When we began this big life change a few months ago, I had no idea what to expect. I felt overwhelmed with everything we needed to do and all we would need to learn. It felt insurmountable in the beginning. Now three months in and counting I can honestly say it’s been fairly easy to learn the ins and outs of full time RVing. The best way to learn is by doing. This certainly applies in this case. Everything we know came from research and a lot of getting hands on with it all. I still remember being at the Indiana Dunes in April and discovering if only we had a flexible funnel we could add a bit of water to our freshwater tank without needing to move our rig. I can assure you we now have one. It’s a simple way to add some water during a longer stay, as we always carry four 5 gallon jugs with us for fresh water.
Along the way we have learned several tips and tricks with plenty more to come. During the first three months we found out what supplies/tools/items would help us. Through organizing and re-organizing we now know what configurations work best in the kitchen, garage, and living areas.
A big part of this lifestyle is doing the research to find tips from others and trying things out for yourself. There is no one size fits all with RVing. During our stays at various campgrounds it’s been amazing to see the variety of rigs people have. From a tent, to a small pop-up camper, all the way up to a 45 foot Class-A motorhome complete with washer and dryer and everything in between. Some people never use their onboard facilities such as the stove top, shower, and even the toilet. Others like ourselves use it all and have adapted to using all of it quite well.
We went close to 2 months only using our RV shower, despite having access to house showers along the way. I must admit I love our RV shower. I’ve become accustomed to shutting the water off while soaping up. In fact the first time I used a house shower after 2 months I felt guilty for letting the water run. I realize how much water we truly waste on a regular basis having a house.
Cooking in the RV is a snap. I’m able to cook everything I did at the cabin. The only constraint is space. But I’ve found ways to work around that too. In fact one of my messier meals to make is sushi and that was accomplished easily inside the RV. Now that I’m armed with a small outdoor grill I hope to elevate my cooking to a whole new level. Thanks Dad for the grill contribution.
For anyone interested in this lifestyle, I offer this. Go for it. You will learn a ton along the way. You will meet a ton of new people. You will spend time exploring and enjoying your surroundings instead of rushing to pack it all in on a short weekend. You will make mistakes and you will learn from them. And you will learn a lot about yourself, what’s truly important and what you can part with. I will also say this, there will be days you question yourself and this lifestyle. There will be times when things are less than ideal but that’s life in general. Why not get out explore and experience new things all while dealing with life’s less than ideal moments.
Now for a moment of real talk, not that what I’ve said above is not real but how about the other side of things. Things like missing friends and family back home. Or trying to feel at home while being on the road. The constant need to find your next place to stay. The chores and maintenance that needs attending to. Balancing work, living, and exploration. These are all a part of the lifestyle too. At times you feel like you are on vacation and then realize this is my new life. Which means you may have to forgo that hike and get some work done. With the added amount of people camping/RVing, getting into parks is harder than ever. It takes planning and research to find other options for places to park. Some people choose to book all of their stays months in advance. Shane and I have found we are not those people. We prefer having flexibility and being less on a schedule. This can lead to stress of finding a place. The coming months will be interesting as we take off the “training wheels” and no longer have friends or family to rely on for parking spots. I will admit to having some worry about that but I know as with this whole process it will work itself out.
I wanted to share all of this adventure, not just the amazing positive things. It can be a real struggle at times but is it worth it? Absolutely. In my opinion it’s worth all of the negative for the positive that comes along with it all. I love the change of view on a regular basis. I love meeting new people everywhere we go. Everyone has a story to tell and it’s interesting to hear it all. I even love the chores, filling water, hand washing dishes, all of it.
Our first three months the weather was less than ideal with cold spells, rain, snow, and thunderstorms. We spent a lot of time inside our RV. But because of that time inside we were able to decide how best to use the space. Which led us to our renovation and our current configuration that we absolutely love. We have more space and it feels cozy and more like a home. Less like we are going RVing for the weekend. I think it’s important to feel at home with this full time lifestyle.
Despite only having approximately 200 sq. ft. I have a cozy nook to read or watch my favorite movie/shows, in the over cab area. Josie loves to come up with me to snug. This space also doubles as a spare bed if we have guests. Our living area consists of a long couch and desk area. Here I can lounge with my feet up, work on my computer at the desk/dining top, or enjoy a conversation area with guests. The kitchen may be small but it works quite well. In fact I have more cabinet space inside this Winnebago than I ever had at the cabin. I love cooking and clean up is easy with my own system for cooking, cleaning up, and a drying space all in one. It’s just a matter of doing one thing at a time. Plus our new desk/dining top also serves as extra counter space if needed.
The back section of our RV is a comfortable sleeping/bathroom suite with the ability to shut the door for added privacy. Plus I love to read in bed before drifting off. And it’s Josie’s favorite afternoon napping spot.
I look forward to what the next three months will hold as we continue to learn more and navigate our way finding places to stay. We are headed up through the middle of Michigan and up into the UP (Upper Penisula of Michigan) to explore for the remainder of the summer into early fall.
Here is a look back over the last 3 months in pictures:
From our cozy cabin to an empty one. From the original couch and dinette to our final configuration (for now) complete with a fully modular foot rest/desk/dining table/extra counter space. Down to the throw pillows to give it a touch of home.
My coveted faucet upgrade. Shane finally got tired of hearing me complain about not having a sprayer. Thank you Shane for this wonderful upgrade. It is truly a game changer in the kitchen!
Our various spots over the last three months.
And finally, where we have been the first three months:
De Pauw Nature Park – Greencastle, IN
Paynetown SRA – Bloomington, IN
Yellowwood SF – Nashville, IN
Shane’s family’s home – Cassopolis, MI
Indiana Dunes SP – Chesterton, IN
Salamonie Lake – Andrews, IN
Friend Ryan’s home – Wakeland, IN
McCormick’s Creek – Spencer, IN
Friend Troy’s property – Linton, IN
Indy 500 – Speedway, IN
Lieber SRA – Cloverdale, IN
Friend Corrine’s property – Poland, IN
Our kids’ house – Greenwood, IN
It’s been a whirlwind the last three months, exploring, learning, making the RV home, meeting new people, kayaking, renovating, working, maintenance, and more.
Going forward we still need to finalize a few things in the RV, buy a toad (car to tow behind), and figure out how to continue to make a sustainable income from the road. I look forward to sharing phase II of our journey from the road. I say phase I was getting our feet wet. Now we are diving into the deep end of the pool. Stay tuned for more as we venture north.