A&A Challenges Of Mobile Living (360 Days)
Updated: Jan 18, 2021
End of Week #51
Gualala River Redwood Park, Gualala CA
Miles traveled since last week's post = 0
Total miles traveled to date = 7,955 with trailer
It's basically been raining for a week now, and today is finally supposed to be the last afternoon of it for the extended forecast. Adam just got done washing the trailer off in the rain, and we are patiently waiting for the sun's return into our lives. Even amongst all the gloom it's been an exciting weekend as we received not one, but TWO care packages from loved ones, and I also received a humongous photo gallery of our engagement style photos we took when we were in Sedona. I can't wait to share them with you all in the coming weeks! (Stay tuned on Facebook, where I will share a majority of them!)
We are also closing in on our big 1 YEAR milestone, coming up THIS Friday! It's hard to believe that we are already approaching a full year living in a 32 foot long RV, but we really did it. And that also means it's that time again, to do another review of the challenges of what it's like to travel full-time, and review any previous challenges too!
If you missed my previous post about the challenges of mobile living at 300 days, you can check it out here.
CHALLENGES OF MOBILE LIVING - 360 DAYS
From my last challenges post at the 300 day marker, to now, I am continuing to heavily focus on what is going on in the world and how it is affecting us firsthand. I've heard a lot of good analogies about this online, but my favorite one to date is that we are all in the same storm, but we aren't on the same ship. With that being said, what is challenging for us right now is absolutely not going to be the same for what is challenging for you, and aside from the obvious factor that we live in an RV and travel full-time, which already has many differences to other people's 'way of life', we are also around 1,500 miles away from most of our friends, family and loved ones, and have been navigating this entire pandemic all on our own. It's just been Adam and I, out here in the woods, getting through everything one day at a time. But at the end of the day we are all navigating this same swirling storm together, from all of our own ships, in our own places in the world.
I am still trying to do my best to remain hopeful about everything, and that by the next time I do a challenges post in another 2 months that things will be completely different. (But I know I also said that last time and things aren't necessarily all that different for us right now.) All we can keep doing is to continue to take each day as it comes, and do our best to plan and prepare for whatever life decides to throw at us.
I hope to look back on this time, and on this post, a year from now and remember the challenges, but also the lessons. I want to look back on this and see how it was an opportunity to pause, to rest, to learn, and to discover a whole other side to this lifestyle, and for that matter - life in general. But for now the times are uncertain, and we STILL really don't know how things are going to play out for us.
Water pressure & showers
For the last few months we have had a lot of issues with the water pressure inside the trailer, and had been chalking it up to the connection at the park we were at in Camp Verde. We assumed there were either too many people connected to it or that they were experiencing issues on their end. The water went from a steady flow to a small drip and has made showering and washing dishes nearly impossible tasks around here. Upon arriving to Gualala the water pressure was the complete opposite for a few days and we had absolutely outstanding pressure... but then within a week it was back to it's drip, drip. Adam investigated further and realized it was something with our water pressure regulator that was essentially not letting water in through our hose connection and we ended up ordering a new water pressure regulator from Amazon. We now have a full flow and it's the most amazing thing in the world to be able to run the water like "normal" for whatever you are using it for.
But that brings me to a whole other set of challenges in showering. It's like a double edge sword... if you don't have good water pressure your hot water lasts a whole lot longer and even though it is already taking you longer to shower, at least you're warm while doing it. With the new "normal" water pressure you are going through more water faster and the water heater can't keep up, meaning you run out quicker. That's why it's extremely important to "pause" the water while lathering up, shampooing, etc, however it can get cold in the bathroom with the vent propped open so oftentimes I like to let the warm water run on me longer than I should. This has caused me to run out of hot water countless times and be forced to do a cold water complete rinse of my hair and everything, which for someone like me who is a total freeze baby it is no fun at all.
Everytime we shower we have to be really cautious about how long we have the water on, how much hot water we are using, and also be mindful if the other person is set to take a shower next as it takes time for the small hot water heater to reheat more water. It's a whole process that is almost like one of those things that you only truly understand if you are dealing with it firsthand, but at the same time it makes me really appreciative of the days we lived in our last townhome and we had 2 HUGE shower heads in our master bathroom that I could sit under for like a good 20 minutes of scorching hot water. Boy do I miss those days!
RV repairs & damages
During our trip north through California we encountered our first significant RV damage when we had a tire strip on the highway. The tire pieces flapped under the RV, ripping up the skirting and tearing a bit of a hole through the underbelly, as well as pushing up a pipe into the floorboards inside. Thankfully the damage wasn't any worse than it was and we were able to repair most everything ourselves. Adam reinforced the underbelly with sheet metal and straightened out the skirting the best he could. We may look into purchasing a new side skirting this summer to replace the damaged one, but it would be purely out of aesthetics, as it is not causing any harm the way it is. We will also plan to order 4 new tires this summer before departing off anywhere new. And we have decided that for the time being the bump in the floor on the inside is not causing any harm either, so we will live with it the way it is!
We sort of knew in the back of our heads that it was only a matter of time until something really concrete happened to the trailer, as they are not built the same way a sticks and bricks home obviously is, and we are very grateful our tire situation happened the way it did. In a lot of our online RV groups we see horror stories of what happens to people's RV's during storms or while driving on the highway or even just random mishaps, and it is always in the back of our mind that anything could happen at any time.
Things to do, overwhelming loneliness & anxiety
A lot of the changes that brought about these challenges for us involve the fact that we left Camp Verde, AZ and traveled through most of the state of California to the remote woods of NorCal. We left behind our endless opportunities to hike daily, friends that we had gotten to know over the course of a few months, and a whole community of other full-time RVers in the park we were staying at. Not to mention we also had a few trips to meet with friends get cancelled, for obvious reasons, and they were adventures we had been happily looking forward to since the beginning of the year. Now, in northern Cali, we are in an empty RV park and do not have any open hiking opportunities near us. What we are able to engage in each day is a lot more limited and really starting to feel more like a "quarantine" than any of our previous experiences in Arizona.
Going into this experience we were fully aware of how lonely full-time travel would likely get, but given the current state of the global pandemic it seems to be amplified on a whole other level. It gives me a lot of anxiety to not know what's to come in the state of our plans, our summer job, our summer location, and the whole works. But I am working on my energy every day to remind myself that everything is and will be okay.
Internet & WiFi connections
It's both sad and amazing how much we rely on technology for a connection, especially when we are states away and all alone in the woods. Our first 2 weeks here in Gualala were a bit rocky with super limited and unstable connections and we were losing our minds feeling so out of touch with everyone we know and everything we can do to keep ourselves sane. Thankfully, this has since improved already but it can still be touchy at times, and it drops calls whenever it pleases. Other times calls go in and out and it's difficult to hold a longer conversation, but we are working with what we got and doing our best to stay in touch with everything "normal" in our lives. Thankfully our phones now receive texts and calls with the WiFi and we can get back to a sense of some normalcy.
The trailer ends up feeling so much smaller when we are stuck inside (due to weather and closures) and are unable to watch TV, or sit on our phones. I'm all for limiting screen time in general but it's like when you are forced to not use it because it's not available are the exact times I want and need it the most. I also use the WiFi to do creative work, like write these blog posts, to connect on team calls with my online business partners, to message my friends, grow my social media followings, and stay up to date with all that is going on out there. WiFi has become an essential non negotiable to help us live our best life out here on the road!
Other NEW challenges:
Crazy bengal cats... I mean that in the cutest way possible, as the bengal babes are the most happy they have been in a very long time out here in the woods, and they wish to spend every waking minute outside. Each time we do take them for walks in the woods they prance about, eating grass every chance they get, taking off running out of pure joy, and Roscoe even climbs a tree or two. The problem is, anytime they are inside, they are begging constantly to go outside, and lately it's been raining for like a week straight so it's a wet muddy mess outside. If we are ever outside without them, they sure make sure we know how upset they are and they try to claw their way through the screen door of the trailer - which is so not cool!
The darkness of the forest... It's both beautiful and peaceful, but it's also dark and damp. It's hard to ever know what time of the day it really is, it's quite easy to sleep in until 9 AM, and we always have to have lights on inside the trailer and a source of heat for me as well. I definitely am feeling the differences from leaving the open desert, and trying to adjust to the lack of light and instead take in the beauty that is all around me.
Small town living... We are living in a town of about 2,000 people and there are very limited resources in town, especially due to Covid closures. In order to get to a "big town" in any direction, we have to travel about 2 hours one way. This includes going to Costco or larger grocery stores, and any other name brand stores out there. Not to mention right now due to Covid, and the fact that our campground has not officially opened yet, we are doing our best to stay out of town in general to not cause any issues with the locals.
Budgeting & finances... Budgets aren't necessarily a new problem by any means, and we aren't in any sort of financial pickle, but it's important to keep our finances on the forefront right now as we have already lost several weeks of planned work. We set out into this NorCal experience assuming we would be working for around 18 weeks and although we have a safe, free place to live, we still have to be mindful of our spending habits and in preparing for several months out until we know when we can generate a planned steady income to rebuild.
Things we ongoingly continue to work 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….
Previous 300 day challenges, that are STILL a challenge
During my last challenges post, 60 days ago, the pandemic was just starting to strike hard across the country, disrupting everything and anything in its path. Needless to say, we are still experiencing some of the same challenges from our last post, and some things I imagine we will still be dealing with in another 1-2 more challenges posts too. I typically like to offer solutions to previous challenges, but this time around there isn't necessarily a whole lot I can do for some of what we are experiencing. The most important thing is to remain honest, positive, and hopeful for the our future and our freedom.
Quarantines, lockdowns, business closures & stay at home orders... The future of travel is still very unclear. With so much variation from state to state it is weird to think about what this will look like as we continue our life on the road and continue moving through the states. If future waves of the virus continue then we will have new travel restrictions and modifications to navigate, such as border checkpoints, possible forced testing to travel, possible forced vaccinations to travel, and whatever else comes our way. It also limits the availability of places we can stay and explore, which ultimately were the whole reason we set off on this adventure in the first place. I still feel strongly that camping is one of the safest things we could be doing right now and I'm glad we took this opportunity to live life freely when we did!
Going a bit stir crazy… It's been over a month now since we have gone on a hike or properly explored an area, which is extremely unusual and not normal for our nomadic experience. Thankfully we are in a beautiful (empty) RV park that we can do laps in over and over, but we are going a bit crazy indoors the past few weeks from all the rainfall and are longing for the wild adventure that awaits us in the forests and on the coast of northern California.
Fear of the unknown... As it's still unclear what will happen with privately owned campgrounds in the state of California and in Mendocino County, it is hard not to be a little fearful of how this will all play out for us. We are doing our best to cling to the hopeful positivity that June 17th will come and we will open and begin working here and continue our stay through September. However if that doesn't happen or things change then we will be looking at rerouting and replanning the rest of the summer. Ultimately I know everything happens for a reason and all things turn out how they were meant to, so I am constantly reminding myself that what will come, will be.
Things that are still NOT a challenge another 60 days into it
We are gearing up to celebrate 1 YEAR on the road as nomads for our upcoming #Nomadiversary on Friday, May 22nd! Next week's post will feature reflections, lessons, stats, highlights, our route to date, and celebrations from our past year living in the RV and traveling through the USA.
*Currently under construction and paused at this time.*
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