My family has been known to suffer from affluenza. We have too much of everything – too much clutter, too much to do, too much busyness. Both my husband and I are self-employed and there are often weeks when we both work 50-60 hours due to our type A personalities. Both of our daughters are also actively involved in extracurriculars that take about 8 hours a week of their “spare” time. Once you’ve added in all of the typical things that come with a house and kids such as groceries, chores, homework, laundry, and social visits, our life goes from zero to eighty really quickly. While we love it most of the time, it can be a little overwhelming. In order to preserve what’s left of my sanity, when I start to feel like I’m drowning in stuff and things to do, I reach for our escape hatch.
Our escape hatch happens to sit on six wheels and is 40 feet long. If you saw it on the road, it would look like any other motorhome, but to us, it’s much more than that. Our RV has become our shelter from the storms of life and our collective reset button. Our RV is where we go when the outside world has us texting each other instead of talking to each other, when we are paying more attention to other commitments than family, and when we just need to escape for a little bit.
While our regular home isn’t huge, it’s more than large enough for everyone to have their own space and not see each other. With the demands of work, school, and outside activities, it’s quite easy to lose ourselves in our own little world – whether it’s the bedroom or the office. Our family containment unit aka our RV doesn’t allow for that kind of isolation. In the RV, chances are if I’m reading a book I’ll have a head in my lap, and fingers in my hair. There’s not enough room to walk past another person without noticing them and passing family members in the hall is considered mandatory grounds for a hug. Tight spaces (within reason) makes for a tight family.
We are a pretty outdoorsy family when we’re at home, but once we’re in the RV you might as well put us on The Amazing Race. The closeness of RV living is wonderful but it also forces you outside its rather confining walls. It doesn’t take long to go from “it’s so great that we’re all together” to “GET ON YOUR BIKE” when everybody is in tight quarters. When we are out in the RV, my kids wear their scruffy hair, dirty fingernails, and bare feet like badges of honour.
Making Mountains into Molehills
It’s amazing how, once we’re in the RV and our problems are in the rear-view mirror (even if only for a short while), the big things become small things. Whether it’s the change in scenery, the relaxed feeling I associate with our RV, or just how having everyone together makes it easier to sort out any problems; I think more clearly whenever we’re travelling in our RV. Some of my best “a-ha” moments have happened while sitting in the RV watching the road unwind ahead of me. The kids like the break that escaping in our RV gives them from the stress of school and sports, even if it’s only a brief escape.
My whole family has a tendency to burn the candle at both ends, especially as the end of the year looms. We tend to run on a sleep deficit year-round, but as we get busier and busier, the days become more filled with obligations and the nights become shorter as we try to cram everything in. When we’re out in the RV, we typically spend so much time outside being active that lights out can be as early as 8pm. The best part about life in the RV is that there aren’t any of the big responsibilities to take care of: no driveway to shovel, no lawn to mow, and no pool to clean. Freed of these responsibilities, we can sleep soundly knowing that the only thing left unfinished might be a game of Jenga, or a puzzle we were too tired to finish. Unlike more traditional vacations where I’ve been known to return more frazzled than when I left, an RV escape leaves us all rested and ready to take on the world.
Okay, I know this is going to sound a little crazy, but I love cleaning my RV. I know I’m not the only woman who obsesses about having a clean house, and the RV makes it so easy to stay on top of cleaning. At home, it takes about one full day per week to clean the house. It takes approximately thirty minutes for me to do a full weekly clean of the RV. There’s a lot less surface space in the RV and there’s less “stuff” lying around too. I may also lower the bar just a bit in the RV – I’ve been known to leave a glass in the sink all day (but not overnight, that’s just madness).
Our RV is not only transportation for our family vacations, but it truly is our family escape hatch. Almost as soon as I return from one trip in the family containment unit, I start planning our next collective reset. For my family, at least, R&R happens best in a third R – the RV.
I’d love this life, and I’ve even seen the movie RV (I can relate so much to the dad in that movie.) So much of what we busy ourselves in life can trail behind us, no matter where we go. It can’t fit so well, it seems, when you’re sleeping in a tent or RV.