700 days on the road. 700 days ago we drove away from our little plot of land outside Portland, Oregon, headed South, and haven’t put down any “roots” since. My goal since starting this blog on our Full-time RV life has always been to be helpful to anyone who is reading it, but simultaneously I strive to be honest. We’ve talked about the struggles of having a huge surgery on the road, and dealing with changing what state Jeremiah domiciles from. (Please make him stop saying he’s a Texan.) We also share a LOT of ups. Utah was the experience I had hoped for, and swimming with the manatees will always be one of my favorite memories on the road (or ever, for that matter.) Right now though? I’m tired.
I’m struggling with RV life right now. A lot of that comes from the pandemic that the world is facing. A year ago, we’d hop in the car and make an hour drive to a random food place that we’d read about and dive into our hamburgers, order a beer, relax. That’s not happening now. I remember we scooted into Dallas and made a last-minute decision to attend a workshop a year-ish ago. When we got no benefit out of it, we skedaddled and made our way across the street to a fancy-schmancy sushi restaurant. These workshops aren’t happening now, and we wouldn’t attend if they were. COVID. It’s a real deal-breaker.
Putting plans on pause
We’re not doing the things we did a year ago when we were traveling because we 1. can’t because things are happening and 2. want to be safe so are avoiding places. The appeal of RV life is seeing the world from our windshield, but we’re seeing a lot fewer slices.
RV living now requires planning in advance
Another very unexpected repercussion of the COVID-19 pandemic is that RV sales have skyrocketed. People who are unwilling to travel via plane and stay in a hotel have finally realized what we’ve known all along: traveling with your house is freeing. A year ago we didn’t make reservations at campgrounds more than a week or two in advance. There was always a place open, no biggie. Not so much now. State parks are frequently filled up during weekends because people are traveling closer to home, or are planning in advance. I love that people are getting outside! I just wish there was less planning for us to do.
Many of our full-time RV families have mentioned the same thing. They’re struggling to find spots to hunker down in areas that previously were open. Boondocking spots are even getting crowded, and that’s likely because veteran campers are moving away from RV parks and state parks to the places off the beaten path. We spent hours Friday morning looking for places for the next 3 weeks- something that would have taken 30 or 45 minutes before.
Don’t go breakin’ my heart… just everything else in the RV
Things are breaking at a pace we just haven’t seen since the first month or two of RV life. Initially, we expected things to break in the first couple of months. Jeremiah equated it to getting a “fixer-upper” home that needed a bunch of maintenance. Now though, after we’ve put a lot of energy into it (mostly Jeremiah) we’re experiencing an onslaught of issues. Some very minor things. A few larger ones, like the generator not working which limits us from boondocking because our batteries are really on their last legs.
I could list everything that’s been rapidly out of commission, but just believe me. It’s a lot of things.
Frustrated isn’t the way I feel. I think it’s just tired.
Cultural adaption curve of RV life
But here’s the thing – I actually felt that way about three to six months into RVing and had a sense of regret. There was a big “what have I done” moment. It’s actually common with ex-pats, & is called the ex-pat cultural adaptation curve, but it often applies to any major changes like moving into an RV to travel. After the honeymoon stage, you dip drastically into the shock phase before slowly adjusting to real life. You never reach the same feeling of the honeymoon as you normalize your reality.
I don’t have that huge sense of regret and major frustration as I did then. I had doubted everything we did a few months in. Now, I’m just longing for some things to go smoothly – for RV parks to have openings, and our generator to be fixed, and for things to stop breaking for crying in the mud. I would also love if COVID could magically disappear but since it’s not, I’ll go with the other things.
Throwing in the towel for RV life
Does that mean we are going to stop RVing and move into a regular ole house? Doubtful. I’m just trying to be honest. If you want to try the RV lifestyle, please know that there are some really stressful and exhausting things about RV life. And if you already are an RVer, you know how I feel. Travel is so freaking amazing, but there is burnout and disappointment. At the end of the day, dinner still needs to be made, the dog still needs to be walked, & the laundry ain’t gonna do itself.
Do I think we’ll be on the road for another 700 days? At this point, no. But ask me tomorrow. My answer may switch to a “maybe” by then. We know the general area we want to settle down, but as soon as I think we’re ready to throw in the towel, we get a second (and third, and fourth, etc) wind. Luckily life is all about that. You don’t experience the ups without being able to compare it to the downs.
Does any of this resonate with you on some level? I know I’m not alone in how I feel – even if you’re not an RVer you can likley relate on some level with how COVID has changed your life. If you’re feeling tired, know you’re not alone.