Living full-time in a motorhome or caravan is not for everyone. There is definitely an adjustment when you transition from living in a house or apartment to living in a vehicle.
Of course the biggest (or smallest) change is the space; because even the smallest of apartments is larger than most camper vans.
But there is also an adjustment period as you get used to a different ways of doing everyday things like:
- Taking shorter showers
- Going to the toilet in the campground toilets (so that you don’t have to empty your toilet cassette as often)
- Having less cooking gadgets (and less counter space)
- Needing to shop more often and not being able to bulk buy while things are cheap
- Figuring out where everything is; the supermarket, the petrol station, the library.
We asked some full-timers what lessons they’ve learned as they transitioned from living in a ‘stick and bricks’ to living ‘on the road’. Here are their top 5 lessons:
Staying organised is key
When you’re living in a small space, keeping that space organised is paramount. Everything needs to have a home, somewhere that it can always be put away, especially on travel days. Knowing where to find all your things helps to reduce the stress of being in a small space, and making sure that things have a home ensures that you can utilise all of the small space that you do have.
Keep up with maintenance
We all know that regular maintenance of your motorhome is important, but maybe sometimes you think, “well… maybe it can wait until next month when we’re in a city”. And then next month rolls around and you think, “oh there’s so much to do here and we’re having so much fun; I’ll book the service when things have calmed down”. And before you know it; it’s another month later, you’ve left the city, you spent a big chunk of money so you’ve headed to a remote free camp… and now you’re broken down on the side of the road with limited reception and roadside assistance will take, literally, days to get to you.
Of course a service won’t stop you from ever breaking down, but by doing all that you can to make sure your vehicle is in good condition you will limit the chances of a breakdown.
Planning ahead makes life so much easier
When you’re on the road there is more that you have to plan for that you don’t have to worry about when you live in a stationary house. When you’re travelling in a motorhome you need to figure out where you’re going to stay each night and the best route to get there. Once you’re there you’ll need to plan for the places you’d like to visit, where to eat, what to eat, when to shop, when to refuel and what the weather will be like while you’re there.
Nothing has to be planned to the n’th degree, but planning ahead can help you avoid things like huge crowds (if there’s a festival in town that doesn’t interest you), bad weather, bad food and closed attractions. Maybe the most important factor of planning ahead is that it can help you avoid those tense arguments as you’re travelling down a narrow road, in the dark, and can’t find any camping spots!
‘Stuff’ can be hard to let go of – so give yourself time
It’s exciting when you’re embarking on a new adventure of living in a motorhome full-time, but for most people it will require a massive amount of downsizing. It’s so easy to accumulate a tonne of ‘stuff’ when we have the room to store it; in a motorhome you just don’t have the space so it has to go.
There may be a lot of emotion tied up with your possessions, that’s okay. While you do need to get rid of all the excess stuff, there’s no need to rip it off like a bandaid. Give yourself time to go through your possessions, sort through them and eventually… say goodbye to them!
Mobile living is awesome
This isn’t really a ‘lesson’ as such, but there is no doubt that living on the road is awesome. There’s a joy and peace that comes when you’re able to experience new sights, sounds and tastes, meet new and interesting people and reduce the ‘stuff’ in your life to just what can fit in your motorhome or camper.
So if you’re thinking about full-timing in your motorhome or camper van, you just need to be prepared for a period of adjustment as you get used to your new lifestyle.
But it will be so worth it.