10 lessons learned in our first 6 months of full-time RVing

10 lessons learned in our first 6 months of full-time RVing

Our first six months of full-time RVing have flown by. I’m happy to say we are in agreement that it was a great decision to pursue this adventure! We thought we’d recap some of the valuable lessons we’ve learned along the way.

10 - It doesn't feel like a vacation ... most of the time

It doesn’t feel like a vacation … most of the time – Kevin and I both continue to be blessed to work our full-time jobs. That leaves after work and weekends to explore the area we are visiting. But after work and weekends is also the time for taking care of normal life responsibilities like washing clothes, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning. You get the idea! When you are on vacation, you typically put those responsibilities to the side for a little while. Not so as we travel in Mary D.

9 - I heart Instagram

It’s fun, quick, and easy to share photos of our adventures on Instagram. (You can follow us there @marydtherv!) The community is encouraging. It’s linked to our Facebook page (facebook.com/marydtherv) so it’s easy to share the posts there and reach yet another encouraging community.

What I’ve found more difficult to do is blog regularly on this site. Don’t get me wrong … I have plenty of ideas in my head about what I should share. But getting the ideas out of my head and onto the site, with complementary photos, is a discipline I’ve yet to conquer. But I’m not giving up. My hope is when I write this post after 1 year of full-timing I have a more successful blogging story to share. Stay tuned!

8 - Start small

Full-time travel is not all fun and games, and we’ve made our share of mistakes (or learning opportunities) along the way. But probably our biggest lesson learned has to do with driving days. Kevin is our only driver. That’s a huge responsibility and one he does an amazing job at. But it is a stressful job that requires him to be super attentive to the road conditions, the other drivers, the weather conditions, and more. Early in our travels we made a trip from Grand Forks, ND to Cincinnati, OH – roughly 1,200 miles – over 3 days in a heat and wind advisory. We did it, but it wasn’t fun. And it took a while for Kevin to relax after we finally arrived. Now we try to travel 4 to 6 hours max in one day.

7 - Memphis has a pyramid; Cincinnati has Pinocchio; Detroit has a fire-breathing dragon

It’s a great big world out there, and we’ve enjoyed exploring it! This blog features a few posts with details of the sites we’ve seen, but there is much more to share. Maybe someday I’ll catch up. Here’s a few photos to hold you over! Click an image to view larger.

6 - Full-time RVing is great for family time

We have goals to visit much of the U.S. in Mary D, but a higher priority goal is to enjoy time with our family. And we’ve been able to do that already in these six months, having extended stays near family members for over half the time we’ve been on the road. Our travels even brought us close enough for Sallie to road trip to Houston with her sister for our great niece’s Renaissance Festival wedding. And we’ve especially enjoyed our time near Sallie’s mom this fall and winter. We’ve never had this long of a stay near her, so we consider every moment of it a blessing!

5 - What’s the rush?

Extended stays in an area fit us well. Putting at least one weekend between travel weekends means we have a better chance to explore an area. Plus, weekly and monthly rates at RV parks are lower than overnight stays. We go less places, but we get to enjoy them more. And our future is wide open to make it to all the places we dream of. Slowly.

4 - I don’t miss my stuff … most of the time

We closed on the sale of our house on June 15. The months and weeks leading up to that day were filled with getting rid of a TON of our belongings. We gifted, donated, sold, and even dumped almost everything we owned. It was hard work! In the end, what didn’t fit in Mary D and wasn’t in the few bins we stored with Kevin’s parents was no longer ours. So the big question was would there be regret? Would we miss our stuff? And our answer is NO! We actually feel like we still have too much stuff. We are surviving and thriving with our smaller footprint. There have been a few times along the way that we needed some particular gadget that we used to own – a wire brush for cleaning or a rubber stamp for crafting. Nothing big and nothing that can’t easily be replaced if it is really needed.

3 - Make new friends

Friendly folks! That’s what we’ve encountered thus far in our travels. People working in RV parks are eager to help. People staying in RV parks are always interested in getting to know you, hearing about your travels, and sharing their experiences. To top it all off, our paths crossed with fellow full-timers who are in the WELSTech community. Barb and Jason from winget.us have been full-timers for over a year, and they were happy to share their experience with us. We loaded up on social time and celebrated Barb’s birthday while we were in the same park this fall. We are looking forward to a few meet ups in 2019 as well!

2 - Wonderful worship

Our first 6 months of travel have included worshipping in 15 different settings including a dedication of a new worship facility at Peace in Sun Prairie, WI, and opening services at both Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary and Wisconsin Lutheran College.

One thing we prayed for as we got on the road was to engage with the people and work of the congregations we visited. That’s a pretty hard thing to do when we only visit each location for a few weeks at most. But God has blessed us with opportunities despite our odd circumstances. In St. Louis we joined in a workday at the parsonage of Martin Luther Lutheran Church. They were renovating in anticipation of their new pastor’s arrival. So taping and painting it was!

Most recently, because we are staying in one place for a few months, we have become regulars at King of Kings in Alexandria, LA. There we’ve found a wonderful family of believers who have maintained their church despite being without a full-time pastor for 7 years!! Pastor Patrick Freese from Trinity in Abita Springs, LA makes the 3+ hour drive to lead services once each month. The rest of the month laymen lead Bible Class and worship, using video sermons from other WELS congregations. They show their love for our Savior by doing all things with the highest standards of excellence. It has been a joy to be a part of this family!!

1 - We still need our space

Last but not least. We spent 5 months and 1 week of this time in our 1996 Tiffin Allegro Bay, discovering what life on the road and living in a tiny space was all about. And we learned what our must haves were for our next RV.

The week of Thanksgiving, we found a newer rig, the next Mary D, at a dealer near us, and she checked off all the major items on our wish list. So, we are now the happy owners of a 2006 Tiffin Phaeton. She’s a diesel bus – 40 feet long with 4 slides and a washer/dryer!! We’re still settling in, but the extra space is phenomenal. We are looking forward to many years of travel in our new home!

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