Six Months Full-Time RVing – The Top Ten Honest, Nitty Gritty Lessons – Full-Time RV Life

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Have we really been living and traveling in our RV for six months already?  Time does fly when you’re having fun, or, in our case, adjusting to a new lifestyle.   Our lives have been filled with adventures, ups ands downs, minor glitches, great successes–and we have absolutely no regrets, even when it’s not all rainbows and roses.

Things we have learned along the way:

  1.  Relationship Goals.  Mike and I are together twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  While we make a point of disagreeing with respect and trying to be as open and honest as possible, this lifestyle has revealed weaknesses in our communication style.  As a result, the close quarters have forced us to strengthen our ability to interact more effectively–simply for survival purposes.  We do have disagreements and moments when we are on opposite pages of a different book, but our perpetual togetherness facilitates the need to find a way to obtain common ground when we are out of sorts.  It has enhanced our teamwork and enriched our marriage.
  2. Anything Can and Will Go Wrong.  Our first day on the road forced us into the Cummins shop for an issue that was under warranty and easily fixed.  Since then, Mike has had to make several minor repairs.  These included electrical problems with connection for LED lightbulbs, a water heater snafu, defective motor on the automatic front window shade, a mucked up and jumbled entertainment system, leaking bathroom plumbing and clogged kitchen drain, and the basement slider drawer.   Thankfully, my handy husband could take care of those issues on his own without calling a mobile repairman or putting us in the shop.  We continue to pray that nothing major happens when we are on the road, but try to be fully prepared for the inevitable when it does occur.  Mike has learned to have extra parts on hand, such as hot water heater repair parts, hose clamps, fuses, electrical connectors, etc.
  3. Fellow RVers Are Amazing.  We have met so many wonderful friends in the places we have stayed and even through this blog.  We physically share the same place for a short time and then continue building our community virtually by keeping up with our fellow travelers through social media.  We’ve enjoyed swapping stories with our RV neighbors, developing relationships with RV/campground owners, interacting with local residents, and connecting with people we meet on the road.  For example, we met a young couple with a small child in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Mississippi.  They were in a small travel trailer with no generator, so we plugged them in to our rig so they could have air conditioning throughout the night.   It turned out he was an RV repairman and gave Mike pointers on a couple of mechanical issues.  It’s a vast community, but it’s tight, helpful, and loyal.
  4. It’s Not the Constant Adventurous Lifestyle We Dreamed About.  Yes, we see new places, have quality family time, experience new areas of the country, and sample local restaurants and attractions.  We also feel sadness when leaving a location and excitement to visit a new one.  However, this is still real life.  We still have grocery shopping, budget rearranging and surprises, daily chores, car maintenance, motorhome upkeep, and all responsibilities based in adult reality.  Mike works long and arduous hours–we aren’t wealthy and we don’t have disposable income.  Our schedule isn’t as flexible as we’d hoped, and often we are simply tired and worn out on the weekends.  We don’t always get to experience adventures together–most of my past blog posts on local endeavors are me discovering them alone, exploring with a new friend, or getting out with family.  We save the most exciting enterprises for the weekends when we can explore together.  We live life with a different set of goals and a fresh view in the front window.  It’s real life with its usual demands, but it’s a fulfilling existence rolling wherever we want to go.
  5. The Downsizing Continues.  We are still getting rid of stuff.  I packed another bag and a half of donation items and Mike cleaned out the ‘basement’ and got rid of unused tools and outdoor items.  We’ve learned to streamline as time goes by, and we don’t hold on to anything that doesn’t have a direct purpose.  It continues to be a liberating experience and we constantly are amazed with how we live so richly with so few belongings.
  6. An Unlimited Data Plan Has Been a Game-Changer.  With Mike’s work, streaming information, and just doing daily activities on our electronics–the unlimited data plan we have with AT&T has been a life saver.  No more data diet and our service has not changed.  Thank you, AT&T.
  7. Experiences Can Be Done On The Cheap.  Most of the places we have gone are inexpensive and/or free.  I love to find out-of-the-way places and natural areas, which are usually beautiful and unique.  We do some of the usual tourist things and pay entrance fees to places of interest, but we hold out on the cheesy tourist stuff so we can do the big bucket list items (seaplane ride to the Dry Tortugas, an aerial tour through the Grand Canyon, etc.) when they arise.
  8.  We’ve Buttoned Down Our Travel Style.  When we first decided to live this lifestyle, we had dreams of being on the road constantly.  However, we’ve found the 30-day stays in a certain area works better for us.  While the two days here and two days there lifestyle looks amazing, it’s difficult to maneuver due to our particular needs.  We like to take time to learn the area, experience local flare, and also have downtime for relaxation.  Our travel days to a new location are on the weekends because of Mike’s work schedule.  We’re groovin’ to our own rhythm and it works for us.
  9. Our Travel Statistics And Expenses were a Pleasant Surprise.  Miles Driven:  3,527 miles ~*~ Driving Time:  58 hours ~*~ Diesel Expenses:  $995.84  ~*~ Campground Costs:  $3,545.  We will see how they compare with the next six months.
  10. We Have No Regrets.  Not one.  If we are homesick for family or have an emergency, we can pick up and go.  If we are bored in a certain spot, the road promises new adventures.   We get to decide our travel destinations and don’t have a two-week vacation time limit.  It fits us, and we love it.
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Places We’ve Stayed The Past Six Months

Our home is always with us, even if we’re in a new state each month.  We have each other with a roof over our heads and wheels under our feet.

As we toast to another six months, safe travels to you.

Dawn

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49 comments

  1. Dawn, it sounds like you are finding the rhythm and flow that works well for you. We are still new to the RV life, and moving more often than what may be ideal, but we have quite a bit of ground to cover in our allotted 3.5 months. Keep on enjoying your freedom!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, how awesome, in the scope of things you’ve learned lesson’s, you’ve have some crazy adventures, and a whole lot of fun. I am happy for you sissy, and for Mike, you both deserve the happiness you’ve found in one another, I love you both!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband and I are married only 7 years so are still in the honeymoon stage aka, no relationship issues, despite the small space. However, everything else you’ve written about here is like I’m reading about our life. Bang on. And, you’re so right, how there are wonderful people everywhere, especially on the road. Keep on keepin’ on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. NOt something I would do personally…but it sounds like an interesting way to get around that’s for sure. 🙂

    Then again..,my only real experience with RVs is staying in one that was a permanent installment at a Boy Scout campground and the people driving the RV so big it reminds me of Ricky and Lucy’s trailer in “The Long Long Trailer” who show up every few months with regularity to park right behind my car, effectively almost blocking me from getting out of my own driveway.

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    1. Blocking your driveway is not good. 😦 Most of us try not to be obnoxious about that kind of thing. Full-time RVing works for us, and we all gotta find our niche. Thanks for stopping by. I hope your not-so-friendly RVer next door clears your driveway next time. Take care. Dawn

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      1. Yeah..they’re also not supposed to park the thing there more than 72 hrs or risk getting a ticket but they’ve gotten a ticket every single time because they pull up and park for no less than a month at a time. :-/

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  5. We can definitely relate to a lot of what you’ve written here. We have and will continue to adjust our schedule, our budget, and our expectations as we go. It’s impossible to know what to expect until you get out there and figure out what works for you. And you have to have realistic expectations of how things will be. It’s definitely not always what you see on Instagram, that’s for sure! But I agree 100% that the people you meet out on the road are great, and there are plenty of free and nearly free ways to explore this incredible country of ours. It sounds like you guys are figuring things out and having a great time. I look forward to following more of your travels!

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  6. Really enjoyed reading your 6 month summary. In many ways it reflects our 16 years of experience. So much so that sometimes I post the subject of my blog as “Perils of Paul” (if you are not fan of silents from the ’20’s that may not mean anything to you – movie series “Perils of Pauline”). we are married over 50 years and certainly understand the need to adjust to life in an RV. It is helpful that most of the time we have the outdoors available to take a walk. I worked from the road from 2001 to 2011 before retiring so I understand that part too. I was delighted to see that you make room in your budget for fun stuff like the Grand Canyon Flight. It really does make it feel more like adventure. Also understand that a quiet day in the coach just getting “stuff” is also rewarding. It is life, not permanent vacation as I tell my stay at home friends.

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    1. I cannot thank you enough for sharing your thoughts and experiences, especially since you have 16 years under your belt. I think we went in with such high expectations and wanting to make the most of every second that we didn’t give ourselves much “just breathe” room. While we have a whole lot still to learn, we’ve come to the realization that the only “right” way is to enjoy our adventure on our own terms. We are still learning the rhythm, but it’s all good. Glad that I have a link to your blog–I’m going to be doing some catching up. Thanks again! Dawn

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  7. We’ve been married almost 15 years and our communication skills still need working on, lol. Love the list and can relate to almost all the items. We will be arriving at our first workamp location tomorrow and I’m anxious to get started. Enjoy your time in Jville.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great post! We have had a very similar experience. Downsizing has been the most challenging: You spend your life collecting things that hold memories, and giving them up can be emotional. Ultimately, though, the sense of freedom you gain is worth it. If we could only figure out the ideal situation for clothes, we’d be almost perfect!

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    1. Our AT&T plan is fairly expensive, but we’ve had absolutely no complaints with coverage in the places we’ve been. We do target populated areas because of hubby’s work, though–so not too sure about BLM land or out west. Thanks for stopping by–I tried to link to your blog, but it doesn’t seem to be working (user error, probably). Would you mind sending the link in the comments? I’d love to follow your travels, too! Dawn

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  9. We need to plan a rendezvous in NOLA when you hit the road again. Going to river mid-July. Hitting the road too. Sounds like you guys are adjusting. Wish Bob would adopt the minimalist approach to possessions. I send it out the front and he brings it in the back. I find it liberating to purge too. Enjoy your adventures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We miss you guys, Tammy! I’m up for some time in NOLA for sure. Headed to Michigan after this month and working our way back down for Nov-Dec back in Jax. I need me some Tammy time, so we’ll have to work something out. 🙂 Hugs!

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  10. Looks like an great adventure. I like your perspective “It’s Not the Constant Adventurous Lifestyle We Dreamed About.” We have a Winnebago Trend 23L (24″ Class C) and we are going to give the full time thing a try in 3 years. Our kids are now out of the house and we are looking for an adventure. We do dream of the adventure and know that everyday can’t be super exciting. We just want everyday to offer us something different then we are finding after 18 years in our suburban culdesac. Well written article!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I enjoyed this! Great idea to take some spare parts with you so you can fix some of the smaller items yourself. It had not occurred to me that you would continue to downsize as you go along but it makes perfect sense. You probably start to realize what you really do need and the rest is not as essential. Nice article!

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  12. Great article! I could SO relate to all of your points – especially #1 – so well said! We are three months behind you, and (for now) don’t have to worry about working, so we’re traveling faster (but trying to slow down!). Cheers to you for your next 6 months.

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  13. Now that our best friends may be starting this type of life, maybe the idea will grow on my husband and he will consider it for us. Only time will tell. What kind of work does your husband do? It must be something he can do on the computer from “home” since you are almost always on the road?

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  14. Great post! The downsizing I do regularly in my home makes a world of difference. I can only imagine that every item in an RV has a very large impact on space and usability, making the choice whether it stays or goes very important.

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  15. What a great post! We have been living some time ago in a campervan when traveling across New Zealand. It was basically just the van with the bed inside and some camping stuff for cooking. All struggles and pleasures of this lifestyle you mentioned here applied to us as well. But the difference was that we had to rely on external sources when it came to electricity, showers and internet connection, (we didn’t have electricity in campervan) so it was even harder to manage the daily life.
    It was still our best adventure ever and I would go again without hesitation 🙂

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