Tag Archives: RV life

Despite the struggles...this lifestyle is still "worth the squeeze!"  Photo credit: Snapped photo edit

RV Living: Worth the Squeeze?

As we are nearing our two year nomadiversary, I reflect back on some of our struggles since starting this crazy wonderful adventure.  We spent the last 6 months back home in Indiana and were asked about our living situation by our friends and family on more than one occasion.  We are used to the way our lifestyle opens up a dialogue with complete strangers we may never see again, but it can be a bit different with people you know and see on a regular basis.  Some people we’ve met and talked with do not completely understand why anyone would willing choose this lifestyle.  And quite frankly, I’ve had a few moments where I’ve wondered the same thing!

I’m sure after previous posts over the last two years and having a glimpse of how great RV living can be, you all want to go out and buy a RV and travel the country. <written in sarcasm text>. This lifestyle is pretty amazing and rather epic, but with that comes the reality that everyday isn’t like this.  We have days that are rough; stuff breaks, things happen, and it’s not always rainbows, butterflies, and unicorns.  I’ll attempt to shed some light on the less than ideal moments one might find themselves in while full-timing in a RV (from personal experience).

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest

Mechanical Issues

We bought our RV new in the fall of 2014 and hit the road that December.  We had a one year warranty on everything and before we even brought it home, we knew of a few things that needed attention, which were all minor repairs.  Living within 3 hours of the dealer and not actually living in the RV yet, made it fairly easy to have it in the shop for warranty work.  However, once it becomes your home and you’re on the road and you could be over 6 hours from a dealer; makes for a whole new logistical nightmare.  This became evident last summer when our master bedroom slide wouldn’t push out.  We were living in “middle of nowhere” Northern California coast and over 6 hours from a dealer that would need our “home” in the shop for several days…not going to happen.  So, naturally we lived with our slide stuck in for 5 months.  Affording us the opportunity to climb over the bed to do laundry or get to the closets, and lifting the bed to get into our dresser (first world problems, but still an inconvenience)!  When you only have 400 square feet and you lose 12 “very functional” square feet, it can be a struggle.

Now I hold my breath every time we have to push slides in or out

Now I hold my breath every time we have to push slides in or out

Mother Nature

We also had a run in (literally) with Mother Nature last summer, thankfully no one was hurt and fortunately neither was our camper.  We had a perfect and large campsite at the back of the campground on the beach in Westport, CA. Unfortunately, one of our shade trees decided it no longer needed one of its’ very large branches.

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Thankful for the campground crew that came and successfully removed the branch with no damage to the awning our RV.

Thankful for the campground crew that came and successfully removed the branch with no damage to the awning or our RV.

Leaks

The dreaded word in the RV world and rightfully so, they can be difficult to remedy and hard to find the culprit.  We found a wet spot near our washer, and figured that was the problem, unfortunately it was not.  Once everything was dry, we then used caulk on every seam on the outside of our camper near the leak location and voila, no more wet carpet!

Caulk...an RVers "duct tape"

Caulk…an RVers “duct tape”

Tire Blowouts

These are definitely not out of the ordinary for full time RV travel, but somehow we managed to go over 10,000 miles around the country before experiencing one.  Very thankful for a husband that is so mechanically inclined.  His expertise has diverted many disasters over the last two years!

Somewhere in New Mexico

Somewhere in New Mexico

Less is More

We have always said “less is more” when we started talking about this kind of a lifestyle.  I agree with this in nearly every aspect of our lifestyle except, our kitchen counter space, and lack of it!  What I wouldn’t give for just four more square feet some days!

It can get a bit ridiculous when trying to make certain meals

It can get a bit ridiculous when trying to make certain meals

Cleaning

It’s a breeze when you have such a small space; but because of this, you (okay, I) tend to want it constantly clean and picked up.  It has been awesome living on the beaches in California and amongst the beautiful pines of Oregon, but the sand and pine needles that consumed our tiny space was my nemesis.  

Our sandy beach in Westport versus the pine along the Umpqua River in Roseburg

Our sandy beach in Westport versus the pine along the Umpqua River in Roseburg

RV Language

There has also been a learning curve to the RV world lingo.  For example, we are now a FTF (full time family) that sold their S&B (stick and brick home), bought a 5er (5th wheel RV), and now roam the country exploring all that it has to offer.  So, we now live a much simpler life in a 400 square foot, split level ranch on a “basement”, that happens to have wheels!  Perception is everything!  

RV life is slow and simple and amusing, and living this way reminds me to walk gently in these moments without worry or busyness.  It’s a lifestyle we’ve chosen; and sometimes you have to take some bad to have this much good.

Despite the struggles...this lifestyle is still "worth the squeeze!"  Photo credit: Snapped photo edit

Despite the struggles…this lifestyle is still “worth the squeeze!” Photo credit: Snapseed photo editor

5 Things We’ve Learned Through Life on the Road

Once again we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere on the coast of Northern California, without the luxuries of any wi-fi, cell service, radio stations or television.  Thankfully, the views, the atmosphere and the peacefulness, more than made up for it.  It’s amazing how quickly you can lose touch with what’s happening in the outside world (except for my occasional access while at work).  And now that we have it, I didn’t miss most of it.  Although, just having the access whenever you need it, is quite nice (Thank you Roseburg, OR for bringing us back to the 21st century).

Now, all of that said as “justification” for why my blog posts have been so sparse; however, our Facebook page has allowed for more frequent updates to our adventure!

And on to my thoughts….

When we started this adventure almost 9 months ago, we had no idea what to expect.  Neither Tim or I had done much RV camping when we decided to take the plunge into full-time RV living.  However, we have learned to adjust to the subtle and drastic changes that have entailed.  Here are five things we’ve learned in our travels and why we are embracing them, although, this lifestyle is not for everyone.

1. It’s not just an extended vacation

Many of the people we’ve met in the RV parks and campgrounds are there on a vacation of some sort.  So, after hearing our story, they compare our situation to an extended vacation, in which we nod our head in agreement.  All the while, in our heads, we’re thinking “raising a one year old and a three year old rarely feels like a vacation!”

She has a flair for the dramatic!

She has a flair for the dramatic!

Frequent occurrence around here...

Frequent occurrence around here…

Yes, our unconventional lifestyle does allow us to travel to see new places and explore new areas often, but none the less, we are still just living.  One of us leaves everyday to go to work and the other stays to take care of the kids, dogs, and house.  (Who has the easier job is a topic for another blog post!). We have more time together than we’ve ever had and so far it’s great (despite the above pictures)!

The beauty of Oregon…Watson Falls

The beauty of Oregon…Watson Falls

Nothing beats throwing rocks into the Umpqua River!

Nothing beats throwing rocks into the Umpqua River!

The beauty of Crater Lake

The beauty of Crater Lake

The littles playing on the beach at the Heceta Lighthouse on the Oregon coast!

The littles playing on the beach at the Heceta Lighthouse on the Oregon coast!

Enjoying Lemolo Falls in Oregon!

Enjoying Lemolo Falls in Oregon!

2. Finding everything

I have become an expert user of Google maps to search for anything and everything while researching our possible next location (I actually have a list of things to search for, not surprising to most).  Once we figure out what stores we will be supporting while in a particular location, we get to navigate the unknowns of the current store.  About the time we have the area figured out, we get to pack-up and start all over, which has become all part of the adventure!  The newness of always being a “tourist” has allowed us to find places and information about areas that some locals didn’t even know.  It’s actually quite interesting and exciting to see and learn how others live.  All the while working to enmesh ourselves in the community and make an effort to view others’ perspectives.

3. Cleaning is a breeze

With just over 400 square feet of living space, we find cleaning to be much less of a chore now, than when living in our stick and brick.  I can thoroughly clean the inside of our home in less than 45 minutes (that’s without “help” from the kids).   However, living in a small space does not favor messiness or toys being left out, so our kids are great at picking everything up every night.  (Which makes this “OCD” momma very happy)

From this to this

4. Everything is so much smaller

And I mean everything, from the oven, to the closets, to the size of the beds.  We had to purchase new pans that would fit in the oven and significantly downsize our kitchen supplies (Let’s face it, most of that was rarely used anyway).  We have three RV “twin” beds and one RV “king” bed, that are smaller than its conventional counterpart, so the sheets are always too big.  We were fortunate to have the option of a washer and dryer in our RV, which we gladly took advantage of.  But of course it’s smaller, so a load a day is essential to not getting behind on laundry (or so I’m told).  I’m lucky enough to have a husband that does the laundry, I can probably count on one hand how many loads of laundry I’ve done in the last 10 months.

5. Living with less really is more

We definitely go with significantly less than most Americans, but on the flip side we still have significantly more than those in the third world, which can be humbling.  Our kids are learning at a young age to live with far less than their fellow playground friends, but you sure wouldn’t know it.  Especially when they can be entertained far longer with a box or a blanket than a new matchbox car or doll.  Griffin has a saying, “you don’t know what you don’t know!” (He’s quite the little philosopher).
We’ve actually noticed on many occasions that our fellow “campers” tend to bring more with them for the weekend than we have in our entire home!

The few toys that made the cut to join our journey!

The few toys that made the cut to join our journey!

Our few outdoor toys plus the little's bikes not pictured

Our few outdoor toys plus the little’s bikes not pictured

Griffin's clothes

Griffin’s clothes

Amelia's clothes and few accessories!

Amelia’s clothes and a few accessories!

These are just a few things we’ve discovered during our new adventures.  We are loving this different lifestyle and all the “different” is exciting (at least for now), however; we may still be in the honeymoon phase (check back in another 10 months).

Photo credit: Pinterest

Photo credit: Pinterest