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Yeah, there’s a lot of good things but what isn’t talked about that much is the downside of tramping. Tramping isn’t always rainbows, unicorns and sunshine. The constant unknown, moving, adjusting, finding the good local spots, and loneliness. You’re gonna have to get used to “Flying by the seat of your pants” sometimes.
If you’re anything like me, you want to be organized and plan everything out. When you know a job is ending you’re already on the hunt for that next spot at the next campground. It’s like the race is on to find a spot. Trouble is, there isn’t always a spot available that is close to the job. Or, you must research where the bad side of town is, no one wants to be near there. It’s a lot of work and can bring a lot of anxiety as well. Not knowing where you’ll park your RV is scary, but most of the time it works out. There is a huge community of Tramp Line Ladies with tons of RV knowledge to reach out to on Facebook or Instagram when you can’t find a place. These ladies are a wealth of information!
Let’s talk moving. Holy Cow it can be stressful. Making sure you have every item positioned the right way to not fall, break, or move isn’t easy. Chances are you’ll lose a few items along the way or possibly everything in your fridge. Double and sometimes triple checking is the best way to go to avoid those issues. Keeping a few packing boxes folded up behind the couch can be really helpful. Just pack it up with anything at risk of breaking and leave it on the ground or bring it with you in the truck. My Lineman and I would make a game about how quick we could pack up and roll out. However, the longer you stay in a spot, the longer it takes to pack up. If your Lineman is anything like mine, he’s inevitably collected a lot of extra stuff.
Adjusting to new parks is always tough. Most of the time there is an older couple that wants to be all up in your business to find out who you are. Then there are different rules in each park depending on what kind of park you are in. Some are more relaxed than others. Occasionally, you’ll get a neighbor that isn’t that kind or considerate. Or you get one who doesn’t get that kids are kids and loves to remind you that they can hear yours. Just remember it’s temporary and isn’t permanent. You can always ask to change spots or if all else fails change parks!
RV’s have about the same level of sound proofing as a camping tent. Ok, not quite that bad, but it’s not good either. You’ll definitely hear the trucks starting up in the morning. You might hear the fight from the couple next door. They could hear your get after your kids. The Mariachi music playing in the neighborhood next to the RV park. (If Mariachi is your thing then this might not be a downside. Just remember it could be Polka music, too.)
Bed making. You will have a love hate relationship with making your bed. ESPECIALLY if your bed is in a slide. Most times I wait until my Lineman gets home to help me. We have a foam mattress and it is very heavy and hard to move. Keep this in mind when laundry day comes around!
While we are on that subject, lets discuss “Adult Time” in campers. If you don’t have kids, enjoy. Just know others can see that camper rocking. You can add some leveling jacks on the back or under the slides to help mitigate the “sway”. If you do have children, get a washer and dryer in your camper. Run it at night. They will not know the difference. However, when they get older, they’ll get smart to it. That will be something you eventually will have to talk to them about. Other ladies have said they have slipped away for some alone time with their spouse in a vehicles or secluded spots. Some ladies that are in the same parks agree to take their friends kids for a hour or two while their parents play. In the end it is totally up to you and what works with your family! Good luck and if the camper is a rocking don’t come a knocking!
Finding the good local spots can be tricky. You can check google, and trip advisor/yelp, but still strike out. If you are outgoing, ask the others in the park that work there were the best spots are. Or maybe a local Facebook page to find them. Think about the places you only need a few times a year that you might need to find a substitute for like a doctor, dentist, or mechanic. But sometimes this can be a real blessing in your life. Like if you need a specialist and you happen to be in an area with a really renowned one. There are tons of amazing restaurants and things to do in the little towns you will visit! This is a once in a lifetime opportunity so take advantage of it!
“I’ll never be lonely on the road!” Famous last words there! Living on the road can be lonely. Sometimes jobs are in smaller cities where there is absolutely nothing to do or even a restaurant to eat at. Other times you’re staying in a huge city with tons to do and see. Best advice take up a hobby, knit, sew, read, hike, or do something to keep your mind at ease and your sanity at bay. The one thing I didn’t realize when we started this life was that friends and family will rarely decide to visit. It will hurt at first, but you’ll get used to it. What you will find is that all the friends you will make along the way, will visit! You will make so many new friends that you will make many memories with along the way.
In line with hobbies: you might need to find new ones that take up less space. If you play the drums, those probably aren’t going with you. It’s hard to keep up with hobbies and interests. You find a great cross-fit gym and then the job ends, and you move. Your kid wants to play soccer, but you’ll move in the middle of the season. You can mitigate some of this by being selective about the jobs you take and timing things out, but some of this is unavoidable.
Lastly, remember you’re doing something that most people dream about. People who retire live the RV life, but how long does that last before they can’t anymore? From what we hear and see (I couldn’t find statistics) it’s about 5-8 years. Driving, hauling, and moving isn’t easy for someone who is older. So, think of all the adventures your young self can have out on the road. And this might be the best choice for your family. Just know, once the RV life hooks you, you’re hooked for life! It’ll get in your blood and even after you settle down in a nice bricks and sticks home your feet will get a little itchy for a new place every time you see a rig rolling down the road. The places to see, food to eat, and memories to make! It isn’t for everyone and that’s perfectly ok! If it’s for you, we will see you out there on the line living the Tramp Life!