During our recent cruise vacation, we met lots of new people. The first question usually asked was of course, where are you from? Our answer never wavered from we live in an RV and travel all over, so we don’t really have a from. Some people loved this idea, but then it came up of what do we miss from our “old” life. Isn’t it hard living on the road away from familiarity?
Well, yes and no. There isn’t a one word answer here. All things have their ups and downs, right? You definitely give up familiarity with travel, but you get so much more. We’re ok with the trade-off.
How we turn the downs of travel into ups
Family and Friends
Yes. It can be hard being away from family and friends; we miss family at times. However, traveling has allowed us to see more family. We travel to them. Travel allowed us to be near Paul’s family for a whole winter and we celebrated birthdays, Christmas and even met up for breakfasts with the family.
While we miss having a friend nearby for a last minute dinner, happy hour, hike, etc., we have met so many new friends on the road. It’s been awesome meeting amazing new people and finding them again later in a new place. Social media has allowed us to keep in touch with both friends and family and to know when our paths cross. We have had some great times meeting people all over the country. We can also travel to cities and towns to visit with old friends, so it’s all good.
Heck, we can even meet up with friends and family in new places which allows them to travel as well.
So many people ask us why we don’t have a washer and dryer in our RV. Our answer is why would we? It’s not only heavy, but takes up valuable storage space. We honestly enjoy going to laundromats as it takes so much less time to get multiple loads of laundry done. In 2 hours or less we can wash and dry 3-4 loads! If we have a washer and dryer, that would take all day to get done.
Plus, we can wash blankets and the dog bedding easily. Win win in our eyes.
It’s a basic need that everyone must do. It is also a constant struggle to find the brands and things we like in new places across the country.
How have we adjusted?
Well, grocery trips are an adventure most of the time. It takes us a little longer to find things and we’ve had to search for natural or health food stores for some of our needs. We’ve never gone hungry though and we’ve always adjusted to whatever is available in a given area.
If possible, we find it helpful to go to familiar brands of stores. For example, Kroger stores are all over, especially the west, but they have different names. It’s not hard to find the local Kroger store and then it’s actually quite a familiar feeling inside.
We also love Trader Joe’s and will almost always stop at one if it happens to be in the area. It’s familiar and has some of our favorites. Plus, there are always seasonal items which are fun to discover.
It’s all part of the fun of travel. Seeing new cultures even within the USA and experiencing different food. Worst case scenario is buying dried goods off of Amazon, if we can’t find it in a store. Problem solved.
We have always enjoyed getting outside for exercise. Traveling hasn’t changed that one bit. It has actually made it more fun and exciting since we’re always exploring new trails, waterways and neighborhoods. We can hike in amazing places to see beautiful new scenery. We can run new neighborhoods and trails. Trust us when we say we saw many new trails as we trained for our half marathon in December.
So travel has allowed us to expand our exercise routines and certainly not made them boring. This wouldn’t be the case if we always enjoyed working out at the gym.
Heather has also discovered the App, Down Dog, which has allowed her to continue to practice yoga in our home on wheels. The only challenge with yoga is keeping the dogs off her mat while she’s down on the floor. However, with a little training they seem to have learned that the mat doesn’t mean a new dog bed and know to leave her alone during this quiet time.
What we miss during our travels, but don’t NEED to live?
Heather enjoyed taking baths when we had a large bathroom. It was her relaxing time with a book.
How have we dealt with that?
Well, it’s not a necessity. It’s a want or need. To fill that void we enjoy hot tubs or hot springs whenever we can.
Heather also enjoys a bath whenever we have one available to us like a hotel, friends house or even on the cruise. Yes, we had a bathtub in our stateroom on the cruise! How awesome is that?!?!?
It sounds like a strange thing to miss, but Heather really enjoyed her monthly book club with friends. It not only made her read books she might not have otherwise picked up, but it was so much fun. Sharing a meal (potluck style) and chatting always made for a fun evening and there is definitely a void there.
She still hasn’t found something to fill that void, but again it’s a want not a need.
Coupons and rewards programs
When living stationary, we enjoyed coupons from the local grocery stores and even frequent buyers programs, if, for example, we went to the same coffee shop. We find our grocery bills are a little higher on the road without those coupons and little extras from retail stores.
We also earned a gas discount by shopping at the local grocery store and filling up at their gas stations. We got around this by joining a national gas rewards program and using our camping memberships to get some discounts as we travel.
It’s certainly not a deal breaker for us, but it is a new normal and adjustment.
This might seem like a simple thing to miss, but it’s not easy finding a good vet who knows our dogs. One of our dogs has a lifetime illness that’s not widely known about outside the southwest US and it’s not always easy to get him care outside of our old vet. He requires annual blood work and daily meds due to the illness. As he starts to age, the medicine is also taking its toll on him.
Thankfully, we were able to visit with our familiar vet when we were back in Colorado which was really nice. Our vet has also been very understanding and helps us out over the phone at times. It’s been a blessing having such a great animal hospital who supports our travels and our dogs.
Keeping them up to date on vaccines has been easy enough. It’s the records that are driving us crazy. We have a paper folder for all their records because they have received vaccines all across the USA including Texas, California, Colorado and Florida. These vaccine records are needed anytime you see a new vet or need pet sitting services. This is where being away from familiarity is hard, but not a deal breaker. Just another adjustment. We can handle it.
We’ve adjusted and we make it work, but it’s not easy and we miss the familiarity of our old vet clinic.
Heather had a few regular volunteering opportunities that she really enjoyed. It was not only fun, but fulfilling giving back to a community. It’s a little harder to do that on the road, so for now we’ve forgone volunteer opportunities.
Maybe down the road we can do a volunteer vacation or find some way to give back that doesn’t require a weekly or monthly commitment. Again, this isn’t something we need to live, but something that adds value to our lives.
See what I’m getting at? It’s all about making new normals and adjusting to what’s available. What are some of your new normals after living on the road?