We just spent a week in Kansas and since there really isn’t a whole lot to do in Kansas, I had some time to reflect back on the time we have spent on the road.
It has been a little over 7 months since we moved into the RV and started traveling. It has been quite an amazing experience so far and I am so grateful that we have been able to do this. It’s not all perfectly exciting days like my blog and Facebook might look. It’s real life, and sometimes real life has inconveniences and problems like blown tires, things in the RV needing to be fixed, grumpy kids, grumpy mom and dad, etc. Some days are just regular days that involve working, doing school, laundry and cleaning. Some days are long driving days. We’re not really on a permanent vacation, although sometimes it feels like it and I have to remind myself that I have work to do and it’s not time to play. Here is a picture of the kids doing their morning Bible study before we start our school day. Yes, we really do school on the road. 🙂
And a couple of random Fat Cat pictures. She has really adjusted well to life on the road. She has become an outdoor cat. She is always meowing to go outside so she can explore the new sights and sounds, and see what kind of trouble she can get herself into. 🙂
One of the things I love best about this life is the constantly changing scenery, seeing new places that I would otherwise never have seen. I have a serious case of wanderlust, but I’m also an introverted homebody. That probably sounds a little contradictory, but taking my home everywhere we go helps to bridge that gap. It means I am always at home, yet able to travel and see the country like I really want to do. I can always retreat into my cozy little tiny home when I need some downtime, or go for a nature walk, or just sit outside by the campfire. I also love that I don’t have to pack and unpack to go on a trip. I don’t have to worry about forgetting something I might need since everything we own is always with us on the road.
And that brings up another point, less really is more. I realized I don’t need as much as I thought I did. Downsizing from our house to an RV was hard and it was hard deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Since we’ve been living in the RV I realized I don’t even need all the stuff I took with us and I’m still getting rid of more stuff as we go. We haven’t been in many houses since we hit the road, but the couple of times we have visited someone in a “sticks and bricks”, I am amazed at how much space they have. It’s amazing how quickly I have become accustomed to living in a small space. By the way, “sticks and bricks” is what full-time RV’ers call the homes we used to live in.
I’ve realized that having the whole country for our backyard is better than having a big house. I know it’s not for everyone, and I’m sure many people would never want to live this way, but for us it’s working.
Being an introvert though, I have really had to get out of my comfort zone. I have met many new people on the road, RV parks are great for getting to know your neighbors. Some RV parks have spots that are so close together you can’t help but get to know your neighbors really well! For the most part I have really enjoyed getting to know so many new people. Strangers aren’t really as scary as I thought they were. Most people are really nice, normal people and I have enjoyed getting to know them. We have met people from all walks of life — from other families traveling like we are to older couples that are retired and living their dreams. Everybody we meet has their own unique stories to tell, and I’m enjoying having the time to slow down and listen and get to know people.
One thing I have learned since we started traveling is that we need to slow down. We have been traveling at a pretty fast pace this year, moving every week or two which doesn’t leave us a lot of time to fully explore an area. Next year I’m hoping to slow down our travels a little and have more time at some locations. I have also learned that living on the road is a lot more expensive that I expected it to be. It’s still cheaper than living in our sticks and bricks with a mortgage payment and all, but campgrounds are not cheap. I’m trying to learn from some other Fulltime Families how to find cheaper campgrounds and state parks. We haven’t been brave enough to try it yet, but some families do a lot of boondocking which means they camp at free or cheap public lands. They don’t have any electric or water hookups so they need to be self-sufficient, but some of the locations they find are truly breathtaking.
One of the hardest and most time-consuming things has been trip planning. I had no idea how hard that would be! It takes me hours to figure out where we’re going, where we’re going to stay and what we’ll do when we get there. Maybe if we didn’t move so often I wouldn’t have to spend quite so much time doing this.
A real benefit of this life is spending so much more quality time together as a family. Back in the sticks and bricks we used to spend most weekends cleaning the house and doing yard work. With no yard work and a much smaller house to clean, weekends have become a lot more fun. We are usually out hiking and exploring a beautiful national park on the weekends now. I love that we are getting out and seeing amazing places, rather than just reading about them in a book. We are experiencing life now while we have it. There are no guarantees in life and we are not even guaranteed tomorrow. So, I would like to encourage you. What is it that you want to do? You may not have a dream to travel and see the world, but what is it you want to do? Get out and do it! Don’t wait, do it now while you can.