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Saturday, February 14, 2015

Things I’ve Learned While Full Timing

Before we decided to to chuck it all and hit the road full time in our RV, I scoured dozens of RV forums and Fulltimer blogs to learn everything I could about the lifestyle.  I wanted to be fully prepared and knowledgeable about anything and everything that possibly could happen while traveling.  I thought I had all the bases covered. 

I was wrong.

Now that we’ve been on the road over three years fulltime, I’ve learned a few things that despite my research, I never expected.  I thought I’d share a few of them with ya’ll:

Murphy is a constant traveling companion.  No matter how fast you drive, or how sneaky you plan your route, he’ll always find you and make your life “challenging”.  He does his best work breaking things in your RV on a weekend, when all the parts places are closed.

You really can fit ten pounds of stuff in a five pound bag. You become an expert at using every square inch of space to stash your most important items and treasures away.

You really can’t remember where you’ve stashed your most important items and treasures when you need them.  You will, however, constantly discover their hiding places right after you purchased the replacement item.

No matter what item you need, it will always be in the basement compartment on the other side of the RV.

Folding chairs seem to multiply like bunnies.  And none of them are really comfortable.

  Socks, however, still seem to disappear, even when you have an onboard washer/dryer and laundry never leaves the inside of the RV.

Overnight stays at Walmart when traveling are much more costly than even the most plush RV Resort.

Diesel fuel will always be cheaper at the very next exit after you’ve filled the tank to the brim.  Plus, when staying in one place for an extended stay, you’ll see the price drop drastically, only to increase to a much higher level as soon as you pull out and hit the road again. 

You get tired of washing dishes by hand because you don’t have a dishwasher.  This leads to inventing new kinds of culinary delights you can cook using the least amounts of pots, pans and plates.

Wind is the bane of RV living.  When traveling, it will always be a headwind.  When parked, it will rock your RV back and forth and rattle the slide toppers to no end.

WD-40 really is a miracle product.  As is duct tape and Gorilla Glue.

A big bug will splat on the windshield right in your line of sight, especially just minutes after you hit the highway for a long driving day.

You will always encounter a pelting rainstorm the day after you’ve washed and waxed your RV, despite the weather guessers promising clear and sunny skies.

If 80 percent of all the items on board your RV work 80 percent of the time, you will be 100 percent happy.

If you are not mechanically handy before you hit the road in an RV, you soon will be after. 

The one part you need to fix something will always be on backorder.  After finally getting and installing it, the very next time you stop at Camping World, not only will they have an overflowing shelf filled with that exact part, they will be on sale.

The tool you really need is the one you sold when getting your house ready for sale.  On the other hand, one can never have enough screwdrivers, pliers and adjustable wrenches.

The best campsites are always the most unlevelled.  Or they may be the best campsite you’ve ever had, but the neighbor’s dog yaps all day while they are out.  That same yappy dog will leave you a “present” right outside your step.

Workamping and volunteering is not only a great way to save money, it can be addicting.  Don’t be surprised to find yourself doing some things for free that in the past you wouldn’t do for all the money in the world.  And you enjoy doing it.

A GPS is a wonderful tool.  Until it gets you more lost than you could do by yourself using a map.

When it comes to black tank disasters, there are two kinds of people, those that have had spills and those who haven’t.  Yet.

Finally, and most importantly, you will meet some of the nicest people ever as fellow RV travelers, and they will become life long friends.  You’ll go out of your way to cross paths with them and enjoy meeting up with them again and again.

What things have you discovered that you never knew?

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.



  1. Have to totally agree with you on the last item! :-)

    As for the others we can definitely relate to some of them.

  2. Never return to a volunteer assignment where you are an under appreciated scullery maid, and keep in contact with those wonderful folks you meet. That's what I've learned.

  3. Excellent report!

    I might add one from my experiences: if you pull into a pull through campsite at the end of a long day of travel, there will be no other people around. But if you have to back the trailer into a site after a tiring day of travel, there will be throngs of idiots standing and staring at your clumsy skill of backing a trailer.

  4. I can definitely relate to most everything you wrote.
    When we first got this unit and had it weighed we had pounds to spare. After adding this and modifying that I'd hate to put the trailer on the scales.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  5. At this very moment I cannot think of one thing that you didn't mention except that as soon ad you fix one thing you will instantly find another that is now broken to add to your list. If you thought there would be no lists in retirement, think again. I'll bet there are lists in heaven.

  6. Even as long time Snow Birds we can identify quite readily with your list. Funny how some things are always so uncannily predictable.

  7. Not fulltime yet, but I know all are oh so true.

  8. So funny... true life there! Too bad you cant claim Murphy on your taxes

  9. Its all true and just about the way things go. 9 years on the road and constantly meeting new people and making new friends, no matter what, it is an amazing lifestyle.

  10. We definitely have learned a lot. Much of what we've learned has come from experience and not in any of those books either. It's an ongoing learning thing.

  11. Great list, Paul. You nailed it!

  12. Oh yeah, you had us LOL'ng. Been there done that several times over.

  13. Funny but insightful. Enjoyable post!

  14. Our GPS was set to take us to Voodoo Donuts in Portland. After finding the donut shop, getting our donuts we hit the road to get back to the freeway but for some reason the GPS kept taking us back to the donut shop...I finally had to turn it off, delete settings and re-input all the data.

  15. All very true. I especially agree with how things get lost. I never could understand that since how far could they go in that small area?

  16. LOL -- can defintely relate to some of those items on your list. We've learned that if you're going to be somewhere for an extended period of time, don't assume that you have lots of time to tour the area. Before you know it your time is up and you're left trying to cram in everything that you didn't get to do yet.

  17. When you get ready to hit the road put everything that's loose in the floor because that's where it's going to end up.

  18. That list is pretty true even for part timers :)

  19. We have found that our Verizon navigator is the best GPS we have had! It have never taken to the wrong place and even though the route seems odd (and John says "I find that hard to believe") we arrive at our destination.

  20. Great post and we believe you've got it cover!! The only other thing is all the wonderful friends you will make:o))

  21. I think one of the the ensuring appeals of RVs is the mileage, in terms of distances travelled, as well as the kind of accumulated fulfillment it can give to people. You'll just have to actualize them through really well-calibrated and top-drawer parts, in order for that aspect to pull through. Thanks for sharing that! All the best!

    Austin Hawkins @ Champion Trailers