Two years ago my husband and I began our journey of living life on the road as nomads, or as I like to say gypsies. While it has not always been easy I would not have had it any other way. The uncertainties can be downright scary sometimes but the lessons, adventures and discoveries have been worth it. In this post I would like to share with you a few of the lessons we have learned since starting this journey.
1. Emergency funds are essential to become a Nomad.
Prior to embarking on this journey we had a setback. At the time we were devastated to learn that a motor home we had purchased and renovated had a blown motor. We had it looked over at purchase and thought all was good so this was really unexpected. As a result, we lived stationary for a couple of years while we saved up money and re-calibrated our plans. Those two years were the best thing for us. Not only did we get used to living in a tiny space, but we were able to save up a substantial emergency fund. This has saved us more than once when we broke down or had other unexpected things come up. Full time travel can be challenging but without this cushion it would have ended the adventure.
2. Items need a “home”.
Organization in a house can be a challenge but in an RV it is essential. Your possessions will and do disappear in a small space and clutter can happen almost instantaneously. So having designated “homes” or places where your stuff lives can save your sanity. The trick is getting in the habit of putting things back after you use them… or getting your family members to. This is a habit that takes practice but is totally worth it.
3. Treat your rig like your home, because it is.
Just like home ownership comes with repairs and maintenance so does your RV. In fact, an RV and possibly a tow vehicle, will need regular maintenance and safety checks to avoid catastrophes. Depending on how much you travel things will wear out, break and malfunction. In the last two years we have had 2 truck break downs and one major RV failure that cost us over $11,000! Thank goodness for that emergency fund. While not everyone will experience this extreme I can’t stress enough how important it is to have a trained professional safety check your rig at least once a year.
4. It’s okay to splurge a little for the upgrades.
Just like people remodel their homes to suit their needs you can also make your RV more user friendly by adding your own style and personal touches. We have recently added toppers to all our slides and love the fact we don’t have to sweep tree leaves off the top of them anymore. We also added a spice rack/cabinet and some pocket shelves to the back side of the kitchen island for more storage. These small additions really help with “homing” the spices and other stuff we were struggling with. So go ahead and get creative. Even a coat of paint can really change the feel and look of your RV.
5. Learn about and use RV travel apps.
There are so many wonderful tools to help you plan your travels and even save money as you go. We try our best to live on a budget and saving money on rent is a huge bonus. A couple of our favorite sites that help us do that are Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts. While both sites have an annual subscription fee, they pay for themselves after a stay or two. We also have met some wonderful people and fellow RV travelers.
Boondockers welcome is comprised of homeowners and RV owners who have space for you to park for a night or sometimes longer on their property. This is usually free without any hookups. If you have a property to offer to do the same the membership fees are waived. The site allows you to search by location, RV size and to review profiles to see what to expect and any house rules the hosts have for your visit.
Harvest Hosts while technically free can get pricey without some self control. Since your visit will be at a winery, brewery, museum, farm or golf course, be warned you may be enticed to purchase goodies and experiences. We have a few really yummy bottles of wine that we can share with new friends so not all bad 🙂