Q and A
We received a good amount of questions from people. Don't worry if your questions didn't get in this time, we had a lot of fun answering all of them, that we will be doing this again. Just send the questions over when you think of them!
How is homeschooling on the road?
We get all of our schoolwork in each day and we have a ton of time to play. I do the planning each week just like I did at home, nothing has changed there. The only thing is that now we do actual school work Friday to Monday and play during the week. Of course, we do the history, culture and science as bonuses through our playtime. Most is just learning about the city we are in, its history and we drive around to see the sights. Some cities we will do museums, maybe even an aquarium or tour, but those can get expensive for 6 people!
Do we miss our life that we left?
No, we don't miss our lives there, but we miss our family for sure. We do not miss the house, the maintenance, the chores, the city life, the chaos, the stress, etc. After talking with people and how they have this to do or that to do, still so busy that they can't even hardly think, I don't think I could ever go back to "that" life. It was hard, it was stressful, and it made us angry at times. It's hard to think that we would ever be here, living a life that we dreamed of having just over a year ago!
How has it been with such tight living quarters?
Actually, not too bad. We each have our own space and really, we’re hardly ever in the RV. We can sit outside in our camp chairs or hammock and even have meals outside at the picnic table. We do get stuck inside on rainy days for sure, but as long as you keep your mind active you’ll stay sane! We had one week where we had 3 days of rain and we did get the kids outside between the showers. We also purchased a screened in gazebo, so if it rains we can still sit outside.
Are you going to local churches on the road or are you having church together in your RV?
We actually are still a part of our home church. We love our pastor and listen to him each week. The church we belong to streams the services live and also offers recordings for past sermons.
How far out do you have planned? Do you know where you’ll be a year from now?
So far we have only planned through to January. We are really planners and like to know where we are going to be and research the area. However, that will change! We have learned that some places that we have been we really love and want to stay longer if we could, but having reservations at the next place, we kind of have to go. Also, in the more populated areas such as Gulf Shores, AL or Tampa, FL for instance we really have to plan ahead. Our plan is in January to leave Tampa and start heading west.
Are things going as planned?
So far, yes, they are. Actually, better than we had planned. We have truly been blessed with weather separating around us or disappearing all together. We have only had to drive in the rain once and even then it was only sprinkling. We did a ton of research before we left, we knew what tools to bring, we knew what to expect if this or that happened. There have been a couple of things, it’s like, whoa, wait, what do we do about that? Like the hot water smelling and having to flush the tank with vinegar. One day we ran over something on the highway that we couldn’t avoid that put a small gash in the side of the RV. It didn’t hurt anything and we cut off a small piece and covered it with duct tape from the underside. There are more bugs than we thought. We’ve had ants, flies and stink bugs inside the trailer. They are hard to get rid of for sure.
Are the kids interacting with other people?
Yes, they are. They make friends easily at the playgrounds and love stopping to talk to the camp hosts. We still come across the occasional person that the girls won’t talk to, but those are mainly the more “in your face” people. Usually, it’s easier for them to talk to the people at the campground than the people in the grocery store. While they love having the playgrounds to themselves during the week, they also like it when other kids come and play on the weekends. They have more socialization now, than they ever did at home!
What is it like to never have a permanent home?
In a word….Wonderful. When I got insurance for the RV I got it for a specific value. That way if it’s ever totaled, then we get a check for that specific amount, no dealing with what the value is at that time. This allows us to just go buy what we want. The RV is our home, it’s just that our backyard changes each week.
What do you wish you could still do more of?
I don’t think anything really! We work a little, hike a bunch, have plenty of time to spend time in God’s word, we read books, sit by the fire, watch movies, play and just relax. We can visit with family anytime we want, for as long as we want and anywhere in the country.
How has it been with the cost of camping fees/lot rent?
Really good. We’ve stayed in private parks that are per night and State Parks that are only per night. It’s all in what you are looking for, we just prefer state parks. The state parks have more activities and the spaces are further apart than private parks. Prices vary across the country. In Virginia we paid 2 for the week. In Georgia we paid 8. In Florida we paid 6. Out of those three, Florida was the only one with full hookups. We try to budget 00 for the month for lot rent/camping fees. Some months we go over, like at Gulf Shores and Tampa, but then there are months that are coming up next year when we won’t owe anything because we will be boondocking. We also joined Harvest Hosts and Boondockers Welcome. Those were about for the year each and you stay for free as many places as you want. There are actually people who plan trips around those places, so they only pay for the whole year! Also, to note, some private parks have an age limit on your RV, can’t be over 10 years old, they’re silly like that!
How often do you have to dump your black tank?
We have a 36 gallon black tank and with 6 of us, we try to dump once a week. How long can we last? We’re not sure. We have been 10 days without dumping that tank, was it full? We’re not sure about that either. However, most state parks that we stay in have sewer hookups, so we don’t have to worry about if the tank is full. Just remember not to leave the valve open, we’ve heard horror stories of rats climbing up into the tank.
How often do you dump the grey tank?
That would be the bath and kitchen water. If we all take showers in one day, we have to dump it twice each day. If I am doing laundry that day, then we will also dump it twice that day. So, we try not to take showers and do laundry all on the same day! If we use paper plates, do laundry once a week and keep showers to a minimal, we can last half a week on the grey tank.
How costly was it to renovate the trailer to your personal liking?
When we first did it, or what we will be doing to it? LOL. So, when we first made the renovations, we thought that was really what we wanted and it really didn’t cost us anything because we used what we currently had at the house. I might have bought a couple of brackets or something, but that was about it. Then we decided that we didn’t like our bed being the couch, so we re-did the bed. We spent about 0 on that and hand build everything and made it super complicated. And spent 0 on a new couch that sat all of us. While this current bed is more comfortable, I feel like it’s more of a hassle now. We will be doing one last re-design when we come home for Christmas.
How do you handle laundry for so many people?
Laundry is not the easiest. I wash 3 loads a day, but my loads are not your regular size loads. I wash each load inside of a collapsible baby bath and then spin it dry in the spin dryer. Then I line dry the clothes, sometimes inside and it takes a day, sometimes outside and it is just an afternoon. Now, sheets are a different story, they are a bit harder, but we have a lot of sheets including the one the dog lays on. So, that’s three loads just in sheets! I usually wash those in the campground laundry facilities. If anything, don’t opt for light colored clothes, towels or sheets. They are not easy to keep looking clean.
How is grocery shopping on the road?
Grocery shopping was frustrating at first, now that we have been doing this for a few months, it has gotten a lot easier. I usually bought organic and in bulk. I loved Costco! I miss Costco! Bulk is not your friend in an RV. Somethings we could probably make room for (if I could bring myself to leave my kitchen aid mixer and instant pot in storage) and I may just go ahead and get our Costco membership back. The fridge only hold about 4 days worth of food, but we are 6 people. The fridge would be huge if it was just us two. I usually shop at Walmart now, but sometimes when we get to a major city we go to a regular store and stock up on meat.
How do you make money on the road to support your lifestyle now?
We obviously took a hit by selling the house and cutting Kevin’s salary in half! So, we knew we wanted to supplement the income. Kevin still programs for ReadyAlert and does some work on the side for our company. We are also health coaches for Optavia. A lot of the coaches actually travel full time because it takes such little time each week to be a coach and it allows for us to have fun when we want. We set our own schedule around our activities and the kids. We also set up a Zazzle shop to sell some designs and our Etsy shop is there as well for pictures and such. We are hoping to really amp up the Etsy and Zazzle stuff here soon.
How is internet on the road?
We've struggled sometimes. We have two carriers, Verizon and T-Mobile. There have been times we have the best service with one or the other, sometimes both and sometimes neither of them work. But, knowing that you are usually within 30 minutes of cell service if you drive out of the park is usually comforting. After all, you really don't need service all day :-) However, we are looking at cell boosters before we start traveling out west.
What items have you found that you can’t live without?
Wine and Whiskey! I don’t do well on the highway while we are towing the trailer, LOL. But, all joking aside make sure you install the Co-Pilot app on your phone, it’s worth every penny. Don’t rely on google maps or those Garmin RV GPS, they lie! A good cast iron set. Our Energy Management System, the tire pressure monitor system, and the leveling system. My new Ninja coffee maker. We used to have a french press, but that got to be too much especially on the cool mornings. Propane! You need this to cook and for heat! A water pressure regulator so you don't blow your water lines. The last thing would be extra seals for the dump hoses and a box of baby wipes! There are really many more things that we couldn't imagine not taking (like my cooking spices, essential oils, salt lamps, kitchen aid mixer, etc), but again it depends on what you are traveling in and how much you are traveling in it.
What things would you need or want for a long road trip that maybe you didn’t think you’d need as much when planning?
This one is tough, because we actually over-planned and we had to get rid of a few things. We really didn't need a generator because we stay places with hookups, unless you are using Harvest Hosts a lot, then you'll need one. This question also depends on what you are traveling in. We bought three things after we left. A small propane fire pit. We found one at Ace Hardware with fold-able legs and it's perfect. We also invested in a screened in gazebo. The kids (girls) scream with bugs, and we got to the point where the weather was too warm and bugs were everywhere. Sure, it weighs like 50 pounds and is a pain to lug around, but our little girls are quiet during meal times now! And the last thing was a wood fire pit from Lowes that has a grate that we can cook over. It was surely a lifesaver when the temps were too warm to cook in the RV. Yes, that happened multiple times :-) And if you really decide that you need something there are Walmart's pretty much everywhere!