What is Project 2026 and why does the number keep changing? It’s a life plan. Pull up a chair, I’ll tell you about it.
A while back while I was browsing through some camping blogs, I came across a blog by a guy who lived in his RV full time. The blog was primarily about his travels but there were a couple of entries dealing with the death of his father. The blogger had to go back to his dad’s house and get rid of a lifetime’s accumulation of stuff. It took him three months.
I began thinking about all the stuff we have here in our house and how I would hate for my daughter to have to get rid of all my junk after I pass away. I decided I needed to start getting rid of my junk now. And once it’s all gone, then what? The other part of this gentleman’s blog that intrigued me was living and traveling full time in an RV. I started researching how people were able to do this. How could they afford it? What kind of RVs did they have and why? How do you deal with mail when you’re traveling all the time? If you don’t live anywhere then… where do you live?
There are lots of resources out there that answer these questions so I’m not going to try to duplicate that here. I’m just going to lay out with what I’ve decided and then briefly why I came to that decision.
The RV I settled on was a Grand Design 5th wheel. It needs a vehicle to tow it but I’ll cover that next. We went with a 5th wheel because it can be left in one place while the tow vehicle can be used to travel around locally. A motorhome would also work but then you have to tow a car behind it for local transportation. With a 5th wheel I only need to maintain one motor vehicle. I researched lots and lots of 5th wheel trailers online and there are some wonderful models out there. I ultimately decided on a Grand Design because of the company’s reputation for good service after the sale and really taking care of their customers. At this point I’m a little concerned that the company was acquired by Winnebago but I have time to wait and see how that plays out. The model we are leaning towards at the moment is the Reflection 320MKS.
The Relection 320MKS has the best use of space, best floor plan, and storage in a 34 foot length that we could find. And it is still light so easy on gas mileage.
The Tow Vehicle
For towing a large heavy 5th wheel trailer I really only have three options: Ford, Chevy, or Ram (Dodge). I have elected to go with a Ram 3500. Ram has the highest towing capacity of the three and has lots of nice options in the truck to make traveling in one comfortable. We will be selecting a crew-cab, single rear wheel, short bed model. The truck will have a Cummins Turbo Diesel. It should have no problems pulling a 5th wheel trailer in excess of 15,000 lbs.
Our Domicile – Texas!
But if you live and travel full time in an RV where do you really ‘live’? The short answer to that question is everywhere! The fact is when you live full time in an RV, you don’t have to stay in any one place. But how do people get hold of you, how do you get mail? The answer to that is that there is a difference in where you live and where you set up your domicile. Your domicile is where you get your mail, where you vote, where you have your doctor, etc. There are several companies in several states that help you set up a domicile when you’re not going to be staying there permanently. We have chosen to go with Escapees as our mail forwarding service. They will help us set up our domicile in the State of Texas, help us register our vehicles, etc. We chose Texas because it has no state income tax and requires no special licenses to pull a large heavy recreational trailer. Many states do. Texas is also relatively close and we have family there so it’s a good choice for us.
How To Make a Living On The Road
If you’re not retired when you hit the open road then you’re going to need to still earn a living. I do plan to retire a few years early and when I finally hit the road I will have a couple of pensions and a 401k to draw from so I won’t really need to work. A few years after that Social Security kicks in. So we’ll be in even better shape. However, I can tell you what others do. A lot of people do location-independent work. There are a ton of web-developers and professional bloggers out there trying to eek out a living online. Others do medical transcription, are virtual personal assistants, travel agents, work as call center agents. Another option is Workamping; working in camping-related jobs like grounds keeping, working in the camp stores, taking reservations etc. There are even companies that actively try to hire folks that live in their RVs, like Amazon, and even some utility companies and the oil industry.
There are a lot of things you can do while living out of your RV but none of them will make you rich. But the point is to live… not be rich. Being able to travel at your own pace, working on your own timetable are things that money just can’t buy. And all the while you’re seeing some of the most beautiful parts of the country and never have to go home because your home is with you!
I will update with my plans as go-time gets closer.
Why Project 2026
There are lots of other consideration when trying to downsize from a house to an RV and I’ll be writing about those here as time goes by. But why is it called Project 2026, wasn’t it just called Project 2020, and then 2023? A few years ago I was stuck in a high-pressure job I didn’t really like. I really wanted to escape. I had a plan to hit the road by 2020, hopefully with my company allowing me to work from my trailer because I was working from home, from Starbucks, I could do my job from just about anywhere. However, that plan got cut short when I was laid off. Then I was hired by a new employer that offers a better pension, the only problem is, I’ll need to work for them for 10 years before I’m eligible to withdraw that pension. Since I started that job in 2016, I have to wait until 2026. Now we have a date to shoot for! I’m keeping track of the countdown on the sidebar on the right side of the web page.
We aren’t making much progress at the moment. Life is pretty much taken up with working and daily life. We are in early preparation mode which involves getting rid of the junk we have collected over the years, getting in better shape, purchasing a tow vehicle, and so forth. So far Cristy and I have both lost weight and we are trying to go hiking more to get used to living outdoors more. Even if it’s only weekends. I have also refinanced my current truck and should get it paid off in two years or so.