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So, What’s It Like?

July 22, 2014

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People are intrigued by the fact that we live in our RV.  Intrigued… not necessarily envious.  I often say that most people find it interesting, but are privately saying to themselves “…but I couldn’t live like that.”  And they are probably right.  It’s definitely not for everyone.  After almost three years living fulltime in motorhomes, I thought I’d share what it’s like.  Once I started writing this, I realized it will have to be a series of installments.  Here is the first installment:

There are a lot of people like us who live fulltime in travel trailers, motorhomes, fifth wheel, and even in pop-up campers and modified vans.  I saw somewhere recently that there are over a million people living full time in an RV in the United States.  While it’s true that many do it out of economic necessity, I think most do it for the relaxed, casual, mobile lifestyle.  The fact that it’s an economical way to live adds to the draw.

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Just in case you’re not an RVer, and the idea of living in one conjures up a “trailer park” image, well… the image could be true in some cases, but for the most part it really isn’t.  We’ve stayed in some “trailer park” RV parks, but only for short stopovers.  The parks we prefer are clean, well maintained, with grass areas nicely mowed and edged.  Our patios are simply visible on the side of the house instead of hidden in back.  The rigs might range in age from 15 years to brand new.  Sitting here, looking out the front window, I see some smaller trailers like the one next to us, but mostly fifth wheels and motor coaches.  Some of the motorhomes have to cost up to a quarter of a million dollars or more, although most are less expensive.  Our 10 year old Bounder, with its recent wash and wax, fits in nicely.  Some sites have small Hondas like ours, others have Jeeps, and around the corner there is a Mercedes and a Beamer.  Many have big pickups, fitted to tow a fifth wheel.  We’ve done some checking, and the fifth wheels don’t cost as much as the trucks that tow them.  The couple a few spaces down have a two-seater Seadoo in the parking space.  Directly across from us is a couple who live fulltime in a pretty new 30+ foot fifth wheel, and travel in a 30+ foot diesel motorhome.  It’s a neighborhood with a mixture of modest older rolling bungalows and new mcMansions on wheels.

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I’m not going to discuss the merits of different categories of RVs here.  That topic is covered in a host of forums online.  Got a question?  Just Google it.  And I can’t really address the special issues involved with living in a pop-up or camper van, but I suspect a lot of things are still pretty similar.  What I want to talk about are the every day things, the little things (and sometimes big things).  And I’m not going to cover camping, as such.  I’m just going to share what we’ve learned, in almost three years, about actually living, sitting still, full time, in a roughly 300 square foot home on wheels.

If there is more than one of you, then the standard first comment is “Well, you better like each other.”  That is so true.  And I’m not just talking about the idea that there’s no place to go if you have a fight.  You can always go for a walk.  Or, if you’re so inclined, you can get in the car and leave your partner while you go to the mall.  I wouldn’t do that, but I guess there are people who would.  But even when you get along, you are still living elbow-to-elbow with another human being 24/7.  Does your partner snore?  Or talk to himself out loud?  Do you care if the male in your life goes without shaving for days at a time… or that the female doesn’t put on makeup every day?  Does your partner/mate leave dirty clothes lying around?  Those things would apply no matter where you lived, but they are magnified when living in an RV.

Nell and I learned early on that we were pretty compatible about almost everything.  It probably helps that she is a reader and I am an artist.  We can occupy ourselves for entire days and don’t get on each others nerves.  And, as retirees, when one or both of us gets bored, we run errands, go out to lunch or dinner, or otherwise do something together.

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Living comfortably in an RV requires some discipline.  I’m not a terribly disciplined person, but, for the most part, I’ve learned to adjust.  Everything has a place.  It may be in an overhead cabinet in the living area or in the bedroom… or in the storage space under the bed… or in a compartment on the outside of the rig, but it has a place and it needs to be there when it’s not in use.  There’s not a lot of floor space, and there are only two main rooms, so if you don’t put things away, you may soon find yourself with no place to walk or sit or lie down.  We tend to be pretty neat.  We put clean clothes away in a drawer or on a hanger when we change.  Dirty clothes go in a hamper.  Dirty dishes go in the sink and, since we both like to get up to a clean kitchen in the morning, everything in the sink is washed and put away after dinner each evening.  Magazines or newspapers can’t be allowed to stack up.  In fact, I buy fewer magazines these days, and we quit buying a newspaper.  We get our news primarily online and a little from network TV.  And just about anything I’d want to find in a magazine can be found online.  Google is my friend.

Next:  Books, Laundry, Generator, and the all important Sewer System

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Rita permalink
    July 22, 2014 11:02 pm

    Good post. Can’t wait to read the next ones! 🙂

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