Living as full-time campers seems like it would be an easy life: campfires every night and getting to cook out all summer. But what most full-timers starting out aren’t prepared for are the small day-to-day differences that come with life on the road. Of course we still deal with some of the same problems as ‘regular’ people, like our AC unit going out on us and having to budget to make sure we can pay all of our bills, but some things are really different. Here are the top five things that make my day-to-day different than yours.
1. The dishwasher is me, not a machine
This small little detail was a big change for my husband and me. We had both always grown up with being able to rinse our dishes and put them in a magic box that made them clean and ready to put away in a snap. Nowadays, though, I’M the dishwasher. I get up each morning to do the dishes from the night before, I do dishes after each meal, and doing dishes after the weekend takes forever.
2. Dirty talk tasks – Emptying our "Black Tank"
We all do our business, but we don’t like to talk about it…unless you’re in a full-time RV living community and you need help, any kind of help, in dealing with the dreaded black tank. In short, you have two holding tanks with an RV: a gray tank and a black tank. The gray tank holds fresh water and the black tank holds…well, NOT fresh water. It’s the tank connected to your toilet, if you catch my drift. The fact that it’s a tank means that it needs to be emptied – something that most people don’t have to worry about, yet something that we worry about constantly. We have to empty our black tank at least once a week or it will start to smell gross inside and our toilet will try to fight back.
Downsizing is a big perk and a big pain to the RV life. On the one hand, you get to get rid of clutter and only hang onto the things that you need. The pain part comes in when, for example, you have to get rid of all of your favorite books in favor of the smaller and more RV friendly Kindle. Either way, downsizing is a must.
4. Grocery Shopping
Most people can go to the grocery store and stock up for a few weeks to a month, depending on how many people are in the house. In an RV, unless you were blessed with a residential refrigerator, you’re stuck with a fridge that can fit a gallon of milk, a few bottles of water, one leftovers container, a carton of eggs, and not much else. The freezer? It’s about the size of a shoe box (literally). So grocery shopping is on a week-by-week basis at the absolute best, but we usually end up going to the grocery a few times a week to keep our favorite munchies in stock.
5. Hitching up and Moving On
Lastly, the biggest difference between our ‘old’ life and this wonderful new nomadic life is the option to decide over a cup of coffee that we want to move and to do it as soon as the next day. We can pick up and go whenever we feel like it without ever really leaving our home. This is a major win in my book. Our life is full of spur-of-the-moment trips and I wouldn’t have it any other way.