Why We Moved To Texas

Feb 13

Why We Moved To Texas

One of the questions we get asked the most since moving to San Antonio is why? Why did we leave friends and family in Georgia and Alabama and come to one of the largest cities in the United States where we don’t know anyone?

Our main reason is because we wanted something different. We knew there was more to life than what we had. Our divorce and reconciliation really brought that home to us. We wanted an alternative to the “American Dream” life. We wanted our own dream life.

Freedom and independence are also important to us. We want to see and experience new things, things that you don’t always get to see on a two week vacation from a full-time job. We want to be mobile with the ability to move when we want and return to the places and people we love. And that’s where RV travel comes in.

 

Traveling Began Early

When I was little we had an old pop up camper my mom towed behind our conversion van. We would go camping often during the spring and summer. Just a weekend trip, sometimes not even far from home, but it felt like it was far. We read books, played cards, listened to the radio, went swimming and caught fish for supper. I remember having to beg just to have the radio. We didn’t bring a TV and this was years before cell phones and hand held video games. We had a wonderful time and it was a nice break from the same old stuff at home. Years later, on a trip to Stone Mountain near Atlanta, I found out the lady operating the sky bucket lived full-time in her RV and worked there as a workcamper.

 

What is Workcamping?

I started researching and found out that thousands of people live and travel in their RV full-time. Several are retirees with an income, but there are others like us who would need some type of earned income. I found more information on workcamping and legal issues, like domicile and taxes.

Workcamping jobs are typically seasonal and are done either as a paid employee or as a volunteer. Disney World and Amazon are two companies that use paid workcampers. Others work selling Christmas trees or pumpkins or fireworks for the Fourth of July. For the legality of travel and workcamping, I found that most full-time RVers use Texas, Florida and South Dakota as their legal state of residence.

 

Why Texas?

We chose Texas for a few different reasons. One is that land, especially in West Texas, is cheap and plentiful with few building codes. One day we hope to build a small home on some land. Another is because there’s no state income tax and there are healthcare options through the Affordable Care Act that cover members nationwide. One of the largest and oldest RV clubs, Escapees, is also based in Livingston, Texas.

At the end of 2013 we decided we were tired of talking and wanted to move forward on our dream of full-time RV life. We needed to downsize, we needed to save money, and we needed an opportunity to grow our businesses. Even with both of us working, because of the cost of living we weren’t getting ahead.

So we decided to actively look for a job in Texas, somewhere with a lower cost of living. This would allow us to become Texas residents, downsize our belongings, and save money.

A typical workcamping job wasn’t going to work because we didn’t have an RV yet and most workcamping jobs only pay minimum wage. We found out storage facilities in the west hire couples to manage the property. Managers live on site rent free and are paid a salary. We started applying for jobs in Texas first then branched out into Arizona and New Mexico. I used a website called Working Couples, a subscription based site.

We applied for our current job in January, heard back from them in March and were heading to San Antonio eight weeks later. We jumped in with both feet! Our son moved with us and lived with us until he found a job further west using a site called Cool Works.

We feel like we spent the first part of 2014 moving and the last part getting settled in with a new location, a new job, a new routine. Now it’s 2015 and we need to move forward and get back on track with our goals.

 

The Difficulties and the Rewards

It hasn’t been easy being away from family and friends. I’ve gone back to Georgia twice to see family due to health issues and a death in the family. We were without a vehicle for two months while we saved money to replace the transmission in our van. I worked over the holidays to start up a savings account for our RV fund. But we do have a few can’t miss moments that we wouldn’t have had if we’d stayed in our jobs in Alabama.

We had almost four months of extra time with our son before he moved away at the end of July. In our old jobs, I was working during the week full-time, Scott was working usually six days a week and our son William was working nights at a factory. He was sleeping during the day then leaving for work as I was getting home and making dinner. Scott had to be at work at 5am at a coffee shop, so he had to go to bed early. We barely saw each other, so being able to spend time together as a family was a big plus to this move.

Our faith has grown. We’re truly walking our faith out here, far from friends and family. It’s made trusting in God more real. We feel closer to God and we have the time to pursue spiritual studies and ideas.

We love the culture of San Antonio. There’s so much to see and do, and a lot of it is free or low cost. We’ve had the time to explore the area together, have the new experiences we want, and our lower cost of living allows us to save money as well as live our life. We’ve definitely been able to spend time together as a couple and grow our ebay and Amazon businesses.

We’re actively and intentionally saving for our RV. Look for Serenity Project Updates on the blog. I’ll be doing another one next week. The goal has been changed now from motorhome to tow vehicle + travel trailer due to the issues with our van, but the ultimate goal is the same – to be able to live and travel full-time and support ourselves on the road.

 

Support and Accountability

If you’d like to support our goal, you can do the following:

Buy one of the books I wrote, available on Amazon

Shop in our Ebay Store

Shop in our Cafe Press store

Shop our Amazon listings

You can also just let us know you’re praying for us and rooting for us. That goes a long way. Please reach out to us on Facebook or Twitter and let us know you’re doing that.

 

Workcamping and Alternative Work Resources and Domicile Issues

Workcamper News – One of the oldest and most reliable sources of workcamper job listings.

CoolWorks.com – aimed to younger people, singles, and has information on job postings around the world.

WorkingCouples.com – offers long-term jobs for couples. Includes inkeeping, managing storage units, caretaking property and more. RV isn’t always required, some jobs include housing.

Choosing a Domicile State –  Great post from Technomadia from their No Excuses blog series and ebook about domicile states and handling banking, mail and voting on the road. 

Taxes for Workcampers –  One of the first posts I read from RV Dreams. Tax implications of workcamping income in different states, taxability of the provided campsite and other issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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