Are you thinking about taking your homeschool on the road? Guest author Joe Venturo gives you some travel points to consider.
Do you have what it takes to travel full-time in an RV? When you look at photographs of RVs parked on the edge of a lake with mountains in the background, it’s easy to develop a construed image of RV life. Before my family and I went on the road, we didn’t anticipate many of the difficulties we would face.
But don’t you learn more from tackling problems than anything else? Even though situations can be challenging, our difficult experiences have increased our confidence to creatively solve problems and tackle new dilemmas. Now looking back, I can see how our experiences have reshaped our thinking about RVing. Here are 5 lessons I have learned.
RVs Require an Overwhelming Number of Repairs
When we bought a used travel trailer, the owner assured us that it had no leaks. Seven leaks later, we realized the trailer was much more dilapidated than we had initially believed. From the time we finally finished fixing those leaks, we have had problem after problem. Now, we realize that making repairs is a natural part of the RV lifestyle. After talking to several travelers, we know this is true even with new RVs.
Although making constant repairs is difficult, it is teaching us handyman skills. I have learned so much about how an RV works and how to fix broken things. For example, I know how to replace an RV roof, paint RV cabinets, or replace RV floors—all useful skills.
RVing Is Not Camping
When we talk to non-travelers, it seems that most people believe that the RVing life is all campfires and roasted marshmallows, as if we were on perpetual vacation. While it’s true that my most incredible memories come from living on the road, I still must remind myself that we are living on the road. That means we still must work, do homeschool, wash dishes, and brush our teeth.
It took us a while to adjust to this reality, but now we have learned to change our mindset to enjoy both doing our work in new places and going out to see the incredible wonders of God’s Creation.
Not Every Campground Is a Natural Wonder
We’ve been to some spectacular campgrounds, some average campgrounds, and some ratty campgrounds. Most campgrounds fall under the middle category. So, we have learned to reduce the expectations of our next destination so that we will be pleasantly surprised if it turns out to be better than we expected. While it’s exciting to go to a new place every week, that “travel day anxiety” is always there, so we push ourselves to expect the unexpected. The water could be brown, the sites could be almost touching each other, and then, well, anything that I’m not expecting could happen.
If RVing is teaching us anything, it is adaptability—being able to adjust when things don’t go the way that we planned.
Regular Life Is a Lot More Complicated
It’s often the day-by-day that is the most challenging. Learning to balance our schedule on the road has been challenging as we realize that things take a lot longer in an RV than they do in a normal house.
The most significant example is laundry. With my family of seven, making sure everyone has clean clothes every day has required a long and rigorous learning curve. We have a pretty effective system, but it still takes up a big part of our day.
But I think that the regular everyday life on the road has taught us the most about how to live in unpredictable, out-of-the-ordinary circumstances. Things like learning how to do laundry teach us to think outside the box and to get creative to tackle problems.
It’s a Lot Easier to Get Hurt
For some reason, it seems like we have gotten more injuries in our one year of RVing than in an average year of living in our former house. One big reason for this is that we aren’t familiar with the unique dangers of different states. For example, on a snorkeling trip in the Florida Keys, my youngest brother got severely stung by a Portuguese man-o’-war. It was a terrifying experience!
But now we know how to better respond to emergencies like that. We know what to do when someone gets a deep cut or gets hurt by a poisonous animal.
Going on the road is amazing, but only some people have the mental and physical stamina to do it. The lifestyle requires a transformed mindset that will always expect the unexpected. RVing is not a perpetual vacation, but it teaches life skills such as repair work, adaptability, resilience, imagination, and creativity. So is it worth it? Definitely.
More About the Author:
Joe Venturo is a homeschool graduate and online college student at Maranatha Baptist University. He and his family travel full-time in an RV, seeing new things and making new discoveries every day. When he is not writing, he enjoys fishing, hiking, and studying New Testament Greek. You can read more of his work on his website, These Are Written. You can also visit his Etsy shop, where he sells hand-tied flies for fly fishing.