People dream of retiring and taking to the road, to spend their golden years touring around in a motor home. For the vast majority of people, though, it will never become more than a dream. They’ll stay in their homes and enjoy the holidays they take.
A few, though, will take that giant step to life on the road. More people do it in America than here, in part because owning motor homes is more common in the US and there are so many thousands of miles of highway to explore without leaving the country’s borders. But even in the UK many of those who attempt the new lifestyle enjoy it, and the numbers could grow as a more adventurous baby boom generation edges into retirement.
Retirement is meant to bring freedom and nothing could offer more of that than not being tied to a house. Being able to travel where you want, when you want, is something that brings plenty of joy. There’s no more gardening, no worries about the commute. When bad weather is due you can head south, even across the Channel if you wish.
It’s also a wonderful way to simplify your life. Space in a motor home is very limited so you live with the essentials and nothing more, which can also be liberating. All the possessions you’ve acquired can be gone through, and most of them passed on or thrown out.
Living on the road offers a great way to make a new set of friends who are doing the same thing. As we grow older so many of us are set in our ways and this breaks you out of the mould.
Living in a motor home can prove to be cheaper than owning a house. There’s no council tax, you don’t need to worry about whether your property is increasing or decreasing in value. The main costs are petrol, the fees at camp sites and any repairs to the vehicle.
There are some downsides. As a couple you’ll be living on top of each other all the time with no spare room or shed as an escape. You might not see as much of your children and grandchildren as you would if you lived close to them (on the other hand, if they’re spread around the country you might see more of them on your travels).
You have no real postal address so you’ll need to ‘borrow’ one from a relative or friend. That’s good for correspondence or bills, although you’ll find that with a laptop and a good Internet connection you’ll be able to take care of most things as you travel.
The weather can go against you, and spending more time on the road, especially in a larger vehicle, increases the chances of a traffic accident. Also, in the event of illness you might be somewhere far from family and without access to many of the things you need. Like the other disadvantages, though, you need to weight them against the good things that can happen.
You both need to be truly committed to the idea of life on the road – trying it for a few weeks first to see how you like it is very advisable. Once you’ve sold your house and bought that camper it can be very difficult to go back.
Find a suitable vehicle, one that’s small but not too cramped – you both need a little space. Take care picking the right vehicle; read reviews and have a mechanic check it thoroughly if it’s not new. Judge what you can get in the motor home and then make your choices of what to take and what to eliminate.
Look ahead. This should allow you the chance to sell your house when you’ll get more money for it. You need to plan all aspects of your retirement, including moving addresses and having everything in place for using the Internet, mobile connections and the like. It’s not just a new life, it’s a new lifestyle. Make your plans but allow plenty of room for spontaneity. The secret is not to be afraid of it but to embrace and enjoy the freedom it offers.