The RV industry is riding a major boom and you might be wondering what all the fuss is about. I can tell you I never thought about RVing once in my life and now here we are traveling North America for three full years … with my husband and 12 kids. Oh my gosh, life is great. It is so over the moon great. And if you want to know more, read the following post that lists six perks of and ten tips for full-time RVing with your family!
I have found the ultimate parenting hack. A hack so huge that it must be shouted from the rooftops to every family in the universe. A hack so life changing that if everyone took it to heart the world would be a drastically different place.
And that hack is living in an RV. Not a trailer, not a 5th Wheel, but a full-on RV. I’m not kidding. For just one second, bear with me and really give this idea it’s due while I rattle off a few perks.
Living in an RV means never ever having to pack for anything. Not a trip to the zoo or to the mall or even across the country. Just like that, ginormous diaper bags are instantly a thing of the past.
RV’ing eliminates tardiness. You are never ever late for anything, ever. Because you can leave before you are ready, you can leave before the kids even wake up. You just tackle all the getting ready chores en route!!
Life on the road in an RV means that you don’t ever have to step foot in a fast food restaurant while traveling again in your entire life. You can fire up your oven, your stove, your microwave, even your Vitamix Blender for the healthy meals your family is accustomed to!
RV’ing makes camping a breeze. You can indulge your husband’s love of the outdoors and give your kids a wild and free childhood without giving up any of your creature comforts like climate control, comfortable beds and even showers!!! Suddenly you are the coolest mom on earth because you take your kids camping!
RV’ing means you never have to hear anyone grill you on the number of bags you travel with. You can bring every last article of clothing, all your shoes, your favorite shower gels, your makeup, your bikes, your skis, a million changes of clothes for your kids … I mean you can bring everything!! In fact, you can literally bring the kitchen sink!
RV’ing might not be associated with the word luxury, so I’m sure you’d be shocked if you toured one. We had this opportunity last January when we attended the RV Supershow in Tampa, FL. I literally fell in love with all the models on display, but especially with Newmar! From heated tile floors to gas fireplaces to washing machines and dryers, you just will be floored at what the modern RV experience is like!
And with the Internet, the guesswork of RV’ing is a thing of the past. You can compare RV’s online, you can find campgrounds, roadschool and everything in between. You can even work on the road!
So, if you are eager to travel more or thinking about taking a sabbatical from the real world, here are our Top 10 Tips for life on the road.
This might sound obvious but when we first started RV’ing, our travels mimicked our life at home. We raced from place to place, we simply couldn’t see enough or do enough in order to affirm our reasons for travel. We believed we had to do it all. We were crazed and exhausted.
Today, we’ve learned the fine art of relaxed travel and no longer race to a destination. Instead, we have embraced the idea that the journey is, undoubtedly, more important than the destination. We will stop at a roadside Farmer’s Market or to go swimming in a lake. We will go off the beaten path whenever possible. We’ve been known to stay weeks longer in a locale because we love it or leave early because we don’t. The point is to enjoy the minutes, the hours, and to make the experience as fun and exciting as possible. If that means you go off schedule because your kids spot a cool off road bike trail or read about a specific landmark, then by all means go off schedule!! It’s like “they” say … It’s in the small things. Life on the road is meant to be experienced and enjoyed, not conquered! Buddha said it best when he proclaimed, “It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
I think it’s pretty safe to say that time is the one thing none of us have enough of, it all just goes by so fast. I find it incomprehensible that we have been on the road now for 2 years, time really does just fly. I keep track of all our adventures by blogging and taking an exorbitant number of photos and video. It helps me remember and it is fun to review.
We also encourage the kids to journal their experiences. It’s the best way we have found to allow for total vacation customization and individual memories to flourish as well as a unique and natural way to sneak in some core curriculum! We really go crazy with this because it is FUN!
Mostly it is done online so photographs and videos can be easily and conveniently included. We describe where we went, where we stayed, what we did, what our favorite parts were, who we met, and everything else we can think of to include.
From our Travel Journal, we have a diary, we have a writing journal, a photography portfolio, a video library, a collection of postcards and a true documentation of our own personal travel experiences. This is truly priceless.
Solar power is key to keeping our electronics charged and at the ready while on the road as well as while on adventures. We are typically out in the middle of nowhere climbing or hiking, kayaking or boarding and keeping our iPods and cell phones charged is super important for bragging rights as well as safety precautions. We never leave home without taking one of our uber portable, slim and rugged Enerplex solar devices with us.
Solar cooking is a phenomenal option that I am so glad to have discovered. The All American Sun Oven enables me to cook everything from lasagna to cake utilizing the free resources given to us via the sun!
In the coming months we will be searching for solar options on a larger scale … to limit our reliance on electricity and enable us to boondock for much longer periods of time!
If your dreams of living on the road are filled with adventure, spontaneity and new experiences then staying healthy is vital to keeping that dream alive. The number one way to remain healthy and feeling youthful is to fuel your body with the purest foods, the healthiest foods and the most nutrient dense foods possible. This means staying away from processed foods, fast foods and junk food and replacing them with whole foods, and either a plant based diet or a diet rich in organic, grass fed meats. RV’ing makes travel and eating healthy synonymous.
Life on the Road means simplicity in it’s most seductive form. We have done away with the three meals per day – a creation of the working world – and supply our bodies continuously throughout the day with healthy snacks and whole foods. Basically, we eat when we are hungry … revolutionary, huh? And we eat simply. My Vitamix Blender is my lifeline.
It’s how I ensure that my family is consuming enough vegetables and superfoods to keep them active and healthy and to fuel their brains. It’s also fast. I can make a breakfast smoothie in under 2 minutes!!
Do Something Fun Every Day
It is so easy to become complacent and work your life away, seeing little of your family, having very little fun and living more like a drone than a human. Monotony takes over and each day blends into the next. Traveling can begin to look the same if you find yourself content to sit in a campground or to drive endlessly without stopping to add some spark into your travels.
If this sounds like the rut you have found yourself in, you might be surprised to find you need to re-learn how to have fun. Deciding to live on the road is a definite first step, as, when done right, no two days ever feel the same!
We have found there is no better way to keep everyone’s spirits up, to keep the family connected and having fun than to carve out time, every single day, to get our adrenaline flowing. Playing at the park, running a river, climbing, biking … for us, adrenaline is the key, but for others a brisk walk or even a stroll through the center of town could be just the trick.
Involve the Kids
Our kids love to plan road trips as much as they love to stray from the plans! They scour maps and road trip apps before and during our adventure to plan out and/or make last minute alterations to our trips. Dan and I encourage both, high technology and old school atlases and maps — balance is key. The kids are well known for their skills at mapping and finding hidden gems, and so when they find a water park on a 105 degree day in the middle of Kansas or Lake Michigan in Indiana, we are so thankful for their map reading skills.
Mapping is an easy way to incorporate education in a natural setting. It combines reading and math skills and helps build spatial sense and visual literacy.
We love our kids, we really truly, love our kids. We enjoy spending time with them and love how they keep us young and energized. Our days are filled with epic adventures with them and we are more than aware how blessed we are. But, truth be told, we also love each other and love spending time together without billions of interruptions and squeals and being used as a jungle gym.
Our dynamics are such that getting out is very very easy … ridiculously easy. We have older teens who are more than capable of watching their little brothers and sisters and they are equally eager. So Dan and I will take a walk on the beach or hit up a local dining favorite; we’ll grab a bottle of wine and a blanket and sit out under the stars, we go for a late night bike ride — point is it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we make a point to spend time alone, just the two of us. It’s great for our family, it’s great for our traveling sanity and it’s great for our relationship!!
Rule number one on the road is that anything can happen and when it does it will be at the most inconvenient time! We just recently dealt with a dead alternator at 4 pm on a Saturday. Nothing local was open and we had to wait until Tuesday to get the part we needed.
This “problem” could have caused great stress and ruined our epic weekend plans, but instead we did what we always do … changed the location and continued to make our weekend amazingly awesome by googling hikes in the area and going on the most amazing 4 mile trek up a 2000’ climb in elevation.
All it takes is a change of perspective. Travel is specifically about adventure and new experiences, fun and spontaneity and so you must be able to be adaptable and there is no better way to prove your ability to adapt in both the good and bad!!! Remember, it’s all about the journey and these crazy mishap events sometimes make the greatest stories!!
Living in the moment isn’t just for the existential types … you too can learn how to enjoy the sunsets, the salty air, the cool breeze, the rain, your kids’ laughter, your baby’s smell. Happiness and Joy are choices and living on the road affords you so many opportunities to really live an authentic life, if you just slow down often enough and disconnect from all things worldly.
There’s something magical about experiencing life in a way that makes your stronger emotionally, physically and spiritually. The people you meet, the cultures you embrace, the adventures, the ever increasing closeness of those you travel with … it’s truly never ending. Your realize as you traverse the roads of this great country that you are a part of something so much bigger, you stop believing you are the center of the universe and you start to think outside of yourself. Treat yourself with this gift by slowing down and living intentionally in the moment.
A friend of mine is about to embark on the RV’ing lifestyle with her family and her biggest concerns are leaving her gym and her hairstylist (she has super cool hair). I can’t help her with the hair issue, but staying fit and working out on the road is as easy as buying a good pair of running shoes or a good DVD.
Of course, you don’t have to relegate yourself to only a few options. In fact, because we compete competitively in several sports, we cross train and so we take staying fit to another level entirely. We bring our Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells with us. They are compact and fit in our under storage or in our truck. This is yet another example of how traveling in an RV parallels life at home … there really are few sacrifices.