As a type C personality (the rule-abiding perfectionist cousin of type A), I’m a creature of habit. I have a system of order for doing most everyday tasks, such as getting dressed, eating breakfast, making coffee, etc. Bob is a type B personality (relaxed and social). That means he goes with the flow and easily adapts to the different times and locations in which we find ourselves.
Little did I know when I married him that his relaxed, adaptable personality would rub off on me. He quickly brought chaos to my order and has rounded my straight edges. That’s actually a good thing, or I likely wouldn’t survive as a full-time RVer. I relish our lifestyle, but I do have a few confessions to share.
1. Routines Are Difficult
Full-time RV living isn’t conducive to routine. As we travel the country, we cross time zones. That means sometimes I have a couple of hours in the morning for personal activities, such as exercise. In other locations, I have to start my workday shortly after rolling out of bed.
Carving out time for fitness can be challenging. At my last in-office job, the building had a big square in the center connecting four wings in each direction. Every time I got up from my desk to use the restroom or talk to a co-worker in another area, I’d take a lap around the inner square.
Living in 400 square feet doesn’t afford that opportunity. Walking from my work-from-home office to the restroom takes all of 12 steps. That doesn’t give me much exercise. I have to make a point to pull myself away from work, lace up my sneakers, and get outside to walk.
Some camping locations offer more walking options than others. We stayed at a Boondockers Welcome site in South Carolina where I could walk a dirt road to the main two-lane country road. The dirt road wasn’t even a mile long. I didn’t dare walk the country road for fear of a car racing down and not seeing me.
We’ve also stayed at campgrounds that feature walking trails where I can get plenty of steps in. I try to take advantage of those.
Sometimes I use a phone app to help me with strength training as well, but that too is inconsistent, depending on our situation. It took me more than two months to complete a four-week, full-body workout challenge.
2. Showers Aren’t Luxurious
You may have heard of military showers, where troops get two minutes to get wet, lather up, and rinse. RV showers can be similar. Because we have limited gray water tank space, we don’t like to let the water run, even when we’re connected to freshwater. So, we follow the military example but don’t limit ourselves to two minutes.
We wait for the water to warm, get wet, turn it off, lather up, and turn the water on again to rinse. I have another rinse for hair conditioner. When my hair was shorter, I mastered a seven-minute shower. Now that my hair’s longer, my showers are too, as it takes more time to get all the shampoo and conditioner out of my mane. I stopped timing them, in case you’re wondering about my current record.
Because showers are no longer luxuries, we, and many RVers, don’t take them as often as we used to. Wet wipes come in handy for the in-between times.
3. Clutter Creep Is Real
With limited living space, it’s easy for open areas to fill with things. Important books and reading materials we reference semi-regularly occupy the end tables on either side of our couch. Food containers, fruit, and drinking ware crowd the island counter. Unread mail, loose change, and miscellaneous items we’re not sure what to do with take up real estate on the dining table.
This is especially problematic during a long-term RV stay, when we don’t have to pack our belongings and close the trailer for travel. It’s easy to put off cleaning the areas, find something else to focus on, and pretend the items aren’t there. But they don’t go away until we intentionally address the clutter creep.
4. Sometimes We Barely Fit
Campsites come in many shapes and sizes. Some are expansive, offering plenty of space for our 42-foot rig and 23-foot truck, with our nearest camping neighbor shouting distance away. We enjoy the peace and quiet these situations provide.
Other camping spots are tight, such as the one we stayed at in Wisconsin. Our deepest slide, my office, rested about 8 inches from our camping neighbor’s window. I kept my window shade pulled there.
In Branson, Missouri, we had to strategically park our rig to be able to open our basement compartment between a post and the electric pedestal to complete our setup. At a spot in Florida, our front door opened to a palm tree. We stayed there so long that we had to trim the tree to keep its leaves from entering our home.
5. The Scenery Is (Mostly) Great
Despite the routine challenges, clutter creep, and tight accommodations, the RV life does offer a lot of perks. One of the best is being able to see God’s beautiful, diverse creation as we traverse the country.
From the vast Great Lakes and wooded forests to picturesque deserts, farms, and small towns, we get to see incredible sights. Most are gorgeous. Some even border on breathtaking. Others leave a bit to be desired, like the sketchy RV spot we found ourselves in behind a hotel in Ashland, Oregon.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” as the saying goes. We can find beauty in every circumstance in which we find ourselves. Sometimes we just have to look a little harder for it.
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.