Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Ten things we've learned while living, working, and traveling in an RV full time

Lamia at Pike National Forest 

Nine years ago I wanted to get a recreational vehicle and travel more often. On December 19, 2015, two days after my 51st birthday and facing a move-out date in January once the house sold to a buyer, Paul and I decided we didn't want to go back to living in a house or apartment that required a huge chunk of money to pay for, plus all the hassles that came with it. So Paul and I took the step of getting rid of about 90% of our possessions, storing the other 10% in a storage unit, purchasing an RV on January 22, 2016, and embarking on a full-time mobile lifestyle. 

All either of us needs to do work is an Internet connection, so we could live and work from anywhere we chose. And when we wanted to travel, either near or far, we'd have that ability as well. We would live this lifestyle for as long as we wanted, and one thing was for certain: it would be an adventure that most people thought about, but never got around to actually doing. We wanted to actually DO it. 

We had all of 30 feet in our 1987 Ford Mallard Class-C motorhome, so paring down to the essentials was necessary. We also brought along our four dogs (Cosmo, Loki, Panda, and Freya) and our elderly cat who has an attitude, Isis. Our pets are like children to us—except they have fur, which my two adult children do not. Throw in our must-have items, like clothes, cooking supplies, dishes, food, bedding, our computers, books, and personal essentials, and there's not much else you can take with you. 

Here are ten things I've learned since February 2016 when we began living, working, and traveling in our RV, Lamia, full-time: 

1. No matter how much you think you've pared down for living in an RV, you'll find out there will be two or more passes you'll have to go through AGAIN in order to truly pare down your possessions to a manageable level. 

2. One of the worst smells in the world is a full black tank! 

3. The second-most worst smell in the world is a full gray tank. 

4. So far, Verizon Wireless has the best signal reach for Internet usage—even when you're at the top of a mountain out in the middle of nowhere. 

5. You're so used to city noise that, once you're out and away from people in the woods, the silence will almost deafen you. But you'll get used to it. 

6. The John Steinbeck method of washing clothes while traveling actually DOES work. Try it! 

7. Your stress levels go down to nearly zero when you're dry camping (boondocking) and away from society and noisy humans. 

8. All food tastes better when it's cooked over a campfire. Especially s'mores! 

9. You can do most cooking with a microwave, crock-pot, grill, and rice cooker/steamer. I have yet to use our gas oven or stove. 

10. If you're weird about your privacy, don't go on the road with people you don't like or aren't comfortable around. You will have 30 feet of space—if you're lucky—or maybe more if you can afford to own a Class A). Thankfully, I like and am comfortable around my husband! 

There are more than ten items overall, and I'm sure the list will expand in the coming months, but for now these are the ones foremost on my mind ;-).

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