As a full-time traveler I often get asked if it is what I expected. Here is your warning: this post is going to get real and it’s going to get raw. Please remember these are my experiences and my opinions.
My answer is no. It’s definitely not what I expected. I think most people who dream of this life but have never actually, truly experienced it think of it as a vacation all the time. Well, it is not. Not even close. At least not at my age and with my little experience.
What you expect is rainbows and butterflies. The reality is it is more like poop and grease stains. Now, don’t get me wrong, it is definitely not all bad. Not even by a long shot when you think of the fact that you are a “professional” traveler. (A friend gave me that title and I like it. She told me when people she knows ask what I do now that is what she tells them. For some reason, I really liked the sound of it. It sounds better than “full time traveler”. So, that is what I now call myself.)
What you expect is all these great times, experiences, and freedom. You do get those things but what they don’t tell you is all the down and dirty things that come with it. I don’t know your background, whether you own, rent, live with your parents, etc so I can only speak to my own account. Before coming in to this lifestyle I owned my own home. I am very hands on. If there is something wrong, I am usually convinced I can fix it or YouTube it. If that doesn’t work, then I will finally cave and call someone. I grew up fixing things and remodeling with my grampa so I guess you could say it is in my blood. I love a puzzle and I love being able to solve it even more.
I can’t speak to buying a new RV, having a travel trailer, a Class B or C, or a fifth wheel, but what I can speak to is buying a used, older Class A RV. Yes, I expected some problems along the way. Yes, I expected that there would be issues I couldn’t solve. Yes, I figured I was going to have to save some money for some “unexpected” situations. What those situations were, I didn’t know but I anticipated things I would need a mechanic for.
My first oops experience was pretty much right out of the gate. We hadn’t even made it past our first destination before we experienced a real shitty experience. NO, seriously, shitty. We were at our first ever RV park with an RV and exploding with excitement. We were in Kanab, UT at Kanab RV Corral (read about that place here) and the people were great and more than willing to go above and beyond for some first timers. Which, ended up being needed. What we found out in our first stay was that the black tank wouldn’t release. There wasn’t some secret trick that we didn’t know, it just plain wouldn’t release. Well, we were in Kanab and the expression of “Shitter’s full” became really, real, real fast. I’ll save you the details and tell you to just click here to read about that experience: What The Crap?!?!
Another experience for us was not understanding or knowing the strain of the brakes. Yes, that was a near death experience that will never be forgotten. You really don’t understand how much weight you are carrying until you are going straight down hill, in a rural area and your breaks go out and you just can’t seem to get the damn thing to stop. You would be surprised how blessed we have been with this traveling thing. Read about that here: Near Death Experience.
Point is, no matter what you think you are ready for, something will happen that throws you off your game, and well, you will find a way to deal. Be ready for everything but don’t be too upset when you experience something that you weren’t ready for, because the truth of the matter is, you realistically can’t be ready for everything. Take a deep breath, look around, think about all the good, the freedom you have to be able to travel and remember, that you are lucky and blessed to be able to live this lifestyle and tell about it. So, in conclusion, no, it is not what I expected, it is so much more and I wouldn’t give it up for the world.