Fantasy RV Tours

Maximize your RV experience, minimize headaches.

Such is the promise of Fantasy RV Tours:

It continues to be our mission to guide RVers to new places, reveal authentic cultures and offer a value unlike any other travel company. We understand the importance of cherished memories and bonding relationships, and we have included that spark of passion as an ingredient in all that we do.

It’s my sincere hope that the destinations featured on here impassion you to join us. You will see and enjoy more than you ever imagined – sharing an experience and a journey with friends you have yet to meet.

I still remember the time we spent with Chris, one of the Travel Ambassadors for the company. I posted about our time together here. It was our second visit to the RV show in Hershey, Pennsylvania and it was our first year with our new coach. We had taken delivery of our coach in June of 2016. Our trip out to Pennsylvania  in September of 2016 was one of several road trips that we took with our coach that year.

It seems so long ago now.

Chris was very passionate about the RV lifestyle and very passionate about Fantasy RV Tours.

She had such clarity about life, about living in the moment and about pursuing your dreams. She told me to get out there before it gets too late.

And here I am.

Still working.

Coach in storage.

Waiting.

I have about 7 months left before career ends and retirement begins. Work has not really changed in any meaningful way for me. It is still very much a high demand, high stress role and I suspect it will remain that way until I finish up late July.

Rather than being frustrated with working another 7 months or so because, believe me, I would much rather be out there right now. Especially as the cold weather descends.

No, I am choosing gratitude. To be thankful for my lovely wife and my wonderful family. To be thankful for the company that I work for as the company has allowed me to provide well for my family and the company has helped me achieve financial independence. To be thankful for the moment. Healthy. Engaged in life. Living in a wonderful country. With great friends.

For many of my American friends, they have been celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend. Although the dates differ between Canada and the U.S. — Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving in early October — staying focused on gratitude keeps the challenges of life in perspective.

We will be out there soon, Chris.

Soon.

Celebrate Christmas IX X

As my countdown to retirement draws closer, a few endings become apparent. The biggest ending for me is career. But there are other things that will be ending as well.

One of my bucket list items is to never be cold again in retirement. We intend to spend our winters in our coach traveling the southern U.S.

And that means one of my favourite concerts, Celebrate Christmas, will also retire when I do after a lengthy run in Kingston.

This is an event that I have produced since 2008. I also play. You might make me out as the guitar player out front, house right, in the photos above.

Most of my family helps out. My oldest son has served on bass since we started this event. My youngest son is part of the lighting crew. And Lorraine does all of the heavy lifting related to logistics. We coordinate a team of about 40 people for the show.

We have been fortunate to sell out the show every year. This being the final year, we elected to run for two nights, Thursday December 14 and Friday December 15 at the beautiful Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts.

Friday night’s performance will be tough. I’ll probably keep it together for most of the evening but I suspect the last song will be bittersweet for sure.

I’ve put so much work into this program over the years and I will be sad to see it go. But, for everything we do in life, there is a time to grow and a time to let go.

I do plan to keep playing in retirement and focusing more on my jazz guitar. Not sure that I will still be playing large performance halls in retirement though. Maybe on a sidewalk somewhere 😉

Here is one of the songs from last year’s event. I get to have a bit of fun towards the end.

Tax Deductions for RV Owners

Not in Canada. A wonderful country but no tax deductions for owners of RVs.

It looks as though the laws might be changing in the United States causing a bit of a stir for RV dealers and customers alike.

This came in my Reuters feed:

Recreational vehicle retailers from across the country were sipping morning coffee at a convention in Las Vegas earlier this month when word whipped through the hotel’s “dealers’ lounge” that the U.S. Congress was considering tax law changes threatening their businesses.

Republicans in the House of Representatives wanted to jettison a part of the tax code that lets dealers of RVs, cars, boats, even farm and construction machinery, write off all the interest expense of keeping inventories of vehicles on their sales lots.

The RV dealers jumped on the phones to their representatives in Washington, adding to a wave of calls made by members of the powerful National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) as well as lobbyists for boat dealers and farm machinery dealers.

And then I came across this news item on CNBC:

If a provision in the House-passed tax bill makes it into the final legislation, owners of boats and recreational vehicles who write off the interest on their loans would lose that deduction.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by the House last week eliminates the deductibility of mortgage interest on second homes. For RVs and boats that qualify as such — those with a kitchen, bathroom and at least one bunk — owners currently can deduct the interest they pay on financing those assets.

It came as a bit of a surprise to me that my neighbours to the south can write off the interest on their RV loans. At least for now.

Sales in the RV industry are white hot so I’m not sure how much of a dampening effect this might have on the industry. From the RV Industry Association:

The recreation vehicle (RV) industry’s shipments will reach 472,200 units in 2017, the highest annual total since the data has been collected, and a 9.6% increase from the number shipped last calendar year, announced Frank Hugelmeyer, President of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA).

According to a new forecast presented today by Hugelmeyer at RVIA’s Committee Week luncheon, RV shipments are expected to reach even greater heights in 2018, with wholesale production projected at 487,200 units.

Let’s hope that there will still be some sites available when all of these RVs go looking for a place to camp.

10 Qs

Tanja and Mark decided to retire early. Much, much earlier than me. They decided to retire in their late 30s, early 40s.

Their website, Our Next Life, outlines how they approached their goal. And it looks like they have been successful.

They posted a great article on 10 critical questions to answer before you make the leap to early retirement.

I think most of these questions are relevant regardless of whether you are retiring at age 40 or, in my case, age 61.

I took a bit of a stab at answering the questions. Some I will have to spend a bit more time thinking about before I retire in the next few months.

Q1. How will you support yourself without a job?

In our case, we are well prepared. I have defined benefit pensions, investment accounts and government pensions that should allow us to live very well in our retirement years.

Q2. What is your backup plan for dealing with financial emergencies or hardship?

In our financial plan I have a cash buffer to cover one year of expenses. We have two topped up TFSA accounts which we can use in a pinch. There is enough in there to last us several years. We have a contingency of about 40 percent of our annual retirement income in uncommitted spend in our retirement budget. So no real worries here.

Q3. How will you get health care?

As Canadians, we do have a pretty good health care system. I also have good retirement benefits program from my employer and we will have additional travel insurance for when we head south for the winters.

Q4. How will you keep your body and mind healthy?

I’ll keep riding. Cycling does a lot to keep a body healthy. And I will do more strength and flexibility work in retirement. Lorraine and I plan to be active in terms of walking, hiking and touring. For as long as we can.

Q5. What are you retiring to?

This is the one area where we will have to make sure we put enough structure into our lives. Yes, we will be doing a lot of travel in our coach. But it is important to revisit goals and to make sure that we are keeping very engaged in life.

Q6. What will your living situation be?

We downsized our house but did not buy another property. At least not yet. Our plan is to travel in our coach for the winter and rent during the summer months in Canada. If we get to that point where we want a permanent spot in Canada, we will have lots of time and sufficient financial resources to do so.

Q7. What do you want a day in retirement to look like?

Not sure. I’ll have to give that some more thought.

Q8. What will your social circles and interactions be like?

When traveling in our motorcoach, I have absolutely no worries. We have made so many friends in our travels to date. Our time in Canada may be a bit more of a challenge depending on where we land. Generally though, our involvement in church life provides a lot of social interactions.

Q9. How will you and your partner stay one the same page about money and goals?

We talk about this part of our life constantly. We are ready and anxious to get started. I suppose the real question is what happens after the retirement date has been reached which leads to the final question.

Q10. How will you define yourself and derive self worth post-career?

I see this question a lot and I guess I’m just not that worried about it. I have always had so many interests outside of work that I suspect I may fall into the trap of becoming too busy with too many interests. We’ll see. Lorraine has always had a better perspective on what is important about life. She has not been in the career track and she has never defined herself by a job.

All in all, a good set of questions and certainly relevant to our stage of life.

Not sure that I would have been ready to retire in my early 40s like Tanja and Mark.

I know that I am ready to retire now.

The Tillmans

This is another couple that I follow on YouTube, the Tillman’s. They have a channel called This Little Adventure.

They are a family of four living out of a renovated 1999 Damon Intruder. Toni and Karlton run a photography business out of their coach — their website is here — and they clearly have a great eye for design.

The interior of this 18-year old coach looks amazing!

They cut a promo video of their coach which you can see here:

And, if you want an extended tour of their coach with Toni and Karlton as your hosts, you can watch it here: