Pros & Cons for RV Travel Round 2

Jonathan Longnecker Jonathan Longnecker / September 22, 2014
Panama city sunset

Good evening, my friends! I sit here at our picnic table on a camp site in Panama City Beach where we've decided to spend a few days with our tent and our kids adventuring. They're all asleep and I'm here working and writing by lantern light, listening to the reeds rustle off the lagoon and double checking around the table to make sure no small animal is about to attack me. 

Since Ashley's Pro/Con list a couple of weeks ago we've been talking quite a bit at our house about what traveling full time could look like. Here's a few more thoughts now that we've had more time to digest things. Also, I'm definitely the more pragmatic one between the two of us (i.e. I think hard about process and details).

PRO - NO HOUSE PAYMENT - or just lower bills in general. We actually sat down and did the math, added in realistic travel expenses (you still have to pay to stay somewhere every night for the most part) and we would still definitely come out ahead. Which is pretty cool! I still have a sneaking suspicion that there are other travel expenses we're missing, though.

PRO - THE CLEAN THING - I do feel like we spend too much of our lives right now cleaning, and am definitely intrigued by having so much less that it would actually make a difference. Will it cut down on the time? I don't know. A good friend of ours who does travel full time mentioned that while there is less cleaning, you are cleaning way more often because there's so little space. You don't really have a choice as most rooms are serving multiple purposes. I'm a bit more sentimental than Ashley in regards to certain things to hold on to, but we're making really good progress going through our house right now and just really de-cluttering and cleaning things out. Post on this soon!

PRO - MORE FAMILY TIME - This is one of those that I deeply hope is true. I find myself getting really excited about new adventures with my family and having more time to teach my kids stuff. My skeptical side knows that I'll still have to work, though. And finding that brain space balance between focusing on my job and all the crazy adventures sounds hard. Also, I'm a little worried that if I'm less available for my clients it's not good for my business long term. That's more on me to delegate and figure some of that stuff out, but it's a concern I have.

PRO - CREATING WITH THE KIDS - This is also something I deeply hope is true. I'm a little worried at how feasible it will be with limited workspace and room to store materials and tools. I know personally I need physical and mental space to be able to create. But hopefully being in lots of new and interesting places and situations will provide opportunities we wouldn't have come up with on our own. I'm excitedly optimistic about this one in general!

PRO - THE OUTDOORS - I have always enjoyed the outdoors. There's just something about being in nature that helps put things in perspective. It refreshes your body and soul. Like Ashley said, she really wants to like it, but it may be a long road :) Picking our climate will make things easier, but having to deal with bugs, potentially not clean showers and lots of dirt will be a hard adjustment for everyone.

PRO - NEW PEOPLE - I'm not as excited as Ashley about this, but it'll probably be good for me.

PRO - FURNITURE MOVING OR LACK THEREOF - I want to believe that we won't be rearranging things, but even with furniture bolted down I know Ashley will find a way :D

PRO - DEBT FREE - This is a huge one. We've cleared out all our debt other than the house and not having that weighing us down sounds really awesome. The devil's in the details, though and we'll have to be very careful as we look at renting or selling the house to make sure we don't screw ourselves over somehow. The other tricky part here is that we've committed to not going into debt to get a trailer or truck to haul it. So in the short term we're going to have to bust it, work extra and save like crazy to make that happen. But we always love a good challenge!

CON - THE LAUNDRY - Not being able to throw your clothes or sheets into the washing machine whenever you want will be a big inconvenience for us. We do a lot of laundry. Maybe part of the fix to this problem is being smarter about our clothes and how often we change, but there are six of us either way. It'll be an adjustment to go somewhere just do do laundry.

CON - CLEAN SHOWERS - I don't care quite so much about how long and warm the showers are, but if we end up doing a lot of campground showers it's just kind of gross. Even the "clean" ones. I'm sure I'll get over this eventually, but it doesn't sound awesome to me right now.

CON - FOOD & STORAGE - Since we'll be continuing to eat Whole30 style (not strict, but pretty close) the drastic reduction in storage, cooking space and food prep area will make it a lot more difficult. Hopefully we can snag a trailer with an outdoor kitchen so we won't feel quite so cramped. And so we don't make the RV too hot with all the cooking we'll be doing.

CON - MY WORK - Like Ashley said, I'm used to kids running around while I work, but a lot of the time they are upstairs or at least far enough away that they aren't destroying my train of thought. The drastically reduced space definitely means there's more chances for me to get distracted. Also, because I do so much design and visual code work I am much more productive on a large monitor. And I've been doing the standing desk thing for over a year and would hate to go back to sitting all day. I'm hoping we can find a way for me to have a standing desk with my large monitor mounted to the wall or something. Being comfortable is an important part of being productive and I don't want to be fighting with small screens and back pain all the time.

CON - THE MAIL - There's a whole lot of stuff tied to your address. My business gets checks there sometimes, the government still likes to communicate with you this way for things like drivers license renewals and tax documents. I know there are services that help with this so I'm just more stressed about using one with the right implementation. Also, changing your address in general is just a pain in the butt. But whatever, I'll deal with it.

CON - HOUSE RENTAL - The idea of this isn't really a con. Renting the house for a year lets us try this travel thing out and still have a place to come back to if it doesn't work. It also lets us potentially make money as rental fees would be more than our mortgage. The mental overhead of figuring out all the details and legal work that go along with renting is the con, though. What happens if stuff break while we're gone? What if the people who rent it mess it up? I know there are ways to deal with that, but it still worries me. It's still our house until we sell it.

CON WAY WAY LESS STUFF - Don't get me wrong - I am all for de-cluttering and simplifying our lives. At this point I don't have a great frame of reference for just how little we'll be able to take. It might be no big deal. It might be traumatic (especially for the kids). Like most of the things on this list I'm all for the big idea, but worried about the details of how it will be in real life.

CON - CHIROPRACTOR - Agreed on this one. We're big believers in keeping everyone in alignment to prevent sicknesses and back problems/pains. Not having someone around we know and trust will be hard.

CON - CHURCH - Ashley said this really well. I know that our kids do like going to certain classes at church, but we've felt drawn to something much simpler and smaller for a long time now. Will we be able to find others like that on the road? I sincerely hope so. I hope we can get out of our little bubble and really grow with some fresh perspectives.

CON - THE ADOPTION - What Ashley said - we'll have to revisit this later. Too much to think about for this post.

So! Yeah. You probably noticed I'm a little more hesitant and worried about how things will actually play out rather than how we think they'll play out. But there's a reason Ashley and I are good for each other. She pushes me to try new things and I help find the balance between the big idea and the implementation. 

Finally, a good friend recommended this book to us that gives great concrete answers to a lot of our questions. We'll be reading it and sharing our thoughts soon.


Jonathan Longnecker

About the Author

Jonathan Longnecker is the strongly opinionated tattooed and bearded half of Tiny Shiny Home. He loves making music, designing brands, building websites and exploring the outdoors. Currently his jam is renovating a vintage Airstream.

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