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All Things RV,  Newbies,  Preparing to RV

Our First Year Full Time RV: What We Learned

Do you wonder what life will be like when you hit the road full time in your RV? Will it be as enjoyable as YouTubers make it out to be? Every RVer’s experience is different. We were told if you survive your first year then you’ve made it. Our first year as full time RVers came with many bumps in the road and so many learning curves. Today, we will share what we learned during our first year full time RV.

More of What We Learned During Our First Year

Emotions

When we first hit the road, we were excited but also very nervous. We were still learning the basics like how our RV works, how to find campgrounds, and how long do we want to drive between stays.  All the uncertainty could be stressful and our emotions were up and down like a teenager hitting puberty!

But soon, RVing became a way of life for us. All of the nervous stress began to melt away, and we realized we were not crazy like our Moms declared! We were adventurers on a mission to explore our country!

When you hit the road, don’t be surprised if you go through a full range of emotions from excited, nervous, scared, regret, and everything in between! It is a huge life change, and emotions are bound to flow. When tensions mount just take a deep breath and look around. Remind yourself why you hit the road. Whatever is happening is temporary and you can get through it.

Cades Cove Smoky mountains, full time rv, you me and the rv, today is someday
Cades Cove, Smoky Mountains

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what we learned our first year full time rv, you me and the rv, today is someday

Vacation Mode

I know you’ve heard this phrase before. It is a real thing! It happened to us. We felt like we had to do and see EVERYTHING at each new location. It’s like when you are on vacation for only a week and you try to see and do it all! So you pack your schedule full to exhausting! This is not the goal of RV life. I don’t want to be exhausted when I leave a place.

Now we take our time. We stay home to do laundry, meal prep, edit videos, or just have a chill day without regret! I keep notes of anything we missed that I might want to see the next time we come through the area.

biking in gulfport mississippi, full time rv, you me and the rv, today is someday
Biking in Gulfport, MS

What We Miss

One of the biggest questions we get is ‘what do you miss’ since going full time? Here are the few things we miss seite web.

Friends and Family

Of course, friends and family are what we miss the most. It’s what everyone misses most! But this part of full time may be a little easier for us. As a military family, we have always lived apart from our family. Our friends became our substitute family everywhere we lived. 

We miss our kids the most. But we didn’t leave them behind they left us! When they left the nest, they also left the state. Our daughter’s husband is in the US Navy, and our son joined the Navy as well. RVing has allowed us to visit them whenever we want! And as a bonus, we’ve been able to visit many family members all over the country!

our first trip to Fort Wilderness, full time rv, you me and the rv, today is someday
Our First Trip to Disney’s Fort Wilderness

Backyard

The one thing we both miss is a fenced-in backyard. Or should I say all three of us miss it! Gizmo was 10 when we hit the road and has always known the freedom of his own yard. We could just open the back door to let him out. Now we wake up, get dressed, slap on shoes, attach the leash, and walk him even in the pouring rain! There are days I really want to just open that door!

Dog Sitter

Not having a dog sitter is something we didn’t think about before hitting the road. Now we plan our outings around Gizmo. We no longer have a friend who can pop in to let him out if we are gone for long periods. He is getting older, and can’t cross his legs forever! Thankfully, we have also learned some valuable tips to keep pets safe while RVing and our Govee makes sure the RVs temperature is always safe for Gizmo while we are gone.

Hot Bath

Occasionally, I do enjoy soaking in a hot bath. But this is now a thing of the past for me. Although walking away from a bath tub is a small price to pay for full time living every now and then, I dream of a nice long bubble bath.

Power and Water

There is something to be said for never thinking about power or water. Before we hit the road, we never thought about either of these unless we were paying bills! Now every time the tap is turned, we have to consider our tanks. Even flushing a toilet can be an issue while boondocking! This was a huge adjustment for us, and I can honestly say we were terrible at it in the beginning! 

Thankfully we have learned many ways to save water while boondocking. We also learned exactly how our RV power works, which helps us conserve! Upgrading to Battle Born lithium batteries and mounting a few solar panels also made a huge difference in how we use our power!

Full Time RV Community

We were anxious about how we would connect with people once we were away from our friends and family. But quickly we realized this was the last thing we needed to worry about! RVers are the kindest and friendliest people! We met our RV besties at a campground in our third month on the road through RVillage. And now we caravan together all the time!!

We discovered there are many opportunities out there to meet and hang out and get to know other RVers. Here are a few of the ways we have grown our community.

Finding community full time rving, full time rv, you me and the rv, today is someday
Friends We Have Met Since We Went Full Time
  • Rallys: RVillage Rally, Escapees Hangout, Xscapers Bash, Nomadfest
  • RVillage: this is a social media platform for RVers by RVers to help you meet RVers along your travels. It is free and easy to use
  • Harvest Hosts: We meet other RVers at Harvest Host locations all the time! When you see other RVs at breweries, wineries, or farms it is easy to strike up conversations.
  • Boondockers Welcome: Staying on the property of other RVers has given us the ability to meet some wonderful people. Our last Boondockers welcome stay ended with a night around the campfire with six other people I still text today! 
  • Rest Stops: I know this one sounds strange, but we met a couple at a Kansas rest stop after we pulled in the parking spot beside their RV. Their RV was the same color scheme as ours, and we ended up talking for several hours! We still talk to them regularly.
  • RV Shows: These are easy. Find someone interested in the same RV you are interested in and bam instant ice breaker!
  • Meetups: This is another easy one! Attend a meet up with one of your favorite bloggers or YouTube channels. You know everyone there will have the same interests as you! We met a couple at one of our meetups and clicked instantly! We were able to hang out with them the whole time we were in Tampa. 
Exploring Tampa with friends, full time rv, you me and the rv, today is someday
Enjoying Tampa’s Annual Gasparilla with Friends

What We Imagined VS. Reality

Exploring

We imagined exploring new places almost every day! We were going to hike, bike, run, kayak, and walk down the main street of all the small towns we encountered. But we soon learned how exhausting this can be! We needed time to relax and enjoy the little pleasures in life. Like watching a couple of squirrels fight over a nut or an alpaca give birth in an old barn.

Watch A New Born Alpaca Learn to Stand

I expected us to really like exploring new places, but I was wrong. I LOVE IT! It has been exciting to see locations all around the country from Arizona’s cactus, Boston’s Freedom Harbor, to New York’s waterfalls. It has been a feast for all of my senses. 

Driving

Driving the RV can be more stressful than I imagined! Small town roads are one thing, but downtown Chicago, Atlanta, Houston, and Nashville are totally different stories! But we have found our travel rhythm, and you will do the same. Phil focuses on the road and keeping us safe with all those crazy drivers. I navigate using our RV Garmin and CoPilot app, making sure Phil has enough time to change lanes or merge in bumper to bumper traffic.

Campfire

I thought I would sit around a campfire all the time. As a kid, I loved the campfire. But as full timers, I have grown to hate the smell of the campfire. It gets into your hair and clothes and smells terrible! It makes navigating laundry and hair washing more challenging while boondocking. Early on, we purchased a small outlander firepit, which allows us to sit around a fire without wasting water or having to find a laundromat!

Palo Duro Canyon state park, full time rv, you me and the rv, today is someday
Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Canyon, Texas

The Little Things We Learned

  • Campfire conversation will always lead to the black tank!
  • Our motorhome slides will open with the engine in A/C mode
  • Boondocking is not hard.
  • I cannot run the fireplace, microwave, and electric heater sg the same time on 30 amps!
  • I live in a constant state of purge.
  • We didn’t need as many things as we thought we would.
  • We wasted a lot of water in our sticks and bricks!
  • The tube where our sewer hose connects to the RV swivels for ease of use at dump stations.
  • The generator is our friend. Stop being afraid to use it.
  • Truck stops are very user friendly. They are easy to get in and out of, and the truckers are friendly!
games with friends, you me and the rv, today is someday
RV Besties We Met Through RVillage

What We Would Do Differently

Towing

We started our full time adventure towing a car on a dolly. We found out quickly how much we hated it. It was difficult to fit the dolly in some of the smaller state parks. More than once the dolly ended up next to our picnic table! I hated driving up on the ramps when they were slick with rain. And Phil pulled his back out, dragging it around, so it had to go.

One of the best things we did was trade our Acura for a Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and the dolly for flat tow! We went with the Air Force One braking system and the Blue Ox tow bar. It made our life so much easier!! I can’t believe we waited almost a year to make the switch!

Find Out the Differences Between Dollys and Flat Tow

Our Kids

Our Babies All Grown Up!

With everything we have learned during our first year if I could go back in time, I would purchase an RV while my kids were small. I wish I had exposed them to the simple RVing lifestyle so they could experience the outdoors and freedom camping brings. 


First Year Full Time RV

Everyone’s first year will be different. We have heard so many times “if you survive your first year you will love it.” We survived and we LOVE it. We can’t imagine going back to our stationary life. For now we will keep the wheels rolling and find new places to explore!

Thanks for stopping by. We hope to see you on the road one day.

Phil & Stacy

Author: Stacy, You, Me & the RV, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 2020

Disclosures: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program and other affiliate programs. These programs are affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and other affiliated sites. It does not cost you anything to use these links.

12 Comments

  • Avatar

    Joanne Green

    We started full time in Nov 2019. Needless to say we have done one trip and COVID hit. It’s been hard. But we r ready to hit the road again.

      • Avatar

        Paul moses

        I love this site. I watch all your videos and they are so important to us. My wife debbie and I are going to purchase our first rv before next summer. I so thankful for your videos and posts. We are in the San Francisco bat area. Maybe some day we will meet you on the road. Thanks Paul Moses

        • Avatar

          Paul moses

          I love this site. I watch all your videos and they are so important to us. My wife debbie and I are going to purchase our first rv before next summer. I so thankful for your videos and posts. We are in the San Francisco bat area. Maybe some day we will meet you on the road. Thanks Paul Moses

  • Avatar

    David Gauthier

    We have been full timing 20 years now on our 4 motorhome. 1 thing we did when we started. Was in our bins ever time I used somthing I move it to a new bin and after 1 year whatever was left in bins that I did not use I found I did not need it so got ride of it. In year 2 my bin were organized and Half empty. So then I had to buy things that I need and wanted.

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    Wendy

    Thank you so much for this. We were suppose to start our fulltime RV adventure this summer however Covid 19 has delayed our plans. I read all your posts and can not wait to get on the road.
    We are in Canada but maybe we will meet one day. Keep posting your honest info is much appreciated!

    Happy days!

    • Avatar

      Jane

      Bill and I have enjoyed your YouTube videos. Very soon we are going to go full time RVing, pulling a 45ft Jayco Seismic 4113 behind our Ram 3500 Dually. We have two sons in the Navy and probably will never come back to St. Louis to live. So we are going to get rid of everything and hit the road ourselves. You two make RVing life look easy….we hope to someday meet up with you to have some fun!

  • Avatar

    Andrea

    Great Stuff!! Y’all have helped us a TON!! Before and after we met, thanks so much. Excited to get on the road and live through our ‘first year’!

  • Avatar

    Doug Rauch

    My wife and I will be purchasing a Tiffin Red 33AA or an Open Rd 34PA. In our searching we discovered your wonderful videos and blogs. And I noticed you changed coaches. Since we’re having possibly similar thoughts and concerns I’d like to know why you switched. Is there a video or blog that discusses this that you can point me to? GO NAVY! Retired LCdr, SC

    • Avatar

      Youmerv

      The two floor plans we liked were the 33AA and the 34PA. We wanted used and the 33AA (Ruby) was the one we found at the right price. Ruby is the only coach we have owned and we love her! The larger bathroom was what we loved about the 37PA but we don’t have any issues with the smaller bathroom in Ruby. If we had to do it all over again we would still choose the 33AA.

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