Now that we are spending more time in the motorhome as we prepare for full time traveling, the learning curve has changed. What have we learned?
When you take two strong-willed people out of their 3200 sq ft house and put them in a 24′ x 7′ box on wheels for weeks on end, you have to learn patience. It’s hard. What am I supposed to do when I’m mad? Pace back and forth on the 6′ stretch of floor in front of the dinette? Stomp to the bedroom and slam the bedroom sliding door after a five minute struggle with the super strong magnetic latch? We can’t even yell at each other, because now we have close neighbors most of the time rather than being in the middle of three acres. Whisper yelling is so incredibly unsatisfying.
Doing It Yourself
We are not people that fix things. We even hire a company to redo our yard every couple of years after the weeds and overgrown bushes and trees become too overwhelming. We just figured that anything we come across is something we could hire other people to fix. Not so much anymore. Not only is it almost impossible to get a timely repair appointment, that stuff is expensive. The other day I fixed a leak in a low point drain that has been bothering us for awhile. I know that is a tiny thing to most, but it’s a huge thing to us. I expect to fix many, many other things in the future. Thank God for YouTube and various RV forums.
I Can’t Plan Everything
This one is hard for me. I don’t do things spontaneously. I don’t go anywhere without reservations made months and months in advance. Ever. My anxiety goes into overdrive without set plans. I’m working on that. On our recent 2.5 week trip, we only had reservations three nights. The rest of the time we relied on the AllStays app. When we figured out our destination, I would use the app to find nearby campgrounds so I could call to find out if they had a space for us. It worked wonderfully! I will still be a planner, but I now realize I can relax a bit too.
Long Driving Days Are Agony
After several horribly long days of driving hundreds and hundreds of miles, we’ve agreed that we won’t go more than 250 miles except on rare occasions. It’s too exhausting. We also started switching drivers at each gas station stop. It really helps with driver fatigue.
It Gets Lonely
This is going to be a hard one for me, which is saying a lot, because I’m normally a happy hermit. However, I’m used to doing the majority of camping trips with friends, and going on our own is daunting and sometimes rather boring. Plus, as we transition to full time, I feel disconnected from friends and family, but I don’t yet feel connected to other full timers. It’s a weird place to be. Campground walks and FaceTiming my cats (seriously!), helps, I can keep in touch with family and friends through text and social media, and I’m sure we will meet like-minded people along the way.
Organization Is Key
This is still a big issue for us and always a work in progress. We are becoming better at having things in certain places. We are also getting better at getting rid of things we “might need” someday, because “might” isn’t a good enough reason to keep something. I’m even down to maybe seven pairs of shoes which is huge for me!
Keeping the motorhome clean is so easy! It can go from disaster to sparkling in 15 to 20 minutes. I have to keep some things in mind though. Unless I spilled on or sweated through an item of clothing, I can probably wear it more than once. Not underwear or socks though – yuck! I’m learning to not go through 3 or 4 outfits a day by layering and shedding layers as the day heats up. I can also get by without showering everyday. Unless I’m particularly grimy, a quick sponge bath is fine sometimes when we are dry camping and don’t want to use up all the water and fill the tanks quickly.
This is an area which needs huge improvement. It’s so convenient to snack on convenience foods. Also expensive. We learned to use the oven, and we’ve started to use the little BBQ we carry. We’re working on moving away from the traditional camping foods in favor of healthy, light meals that don’t leave us slouched in our camp chairs in lethargy.
Sometimes we need a day to just chill. A day to clean the motorhome, do laundry, swim, relax, enjoy a great meal and a cocktail. That is when we find it’s most important to be in a nice campground with all the amenities for a night or two. We need that downtime to regroup and reset. Too much time spent rushing around to see everything is exhausting and tempers flare. Then we are back to #1 and whisper yelling.
Expectations vs. Reality
They are never going to be the same, and that’s okay. It’s hard to let go of that perfect vision of effortless travel, but it’s worth it.