You’ve made the decision to take advantage of the RV travel experience. Congratulations! All the joys and adventures of the open road await.
So, what do I need to know before I embark on my RV adventure?
This article will walk you through some common emotional experiences that occur for new RVers and five effective tips to help you navigate your way through it.
Feel the Feelings (All of Them)
One of the benefits of travel with an RV is the extended vacation options.
However, after weeks on the road — away from everything familiar to you — you will probably have some difficulty adjusting.
On top of practical and physical adjustments you’ll be making (hello, thin mattress, fleeting wi-fi, and sump pump draining), you’ll also be making a lot of emotional transitions which can be just as, if not more, uncomfortable.
Experiencing the everyday rigors of balancing work schedules, performing maintenance tasks, dealing with crowding, and having homesickness are all normal. Accept that you’re going to be feeling some intense emotions and that everyone goes through this.
Often erratically, inexplicably, or insensibly, you will probably feel:
– Fear: Did we make the wrong choice? What will you do if you get in an accident? These questions (and many more) may keep you awake some nights.
– Overwhelmed: Everything will be new, from the sights, your vehicle, and your new work schedule. At times you’ll want to go back to familiar territory.
– Annoyed: At some point, living in a tiny space can seriously work your patience. From cooking on a tiny stovetop to using a cramped bathroom to always sitting right next to the same person, you’ll feel your fair share of irritation.
– Bored: Even though you’ll be seeing and experiencing a ton of new things, there will still be hours or days of driving and bad weather. Plus, you won’t always have wifi to fall back on.
– Fatigue: For sure, you’ll get tired of driving and living out of your RV for weeks at a time — and tired of not knowing what’s next.
5 Helpful Tips and Tidbits
When it comes to adjusting to these new experiences, it really is the small things that make the biggest difference.
Here are five tips that will help make your adjustment period feel natural and positive:
1) Create Personal Space: When you live 24/7 in tight quarters, the world tends to close in on you and claustrophobia can set in. Create a sense of space, even when there doesn’t seem to be any to spare. Utilize a “Do Not Disturb” sign, headphones, closed curtains, individual bedtimes, and solitary activities to accomplish this.
2) Personalize Your Space: It doesn’t matter if you bought a new or previously-owned RV, making it your own will go a long way in giving you the feeling of home. Bring along some familiar items like a loved pillow or blanket, hang pictures, bring along your standby coffee mug, etc. Give every member of the traveling family a cupboard or drawer to claim as their own for storing their personal items. Respect that space.
3) Use Good Communication Skills: This is definitely a learned skill and one that needs continual practice. Before you express yourself, stop and think first so you can use words that accurately describe how you are feeling. Also, don’t assume you know what the other person is thinking or how they are feeling. Ask, listen, and acknowledge. These few things alone can make a world of difference in solving differences effectively.
4) Become Involved in Your Temporary Communities: Even though you may not be staying in one spot for long, making friends and attending community events is a fantastic way to feel anchored while on the road. Invite camp neighbors over for dinner, watch a small town’s parade, attend church, find a service project. Any of these things will keep you from feeling lonely and isolated.
5) Keep Ties with Home: Email, text, and video messaging are the easiest, go-to way to stay in touch with others, but how fun would it be to send handwritten postcards and send little souvenirs from your travels? Also, be sure to make note of your loved one’s special dates and occasions so you can let your favorite people know that you are thinking of them on their big day.
Have Confidence In Your Ability to Adjust
Although it’s important to realize that experiencing all of these feelings is perfectly normal when adjusting to RV travel, it’s just as important to know that they will pass with a little patience.
In the end, the occasional discomfort will be well worth the exceptional experiences you are giving yourself.