As we completed our 5th year as full-time RVers or as they say in the RV community ‘nomadiversary’, I felt compelled to write about how our lives have changed. Here’s our candid view of RV Life: what we’ve learned as full-time travelers and some tips on how we deal with issues and circumstances that surround our RV lifestyle.
Who needs all that STUFF?
It wasn’t long ago that we went through the process of eliminating about 90% of our belongings. We admit, it’s painstaking and chaotic. Lucky for us, we had a beautiful ending to that story as well as tips on how we did it.
Even then, we still have too much stuff. However, it wouldn’t be prudent of me to say that we’re actually enjoying having less and doing more. Because in the end, when the man upstairs calls us for our presence up there, none of it is going with us. And of course, why would we want to burden our family of sifting through what may have been seemingly valuable to us but junk to them?
All of that said, downsizing and minimizing is a daily thing of our RV life. Everything we use, have or wear must be either multi-purpose or extremely important.
And, do we really need to BUY that CRAP?
This goes along with what I just talked about above. While I wouldn’t label myself as a compulsive buyer, we sure did have a lot of crap we didn’t need. Did we really have to have ten Rubbermaid totes full of Christmas decorations of which, only half of it went up? And it was all because we were in the mindset, ‘oh, it’s on sale, let’s get it’. Well, enough of that BS!
Then there were the clothes we would wear only a few times and OH, those many pairs of shoes. And let’s not talk about the CRAFT STORE I had in my craft studio because seriously, looking back, I’m downright embarrassed at the gluttony of it all. That’s right….GLUTTONY.
RV life that literally catapulted us into the more minimalistic lifestyle came at a time when we needed it most.
Now, we think about everything we put each dollar bill on the counter for. Each purchase must have meaning and reason. Purchases have to be small and lightweight because once we downsized to our tiny motorhome, space and weight became even more of a premium. So, each time we look at our bank account, we’re happy to say it’s growing! Because we don’t buy crap or fall to the consumerism that others think we should.
Television is toxic!
We never were TV addicts but we did enjoy binge watching some of our favorite shows or leaving the television on all day for background noise. But we found that we actually enjoy other sounds that we had been missing out on. But seriously, we can’t really trust any news outlet anymore because they all lie through their teeth or slant the news to their agendas or television programming has just become useless.
But I digress, I admit I’m an ION channel junkie, so if we pull into an area of good television reception, I may not wait for a rainy day to binge watch my favorite crime shows…because they have cute guys…in uniforms…fighting crime!
We’ve grown closer in our marriage
We’ve always been close but when you live in a 3600 square foot home with jobs and all that surrounds owning a house, sometimes we’d get lost a little. Hey, that’s marriage. We’re on year #36 as I post this. However, when you live in such tiny accommodations, marital quandaries are always…always up close and personal. There is no running away from it; especially when you don’t have a toad!
As with any relationship, we learned to take care of issues immediately because simply, there is no room or atmosphere to allow them to fester let alone worry about where we put the only roll of toilet paper (okay, that’s a stretch, but you get it).
We have found, as a couple, to continue our healthy marriage, honesty and openness are first and foremost. We can’t keep anything bottled up inside because there is no room even for implosion. But also, keeping our health and wellness is a priority must. So we opt for outdoor adventures such as hiking, kayaking, and exploring our new surroundings. All that said, we’re not perfect nor do we have a perfect marriage. And if we have an argument, we wait to argue and duke it out when we’re boondocking in the middle of nowhere! By the time we light the campfire, we’re good with each other.
Oh, and worth mentioning, there’s a cool Facebook Group called Full-Time-RVing – The Emotional Journey that I frequent that helps sometimes validate feelings and experiences. Because RV life isn’t easy. I will never tell you that it’s easy.
Humility, tolerance and acceptance!
Ya know, when you live in a small, more central community, you tend to act on the atmosphere spiritually and psychologically. Never saying where we lived before RVing was closed-minded, I’m just saying we weren’t exposed to anything outside our comfortable circle whether it be friends, church, work or the towns we resided in.
Since RVing, we’ve opened up to a whole huge world of diversity in so many ways and that’s a good thing. We hang out with all walks of life. It doesn’t matter what size RV, religious or political affiliations, color, size, or gender. We love just the same. In the past five years, we have learned so much more about people and acceptance that we ever envisioned.
Like Martha Stewart coins, ‘that’s a good thing!’
There is no such thing as PRIVACY!
We have learned to adapt with so much humility it isn’t even funny. Because when you cohabitate in less than 350 square feet with anyone, vanity goes right out the window. I mean that. So, as a woman, this was extremely difficult for me even though we’ve been married so long. As you know, through age, gravity ensues and wrinkles emerge…in places…well, let’s not talk about that but you get my jest.
Even on days where I would color my hair, I used to wait until Dan was either working or out of the house. Now? There I am, squirting chemicals and dye onto my hair and sitting in front of him on the dinette seat looking like Sasquatch getting a makeover.
And going a step further, we hear each other pee, poop, fart, burp, chew, and snore. And we see every inch of each other’s body even when we’d rather not. Did I mention we are naked in the kitchen a lot? Yeah, that’s nature of the beast living in a 175 square foot motorhome. The kitchen is in the bedroom. The bedroom is in the dining area. The bathroom? It’s a good darn thing that is in the back of our RV with a door. One of the reasons we chose our motorhome’s floor plan is just that. Need not say more.
We actually drive LESS miles!
Contrary to what those who think we’re aimlessly driving all over the Country all the time, it truly is not the case.
Remember when your car insurance company asked how many miles you drive per year? Well, that’s assumably telling on what kind of risk you are. When we told our insurance company that we typically travel less than 10,000 miles per year, we heard our agent gasp. She asked ‘are you sure?’ And of course, we even offer to send her a photo of our odometer.
Our first year, we learned the lesson of ‘don’t try to do everything quickly’ and luckily we listened. And we still held to that. RVing isn’t meant to be rushed. The mountains, ocean, and desert will still be there; no matter if we get their today, next week, or even another five years from now. We just take it slow so we can enjoy all the moments and make tons of memories.
Become environmentally conscious
It used to be when we would throw something away, we’d never think past taking the trash can to the street. Since we’ve been RVing and boondocking on public lands, we see a totally different side of environmental responsibility. We have grown mindful of products we buy that contain plastics; which we all know degrade at the speed less than a snail’s pace. We also try to minimize any disposable product. Instead of using paper plates, we use paper liners in our deli sandwich baskets.
The amount of our trash output has decreased about 90%! That’s something to celebrate, isn’t it?
We also contribute to keeping our public lands clean is we’ll take a trash bag with us on an evening stroll. And sadly, it’s filled by the time we return to our RV. The point is, we need to leave the planet cleaner for our children’s children’s children’s children’s children! Even if it means cleaning up after others.
Minimize our carbon footprint
Because our home size shrunk, so did our carbon footprint. We use less energy because we have less lights, don’t use the microwave oven as much, or yes, like I said above, watch television less. We lessened it even more once we installed our solar panels and lithium ion batteries. Now, our energy isn’t acquired by power plants. It’s absorbed and harvested by Mr. Sun which is free and clean!
Water is a PREMIUM!
When we lived in our big ole sticks and bricks house, we were accustomed to taking long showers, filling our huge jetted tub or letting the water run constantly while doing the dishes. We also would be mindless when throwing only three pair of trousers in the washer and calling it a load. Admittedly, we were extremely wasteful of a precious commodity; water.
Now, we literally count every gallon, pint, glass down to the last drop. Because when our little RV only holds 30 gallons and we need to make that last a week, we get pretty creative at hygiene and consumption. And guess what? We’re here to tell you it’s possible to conserve and yet live comfortably.
Sense of COMMUNITY!
I saved this one for last because it’s what has kept us on the road. Seriously, I mean that. If it weren’t for the incredible community of fellow RV travelers, we’d hung this RV life up long time ago.
For the most part, they are the most friendly and helpful peeps we know. At a drop of a hitch pin, they will be there to console us when we need it most. Not saying we didn’t get that when we lived in our S&B, but notable, we compare it to our military family. They appreciate and respect the lifestyle because they live it too. They will be the first to give us a gallon of water when we say we’re running low. And, they will crawl up on our roof to help screw down our solar panels or under our motorhome to help chase a leak.
And, we do the same for them! Within our capacity of knowledge and ability, course. Because, we surely don’t want to become a hinderance or cause of more tarnation that RV life can present.
So, I close with this. If you’re contemplating going on the road or full-time RV life, please bookmark this and revisit. And if you’ve been on the road and struggle, refer back to this often. Take from us of what we’ve learned from ourselves, each other, those we meet on the road and our birds of feather. And know that not all of our experiences or failures will replicate yours.
But know that RV life is not easy. It’s not all sunsets, beautiful waterfalls and cocktails around the campfire. It’s challenging but well worth stepping out of our comfort zones and feel-good boundaries. RV life is just that…LIFE.
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