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You will need to set plans and goals. We got some good advice when we started out full-timing about planning. You’re starting out on a journey such as you have never done before. The best way to approach this journey is with sound planning. You also want to set goals for what you expect to accomplish from your journeys.You don’t want to come off the road and have regrets that you haven’t done the things you wanted to do.
The first and most important part of the planning process is to set plans and goals for both yourself and your partner. Will you stay in RV resorts and tour the country, or will you move with the seasons (snow birding), or will you see every major league ballpark? Would you like to tour Civil War battlefields? You must have goals, or you will meander aimlessly; or perhaps that is your goal. You can have multiple goals; just remember how long you might be at this. It would be gratifying to accomplish your main goals and then talk about the stuff you did with friends and family. You might even convince someone else to try the full-time lifestyle.
Short term plans and goals are the things you want to accomplish within the next year. This way, you can be specific and even lay out a tentative route. This is actually the most difficult type of planning because you will start executing the short term plan immediately. Better get it right before the meandering starts. This type of planning works hand in hand with the budgeting process. You need to know you can afford to do the things you have planned for the year ahead of you.
An example of a short term plan might be to visit all the state and national parks in several states. Another could be to attend a number of rallies across the country. Whatever you plan, try to keep it realistic. A business term I used to use is “don’t boil the ocean”. In other words, don’t plan so much you couldn’t possibly do it all in a year. Kathy and I only had one destination we had to do the first year, and that was to see Mount Rushmore. We did that and so much more.
If you are over fifty years old like we are, you must plan on visiting your doctor once a year to get physical exams and renew prescriptions. We have forgotten this and consequently we have doctors in three states.
Trip planning, short term goals and budgeting all work together. Once you set the goals, you are in a position to start planning the trip. Kathy and I do the goal setting together and then I do the rough trip planning. I get out the maps, the campground guides, and the planning software and lay out a route that takes us either directly to our destinations or near enough to visit by car. We make sure we will have the funds to do what is in the plan, or we revise the plan.
Good midterm plans and goals might reach out five years or so. There are over four hundred National Parks in the continental U.S. You could realistically expect to thoroughly tour about a hundred and fifty or so in five years assuming you won’t do much else. You could, however, visit forty-nine states and spend a month or so in each. If you snowbird from warm weather to warm weather, the midterm planning is easy. If you want to tour the country, seasons play a large part in the planning process.
Kathy and I continue to visit as many National Parks as we can when our route takes us near one. Of course we also do National Monuments, and there are a ton of those. Our main focus is to find new and interesting places to explore and then report on for our radio show.
Long term plans and goals encompass your total full-time RVing experience. This could go out ten or twenty years or more. This is where you can do a little “blue sky” planning, commonly known as dreaming. Once you have it down on paper, figure out how you can make it happen. You might want to get another rig sometime in the future. Put it in the plan; you can always revise it later on. You might want to make allowance for the fact that we all age more quickly in those years. I hate trying to do stuff I love but just can’t do it anymore.