There are many problems to be had when you live work, and travel full-time in an RV, but some of them are great!
Patience is a virtue they say. Not one of my strong points. Neither is working on calm, peaceful days in the middle of a hot desert on the Colorado-Utah border. The quiet is so loud that you can hear a groundhog scamper across the gravel and the only other sound is the large black bird that seems to be waiting for us to head out on our bikes, so that we can keel over in the high mountain desert heat and provide it with lunch.
Then the generator turns on and all that loud quiet dissipates into the heat of the afternoon. But, oh, thank God for that generator and its amazing power of electricity to bring on the air conditioner in the middle of the North Fruita Desert.
I should be excited about writing, but currently, again, I am struggling. I am going to blame it on the heat this time. That’s #1 bullshit, but I am still blaming it on the heat. Writing is something I’ve always wanted to have the time to do, and now I do…a lot of time.
And that is where the very real struggle comes in. Currently I feel the need to move, move, move – life is too short – go, go, go. I might miss something. And in so doing, I miss the moments with the people I love and the people I might meet. I have to train my brain how to live without the stress of the daily grind, the work politics, the impossible work deadlines, and just the overall stress of living and breathing work.
Now, I am laughing at myself because these are some serious first world problems, and I sound like a whiny white girl, bitching about things that, in reality, are great RV problems to have.
So, I’ll go with that.
13 Great Problems to Have When Living, Working, and Traveling in an RV
(in no particular order)
1) Too much time
It’s overwhelming sometimes – to write, to think, to reflect, to sleep, to play, to cook, to shop, to think – that’s the dangerous part – too much time to think can get you in trouble. It sends you down roads with great big bumpity bumps like Lost Creek Road outside of Jefferson, Colorado, to crack water tanks. Too much time gives you time to plan all kinds of adventures that cause you to forget that there is still work to be done. I now have time to do laundry (not to mention that I have less laundry to do), clean my house (it takes all of 10 minutes at the most), write, cook dinner, and still have time left over. Now we have to go on bike rides, take walks through the forest, sit and sip a beer in the evening or coffee in the morning, watch the sunset, and explore new places. See, there’s just too much time.
2) Too many places to choose from
Since our house is also our vehicle (that is what an RV is), we can go anywhere, but what if we go here, and miss there? I want to get there, but I want to stop everywhere in between. Now, we have to choose from everywhere: Maine, Oregon, Arizona, Montana, cold, hot, mountains, beaches, cities, countryside, seafood, beer, people, no people, OMG! We can’t decide. Why is this country so big?
3) Not knowing where we are sleeping every night
Ok, so I want to acknowledge that this is a real problem for many people and homelessness is nothing to joke about. In fact, if you are interested in helping out a stout life teen (a former student of mine), visit Helping the Homeless Colorado. But our “problem” stems from personal choice, and it is a problem. A big one when all I want to do is take RAIF down bumpity bump roads to find that perfect boondocking spot in the middle of the night. I have no idea if we will wake up to wildflowers, painted deserts, streams, lush forests, swarms of bugs, or tumbleweeds galore. If that boondocking spot doesn’t quite work out as planned, then those glowing warms lights of Walmart or Flying J might be our view every morning. Now that is definitely an RV problem. Can you believe that we’d have to get up from our warm, Memory Foam mattress and make a pour-over dark roast coffee in a Walmart parking lot? The gall of it all!
4) Not enough people
Most recently, we ended up in the middle of nowhere in the high mountain deserts on the Colorado Utah border near Fruita…in the heat of the summer…in the middle of the week. There was only one other camper there in the 58-site campground called 18 Road Campground, and they were the campground hosts. Nobody to run into on the bike trails, nobody to worry about if our generator was too loud, nobody to have to socialize with or make small talk with. We had to actually talk to each other, ride bikes together, and spend time at night with all that quiet and all those stars. Man, I’m telling you, I miss rush hour traffic. At least there’s people in traffic.
5) Too many strangers
On the flip side, there are times when there are just too many people, and we know none of them. Can you believe we had to hang out at a local bar, Platte River Saloon, in Fairplay (a small, eclectic Colorado mountain town) and hear all about how this bar had just opened two days ago? We had to stay for hours laughing at the stories told. Anthony, the artist that handcrafted the actual bartop, even had the gall to give us a piece of old metal to add to RAIF’s original character. We even had to waste our time talking to the town legend, Tigger. Didn’t mama say to stay away from strangers?
6) Too many ideas
I want to write curriculum, write a book, take more pictures, create an online class or school, create jewelry and art, and so much more. Ken and I both want to interview inspiring people, start a podcast, start an online store, monetize our website, and the list goes on. The problem? Where do we start? It’s not that we have enough time to do all this – Shit! We actually do! But, I don’t know how to do all of this! You mean I actually have to use my education for something meaningful? What?!
7) Too much to learn
Almost ten years ago, I made the decision to go back to school to be a teacher. I was almost 40 years old. My oldest had just graduated high school at that time, so I understand his thinking, and he commented to me when I was heading out the door to class, “Ha! Ha! You have to go to school!” Can you believe the audacity of adults having to go to back to school? When you finally know what you want to be when you grow up, you have to return to school? What? I have take time out of my life to learn something I’m interested in? Are you kidding me? I have to read, write, and communicate…as an adult? Need I say more?
8) Too many breweries and restaurants to visit
This goes back to too many places to choose from, but I think it deserves its own number simply because we love food and beer and beer. Did I mention we love beer? While Colorado has ridiculous amounts of craft breweries, according to Denver Business Journal, it boasted 348 craft breweries in 2017, second only to California, there are over 6300 breweries in the US (Denver Post, 2018). 6300? That’s not including the rest of North America. And when you drink, you eat, and meet strangers, and communicate! Oh, the horror! But what if we choose the wrong one, and miss the right one? That pizza place might be better across the street, but that one has an amazing patio, but that one has great music, but…we really have to do this every day?
9) Too much spouse
Ok, we love each other, we really do. We’ve been together for 26 years. We were babies (22 years old) when we met. We can handle anything. Wait, but now we have to see each other every day and spend time together in a space less than 300 square feet? I have to listen to Ken’s smart ass sense of humor all day, not just at night when I get home from work? He has to listen to me talk to myself when I work? We have to solve our arguments in a timely manner? We have to get along? And there’s more? We have to not only live together, but work together and play together? That is just way too much love and adoration.
10) My husband is now a mechanic, carpenter, plumber, etc.
Three weeks? We have to wait three weeks for somebody to just look at our cracked black and gray water tanks! $2000 to maybe be able to fix them! In three weeks? I have waited 10 months to get on the road! No way am I sitting in my driveway for three weeks for a possible fix. What do you mean plumbers and electricians don’t make house calls to the middle of the desert? Ken had to become an RV mechanic. I think everyone has this RV problem. He had to learn something new. I cannot believe we had to spend precious time researching how to fix something, and then Ken actually had to take the time to fix it. Can you also believe that he had to take time out of his day to create and then construct a beautiful, yet functional storage space? Man, the problems we have living in RV’s these days.
11) Too much calm and peace
Yeah, yeah, life is far from perfect, but I don’t know how to work with all this calm and peace and nothing to bitch about to my co-workers or boss. I thought life was built around stress, deadlines, chaos, traffic jams, and pure exhaustion. What are we supposed to do with all this peaceful quiet? I guess I’ll just have to spend more time on Facebook.
12) Every day is different
If I have to see another snow capped mountain, or wildflowers dotting yet another green hill, or another sunset that seems to paint the entire sky, or another shooting star, or another moose or elk, we might as well leave our lives to the monkeys. I’m not sure I can handle another interesting story, or visit another national park, or meet any more people living their dream lives. Every day offers a different view, a different story, a different road, and a different adventure, and I cannot handle this constant change of perception. It’s making us better people.
13) The days run together
Our schedule is too flexible, and we can’t keep track of time. Is it Wednesday, my mountain biking day, or Thursday, my hiking day? Wait, maybe it’s Tuesday, my visit to the local vineyard day. Mondays are awesome because they are just like Saturdays and Sundays. Friday nights feel like Tuesday nights. I can go out whenever I want and not have to worry about getting up to an alarm the next morning. There’s got to be a way to fix this problem. Oooh, I’ll get me one of those job thingeees.