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’s 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, and hundreds of hours of RV video on YouTube. Now you feel prepared to face anything, as you set off on your full-time RV journey. You assume the sense of freedom you experience on this journey, will protect you from the realities of life. Unfortunately, when things start to go wrong, you definitely won’t be smiling.
Rarely things go as expected, and there will be more stressful moments than you can count. Although it may not be the honeymoon intro to RVing you hoped for, it will still be pretty awesome! It’s the opportunity to explore new places, wake up to a beautiful sunrise, and amazing views right outside your window. But it’s not quite the care-free escape from “real life” you may have dreamed of. However, it’s a life you’ll be excited to live. Furthermore, the challenges you face will make it that much more rewarding.
Here are a few helpful tips for lessening the stress when you first hit the road as a fulltime RVer.
Prepare for a few repairs. All the parts of your RV shake and move as you drive. Whether you’re 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’re still near the dealership, or a trusted mechanic. Getting the first few things fixed easily, really helps ease your stress. Also, get an RV repair book, to ease your mind.
Let your plans be flexible. Starting off with a multi-month travel plan, with a strict timeline, is 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. 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. It’s OK to take a day off to do nothing. Do laundry, run errands, wash the rig, do small repairs, or any of the everyday things this new lifestyle requires.
Look for the silver lining. The RV lifestyle can be hard, especially if you let your hopes get too high. But if you take a step back, and look at your situation 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. Maybe things didn’t go your way, so you could be in the right place, to 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 hate? Did you need to save money? Be grateful for achieving your goals, and even though you continue to strive toward building a better life. Remember, adapting to your new lifestyle, will also bring some disappointments. You may not be living out the perfect permanent vacation, but you will enjoy your new RV lifestyle. Finally, you will continue to be surprised by all the new reasons to think it’s awesome!