8 Lessons That We Learned About RV Life in 2020
2020 was definitely not the best of year for most people. But now that it is behind us, let’s take a moment to learn from the crazy year that it was.
Because if we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it.
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Be Prepared for the Unexpected
The biggest story of the year was the definitely that microscopic particle that shall not be named. And what a number it did on all of us.
But the biggest lesson of all of 2020 is that we must be prepared for the unexpected. All the other lessons are really just sub-lessons to this big main lesson.
From campground closures to all the sports being shut down for the summer. Everyone had plans canceled and changed and postponed.
But we adapted. We learned how to throw a home-gate instead of a tailgate. We switched from major theme parks to national park trips. We stuck to home, with family and friends and valued each interaction we had with each other.
You never know what the unexpected thing that will come next (that’s why they call it the unexpected). But we can do things to prepare for the likely events. You can grow a strong savings and emergency fund. We can learn about RV maintenance so you can Fix It Yourself when you can’t find an RV mechanic. We can take care of our health, so we are in the best position to fight off illness if needed.
See Also: Preparing for Hurricanes in an RV
Family, Friends, and Community Matter Most
When the world shuts down, who or where do you turn to?
We found so many examples of family, friends, and community reaching out to help others. How many full-time RVers were having problems finding campgrounds as many of the public campgrounds shut down and the states were limiting many of the private campgrounds?
Full-time RVers in particular were having to find places to hunker down, not knowing how long it would be. That’s where family, friends, and the community came in to help.
The RV community is a great one, and many stepped up by providing up to the day/hour/minute reports of what campgrounds were open and which were accepting monthly stays. Others were offering up their land for RVers to come and stay. Meanwhile, many RVers ended up parking their RVs and staying with friends or family for months on end in 2020.
If nothing else, the RV community was a place where there were people in similar situations that could lend a friendly ear when you complained about the run on RV toilet paper. I mean, we don’t like the stuff and only use it because it is better for our black tanks. Why would all the rest of you want to use it?
The important lesson here is that even when you are living full-time on the road, your support network really matters. Maybe even more than when you are not on the road. It’s important that we work to maintain those relationships, so that the support network is strong. You never know when you will have to call on that network, whether it is a worldwide emergency or something a little more targeted.
So here’s to building strong networks in 2021 and beyond!
RV Life Dogs are the Best!
When you are hunkered down for an extended period, without being able to even see your friends or anyone outside your household, a dog really is man’s best friend.
As a solo traveler, I’m not sure what I would have done in 2020 if it wasn’t for my RV dog. Seriously, he made sure that every day, I at least put on something half way decent to take him out for a walk. Which was really just him walking me some days. But it got me out of the four walls of the RV or my house, when I wasn’t traveling.
He was also great to cuddle up with and snuggle because Burdell is the best snuggler.
In 2020, the country saw a drastic increase in pet adoptions as people slowed down from the hustle and bustle of normal life. And that’s because everyone recognized how awesome pets are for companionship.
When you find one that loves the RV life as much as you do, well, that’s a winner in my book.
See Also: The Ultimate Dogs’ Guide to RVing
You Can Work Remotely
In 2020, many employers and employees had to rapidly make a shift to work from home to keep things moving. But now that we’ve seen that it can be done, employers aren’t going to have the same ability to say no when you ask to go remote.
And the fun thing for many of us, home can be anywhere you can get a good internet connection. It doesn’t have to be a sticks and brick house either. It can be from your RV!
I worked from the road for about three months straight in 2020. I got to see places like New River Gorge before it became a National Park. And explore Western Pennsylvania and New York. Stuff I wouldn’t have done in a normal year.
Don’t Ever Leave Home Without Good Internet
The important thing is that you have a good internet connection. My base RV internet is an unlimited Verizon plan. But I also use my old Samsung S8+ as a backup mobile hotspot, with a plan on Mint Mobile which is a T-Mobile reseller. I thought it was important that I have back-up internet from a different provider, so that when I am in an area that doesn’t have good coverage with one provider, then maybe the other one would.
Mint Mobile has also been great about adding free GB of data to plans, during and since the craziness of 2020 started. They have good reasonable plans, with discounts if you pay by the year. I’ve found them to be quite useful as my backup RV internet provider.
I’m also looking forward to see what the Starlink system will do, once they have more satellites in the air and mobile internet applications.
RVing is More Popular Than Ever
Once we got through the initial crunch of campground closures and we started to find a new equilibrium, it became perfectly clear how popular RVing is!
Our friends over at Outdoorsy saw a 400% year on year growth, and a 4,600% growth for April – October 2020. That’s crazy growth for a company during a lock down (or really any time), but that shows you how popular RVing is.
So to be able to rent an RV and take a vacation in 2020, well, that’s exactly what a whole lot of people did. Which lead to more problems finding campgrounds, especially at places like state and national parks.
But hopefully, this surge in popularity, which isn’t likely to die down any time soon, also leads to more lasting changes. Maybe more people will see the value in building more campgrounds (hey, if anyone wants to invest, I’ve got some great ideas on where we should build some RV campgrounds!). With more people working remote, maybe we can get some better WiFi options and internet access at campgrounds and elsewhere.
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Protect and Defend Our Resources
2020 was an excellent showcase of some our country’s greatest resources. Mostly, our people, and what we can do as a community and what still needs to be done.
In the still needs to be done category, we need to make everyone feel welcome in the RV community. Many minorities don’t feel welcome or safe. We need to be better about inclusion, welcoming black and brown RVers to the fold. We need to make the women feel safe, so that they too can be a Solo Woman on the Road. As great as the RV experience is, it would be all that much better with more diversity of people and cultures.
I’d also love to see more recycling options in campgrounds and elsewhere so that we can do more to reduce waste and consumption. I do so well at home, because of curbside recycling. It sure would be nice if I didn’t have to throw all my trash into a dumpster when I’m RVing.
We also need to protect our National Parks and other wildlife areas. 2020 was a great year for our parks in many ways because that was where so many people went to get away from the cities. From day hikes to boondocking in BLM lands. How much worse would 2020 have been if we didn’t have these public spaces to enjoy?
On a more personal note, I’d also put defending our personal resources as a lesson of 2020. Obviously, having a robust emergency fund and flexible work situations makes RV life much easier.
Our health is so important, so that we can continue to get out there and explore this country. Sure, there’s the don’t get an infection. But also, protecting those knees and other joints. (Because if you can’t climb into or around the RV, RV life is kind of gonna suck.) Keeping heart healthy and active.
More than anything else though, protect your mental health resources. Isolation, depression, anxiety. We’ve all been there and done, especially in 2020. We need to really make sure that we are staying strong mentally and emotionally. Because even when the body goes, our mind is still there. We’ll have our memories of awesome RV adventures.
Hand Sanitizer and Gloves For The Win!
When March rolled around and the country was in the grips of panic buying everything in site, from toilet paper to yeast, RVers were pretty good on a few fronts.
See, most of us stay pretty stocked up on two supplies that were in critical supply early on: disposable gloves and hand sanitizer!
Because, eeewww, black tank!
The RV life lesson learned here though is to always stay stocked up on essentials. Toilet paper, hand sanitizer, gloves, etc. And food. I know the RV fridges are pretty limited on space, but you should always have a few days worth of food around so you aren’t hungry in an emergency situation.
Speaking of food and winning, how many desserts did you bake this year? Sometimes, comfort food is all that it takes to make us feel better. And really, that can be its own RV life lesson in 2020 – you can bake in an RV kitchen!
See Also: 21 Essential RV Kitchen Tools
Enjoy Life, You Aren’t Getting Out of It Alive
Through all the lockdowns and shutdowns and all the craziness, one very important lesson that has been driven home time and time again is that you only have one life to live, so go out there and live it!
If that means that you head to a campground and enjoy Saw Mill Days playing games with complete strangers, then so be it. If you want to explore all the bourbon distilleries in Kentucky, then do it! Or perhaps you want to set out on an epic road trip with friends.
But I’ve definitely learned that I need to surround myself with the people that I love, doing the things that we all enjoy, and savoring every day. We don’t know what tomorrow brings, so we have to live life to its fullest right now.
What are Your RV Life Lessons Learned from 2020?
Comment below with the lessons that you learned in RV life in 2020.
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