How To Live An Adventurous Life On The Road is the third installment in our series on RV travel tips. This post lists six perks of and ten tips for full-time RVing with family. (Read parts one and two of Women’s Adventure‘s RVing series here and here.)
Susie from The Kellogg Show (kelloggshow.com) shares how to–and why you should–live an adventurous life on the road in your RV.
By Susie Kellogg
I have found the ultimate hack. A hack so huge that it must be shouted from the rooftops to every family in the universe. A hack so life-changing that if everyone took it to heart the world would be a drastically different place.
And that hack is living full-time in an RV. Not a trailer, not a fifth wheel, but a full on Class A Motorhome. I’m not kidding. Bear with me and really give this idea its due while I rattle off a few perks.
1. Living in an RV means never ever having to pack for anything. Not a trip to the zoo or to the mall or even across the country. Just like that, the ginormous diaper bags are instantly a thing of the past.
2. RVing eliminates tardiness. You are never ever late for anything, ever. Because you can leave before you are ready, you can leave before the kids even wake up. You just tackle all the getting-ready chores en route!
3. Life on the road in an RV means that you don’t ever have to step foot in a fast food restaurant while traveling again in your entire life. You can fire up your oven, your stove, your microwave, even your Vitamix Blender for the healthy meals your family is accustomed to eating!
4. Having an RV makes camping a breeze. You can indulge your and your husband’s love of the outdoors and give your kids a wild and free childhood without giving up any of your creature comforts like climate control, comfortable beds, and even showers! You become the coolest mom on earth because you take your kids camping!
5. Traveling in your RV means you never have to hear the TSA grill you on the contents of your bags or pay the extra charges that the airlines may impose. You can bring every last article of clothing, all your shoes, your favorite shower gels, your makeup, your bikes, your skis, and a million changes of clothes for your kids… I mean: You can bring everything! In fact, you can even bring the kitchen sink!
6. RVing isn’t necessarily associated with the word luxury, so you’ll be pleasantly surprised if you tour one. We had this opportunity last January when we attended the RV Supershow in Tampa, Florida. I literally fell in love with all the models on display! From heated tile floors and gas fireplaces to washers and dryers, you will be amazed by all of the modern amenities that can be included in RVs!
7. The guesswork of choosing the right RV for you is a thing of the past, thanks to sites like GoRVing.com and Women’s Adventure magazine’s guide to RVs for ladies. GoRVing.com is consumer resource that’s a one-stop-shop for information on choosing the right RV, where to go, where to stay, suggested routes, great campfire recipes, and more!
So, if you are eager to travel more or are thinking about taking a sabbatical from the real world, here are our top 10 tips for living an adventurous life on the road.
This might sound obvious but when we first started RVing, our travels mimicked our life at home. We raced from place to place; we simply couldn’t see enough or do enough in order to affirm our reasons for travel. We believed we had to do it all. We were crazed and exhausted.
Today, we’ve learned the fine art of relaxed travel and no longer race to a destination. Instead, we have embraced the idea that the journey is, undoubtedly, more important than the destination. We will stop at a roadside Farmer’s Market or to go swimming in a lake. We will go off the beaten path whenever possible. We’ve been known to stay weeks longer in a locale because we love it or leave early because we don’t. The point is to enjoy the minutes, the hours, and to make the experience as fun and exciting as possible. If that means you go off schedule because your kids spot a cool off-road bike trail or read about a specific landmark, then—by all means—go off schedule! It’s like “they” say … the joy is in the small things. Life on the road is meant to be experienced and enjoyed, not conquered! Buddha said it best when he proclaimed, “It is better to travel well than to arrive.”
I think it’s pretty safe to say that time is the one thing none of us have enough of; life just goes by so fast. I find it incomprehensible that we have been on the road now for two years already. I keep track of all our adventures by blogging and taking an exorbitant number of photos and video. It helps me remember, and the memories are fun to review.
We also encourage the kids to journal their experiences. It’s the best way we have found to allow for total vacation customization and individual memories to flourish as well as a unique and natural way to sneak in some core curriculum! We really go crazy with journaling because it is fun!
We keep most of our memories online so photographs and videos can be easily and conveniently saved then included in our journals. We describe where we went, where we stayed, what we did, what our favorite parts were, who we met, and everything else we can think of.
Our Travel Journal includes a diary of our activities. We have a writing journal, a photography portfolio, a video library, a collection of postcards that all adds up to a true documentation of our own personal travel experiences. This is truly priceless and because we are keeping it online, it never gets lost.
Take Advantage Of Solar Energy.
Solar power is key to keeping our electronics charged and at the ready while on the road as well as while on adventures. We are typically out in the middle of nowhere climbing or hiking, kayaking or boarding, and keeping our iPods and cell phones charged is super important for bragging rights as well as safety precautions. We never leave home without taking one of our über portable, slim, and rugged Enerplex solar charging devices with us.
Solar cooking is a phenomenal option that I am so glad to have discovered. The All American Sun Oven enables me to cook everything from lasagna to cake, utilizing the free resources given to us via the sun!
In the coming months we will be searching for solar options on a larger scale. We want to limit our reliance on electricity and enable us to venture out in the boondocks much more often!
If your dreams of living on the road are filled with adventure, spontaneity, and new experiences then staying healthy is vital to keeping that dream alive. The number one way to remain healthy and feeling youthful is to fuel your body with the purest foods, the healthiest foods, and the most nutrient-dense foods possible. This means staying away from processed foods, fast foods, and junk food and replacing them with whole foods, and either sticking to a plant-based diet or a diet rich in organic, grass-fed meats. RVing makes travel and eating healthy synonymous.
Life on the road means simplicity in its most seductive form. We have done away with the three meals per day—a creation of the working world—and supply our bodies continuously throughout the day with healthy snacks and whole foods. Basically, we eat when we are hungry… revolutionary, huh? And we eat simply. My Vitamix Blender is my lifeline. It’s how I ensure that my family is consuming enough vegetables and superfoods to keep them active and healthy and to fuel their brains. It’s also fast. I can make a breakfast smoothie in less than two minutes!
Do Something Fun Every Day.
It is so easy to become complacent and work your life away, seeing little of your family, having very little fun, and living more like a drone than a human. Monotony takes over, and each day blends into the next. Traveling can begin to look the same if you find yourself content to sit in a campground or to drive endlessly without stopping to add some spark to your travels.
If this sounds like the rut you have found yourself in, you might be surprised to find you need to re-learn how to have fun. Deciding to live on the road is a definite first step, and when it’s done right, no two days ever feel the same!
We have found there is no better way to keep everyone’s spirits up and to keep the family happily connected than to carve out time to get our adrenaline flowing—every single day. Playing at the park, running a river, climbing, biking… For us, adrenaline is the key, but for others, a brisk walk or even a stroll through the center of town could be just the trick.
Involve The Kids.
Our kids love to plan road trips as much as they love to stray from the plans! They scour maps and road trip apps before and during our adventure to plan out and/or make last-minute alterations to our trips. Dan and I encourage the use of high technology and old-school atlases and maps. Balance is key. The kids are well known for their skills at mapping and finding hidden gems, and so when they find a water park on a 105-degree day in the middle of Kansas or find Lake Michigan in Indiana, we are so thankful for their map reading skills. Mapping is an easy way to incorporate education in a natural setting. It combines reading and math skills and helps build spatial sense and visual literacy.
We love our kids; we really love our kids. We enjoy spending time with them and love how they keep us young and energized. Our days are filled with adventures with our kids, and we are more than aware how blessed we are. But we also love each other and love spending time together without billions of interruptions and squeals and instances when we are used as human jungle gyms.
Our circumstances are such that getting out is very, very easy—ridiculously easy. We have older teens that are more than capable of watching their little brothers and sisters, and they are equally eager. So Dan and I will take a walk on the beach or hit up a local dining favorite; we’ll grab a bottle of wine and a blanket and sit out under the stars; or we’ll go for a late night bike ride. The point is that it doesn’t matter what we do, as long as we make a point to spend time alone together. It’s great for our family, it’s great for our traveling sanity, and it’s great for our relationship!
Rule number one on the road is that anything can happen, and when it does, it will be at the most inconvenient time! We just recently dealt with a dead alternator at 4 p.m. on a Saturday. Nothing local was open, and we had to wait until Tuesday to get the part we needed.
This “problem” could have caused great stress and ruined our weekend plans, but instead we did what we always do: changed our destination and continued to make our weekend amazingly awesome by Google-ing hikes in the area and going on the most amazing four-mile trek up a 2,000-foot climb.
All it takes is a change of perspective. Travel is specifically about adventure and new experiences, fun and spontaneity, and so you must be adaptable. Remember, it’s all about the journey, and these crazy mishap events sometimes make the greatest stories!
Living in the moment isn’t just for the existential types. You too can learn how to enjoy the sunsets, the salty air, the cool breeze, the rain, your kids’ laughter, your baby’s smell… Happiness and joy are choices, and living on the road affords you so many opportunities to really live an authentic life, if you just slow down often enough and disconnect from all things worldly.
There’s something magical about experiencing life in a way that makes you stronger emotionally, physically, and spiritually. The people you meet, the cultures you embrace, the adventures, the ever-increasing closeness of those you travel with are things that truly never end. You realize as you traverse the roads of this great country that you are a part of something so much bigger, that you stop believing you are the center of the universe and instead start to think outside of yourself. Treat yourself with this gift by slowing down and living intentionally in the moment.
A friend of mine is about to embark on the RVing lifestyle with her family, and her biggest concerns are leaving her gym and her hairstylist. (She has super cool hair.) I can’t help her with the hair issue, but staying fit and working out on the road is as easy as buying a good pair of running shoes or a good DVD.
Of course, you don’t have to relegate yourself to only a few options. In fact, because we compete competitively in several sports, we cross train and take staying fit to another level entirely. We bring our Bowflex SelectTech 1090 Dumbbells with us. They are compact and fit in our under storage or in our truck. This is yet another example of how traveling in an RV parallels life at home; there really are few sacrifices.
As you can tell, my family loves the RV lifestyle. It keeps us connected, happy, fit, and healthy. Please connect with us at The Kellogg Show (kelloggshow.com) to follow our family and the fun we are having, and don’t forget to visit GoRVing.com. You’ll find tons of information for vacation comparisons, buying information, fuel savings tips, rental facilities, destination suggestions, photography, and videos.
Susie Kellogg and her husband, Dan, live full time on the road with their twelve (yep, 12) kids and a dog in a 36-foot RV. If anyone can share RV living tips, it’s Susie!