Expect the unexpected
When you’ve made the decision to live the RV life (high five, by the way!), you’ll likely have a bunch of ideas about what you’ll get out of the experience. Part of the beauty of RVing, though, is that you can’t possibly predict what’s going to happen, or how you’ll feel about it. We’ve put together a list of some things that might happen that will blow your mind. Or, you know, surprise you a little.
1. You are not exactly the person you thought you were
When you’ve been stripped of your material belongings, your daily responsibilities, your routine, and regular interactions with the people who know you best, you might discover aspects of your personality that had been lying dormant under that pile of other stuff. RVing is great for introspection; those long drives, the meditative power of nature, daily challenges that make you reevaluate your abilities—they’ll all contribute to a changed perception of who you really are.
2. You will still crave consistency or familiarity
Granted, most of us who are on the road get out there to shake off the rigidity of ‘normal’ life. But there’s a chance, maybe after you’ve hit 20 different boondocking spots in a month, that you’ll start to feel like waking up in the same place for a couple of days, a week, or even months. There's nothing wrong with settling in somewhere, as long as you're happy there!
3. People’s opinions of you will vary
To some, you’re to be envied: a mysterious nomad, living your life the way you want, throwing caution to the wind, and writing your own life story. To others, you’re a dirty weirdo who can’t afford a house and might also be a fugitive.
4. Plans, schmans
No matter how extensively you’ve planned, you will never go exactly where you thought you would exactly when you’d planned to. RVing is a lifestyle that is impacted by all manner of things: weather, illness, family and friends, too many beers at the craft brewery, and perception versus reality. How will you know if you want to stay one day or one year in any given place until you’ve been there?
5. Nature can get exhausting
Some days, you will wake up with an incredible view of (the beach, redwoods, canyons, mountains, insert your own here) right outside your window, but all you’ll really want to do is watch re-runs of Seinfeld and drink endless cups of tea. So, do it! Human people need days of relaxation regardless of where they are—never feel guilty about taking some time to chill out.
6. You are a spatial genius
Fit a whole kitchen’s worth of pans into one tiny drawer? No sweat! Create a hanging storage system, MacGyver-style, out of rubber bands and an old sheet? Piece of cake. It's amazing how little you need, and how quickly you'll figure out how to store it.
7. Budgets still exist—in fact, even more so
Maybe you thought that RVing would allow you financial freedom—and it does, in a lot of ways. No rent or mortgage payments, no utility bills… sounds awesome! But there are still plenty of expenses, and chances are your income might be a little less than previously (if not, share your secret please!). Make sure you keep track of everything you spend, and budget properly so you don’t end up blowing through all your cash early on in the trip (i.e. don’t start out in Vegas and bet it all on red).
8. You will get emotional about nature
Pictures don’t do landscapes justice. You will be spellbound, elated, heartbroken and brimming with love—and that’s just at the gas station outside the National Park. But really, expect to feel some inner stirrings that you haven’t felt before when you're standing in front of something that you've anticipated for a long time—or something that you've never heard of but that smacks you in the face with its beauty.
9. You might not like it
This is a tough truth for some RVers, but the fact is that not everyone who sets out on a nomadic adventure will like the realities of it. There’s no shame in that. Once, I thought I’d try an oyster because everyone else loved them, and I’ve never regretted anything more than that decision. But if you don’t try, you won’t know.
10. Life will never look the same again
Whether you stick at it forever, or spend a finite amount of time in your RV, your life will be forever changed. This kind of existence creates moments that will affect your perception of how life can be lived, and how you can best live yours—and that’s the best surprise of all.
What do you think? Tell us your stories about discovery on the road in the comments below. We'd love to hear 'em!