And Then There Were 3… Jack Our Diabetic Dog Is Gone

June 22, 2017

Not long ago I posted about our 4 beloved fur-babies. I wanted to introduce them and talk a about how I thought they were going to handle their transition to RV living. The thought of living in an RV with dogs on a full-time basis is daunting, but our pups are chihuahuas so I wasn’t too concerned that they would feel cramped. In fact, chihuahuas tend to feel more comfortable in smaller spaces. My biggest concern was for Jack, our diabetic dog. Over the course of a year he got his diagnosis and became blind.

A Short Post

Little did I know when I posted about Ruby, Floyd, Jack and Saige that just a few weeks later we would lose Jack. Jack (aka Jackie Boy) is our diabetic dog. If you’re a dog owner and you are reading this, then I am sure you can empathize with my sadness over his untimely passing.

Remembering Jack

Our Chihuahua JackJack came to us as a rescue two years ago. He was the sweetest, most loving little guy I have ever met in my life. Jack adored us, and we adored him. He was my love bug. When he came into our home for the first time, we weren’t looking for a third dog, but there was something so special about him – we knew he had a place in our home and heart for Jack.

Our kids finally had a dog who would let them do anything with him! Being the placid, laid-back doggy that he was, Jack would allow Wyatt and Reese to cuddle him, stroke him, kiss him and carry him. He loved all of the love and attention. Our family and friends instantly adored him. We could always rely on Jack for a snuggle.

Doggy Diabetes

We went on a family trip to Ireland in 2015, and when we came back, we noticed that Jack had lost the weight that he had gained over his first year with us. We had been gone for 3 weeks, and we got quite a shock when we saw him. Even more noticeable was how sad he seemed. Gone were the days that he loved to be snuggled. Instead, he would find a quiet spot on the cold floor and sleep. Jack was a different dog.

We first thought that he had been sad that we had left. But he didn’t ever snap out of his melancholy mood. And then, the peeing commenced. And not just a little bit. Rivers of pee, all over the house. We couldn’t understand why he had gone from an obedient, house-trained pet to a shadow of his former self.

Here are a few of the symptoms that Jack exhibited:

  • Huge puddles of sticky urine
  • Depression
  • Wanting to lay on cool floors
  • Not wanting to be touched
  • Excessive water drinking
  • Sudden and extreme weight loss
  • Lethargy

Diagnosis & Treatment

After several trips to the vets, Jack was diagnosed with canine diabetes. He was officially a diabetic dog. It was a relief to know that it was a treatable condition Our chihuahua Jackand after plenty of frantic googling, I came to understand that he would have a perfectly normal quality of life. We tried him on pills, but they didn’t do anything to improve his state, so we began with insulin shots.

Jack was almost instantly back to himself. Happy, tail wagging, enjoying life and love. We were all so happy to have him back to normal. I can’t say that he looked forward to his shots each morning, but he always enjoyed his chicken treat right afterwards!

Blindness

Shortly after his diagnosis, our wee diabetic dog went blind. Our vet was surprised that it happened so quickly, as Jack is a young dog. But unfortunately, he lost his sight over a matter of weeks. I went into sympathy over-drive as I could see that the process was painful for him. He would moan, whimper and rub his face. Jack couldn’t sleep or relax well; it seemed like he was in pain. During one evening, his pain was so intense that we had to give him Tramadol just so he could get relief and some sleep.

A few weeks of discomfort passed and he seemed to adjust to his new situation. He looked peaceful and although I can’t say we loved his new habit of barking like a crazy dog, I was glad to see him settled into his new norm.

That didn’t last for long though. several more months went by and ever so slowly, Jack’s other symptoms also began to re-appear. He didn’t seem to be that contented. He seemed sad. The indoor peeing started all over again. Combining all this with him knocking his head on anything and everything, and the never-ending barking – Jack was not a happy camper.

We upped his medicine and hoped that our diabetic dog would stabilize again.

Hitting The Wall

But on April 28th, Jack passed away from diabetic complications. That morning, we awoke to see that Jack had had a rough night. He had vomited and pooped through the night. And just lay in it. 🙁 He was lethargic as I gave him a bath. By the time I was ready to go to work, he was wagging his tail, so I put it down to something he had eaten.

Not even an hour later, I got a call from my employee to tell me that Jack was having a seizure. He became unable to control his body temperature, and passed away just a few short hours later. I think I’m still in shock. We expected to have our Jackie Boy around for many years to come. Saige is not too sure where her place is in society anymore; we miss his energy in our home.

We are all so sad, and we miss him so much.

Feeling Grateful

Our diabetic dog JackEven though I am SO sad to have lost him, I’m so grateful that I got to have Jack in my life, even though it was for 2 short years. He was such a cool little guy. Jack had the biggest heart, and showed so much affection to everyone. Sharing his story here may help another family recognize some diabetic dog symptoms.

While losing a pet is an awful thing, the joy and happiness that they bring to our lives far outweighs the pain of their loss.

I took this photo of Jack just a couple of nights before he passed away. He was in his happy place; on my lap and enjoying the feeling of the breeze on his whiskers.

We miss you Jackie Boy.

 

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Full-Time Living With Dogs In An RV

April 22, 2017

I am crazy dog lady. Yes, I’m proud to say that I am a crazy dog lady. I’ve had dogs for over 10 years now in my home and I can’t imagine my life without them. To any dog lover who is reading this post, I’m sure you’re nodding your head in agreement with me when I say that they are my children just as much as my human children are.

I think that our biggest challenge when we transition to living in a RV, is going to be getting our dogs adjusted to their new lifestyle. I’d like to talk a little bit about each of our four pets, one by one, so you can learn a bit about their personality and also get to understand some of the challenges that we may be facing.

Dog #1: Our First Born, Ruby

Chihuahua dog living in an RVRuby is a black and tan Chihuahua. Ruby is queen of the household. She is the dominant female of the pack, and nothing phases Ruby. Each time I had a child she was gracefully accepted each of them. Ruby has been by my side for 10 years now and she is my best friend to this day. We are inseparable and I simply adore that dog. Perhaps because she was our first born and we lavished her with attention, but she is by far the most well behaved of the four. She’s also the mama of Floyd, our second Chihuahua. Ruby will have no problem transitioning to a RV lifestyle. She may not like being crated, but she was raised in a crate, so being the obedient, wonderful doggie that she is, I’m not concerned about our Ruby.

 

Dog #2: Floyd

Floyd is dog number two, Ruby’s son. Floyd has always been neurotic and a real mama’s boy. As long as he’s with his mom, he’s okay. My biggest concern with Floyd is he has an enlarged heart, which is a recent diagnosis. We haven’t really been able to control it that well with the current medication that he is on. He does get very stressed out when he’s out of his home comforts. He doesn’t need very much.

He’s not into treats, he’s not into playing, as long as his mother is nearby, he’s a happy boy. I don’t think the transition to the RV is going to be too bad for him, as long as he can sleep with Ruby and be near her, he’ll be fine. The only issue with Floyd is he cannot walk on a leash for extended periods of time so, mama might have to buy herself a doggie stroller for Floyd.

 

 

Dog #3: Jack

Chihuahua dog living in an RVOur third baby is Jack, aka Jackie Boy. My beautiful boy Jack was a surprise addition to our family. He was a rescue that my dear friend Sandy brought to my home. We had no intention of getting another dog, but Jack walked into our home and we feel in love within five minutes and he never left. Unfortunately Jack has had a ton of health problems over the last year. After a huge weight loss and depression, he recently got diagnosed with diabetes and is currently on daily insulin shots.

He seems to be happy enough but unfortunately he recently just went blind. While he’s not completely blind, he is quickly getting blinder by the day and although it’s extremely distressing for me, I can’t speak for Jack. There are moments when I know that he doesn’t like it, but most of the time he’s a chilled guy. He’s the one I’m worried about the most. I worry for his safety and I worry that he will be in an unknown environment.

Dog #4: Saige

Chihuahua dog living in an RVOur crazy fourth dog is called Saige. Again we had no intention of getting a fourth dog, but I blame my champion-rescuer friend Sandy, yet again for presenting this gorgeous puppy to us and we simply couldn’t say no. At the end of the day, four Chihuahuas don’t even make up the size of a German Shepherd, so what’s one more when you already have three. Saige is a terrorizer.

She spends her days getting into everybody else’s business. Trying to knock Ruby off her alpha spot in the heist while failing miserably. Demanding attention from anybody and everybody that will give it to her and generally being the puppy of the family. She is hilarious. I honestly don’t know how she’s going to behave when we put her in a RV. We have a lot of training to do with her. She doesn’t have any experience on a leash. We are committed to training her on a leash in oncoming months.

Dog Insurance

I’m also curious whether I should get dog insurance. I have looked it up and the cost to insure the dogs will run abut $1800 a year. I’d love to hear from any of you reading this if you think worth getting them insurance. I know that Jack and Floyd won’t have their existing conditions covered by insurance but I’m thinking that the cost of that care in the US is pretty expensive. So there you have it. That’s our family of Chihuahuas, I look forward to hearing your comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Wanna Move To Mexico? Find Out Mexican Residency Visa Requirements Here.

April 22, 2017

Eduardo Fregoso Immigration Lawyer CaboOne of the coolest things about spending a long time in Mexico is that we have a diverse collection of friends. Canadians, Europeans, Australians and Mexicans to name a few nationalities. One of my Mexican neighbors is Eduardo Fregoso and he specializes in in helping people with their visa, residency and passport applications.

Mexico Immigration Information

I have referred many of my friends to Eduardo over the years; some of whom needed help with the permanent residency status that they already had, some wanted information and assistance on acquiring their permanent residency in Mexico, and others (like me!) have wondered about the naturalization process in Mexico.

Plenty of people ask us how what the Mexico residency visa requirements are. Here’s my Q&A’s with Eduardo regarding the immigration residency options in Baja California Sur.

** Important To Note – This discussion shouldn’t be taken as actual legal immigration advice. Policies change frequently, and you should always seek to consult with an immigration lawyer within the Mexican State that you want to move to.**

My Interview Regarding Mexico Residency Via Requirements

Jen: Can anyone, from any other country come to Mexico and get a job?

Eduardo: Yes!

Jen: What are the requirements for a foreigner to be able to live in Cabo?

Eduardo: There are no specific requirements. Obviously they have entered Mexico legally, as a tourist or as Temporary or Permanent Resident.

Jenni: Do immigration policies of other Mexican states vary much from BCS?

Eduardo: Because Immigration law is federal, the main policies are the same, the things that may change is the way to submit them and sometimes extra documentation to be able to locate them, like in BCS (picture and a map of its address)

Different Entry Scenarios

Jen: Let’s say I am from the US, and I want to move to Cabo and work here. What are the Mexico residency visa requirements that I have to know about in order to seek employment here?

Eduardo: A corporation legally established and registered at Immigration has to ask for approval to employ you. Once authorized, the foreigner has to go to any Mexican consulate to get a working visa stamped in to his passport,  and receive document that will allow him/her to start  working in Cabo, (this is only if the foreigner does not already have a residency).

Jen: Here’s a different scenario: I’m a tourist enjoying a 2-week vacation in Cabo. I have decided that I don’t want to leave. Can I stay in Mexico, seek employment and then sort out my immigration status?

Eduardo: That’s not possible. As I said previously, the individual has to find an employer to get the authorization from Immigration first.

What’s The Price Of Entry?

Jen: How much does it cost to get residency in Mexico?

Eduardo: There are two types and they are called Temporary or Permanent Resident. The residency process costs about $585.00 USD (legal and residency rights included)

Jen: What if I just want to come to Mexico for 6 months to live or travel? What sort of visa would I need to do that?

Eduardo: There is a visa called FMM (Multiple Immigration Form) that allows you to stay in Mexico for up to 180 days.

Jen: What are the different types of visas that are available today for foreigners who want to travel or live in Mexico?

Eduardo: Firstly the FMM is good for 180 days. Then you can obtain Temporary Resident (working or non-working activity) and finally there’s Permanent Resident (same).

Head To The SRE For Up-To Date Advice

If you want to learn about the most recent immigration requirements, head over to the SRE website. It’s the best resource for anyone wanting to apply for temporary residency. Luckily their website is in both Spanish and English which was last updated February 2017.

So there you have it – a basic outline of the current Mexico residency visa requirements. If you would like to consult with Eduardo, or hire his company to assist you with any immigration or legal services, please see his contact information beneath:

 immigration lawyer Cabo

Lic. Eduardo Chávez Fregoso

Address: Manuel Doblado s/n Local #3.

Colonia Centro.C.P. 23400

San José del Cabo, B.C.S.

Phone : 011-52 (624) 355 – 7338

Email: eduardofregoso@yahoo.com

 

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Thinking About Moving To Mexico? Read Our 5 Favorite Reasons To Move

February 9, 2017
Mexico Beach

Before we pack up sticks and move away from Mexico for a while, it seems fitting that maybe we should dedicate a couple of blogs to the country that has been our home for more than 14 years.

Moving to Mexico wasn’t the plan for either myself or Nelson when we did it. You know when you’re 20 years old and the world is your oyster? You’re just going with the flow and doing what seems like a really good idea at the time? Yeah, that’s kind of how both of us fell into this country, but moving to Mexico was the best thing that we could have ever done for so many reasons. Primarily, had we not moved to Mexico – we would never have found each other!

Let’s say that you’re thinking about moving to Mexico. I’d like to think that after more than 14 years of living here, I’m well seasoned enough to understand how things work. I can give you advice that would be considered reasonably sound. I’m also the British Honorary Consul here in Los Cabos. A position I’ve held for six years, so I think I’m pretty suitable candidate to give you some feedback on some of the best things that we love about Mexico.

Mexico Beach

Reason 1: The Climate

The first thing that I love about moving to Mexico is the climate. Hailing from Ireland where it rains constantly, and it gets dark way too early, moving to Mexico was heaven-sent. Way back in the early 2000s, I landed in Puerto Vallarta, got off the airplane, went to the bus station, jumped on a bus and headed north to go see some friends in Mazatlan. I’d never even heard of Mazatlan until they had mentioned it to me. Being the free-spirit that I was, I was more than happy to go on a little adventure.

Mazatlan is beautiful. Miles of gorgeous oceanfront beaches. Beautiful areas to walk, run or bike. Amazing sunrises and sunsets to behold. And the climate is pretty much gorgeous for 10 months of the year. If you’re in a beach town in Mexico during the months of late July, August and September, it is hot. But you know what? I can take those two months of insufferable heat over the eight months of miserable weather in Ireland any day. So yeah – moving to Mexico is all about the climate for me.

Reason 2: The People

The second thing that I love about Mexico is the general attitude of Mexican people. Yes, I know, every culture has their quirks, but for this particular blog I’d like to highlight the biggest positive for me – the attitude and the love that flows out off 99% of the people here. Mexican people are welcoming, they’re kind, they are considerate (unless you’re in a bank), and they love their families. Mexican people love partying like rock stars with their nearest and dearest. Maybe that’s got a lot to do with the climate? Perhaps living in a hot country puts everybody in a really good mood all the time; therefor partying is in the blood. 🙂

Reason 3: The Low Cost Of Living

moving to Mexico Property Tax

You can choose to have a low cost of living. The only thing that we pay an average amount of money for is our electricity, everything else is minimal. Annual property taxes on an average size home are a hundred-ish bucks. Yup, that’s not a typo. (See my bill from January for 2017). Electricity runs us two to four hundred dollars a month, but that’s because we use a lot of it (We like to have our air on). Gas and water run 30 to 50 dollars a month respectively. And if you need some home help, $15 a day with get you an amazing housekeeper. Despite a recent price increase, car gas is relatively inexpensive and private schooling is very affordable here compared to the US.

Reason 4: The Opportunity

The fourth thing that I love about moving to Mexico is opportunity. I came from a first world country, with a decent amount of education and work experience under my belt. To this day, Mexico has under-developed industries waiting to be improved upon. Fortunately, it was easy for me (as a foreigner) to open a businesses here and work with some incredible people. Why not move here and bring some new inspiration to your community? You’ll find yourself either involved in an amazing work environment or you’ll create a business of your own which can bring so much value to your community.

Reason 6: The Laid-back Lifestyle

casual attire for moving to MexicoTo live in Mexico is to enjoy a laid-back lifestyle. It’s casual here. There aren’t many many rules here. You can arrive late to a party and no-one minds. You can go out to dinner in shorts and a T-shirt. It’s a struggle for me to put make-up on most days! Gone are the days where I wouldn’t be seen dead walking out of the house with my smarts and face on!

The image to the left is a very typical daily outfit here for me. I would wear something like this to work, to dinner or going out for a day trip. Yep – it’s wayyyy laid-back here.

Combine that with the happiness, the welcoming people and the climate, Mexico is heaven. It has treated me well.  I’m so grateful for the time that we’ve had here, and it will always be our home.

Do you want advice on moving to Mexico? You can email me anytime at jen@firsttimefulltime.com with questions you may have.

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Getting Site Traffic But No Sales? Read Two Game-Changers In E-Commerce To Engage & Convert Your Clients

February 7, 2017

switching to Shopify to increase salesThis post may contain affiliate links. If you end up switching to Shopify or adding a live chat box feature via my links, I receive a small commission.

Now that business owners are immersed in the internet world, the days of speaking to prospects face to face are dwindling fast. Not only do consumers have an array of options at their fingertips, but they have the same amount of distractions to boot. Before e-commerce, a customer walked into your store and spent time connecting with the sales person in that store, beginning a relationship with them. We don’t have that luxury in e-commerce. The only chance you have of connecting with your customer, is hoping that they get an instant connection from the minute that they hit your website, and that there’s something on your home page that’s enticing them to make them stick around.

When I launched our e-commerce website for Baja Baby, getting our customers to engage with us was a real struggle. Despite sending paid traffic to our website, and also getting organic traffic, people would visit the site, and literally bounce off a few seconds later. I can’t tell you how soul destroying it is to pay for traffic, knowing that you have an amazing product, and yet that’s still not enough to get people to purchase. We even ran promotions through paid traffic, where customers could try our products for free, but for some reason, our  home page just wasn’t exciting or enticing enough for them to stick around and get to know us.

Change  1 – Switching to Shopify

switching to ShopifyA few months ago we made some changes that I think was the beginning of the turnaround in our eCommerce experience. The first thing that we did was switched from WordPress to a Shopify platform. This decision took two years to make! We didn’t want to lose the customization or the feel of our website, and we were worried that by switching to Shopify we would be going for a more generic feel.

We couldn’t have been more wrong if we had tried, and I wish I could have launched a Shopify website years ago instead of delaying. The main Shopify benefits are as follows:

  • Ridiculously easy to use and navigate for the client and the site owner
  • Save money because you don’t need a developer to make a site edit anymore
  • Less website crashes (Shopify has crashed once on us – so it’s not perfect but it seems to be more robust that what we were previously doing.
  • I feel like we are in the cool club now we use Shopify. Bahahaha. I know. I’m weird!

Shopify will allow you to try their interface out for free; you don’t even need to enter a credit card to get started. Just click on my link for Shopify and you’re off to the races!

 

Change 2 – Adding A Live Chat Box Using Lucky Orange

adding live chat boxThe second thing that we did was installing a live chat box into our website. As an eCommerce owner, you have the luxury of being in your store at any point in the day.

Once we installed Lucky Orange to our e-commerce store, instant engagement and communication opportunities arose. My favorite part of Lucky Orange’s benefits, is the live chat box feature. You can install an instant window on every page of your site that notifies the customer there is someone on hand to chat with. Think of the advantages!

  • Instant communication with your client
  • The ability to answer any questions or concerns they may have
  • The client knows they have a helpful member of staff at the ready to talk to
  • The possibility of earning that client’s business because you have a way to instantly communicate.

Perhaps you’re thinking “Well what about when I sleep?”. That’s the beautiful thing; you can turn the chat box settings to be a ‘Leave A Message’ area instead. Once the user has entered their query and email – you get an instant email. Once you’re awake – hey presto – you can connect with your client.

In our experience, clients have deeply appreciated this window of communication.

To sign up for a Lucky Orange account, just click here.

As with all my posts – if you would like to chat to me, just send me an email to jen@firsttimefulltime.com. I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Could This RV Be The One?

January 22, 2017

Since our maiden voyage a couple of weeks ago, we totally lucked out and saw a listing in Cabo San Lucas for a brand new 2017 Forest River Surveyor. Check out our post about that awesome experience here. Funnily enough, we were CONVINCED after that viewing that we were going to go after something brand new. Isn’t life funny sometimes? Another friend of ours mentioned that he had a 31 foot Class C Gulf Stream quite a few months ago. His family used this rig when their kids were little – but now they are all grown up – he wants to sell it. So today we packed the kids in the car and took off to go see his rig.

Cabo San Lucas is a pretty dusty place. A good proportion of the roads here aren’t paved; add that to the close proximity of the beach and you have yourself a bit of a dust bowl.

First Impressions Count

Class C Gulf StreamAs we drove to see the Class C Gulf Stream – I had visions of it being a bit of a mess. I knew it was a 2001 model and that a family with 4 kids had adventured in it. We didn’t know what sort of condition we would find it. I figured we would be looking at a fair bit of rust – and a LOT of dust.

Following our friend into a car lot of sorts, before our eyes was a pretty awesome looking Class C Gulf Stream. My immediate reaction was ‘I like it’. I like the vibe and the colors. John bought it second hand from a guy in Oregon back in 2006 and drove it down the Baja to Cabo. Since then, it’s barely been used other than a 6 week trip around the US and a bunch of mini-road trips to East Cape and Loreto. It’s got 46,000 miles on it, everything works – and the most important part? the kids LOVE IT!

What About The List?

If you’ve been following my blog, then you’ll probably be wondering what happened to our “must have” wish-list? Remember? Bunk beds and an outdoor kitchen were right up there in our priority list. And this rig doesn’t have those two items which we really believed were essential to our first purchase.

What this Class C Gulf Stream has, is a perfect price point, amazing energy inside it, countless awesome stories from the family that loved and lived in it and it’s HERE. In Cabo. And that’s really important to us.

Do We Have An Class C Gulf Stream RV Renovation In Our Midst?

Bunk above the driver

Let’s take a look through the areas of the rig. First off, the upper bunk is just pure fun for the kids! I envision hours of endless entertainment in that bunk. The kids made a bee-line for the bunk as soon as they got inside. Both of them could easily sleep up there and while away the hours playing house and hiding behind the curtain! A little curtain upgrade with some black-outs and this area is totally set. And yes – that’s a big old TV parked up there too. Not too sure about whether or not we would keep that there, or if we could move it to another location.

Next up, the living/dining area. Being that it’s just the 4 of us humans and 4 wee chihuahuas – I’m pretty sure that we could rip out the dinette and put something a little more compact in there. This would free up space to put in a slightly larger couch.

Changes, Changes Everywhere!

Inside a Class C Gulf StreamAll the cabinetry could be painted white, with handles replaced. None of the appliances need updating. Everything works great! Huge score! The comfy armchair is as comfortable as it looks in the pic, so that would stay. We would probably replace the flooring with something new – although my doggies would totally dig the fluffy carpet.

Would I love a bigger bed for Nelson and I? Yep! But – it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot of wiggle room as far as expansion goes in the bedroom. I wish we could get rid of the side closets and have more upper closet space? And I definitely think the shower needs to be upgraded.

Exterior of the Class C Gulf Stream is sound. Considering its a 2001 – it’s in incredible condition. The roof looks good – and I can imagine us adding solar on the top.

All in all – this is just an awesome rig. We felt good when we were inside it. We love that friends previously owned it. Clearly you can see that I am already mentally taking ownership of it – so we’re gonna sleep on it and see how we feel tomorrow.

All in all – GREAT RV hunting day!

Class C Gulf Stream

Is this your first visit to First Time Full Time? Read more about our big ‘why’ here.

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So Near And Yet So Far – The Quest For The Perfect RV

January 19, 2017

Nelson and I have been envisioning our perfect RV ever since our road trip to Los Barriles. Isn’t it cool when you put something out there, that the very thing that you want suddenly appears? Again I want to state that while Cabo is pretty close to heaven on earth – there’s one major missing link. An RV dealership! The closest one to us is in San Diego, CA. Not exactly handy for hunting our perfect RV down.

We have resorted to a LOT of time on RV Trader, reading plenty of OPB’s (other people’s blogs) and googling the living daylights out of RV’s. Anyone we know that has had any kind of interaction with an RV gets totally bombarded with questions. Actually anyone we don’t know also gets the same questions if we get so much as a whiff that they know a thing or two about RV’ing.

Ask And Ye Shall Receive The Perfect RV

It was Wednesday night, around 11pm and I couldn’t sleep. So I decided to hit up Baja Craiglist on my phone. Each time I have checked this site out – there’s slim pickings. And they’re OLD pickings too. I started mindlessly scrolling over the listings that I have seen for months, willing one of them to suddenly ‘work’ for us. When all of a sudden… THERE it WAS!

A brand spanking new, 2017 Forest River Surveyor. With a bunkhouse. AND an outdoor kitchen! Heavens to Betsy – I thought I had won the lottery! I considered waking Nelson up to tell him about it – but decided that he wouldn’t take too kindly to being disrupted. So instead I looked at the listing about 100 times, checking the back drop to see if I could figure out where this thing was parked locally! Eventually I nodded off – with a silly grin on my face.

A Viewing The Very Next Day

Forest River 2017 Surveyor perfect RVThe people whose lot this RV was parked on very kindly allowed us to come see it the very next day. The whole family rallied to be there once school and work were done for the day. And wow – was it ever beautiful! Forest River dinette perfect RV

Dave (our travel trailer tour guide) has a lifetime’s worth of experience with RV’s and fifth wheels. He showed us all the bells and whistles inside and out. Wow Forest River sure does a good job. From the double bunk beds, to the over-sized dinette. The brand new quality work surfaces and appliances – this trailer was perfect!

As we explored it – we had feelings of excitement and trepidation as we realized just how much ‘stuff’ we would have to get rid of. We talked it out with Dave – who said that in his experience – just a few more feet of size would make this type of rig the perfect RV.

Forest River perfect RVThe Pros and The Cons

Pros

  • Brand, spanking new
  • Outdoor kitchen
  • Huge bunkbeds
  • A good length for us rookies to pull
  • Good price point
  • It’s here in Cabo!

Cons

  • No living room area
  • It’s small – real small for our family of 8
  • We can’t finance this purchase – so we would have to come up with a chunk of change instantly

Forest River Surveyor

The owner is looking for $23,000 USD, and a quick sale – so perhaps we could get a better price than that? Dave wisely pointed out that for just a few more feet – we could go for a fifth wheel. We wouldn’t feel the extra few feet while driving because that would go over the bed of the truck.

Our Conclusion

As we drove away, we all came to the conclusion that it wasn’t the perfect RV for us. We loved that it was brand new – and that it had all the essentials that we wanted. But we realized that we are going to be LIVING in whatever we purchase. I’m going to be working full time, and the kids will be homeschooling. We need a living space. Otherwise – we will kill each other!

It’s back to the drawing board for us. We have a viewing lined up at the weekend to go see a Class C Gulf Stream. Fingers crossed that it’s the right one!

 

Is this your first visit to First Time Full Time? Learn more about our transition to full time RV living by checking out our road trip strategy here!

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RV Life With An E-Commerce Business (Or Two)

January 16, 2017

An e-commerce business lifestyle suits me down to the ground because I want to be able to work whenever suits me and my family during each day. I launched my first business in 2011, and my second in 2014. I chose e-commerce business so I can live, travel and still run my businesses no matter where I am or what I’m doing. The first business is a service-based company located in Mexico, where I have lived for the past 14 years.

Baja Baby Gear – #1 Baby Equipment Rental Company In Cabo!

rent baby gear MexicoIn 2011 I created a company called Baja Baby Gear in Los Cabos. Baja Baby Gear rents premium baby equipment to anyone visiting Los Cabos on a short-term basis. A client visits our website, or calls us to place the order then we deliver everything to their vacation destination in preparation for their arrival.

For those of you new to this business type, if you are traveling to Cabo with a baby – look us up! We are the best resource for full size cribs, custom toy boxes, high chairs and more. Clients place their orders through our website, then enjoy whatever baby gear they need during their stay in Mexico. No hassle – we deliver everything to our clients and pick it up when they leave.

Service-Based Business

rent baby gear CaboThe success of this type of business is contingent upon the amazing team members that operate its day-to-day running. Our team ensures that deliveries are scheduled appropriately. All inventory is delivered sterile, clean and ready to use. Most importantly,  we deliver equipment promptly (which is something of a novelty in Mexico)!

The third component of this business is our website www.bajababygear.com. I have learned a lot about how to run an e-commerce website, along with some best practices that we use as a company. So if you’re planning a trip to Mexico with your babies – please click on the right-hand button and rent some baby gear! I promise it will make your Mexico vacation so much easier!

 

Baja Baby – Luxury Organic Skincare For KidsBaja Baby Lavender Gift Set

The second business that I have is a organic skin-care line for children called Baja Baby. Baja Baby launched in 2014 with my BFF Kelly, and it has been (until recently) a 100% e-commerce business.

Initially we began to sell our products on Amazon.com, which quickly expanded to the UK. Most recently, we opened our Shopify e-commerce platform: www.bajababyshop.com.

For many people, there is a curiosity surrounding selling products on www.amazon.com. Amazon was the first distribution stream for our products and it was and continues to be a wonderful place to launch a new product for testing. I plan on sharing some of the best practices that we have found works best for us. If any of you have any questions about how we manage our e-commerce business, send me an e-mail to jen@firsttimefulltime.com.

 

 

RV Full Time Travel & E-Commerce Business Go Hand In Hand

Having a business and traveling full-time is possible. Is it easy? NO! Is it quick? HECK no! It has taken me years to feel I’m in a confident enough place to travel.

I could not have done this without the support of my family, my business partner and my employees, so THANK YOU to them!

No magic wand has ever appeared to help me along the way, since becoming an entrepreneur. Just a deep motivation to want to spend more time with my babies, quickly followed by the desire to travel full-time.

There have been bumps along with way yet every upheaval has resulted in a massively satisfying learning curve.

E-Commerce Business Training Resource Recommendations

Training is an important aspect in the growth of any e-commerce business. In fact, relevant business training is even more important for those of us who didn’t get a college education (like me!). Here are three resources I have used. The first is Ezra Firestone’s amazing website www.smartmarketer.com. Smart Marketer a goldmine of e-commerce knowledge that all levels of e-commerce business owners would love.

The #1 place for entry-level, affordable training www.freedomhackers.com, owned by friend & #girlboss Kimra Luna. Kimra’s amazing energy, hard work and perseverance is testament that anyone can open a successful e-commerce business.

Last but not least, I highly recommend Todd Herman’s award-winning 90-Day Year program for business development. Implementing the 90-Day Year system has given me great results in both of my businesses. For someone like me who doesn’t have a business education, Todd’s course has been an integral part of systematizing my business operations and management.  Todd’s course opens bi-annually. Send me an email to jen@firsttimefulltime.com if you want to be notified of its launch.

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Our RV Road Trip Strategy

January 16, 2017
RV Road Trip Strategy

As some of you may already know, we have been living in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for the past eight years. Before that, we lived in mainland Mexico. We want to definitely road trip around the parts of Mexico that we haven’t seen, but initially we will hit the United States. Our plan is to leave here in the summertime and travel North. Because, let’s face it, we can’t really travel South from Cabo or else we’ll be swimming in our RV ;-).

Tactic One – Go Slow

We know for sure that we aren’t in a rush, which is I think going to be a favorable tactic for us. We have no plans to go to any particular destination for any length of time. All we know is that we want to really experience as many places as we can for as long as we can. We do have family in Texas, so there’s no doubt that we will spend an extended period of time there. Other than that, we have heard that if we slow down our road trip to more than a few days (preferably one week or more) at each stop – we will save some money. Needless to say – the other benefit to this approach, is that we can dive deep into every destination we visit and learn a bit more about lifestyle there.

Our road trip plan is to visit as much of the United States that we can, also Canada, and the rest of Mexico that we have not yet seen. We would go to South America also if time and resources permit. I know that this is a big road trip that could potentially take us years; perhaps we won’t be able to do it all in one go – but we are going to give it our best shot.

Tactic Two – Leverage Our Assets; Namely Friends & Family

RV Road Trip StrategyThe first thing we decided to do when it came to road trip planning was to put a map of the United States up on the wall. This also helps to give our children a little perspective on what lies ahead! Nelson took some green pins and he tacked them to every single National Park in the United States that we want to visit.

With red pins, he then tagged all of our dearest friends and loved ones who we’ve had the privilege of meeting over the years in Mexico, or who are family members. We would love to visit with everybody (space and time permitting) either near their home or in a close RV Park to where we can see them.

We had thought about then getting a long piece of string and simply connecting all the dots as that seems like the path of least resistance. There seems to be a direction emerging that takes us North until we’re almost above the border and then coming down South and up North again and going South, etc. The truth is, we really don’t have a set plan.

Tactic Three – Avoid The Cold!

We do know that we probably won’t want to be in an RV in cold areas. We’ll either avoid cold places completely or we might switch up and do an Airbnb (resources permitting). Our kids have never touched snow; we would love for them to enjoy a ski season and be somewhere long enough to learn how to ski. (Northern Ireland doesn’t get enough snow to constitute a ski season, so I would like to try out skiing myself).

We want to avoid the cold so we don’t have to pack a lot of warm weather clothes. Frankly, we don’t own any – plus we don’t want to use up the space. Did I mention that our 4 wee dogs may freeze to death in cold weather?

Do any readers have any good ideas on ways that they devised their routes when they were traveling? If so, we would love to hear them. Drop us a comment and let us know a good strategy for us when we go traveling.

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East Cape RV Park

January 8, 2017
East Cape RV Park

Arrival To East Cape RV Park

East Cape RV ParkFor our very first RV park experience – I feel like we hit the lottery with East Cape RV Park. We rolled into the RV park just as sunset was upon us. Google Maps took us right to the doorstep. We crawled in.. recovering from our first ever RV road-ride (only an hour long – but still a little shell-shocked from driving something so big on a pretty hairy road!). I called Omar to let him know we were here, and he told me which lot number we were staying in.

Hubby reversed us in perfectly to our spot and within 30 seconds we met our awesome neighbors Sharon and Paul. We apologized right out of the gates for being RV rookies. And I was glad we did – because within 30 more seconds or so we were already needing help! We had NO IDEA how to hook up our RV. I had made a pretty awful attempt at reading the owners manual for the Bounder on the way down the road. It didn’t really teach me anything because I was too concerned that at any moment, we were about to run off the road (picture the scene – 2 lane road, no side way, no street lights and pretty curvy). So let’s say I wasn’t concentrating that well!

A couple of hiccups

Anyhoo – luckily for us Shawn the owner of East Cape RV Park came to say hi and had us connected to power pretty quickly. Meanwhile our kids are pretty much moving in with Sharon & Paul! With power now on, and our water connected – we were feeling like we had hit a home run! But about 10 minutes later we got a gentle tap on our door.. Sharon came to tell us that we had a pretty big leak coming from somewhere. Nelson went out to investigate. Another few minutes later, he called for me to come outside to assist.

And yep – true enough – there was a steady stream of clean water pouring out the side of the non pressure water valve. I did what any dutiful wife would do – stuck my finger in the water stream to slow it down and began googling ‘1991 Fleetwood Bounder leaking from non pressure water valve’.

By this time, it’s pitch black. The kids are happy as Larry with their new found friends and their camping experience. Nelson heads off in search for Shawn, our Savior.

Paul and Shawn deduce that there’s an issue with the water supply bypassing where it’s supposed to go, and instead filling up our fresh water tank. We’re only here for 2 days therefore we make the executive decision to forget about having a water supply and move on to settling in.

East Cape RV Park

The Park Overview

East Cape RV Park has got it ALL. They have an awesome centrally located pool, a hot tub, clean and private bathrooms with Pool at East Cape RV Parkshowers, and lots of dogs! Which we LOVE! Even better still, all the residents couldn’t be nicer. Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. We definitely got a few raised eyebrows because our rig (SO EXCITED that I get to say ‘our rig’ even though it isn’t ours!) is pretty old. There are some SWEET RV’s, Airstreams and 5th Wheels all around us.

Short term rates here are $28-38 USD a night. Wifi runs $4 bucks a day, and long terms rentals depending on location are anywhere from $325 USD – $410 USD per month. Centrally located within Los Barriles, we walk left out of the RV park to an awesome dinner at Campestre Trini. Just take a right come morning and enjoy breakfast at El Viejo. Mega brownie points for having a beer store and a sandwich deli right in front of the Park Entrance too!

Los Barriles

Los Barriles BeachAnd the beach. OH the beach. It is just off the charts amazing. We headed down there first thing after breakfast; the beach was empty and the water was like an ice rink. Perfect beach for kids! We spent a few hours there on the white sand drinking in the serenity and feeling really grateful to our friend Chris for giving us this awesome opportunity for our first RV experience. (To read more about our first trip in our RV, check out Trial Run For RV Rookies).

Los Barriles is a dream destination for anyone looking for peace and quiet, kite-surfing, stand up paddle, ATV exploring and general Mexican laid-back fun. And just a short hour and 15 minute drive from San Jose del Cabo airport.

We can’t recommend East Cape RV Park enough.  Only one lot remained when we arrived, so we know this is a popular place. Some people have been coming for over 9 seasons which is surely a testament to the quality of the place. Maybe we are not seasoned enough travelers to say whether this is a top notch place compared to others. However, if you value cleanliness, top service, location, bang for your buck – then we give this place 5 stars!

We can’t wait to come back!

Contact East Cape RV Park

Staff at East Cape RV ParkFor inquiries and reservations, see contact information beneath. Special thanks to our (patient) new friend Omar who works at the park. He is the best!

Vonage to Baja: 1-909-266-9707
Sun Valley, Idaho office August & September only: 1-208-788-2053
Los Barriles Office: 011-52-624-14-10231
Email: info@eastcaperv.com

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