I know what you’re thinking.
What guy in his right mind would take his newlywed wife and travel the country in an RV?
The first year of marriage can be tough enough without adding broken pump lines and the stress of learning the RV lifestyle. But, to be completely honest, it’s been the adventure of a lifetime.
My wife and I are on a fifty-state, seven-month RV honeymoon across America in our 1994 Coachmen Leprechaun. Here’s what I’ve learned in the first 60 days of being on the road full-time in an RV.
Grace. I’ve learned to give my wife grace for her mishaps. After all, we are within 29 ft of each other 24 hours a day. It would make for an extremely long seven months of travel if you never learn to forgive and forget. I’ve also learned to allow grace for myself. I’ve broken a toilet seat, flooded the RV, and backed into a car at a grocery store. If I spent all my time being upset at what a screw-up I was, then I wouldn’t be in good shape to enjoy our journey.
How to clean. When you’re full-time RVing, you clean up after every meal. Every meal. If you don’t, then prepare yourself to live in the mess. We’ve done a decent job of staying up with all of our meals, however, buying paper plates, cups, and bowls have helped out a lot.
You don’t need as much as you think. Before we left on our trip, I told Alyssa we were going to have a “one month rule.” If there is anything in our RV or under storage that we haven’t touched our used within the first month, it’s outta here. We’ve held true to our promise. Really, the only things you need are coffee grounds, underwear, and toilet paper. The rest is icing on the cake.
Change your mentality from a “destination trip” to a “journey trip.” We, as Americans, embrace the ‘I’m going to get there as fast as I can’ mentality. Our trip has challenged us to completely re-think the way we approach roadtripping. We constantly stop and eat at scenic overlooks. We leisurely take our time through parks and allow cars to fly past us. We even went as far as naming our RV “Franklin,” in honor of the slow-moving turtle from a children’s book. We havelearned to sync with the slower-paced lifestyle, which sometimes is easier said than done when you’re 23 years old.
How to do without. My wife Alyssa and I both came from very comfortable lives. In other words, we never had to go without. Being in an RV full-time taught us to do without some of our comforts. We have everything we need, and we’ve learned to be okay with not always having the best shower or the fastest Internet. We could have lived this way before we left, but now we roll with the punches. We also apply some extra deodorant when the situation calls for it.
How to make insignificant moments meaningful. When you’re on the road traveling constantly, the days can blend together and it’s easy to sink into a “no shaving” and “no makeup” mentality. Granted, we are newlyweds, so you might expect me to say something like this, but it’s a great habit for any traveling couple to practice. Sometimes, Alyssa and I dress up and cook a fancy dinner in the RV. We even go as far as putting on a nice pair of dress shoes for the occasion. The dinner isn’t what makes it special, just the extra effort to make the moment meaningful. We drink wine, eat salmon, and enjoy some chocolate for dessert. It’s a typical date night for most couples, but for us, it’s something much more.
As far as what I’ve learned technically about RVs, that will have to come in an entirely new blog post. The RV life is an amazing adventure. As for Alyssa and me, we’re on a mission of our own to work a different job in all 50 states. We’re filming a documentary called Hourly America in order to highlight the life stories of hourly workers across America. So far, we’re 10 states and 10 jobs into our journey. You can keep up with our trip over at heathpadgett.com and alyssapadgett.com