We are first time RV’s. We’ve travelled to South East Asia carrying everything we need in backpacks, we’ve explored Europe for months with carry-on only, we’ve camped our way through the Western States in a VW van, but this is the first time we have traveled in a proper RV. Let me tell you, this is not camping, this is glamping. We literally have everything we need. We are traveling with a tiny home. I even have a little oven, which makes me ridiculously happy.
As with all things, we are learning as we go. Here are 10 things we have learned so far.
1. Fresh water is precious. On our first few days we were going through our fresh water like we would at home. Letting the sink run until the water turned hot to wash our hands, having showers, using a sink full of water to do dishes. We quickly learned that if we kept this up, we would need to be refilling our tank every few days.
2. Most towns have a free sani-dump and fresh water refill station in Canada (except Ontario which I will be talking about in a later post). We’ve been looking online for free sani-dumps when we move locations and have been pleasantly surprised that most towns have them for free! They are usually by a visitor information centre, or a chamber of commerce, which also means I can jump online for a half hour and get some work done.
3. Wifi signals are a blessing. Wifi is not something I have had to pay attention to in the past. We usually stay in Airbnb’s that have Wifi and I can get my work done when it is convenient for me. Now, I need to do my work whenever I have a signal. When I don’t have a signal, I have to use my cell phone data. In case you didn’t know, Canadians get totally hosed on their data packages. We are paying SO much more than the rest of the world!
4. Don’t sleep under street lights. We’ve had a few free nights in parking lots. On the first night, we chose the spot that seemed most level. What we didn’t realize was that once the overhead lights came on they would be blaring in our windows, even with the curtains drawn. Find dark spots to camp!
5. Laundromats are expensive. Like stupid expensive! It cost us $15 to do our first week of laundry. We will be making more of a concerted effort to wear our clothes for longer, try to stay cleaner, hold out for cheaper laundromats, and washing our sheets and towels less often. Maybe we will even start doing some of it by hand. (On a side note, if you invite us over for a visit, please offer us your laundry machine!)
6. Having a small fridge and freezer is actually liberating. This was one of the things I actually stressed about. I like to buy in bulk and I am very comfortable with an overabundance of food. However, having a small fridge and freezer has actually been liberating. Why? Because it means I am forced to have a meal plan and a shopping list that I stick to. At home, I’d often go to the store, spend a hundred dollars, come home, and not know what to cook for dinner. This is not my reality in an RV. I am meal planning three days in advance due to necessity, and it has reduced my “What’s for dinner?” stress immensely.
7. Boondocking is not scary. I always felt that sleeping in a parking lot, a gravel pit, or on down a dirt road was a bit scary. Why? It has a sense of vulnerability. You aren’t surrounded by other campers (well in some parking lots you are) so if anything were to happen, there would not be anyone to help. I’m getting more comfortable with it now, and having a $0 expense for accommodation some nights feels pretty dang good.
8. Firewood is precious. $5 a bundle? No thanks! When we find free firewood we load up one of the undercarriage storage compartments on our motorhome.
9. Our kids have become much more creative and energetic with fewer distractions. We’ve put the electronics away for the most part. The only concession we have made is if we are staying in a parking lot, then they can watch a movie on the computer if we have time. Otherwise, they are up to their own devices to create their own fun. They’ve been outside playing, playing mind-games, reading books, drawing, building forts, and having so much fun!
10. We have to be sneaky to have sex. Yeah, I thought that might grab your attention. Living in an RV with kids allows for almost no alone time with your spouse. We have to grab the opportunity when it arrises…and be quick. Ha!