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Friday, April 22, 2011

Mistakes along the way

This month's FOTR Blog Carnival asked about mistakes we've made along the way. Since we've been on the road for almost a year, you can bet we've made a few! Many are hard to consider mistakes though, because you simply learn flexibility and deal with things as they happen. Tires go flat, directions are wrong, campgrounds are full, but since there's no schedule ruined, you just call it another adventure.
But here are a few things we'll share that we've learned the hard way:

Slow down.
This was our biggest lesson. If you plan to hit the road for a year, you might prefer to squeeze more in. If you plan indefinitely, like us, slow down so you have time to soak it all in. We've learned to plan work days and downtime, because it's hard to work that in when you're constantly surrounded by amazing. We'll stay a week or two in the middle of nowhere, purposefully away from anything tempting. We need time to work, plan, catch up, and rest. The kids need time to just be kids, read, climb trees, play, fight, get bored, and all the normal things they do when we're not exploring the amazing. Now that our pace is slower, we're not experiencing any more amazing-burn-out, so we're appreciating everything more, instead of just surviving it. We're also appreciating each other more!

Plan ahead when camping over holiday weekends.

When you show up on a random Tuesday, campground are usually quite empty. When you show up on the 4th of July though, you better have reservations. We spent July 4 in a not-so-lovely campground with a neighbor we called Loudy McYelly, (but we still drove an hour to the ocean and saw great fireworks and the Blue Angels!). There have been many occasions we've showed up not realizing it's a holiday weekend, Spring Break, etc. When we start seeing people on Facebook complaining (some rejoicing) about their kids being home from school soon, we know to call ahead!

Be prepared not to know the time, day, or even month.
See above. We rarely know what day it is as it doesn't usually matter. One afternoon, a bunch of RVs will start pulling in and we'll realize it's Friday because the "weekenders" are here. Sometimes we'll first notice the TGIF posts on Facebook. Sometimes we get a tip early because on Thursdays people post how glad they are it's the last day of the work week tomorrow. Sometimes we see people celebrate Wednesday as hump day and their work week is half over. We often see them lamenting Mondays. (Sometimes I wish those people could find a different job!)
We try to pay attention so we can attend a local church on Saturday or Sunday. We also try to avoid getting to campgrounds on Fridays because of the traffic. But there are still times we've gone to the post office to find it closed at 3pm on a Saturday, planned a day hike but realized it was almost dark, or wore shorts and forgot it was already winter there.

You can always find internet; it just might not be where you want it.
As we work on the road and need internet, this is a big deal. We stay at campgrounds with wifi, and have an aircard and smart phone, but even with 3 options, we don't always have internet. Starting out, we didn't know campgrounds and cell service aren't always reliable. Sometimes we can go without, but other times there are deadlines approaching and we've had to camp in less desirable areas with better signals. We figure it's our job, so we try not to never complain. We've just learned not to depend on a signal and to be flexible if we have to move to find one.

Maintenance, aka yard work
Since our house is rolling around the country, the tires will blow and things will break. (Of course that happens if you live in a stick house too!) We don't have to pay utility bills, mow the lawn, pull weeds, plant flowers, paint the house, trim the bushes, or fix the fence, but we still budget for yard work. That just includes tires and repairs now. We've been very fortunate this past year and only needed a few repairs. The water tank was a biggie, but the other issue was just a DVD player that took three times to fix. We've also replaced 7 of 8 tires, which sounds like a lot, but those tires have covered 27 states pulling everything we own. Starting out, we had figured we'd need occasional maintenance, but we hadn't budgeted for it. Now we realize it's more a "when" than and "if" so we budget for it and are prepared. Fortunately it's still less than we spent maintaining our stick house and two vehicles!
We're not alone! This post is a part of the Families on The Road Blog Carnival which occurs on the last Friday of the month. Read about other families' experiences and Mistakes Along the Way.

9 comments:

Family Gone Wild said...

Loved your "amazing overload" comment - so true! Ur going to love tt 'cause they are a bit out of the way and you'll get that much needed downtime!

The Provost Family said...

Slowing down is crucial! I'd rather experience less, deeper. Thanks.

Give up the rat race said...

Love posts like this! Very informative
We were hoping to be able to use Virgin Wireless as I can't have a 5GB cap, or something silly like that. Virgin offers unlimited.
Have you heard anything bad/good regarding that?

Stephanie

The Lundys said...

I've heard of some that use it but coverage wasn't great. Verizon seems to have the best coverage (in our experience). We've learned to live with the cap by supplementing with free wifi as we travel.

Amy said...

We have huge issues with internet. Australia's coverage is terrible. Slowing down is such an important part of travelling with kids.

Amy

RVingRoadTrip.com said...

Great post. I will agree that one of our biggest mistakes was not slowing down therefore leading to almost burn out and having to just sit still for a few weeks. We depend on internet as well which is why we travel with a Wilson Electronics mobile phone external antenna, amplifier and internal antenna. Works great in getting that weak signal in remote areas.

Nightraven930 said...

Completely agree. Especially with never knowing what day it is. I'm always going, "Is today Monday or Tuesday?" My days no longer have a "feel" to them:)

Stephanie said...

I really enjoyed reading this, Margie!

The "Slow Down" lesson is a big one for us. We went super fast in the beginning...and soon learned that it's EXPENSIVE and stressful that way. We much prefer to stay in a location for 1-2 weeks.

It's a tough balance, though, isn't it? We want to see everyone and meet everyone and go everywhere...and yet we also need to rest & work.

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

Stephanie said...

Also - we always forget what day it is! (That's kind of a nice problem to have). :)

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net