October 27, 2014 – by Jimmy – There are many people who cannot think outside the box of a sticks and bricks house. Anyone who would “live” in an RV has got to be 1. mentally unstable or 2. broke. I guess family and friends think that if I’m still part of their lives I must be mentally stable so that only leaves broke. A few weeks ago I talked to a co-worker who told me that she heard (you have to love the grapevine) I’m selling all my stuff and moving into an RV (because I’m broke – implied). Angela heard from a family member who knew our “situation” and was there to help if we needed. Ok that’s enough, here’s the real reason why we decided to become full time RV people. We just don’t like any of y’all… Ok, Ok, the REAL story…
I am a consultant. I have been for the last 12 years. I love going to a client site to implement a system, provide an assessment, do training, or whatever. There are some people who live their entire lives not finding what they love to do; I happen to be one of those lucky ones to which that does not apply. I love going to new places, meeting new people, and sharing work and life. I still keep in touch with clients I had more than ten years ago. I worked for a company and had been debating on whether or not to go contract (work on my own as a 1099 employee to many companies). Well, in August that decision was made for me. The company I worked for did a RIF (Reduction In Force) and laid me off.
Now as a consultant we are required to keep an updated resume, and we normally interview with potential new clients about once every 6 months or so. So getting ready for a job search for me was a piece of cake. Within a month I had a network of recruiters and companies set, and I was on my way to the next opportunity. One opportunity came up that really interested me. It was a year-long contract, and I would be working in a team to do something this company had never done before. The only problem – the company would not pay travel. Normally a consultant is paid for flight, hotel, and rental car on top of the agreed upon rate. The travel piece was not in this contract, so I had to say no. But a seed was planted.
Over the next few days and weeks Angela and I talked about ways I could have said “yes” to the Oklahoma Project. Then we had a conversation about our current living arrangements. We have a two bedroom, two bath, one living room/dining area, and one kitchen apartment. Angela asked me “of all the rooms we have in the apartment which do we use”. We use one bedroom (the other is pretty much storage), we use one bathroom (we may use the other in the rare occasion that we have to go at the same time), we use the kitchen and we use the living room/dining room area. Then she said other than maybe downsizing a little bit and moving some things into storage, we could live in an RV. I could feel the neurons exploding in my head, the birds started singing, harps were playing in the background, and God himself said “This is your wife in whom I am well pleased”.
So we started discussing the possibilities, procedures, funding, what we would be gaining and losing, and came to the conclusion that this is something we need to do. Most weeks I would fly out on Sunday, work twelve hours on Monday through Wednesday, work 4 hours on Thursday before catching a flight home. I’d be home long enough to wash clothes mow the lawn and catch the next plane back. Vacation was planned and limited to the time I proposed to my employer.
Now I can go on client site and get my 40 hours over five days instead of three and a half, I get to go home every night ,and I can take a vacation on long weekends or between clients and go anywhere I want to go. For the client, I will have much lower travel costs (no airfare, hotels, or rental car – only RV park fees and maintenance). I have roughly calculated that I normally spend $6,000 per month on travel expenses and could reduce that to less than $2,000 per month with the RV. I am on site all week long to serve the client. It’s a win-win all around.
So for those of you who worry that I am destitute, right now I have enough liquid cash to last for many months to come without another contract. The reduction in expenses means I may only have to work 6 months out of the year. I can pick and chose my clients on the agenda that Angela and I pick to follow, and I can visit family and disappear with Angela whenever I’m off client. There ya go…