Top 3 lessons from our first RV excursion

Our first RV family excursion took place last week as we traveled several hours Northwest toward my childhood home of Kettle Falls, Washington. Our trip was prompted by my 20 year high school reunion as well as the opportunity to visit family.  Although we have been living in our little home on wheels for a little over a month, we had not yet taken her out on the road as a family. Now that we have our maiden voyage tucked safely in our pockets, I thought I’d share our initial impression of this new lifestyle that we have chosen and the top three things that stood out from our trip.

Faster packing

Our family is no stranger to road trips. In the last several years we have driven back and forth from Idaho to Southern California, Minnesota and Tennessee. Each trip has varied in time and focus, but the process of packing has always been tedious. How many outfits should we pack? What kind of snacks should I bring? Do we need swimwear? Should we bring our own pillows? What kind of shoes will we need? Regardless of how many trips we take, the questions do not always have consistent answers due to changing variables. This time however, the question shifted from what do we need to take to how do I best prep our house for movement down the road? Since this was our first trip, I had not yet established “traveling places” for items that need to be stored during travel. We did our best to protect items that were prone to movement or shifting. The Berkey water filter was moved to the shower. The appliances in the pantry were padded with a pillow to prevent extra shifting.  Glass bowls under the sink were padded with kitchen towels. While none of these preparatory processes were tedious, they were more time-consuming because it was our first time. By the time we were prepping for our return trip, I could already sense the improvement in our process. I also gained the awareness that I could prepare most of the kitchen and living room the night before our departure making for a more efficient morning.

Anticipate breakage

We’ve heard time and again that when you live full-time in an RV, you need to expect that things will constantly be breaking. I’d really hoped that our attempts to prepare our home well for movement would pay off with no travel damage. However, in the end, we were properly initiated with our first repair challenge in the master closet when the hollow metal pole (which had nearly no support in the middle) bent and broke. Unfortunately, we had to address this mess upon arrival. Fortunately, I was able to find some new clothing candidates for the thrift store as we folded our clothing into temporary plastic bins. After our return trip, I discovered that one of the pantry drawers needed to be reattached to it’s slider. This second minor issue seemed like a success to be celebrated. Moving forward, anytime we do not need to pull out a power tool after parking our RV, I will give thanks.

You can take it with you

Overall, the thing that stood out the most to us time and again was the bizarre reality that everything we needed was with us. When I stood in my mom’s kitchen and started to tell her about an easy, healthy almond joy recipe, I stopped mid-sentence and said, “Hold on, I’ll go out to my house and make you one!” When we drove by the lake and the kids asked if we brought their swimsuits along, we chuckled in reply, “We brought everything!” After sorting, downsizing and purging our belongings for the last few years, what a fun experience it was to realize we had reached a point in which we truly had everything we needed. . . and that we could take it with us too!

Although we will be stationary for the next three months before we begin our journey on the road, I am thankful for this initial trip that wet our appetite for being on the road with our home on our back. Here’s to more lessons and more adventure ahead!

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