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