We attended our first potluck with other traveling families last night. It was really great to talk with other people about this lifestyle and to learn that everything happening to us is totally normal. It seems like nothing too terrible has even happened yet. Not sure if I should be worried about the future or not.
When we mentioned we had just started our journey, everyone seemed so surprised and then let us know the learning was just getting started. It’s fun to think about who we will be in eleven months and all the stories we’ll have to tell.
In just six days, I have learned so much about this lifestyle and have so much more to learn. But what I do know for sure is what we did to prep for the trip was exactly what we should have done. I’m proud of us for that. Below are what I feel are the top 6 most important things to do before heading out on a year-long adventure.
Our Top 6 Pre-Launch Must Do’s
1. Start planning your trip a minimum of six months in advance
We decided we were going on this journey in June 2019 with the plan to launch in January 2020. Launching was so exciting to think about I wanted to just jump right in. However, with an enormous amount to plan and learn, you’ve got to give yourself time. Six months worked for us, but if I were to do it again, I’d give it a year of planning.
2. Sell Your House or Downsize
Selling your home before you even head out seems a little extreme. However, after a few months of thinking about it (again why you need to give yourself time), we decided we didn’t want the cost and responsibility of taking care of a home when we are not there to live in it. Our house is now on the market, and it feels great. We plan to either buy a smaller home with low maintenance or a condo upon our return.
3. Purge all your things way in advance
Over the summer, I cleaned out our house room by room. It took me several months and many trips to Goodwill. When it was time to pack up the trailer and to list our house, I didn’t have to worry about cleaning cabinets and organizing because it was already done. And purging gets you and the kiddos ready to live in a tiny space. When we go home to move out once our house sells, there will also be less to deal with, and it just feels good to purge all the things!
4. If you have a house, hire someone to maintain it for you
Since our house has not sold yet and we live on 2 1/2 acres, it requires maintenance. We hired someone we know and trust to take care of all the things for us, such as turning on the sprinkler system this spring or checking to make sure critters aren’t getting in the house. Everyday stuff like this over the next eleven months. We can relax and not worry about what’s going on at home, knowing he’s there checking on things.
5. Taking our fifth-wheel out a few times before launch
This is huge and a definite MUST! Our trailer didn’t arrive until the end of October and we were only able to take it out one time before we launched. If we could do it over again, I’d like to take it out at least three times. You learn something every time, and you want to be as prepared as you can be because, as we learned, once you are out on the road, you aren’t in a familiar environment, and it’s easy to forget stuff. And that’s when it gets stressful.
6. Research and join groups
Joining Facebook groups such as Fulltime Families and connecting with other families on social media has been an invaluable part of our pre-trip protocol. We knew nothing last June, and we didn’t even know what we didn’t know. That’s how much there is to know! Families in these groups are so generous and kind and helpful; it’s been amazing. From giving tips on how to live in freezing temps and snow, to which route is best, to the best tires for the truck and trailer, to homeschool curriculum- it’s been a lifesaver. Now that we are on the road, we’ve met some of these people in person. It’s like meeting old friends and has been super cool.
If you are thinking about taking off on a trip like this, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy to talk to you more about it. Even though we are just getting started, we know we’ve made the right decision and are so excited for what the future will bring.