"Do we want this THAT badly?" we asked ourselves as we nervously stared at our bank account. Over the last six months we had saved like crazy, cashed out our 401ks, and sold everything we could to have enough for a 10% down payment and a safety net that would cover us for a year -- just in case our high hopes for our blog, freelance writing and photography didn't pan out.
Now, with a down payment of 20%, the savings that should have allowed us an entire year to figure things out, would only float us for half the time. And that didn't include all of the RV extras we would have to buy to actually live in it.
With a deep breath and an even deeper sense of determination, I said "Yes." This would make us work a whole lot harder, but it was without a doubt worth it. "Alright, let's just do it then," Buddy agreed.
Luckily, there was a mistake in our financing paperwork and we would not be required to put 20% down. But knowing we were willing to, opened our eyes to just how much this new life meant to us.
Although this was the most stressful challenge on our road to full-time RVing, it certainly was not the only one we encountered. Rarely did we look at each other and say, "Wow this is really easy!" But every step along the way, even when we felt depleted and overwhelmed, we always agreed it would be worth it.
As I got rid of favorite decor pieces, clothing, and special mementos, I imagined the freedom of the open road. When Buddy took a big loss on his beloved self-made desktop computer, he thought of how nice it would be to sit outside with a laptop and edit photos with awesome views around him.
And when we moved from Colorado to Texas to save money by sleeping on the floor in an empty room at Buddy's sister's house, we imagined how comfortable the RV bed would feel after a few months of floor-surfing.
However, this journey was not only a lesson in perseverance. It was a lesson in faith as well.
Even with every effort to make smart decisions along the way, there was no denying we were taking a giant risk. Sometimes you just have to jump and hope for a soft place to land. (And, in our case, hope that place has some wheels to take you to pretty destinations).
There was also a chance we wouldn't even get financed after all our hard work to save and minimize our belongings. Although we have great credit scores and Buddy was still working a well-paying 9-5 job, our desire to be honest about full-timing made most banks refuse to work with us. We even had many salesmen strongly suggest that we commit fraud by lying about our intentions and using a family member's residential address on our paperwork.
Even if this were something we were morally okay with (which it wasn't), we didn't like the idea of getting our RV taken away if the bank found out we lied. Plus, we didn't want to start what was supposed to be an extremely positive, life-altering journey with such an icky feeling in our stomachs.
Thankfully, our refusal to work with salesmen with questionable tactics led us to an awesome family-run dealership and Bill -- the first salesman who genuinely seemed to have our best interest in mind.
Ronnie Bock's Kerrville RV was actually suggested to us by Russ Garfin, one of Winnebago's Product Managers, who we met at the RV Entrepreneur Summit in February. This great place wasn't even on our radar beforehand!
It seemed like fate when we saw the exact model we wanted on their website: a Winnebago View 24V. It also had our favorite exterior color and all the extras we wanted. But we still hadn't figured out the financing, so we were trying not to get our hopes up.
Then we saw this handsome rig in person and our hopes went way up. It was perfect! After agreeing on a fair price with Bill, he gave us some suggestions for financing companies that worked with full-timers and told us good luck. There was no pressure to fudge the paperwork or put a deposit down right away. He was kind, helpful and encouraging. It made us want to work with him even more.
However, since we weren't sure financing would work out for that RV, we went to one more chain dealership with more in-house financing options and a similar View. Our experience there was the polar opposite. It ended with me slamming my hands on the table and exclaiming loudly at the rude, pushy salesman "This conversation is over." We stormed out of the dealership knowing we had to make financing work for the View in Kerrville and we got started right away.
Forty-eight anxiety filled hours after putting in our application, we were approved as full-timers at an interest rate only slightly higher than what part-timers would pay. And we only had to put 10% down.
Buddy thought it was time to celebrate. Although I was relieved, I knew we weren't out of the woods yet. Nothing was official and I was extremely worried that gorgeous View would end up being sold to someone else before our paperwork was finalized.
However, Bill came to the rescue again, assuring us that as long as the financing didn't fall through the RV was ours. And when we went the next day to take a few pictures to send to family, he pointed at it and said: "There's your new RV." I couldn't help but let the joy overwhelm me. All we had to do was sign a few papers the financing company was overnighting to us. How hard could that be?
Flash forward to Monday when we realized how misguided that assumption was. We had to run around like lunatics trying to secure insurance, have papers notarized and get to FedEx before the last pick-up at 5:45 p.m. Oh, and Buddy was on back-to-back conference calls all day. He had to do all those things with his phone glued to his ear. (Can't wait until his last day with Corporate America!)
Of course, the insurance agent made multiple mistakes, so it took two hours to complete. There was also a line for the notary, and crazy traffic on our way to send the papers off. We ran into FedEx with three minutes to spare and sent that stress-inducing pack of papers off with a big sigh of relief. Then we cried in the car.
It is strange to be so upset about something you know will be amazing. You feel kind of stupid complaining to your family and friends that you just had an awful day finalizing the paperwork for a home that will allow you to quit your traditional jobs and travel full-time. But that day sucked.
However, when Bill called us the next day to confirm the View had officially been financed and set up our pick-up date, any left-over stress instantly turned into excitement. They say women forget the pain of pregnancy once the baby is in their arms. I guess it is kind of like that with getting financed for an RV as well.
We were blessed with a beautiful, sunny pick-up day and couldn't wait to drive away in our new home. After spending more than two hours with Keith (our dedicated tech), we were filled to the brim with new knowledge and happiness as we drove off the lot. He even gave us his cell phone number in case we had any issues. And the dealership set us up at a local RV park for our first night. Finally, this crazy journey had become easy.
That night, after getting settled into our new home-on-wheels, we relaxed in the jacuzzi at the gorgeous Buckhorn Lake Resort. As we looked at each other with cheek-hurting smiles and dreamy eyes, we wondered if this new life would always feel like one big vacation. Although at the moment we would have answered in the affirmative, realistically we know the answer is no.
We have many more challenges to overcome. There will be tears and breakdowns (mental as well as mechanical). Things won't go as planned and we will never know what to expect next.
But we didn't work this hard for an easy life. Our dream was to have a lifestyle that gave us the freedom to explore, more time to cherish each other and experiences that would challenge us to grow individually and as a team.
We don't know where this new life as full-time RVers will take us. But we do know that we have the determination and faith to venture down any road this journey may lead us to. And even on the worst days, when we ask each other if the struggles are worth the reward, the answer will always be a resounding "Yes."