6 Lessons from 3+ Years of Full-Time RVing with Kids
We have been on the road full time for over three years with our four kids and dog. Over the years, we have learned a variety of things. Some of them were specific to RV Living, but the most surprising ones are the things we have learned about ourselves throughout this process.
1. The Challenge of Freedom
Choosing to live this lifestyle, have our own businesses, and basically be free to go where we want when we want has had its challenges. There isn't "anyone" telling us when we have to get up or where we have to go.
It is a beautiful thing and also very challenging. It leads to having to make a lot of decisions each and every day and to having to do research to decide what those decisions should be. But the beauty is, we have the option to make these choices.
Now that we have had a taste of this lifestyle it would be really hard to go back to having someone else control our life.
2. Balancing Different Personalities
When you live so closely together and are with each other almost 24/7 there is a lot of interaction that is happening. Our goal has always been to raise our kids to have strong personalities and to make their own choices.
But, when you have five different choices coming at you it can be a challenge! My hope is that throughout this process the kids are learning about sacrifice, how to compromise and to really appreciate each other and us as people, not just parents, and all of the opinions we have . . .
It is sometimes ugly and there is lots of yelling and arguing, but the good thing is, we work through it. When you are together so much, you don't have an option to ignore things. Instead, things have to be figured out so everyone can live happily together.
3. Dealing with Confusion
To be honest, there are times I wish we never got on the road full time. The reason being, now that we know this lifestyle is out there, it would be hard to be content just staying in one place.
This doesn't mean we don't get burnt out with traveling, because we do. We have even considered our next move being renting a place to stay put for six months. This back and forth can get confusing -- should we stay on the road or settle for a little while? It is a constant thought and conversation that we have.
4. Missing out on Extracurricular Activities
Both Craig and I grew up playing sports. Having our kids not be involved in these activities the way we were has always weighed heavily on us. Is it okay? Should we not travel so they can do these things?
When we made the decision to travel full time the kids were 6, 4, 4 and 2. We figured we had time. Our oldest isn't really into organized sports, so it doesn't bother him. The other kids do have an interest in it and enjoy it.
We normally travel somewhat quickly with moving to a new location every week or every other week which makes it hard to get involved in sports in the area. However, we have done a few longer stretches back in our hometown and the kids have joined some classes.
I am still not 100% sure if it is okay that they aren't in these activities consistently, but on the other hand, our kids have hours and hours of free time. That is an amazing thing, especially because we hear all the time about how kids have no free time now-a-days.
That is definitely not the case with our kids and we love that they have hours upon hours each day to play outside, explore their interests, or just hang out.
5. Working on our Marriage
Having four kids and a successful marriage is a feat in itself. Add in traveling full time and running a business together and things can get a little shaky.
This year has been a lot about Craig and I growing our relationship. Like I talked about above, when you are together 24/7 there is no way to push issues under the rug. Instead, we have to face things head on and work through them together.
It has been a challenge, but it is causing us to continue to work and grow our relationship. It is a consistent work in progress as we navigate this crazy, free life. But we are committed to figuring it out together and for our relationship to be a prime focus.
6. Making the Most of our Time
Time really does fly. I can't believe we have been on the road for over three years. It seems like just last week we were packing up and selling our house. On the other hand, we have grown so much as people and all of our eyes have been opened more and more as we continue to explore and meet new people and learn about different parts of the country.
Our oldest is now 10. I can't believe it. This lifestyle takes a lot of time for planning and traveling. We have to stop ourselves at times to remember one of the big reasons we chose this lifestyle was to enjoy a lot of time together as a family. And to slow down and just focus on enjoying each other.
Now that we have been on the road for over three years and we have had a taste of the freedom, a taste of exploring our amazing country (and yes only a taste - there is still so much more for us to see and do), and tons of time to spend with our kids, we can see that the world is our playground.
It is up to us where we want to go and what we want to do next. It is a really amazing feeling to know you can figure out and do anything that you want to and that we can do it together as a family!