It really took a good six or seven months to feel 100% comfortable with this lifestyle change, to get used to our new reality. Now, the small living space and the regular change of venue seem normal and right, interesting and exciting.
Our perspective as new full time RVers was fresh: I had come from a background of RVing but I hadn't RV'd in 15 years. Hans had never RV'd before. We were both newly retired; having quit our jobs, sold our house in San Diego, and relocated to Oregon one month before we bought and moved in to our Montana 5th wheel. A lot of big lifestyle changes in a very short time frame!
We spent at least two years researching and shopping for the type of rig we felt we would be comfortable in. We chose a 5th wheel trailer because we wanted only one vehicle with an engine to worry about and the cash outlay would be less than buying a motorhome and towed vehicle. We are happy with the floor plan we chose on our Montana 5th wheel; the layout is comfortable and cozy and everything we want or need is conveniently placed.
|We love our cozy home on wheels!|
We are also happy with our four wheel drive Chevy truck, it's gotten us into some amazing back country in several places we've visited. The diesel engine has gotten decent mileage both towing and regular driving.
One of the biggest challenges to full time RVing is two people learning to live together in such a small space. We could have gone with a smaller RV with the capability to get into smaller, more nature-centric parks easily, but we chose the 5th wheel so we'd have room for our hobbies and more comfortable, roomy living space. This turned out to be the right decision for us. Bringing our cat, Rosie, into the 5th wheel after four months on the road really turned the place into a home.
|Rosie brings us joy every single day!|
So far, we've chosen to camp mostly in places with full hookups. We like not having to monitor our showering (we hike, we sweat, we shower) or our dish washing (I like to cook so I wash a lot of dishes). Though it's a trade off for privacy. Many full hookup parks have sites rather close together. We've learned that most folks in RV parks are friendly and considerate of their neighbors.
So far, we've booked most of our locations well in advance of our arrival (sometimes months). While that doesn't leave a lot of room for spontaneity, it has often gotten us into the best sites in the campground or state park, while our friends who show up without reservations might end up in overflow camp sites or the least desirable sites if the park is busy. It's a toss up between flexibility and peace of mind, knowing where you'll drop your jacks each night.
The first month of full time RVing was stressful due to learning the ins and outs of RVing: making sure you did everything properly so nothing would fall apart while driving down the road. Then you have to get used to the moving about, the planning where you are going according to weather and activities available that you like to do.
The next six months were really about learning to get along together in this new small footprint. What each persons responsibilities are on a daily basis, what each persons strengths are, giving each other some space, settling into retirement as well as living on the road. I don't think a couple could handle this lifestyle for long if they weren't best friends before they started!
|We are so lucky to be living this amazing life together!|
Now, after a full year on the road, we are truly comfortable with the nomadic lifestyle, the small living space, our ever changing front yard. We prefer to stay at least a week, and sometime 2 - 4 weeks, in one location. This gives us the opportunity to have down time; we don't feel the need to see everything right away because we're leaving the next day. On our low key days we like to visit the library in small towns or hang out at the RV reading, cooking, planning, researching; just being retired!
One of the most enjoyable aspects of this lifestyle is the people we've met on the road. Both through blogging and proximity, friendly folks are often near by. The RV blogging community, in particular, fosters immediate kinship upon meeting when we have been following each others blogs. Already in just one year, we've engaged with new friends multiple times as we each travel around the West. We've got the flexibility to have both quiet, alone time and socializing time.
Occasionally I'll read a blog or talk to someone in a campground that is critical of others choice of type of rig or where they like to camp and I just don't understand that. With so many options for mode of travel: car camping, tent, pop up, truck camper, class B, class C, class A, travel trailer, toy hauler, 5th wheel; and so many places to camp: boondocking, private park, state park, national park, Wallydocking, truck stops, urban stealth camping...it seems to me there is room for everyone to make the choices that are right for them at that particular time.
At this one year marker we feel we have made the right choices for our on-the-road lifestyle, at this stage of our lives; and we intend to continue our exploring and enjoyment of this beautiful country at our own pace, in the comfort of our cozy home on wheels.
It's a good life!