Many people dream of hopping in their RVs and hitting the road for full-time adventure as they travel around the country seeing new things and experiencing the wealth of opportunities that are available only to people willing to step out of their comfort zones and jump into the RV lifestyle.
Some people wait until they are retired before attempting such an adventure. But, not us! We decided to pack up our young children in order to live and work in our fifth wheel. Here are 10 things that we discovered about the good and bad about full-time RV living.
1. You always feel a little bit lost.
Whenever we pull into a new place, we get ourselves settled at the campsite and hang out to enjoy it. Eventually, we have to go out to get groceries or just to explore and that’s where the fun begins. Thank goodness for maps on my phone because it gets me everywhere when we are in a new place. So I might know where I am supposed to go, but getting there is always interesting. What lane turns right, can I do a U-turn here, I see where I want to go but how the heck do I get in there?
We eventually find whatever we’re looking for, but it isn’t always easy. Then, there is the fun of grocery shopping in a new grocery store every week. When we were in our hometown of Kenosha, Wis., I could pretty much drive all the places I needed to go while being half asleep (not really but you know what I mean). Out on the road, not so much!
2. You get really excited when the campground has an awesome laundry room.
Yes, we have a washer and dryer in our RV, but it is mini system. So when I see a facility with industrial size washers and dryers that will dry everything in 25 minutes (instead of 2 hours like the RV model, I get really excited!
3. Not sure where you are when you get up in the morning.
When we wake up in the morning, sometimes we have to stop and ask ourselves where are we? I think this is especially the case for our 2-year-old, Knox. The other day he got up and said “Mommy where are we?” Does it make us question if that is a good or bad thing – yes! But, when we come out of our room and have a view like the one at the top of this story, we figure it is worth it for everyone.
4. What water pressure?
When we went to stay with my parents, we thought we were going to get blown away from the water pressure coming out of the shower and sink. I could have stayed in the shower for an hour and then went and washed dishes for another hour. Water pressure is one of those things that you don’t realize you are going to miss, until it disappears.
5. Privacy does not exist!
Not only does it not exist in the RV, but also at the campsites. Sometimes we will be at a place when no one else is there. But, most of the time, we have neighbors and a lot of the time those neighbors are literally right next door – as in our awning would touch their RV. This can be stressful if one of the kids is having a breakdown and we don’t want the whole campsite to hear.
But, normally, it is just helpful for all of us to work on keeping our voices down and not yelling at each other. As for privacy inside the RV, anyone with young kids knows no matter where you are, the kids have a way of always finding you. But when we were at the house I could go hide upstairs and take a bath and they didn’t know I was there. That’s not the case anymore. It has been an adjustment, but, again, it has been worth it.
6. One bathroom!
Need I say more?
7. Jackets, shoes, wet suits — Oh my!
I use to have a mudroom and it always felt unorganized and messy. Well, now, there is no mudroom and there is no room! Trying to figure out where to put everything has been a challenge and continues to be a challenge. For now, we have a big bucket for shoes and that seems to be working. Back home, sweatshirts use to have a hook, even if they never found their way back to the hook. Now, we just leave them in the car or hang them over a seat. Wet suits get to hang outside on a lawn chair. Is it perfect? NO! It is a work in progress. With four kids, I think that will always be the case.
It is amazing how many times we have said “Wow, did you see that?” Or, “This is so cool!” This is why we are RVing full time — to see new things all the time and to be able to sit back and really take them in.
9. Stopping to breath and take it all in!
When we were living in a house, it seemed like we were always running all over the place and doing this that and the other thing. Being in an RV, we have had more of a chance to sit back, try to slow down and really take in each moment. This, too, is a work in progress. It seems like I am really good at always finding something to do and I have had to tell myself to stop and relax and just enjoy the moment.
However, this seems easier to do while being the RV. Maybe it is because we have less to maintain or just because I am truly amazed by the things we are seeing and the reaction that the kids have to the experiences we enjoy.
10. Planning, planning and more planning,
It seems like we are always planning our next move in more ways than one. Since I enjoy planning, I am okay with this. But, it can be overwhelming. When you don’t know where you are going to be parking a month from now, you need to make decisions and make a plan for every contingency, and it isn’t always easy. Then, again, it is fun and worth it!
So those are just 10 things I have learned so far, and I know there is so much more learning to do. We are happy about our decision for go RVing full time. Sometimes, we have to stop and sit back and ask, “Is this really our life?”
When I hear about others doing something like this or read a blog about other families, I often wonder how they are able to manage all that activity. Then I laugh and remind myself, oh, yeah, we are doing it, too.