“How does it work for taxes? Getting mail? What address do you put down for voter registration, dr offices and so much more! How do you keep/rotate curriculum for the space you have? Laundry, how does it get done? When you need a smaller vehicle do you tow it with you? How do you plan a monthly budget? – maybe an article on this one? Do you take others with you at times? Do you feel safe in all the places you go?” – Mindy T., Facebook.
We love questions about our life on the road, not because we like to talk about ourselves as much as we hope our answers will encourage others to hit the road and make their dream a reality. Or at the very least, show that life can be whatever you want and that you too can take steps to achieve your goal.
So, when our friend Mindy left the above questions on our Facebook page, we jumped at the opportunity to turn her curiously awesome questions into an article, and perhaps start a series of articles that focus on answering all the great questions we receive (so, that’s your cue, Reader, leave us questions here, or on Facebook, and give us material for our next article).
And on that note, let’s do a little Our Wandering Family Q&A.
“How does it work for taxes?”
Taxes work the same way they would work in a sticks and bricks home. We are residents of Illinois, and we file both federal and state taxes using the same process we did prior to moving into Bussie. The only big difference is that we do keep excellent records on all our activities so we can write any education expense off as a homeschool write-off. BUT, we encourage anyoe who wants to do that to keep all receipts and any other records you think may be necessary just in case there are questions.
“Getting mail? What address do you put down for voter registration, dr offices and so much more!”
Like many full-time travelers, we use a service called Traveling Mailbox. This service allows us to have an address in a major city of our home state (for us that’s Chicag0), and all our mail is sent to this address, scanned and uploaded for us to view or have forwarded to whatever current location we are visiting. This address is also what we use for voter registration and any forms or organizations that require an address from us. We also get our insurance through the ACA, and this is the address used for our insurance application and all our healthcare and federal/state/local government registration.
“How do you keep/rotate curriculum for the space you have?”
This is an excellent question and one I struggled in the beginning with because we had a LOT of curriculum and supplies and I just didn’t know what to do. The simple answer is this – we don’t keep a lot of curriculum now. We have a magazine holder for each child and a few other items, like art supplies and games, but everything we have in storage we will donate/sell. Why may you ask? Well, as we have embraced this lifestyle, we have also embraced much of the Unschooling philosophy, so our need for curriculum has decreased. I talked a little about this transition in an article last fall entitled “Accidental Unschooling,” and while we still have questions and uncertainty from time to time, we have loved seeing how our kids have flourished in this educational environment.
With that said, we know many full-time families that use a year long curriculum for each child, or do a mix of so many educational philosophies, and whatever you decide, such things can easily be built into the storage you have available in your RV or Skoolie. If you have the option, keep only quarterly material with you and keep the rest at a relative or friends house. You can retrieve those during a visit, or arrange to have them mailed to your current location. The point is, this can easily be done, but like all downsizing, it takes a little compromise and a little creative storing.
“Laundry, how does it get done?”
Ah, laundry. There are a lot of options, and some RVs come with a washer/dryer combo, but its pretty expensive, and not standard. Some people build a washer/dryer into their Skoolie layout; we did not. Some people buy a portable washer, and that can be as simple as a foot operated washer. We, however, go to a laundromat, and that works well for us. Coming from apartment living in Chicago, apartments that never had in-unit laundry, we were already accustomed to either a) taking laundry down to the community basement washer/dryer, b) taking our laundry to another unit in the apartment complex that was also for community use, or c) loading all the laundry up into the car and hitting up the local laundromat.
So, you see, taking laundry to the laundromat feels like every day living for us, and is actually become “me time.” In three hours I can wash almost two weeks worth of laundry, and enjoy a little time to read or work or stare off into space mindlessly while items are washing and drying. Now, you are probably thinking, “every two weeks?! Come on.” and you’d be right to think that. I do usually need to do a load of underclothes in between the laundromat trip and that’s when campground laundry comes in handy. Sometimes that’s not possible and so laundry is done a little earlier than two weeks, but that is our goal.
“When you need a smaller vehicle do you tow it with you?”
We do. We own a Chrysler Town and Country and use a trailer to pull it behind Wander Bus. For us, life without a vehicle is not an option. However, we do plan on downsizing. A van is great, but we don’t need such a big vehicle anymore.
“How do you plan a monthly budget? – maybe an article on this one?”
This is an excellent question, and just like the financial question, it is getting its own article in the very near future.
“Do you take others with you at times?”
We have not traveled with anyone in our bus. However, we have had friends meet us in their own RV or tent at campgrounds, and recently family members joined us at Buffalo National River and used our Big Agnes tent to camp on our site. As much as we love friends and family, we are not set up to offer a comfy place to sleep in Bussie.
“Do you feel safe in all the places you go?”
Yes. But we do our research. We are vigilant and realistic. Most campgrounds take great care to keep their space safe for all campers. Security at the entrance, gates closing to the campgrounds at a certain time each night, and plenty of campground hosts or Rangers nearby.
So there you have it. Thank you to Mindy for taking the time to ask all these great questions, and we hope this has offered a little glimpse into the world of full-time RV travel. Please leave your questions for us below or drop us a line on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!