The most serious challenges you’ll face living on the road probably won’t be the ones you imagine while contemplating the RV lifestyle from the comfort of your living room. While not being nailed to the ground is a big advantage in many ways, that doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges.
Some of the things that tripped us up on the road were things we never really thought about before we left. If you keep a home and spend part of the year there, few of these things would trouble you. The problems can develop when you sell that home join the vagabond lifestyle of full-time RV living.
A Permanent Address
Fulltimers are caught between the rootless nature of their preferred lifestyle and the needs of the state to be able to contact you for the routine duties associated with citizenship. Theoretically many states have policies that allow for people lacking a permanent address, like people who live in RVs and aboard their boats, but the reality is many state offices aren’t always aware of those options. The state wants you to have an address.
Even when that address was an RV park, the state tried to insist we needed a lot number! We eventually got them over the lot number issue and were able to use an RV park we frequented as a permanent address.
Getting Your Mail
Getting your mail is actually pretty easy; there are services like Good Sam Mail Forwarding that will give you a permanent mailing address (different than a permanent address) and forward your mail to wherever you happen to be staying. Getting your mail in a timely fashion is another matter. You will need to tell vendors and creditors that it can take two to four weeks for mail to reach you. What happens is you tend to get notices that are already late. The good news is the mail forwarding services will shred the junk mail for you. That’s a nice feature.
Doctors and Vets
This was no problem for me but my wife has a chronic condition and for a while we were flying her back to where we used to live every three months for medical care. Getting medications was never a problem, but it wasn’t until we stopped traveling as much that we were able to take advantage of discount mail order pharmacies.
The dogs were a constant problem. Many vets don’t like you using mail order pharmacies because it costs them money when you buy your pet medications elsewhere. Some will just refuse to give you a prescription you can use elsewhere. On more than one occasion we had to pay for an office call in some city we were unlikely to ever see again.
The whole experience left us disgusted with the veterinary medicine industry and when our last pet passed away we vowed that was it for pets.
For anyone in the medical profession you have to get your professional license recognized in the state you’re wanting to practice. That can take anywhere from three weeks to three months depending on the certification and whether the states in question reciprocate with one another. The good news is you only have to do it once, but sitting around those first few weeks can be agonizing for those adopting the fulltime lifestyle before retirement.
All of these problems are manageable with a little pre-planning; being aware of the issues can lead to creative solutions.