For many people, there is a belief that living fulltime in an RV will transform life into a fulltime vacation; carefree, full of adventure, and devoid of anything that could distract from your happiness. If that is your idea of the fulltime RV lifestyle, you might be disappointed.
You may think you are being realistic, but it’s very easy to get your hopes up as a new RVer; your imagination may run wild with how perfect this new lifestyle will be; no rent or mortgage, all the places you’ll go, “living free”. Your dream doesn’t include bad roads, break downs, bad weather, or other common stressors. You are an RVer, you’re living the dream! All you need is your rig and an open road!
You’ve read your owner’s manual, countless RV blog posts, hundreds of hours of RV video on You Tube, so you feel prepared to face anything, as you set off on your fulltime RV journey. You may assume the joy and sense of freedom that you are experiencing at the outset will protect you against the realities of life; but, when things start to go wrong, you definitely won’t be smiling.
Rarely will things go as expected, and there will be more stressful moments than you can count. But, although it may not be the honeymoon intro to RVing you hoped for, it will still be pretty awesome, with the opportunity to explore new places, wake up to a beautiful sunrise, have jaw dropping views right outside your window. But it won’t quite be the care free escape from “real life” you may have dreamed of, but it is a life you will be excited to be living, and the challenges you face will make it that much more rewarding.
Here are a helpful tips for lessening the stress when you first hit the road as a fulltime RVer.
Be prepared for a few repairs. All the parts of your RV shake and move as you drive, and whether you are the first or the fifth owner, something is bound to need fixing. We suggest spending the first few weeks testing out your RV, while you are still near the dealership or a trusted mechanic. Being able to get the first few things fixed easily can really help ease your stress.
Let your plans be flexible. If you start off with a multiple month travel plan with a strict timeline, you are bound to fail. You never know when your RV, the weather, traffic, or other unexpected delays can change your plans without your consent. Leave wiggle room in your plans, and always have a Plan B. For the times you need a plan, make sure you know the cancellation policies and fees at the RV parks and campgrounds you’ve booked, in case you need to cancel. It’s also smart to give yourself plenty of time when planning your route, to avoid stress, and keep your driving days short.
Give yourself a break. Don’t feel like you need to fill every minute or every day, with adventure and new experiences. There are some people with tons of motivation and energy, but if that isn’t you, don’t feel guilty taking a day off to do nothing. Remember, this isn’t a lifetime vacation, and it’s OK to take a day off to do nothing, or spend a day doing laundry, running errands, washing the rig, doing small repairs, or any of the other everyday things this new lifestyle will require.
Look for the silver lining. This can be hard, especially if you let your hopes get too high, but if you can take a step back, and look at your situation as with the eyes of an outsider, you will often see a deeper meaning, or a positive outcome. Maybe that wrong turn brought you to an amazing view you would have never seen, or maybe things didn’t go your way, so that you could help someone else.
Remember the reason why you began RVing. What set you on this journey? Was it to travel in your retirement? Was it a job you hated, or maybe you needed to save money? Be grateful for achieving your goals, and even though you continue to strive toward building a better life, and adapt to your new lifestyle, there will be some disappointments along the way. You may not be living out the perfect permanent vacation dream, but you will enjoy your new lifestyle, and you will continue to be surprised by new reasons to think it’s awesome!