We are finishing our first year of living in our 37′ Open Road fifth wheel trailer. So, I thought you would like to know a few things I have learned in the last year.
It is hard for me to believe that only a year ago, we sold 95% of our worldly goods to live in a trailer and travel as carpentry missionaries. We have zero regrets…nada…none….Ken and I are content and “snug as a bug in a rug” as long as that bug is about 400 square feet!
Random things you can learn while living in a small space!
While living in the trailer, we have come to compromises. As pack rats, we both like to save…anything that might be useful in the next 5 – 10 years…So here a newly learned behavior: Don’t save anything that cannot be used within a short time.
When we each had our own bathroom, I could never keep my counter cleaned. I’ve learned: When sharing a tiny sink and countertop with someone, clean up all spills immediately and do not leave the hairdryer plugged in over the sink.
Holidays without family can be hard and lonely, so we learned to have a new family. Thanksgiving we spent with special friends and on Easter, we met the incredible family of Gabriella at the Gulf of Mexico.
Water quality and water pressure are different everywhere we park. The best tasting water is in our hometown of Montague, MI. Although, this might have something to do with growing up with it. The most water pressure we had was in La Vernia, TX. There we actually had to turn the water pressure down. Where we are now, we can’t get enough water pressure.
Packing for vacation is quite easy living full-time, just put everything away, pull in the slides, hook up to the truck and hit the road. While on vacation, our house doesn’t change, only the view out the window changes. We don’t have to check on the house back home…we have everything with us. We never say “Oh I forgot to pack that.” Because we have it all here in one tiny package!
Goodbyes are hard so we say “See you later!” And we sincerely mean it when we say it!
We have four flat surfaces in our living space: the kitchen counter, the desktop, the dining table and the small coffee table. I must keep one clear at all times or the house looks messy.
Online bill paying and banking, digital magazine subscriptions delivered to the Kindle app, and online books are the way to go. Again, I use Amazon to buy books and subscribe to the latest magazines.
If we bring anything new into the trailer, something must go out of the trailer. This is especially true for clothing. Every town has a donation center which will take things. I find one in each place we stay.
Yearly memberships to Costco or Sam’s isn’t necessary as I can no longer buy in bulk. Small size shampoos and laundry soap may be a bit pricier, but they take up much less space, therefore, life is a bit easier.
Scrapbooking is a hobby, one in which I thought I would need to give up when we moved into the trailer, but I didn’t. I digitally scrapbook and find it just as satisfactory and rewarding. The only extras I’ve kept are my colored pens and pencils along with washi tape and printable sticky paper for making my own stickers.
Wal-mart has become my favorite store for many items. All Wal-mart pharmacies around the country are connected so I only need to transfer my prescriptions to the nearest store. Many Wal-marts allow overnight parking in their lots if we keep our unit intact. And Wal-mart carries many items we RV’ers need…quick dissolving toilet paper and toilet treatment too!
I spend every ten days or so in a laundromat somewhere in the country. The best and cleanest one was in Floresville, Texas. I met a new friend there one day. We may never see each other again, but for one hour, she was my best friend! Even if laundromats can be fun, I have chosen, for the upcoming year, we are installing a new washing machine, I will give up half my closet so I do not have to go to another laundromat. Also, I learned to only use collapsible laundry bags, baskets won’t fold up to be put away when not in use…check out my choice on my right-hand sidebar.
We know when we are with experienced RV’ers when the subject of gray water, fresh water, and black water tanks come up. Talking about dumping is normal also. Water is necessary and full timer’s know exactly how much is in each tank at any given time. We know where it is legal to dump a gray water tank too! The only thing off limit is any talk of unclogging a black water tank while we are eating…that subject is disgusting while I am eating.
Our microwave makes a great breadbox but it gets old moving the bread in and out so often.
When traveling and living full-time in an RV, it really helps if you are married to your best friend and that you like to spend time
together. We each have things we enjoy doing alone and together. Our living space is much too small to stay mad at each other for long.
We’ve learned to enjoy the moment, to live where we are. We have friends around the country that have become family to us. We enjoy learning about new cultures, using new words, and eating new foods. We’ve learned neither of us like spicy food nor do we want to be in a hurry any longer. I want to return to HEB supermarket to get more Whataburger Ketchup, I can’t find it anywhere else. I always look forward to visiting the Amish community in Northern Indiana to buy my favorite cheeses. Sitting and looking out my dining room window, I have seen the beautiful country in many parts of the USA.
And I’ve learned to take pictures, thousands of pictures. I may never visit the same area again so I want the reminder of the beauty. And I take lots of pictures of people because if it wasn’t for the people, God would never have given us the desire to go and make disciples as He has told us in Matthew 28.
I did not have to learn about God’s love on this trip we’ve been on for a year. I knew He loved me because He died on the cross to save my soul. If I were the only human alive, He would have died for me. The same as He would for you and has done for you. God loves you! What God has done on this trip is confirm and affirm His steadfast love for us all through His Holy Spirit.