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When Full-Time RVing Isn’t Glamorous

Rocky Getting Towed After A Water Pump Failure
Almost every time that we meet someone new, we hear something like this:
  • You are so lucky!
  • Wow that is the life!
  • I wish I could do what you do!
  • It is like vacation everyday!
  • You must be rich! (We’re not, but that’s a topic for a different post!)

Here is the low down: full-time RVing isn’t always glamorous! Social media puts one giant “happy” filter on what life is actually like. It makes it seem Pinterest perfect. Like we kick up our heals and sip champagne all day, while soaking in evening sunsets on the beach.

Sure, that happens sometimes. And, if you follow us on YouTube or Instagram, that’s what you see a lot of. We like lifting people up, so we like showing them happy things.

But does that always happen? No. Not even close.

Here’s what you don’t see:

  • When we take pictures of the inside of the RV, we have to push a lot of crap out of the way.
  • The bed is almost never made. Update: Now it is, thanks to our Beddie.
  • We usually have at least two four loads of laundry waiting to be done.
  • Josh is constantly dealing with a composting toilet that overflows, or a faulty gasket that gets him soaking wet, or a sewer hose that splits apart and gets poop all over him, or a leak in the galley that grosses the neighbors out.

Don’t think we’re trailer trash. We’re not. We try to keep everything neat and organized, but sometimes life just doesn’t work like that.

Now that you know the backstory, here are six times that full-time RVing isn’t glamorous.

1. We Work Full-Time

Josh At His Desk Working In Our Colorado 5th Wheel
Josh hard at work
Josh and I are the working rvers. That means Monday – Friday we are behind our computers working our fingers to pay off debt and work our way towards an early retirement. Sometimes we can break away from the keyboard and take a walk. Most days though Josh is in his “box” (a converted bunkhouse office) working 8-12 hours a day. I am in the living room at my desk managing all of our social media accounts and editing YouTube videos.

2. You Only See The HAPPY Moments 

Josh and Kali Standing In Front Of Their New Colorado 5th Wheel
Proud owners of our new-to-us RV!

I don’t whip out the vlogging camera when I am sad and crying because I miss my mom and my siblings. I don’t show you that one night we arrived in a campground and basically everything broke. We laughed about it the next day but it was a nightmare in the midst of it all. In any lifestyle is has its ups and downs. You just have to have the attitude to choose to laugh about it instead of bite your husband’s head off when you are trying to tell him where to back up the trailer….

3. You Have To Have A GOOD Attitude

Our RV In Shambles During Its Remodel
Bear is oblivious

This goes with out saying (almost) . You really need to have an upbeat attitude to RV.

RVs break in weird ways. You are going to have to learn to fix things with a smile on your face.

Some days everything will be against you. It seems like you just can’t get ahead.

This is my favorite quote. It can be applied anywhere, but especially to RVing:

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.”

4. You Are Going To Be ALONE

Kali In A Face Mask Remodeling The RV
Kali getting down and dirty

This is the TRUTH! You better love your spouse a LOT before moving into a RV because you get to see that happy face 24/7! Luckily Josh and I are best friends and work really well as a team (most of the time). You will have times though that you won’t have many meaningful interactions with people. Finding friends on the road is tough. You have to really put yourself out there to make friends and meet up with others. I have found a lot of amazing connections with friends over Instagram, Youtube and Facebook. I feel very connected but sometimes I just want to watch Friends and drink wine with my friends back home. Skype and Facetime is a great way to stay connected. I have many close friends that I haven’t met in person but I feel like I have known them for years because we chat so often. Your vibe attracts your tribe! Love them hard when you find them!

5. Traveling Fast SUCKS

Towing On A Snowy Road In Oregon
Woops. Hitting icy roads while towing wasn’t our plan.

Hitting the open road looks so fun until you are sitting in a motor-home, truck or car for 10 hours. We don’t advise this method of travel by any means but sometimes you aren’t going to have a choice in the matter and you have to get a move on. We did the long and fast traveling 3 times in our first year of rving. After each sprint my body hurt and so did my soul. I go CRAZY in the passenger seat with so much of the world flying by me! My advice take it slow, slow, slow!!!!! RVer burn out is a real thing!

6. Not Everyone Travels To Arizona and Florida

Palm Desert Thousand Trails
Thousand Trails In Palm Desert, CA

I don’t know if you have heard but Arizona and Florida RV Parks are expensive in the winter! (Boondocking in the Arizona desert is cheap, but you won’t have power or hookups.) All the snow birds fly like crazy down to the warmer temps while I am here in Central Oregon in February just trying to keep my feet warm!

Josh and I try to keep our costs down as much as possible. It we traveled to every sunny and warm place we would be broke. Making this lifestyle super convenient for you will cost you but if you roll with  punches and travel slow you can make this way of living work for you!

Why I Wrote This

Picture of the mountains in Yukon, Canada, on the way to Alaska in 2015
Driving through the Yukon

I hope this gives some perspective on what RVing full time really means. In no way I am trying to discourage people from this lifestyle. We experience far more good moments than bad. The picture above should show you what I mean!

However, I want to give a dose of reality to balance out the illusion of perfection that is so often portrayed in social media. I’ve been guilty of doing that myself. In the future I plan to better capture moments that aren’t perfect–the times when things get rough. But for now this blog post will have to do!

Happy trails!
-Kali

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  • Especially loved your first paragraph – because I am writing this from a cabin in the woods, dreaming about RVing! My actual dream is to live in the cabin in the winter and travel in the rest of the year. Love your attitude and vlogs, and glad Josh is getting more comfortable in front of the camera. And, yes, a cabin in the woods is awesome, except when things happen like last winter, when a freak cold wind and ice storm resulted in burst pipes, flooding, etc. Yeah, if I did a vlog I wouldn’t have been filming then, either!

    • That is too funny you are writing from a cabin in the woods! And that sounds like a lovely plan to travel during the summer! Oh boy….bursting pipes will certainly ruin your day! Really appreciate your sweet comment! Means a ton that you took the time to reach out!

  • We full timed in a 36′ 5th wheel in the late 90’s/early 2000’s (5 years). She is correct, it’s not all glamorous but we did have fun and saw quite a bit of the country. I did worry about breakdowns but there weren’t that many (learned not to drive at 75 mph with trailer-it will blow the trailer tires). Five years was enough for me though. Being retired military we were used to moving every couple of years so RV’ing was great. I needed up working for the DoD so we got to move around until my second retirement last year.

  • Kali,

    I just subscribed to your blog and watch your vblog almost everytime you post. I see how hard you work at keeping your travels up to date and even though you have had issues with your rig (at times) and moving from place to place you always keep a smile for your youtubers. I am almost retired (62) and have dreamed of living on the road for more than 10 years now. I can not officially collect any social security or pension until I turn 66. I live in the san Francisco bay area and even though I grew up here, and so did my parents I can not afford to stay. The cost of living is huge, and the traffic is outrageous. I want to start a blog or vblog about what it takes to get on the journey. I don’t have a partner so it is just myself, but I still need to make a income. I have some talents, hairdresser, kitchen design, space planning and photography but moving forward on a blog I am finding my hardest feat right now. I would like to ask you how you andJosh decided to make this your journey and if you have any suggestions about how to start my blog. Thank you so much Peggy

    • Really excited for you to hit the road Peggy! San Fran is a very spendy area. I understand not wanting to stay for too long due to the cost of living. Sounds like you have a lot of talents you can use on the road. As for a blog I suggest doing a search on YouTube for “how to make a blog” You will get a lot of info and can see what platforms might work best for you. Thanks for much for watching the vlogs and for following the blog! Going to be working on another post today!

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