What No One Tells You About Solo RV Life
It's not technically my first rodeo in the RV, but it is my first jaunt in over a year--a year of very cushy apartment living. The things I have observed in the last 48 hours or so are all the same things I learned the very first day I ever hit the road, and they're certainly not things I expected either time.
If you're interested in the RV life as something you want to give a shot, or just an armchair enthusiast, hopefully you'll enjoy living vicariously through this post a bit! Here are the things I learned from the first 1-2 days upon hitting the open road, in no particular order.
1. No one tells you how much the sticker shock at the gas station will hurt--and how laughter is really the only way to handle it, once you dip into triple-digit totals.
2. No one tells you how jarring an RV ride is. Put everything breakable away. In fact, put everything away. I would say anything that's not bolted down will become a projectile as you Bevery-Hill-Billy your way down the highway, but no man, even bolted-down things are fair game. Just do your best to put everything away, or pad it down with towels and cushions.
3. No one tells you the indescribable feeling you'll get as you take in the entire horizon out of your dashboard, rumbling down the highway. That "Oh my gosh did I just really get away with this?!" Am I really driving this thing?" near-glee sensation. I suggest cranking up the radio and whooping and hollering--no one will hear you. And yes, you did just get away with it. You are indeed driving it.
4. No one tells you how suddenly low-clearance bridges and narrow roads and parking lots will become your everything. It's not so simple as just doing a U-turn or pulling a three-point turn to get out of something. Think ahead. Prepare for a future of white knuckles. Again, crank up the radio and shout affirmations/mantras at yourself if you get freaked out. I suggest, at top volume, when no one is near you at a red light "YOU ARE A BADASS. YOU GO THIS." If you ever pull up beside me, please don't look...I am likely yelling this to myself.
5. No one tells you how insane your gratitude will be for those rare-gem nights when rain taps softly on your RV roof, you're not too hot or too cold, and your goddamn campground wifi works (!!) If you also have running water, a dump station, and electricity, plus maybe even a campground with hot showers, you. have. arrived. Savor every second because the next night you will likely be slumming it in a Walmart parking lot--but those perfect nights are truly perfect.
6. And on that note, absolutely no one tells you how quickly and completely you will abandon all prior hangups and snobbery when thrown into RV life. What I mean by this is I used to, for my entire life, be disgusted by public restrooms, hotel showers, even other people's houses....if we're being honest. I was a germaphobe and had what my mother calls "the gross-out gene." But a WEEK in my RV and state park campground showers started to seem like a 5-star hotel bathroom. If it doesn't have spiders crawling in it, or if it does, but they're in the other shower stall, we good. Honestly my bar has sunk so low it's insane. You're gonna be dirty. You're gonna be at the mercy of strange public bathrooms and places. You're gonna thank your lucky stars if you have running water at all, and you're gonna get over yourself really quick.
7. No one tells you how beautiful this dang country is! I mean they do, you've always heard, but until you are in it yourself, until you are able, at a whim, to pull over at any scenic overlook you want, to take any country road that Google Maps tells you adds 25 minutes to your trip, but you know will be prettier, and until you are really in it for hours, I never realized how beautiful this country is.
9. Most of all, no one tells you the pride that comes from pulling it off--like really, despite your fears, just doing the dang thing. The joy that comes from arriving at that destination and it being more beautiful and worth it than you imagined, even though you endured a drive from hell, where you thought you'd for sure get stuck on that gravel, unmarked road that the GPS sent you down. The pride that comes from seeing other families setting up their rigs at the campground, and knowing you did it all by yourself. The sense of satisfaction that comes from going to bed tired, because you saw something and did something with your day, and yeah you ruined your manicure and you've got some bruises and bug bites, and if you never saw another gas station pump it'd be too soon, but still, you did it.
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