April 8, 2023
We dreamed of RV life for years and were thrilled to start our journey sooner rather than later. We’d heard so many horror stories, so we prepared, researched and thought we were ready.
Turns out, we weren’t.
We had a lot of great memories our first year, but we had a lot of issues, too.
NEW RV WOES Sadly, there is not a great deal of quality control on RVs that are new and, with full time use, things wear out quickly. Not to mention, it’s like living through an earthquake with every move. We lost a lot of travel time getting repairs done and not being prepared that some appointments were only to see the issue and get warranty work approval–which means multiple visits. If you have to get repairs, ask questions about your appointment. Will the repairs be that day, or is it just to diagnose? How long will they take? Can you still live in your RV while they work (some offer camping on site at night and they work during the day) or will you need to move out for the duration? Let them know it is your full time home if it is, this changes timelines a bit. And if they won’t work with you, go elsewhere. There are many dealerships that can do the warranty work, you just may have to plan travels around it.
SCHEDULING Even in RV life, there are still doctors, dentist, veterinarian, hair, dog groomers, chiropractors…all these appointments need to happen. Our first year, we just came back for them, but as we scheduled for this year, we selected certain months we’d be home and scheduled for during that time, unless we can take care of them on the road. This made life a lot easier.
MAIL This is a difficult one for some, but we’ve been lucky for two reasons. One, our home base family member gathers our mail as it comes in. If it is urgent or looks important, he calls and opens it for us. Two, I was able to set up with our local post office to get a daily email with an envelope scan of our mail, so I know what is coming in. This is great since I can give a head’s up to our family member about it in advance. I know some have a family member gather it up and mail it periodically to a known location, or you can always pay for a mail service in a variety of forms to bundle and mail, or even scan and email everything.
SOCIALIZING We heard it was hard to meet people, make friends and keep friends, and we thought we prepared, but not well enough. Since we RV in Florida, being outside a lot isn’t always possible to meet people, especially if you are only there for a week or so. We’ve met a few friends along the way and have stayed in touch, though. We have also struggled maintaining relationships with local friends at home. Even though we post on our private social media, they still miss it when we are there, or we are so busy we forget to reach out, or we just miss them as they are off somewhere. We have gotten better about joining FullTime Families, sitting outside, talking to people, and calling or texting our friends as we think of them.
WORK & SCHOOL We knew we would be closer together in a smaller space, but it took us some time to get used to it. The hardest part is overlap. As a virtual teacher, I do a lot of calls and zoom lessons or meetings, which means the house needs to be quiet and I need to be somewhere with proper lighting and workspace. My son is a virtual student, so deals with the same needs. My husband runs his own business, so has incoming and outgoing calls, as well as work to do. The good news is, other than class times and appointment calls, we can be flexible about who is working and where, but this can make for long, quiet days while we all get through everything, especially if the weather isn’t conducive to being outside. We’ve learned to talk about our week and our day, plan well, and created workspaces throughout the RV so we each have a quiet place if we all need to be on at the same time.
So, as we start year 2, we are doing it a bit differently. While we did get a new RV last month and will still be dealing with a lot of warranty work, we know what to expect and can ask the right questions or make the right plans this time. We are also trying to stay in locations longer, be outside and talk more, and invite our friends to come camping, visit, or get together when we are in town. Our son’s classes have a lot more flexibility and we are learning when we can all work at the same time in the same room, or walk to another room. This new floor plan has a bit more distance between living room and master, so they can watch a movie while I have a call or meeting in the back room. I have faith we will do better this year, but we are sure to still make mistakes and learn more.
Like or comment below, and share with others to support the blog. I post weekly about teaching, traveling and family. Until next time, you can find me on TikTok & Instagram @barnesonmove2 or follow our adventures at BarnesOnMove.com, Facebook & TikTok at @BarnesOnMove