The Cost of Our New Lives 6 Months In

I know everyone is interested in how much this grand adventure costs. I’m not shy, I’ll tell you exactly how much it costs and hope that it helps others who might be planning a similar trip.

Here is a quick summary of what we are doing in case you haven’t been following along from the beginning. My husband — yes I call him that, it’s just easier that saying fiance (such a stupid word fiance) so don’t get all excited about it :) — My husband and I closed our businesses, sold our house in Victoria, British Columbia, bought a truck and a fifth wheel, packed up our dogs and embarked on a one year trip travelling around North America. My goal is to photograph as many beautiful places as I can, get a great portfolio and try to make a career switch into photography. We are not working at all for this first year and we are staying primarily in campsites and RV parks with the odd Walmart and truck stop thrown in.

Trip Banner

We left Vancouver Island in June, headed across the continent fairly quickly making stops in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota. We spent the summer in the maritime provinces in Canada, then when fall came we started following the changing colours south. Now it is December, we are in Florida and we hit our 6 month anniversary.

We are both still very happy with our new lives and we are managing to live in a very small space without killing each other. The dogs are no longer surprised when the backyard looks different every time they go outside.

Our budget for the entire year is $51,000 for ongoing expenses. When I did my 3 month review we had done 25% of the trip and spent 30% of the budget. We were doing pretty good having blown the budget only in truck maintenance because we had to get a new transmission put in. Here is how it is looking now.

6 month budget

Can you believe that we are within $7 of the fuel budget? Even though we are under budget in some areas and over budget in others, all in all we are under budget by $733.14! Plus we expect to spend less money on camping in the coming months since we are not moving as quickly and are able to get weekly rates at campsites.

The “miscellaneous” budget was blown due to veterinary bills after my dog ate some carpet.

So I’m feeling pretty good that we are not going to spend more money than planned and may even come in significantly under budget.

If you want to know the really big picture, there are 3 parts in the total budget: pre-trip expenses, ongoing expenses, and vehicle expenses.

The pre-trip expenses are things like buying a year’s worth of all necessary medication for us and the dogs, travel medical insurance, RV and truck insurance, paying for storage for the stuff we kept, winterizing my boat, and buying everything we needed for the RV like generators, batteries, an inverter, storage boxes, a new brake controller, an ipad, a ramp for the old dog etc.

Ongoing expenses are the monthly expenses while we are on the road which I detailed above.

Vehicle expenses is the cost of the truck and RV (assuming we are going to sell the truck and RV after the year is over) plus the money we spent on repairs and upgrades to the truck when we first bought it and subtracting money I got from selling my existing truck.

I also took into account interest I am receiving from investing money I received from the sale of the house since I wouldn’t have that money if we didn’t go on the trip.

Are you ready, here’s the big figure:

Incidentally, as we predicted house prices in Victoria have fallen dramatically. Not that we are big real estate forecasters or anything but it wasn’t too hard to see it coming. Some people thought prices would always go up in Victoria because “everyone” wants to live there, but it is not sustainable when the house price to average income ratio is so great. Don’t forget that the “everyone wants to live here” theory didn’t save California. And whatever happens in the USA eventually happens in Canada.

I’ve been following the prices of the houses in my old neighbourhood and the prices have fallen by about 17% since I sold in May. That works out to $76,000 less I would have if I sold the house today. Isn’t it interesting that that is more than the entire budget of the trip? It kind of makes me feel like the trip is free (aside from lost income of course).

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  1. says

    Wow 6 months already and under budget too! If this year is free because of the housing price drop – then you can do another year!

    I look forward to reading about the rest of your journey! :)

    • says

      Hi Michael, yeah, that’s a great way of looking at it! I really hope to be able to work 6 months and travel 6 months by doing some work-camping. At least that’s my backup plan in case I don’t become a famous and wealthy photographer 😛

  2. says

    As a photographer who spends a good part of the year traveling with my with wife, in our truck and 5th wheel – I can really relate to what you write. Especially comments like being the youngest snowbird in the campground. Keep you the great work!
    Ron Niebrugge recently posted..Bryce National ParkMy Profile

  3. says

    Haha, awesome post. I am fairly new to this blog and already love it. I feel I have a certain connection because, after having been a Naval Officer for the past 10 years and currently stationed in Italy, I am selling everything, resigning, and backpacking solo around W Europe, N Africa, Middle East, East Europe, and Asia for a year (starting in OCT 12). I have done some initial budgeting and have figured out that I can live on about 70 bucks a day (alotting 25,000 for expenses). With camping, hostels and lots of walking, I think this is very doable. Anyways, not to drag on, but I was going to see if you had any tips for loooong term travel. Cool story, I will be checking back. Check out my blog if you have a chance!
    Adam Allegro recently posted..A Colorful DuskMy Profile

    • says

      Hi Adam, how exciting! That sounds like an excellent adventure I can’t wait to follow you in your upcoming travels. Hmmm… tips for long term travel, ok I’m sure I must have some I’ll have to give that some thought. I just wrote it down on my list of blog posts to write! The only thing that comes to mind this instant is bring less clothes but lots of underwear, hahaha. You can survive for a long time on one pair of pants, 2 shirts and 10 pairs of underwear! LOL. Keep in touch, I’m going to check out your blog now.

  4. Mark says

    Hi Anne,

    Been following for a bit and am glad you are enjoying your RV adventure. Chris & I are retired and doing the same thing in a Tiffin motorhome. It’s been three years for us and we feel we can keep going indefinitely as we love the lifestyle. Photography is my passion as well. We are also Thousand Trail members and spend summers in Canada, winters in southern USA. We are planning a tour of Maritimes and Nfld in summer of 2013.

    Enjoy following your adventures.

    Take care.

    • says

      Hi Mark, nice to “meet” you! It is always great to make contact with other full-time travellers and find out how they are travelling and the places they go. We went to the maritimes this year and it was fantastic. Don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. In Newfoundland we found an awesome campsite in the national park. It was called Green Point and you can camp right on the edge of the cliff and there is power and even wifi. Many people don’t take their rigs on the ferry because it is so expensive and opt instead to stay in motels while on the rock. But we found it more convenient to pay for the ferry and I feel we saved more because we didn’t have to eat out. Plus our dogs are more comfortable at home. Thanks for leaving your comments. Keep in touch!

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