What will our address be when we’re on the road? How will we maintain our driver’s licenses, vote, and apply for health insurance when we’re living in a tent? If my mom wants to send us peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, where will she send them? What if we want to change our “residence” while we’re still traveling full-time?
Mr. Grumby and I have done a few searches on how to be Proper Retirement Nomads and the information we’ve found is confusing, at best. One of the most helpful posts we came across is Robert Witham’s How to Establish a Legal State Residency (Domicile) as a Nomad.
After reading this, we decided that the 2 most important criteria for establishing our 2018 domicile are filing our 2018 taxes and signing up for Obamacare. We have long-established ties with Oregon, so for Phase 1 we will be domiciling (is that a word?) in Oregon and using the address of a kind and generous friend.
Domicile vs. Mailing Address
‘Domicile’ is the physical address that is required for:
- maintaining a driver’s licenses
- voter registration
- personal profiles at financial institutions
- tax filing
- acquiring health insurance
For our mailing address we will likely use the Oregon address option at Traveling Mailbox.* This will allow us to review our mail virtually and will keep our friend from being flooded with junk mail. The service description from the Traveling Mailbox website is:
As your mail arrives, we will scan the envelopes and upload them to your online mailbox. You can then have us open and scan each piece and view the contents in PDF Format, forward your mail anywhere, hold your mail, or have us securely shred it.
So, if we get a jury summons while we’re in the middle of Montana, we’ll be able to contact the county in a timely manner to request a service deferral.
*Update: if you sign up for Traveling Mailbox, be sure to allow time to have USPS Form 1583 notarized.
When we started investigating our domicile options, we were very lucky to have a few offers from friends in Oregon to use their addresses. Two of those friends live in rural Oregon and two live in urban counties in the Portland area. The ever-astute Mr. Grumby plugged the addresses into the healthcare.gov website to see if there would be any differences in premiums. Due to less competition in rural areas, I suppose, premiums were significantly higher there. How lucky are we to have the option of using the address that offers both lower premiums and access to plans with solid out-of-network coverage!
Oregon DMV Stickers
Because we’re already living in Oregon, we can submit an address change online. There are no DMV requirements that we appear in person or that we provide physical documentation that proves we actually “live” at our friend’s house. The DMV will just mail us stickers to attach to our existing licenses.
TSA Compliant Driver’s License
We’re happy that the Oregon address change process will be pretty easy but, unfortunately, Oregon does not yet issue TSA-compliant driver’s licenses. As of April 2, 2018 it looks like we’ll need to carry our passport cards if we want/need to fly anywhere after October 10, 2018. To see if your state is REAL ID-compliant, check the Department of Homeland Security website here.
Looking ahead, what if we decide we want to ‘domicile’ in a different state? Right now we think we may eventually settle in Colorado to be closer to both of our families. If we’re still traveling and want to switch our residence to the home of a relative we’ll need to carefully consider:
- DMV requirements for address changes
- Healthcare premiums at the new address
- Timing of change to minimize complications with tax filing
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies on the Road
If my mom (or anyone else!) wants to send us peanut butter chocolate chip cookies while we’re on the road, she/they can send a package to any post office along our route. Preferably the post office would be in a small-ish town at which we will arrive mid-week (when the post office is open). Example:
Hold for arrival on/about (date)
Mr. & Mrs. Grumby: Touring Cyclists
c/o GENERAL DELIVERY
City, State Zip
The Postmaster will hold the cookies until we arrive and we will celebrate our good fortune by sharing a few with the Post Office staff. So, if you’re sending us cookies (or any other delicious snack), be sure to send enough to share!