and I  have wanted to live this type of lifestyle ever since. So unlike a lot of people today, I know first-hand that getting back to minimalism is a #DoableLifestyle because I have been there and done that. 
 
We lived “A Simpler Life” and everything we ate came from the land — from our farm. I never remember going to a doctor as a child, simply because of the natural and healthy way we lived. GMOs did not exist until the 80s, so back then we really were in a position to live “The Good Life.” 
 
My Roots and Nature Are Calling Me Again
 
I know I need to get BACK TO NATURE because that is when I was mostly at peace in my life. Sure there were obstacles back then that you had to deal with because you had no other options, but still, it did not take away from the fact that my childhood was truly living “The Good Life.”
 
I feel so blessed to have been in a position to live as a homesteader for the first 17 years of my life. At that time to get away from abusive family members especially my mother, as a Black Sheep Child, I would go and sit in nature and look at the beautiful scenery and talk to my echo amongst the trees and sky.
 
I would tell myself “If you can just hang on in there, then my life would be worthy.” So that was one of the first promises I made to myself and every day I have strived to make that a reality. 
 
I do this by continuing to walk on a path of goodness and grace for my family and fellow man — without having a wicked or evil bone in my body. I made myself a promise that I would not just live a “worthy life,” but I would also live a beautiful life, both inside and out. And I would help those around me do the same.  
 
Today people have been so consumed with
“consumerism” to the point that many can’t get off the grid or even downsize and become a minimalist
simply because they just want things — in many cases #ShinyThings.
 
Because they desire all these #ShinyThings (#Materialism), they ignore the one thing that really counts in this lifetime – #TheirHealth.
 
Rent is the #BigEnemy – no doubt. I am not saying give up your dream of owning a big beautiful house in the suburbs with that gated fence and 2 and a half children, but if your health and well-being have suffered because you continuously try to keep up with the #Joneses, then there are OTHER OPTIONS today out here. 
 
People put themselves through stress to have a job, especially to pay for a dwelling. Houses, condos, townhouses, duplexes, and apartments are TRAPS that we fall into. The average American spends 47% of their TAKE HOME PAY for a roof over their head.
 
So if you can knock out that 47% and become #FullTime
RVers or even live in a Car, Van, Bus, Boat, etc., just think how great you can live and how you can see all the beautiful sites, make great friends along the way and have access to all the ORGANIC FOODS you want. This is truly living “The Good Life.” 
 

The other biggie is #MedicalCare so if you were in the military, you get that for free. For others, many RVers are living on $400, $500 and/or $1000 a month (#ChallengeYourself) so it takes discipline to live on that, but again it’s doable.

There are OTHER OPTIONS out there for anyone who fit into these categories. Is that you? 
  • You are struggling to pay your rent or mortgage every month.
  • You are living from PAYCHECK to PAYCHECK.
  • Your job is making you sick.
  • You don’t know if you can make it until retirement.
Why People Go Back To The “Rat Race”
 
Everyone needs to simply ask themselves, “What is it that they really enjoy in life? Can it be talking to a friend or camping in a beautiful place with a beautiful view? You can get all of that by embracing the #MinimalistLifestyle and learn to live in your RV or another vehicle full-time. 
 
Some people have been humbled in their lives with #CurveBalls. They have been forced to live with very little because they were laid off from their jobs or had to deal with some type of injury or illness. Many times this happened because they were working in high pressured jobs, where they were treated poorly by their superiors. 
 
As soon as they got better, they went back and got back into the #RatRace because they had no other ACTION PLAN for their lives. Many do end up giving up their freedom and return. 
 
Once you win your freedom, many people go back into the #RatRace because they never learned how to generate “meaning” in their lives. What you need to do is generate “meaning” in your life. Once you get FREE “meaning” is the thrill of personal evolution. You can feel it in yourself.
 
Personal evolution is a ‘change of perspective’ and a ‘shifting view’ of yourself in the world. It is finding ways to adapt to your life and to improve the way you handle relationships and situations. 
 
To evolve means you develop deep self-awareness and constant improvement of your skills and natural abilities. It is the ability to create your life in accordance with your unique vision. 
 

Whatever we focus on, we will manifest it into our lives. After a while, it goes deeper and deeper into our subconscious and eventually – that’s how we create “meaning” in your life. 
 
Be a Better Person and Get Out of a Rut
 
You set out on this new life and journey — RVing around the country with the idea you are going to become a better person. You are going to live “A Simple Life,” which is also “The Good Life.” You are going to have fun. 
 
And remember just a little adventure makes you hungrier for more and more. After a while, you learn how to adventure very cheaply so this lifestyle can work for many people. The old person that you used to be will go away. 
 
Society defines how we live but if we can get out of the rut and BE FREE, there is a whole world out there. Many of these RVers have changed and they will never be the same again. Many people think it’s their connection to nature. I believe that’s what it is also.
 
Many RVers believe a “disconnect from nature” or “disconnection from nature” has a part in who we are. You have to have a personal desire to change and become a new person. 
 
The people that you have around you can also enrich you so this is why it’s always important to have GOOD PEOPLE around you. Get #CoDreamers — people who can help you make your visions come true. 
 
Know that there are so many, many benefits to going Full-Time RVing and that you have made a GOOD CHOICE. Every single person that lives Full-Time in their RVs or are Van Dwellers or live in REBUILT cars, trucks, buses, boats, horse trailers, etc., has lost weight, been able to tone their bodies and now have a RENEWED ENERGY about life.
 
When you live in nature, you just automatically become more active and that means burning more calories. So not only will you be getting healthier along the way, you will be saving money on top of it. 
 
Full-Time RVing Lifestyle
 
There is no job security anymore. We are all just one or two decisions away from a MAJOR CHANGE in our lives, which include:
  • Loss of a Job
  • Loss of Health
  • Loss of a Relationship

Many are charmed by the living FullTime RV lifestyle and what they are doing is creating their ideal communities.

  •  
Prepare For The Journey
 
Figure out which RV you can afford. Part of the

enjoyment is the participation. People are going to think you are crazy. It’s not about you. It’s about them so don’t listen to ‘naysayers’.

If you have reservations about RVing full-time in the U.S., then rent or borrow an RV and make a long trip and see what you think about it. Also, try to visit local RV repair shops to learn about typical problems with RVs. 
 
Read about living in RVs from online forums and visit campgrounds to get a feel for living in them. Watch youtube.com videos, read books, talk to others who are already doing it. If you are unhappy with your life — JUST DO IT — #TransitionNow to #FullTimeRVing. 
 
What’s holding you back from living “The Good Life?”Tell your adult children you are leaving and going full-time on the road. They can stay with a friend or another family member, and/or get a roommate. If you have young kids, they can learn online as you travel on the road.
 
If you have a home start packing up things and have a garage sale every week. Many RVers downsize and sell everything. Many others just turn their homes over to their adult children. 
 
You don’t have to be “debt-free” to become a Full-Time RVer. Figure the debt into your budget. You can do it sooner than you think.
 
Conduct…Research, Research, Research. Get the smallest RV, but check reviews on make and model and get on a facebook group for that model and remember size does matter.
 
This is “The Good Life.” If people can GET FREE, they will discover what fascinates them. Discover your fascination, wake up your creativity and share yourself on the road. This can be done very cheaply. Freedom is so wonderful! There are really fine people out there on the road that live the life with you. 
 
Most people said they have more friends RVing on the road than when they lived in houses, condos, duplexes, apartments, etc. so remember because of GMOs, which turns the brain off, many people don’t even speak to each other anymore in ‘sticks and bricks’ homes and many RVers are eating even healthier on the road because they are saving money. 
 
 
Took Sick To Travel – #GetBetter
 
I suggest you start planning and if you are not healthy enough to come out on the road, then #GetBetter by living a HOLISTIC and NATURAL lifestyle.
 
Before I embarked on my One Year On the Road Journey in 2013, I had to get better and stronger and that I did because I really wanted that experience in my life. That was the beginning of creating the life that I could truly love. 
 
Resources for Full-Time RVing
 
Of course, you know that I too will be writing a book on my new adventures entitled “Simple Life RVing: How To Embrace Minimalism and Live ‘The Good Life’ in a Car, Van, RV, Bus or Boat.”
 
Meanwhile, there are so many books on Amazon.com, the world’s largest book website, and other book websites and in stores and libraries to help you transition into this type of lifestyle. 
 
Just some of my favorite books that are helping me prepare for my journey include:
One of my favorite websites that can help you prepare for a #FullTimeRVingLifestyle or living in a Car, Van, Bus, Boat, etc. is CheapRVLiving.com. Check out the interviews with families living in a Van or RV.
 
There are always RVers in facebook forums who can answer all your RV questions so check them out day and night at: 
Major Yearly RV Events
 
  • Women RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendevous): Jan. 4-8, 2020. Gathering of women RVers in Quartzsite, AZ. 
  • RTR (Rubber Tramp Rendevous): Jan. 8-18, 2020. Gathering of men and women RVers. Rent an RV if you don’t have one by then or just stay in your car or van and/or just bring a tent. You need to be at all these events. They will be signing minimalists up on the spot for work camping jobs.
  • Quartzsite Annual RV Show: Quartzsite Annual RV Show – 37th Annual Sports, Vacation and RV Show – Jan 18-26th, 2020 – Hours: 9 AM to 5 PM, Show Grounds Location – 700 S. Central – Quartzsite, AZ  85346.
  • Escapees.com New Year Meetup.com: Dec. 30, 2019-Jan. 2, 2020. This group give discounts at RV parks and hold several events throughout the year so join them today.
  • RVSingles.com: If you are single and want to meet friends on the road, especially if you are looking for the opposite sex, join this group today. They have several gatherings all over the country. Other single events are posted at my article entitled “Meet Someone On the Road: Get Out of Your ‘Comfort Zone.'”
Google RV shows and start attending RV shows near you or just go to RV dealerships or attend van dwellers events. If you have the money to purchase a used or new RV,  start looking on RVTrader.com, Facebook marketplace, eBay, or Craigslist to buy an RV from a personal seller. 
 
Go into a period of study to see if this minimalist lifestyle, car, van or bus dweller’s lifestyle and/or #RVLiving (full-time) can work for you. What do you have to lose?
 
Remember, you can always move back in a ‘sticks and bricks’ home or another dwelling again later on, so it’s not like you are losing anything. Just don’t forget to #Live, #Love and #EnjoyTheJourney along the way. Good luck!
 
Join me as I hit the road:
 
 
Cathy Harris is a soon to be Full-Time RVer living ‘The Good Life’ and her blog website is SimpleLifeRVing.com. She is also an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Business and Love Coach and Self-Publishing Expert and the author of 26 non-fiction books at www.AngelsPress.com. Her books cover topics such as family and community empowerment, health, youth and adult entrepreneurship, writing/publishing, workplace discrimination, whistleblowing, government, law enforcement, domestic and international traveling, politics, media, beauty, car buying and selling for women, aging/retirement – just to name a few. She offers seminars, workshops, and consultations at www.CathyHarrisInternational.com.

Living The Tiny House and Minimalist Movement

Living The Tiny House and Minimalist Movement

Mar. 15, 2019

By CathyHarrisInternational.com, Syndicated Columnist

At 62 both my daughters want to make sure I am okay as I go into my golden years. After all, that’s why many people have kids in the first place – right? After speaking to both my daughters on the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday by phone, they have really given me some great ideas.

 
I raised my daughters to think logically so all 3 of us kind of tag team ideas off each other. I am seriously thinking about becoming a Minimalist and going off the grid and moving into a “Tiny House.” 
 
When you call a person a Minimalist, you’re describing their interest in keeping things very simple. A  Minimalist prefers the minimal amount or degree of something. But anyone who likes things very simple could be called a  Minimalist.
 
I am currently living in a Studio/Efficiency Senior apartment building in Orlando, FL, but since everyone smokes cigarettes, I will definitely have to move after my one year lease is up. 
 
But because I moved into such a small space, it actually gave me the idea to think about “Tiny Home” living. However, this is not the smallest space that I have lived before. In 2014, I rented out a room at a big house in Tampa, FL for $450 (with everything included Rent, Wi-Fi, Electricity, Gas, Water). I was there for 6 months.
 
I am at the very early, early, early stages of conducting my own research so this title of “Tiny Homes” might come up now and then, while I work on other projects and ideas for my listening audience, especially going into the New Year. 
 
The Pros and Cons of Tiny House Living
 
Remember a “Pro” is something good and you should move forward, but a “Con” is a reason to stop and rethink your idea. 
 
The first “Pro” I can think of is I would save tons of money so instead of driving all around the country as I do now, I should be able to afford to hop on a plane and fly and #Teach. 
 
However, I love the freedom of driving a vehicle and seeing the gorgeous countryside and I can put all my 18 non-fiction books in my car. It would be expensive to try to take books with me on planes so I would have to mail my books ahead of my events.
 
My second “Pro” is I will be in a position to grow my own foods again as I did in Austin, TX for an entire year when I had 3 raised bed gardens. The fact that ALL MY NUMBERS (cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood glucose, tricyclerides, and other important numbers) were always at their lowest when I was growing foods in my own backyard, just tells me this is the lifestyle that I should be embracing. 
 
I might not get there over the next year or two, but eventually, I will try my best to get back to growing my own foods again and becoming a Minimalist.
 

The first “Con” right off the bat that I can think of is it will be isolated where I will place the “Tiny House”, on 30.5 acres where my 3 brothers already live, which is a very, rural area. 

Being isolated this would mean I would probably be living in a “food desert” and would not have access to good, clean organic foods until I was in a position to grow these foods myself.
 
The second “Con” is I am not even sure if I want to live on the land where I grew up as a “Black Sheep” child, even though my Mom and Dad is no longer alive. So this might just be something I do in the future. 
 
Will a Tiny House Be Too Small For Me?
 
I am currently single, but dating, and don’t need a lot of space for what I am trying to do with my life. When I left Atlanta in 2013, I actually became a Minimalist and cut down on things. The hardest thing I ever had to do was to give my paperback books away. 
 
Before going on the road for an entire year in my vehicle, with my Empowerment Seminars and Workshops, and putting what was left of my life in a storage container in Atlanta, I purged and downsized many material things from my life.
 
This level of thinking and action plan brought so much happiness into my life.  My last mate was very materialistic. He had 8 vehicles including 2 brand new Mercedes, a brand new truck, and put all his money into his home. 
 
He rebuilt the home from the ground up and bought all this expensive furniture, had every electronic device you could think of, had put several 60 inch widescreen TVs in several rooms, put in new countertops and floors, redid all the bathrooms and had just finished building a $45,000 sunroom — two weeks before I left.  
 
At the end of the day, he put garbage (GMO processed foods) into his body so it was making him sick and angrier and he was on tons of medications. He put materialistic things before gaining access to good, clean, organic foods, so I knew from the very beginning of our relationship, we weren’t compatible.
 
Many women would have been really impressed with all his material things, but not me. What is the use of having all these nice things if you are not feeling great and can’t spring out of your bed every day? What’s the use of having these big gorgeous homes, if you are too sick to enjoy them? 
 
And I certainly don’t want to be like many women today, especially single women, who live in these big sad homes with all these bills, unable to buy good, clean organic foods or do all types of exciting and adventurous things with their lives because they are tied to their homes. 
 
I never wanted that to be my story.
As I drove around the country  in 2016 and went up north to 8 cities to hold events, I saw tons 
of these beautiful homes with big  attractive lawns and the occupants of these homes were too sick to even walk outside to the mailboxes. 
 
Again, I never wanted that to be my story.  I always wanted to be as free as I can — able to get up and go at the drop of a button.  I don’t know what the future holds for me, but for now, I know that a “Tiny House” would be ideal for me. 
 
I can imagine if you tried to live in these “Tiny Houses” with another person and especially an animal, you would have to ask yourself, would there be enough space. 
 
So I am leaving my options open and if I desire to team up with another mate, significant other, partner or husband in the future and need a bigger place, we could always rent out the “Tiny House” or turn it into an AirBnB.com .
 
RVs and Trailers vs. “Tiny Houses”
 
One of my daughters said if I got a RV it would work like a  “Tiny House”, but I told her I did not want to get a RV or Mobile Home/Trailer because they were made out of “unhealthy” material (I thought). 
 
And this is why I never bought or rented an RV to drive around the country to give my events, instead, I chose to drive my car and stay at Extended Stay and other hotels, and with family and friends for an entire year.
 
A  Mobile Home  (also trailer, trailer home, house trailer, static caravan, residential caravan) is a prefabricated structure, built in a factory on a permanently attached chassis before being transported to site (either by being towed or on a  trailer).
 
We learned that during Katrina when they put many families in Mobile Homes/Trailers, many ended up sick from the material the Trailer is made out of. 
 
But she argued with me and said an RV is made out of different material than a Trailer, so my next move is to visit RV, Mobile Home/Trailer and “Tiny House” showcases, go on Google.com and YouTube.com and conduct more research and even sign up for “Tiny House Workshops,” where I will probably have to travel to another city.
 
Your Biggest Issues – Zoning and County Codes
 
Zoning and county codes will be different in each county. So one person in one county can get away with placing a “Tiny House” on a property and another person in the next county over might be told no they cannot place a “Tiny House” on their property. Some will need more convincing so don’t give up.
 
I know the zoning and coding issue will be a BIG ISSUE because many of these county offices, do their best to prevent families, especially black families, from putting dwellings on these family lots (family farms, etc.) so that the families can eventually sell the land. 
 
Our farm, or should I say our land, where we had a family farm when I was a child, is zoned as an agriculture property (30.5 acres), which means we can grow foods there. 
 
But when we contacted the county office (my 8 siblings and I) a few years ago when my Mom died and left the land to us, (my father had died 25 years earlier), we thought we would be able to split the land between all 9 of us.
 
But the county office said we could only split each lot up 5 ways instead of 9 ways (5 lots instead of 9 lots).  Again, this is done, so that families cannot and won’t end up homesteading on these lands again and allow other family members to move onto these lands. 
 
This is one of the biggest tactics that the government uses to keep control of YOUR LAND. So again, you have got to fight with these county offices, if you are serious about putting a “Tiny Home” on your property.
 
They are hoping families get discouraged and give up and just sell the land. And as soon as families fail to pay yearly taxes on the land, the government will grab the land. This happens all the time, especially to black families.
 
First Step Before You Go Too Far
 
Before going too far in your “Tiny House” planning, try to meet with the city planning staff or county zoning office or call them on the phone and make sure you are even allowed to put a “Tiny House” on your property.  
 
If you are not allowed to put a “Tiny House”on your land, and you still want to live in a”Tiny House”, then look around for other lots where you can put this dwelling.  For instance, the homes of families and friends or just go out and buy other land or just take these “Tiny Houses” on the road with you.
 
Reach Out To “Tiny House” Builders Before You Go Too Far
 
You have to fight to have these “Tiny Houses” put on your property. The gas, electricity, water, and sewage will be set up like a regular home. 
 
Remember many of the “Tiny House” builders will specialize in different styles, shapes, and prices of “Tiny Houses.” So reach out to several of these “Tiny House” builders — even others from other states. 
 
One “Tiny House” builder said he only offer homes from around $45,000, which are 28 to 34 ft., however, he is building a cheaper “Tiny House” version over the next year that will run from $30,000 and up, which will be the same size at 28 to 34 ft., but will offer the bare minimum, for instance the house might not come with a loft, oven, bathtub, etc. 
 
According to a “Tiny House” builder out of Atlanta, since the “Tiny House” will be permanently affixed with steel to the ground, where they will remove it off the wheels (but can put it back on wheels to be moved to another location), it is call a “Modular On-Frame House” and these “Tiny Homes” can last a 100 years. 
 
Therefore, it can sustain any type of rough weather that you experience, since it will be permanently affixed to the ground.  So when talking to your county office, the zoning department, tell them it is a “Modular On-Frame House” and ask them how many square feet is the “Tiny House” required to have for the county. 
 
There is a difference between an On-Frame and Off-Frame Modular Home. Off-frame modular homes are lifted off the transportation carriers by a crane and placed on a foundation. On-frame modular homes have a permanent steel beam chassis and are built to state and local building codes instead of Federal HUD Codes.
 
The maximum square footage for many of the “Tiny House” is from 550 square feet. You might have to go by the zoning office and show them a picture of the “Tiny House” or drive it there in person so they can understand that it is built to state and local building codes instead of Federal HUD codes. 
 
If they tell you that the usual 550 sq. ft is too small and tell you the home need to be at least 1230 square feet, as they told me, if you already have other dwellings (houses) on the land or property, ask if you can put the “Tiny House” there next to the other properties as an “Alternative Dwelling Unit (ADU)” .
 
If they still say “No,” tell them you want to put 3 “Tiny Houses” on your property and use them as Airbnb.com rentals. And see what they say then. 
 
So again, try to work with the “Tiny House” builders and realtors that specialize in selling “Tiny Houses” so you can come up with the right wording for your county zoning offices. But don’t give up! 
 
You might even need to help change the laws in your county by running for office yourself — so conduct research before you get your hopes up of putting a “Tiny House” on your property, a family members’ or friends’ property or even before you purchase any land.
 
What Cities Are Embracing the “Tiny House” Movement?
 
The “Tiny House” movement is fairly new and there are tons of these communities springing up all over the country, where you can just go and set your “Tiny House”  for FREE. Other places like RV’s and Mobile Home parks will charge you a monthly fee.
 
States like California, where housing is too expensive and the homeless population is out of control is embracing the “Tiny House” movement. Plus these “Tiny Houses” do really great in warm weather.
 
In Colorado, where occupants must go on a WAITING LIST to find housing, the “Tiny House” movement is extremely important. Colorado, as with other states, “Tiny Houses” often fall into a grey area in the law. 
 
More often than not, a “Tiny House” on wheels will be classified as an RV in Colorado.  Whether a “Tiny House” is legal in your backyard will depend primarily on local zoning regulations. 
 
Cities like Atlanta that have TOO MANY BUILDERS and TOO MANY VACANT HOMES, probably won’t embrace the “Tiny House” movement like other cities. So again conduct your own research. 
 
“Tiny House Workshops”
 
Personally, as a female I am not trying to build a  “Tiny House”  so if you are unsatisfied with the current  “Tiny House” builders, many are offering classes to build your own. 
 
Keep in mind that you can’t buy a USED “Tiny House” because they don’t exist. There is not a market for USED “Tiny Houses” because once people have these made to their standards or make them their own selves, no one gives these back.
 
There has been a lot of hearings on these “Tiny Houses,” especially from builders of “Tiny Houses.” Many are saying that when they build they are putting toilets in with showers, and they should not do this so there is a lot of specifications and codes that have changed since the  “Tiny House” 
movement first came on the scene.
 
Pay attention. Black people are the last aboard and the last to reap the benefits of any new movement — so pay attention to the “Tiny House Movement” and become a “Tiny Home” builder yourself. 
If we are ever going to tackle the homeless problem in this country, the “Tiny House” movement is certainly a way to look at long-term options. Good luck!
 
Cathy Harris is a soon to be a Full-Time RVer living ‘The Good Life.’ Her blog website is SimpleLifeRVing.com. She is also an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Business and Love Coach and Self-Publishing Expert and the author of 26 non-fiction books at www.AngelsPress.com. Her books cover topics such as family and community empowerment, health, youth and adult entrepreneurship, writing/publishing, workplace discrimination, whistleblowing, government, law enforcement, domestic and international traveling, politics, media, beauty, car buying and selling for women, aging/retirement – just to name a few. She offers seminars, workshops, and consultations at www.CathyHarrisInternational.com.

My Year On The Road: How I Found True Happiness

My Year On The Road: How I Found True Happiness

Article Originally Written – Jan. 8, 2014

By CathyHarrisInternational.com

At 57 years old, I count my blessings every day and feel really blessed on how my life has turned out – so far.  I have had a lot of successes in my life such as two daughters graduating with Master’s Degrees and are now business owners; I helped protect black women international travelers from my co-workers when I became a federal whistleblower; I won my discrimination lawsuit against my job and retired at the age of 48; I started my own empowerment and publishing company in 2005 and now have 20 books released and offer some of the best self-improvement seminars and workshops in the country; and now — I spent one year on the road traveling, building my company, AngelsPress.com, and living my dreams – just to name a few.  Can it really get better than this?

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

Change brings about happiness in your life, but why are so many people afraid of change? Last year in December 2012, I decided to purge my life of things, which I realized would allow me more energy to focus more on what really mattered in my life.  

I realized the reason I had been so successful in my life, so far, was that I was never ‘materialistic’. So purging my life of things was easy for me and it allowed me to move even closer to my dreams.

Put Your Health First

Some people need things to validate their lives (beautiful homes, beautiful cars, beautiful clothes, etc.) and they rather spend valuable money to get these things, while they ignore the one and the most important thing in their lives – THEIR HEALTH.  

Many people live their lives eating bad foods — feeling sick, sluggish and run-down. They are surrounded by beautiful things that they can’t really enjoy because they ignore their health.

Many are empty inside because they have nothing of value to offer the world and I never wanted that to be my story.

Know When It’s Time to Move On

After my daughter’s car was stolen from in front of my place when she visited me in Atlanta, GA and after I experienced two attempted car thiefs in my area — myself, I realized my neighborhood wasn’t what it use to be and it was time for me to move on or out of that area.

When neighborhoods go bad, it’s just time to move on. I had never lived around crime and I was not about to start now – not during my Golden Years!

Not only did I move out of the area, I decided to move out of the city totally. What I was preparing to do with my life was bigger than Atlanta and it needed to be shared with the world.

And because of this decision, I was able to manifest even more joy and happiness into my life by moving even closer to my dreams.

Recognize Your ‘True Dream’

Traveling has always been a dream of mine. After all, that’s why I had joined the military years ago. Because I was in my 50s, I realized I still had 40% of my ‘productive life’ still left ahead of me so I realized it was time to take the steps necessary to find even more happiness in my life.

Because of purging my life of things and concentrating on what I really needed and wanted for my life, I was able to make the following dreams come true: 

  • I was able to see the country by creating a humanitarian tour “Cathy Harris Humanitarian Tour” and traveled by car to 15 states.
  • I was able to meet some of the people that I had been networking with on the internet for 10 to 15 years.
  • I was able to build my business, AngelsPress.com, by building my audience with my empowerment lectures, seminars, and workshops.
  • I was able to release a line of empowerment non-fiction ‘easy-to-read’ e-books, paperback and audiobooks for the entire family, which can be read by 12-year-olds and above. 

To purge my life and get on the road — it really wasn’t that hard. To get on the road as a Speaker, Author, and Coach you need the following in place — you need to:

  • Be healthy.
  • Eat healthy foods along the way.
  • Get regular exercise along the way.
  • Engage in regular detoxifications. 
  • Have a good running car.
  • Have a GPS.
  • Have contacts in cities.
  • Figure out where you will stay (family, friends, extended stay hotels, etc.).

I had dreamed 5 years earlier about getting on the road. I visualized it but there was a lot of obstacles in my way. I had these terrific friends that I could not leave. My mom was elderly and I knew if I left Georgia, I probably would not see her again – plus — I was also ‘too unhealthy’ to travel.

After becoming housebound and bedridden in 2007 and self-educating myself on how the human body works, I became a Holistic and Natural Health and Wellness Expert and launched the “National Non-GMO Health Movement” and wrote a line of health books about my experience.  

Once I got healthy and after my friends and mom had passed on, it was just time for me to do what I truly wanted to do with my life. And if I had gotten on the road 5 years earlier, I would not have had access to all the great information that my company now offers especially the health seminars and the line of empowerment products. So the timing was key for me.

What was really one of my determining factors that made me realize now was the time to make my ‘life-long dream’ come true of getting on the road was  — after reading the book “Eat Right 4 Your Type.”  

The book was the icing on the cake for me and it helped me reach my maximum level of health and I eventually came up with my own wellness program “Cathy Harris 12 Steps to Wellness Programs,” which are the 12 chapters (12 steps) in my first health book How To Take Control of Your Own Life: A Self-Help Guide to Becoming Healthier Over the Next 30 Days (Series 3).”

Once I read the book and implemented the changes and started eating foods for my blood type, within a matter of days, I had a major surge of energy.

Because I was eating good food, not only did I get a surge in energy, but my brain worked even better, which allowed me to come up with my own PLAN OF ACTION to make my dreams come true.

Next, I sat down and compiled a list of every city that I wanted to visit and the people that I had been networking with over the years on the internet — that I just had to meet.  

I then looked at my living arrangements and since I had a close relative in the Detroit area, I decided to go there first because of all the cities in the U.S., the city of Detroit had major issues, but I knew my company could make a difference with our line of empowerment lectures, seminars, and workshops.

So on Jan. 2, 2013, I sat out on my journey to make my life-long dreams come true of being a Speaker, Author, and Coach on the road and because of this — I loved every minute of it.  

The scenery was absolutely beautiful along the way especially from Youngstown, OH to New York or when I got close to Nashville, TN.

The green trees looked like the trees in the movie “Gorillas in the Mist.” Sometimes the horizon ahead was so blue it looked like you were driving into an ocean, but it was just the sky meeting the ground.   

And what about the color of the trees around Halloween and Thanksgiving – the bright red, orange and yellow colors. I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life.

All of it made me think of my home in Georgia and I thought about how lucky I was to have spent the first 17 years of my life as a ‘homesteader’ – working the land.  

Even though the city of Detroit was extremely cold and it looked like a wasteland, in my neighborhood outside of Detroit, the view of the snow looked like a beautiful postcard. You just have to learn to see the beauty in everything.  

I was raised in Georgia in the south, 2 hours outside of Atlanta, and had never in my life lived in snowy cold weather except when I was in Germany in the military in the 80s. I had never driven a car in snow so I had prepared to stop at a hotel if the weather got bad on my trip.  

But all the way from Atlanta to Detroit, it was easy sailing. Even though there was snow on the sides of the roads, I had missed all the major snowstorms. It was like I was being guided by the universe or by a force to live my dreams.  

It was as if someone had made everything easy for me because when you step out on your faith — to change your life and the people around you, everything will fall into place. Everything was happening to me in ‘divine order’. 

I could have exited any of those exits in my ‘one year journey’ on the road and set up my home. If you have a car and money coming in, you can actually move anywhere.

I truly believe that some people might not be able to get their lives together because they might be in the wrong city. Your family is not just your family. Your family could be the people you have met in your life — that have ‘touched your hearts’.

I love meeting people and don’t know if I will ever get off the road. The biggest joy that I have experienced along the way on this tour is during my seminars and workshops — when I see the light go on in my audience eyes, especially young people when they realized they could indeed change their lives.

Now that I made my ‘life-long dream’ come true of being on the road in 2013 by launching “Cathy Harris Humanitarian Tour,” I can’t wait to see what 2014 will bring but I have a good idea because again, I have already visualized it Cathy Harris Empowerment Tour.” 

What I am saying to all of you is if you want your dreams to come true at some point in your life, keep walking in the directions of your dreams every day, but come up with a plan of action to make them come true, and don’t forget to put your health first.

Embrace ‘change’ and in return, it will embrace you with joy, peace, and happiness and I am living proof of that…Good luck!

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Cathy Harris is a soon to be a Full-Time RVer living ‘The Good Life.’ Her blog website is SimpleLifeRVing.com. She is also an Empowerment and Motivational Speaker, Advice Columnist at DearCathy.com, Non-GMO Health and Wellness Expert, Business and Love Coach and Self-Publishing Expert and the author of 26 non-fiction books at www.AngelsPress.com. Her books cover topics such as family and community empowerment, health, youth and adult entrepreneurship, writing/publishing, workplace discrimination, whistleblowing, government, law enforcement, domestic and international traveling, politics, media, beauty, car buying and selling for women, aging/retirement – just to name a few. She offers seminars, workshops, and consultations at www.CathyHarrisInternational.com.