Van Life – Pros and Cons


GRPImagery

This makes us want a Travato. Image borrowed with out permission from the timeline of the Travato Owners/Wannabe FaceBook Group

A few people thought we were going to sell everything again and travel full-time again in a camper van. I should clarify and this post will give us more opportunity to contemplate as we work through this process. As a reminder, it took Bill five years of research before we bought our first Recreational Vehicle (RV). We also attended RV camper shows during those five years so once we bought, we were pretty well educated. We are also known to take our time before we do anything major – well, sort of! Anyway, we’d love to hear some feedback if you are so inclined.

Sometimes decisions are easy to make. We have made a lot of major decisions in our 46 years together. But this one is going to take more time, prayers and thought than ever before. We are now committed to attending the Hershey RV Super Show this fall!

Lessons learned from our past: I’m so grateful for the legacy Bill’s parents instilled in him. We were reminded of this Sunday – to be good stewards with EVERYTHING God has blessed us with. So for Bill to want to make a BIG purchase, he has to run the numbers, count the cost and be as educated as one can be. In one seminar we attended at the Tampa RV Supershow, we learned your first RV is your “education.” That helped us to buy small to start and it paid dividends: 

Pros:

1. We miss the RV life style full of adventures!

2. We miss traveling on the back roads, through small towns and looking for the EPIC view on our hikes.

3. We are now into a routine that needs a bit shaken up.

4. When we visit family, we stay in hotels for multiple reasons. Mainly that at this time, none of them have a guest bedroom. So we will be able to not only bring our own bedroom, but also our own kitchen and bathroom!

5. We have a lot more family we need to visit but all of them live very far away. So we could smell the roses on our way and bring our own guest bedroom! Who wouldn’t want to have us visit?

6. We want NIMBLE. We don’t want to tow a car nor do we want to tow a camper. Been there done that. These are our personal preferences.

7. An RV offers the sights and sounds we can’t get traveling to and from a hotel or resort. We have been trying for the past 2 1/2 years. We just can’t get motivated nor have we been willing to take the time to travel as Bill asked us to do when we sold the motor home. 

8. We prefer to eat at home. We bought an electric 42 quart cooler to haul with us when we travel. In and out of the trunk and in and out of the hotel. Our last hotel stay, we left the electric cord behind. It has a 12 volt one connected to it and then you add the plug in one. So didn’t notice until we were hundreds of miles away. The hotel would happily mail it back, as long as I sent them a postage paid address label. As of nearly a week later, the hotel is having a hard time getting it sent back to us….So a Class B means we will now have a refrigerator with us! Not to mention things to cook with.

9. We are work-a-holics. Granted, we are retired, but we sure find a lot of work to do….And that is the routine we need to shake up.

Cons:

1. Cost. Been there and done that! When we sold the motorhome, we literally “threw” in every “extra” thing we bought. Bill said he was done. So now we have to buy a lot of little things – but we don’t know what we will need. He bought as we went along. 

2. We formerly traveled in the lap of luxury. Meaning, we had a king sized bed (I am like a built in heater in the summer and winter.) We had a residential refrigerator! We had a full sized washer and dryer. The shower was big. We had a toilet in a closet with an extra sink. Now that was a luxury. If one of us couldn’t “wait” we could always go to the campground restrooms. BUT if we travel the way we want in a class B, we won’t be in many campgrounds. 

3. After a full day of outdoor activities, especially hiking, we both need a long, hot shower and a comfortable chair to kick back in. Bill had a leather deluxe lazy boy. My passenger seat turned around so it became my lazy girl!

4. So that brings up the issue, do we really think we could we survive in a VERY small environment? We are getting up there in years and while we are active and in good shape, we wake with aches and pains….

5. VERY little storage space. We found a GREAT list by another #vanlife couple. They spelled out exactly what we need so maybe we can really be minimalists – but I can’t find it now.We successfully downsized from a sticks and bricks home into a small 28′ fifth wheel. We only bought four of everything, imaging the day our grandson(s) would join us or even friends for a meal. We managed and we actually liked to call ourselves minimalists. But then we bought the motor home and somehow, we began to add more and more stuff….then we sold it and moved back into a sticks and bricks home. Now we are used to stuffing our residential fridge more than we dared to in our MH and we are now used to so much stuff again. Basically their list suggested only bring two of everything, ie., two bowls  – no plates. What ever you can eat on a plate, you can eat in a bowl. Bring two spoons. Whatever you can eat with a fork, you can eat with a spoon! Only bring two pans. Bill will pick those out! Get the picture?

6. Dealing with the RV industry again. This is considered a luxury industry so our “needs” are at the bottom of the totem pole. That was a rough lesson when we first started and so we know what to expect. So that helped us stop RVing.

7. RVers are the proving ground/testing victims for their improvements. Too many parts wear out prematurely. Too many people have added sumo springs, for example. Heavy duty shocks, heavy duty tires, etc.

Unknowns:

We don’t know what we don’t know! So we will continue to engage with others traveling in Class Bs as we come across them. Continue to read blogs – there are some fabulous ones. And then attend the next big RV show and get educated by the RV manufacturer reps and meet class B owners and wannabes! Please feel free to add your thoughts below in our comment area.

My go to verse when I don’t know which path to take:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your path  straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

 

2 thoughts on “Van Life – Pros and Cons

  1. I think a camper van makes perfect sense for you guys. You’ll adjust to the small size, and remember, you won’t be living in it full-time. We’ve looked at a bunch of vans ourselves but are leaning more toward a truck camper because of clearance and wanting to get remote.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have been impressed with how the solar panels and lithium batteries make it so easy to boon dock. I just read a post how someone had a problem with the clearance. Hard to get help when you’re in a remote place. We have not thought about a truck camper, I know in the past Bill was not in favor. But so much has changed, maybe we should take a look! Let us know which ones are the most viable.

      Liked by 1 person

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