We’ve been on the road for two weeks now and are well on our way to Sweden. Here are some things we learned during our first weeks of RV living :
– We are not alone
Within our first week of travels – still being in our home country – we encountered a couple that had this whole hippies-living-in-an-RV kind of vibe going. Well anyway, they were not 65+ years old like most RVers we meet, and we saw them chilling in the sun with a cup of coffee, not rushing to do anything and walking around with a laptop in an unsuccesful attempt to find free WiFi. As we got to talking over the emptying of their gray water tank (oh yes RVlife is CHARMING as hell!) we discovered our journeys so far had been quite similar; having left our homes at the same date and no plans of returning anytime soon. Bas and I both wouldn’t describe ourselves as real ‘people-personw’ (we love the solitude of the wild too much!), yet we are curious what other likeminded people we will meet along the way!
– Our Dutch landscape can be quite beautiful
We have been impatiently waiting to leave this tiny crowded country for a couple years now, feeling we’ve explored every sparse tree-covered square metre it has to offer. We’ve grown to appreciate the wetlands and countryside as well, but it just started to feel all to familiar. Cruizing through it on our way to Germany, with the shining sun and a growing feeling of freedom, we’ve gained a new feeling of appreciation for these meadows and fields gold with grain and speckled with cows and sheep. A case of ‘you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone’? Or perhaps just our newly attained travel mindset!
– Living in an RV is doable even in the Netherlands
Our country is not known for it’s RV-friendliness. There are very little sites to stay, strict rules on where to park and overall spending the night anywhere else than on an established campingground is simply discouraged or prohibited. We found some hidden gems over the past years, but were disappointed ever so often. However, expanding our radius since we moved into the RV we’ve noticed that living permanently in your RV in the Netherlands can be done if you are willing to move frequently and are not afraid to ever so subtly break a couple rules every now and then. We are glad we’ve moved on though, to places that are a bit more spacious and welcoming of happy campers that like to stay off-grid.
– Swimming pools provide an awesome possibility to shower
and a free workout to get there! Biking a rough 40 kilometres in 30C weather was so worth it. Taking a couple litres of Coke back from the supermarket at the start of our way back didn’t do much for our saddle soreness, though. Didn’t think that plan through completely.
– Some guy not named Pete is a douche
Ok, so we bought our RV from a guy – let’s call him Pete for privacy’s sake. Pete guaranteed us the RV was in great shape and told it us it had previously belonged to a mechanic so we assumed everything would be alright maintenance-wise. Us being total RV-buying-newbies we had no real clue what to look for when checking for abnormalities. So, when the assessor from the insurance company discovered wood rot in our garage floor, we were not amused and frankly a little scared that the entire vehicle would start falling apart shortly.
Since then we have dealt with many, many unforeseen repairs and replacements. Time and time again wondering how anyone could be so negligent to not use stainless steel screws or fail to understand that untreated wood will not hold on a vehicle traveling over muddy roads and in stormy weather. Over the last 13 days Bas has redone the woodwork of our front entrance step, got rid of a leaky faucet and has called out “damn you not-Pete” more than once or twice. BUT, Brutus is in better shape now than he has probably been in for the last 10 years and we are quite sure we can tackle any future problems that might arise.
– We don’t have bedbugs
On the bright side: we don’t have bedbugs! This might seem a case of stating the obvious but we really had a little vermin-scare just now. We’re all in the clear though and met an awesome passionate exterminator who gave us the green light AND a free can of bugspray. That we stashed for any future insect-related emergencies.
– Grab every opportunity to: use a toilet, tap water, shower, do laundry
We don’t carry around a lot of water, both due to weight issues and the fact we got used to using bottled water while our pump wasn’t functioning. Also, we much rather use water from streams and lakes when given the opportunity. This means – when not in the vicinity of natural water, we constantly have to be on the lookout for other sources. Doing laundry takes some careful planning, we shower whenever an opportunity arises and we welcome any toilets that are actually connected to a sewage. Our little unplanned overstay in the Netherlands – to get rid of bugs that weren’t even there in the first place – brought us lots of these opportunities with family and friends (thanks guys!). And once we’ve arrived in Scandinavia we’ve got a feeling finding a natural body of water shouldn’t be a problem at all!
– Don’t pay attention to the weather forecast
One of the great things about a mobile home is that you can move it to wherever the weather is best. Or at least to where it’s not pouring down with rain. As we were planning to head for Germany a huge rainfront threatened to come right for us. A little in doubt we decided to stick to our plans anyway and were rewarded with sun-drenched days and a single thunderstorm that passed us overnight.
– Do pay attention to the cats
unless you’re looking for an excuse to climb a tree and gain some battle-scars. While we were camping in Germany with our brother (in law) and his wife, Bengal cat Sam managed to escape and sprint 6 metres up a nearby tree. Once he dared to look down again he decided there was no way in hell he was getting out of there by himself and started a series of despairing meows. Bas, who’s always up for a little climbing adventure, heaved himself upthere. Sam was very reluctant to let go of his branch though and put up quite the fight. Cluthcing to the tree and clawing into Bas’ chest as he was forced to let go, he finally made it to the ground safe and sound. We’re hoping he’s learned from his little adventure but are pretty sure he has not.
– Be patient with free WiFi. Very patient
As one of our phones got completely erased by a fluke accident, we tried to repair some damage at the big yellow M. Two burgers, a McFlurry and a coffee later we managed to at least reinstall some apps but oh man, was our patience tested! Luckily we are not usually dependent on free internet and we basically got all the time in the world when we are. It’s a good excuse for an extra milkshake anyway.
So, that’s it for our first insights on living on the road! So far no real problems were encountered and we are currently cruizing through a wide open Danish landscape. Where the crows wear grey jackets and there’s a little white plastered church around each bend. Taking life a little more slowly each and every day.
Sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite!