Is Life On The Road Chaotic?
Updated: Mar 23, 2019
I remember when we first started planning, I tried to wrap my head around all the changes that would happen in our life when we were on the road full-time. I’m a details person, so my head went a million directions at once. What would we do about mail, a physical address, health insurance, getting medical care, keeping paperwork and records organized, getting wireless internet, how frequently could we move before getting burnt out, etc. etc. etc. Nick was quick to remind me that life is often easier than we make it, and simplifying is part of our decision to live nomadically. If we could prioritize what’s important and get creative with solutions to problems, we’d be okay. Instead of worrying, I started to trust we could handle problems that would come our way and that the benefits of our new life would outweigh the struggles.
Now that we’re 9 months in, were my worries founded? Is life on the road hectic and disorganized? The answer is a bit complicated, because at times yes, of course it is! Just like life in a house was. One difference between life being hectic in a home versus a travelling one, is that most people we run into at places we’re staying are on vacation. So they have a no worries attitude since they’ve left “real life” stressors behind for another day. That’s not quite how we roll living on the road. Aside from our decompression times spent exploring, we carry life and work stressors with us to the amazing places we visit.
In Idaho just this past week, we moved 4 times in 4 days in order to have some work done to our truck and Airstream while in the city. At one point, I was in the laundry room waiting for a washer to open so I could finish laundry and pack up the Airstream with time to spare before 11am checkout. I had my laptop open checking on our insurance claim, was looking for our next place to stay, was on the phone scheduling an oil change for our truck, and was waiting for a shower to open up across the hall. I imagine I looked a bit out of place in an RV resort largely filled with retirees and vacationers. Another lady walking into the room drew attention to this, saying, “you are the epitome of multi-tasking right now - I multi-task but not quite like that.” LOL. I looked up from all my screens and couldn’t help but laugh at myself. Life IS hectic right now! We are starting our own company, dealing with a hail damage claim on our Airstream (which is not going smoothly to say the least), constantly trip planning, navigating new areas, Nick is working full-time, and we have two high-energy dogs that need exercise outside of our small space. What I realized in that moment, is yes things do get hectic when you’re living on the road. But oddly enough, that’s part of what I love about it!
There are certainly added challenges to life when your house moves at least every week. Packing up so nothing shifts too much during travels, hitching up, and unhooking. Making sure we have internet connectivity wherever we’re going. Dumping your grey and black tanks, and filling your fresh water tank. It all becomes a rhythm, and Nick and I have talked a lot about these processes that are just a part of our life now. What seem like inconveniences have become processes we now enjoy! It takes us back a bit to when people had to work harder for creature comforts. I believe we were more connected to our resources and the effort it took to obtain them. It wasn’t long ago that people didn’t have running water, electricity, wifi, a television, and a comfy house to live in. They had cabins they built themselves with few amenities, and they had to hunt, gather, and farm for their food. Now don’t get me wrong, I know we have a nice camper with a refrigerator, stove, oven, and comfy beds - we are NOT roughing it in the least. But the work we do to setup and breakdown our little house - as well as make sure we have water and electricity - makes us appreciate what we have. Also, our hectic life relies on us to continue! If we want to keep visiting cool places, we have to keep moving. Once our tanks are full when boondocking, we've got to pack up and head out to dump. Before we’re truly settled in, it’s time to move and we work hard to make that happen efficiently. We feel that cycle itself is a bit of an antidepressant, since you’re always doing physical activity and hitting the reset button on your living situation. There’s no time to be in a funk!
So yes, on one hand it is hectic. But if you take that element of living on the road out, you’re losing part of how it grows you. How it connects you more with your impact on the world and its resources in general. On the other hand however, it’s an escape from a different type of chaos. The kind we take on living in a society with social pressures and stressors we don’t realize affect us until we step away from it all. I’m talking about the crazy political environment, the push to get a promotion or switch to a better job, to stay busy, buy a bigger house, a newer car, etc. etc. etc. It took us months to decompress from that chaos, but now we love living separately from these things. Without all that stuff jumbling our minds, we have more meaningful conversations with each other and those we meet, and we have more time for other pursuits.
One of our favorite escapes is to public BLM land, where we can camp for free with (usually) few others around. When life gets crazy on the road, the simplicity of nature is our cure. Today we hopped on our bikes and took the dogs to run through some BLM land in Oregon. We watched the sun go down behind the mountains and took in the calm of nature as opposed to a cityscape full of stressed out people. I guess it’s moments like this that provide the Yin to the Yang of our chaotic lives on the road. And just as I suspected when we were trip planning, these moments are SO worth the added challenges we have with our mobile lifestyle.