Full Timer

Posted: January 7, 2013 in Full Time Camper, SQLServerPedia Syndication

I took a big step in my life that my wife and I have been dreaming about for a long time, as of May 1st, 2012 we are what is commonly known as Full Timers. The dream started about 5 years ago, when we bought our first motor home. Before that we had done a lot of camping but never really considered it that we would go as far with it as we have. A Full Timer is someone who lives in their camper year around. The last 4 or 5 years we have more or less been spending about 100 nights a year in our camper, but always dreamed about what it would be like to call it home. A couple more terms that I think you might want to know before I go on…

A Worker Camper (workamper) is someone who works at the place they are staying in exchange for lot rent and such; normally we see something along the lines of 20 hours a week for the lot rent and utilities. My wife is a Work Camper but does additional hours. During the summers in Colorado I am also a Work Camper on the weekends, because I like to work with the animals and doing the social aspect of the job.

A Snowbird is someone who more or less runs from the snow. In our case, this year we are spending the winter in the desert in Southern California. During the summers we have to go back to our home just south of Colorado Springs, Co.

So you might ask why I tell you all of this… Well I have noticed over the last few conference events that I have done that many people have questions about this lifestyle. Now granted there isn’t a lot of cross over between a DBA and a Work Camper. However, there are some discussion points when it comes to how I am able to work with this lifestyle, and the challenges I face. So, I have decided to start a new category on my blog that talks about this topic. I hope you enjoy reading it, and if you are here for the technical stuff, don’t worry I will keep posting those as well. If you are reading this via SQL Server Pedia please note that this will be my last post to that syndication about this topic. Those posts will remain technical only.

Where to start

With this being a new subject that I may post about I am not too sure where to start. So I figure I will start with why… Why do I choose to live in a camper? Well life is very simple this way; I guess I got tired of being tied down to the house, having to worry about stuff that just doesn’t matter like how good the yard looks. I found out a number of years ago that I have arthritis and if I were to live at a lower elevation that I would feel better. As we talked about how to do this and what is important to us, we were able to start removing requirements for our living situation off our list. For example, I don’t have to have a yard, to me it is nothing but work. I don’t need a lot of space, because it just stores more junk for me to spend money on and then keep around until it breaks. The more we thought about when we as a family are happiest and most comfortable it kept coming back to when we are camping, or when we are on vacation. Living in our camper full time is just like being on a permanent vacation. Some people really look at us like we are a bit odd, and well that is ok. We are happy with our dream and living in a house is just not a requirement.

Where are we now?

Right now I am at the kitchen table, no different than you sitting in a home office. We are currently calling the Riviera RV Resort our home, but by May we will be back in Colorado. We are staying on the Colorado River outside of a small town called Blythe in California. We are located about 3.5 hours outside of L.A. and about 2 hours outside of Phoenix right on the boarder of Arizona and California. We have great cell service, so I am not so we have no need for a land line here. The local cable company was able to run a cable modem right to our hooks ups, where I plugged in my Wi-Fi router. So from our rig we have everything we need for us to work. I do have an air card for internet connection as a backup. I travel about once a month back to Denver.

So our rig is a 40 Foot Alpine 3555 RL. It weighs about 13,000 pounds before we put in the washer dryer combo. Here is a video of the exact model we have, including the colors. Check out the video, I think it helps explain a lot. I had to trade in my Ford because it was just outside of the tow capacity, but got a Dodge Ram in the exact same color my charger use to be.

Well that is about all I can think of posting about it now. If you have any questions please by all means let me know, and I hope to post more about our challenges with this lifestyle soon.

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Comments
  1. Les Udden says:

    Chris, Hope to see back at Mountaindale back in in Colorado this summer.
    Les Udden

  2. Chris Yates says:

    Wow man, That is pretty unique, kudos for taking the plunge on a more simplistic lifestyle. If you ever drive cross country through KY look me up.

    • Chris Shaw says:

      I will be sure to, thanks for the comment Chris. I cannot tell you how nice it is. We have so much fun and I am always in a new place where I can go explore the local area.

  3. way0utwest says:

    Good for you. Sounds like things are going well and life has improved for you.

  4. Brent Ozar says:

    Man, what an incredible lifestyle. This is just so awesome.

    How often do you hook up the trailer and move to another site?

    Are you able to focus on work when your wife’s in the trailer, too? I have a tough time telecommuting when I can see/hear Erika, so it works really well when she’s at her day job. Once she’s home, I have to quit (or head out to a coffee shop).

  5. Jeff Langdon @jlangdon says:

    Being a Broncos fan, now is the time you want to be in Denver. :) My wife and I love camping too. We plan to buy a Class A and travel the country. That’s a sweet looking fifth-wheel you get there. Enjoy your new lifestyle.

  6. buckwoody says:

    Very interested as well. Marjorie and I have talked about this – my primary interest would be on the logistical side of what you’re doing, such as Internet connectivity, how you decide where to stay, was it really cheaper after gas/etc, your gear, all that kind of stuff. Keep us in the know!

  7. Tim Mitchell says:

    Very cool, Chris. Sounds like you’re living the dream.

  8. Chris Shaw says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone, You guys have given me a lot if topics to work on for the future.

  9. Chris says:

    How do you handle the mailing address issue?

  10. Brent Ozar says:

    I use http://EarthClassMail.com for that. They give me an address, and they open all the mail. They scan and email you the PDF, and they’ll even deposit checks for you.

    • Jeff Langdon @jlangdon says:

      @BrentO That’s pretty interesting. I had no idea that type of service was even provided. Hopefully, one day I can hit the road like Chris and need that. :)

      • Brent Ozar says:

        Yeah, there’s a few different ones, but that’s the one we ended up settling on. If you like that, check out the book The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. It’s all about being able to hit the road while you’re still bringing in money, basically.

      • Chris Shaw says:

        Have not worked with EarthClassMail at all. I am going to check them out.

  11. [...] started a series of blog posts a few weeks ago where I wanted to focus on my lifestyle and how it relates back to work and SQL [...]

  12. [...] started a series of blog posts a few weeks ago where I wanted to focus on my lifestyle and how it relates back to work and SQL [...]

  13. Nancy Crowley says:

    Thanks for your talk at the SQL Server Saturday event yesterday. I really enjoyed the talk and also meeting you. It would be great if you would talk about connectivity while you are on the road. You cannot rely on camp ground wireless connectivity. What do you use and how does it work?

  14. Chris Shaw says:

    Hi Nancy,

    It was a pleasure to meet you as well. I always have a lot of fun at the SQL Saturdays. So the connectivity is one of those challanges. Take a look at this post, I sort of make a reference to it. http://chrisshaw.wordpress.com/2013/02/03/working-from-home-and-the-distractions/

    When my wife and I picked this spot we have a few requirements, connectivity is one of them. However, if you read that post you will see things are not always as presented. The company i get connection from, has contacted me, but only after I have posted a blog about it.

    What I ended up doing is getting one of these Jet Pack things to creates a MiFi, I have been really happy with that so far, but it is a backup only, with as much as I do online, I can run out of my plan pretty quick. I hope that sometime they release a bigger plan that what I have at and affordable rate.

  15. Louis Davidson says:

    I think you should be very careful about telling too many people that your wife was willing to hit the road in a camper full time, because someone may try to steal her from you :). My personal dream is to do this during football season, travelling to all of the venues every Sunday and working the rest of the week. My wife would probably let *me*, as long as she is home in her comfy 2000+ square foot non mobile living quarters :)

    Seriously though, very interesting post about a very interesting lifestyle :)

    • Chris Shaw says:

      I can’t tell you how glad I am that she likes this life style. Just a few weeks ago, she had mentioned to me how much she missed home. She quickly clarified this by saying that home as in the campgound in Colorado, not home like in the house. Funny you mention football as well. I think this crazy dream started with us wanting to follow NASCAR around. We are going to the race on Sunday in Phoenix.

  16. […] It has been a while since I have posted anything about being a full-timer. So I figure it is time for a post. In case you’re new to this post a full-timer is someone who lives in their RV full time. This winter I am cheating a little bit. I am still at the same campground we call this home, however we have moved into a cabin for the winter. To give you a quick lay of the land this is where we are now. I know it is pretty difficult to see but my rig is circled in blue. Our home is a 40 foot Alpine 3555 RL. It weighs about 15,000 pounds and that is important to know when I want to move it from place A to place B. For more specific information on how we got to where we are now, you can check out this post. […]

  17. […] It has been a while since I have posted anything about being a full-timer. So I figure it is time for a post. In case you’re new to this post a full-timer is someone who lives in their RV full time. This winter I am cheating a little bit. I am still at the same campground we call this home, however we have moved into a cabin for the winter. To give you a quick lay of the land this is where we are now. I know it is pretty difficult to see but my rig is circled in blue. Our home is a 40 foot Alpine 3555 RL. It weighs about 15,000 pounds and that is important to know when I want to move it from place A to place B. For more specific information on how we got to where we are now, you can check out this post. […]

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