Christmas day marked one month living full-time in our Airstream. So far, we are loving this lifestyle change. We’ve had our share of challenges, but since officially starting we’ve experienced so much more in a month than we would have in a year of our traditional lifestyle.
In our first month, we hit 5 locations in 4 states. Each time we arrived in a new place, we couldn’t get over that in one Sunday we could pack up, drive, unpack and setup, and be walking around in a completely different state by sundown. We have seen way more landscape changes each week than we’re used to commuting to work every day in North Carolina.
When we started, I was worried we may be isolated and I would struggle feeling connected with new people as well as friends and family back home. While the latter is still true to a certain extent, being isolated couldn’t be further from the truth! We have met so many people, many of which we immediately have RVing in common with. My fears of not meeting new friends on the road have disappeared. As an extrovert, my “need for people” tank is not in danger of being empty :). Nick as an introvert can recharge in the Airstream, then to socialize he merely has to go for a walk! Honestly, we probably talk to more people in a day now than we did previously.
We have never spent so much time outside as we have in the past month. We never kayaked or hiked much before, but we’ve been super active doing both lately. We’ve also never been so connected to our water usage, sewage, food waste, etc. We also plan to get scuba certified while we’re in Florida which we’re both pretty pumped about!
Marriage relationship growth
I could get sappy here, because Nick and I truly love going through life together. But I’ll stop there and spare you haha… We’ve been married for 3 years, and we’ve learned a lot about one another as we’ve tackled all of life’s challenges. One of these current challenges is living and working together in a shared 200 square foot space :) Although we love spending time with one another, being together 24/7 is a lot for any two people, so we’ve gotten purposeful about giving one another space and time to go off on solo adventures at least once a week. Nick may go fishing on his kayak or work from a different location while I may go to a coffee shop, go for a run, or explore whatever town we’re in .
When you’re RVing with another person, teamwork is incredibly important. Things like backing the trailer into a spot, dealing with miscellaneous issues that come up (for us the main one was battery issues), and moving days come to mind. On moving days, Nick and I each have our own tasks we’re responsible for which creates a great system that gets us out quickly with everything ready to rock and roll. Knowing the importance of getting everything right before you get on the road can be an automatic attitude adjustment. You can’t afford to be grumpy with your spouse when your home is at stake!
To us, being willing to work on yourself and not always point the finger at the other person (as well as being able to laugh at yourself and one another) is the key to a strong relationship. Because we are both adjusting to life on the road, our first month of full-time RVing has reminded us of the need to put the other person above ourselves more than ever!
In reflecting on the past month, in my opinion the single most important thing to have when rving full-time is a good mindset. Flexibility, and a positive, can-do attitude can change the tone of your trip. Because sometimes you really don’t know where you will be or what will happen next. You can try to do everything right and plan ahead, but things will still go wrong! If you have the right attitude, you can deal with whatever comes your way without it ruining your day or your trip.
Being sick is never fun, but being sick in an RV is even less fun. Nick was sick for the full first couple of months with multiple colds, a sinus infection, and possibly some walking pneumonia. He felt pretty bad. But he still worked full time, helped with moving days, and tried to stay active on days he felt decent. This did put a bit of a damper on the beginning of the trip for both of us, but we knew it was temporary.
Adjusting to a small living space
I (Caitlyn) do a little better in small spaces than Nick does, but in his defense he is an active 6’4’’ guy who doesn’t fit as well inside the Airstream as I do. After a couple months however, we’ve both adjusted to the space and after a few positive changes are living happily together in 200 square feet:
- The first challenge was the dogs. They didn’t have many boundaries initially, and being “velcro dogs” they would climb all over us on the seats and beds of the Airstream all day and night. So we decided to make some changes. Now they are only allowed on the beds when invited, and are not allowed on the seats/couches. So most of the time they are on their own fluffy beds on the floor. They’re still happy as larks and still get their fill of mom cuddles each day :) But we don’t feel like they’re all over us all the time.
- We should have had a truck cap before we started. We’re uncomfortable leaving almost anything in the truck bed exposed, so it’s all in the Airstream. Under the table so we can’t sit there. Yeah, it’s been a problem. So we’ve expedited our search for a truck cap and are super excited to be able to load that long bed truck up to clear our living space up!!
- Getting cooped up is something that happens to both of us. When you’re working on a laptop all day in the Airstream, when 5pm comes around you can’t help but be extremely antsy. The easy fix here, change your surroundings and stay active! Most likely, you’re in a cool new spot to explore. With mobile hotspots, we can essentially work from anywhere with cell service so we try to take advantage of that! We have yet to get in a good exercise groove, but we’re working on it. And if nothing else, we at least go for long walks at the end of the day.
Where to put the dirty laundry hamper is a tough question in an Airstream. Let me know if you have ideas. We usually keep it in the shower, which is fine but is annoying when you actually need to use the shower :) Also, laundromats are not my favorite because well, you just don’t know what people are washing in those machines. Bleh. However, if you can find a good laundromat it is glorious because you are getting all your laundry done at one time. So that hasn’t been too shabby.
Rainy days in an RV aren’t fun. Your floor gets muddy (especially with two fur babies), you have to make sure everything in the truck bed and not under the awning is safe and dry - again a truck cap is going to be GLORIOUS - and you can’t get outside as much. The good thing is… you can check the forecast and avoid staying somewhere that’s rainy!!
Initial Spending Was More Than We're Comfortable With
Finally, we seem to have been bleeding money lately. Both of us are savers and I’m the budgeter, so seeing everything we’ve been spending on has been a bit painful. That being said, RVing can be as inexpensive or expensive as you want it to be. However, there are things starting out that you realize will improve your experiences. That’s where we find ourselves being sucked in. After two months, here are our largest purchases:
- DSLR Camera
- Verizon Unlimited Data Plan and Mifi
- AT&T Unlimited Data Plan
- Truck Cap
- In the market for cell phone booster/antennae
- In the market for a truck grille guard
Overall, in the past couple of months the good has far outweighed the bad just as we expected. Sure, we knew there would be challenges when transitioning to a mobile, tiny lifestyle. But we also knew the new places, experiences, and people along the way would grow us in ways we couldn't imagine. No regrets here so far!!