Newest Adventure: Sex and Relationship Book for Couples that Want to Rekindle the Sparks

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I’m excited to announce the release of my latest book, No-Bone Zone: The Ins and Outs of Curing Long-Term Relationship Boredom. This book has been in conceptual development since my days as an undergraduate psychology student studying to be a human sexuality researcher, but became a realized dream about six months ago. Like The Barefoot Running Book, Never Wipe Your Ass with a Squirrel, Must Have Been Another Earthquake, Kids (a book about full-time RV living with children), and The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running and Ultramarathons (which was released about a month ago,) No-Bone Zone takes the idea of creative self-experimentation with unorthodox ideas and utilizes it to make our sex and relationship adventures more interesting, exciting, and fulfilling.
Here’s the official description:

So you and your significant other used to go at it like rabbits, but now your sex life has cooled off and you have entered the dreaded No-Bone Zone. How do you fix your mismatched sex drives and recapture some of that early magic?

 

As a sex and relationship blogger, this is one of the most common issues I have seen long-term couples encounter. Far too many couples struggled with this common issue, especially after children. Pop psychology, relationship counselors, and the self-help community typically offer advice that ultimately exasperates the problem. In other words, we’re doing relationships wrong.

 

No-Bone Zone flushes that viewpoint down the toilet and explores our relationships and the issue of boredom from a different, unconventional, and sometimes controversial perspective. This new perspective allows us to create long-term solutions that can save our relationships. No-Bone Zone fuses emerging hard science with easy to understand language and outside-the-box thinking to produce an entirely new framework for making our relationships last.

The first few sections of the book are available as a sample, which can be downloaded here:

 

The book is currently available exclusively via Amazon, and is being published as a dead tree paperback version and a Kindle ebook version.

Questions? Leave a comment and I’ll answer it as soon as possible.
Enjoy!
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Being an Introverted Parent of Preschoolers Sucks. Seriously.

For about a year or so, I’ve been a part-time stay-at-home parent. Each Tuesday and Thursday, I’m home alone with our recently-turned five year old.

And it seriously sucks.

He’s our most talkative, outgoing kid. Over the course of the ten or so hours I’m alone with him, he won’t go more than ten minutes without interacting with me in some way. He narrates every action, verbalizes every thought. Our other children did the same, but they’re rather introverted themselves. Eventually they would hole up somewhere around the house for their own solitude. Not our youngest, though.

And it seriously sucks.

As a moderate introvert, I love interacting with people… for awhile. Eventually I need silence. I need solitude. I need to shut the outside world out. If I don’t get that down time, I begin to lose my mind. I become anxious, agitated, and easily annoyed. I can’t concentrate (which is not cool for a writer.) I start questioning my decision to stay at home. I start fantasizing about escaping somehow.

And it seriously sucks.

Our society likes to champion the idea that parents should always be “on.” We should love every waking moment with our kids. If I had a nickel for every time someone told me to “cherish their youth”, I could afford to place him in preschool full-time.

Our older two are at the age where they can entertain themselves without parental interaction. Hell, the oldest is starting the ‘tween “I don’t want to be around my parents anymore” phase… and we love it.

Extrovert parents that feed off those interactions with their children pretty much run the parenting scene, which places undo expectations on us introvert parents. Quite frankly, I’m sick of it. I know there are other introvert parents out there that feel the same way. Perhaps its time we speak up. With summer vacation just around the corner, we need to hear that it’s okay to crave that solitude away from our kids.

Any other introverted parents out there? Leave a comment!

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New Full-Time RVing with Kids Book Now Available!

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My new book is finally finished and available via Amazon! “Must Have Been Another Earthquake, Kids: A short, honest guide to full-time RV living with children” covers our three year adventure traveling the United States with our kids in tow. In the book, I cover a wide variety of topics (see table of contents below.) The goal is simple- we met A LOT of people that were considering, with various levels of seriousness, doing something similar to us.

They had a lot of questions.

Most revolved around sex.

Based on their perceptions, it was clear the research they had done gave them an overly-optimistic rosy view of the lifestyle. While there are a million positive aspects to these kind of adventures, there are also serious caveats. This book covers both in detail.

It is essential reading for anyone considering the RV lifestyle with kids, or may be kicking around the idea of any sort of microhousing.

The book is also available for Kindle.

Blogger friends– if you’re interested in writing a review, drop me a line via Facebook or email.

Table of Contents:

Our story
The Decision to Live in an RV
The Typical American Lifestyle
The Options
Making the Hard Decisions
This Idea Sounds Too Good to be True!
Just How Common Is This?
Lingo
Prerequisites to Hitting the Road
Preparing Finances
Securing Multiple Income Streams
Savings
Budgeting
Residency
Setting a Date
Emotions of Leaving Friends and Family
Choosing the type of RV
Does brand matter?
Campgrounds
Types of Campgrounds
Cost of Campgrounds
Camping Clubs
What do Campgrounds Offer?
How safe are campgrounds?
Driving
Truckers
The Positives of the Full-time RV Lifestyle with Kids
Family-related
RV-related
Lifestyle-related
The Negatives of the Full-time RV Lifestyle with Kids
Family-related
RV-related
Lifestyle-related
The Rest of the Story
Frequently Asked Questions
Conclusion
How it Changed Us
Creating Your Own Adventure
Reading list

Being a Stay-At-Home Parent Sucks

Warning: Ninety percent of the stay-at-home-parents that read this will be publicly outraged. Seventy five percent of stay-at-home parents will secretly rejoice. 😉

Hanging out with your kids all day every day… it’s supposed to be great, right? Teaching them to play ball, video games, wrestling, ice cream, whatever. It’s supposed to be a Hallmark moment, right?

We’re supposed to LOVE the opportunity to be a stay-at-home parent. In fact, the debate that rages between working parents and stay-at-home parents (almost always involving women… us dudes are never really given a voice in the debate) always seems to focus on:

  • Materialism: “I need to work to provide my kids with iPods and trips to Disney World!”
  • The needs of the parent to work: “I need to prove myself in the workplace/ be productive/ climb the corporate ladder!”
  • The needs of the kid: “I don’t want my kid to be raised by strangers!”

Not too many people mention another issue… maybe we just can’t handle being around our kids 24/7. Some parents will joke about it under the guise of the “drunk mommy” shtick, but few are willing to admit a fundamental truth:

Some of us just aren’t well-suited to be stay-at-home parents.

Our Situation

Over the summer, I’ve been a stay-at-home-dad. Shelly took an administrative job with a local police department. My former close-to-full time job at a lumber yard didn’t pay enough to cover the cost of daycare, so we made a logical choice. I’d work one day a week and stay home the rest. It made financial sense.

I spent weeks planning all the cool adventures we’d tackle. We didn’t have a second vehicle, so we’d ride bikes and scooters. We’d get a healthy dose of culture, exercise, and excitement!

  • We were going to make a weekly trip to the library to work on reading skills.
  • We were going to travel to local markets to explore new foods for lunch each day.
  • We were going to go to the park and learn a variety of sports.
  • We were going to take occasional longer-range trips using public transportation.
  • We were going to start a ‘home improvement” project to replace a fold-out couch in our RV.
  • We were going to set up a “daily responsibility” list so each child could learn to contribute to the household operations.

I was going to be epic!

So what really happened?

Reality set in.

I failed to consider some of the obstacles… namely weather. San Diego is well-known for the temperate climate. Unfortunately we’re living east of San Diego where temperatures routinely hit 90-100 degrees. That, coupled with the intense sun, made travel on foot especially difficult after 9 a.m.

As ultrarunners, Shelly and  were fully capable of traveling many miles in extremely hot conditions. Too bad my kids aren’t ultrarunners. Travel after about 10:00 a.m. became exceedingly difficult if not borderline dangerous. As such, the outings were close to impossible. That eliminated the library, trips to the local markets, and the parks.

That relegated our adventures to the 300 square foot trailer or the campground. It didn’t take long for boredom to set in. The older kids (nine and seven) would entertain themselves about half of the time, but four year old was perpetually bored. That required frequent attention. Having to continually interact with them made it impossible to do anything productive (like write books) or enjoy more than three minutes of silence.

Eventually we settled into a barely-tolerable routine where two of the kids would play together and I would entertain the third. On the rare occasional all three played together, I could be assured a fight would break out over which kid gets to lick the picnic table first.

Needless to say, I am exceedingly excited school starts today.

Parental Guilt

It’s difficult to admit we may not be well-suited to be stay-at-home parents. Society sends us a few messages, including:

  • We should love spending time with our kids, even if we’re ALWAYS with them. They will only be this age once, and we should enjoy every second. People are fond of saying things like “When they’re older, you’ll wish they were still this age.” No, I won’t. People said that about their baby years. There’s never a time I wish I could repeat that time. People only say this because they forget the shitty diapers, lack of sleep, or constant crying.
  • If we have negative feelings, we should become a martyr and bury them. After all, our kids are our most precious resource. Sidebar- I’ve written extensively about the martyr complex, including how it poisons relationships. Bad stuff.
  • Keeping kids occupied is easy. I get this claim from people that have boring kids. “When my kids are bored, I just <insert something I’ve tried repeatedly> and the problem is solved. You’re just not doing it right.” This is the one that I find especially annoying. I’m well-versed in kid psychology. There’s an excellent chance I tried your suggestion. Just because it works for your lame-ass kids doesn’t mean it’s going to work for mine.

Bottom line- we’re led to feel guilty if we admit we’re not cut out for the stay-at-home parent gig. That’s bullshit. Instead of making each other feel bad about our perceived shortcomings as parents, let’s discuss ideas so we can figure out what parenting strategies work best for our kids, our environment, and ourselves.

I’m a bit of an introvert in that I need down time. I need a little bit of silence on a regular basis. Without it, I tend to go a little crazy. As a stay-at-home-dad, I rarely if ever got that silence.

Some of us just don’t have what it takes. And that’s okay.

With my current schedule, the older kids go to school for about seven hours during the week. Ty, the youngest, goes to daycare three days during the week. That gives me about 21 hours per week of alone time, and another 14 with only one kid (infinitely easier than three kids.) That’s more than enough to be able to recharge, get some writing done, and even allow me to do nothing on occasion.

I’m curious to hear from other current or former stay-at-home parents that may have or have had the same issue. Specifically, what is it about the experience that was most difficult?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

Also, if you know of other stay-at-home parents that may find this interesting, share with them. I want to solicit as many opinions as I can to start a good discussion. 😉

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New Adventures on the Horizon

Since Shelly and I stopped our travel and set up camp east of San Diego, our plans have been somewhat ambiguous. I got a job, we put the kids in school, and we started mma training. We didn’t really have a plan; we were going to more or less wing it.

After our savings dwindled, we decided to get “real” jobs to pay off our debt and rebuild said savings. We’d both look for employment; Shelly searching in the area and myself searching in neighboring states. The first that landed a job would determine our immediate fate.

Well, Shelly landed one first. She accepted a job working for a local police department. She’s excited to have her first outside-the-RV job since leaving teaching, especially given the nature of her work. This means we’ll be able to stay in the area for the immediate future.

Our kids will be going on summer break soon and our niece Stephanie moved back to Michigan. This brought up the difficult decision of keeping my current job (it doesn’t pay especially well.) The cost of daycare would surpass what I earned. We decided we’d be better off if I become a stay-at-home-dad.

That’s right- I’ll be livin’ the dream!

Actually, I’ll use that time to focus on my various writing projects which have fallen by the wayside. I haven’t been able to maintain a regular blog posting schedule. It will also allow me to work on book projects. Squirrel Wipe has been far more successful than I expected. I’m hoping to use that momentum for the next project- a parenting book featuring the weird, random shit that comes our of our kids’ mouths.

I’m still planning on working one day a week to have some outlet. I should also be starting running classes in the near future.

We’re happy to be able to stay in the area for the foreseeable future. We really enjoy the El Cajon area. Staying put will also allow us to continue to train at our gym, which has become our new obsession.

We’ll continue living in our RV because a) it’s cheap, and b) we enjoy our particular campground. The move from six to five people definitely makes a difference in regards to space.

What will the future hold?

Who knows. We do have some long-term plans, but we’re open to any opportunity that may emerge. Writing has a funny way of opening surprising doors if you’re open to serendipity… so we’ll see what happens.

We’ve come full-circle over the last two years- from full time high school teachers to traveling hobos to “poor folk” to… well, close to “normal.” We’re still reflecting on the various elements of the journey- what we’ve learned, what we enjoyed, what we’d change, etc.

We’ve been at this long enough for the honeymoon phase to wear off, which has given us a good perspective on the positives and negatives of the lifestyle. Anyone have questions about any element of our adventures? Leave a question in the comment section; I’ll answer it ASAP!

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Is Retirement Planning a Scam?

In yesterday’s post, I discussed a plan to balance making money with living a life of adventure. A reader asked about retirement planning- how does it fit in my plan?

Over the last two years, Shelly and I spent a lot of time observing our fellow campground-inhabitants. Many were retired. The conversations we had more or less confirmed the “Ferriss Hypothesis” (more on this in a minute): Lots of people waste their best years toiling away at a job with the hopes of freedom and recreation after retirement. Unfortunately their limited physical abilities, illness, and reliance on less-than-adequate pensions and savings dramatically limited their ability to enjoy their hard-earned “freedom.”

In The 4 Hour Work Week, Ferriss says the following:

“Retirement planning is like life insurance. It should be viewed as nothing more than a hedge against the absolute worst-case scenario: in this case, becoming physically incapable of working and needing a reservoir of capitol to survive.

Retirement as a goal or final redemption is flawed for at least three solid reasons:

a. It is predicated on the assumption that you dislike what you are doing during the most physically capable years of your life. This is a non starter-nothing can justify that sacrifice.

b. Most people will never be able to retire and maintain even a hotdogs-for-dinner standard of living. Even one million is chump change in a world where traditional retirement could span 30 years and inflation lowers your purchasing power 2-4% per year. The math doesn’t work. The golden years become the lower-middle-class revisited. That’s a bittersweet ending.

c.If the math does work, it means that you are one ambitious, hardworking machine. If that’s the case, guess what? One week into retirement, you’ll be so damn bored you’ll want to stick bicycle spokes in your eyes. You’ll probably opt to look for a new job or start another company. Kinda defeats the purpose of waiting, doesn’t it?”

Many of the people we encountered were regretful. Many had a significant chunk of their savings eaten in the recession or housing collapse. Some saw their supposed secure pensions cut as their companies went belly-up. The promise they were sold was far different than the reality. To paraphrase a former colleague, upon receiving their first pension check- “I was promised a Cadillac; I got a Yugo.”

How about a better alternative?

1. Do work that’s intrinsically rewarding. Do work that is meaningful, educational, or otherwise desirable in some way. When it gets old, move on to something else. Your time is too valuable to be spent doing something that makes you miserable.

2. Build several income streams that can evolve over time. Leverage your talents. These streams can grow with you well into your elderly years to supplement any savings you will have accumulated. This is usually the idea behind typical investments- build a healthy principle principal then live off the earned interest. This is great… until the economy tanks. Alternative passive income streams alleviate this inherent risk.

3. Don’t put off adventures during your most physically-capable years. I’m extremely grateful I realized this when I did.  I was able to run some amazing races and see some breathtaking sights, got to spend significant time with Shelly and our kids, and met a ton of amazing people because I didn’t wait until I retired. In short- live life while you can. Taken to the extreme- you may die tomorrow. Every day working is exchanging a sliver of your life for a wad of cash. What’s left on your bucket list?

4. It’s okay to save for retirement… but think of it as insurance for a worst-case scenario (see Ferriss quote above.) Just don’t spend so much time obsessing about the future you hope to have one day. If you have an extra grand lying around, it may be better to take that trip to Nepal than plop it in a 401k.

So… how do you go about doing this. Start by asking what you when you retire. Instead of waiting decades, make a plan to do it now.

It’s that simple.

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Balancing Adventure and Employment

Shelly and I get quite a few questions about our lifestyle. Specifically, how do we balance generating income with adventure? As I discussed in this article, we need money to survive. As much as I like to rant against rampant materialism, reality dictates we make at least some money. Even though poverty is an interesting adventure, teaches excellent survival skills, and makes us appreciate anything and everything around us, it sucks. Worse, a lack of money can dramatically limit our ability to capitalize on some opportunities for adventure.

Of course, spending too much time working causes the same fundamental problems. While we gain material comfort and a degree of security, we lose our most valuable possession- time. We usually follow a familiar script- acquire some form of training (college, for example), land a decent job, steadily climb the ladder, spend increasingly more money to match our rising income, eventually feel trapped in a career that no longer fulfills us, suffer until retirement.

So how do we find that balance?

1. Decide what you really need. This includes the all the “necessities” you need to survive and still be content. Aside from the obvious food and shelter, this list can include things like Internet (a necessity for us for business purposes), insurance, rent, coffee, an occasional night out on the town, our mma gym membership… whatever.

2. Make a budget. Account for everything we need, then account for money to be directed toward savings. Savings is critical for the adventurous person because it will help us navigate the inevitable lean times. My own personal savings goal is to accumulate one year’s worth of expenses as determined by the needs from above. Six months will be sufficient; three months could be considered a bare minimum. I also like to have about $1,000 that is easily accessible to use as an emergency fund (a Dave Ramsey concept) which would be used in emergencies so the savings doesn’t have to be disturbed.

3. Develop multiple income streams to match the budget. The goal is to spend as little time as possible working to reach the necessary income level. This is the opposite of what most people do, but is MUCH more effective. We develop several streams in case one suddenly dries up, which prevents a catastrophe. This was a painful lesson to learn. I failed to nurture several of my income streams during times of plenty which resulted in a bit of a crisis.

Our current income streams include traditional part-time jobs- Shelly works with preschoolers and I work as a receiver at a lumber company. They also include income from writing via the Squirrel Wipe book, running clinics which I occasionally conduct, Shelly’s online freelance data processing gigs via eLance, advertising on BRU, and affiliate programs via Amazon (for example, if you buy anything by following this link, we get a small kick-back with no charge to the people buying stuff.)

Some of the income streams can be done from anywhere (writing, freelance data processing.) Some require little or no time or effort (affiliates and advertising.) Some provide contact with other people (preschool.) Some provide a great workout (lumber yard.) They key to all of them- they provide some income that provides some degree of enjoyment. Best of all- we don’t need any single one.

Accounting for Serendipity

The advantage of this lifestyle is the ability to allow for serendipity. The traditional “career -> retirement” lifestyle isn’t especially flexible. If an interesting opportunity for adventure comes along, it can be nearly impossible to make the leap.

By contrast, this flexible lifestyle is designed to allow for the possibility of adventure. That adventure could be an opportunity to travel to unknown lands. It could come in the form of an interesting job opportunity. There are no limits to the possibilities.

The location-independent and “automatic” income steams coupled with robust savings and a minimal lifestyle can give us the freedom to leave traditional location-dependent jobs for a very long time while still enjoying the things we really enjoy.

In other words, it’s a method to live a life worth living.

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Parenting Philosophy: It Doesn’t Really Matter

I like parenting philosophy debates.

Why?

It’s easy to get people riled up.

We’re exceedingly defensive about our parenting strategies. Not surprisingly, we’re also militantly opinionated. All of us think we have the right answer to raising the perfect kid.

Indeed, Shelly and I spend significant time at parks poking fun at other parents.

Do we have all the answers? No, we don’t. Our amusement with other parenting strategies is nothing more than thinly-veiled attempts to rationalize our own supposedly well-thought out parenting strategies. After all, we’re smart, capable people that clearly know what is best for our offspring.

Here’s the reality, though:

Pretty much any parenting strategy will work.

Why?

Humans are exceedingly adaptable. The strategy we choose probably has more to do with stumbling on a method that matches our personalities, the personalities of our children, and the environment.

What we choose is always going to be the right answer.

We’re adaptable. Our kids are adaptable. My cake is different than your cake because we’re working with different ingredients. We use what works for us.

And that’s okay.

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Pros and Cons of RV Living with Kids

While researching solutions to cool our RV in the desert-like climate of eastern San Diego county, I came across many personal accounts of full-time RV living. A few were pretty accurate, but most seemed overly glorified. They were of the “our lives sucked, we moved into an RV, now our lives are spectacular” variety. This was even more apparent for those with children.

It felt like many people were simply rationalizing their choice instead of giving an honest assessment to the pros and cons. While it is a great experience, it’s not always muffins wrapped in rainbows.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first:

  • Space. We have six people living in about 300 square feet of living space. It’s seriously cramped. We learned to adapt quickly and it’s rarely an issue. However, a typical family accustomed to the vast expanses of traditional house or even apartment living will have an adaptation period.
  • Alone time. This is directly related to space. t’s often-times close to impossible to get alone time without moving out to the Suburban (our tow vehicle) or, if available, the campground’s clubhouse. When it comes to the romantic stuff, it’s inevitable your kids will walk in on you at some point. It makes for an interesting teachable moment. And the kids eventually learn to heed the warnings about closed doors. 🙂
  • Chores. Routine chores like taking out the trash or doing the dishes don’t disappear when moving into an RV, though the nature of chores change. Since space is at a premium, the living space requires more frequent cleaning. Luckily the smaller space takes less time to clean. For those that like to procrastinate, it can be a bother. It’s a trade-off.
  • Breakage. Even the best RVs aren’t designed for full-time living. As a result, many of the components (which are usually the same regardless of the price tag or brand of your rig) will break. The heater, refrigerator, air conditioner, and water heater are the main culprits. Sometimes the fix is relatively inexpensive. Other times they may set you back several grand. Kids make the problem worse as they’re not quite as gentle with fragile RV parts. If you’re handy with tools and can do basic problem-solving, this may be more of a positive than a negative. Regardless, RVs will experience problems on a more regular basis than a traditional dwelling.
  • Black water tanks. The black water tank holds poop. It requires frequent dumping and occasional flushing. It sucks.
  • Driving long distances sucks. This is entirely optional for most, but our work schedule required us to do quite a few 24 hour+ drives. They were brutal, especially with the kids.
  • Cost. RV living can be very expensive. Your RV setup itself can be very expensive. Ours cost around $28,000 for the trailer and used SUV we use to pull the trailer, which is definitely on the low end. Some people will spend upwards of a quarter of a million dollars for their rigs. Campgrounds and gas can be huge expenses, also. Taking advantage of weekly or monthly rates helps, as does limiting driving distances. Our most expensive campground cost $85/ night (suburban Boston area) and the cheapest was $10/ night (Wikiup, AZ.)
  • Not all campgrounds are kid-friendly. Many campgrounds, especially those in the Southwest, outright prohibit kids. Others allow kids but are openly hostile. Other campgrounds are more welcoming. Our decision to stay in El Cajon while hanging out in So. Cal. is directly related to our campground’s acceptance of our kids even though the area is widely considered to be one of the “worst” areas in the county (it’s the “poor” neighborhood.)
  • Sometimes your neighbors suck… like the elderly busy-bodies. Many retired folks seemingly have nothing better to do than spy on you. Some campgrounds have been far worse than others. The absolute worst was a campground in Truckee, CA. We had several other residents threaten to call the police because they believed we were leaving our children home alone. Their “spying” apparently missed the fact that our 20 year old niece was with them the whole time. Jackasses.
  • RVs are difficult and usually expensive to heat and cool. As I alluded to in my last post, cooling the RV in a desert climate is a challenge. The same challenge occurs in cold weather. If you’re a Goldilocks and love a perfectly climate-controlled environment, RV living isn’t for you. In sub-freezing weather, we’d have to spend several hundred dollars per month to keep the inside temperature around 65°. Same deal with air conditioning in the summer. Our solution has been to adapt to wide temperature fluctuations and using inventive methods to retain heat in cold weather and dissipate heat in hot weather.
  • Boondocking sucks. Boondocking refers to camping without hookups (electricity, water, sewer, Internet, etc.) No other element of RV living is more romanticized than boondocking. For adventurous folks without kids, it’s certainly a viable option. For the rest of us, it’s a pain in the ass. Before hitting the road, we budgeted to boondock about 20% of the time. We ended up doing it three times. The problem stems from the lack of electricity. Our batteries would only last about 16 hours with minimal use, and we didn’t have a good method to recharge without being connected to the tow vehicle or an AC electrical source. Solar equipment was too expensive; generators are loud and heavy.
  • Culling clutter. The trailer can only hold a finite amount of stuff due to space and weight considerations. This requires diligently refraining from purchasing anything new and continually recycling old crap. It’s not a major issue, but can sometimes be a pain.

And the good stuff:

  • Really get to know each other. Living in extremely close quarters with six people really builds some close bonds. Since we’re always no more than about 20 feet from each other, we get to know each other really well. This could easily be construed as a negative, but I like the fact that Shelly and I have gotten to know our kids far better than we would have n our former life.
  • Adventure of travel. Being able to explore is awesome. The sense of freedom is like no other feeling I’ve ever felt. It took quite some time to really internalize the idea that we could go anywhere we wanted. At times, that freedom was a bit overwhelming. It’s also horribly addictive. Our current financial situation requires us to stay put for awhile. Even though we love where we currently live, there’s still a discomfort that comes from losing the freedom to move at will.
  • Cost. Yes, this can be both a positive and a negative. Living in an RV can be ridiculously cheap. Once we pay off our outstanding bills, we could move to a cheaper area and live on less than $1,000 per month. We won’t because, quite honestly, being poor sucks. Still, we could do it if needed.
  • Choosing neighborhoods. This is related to the freedom thing, but is worthy of its own bullet. RV living allows more freedom to choose your neighborhood. There are RV parks everywhere throughout the US except for downtown city areas. Not only can you choose where you want to live (don’t need an RV to do that), but you can test areas. For example, when we came back to Southern California, we tested the Lake Elsinore area east of Los Angeles. It was a little too pretentious for us, so we came back to El Cajon. When discussing the “cooling in the desert” problem, several people suggested we move to a more mild climate. They don’t understand the idea that when we decided to settle down for awhile, we chose this place because we wanted to live here. We could have went pretty much anywhere.
  • Simplified living is inherently rewarding. The connection between simplicity and well-being is difficult to describe until experienced, but it’s undeniable… at least for many of us. RV living requires simplification, which Shelly and I enjoy immensely. Maybe it’s the creativity required to solve everyday problems. Or maybe it allows us to focus on things that are really important because the frivolous is stripped away.
  • Meeting campground dwellers. There are three types of people that frequent campgrounds- retired folks, vacationing folks, and working folks. We haven’t befriended other people in campgrounds, but we have struck up many conversations. We tend to avoid the vacationing folks. The retired folks usually have interesting stories and they reinforce the importance of not waiting until retirement to do what you really want to do (we hear lots of stories of regretting lives wasted working long hours to buy crap that didn’t matter.) The working folks… these are the really interesting people. These are the full-timers that have chosen this as a lifestyle, not a recreational pursuit. They always have fascinating stories that led to them living in an RV.

This list is hardly complete, but it should give some insight to the real pros and cons of full-time RV living with kids. If you’re considering the lifestyle, seek out honest information. It’s easy to fall in love with the romantic notion of full-timing, but reality can sometimes be harsh.

If I were to summarize this entire post, I’d say RV living can add a great deal of interesting elements to your life, but isn’t likely to radically change anything. You still have all the trappings of everyday life; we can never escape that. You gain a great deal of freedom, but there are costs to be considered.

If you’re considering this lifestyle, seek out families that have been doing it for long periods of time AND are willing to discuss the negatives as well as the positives.

 

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