Universal RV Challenges
Reading the RV blogs I’ve come across more than one RV List of Worsts including this one posted by Happiest Camper: 10 Worst Things about Living in an RV. I always find it interesting that while some things are universal, there are other things people find hard about RV living that don’t affect us. First the commonalities: resource limits in water, sewer, electricity, wifi and cell signal are always an adjustment compared to sticks & bricks life. Less space, the need to constantly clean up that space, and being around each other 24/7 are also shared concerns.
But here, I chuckle as generally, people are comparing 200-300 square feet of living space to my 100 and finding it hard. Laughs! Of course, there are couples out there full-timing in VW vans and props to them – my space is luxurious compared to that! There are always people with more and less than you, in money and the size of their home or RV! The key is to be happy with what you have and avoid comparisons.
Lots of Rules
Another shared frustration is dog rules and campground rules, such as early check out times or restrictive generator hours. Interestingly, I find that the USA compared to Canada has more rules controlling where people can go and especially where dogs are allowed. RV life involves constantly moving from one set of rules to another. Being a guest in someone else’s space, be it a campground or private property, means abiding by their rules and/or accommodating what works best for them. Rules are always part of society and have benefits for all; there just seems to be more of them when you live in an RV.
However, I find many of the negatives have a silver lining: less space means less responsibility; constantly cleaning up means living in a clean home; being together all the time is more often good than bad when you love each other! Plus we naturally spend time apart when James is riding, I go for a walk or we are simply doing our own thing even inside the RV. Missing friends and family back home is mitigated by getting to reconnect with people farther afield and at home, enjoying our time together even more.
RVers are more exposed to the elements but this also has a silver lining: closer connection with nature! Sometimes we sleep with the windows and even the door to the RV open: lovely fresh air circulates readily and we enjoy the sounds of crickets and birds: we never get to do that in the house because instead of nature, we just hear traffic!
RV Worsts that Don’t Affect Us
Now for the differences: taller and larger people bump into doors and things generally more often – since we are both under 5’8”, we are well sized for RV living. This is just pure luck of course! But we are also fit and trim, which helps tremendously since RV life is made easier with some strength, agility and coordination.
Even Sadie is well-sized for RV life. In fact, RVing seems to bring out the best in her, since she loves going for long walks and clings to me more closely while her environment is constantly changing. She is not a naturally snuggly dog so I really appreciate this.
More than one blogger has said that their RV is constantly shaking: here our smaller, well-built trailer has an advantage. With our smaller 17’x7’ footprint, extra thick 3/4” plywood subfloor, dual axle and 4 stabilizer jacks (plus the tongue jack), our RV is super stable when parked!
Many RVers find the electrical systems daunting: with my smart, engineering husband and my general overall handiness, we haven’t found dealing with any of the RV systems too difficult yet. Of course, our camper is a 2012 model, a fact that comes with a variety of advantages we enjoy! ;o) But with our background in home repairs, I think we will be able to solve any problems that come up without much difficulty.
Someone said sharing a vehicle was hard: not for us! We’ve always had just one car and we still have a motorcycle which helps a lot with transportation needs! No adjustment there! Another issue was finding caretakers/services: we haven’t really dealt with this yet so we will see how it goes. However, we will be returning to Ontario every spring so we can plan our regular check ups to happen then with our family doctors and dentists.
Our Special RV Challenges
Now for our issues: as Canadian RVers in the USA, we are faced with a variety of challenges that the vast majority of RVers have never considered since they are American. Something as small as not knowing what a particular business sells, makes it harder to find supplies. It’s taken time for me to learn that TruValue is a hardware store, Trader Joe’s is a grocery store and LL Bean is an outdoors store: these things are not obvious from their name and there are still many chains I have yet to learn just what they sell.
Another challenge is the exchange rate. Currently every dollar I spend in the US costs me $1.35 in the dollars I am earning. Add to that the fact that I am traveling in popular tourist destinations where prices are inflated for the tourist market and it becomes a real challenge to find affordable goods, even food. My naturally frugal aptitude in some ways helps but can also be a hindrance: sometimes it makes sense to splurge a bit but when? Life isn’t about living in poverty especially when you have some money to spend, but deciding in each moment when to buy and when to refrain is a constant challenge.
For more Lists of Worsts, check out: