My partner, Jason, is no stranger to that RV life. He full-timed for nearly three years in various and sundry styles of RVs: an airstream, a Class A, a van, and most recently, a day-tripped-in Heartland Mallard Trailer.
There’s a lot of glamour and mystique surrounding #RVlife, but the reality of it is, well… not quite the enchanting story that Instagram would lead you to believe.
Some #RVLife Realities
It can be dirty.
For example, we took our new-to-us Class C RV on its maiden journey to a local campsite. Nothing fancy, partial hook-ups, a dirt pad, and a glorious campfire. Hotdogs and s’mores have never tasted so good!
Between the ample dirt, our beloved doggo’s new meds upsetting her tummy, and six night-time sojourns into the tick-infected woods to let her do her unglamorous business, we had to spend a few nights in sandy, bug-spray coated sheets, and several hours after the trip vacuuming all the sand out of the RV’s nooks and crannies.
We learned we need to bring a bigger vacuum, no matter how short the camping trip. xD
It can be dangerous.
Real talk, you’re basically sleeping in a car. A (hopefully) more secure car, but.. basically a tin can nonetheless.
Take a recent sojourn: In December 2022, we took our Mallard trailer to a Tiki Bar / RV Resort.
Between the strong pours, a new bartender, and an increasingly rowdy crowd, an enormous fight broke out while we slept. We’re talking fist fights, police arrests, and paramedics, which prompted most of the other campsite residents to flee the next morning.
We had spent a full day kayaking, so luckily we slept through it. We were on the far side, away from the bar, and last in a row of RV’s, so we slept through it. Everyone else left the next morning, however, was certainly rattled. If someone had a gun? Who knows. I try not to think about it too hard.
It’s often inconvenient.
When your temporary (or permanent?) home is on wheels, you never know when you’ll wind up with a flat tire, a tail light flickering out, a slide malfunctioning, or the A/C freezing over in the middle of the night. Luckily, we’ve only experienced a few of these so far. Plus, if you’re working remotely like we are, you usually need a strong internet connection–which is almost non-existent in State Park campsites if you’re reliant on your mobile phone hot spot, or expensive if you use a work-around like Starlink.
Dog-friendly patio Wi-Fi is a gamble too, especially in and around Florida. You never know if the coffee shop or brewery you’re attempting to work from will have a reliable signal, fast enough connection, or, bizarrely, even have power outlets at all.
Still… adventure calls to us, and we must answer.
Why blog about RVing?
Carpe diem: We are not promised tomorrow.
In late November, my sweet and snarky Shar Pei, Nia, was diagnosed with cancer–Mastocytosis.
Her incredible vet oncologist basically gave us a death sentence: unless she responds (and continues to respond) to an aggressive chemotherapy treatment, we’re going to lose her sooner rather than later. Fortunately, she is responding like a champ to a combination of Palladia and the steroid, Prednisone, so we have some time. We don’t know how much, but the more we can take her adventuring, the better.
Is this a frivolous reason to travel? Probably. Am I extremely grateful that we find ourselves with the privilege and means of doing so? Also, entirely yes. I am thankful every day for each morning she is with us, and I intend to make the most of it.
We’ve also lost family members over these last years; most recently, Jason’s formerly-estranged father last year, and my aunt Martha just a few short weeks ago. Our family is spread from here in St. Augustine through Knoxville, TN; Denver, Colorado; and Portland, Oregon. They’re not getting any younger, and neither are we.
Jason and I both struggle with chronic illnesses: Borreliosis (Lyme disease) for Jason, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis for me. All this combined makes us very, very aware of our mortality — so if not now, then when? Maybe never?
We’re choosing now.
We’re solving a #remoteworkproblem: Our friends and family live everywhere.
Jason and I have been lucky enough to work remotely for the last 8+ years, and before that, we moved around quite a bit. The result? We’ve made incredible connections and friendships along the way–and we miss them. Terribly.
It’s really tough watching dear friends’ kiddos grow up in whatever snippet happens to wind up on social media. Between poor work/life balance, chronic illnesses, and familial deaths, we’ve missed connecting with the folks who mean the most to us in the limited time we have managed to spend in one spot.
We’ve been lucky in that we’ve been able to spend time having friends from afar stay with us in our home, but the time-and-work crunch is real. Add a good cold to a weekend visit (or the ever-exhausting threat of COVID), and you’ll likely find yourself visiting with friends in a less-than-stellar weekend.
Here, my long-distance bestie Steph and I have tea in my home. Not pictured: a pile of tissues, aka the evidence of the horrible colds we had the entire time.
I find myself asking, “What would it be like to spend authentic, unhurried time with my far-away family?”
Travel will help me answer that question.
I can’t wait.
The Standard Draws: Food, Fun, and Adventure
If “Memory is the diary we all carry about with us” (thanks Oscar Wilde!) I want to record our experiences. Memory is tricky for me: I have been diagnosed with ADHD, so a lot of this will be my way of remembering.
I love good food that I’ve never tried before, the rush of a novel adventure, the smell of the trees on a hike, and the feel of water on my skin.
But then, who doesn’t?
This blog is for us… and for you. Whoever you are.
There’s no doubt about it that this blog is primarily for us, but I also hope what we learn and experience along the way can help others walk their own paths:
- I expect that the things I learn about RVing with five parrots will help others who are considering this path. May my 10+ years of parrot experience and what I learn along the way help keep your feathered friend(s) safe too!
- I pray to the universe that both my dogs will get to experience a long, full life with us–and that our anecdotes, trials, and tribulations in traveling with a doggo who has cancer can help others who find themselves in a similarly tough spot.
- I hope that someone else seeking romance, adventure, and dog-friendly experiences in this world can discover new spots in order to have authentic adventures of their own.
If you’ve stumbled onto this post, I’m curious: what are your reasons for traveling? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.
Cheers to all our adventures!