Ten Things We Learned About the RV Lifestyle in One Month

by Rachel Gertz

Well good golly, we’ve just passed the one month mark of this little journey. Things are going strong. We’ve managed to drum up enough work to keep some gas in the tank, launched a (sort of) new website, and have managed to keep up with documenting the silly and the stupid for-all-ten-of-you charming people who read this blog.

As with any experience in life worth living, we’ve learned a few things in the last thirty days. Here are some personal favourites.

  1. Don’t lie to authority figures.
    We learned this early on and it almost cost us our trip. This might seem obvious. Hell, it is obvious. We’re stupid for trying. Paradoxically, that’s probably the reason border patrol let us in. Clearly we’re too dumb & scared to be any sort of real threat. So the moral is… if you are going to lie, only do it if you’re dumb and scared.
  2. Check your levels.
    We’ve had multiple occasions where we’ve run out of propane and ended up forming a cocoon of blankets to stop our asses from freezing to death because our furnace won’t work. So don’t listen to those sensors. Get down on your knees and check the meter. Also, pay attention to those holding tanks. Respect the poo and it’s unwieldy force. Luckily you’ve all born witness to all the consequences so you won’t feel the need to test your own holding tank limits.
  3. Get lost.
    To Rachel’s dismay, I am a bonafide champion of getting lost. Doesn’t matter where we are, what we’re driving, or even how many times I’ve been there, I will get lost. GPS seems to help a little, but not even TomTom can prevent a few good gallons of petroleum from burning as we circle aimlessly through foreign city streets. Saying that, getting lost is the best way to find out more about the area rather than trekking from point A to point B with no map checking in between. Rach likens it to playing Final Fantasy or Doom where you only see your immediate path; any unknowns are pitch black. Once you’ve traversed around the city, it all lights up, you have a complete and functional map.
  4. Tell that comfort zone to shut up.
    If you’re like us, you’ve already forgone the conventional lifestyle. Don’t take it for granted. Push your limits. Say hi first and nod back when people nod at you. Try new grub. Walk down the freeway just to see what happens. Work it like you own it. Nothing will test you more than prodding yourself out of your tight little turtle shell to find a better home.
  5. In general, America is 100 times more friendly than Canada.*
    All I’ve ever heard about the US, growing up in Canada, is that Americans are fat, ignorant, rude, Lucifer’s spawn, blah, blah, blah. The people of Canada (or any other country) who actually believe that horse pocky are either a) projecting or b) have never actually set foot in America. We have never experienced friendlier, more sincere, more welcoming people than we have in America. That goes for every city in every state we have hit so far (or that we have ever been to, period). No wonder we are losing our doctors and teachers and lawyers and engineers to this wonderful nation.
  6. Embrace failure. And fail harder.
    It’s more entertaining when you do… at least I hope it is. I seem to be good at it.
  7. It’s easier to appreciate what you got when you don’t got much.
    It’s really hard to believe that we have a 10x15’ cube filled to the brim with our crap back home. I have no idea what we did with all that or what we will do with it when we get back. There’s something magical about living with only the essentials (*cough* Rock Band *cough*).
  8. Space is more valuable than gold.
    I love that Rachel and I can spend so much time together. We’ve had more fun and have had a chance to rediscover some of the finer points in life over the past month. Saying that, I don’t care how patient a person you are, if you don’t schedule alone time, meaning me-and-not-you time, you will drive each other to the crazy house, and it won’t be a smooth ride. It’s easy to feel stuck when you live, work, & drive in the same 300 square foot box day in and day out. So honour each others’ need for space.
  9. Disregard convention and get things done.
    I’ve always found that my most productive times of day are first thing in the morning and late at night, into the early hours of morning. The afternoon and evening equal zombie time for me. Instead of fighting it like every other nine-to-fiver, I’m going with the flow, only doing creative work during prime-time. It feels great, I get tons more done, and the best part is that it leaves the afternoons and evenings for exploring all the glorious sights and sounds around us.
  10. The road is lonely.
    Perhaps the biggest surprise we’ve encountered is how lonely it can be out here. We get to meet great people all the time. But many of the encounters we have are quick and then over. I love it when we can catch up with familiar faces even if for just a quick beer or a costume party. We’ve hit it off with some really amazing people that will hopefully become lifelong friends. It’s always bittersweet because we know we will soon be moving on to the next city and are never sure when our next friend encounter will happen.

So, at the one month road sign, I can safely say that this little experiment has been a success. The RV lifestyle is not only good, it is awesome, and it works. Not only for a couple of adventurous creatives, but for anyone wanting to dump the conventional lifestyle for a chance to do things all over again, just because you can.

Rachel and Travis give the RV lifestyle two thumbs up.

*Except when referring to those Canuck folks we know and love and who are exceedingly friendly. You know who you are.

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