It’s been ONE YEAR since we started traveling full time! Hard to believe, but one year ago we pulled up our stabilizers in the beautiful bluegrass of Kentucky and hit the highway headed for Texas. So far, we’ve visited 12 states, lived and worked in four, driven over 6,000 miles, and stayed in seven National Parks. Along the way, we’ve had a slew of adventures, a mishap or three, a bout of boredom here and there…you know, just LIVED. And while life hasn’t changed all that much from our former stationary situation, we have seen a lot, learned even more about ourselves and this lifestyle, and we want to share a few of the things that have been our biggest RV revelations thus far:
RV Life Lessons (Thus far…)
Shorter Drive Days Lead to Better Trips
Driving a travel trailer is stressful, much more so than just taking a road trip in the ol’ family sedan. When your house is dragging along behind you, one tends to have more frequent white-knuckles and elevated heart rates. In order for the trip to be bearable, Wes usually maxes out at around 6 hours of driving per day (about 360 miles, give or take); Any longer than that, and the dude is tight-shouldered, grumpy, and exhausted, which will just be compounded if we plan on hitting the road again the next day. Better to just pull over, find a meal, and rest up for the next day…The journey is part of the fun, after all, so why make it miserable if you don’t have to?
Planning 360 mile or less days meant adjusting driving routes, contract start dates, and amending/shortening some sight-seeing vacations between jobs, but in the long run it is worth it. We plan on doing this full time RV thing for a while, so we have the luxury of taking it slow and enjoying every bit of it.
Choose Your Destinations Wisely
…But don’t feel stuck if you make a mistake!
Where you park your rig might not matter as much when your hopping from spot-to-spot sightseeing, but it matters A LOT when your staying for months at a time. What your family likes to do during downtime should factor into “long-term” campsite selection.
For example: Watch a lot of Netflix? You had better find a site with good WIFI or cellular signal for hot spotting. Outdoorsy? Your park better be near some trails and not nestled in the middle of a hellacious string of strip malls. Sure, in this RV life, home is where the heart is….But your heart grows a heck of a lot happier & warmer with a purdy view and walkable access to a public park system! If you don’t have access to the things that are most important to your family members, it will taint your experience of the entire visit. Believe us.
Finally, the universal truth in this life is if you hate the place you pull up to…MOVE! Your house has wheels for a reason, and forfeiting a reservation deposit is worth the sacrifice if you can’t stand your new home-for-now for the duration of your time in town.
Preventing Disaster is Better Than Dealing With Disasters
At least we think so. Check your tire pressures before you hit the road each time. Curtail rust and other early signs of wear-&-tear before they become too far gone to fix. Stay below your maximum tow capacity when driving across the country. It is better to prevent mid-trip hassles than deal with them on the road. Again, this is more theory than direct experience, as Wes is a champion of routine preventative maintenance; we haven’t had any major hiccups of hurdles so far (knock on ALL the wood…), and that is due entirely to Wes’ diligence in this area.
You “Need” a Lot Less Than You Think
I used to have around 40 pairs of shoes. I had about 50 dresses, 10 pairs of jeans, 15 swimsuits…you get the picture. I like clothes. Paring down was a challenge for me. I kept several of the fancier dresses that I “just couldn’t part with” tucked away in the RV wardrobe. We’ve hauled them across the country and back, and in the last year, I have worn a schmancy dress TWICE. Two times, in two different states. Wes has worn his formal suit once in the last year. While occasions for fancy attire do arise, most of what we do for fun involves hiking boots and comfy britches over stilettos and sequins.
Wes & I have both found over the course of the last year that when not at work, we end up essentially wearing a “uniform” of t-shirts, jeans, hiking shoes and, when needed, a jacket or sweatshirt. And while I appreciate fashion and enjoy variety in my wardrobe, a huge part of this lifestyle is living minimally.
So in honor of our one year travelversary, I intend to do another wardrobe purge in April. I will document the progress and the pain in a future blog posting.
I also fully intend to blog more frequently this year, as we have some exciting changes coming up in how & where we will be living! Can’t wait to share the next year with you all!
Until Next Time, Lots of Love,