• sparkfireswan

A&A Challenges Of Mobile Living (240 Days)

Updated: Feb 4, 2020

End of Week #34

Mustang Island State Park, Corpus Christi TX > Yogi Bear Jellystone Park, Canyon Lake TX

Miles traveled since last week's post = 195

Total miles traveled to date = 5,309 with trailer

Hello to you all from Hill Country, Texas and welcome to my new Spark Fire Swan website! I hope you can spend some time taking a look around - I've poured a lot of hours into building this new site, and although I'm nowhere near the final result I want, I'm getting super close!

Hill Country has been treating us well the past few days - despite some rain when we first got here. We are actually both quite sad that we only are staying here a week total, as we could have easily stayed longer. I find Hill Country to be the perfect breathe of fresh air (& change in humidity) that I could have asked for, and it honestly might be my new favorite part of Texas! Today we spent the day in downtown San Antonio, checking out the Alamo and the Riverwalk, and over the weekend we went to an animal sanctuary in Fredericksburg to interact with elephants! Tomorrow we are planning to check out Austin, and maybe a little more of Canyon Lake (it was raining the original day we went to explore), and then sadly on Wednesday morning we pack up out of here.

We are also almost at our 8 month marker! I could have technically done this post for next week too, as we hit our 8 month NOMADIVERSARY this Friday, January 24th. I feel like I'm going to blink my eyes this year and it's going to be our YEAR marker just like that. But since we are nearing our 8 month mark, it means it's time to do another review of the challenges of what it's like to travel full-time in an RV, and review any previous challenges too!

If you missed my previous post about the challenges of mobile living at 180 days, you can check it out here.


I'm sitting here tonight, trying to think about what has been the most challenging things to deal with in the past 2 months, and it's honestly getting harder for me to come up with things. I had started a post-it note list, so I could refer back to it in this moment, but even the things I wrote down don't even feel like that big of a deal anymore. I know it won't always be like this, and new problems will always continue to arise, but I really feel like over the past few months I've gained a lot more confidence in our ability to figure it out - no matter what it is! At the end of the day, whatever could come up, we have each other, we have our family & friends, and we have our bengal cats too. <#

Holiday season 'alone' / loneliness syndrome

If I had to pinpoint one thing that was the most difficult about the past 60 days since my last challenges post, it would without a doubt be the loneliness of going through the holidays without our family & friends. We have never experienced secluded holidays before, and are very used to the hustle and bustle of going to a handful of gatherings for every holiday on the calendar, so this year couldn't be further from opposite to any other year we have had together. It was really nice to have video chats with everyone, but in some ways I felt left out or so far away that I'm just not even part of anything and that can get hard to deal with at times.

The loneliness aspect of full-time travel comes and goes in severity and it was a lot more intense over the holidays. We were thankfully at an RV park that had a lot of activities and people to chat with, but those people were still over twice our age and harder to relate to or "hang out with" if you know what I mean. I think what has improved my mood a lot going into the new year is knowing that we have 3 months in a ROW of friends and family to see - starting right away next month. Knowing that we will be seeing so many people that we have missed so badly so soon has filled me with a lot of love, excitement and happiness!

Issue with kitchen slide

Completely random, and hopefully not a problem long term, but one of our slides has been acting up when it comes time to pull it in to close up. Our kitchen slide, which is the smaller of the two (sticks out about 2 feet when open), has been coming in crooked and sideways - and suuuuper slow. At first we thought maybe it was due to our trailer battery, and the fact that we pull it in after we have already disconnected from power, but it has since done it again while connected to power too.

I am obviously really hoping this is all just a random fluke of a situation and that there is nothing deeper wrong with our slide. The difficult thing is that in order to have it checked out we would be dispersed out of our "home" for a day or even longer, and have to sit with the cats in the van and do... I don't even know what, while we would wait to have our home back. It's not ideal or convenient and honestly we would also have to be by an RV dealership that does Grand Design warranty work too so everything would have to align. Thankfully we have some RV slide lube on hand and Adam knowns how to push the slide in if need be too - but I'm personally just hoping and praying that nothing else comes about with this one!

Planning out the year ahead

In a lot of ways this is more fun for me than anything, but it is also a bit on the stressful side of things to plan out so much, and so far too. This isn't something that we have yet had to deal with or think about on such a grand scale and sure I could continue to more or less "wing it" with our travel plans, but if I do that then we will have to make a lot of sacrifices to the places we want to go and when we want to go to them. I also have been heavily thinking about and planning to return to Minnesota for the State Fair and to spend a month or so there in the fall. That is a huge timeline I have been relying on when I am planning out everything else, and I have already spent a lot of hours mapping out routes, writing down destinations, planning how many miles are in between each city and estimating how long to stay in each city.

I really do enjoy travel planning, it's just one of those things where there are so many unknowns that can still come up and change things - such as weather, finances, and other bumps in the road that COULD appear. I've done my best to make a plan, and I fully know that we will have to stay flexible to change, but I feel a lot better going into the year with a travel route PLAN. ... But WOW is it exhausting to research out about 9 months of full-time travel and another 3 months of estimations. #Oofta #NomadLife #FulltimeTravel

Surviving 2 weeks without any sewer connection

This one is more of a celebratory "we did it" than it is a challenge, but it WAS a challenge we went through and we conquered to start off the new year 2020. We spent the first 2 weeks of January at Mustang Island State Park and we only had electric and water hookups. There was a dump on site but it would require us to completely tear down everything, travel to the dump, and return back to our spot and re-set up. Rather than going through all the work involved in that process, we did everything we could to prevent our tanks from completely filling up during those 2 weeks.

We took showers in the facility they had onsite, we caught the excess water that comes out of a secondary hose on our drinking water machine and used it for other purposes or dumped it outside. We also made sure to try to go to the bathroom as much as possible in the facility too! I think we even did dishes like 5-6 times and we managed to not fill our kitchen sink tank until the very last day. This feels like a huge success as it was a lot of work to (& quite a bit out of our comfort zones) to have to monitor the tanks so heavily and use the State Park facilities for showers and what not.

Other NEW challenges:

Needing new supplies… like for example, new pots and pans! Ours are starting to scratch and chip and I'm very well aware that is not good and leaks chemicals. The cats scratching tower is also starting to fall apart, and so is the cabinet we keep their litter box in. Those are more minor problems but still challenges that have come up!

Sounds from other RV's at night... let me explain. Sometimes it's like we are in apartment building and we have a neighbor next door and upstairs... we can hear everything!!! At the particular RV park we are at right now our closest neighbor is 2 spots down and every night around 11 PM we can hear all of their children running around very intensely yelling and screaming. (Yes, I have a lot of questions about this entire situation.) It literally shakes our floor, like we can FEEL the sounds too. It's insane, and honestly keeps happening every single night at the same time.

Scratches on finishes... this one goes right along with the last challenges post when I mentioned the trim is peeling off in certain areas! Unfortunately this is what happens when you have a pet that has nails and it's not exactly like everything in the RV is super durable. But at least when it's on the black finishes I can use a permanent marker on it!

Constantly changing temperatures... in a lot of ways Texas reminds me of Minnesota, and one of those ways is with the inconsistent weather. It changes from day to day sitting in one spot and it has been vastly different across the entire state the past 3 months we have been traveling through it. We went from 70's and 100% humidity on the ocean to 50's with lows in the 30's here in Hill Country, and the humidity is FAR less too. And I'll never forget our very first night in Texas it SNOWED!

Things we are still working through:

RECYCLING, missing friends and family HARDCORE, being away for celebrations-birthdays-deaths-milestones-dinners-holidays, being away from people we know and people in general, being away, etc….

Solutions to some previous 180 day challenges

Small crisis for a few weeks when we were out of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce… but luckily right after my last challenges post we received 4 HUGE BOTTLES of Frank's in the mail from my family. Then... of course, we also saw it at grocery stores around southern Texas, go figure! But we are since well stocked and have just opened bottle number 2 out of the 4.

Fire alarm going off multiple times a day when cooking… this still happens! But Adam has a nice new solution where we can actually hang a bag over the fire alarm and somehow this helps a TON and stops it from going off all the time.

Sitting in one place... this one is basically over for the next month as we have started traveling again! This current time around we will be traveling to about 7 places total (including where we are right now) before we stop and pause for one more full month. But after that it's basically straight travel all the way until September! There will be a lot of week-long stops, and hopefully a few 2 week stops, but nothing longer than that. So we really have to buckle down and prepare!

Humidity in the trailer... since my last challenges post we have been using a little dehumidifier in the trailer and although it doesn't completely solve the problems it has actually been helping a lot! It fills up every few days or so and I have noticed less condensation on the windows and walls.

Things that are still NOT a challenge another 60 days into it

Smaller Space

Less Clothes

Less Stuff

Full-Time Travel


This time next week may be a short and sweet post and life update, as we will likely have not much cell reception/4G service at all. We are heading to Big Bend National Park this Thursday 1/23 and will be there until Monday 1/27. It is our last stop in Texas before we plan to make the long haul of a drive all the way to White Sands National PARK in southern New Mexico. It is going to be our longest drive yet next Monday, and after a weekend of hiking and zero cell reception, I just might keep things light for everyone. We will see how it all plays out! Sign Up For the A&A Nomadic Newsletter!

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