House & Home on your Back
My first RV love, 2018
I discovered RV’ing with my partner who had it on his bucket list. We did alot of research, saw alot of RV’s and finally decided on this one!
It was a Class A (shaped like a bus) 1999 Triple E Embassy. It was 34 feet long, a base model of a Canadian brand made in Manitoba. It had heated tanks (yes, you want your water and poop not to freeze in the cold), fully insulated and had everything we needed.
It wasn’t fancy but it was luxury on wheels. Fridge, microwave, oven, bathroom, heater and air conditioning. It slept up to 5, with a queen size bed in the bedroom. Needless to say, we were comfortable.
Coming in 2021
My “new” rig! I will be picking up this beauty in May 2021 to start the RV and House & Pet sitting adventures.
So what is it? It’s a Class C – basically a house on the back of the a pick up truck. Built in 2013, it is 24 feet long, made by Forest River. A Sunseeker model 2450S which means it has a slide in the living room to create a dance floor.
Specs of interest – sleeps up to 6 people, has full bathroom, kitchen and it’s more luxurious than my home with an air conditioner!
You can go anywhere! You are your own master. Want to stay longer? Stay. Want to move? Move. It's all about you!
Pick and choose destinations based on what you want to see, how far you want to go & the time you have
City, country, parks, campgrounds, boondocking, moochdocking - it's an experience!
Nope! And without a doubt, not even close to an expert. You can RV travel for years and still not be an EXPERT.
However I did do my research, I am always willing to learn and I have 6 months of RV travel on me. And it has been a great experience. For many people, the idea of living in such a small space is difficult, but I have to say, the 34 feet was luxurious after travelling with 1 suitcase and a backpack for a while.
Do you dream of RV’ing? Are you ready for the adventure? Here a couple things to think about and/ or plan before you take a leap! Below are pri’s and con’s for RV’ing adventures. You may notice that some may be in one column, but may belong in the other for you. This will depend on your experience and perspective! However it is all designed to give you food for thought! And you can always reach out if you have questions or comments!
- You decide! You research, you plan, set timeline & budget
- Flexibility with how much/ how little you want to spend
- Control over food – home made vs take out/ restaurant
- Carry everything you want/ need
- Home on wheels
- Gain more awareness of water & electricity conservation
- You have everything you need at your fingertips
- Can pick locations to be out of reach & truly disconnect
- learn about yourself, and what you really want & need
- Spend more time outdoors
- Avoid dense city life, especially if you have a larger RV
- Self sufficient, can boondock if wanted!
- You decide! You research, you plan, set timelines & budget
- Need to research & information to plan & budget
- The size of your RV may dictate some of the places you can go
- Carrying everything you want costs more!
- Visiting while being home – “less” adventurous, no “hotels”
- Small shower
- Poop tank! (aka – back water tank)
- Must conserve water, electricity and be aware of tank capacities
- Internet/ wifi – staying connected has challenges
- Unexpected expenses, vehicle repairs, house leaks, appliances going kapoot
- Campsite limitations (ie: rigs under 10years or less!)
There are so many more pro’s and con’s! As I travel, I will try to write about my stories and lessons learned! This way, when you are ready to adventure, you can learn from my experience! And since my 2021 RV’ing will be peppered with house & pet sits, you may shed light a on a completely different approach to living, travel and adventuring!
RV'ing lingo - the basics!
As with all sports and activities, RV’ing comes with its own language and words to describe different aspects of RV’ing. Some you may be familiar with, and some not! However, let me get you started!
RV is a recreational vehicle, and it includes motorhomes, trailers, tent trailers, campervans and even converted vehicles. These are homes that are either drivable or towable. However the internal space is designed for “living” though the level of comfort may depend on the RV type itself.
Motorhome refers to a class of RV’s that are drivable. It does not include any kind of towable home. These include Class A, Class B or B+ or Class C RV’s. This includes campervans. These vehicle typically have a kitchen, bathroom and sleep space, and therefore meets all your basic living needs (and some will meet your luxury needs too).
This is a motorhome that is shaped like a city bus, and has a very wide windshield. It provides the best front view while travelling the drive area can be incorporated into the living space. These typically come in lengths of 24 feet or longer, though the smaller models are harder to find. These are typically known as the most luxurious types of RV’s with some pricing over a million dollars, however they do come in many price points. They include full kitchen, bathroom &living space. They may even include a washer & dryer.
These are generally the smaller of the RV’s. It includes campervans, and smaller RV’s without an overhead bunk. One of the most famous brands is the Roadtrek. These are shaped like a regular van and include all the amenities of an RV.
A Class B+ is a hybrid between a Class B and a Class C. It’s shape resembles that of a Class C however it does not include an overheard bunk on top of the driving cab. Newer models have the cab area more nicely integrated into the living space with captains chairs that rotate into the RV for additional seating.
These are generally the most common of RV’s and the one most people generally think of when you think of an RV. It is a basically a house put onto a pick up truck. These vary in size from 17 feet to 34 feet long. They tend to be geared towards family RV’ing in that it is designed to maximize sleep spaces while providing all the basics – kitchen, bathroom, and living space.
It has more space than a Class B but generally less than a Class A. Because they are typically more family units, their focus is on function as opposed to luxury, however more luxurious models are being manufactured more often in recent years.
Boondocking is parking overnight somewhere that is not typically a camping space. In its purest form, it is parking/ camping in the boonies, such as parks, in forests, on the beach. This may be for 1 or 2 nights but most people will boondock longer in more remote areas. One of the key characteristics to boondocking is that it does not have electrical, water or dump hook ups available. You are utilizing the fact that your RV is self-contained.
Over the years, boondocking has evolved to include parking and camping in common public spaces such as big box store (ie; Walmart) parking lots. Urban boondocking is generally for 1 or 2 nights, it is not meant to be for a prolonger stay.
(1) leave no trace that you were there, by bringing back your garbage, cleaning the area before leaving and do NOT change the landscape of the boondocking site by cutting down trees or branches
(2) respect the ecological system there – do NOT dump!
(3) if you are boondocking near others, keep in mind that boondockers often want the sights and sounds of the natural environment – so keep radio’s, tv’s and generators to a minimum.
It is what it sounds like! It is boondocking in a mooching fashion! This means you may be parked in a family, friend or acquaintances driveway or on their property. Often, they will be kind enough to run you an extension cord for power!
(1) leave no trace that you were there by cleaning up after yourself and putting your garbage in the appropriate bins
(2) do not dump (seems obvious but worth repeating)
(3) show appreciation to family, friend or acquaintances that have provided space & possible electricity.
(4) do not overstay your welcome!
You may have guessed it, but Wallydocking is boondocking in a Walmart parking lot! It is typically used after a long day of travel or when you need to stock up!
Etiquette points: Wallydockers
(1) ask permission to “dock” at Walmart,
(2) ask management if they have a preferred location to park.
(3) recognize that this is a private business’ parking lot and NOT a campground.
(4) do clean up after yourself
(5) where possible, make a purchase in Walmart (even if its just TP)
This means that Wallydockers do not:
(1) set up as if in a campground, as in pull out your BBQ set up your awning or lawnchairs
(2) leave a mess OR empty grey/ black tanks in the parking lot
It’s not a frog! It refers to a vehicle that is towed behind an RV and NOT how the vehicle is towed (ie: flat tow or with a dolly). So it does not matter if it is a Jeep, a Honda or a Saturn (seems to be the most common toads) – they are all toads.
Yes, larger RV’s have a basement! These are like a crawl space in your house, small (or smallish), awkward space used for more storage! On most RV’s (except camper style Class B’s) it will be located at the back of the RV and under the bed. It may just be a compartment but may also be a pass through basement from one side of the RV to the other.
Just another name for a motorhome.
Exactly what it sounds like. It is the holding tank for the toilette and can the one to give you the most problems.
Key points to keep in mind, the less undissolvable solids, the better (ie: toilette paper) and the more liquid the better. And always wear your gloves and washable shoes when doing your dump!
Your grey water tank is the holding tank for all other used liquids – so from your sinks and shower. It can also get smelly, if not maintained but biggest culprit is usually food scraps and oils.
Key points: Your grey water tank is never as big as you think, it’s best to keep solids and oils out & water conservation will allow you to extend any boon or moochdocking you may want to do.
We are Canadian, and it’s legal, eh? In this context it’s not a joint! Sorry to disappoint. It’s the term used to refer to the RV’s LPG/ propane/ electric fridge! Nothing quite as exciting as your first thought!
Tip: keep your RV as level as possible when you park, otherwise it may affect the good functioning of your fridge!
I wish it was always “sani” as in sanitized, but it’s not! Sani-dump, dump or dump stop refers to the location where you legally dispose of the content of your poop & grey tanks!
The slide or slide out refers to a part of the RV that moves out to create more internal space. Generally you can have up to 4 slides, and they can vary in size. These slides can almost double the size of the internal space.
In the case of my own RV’s, both have had living/ dining room slides, thereby increasing my living space and creating a dance floor when I want to have a dance party!
Full timers are people who live in their RV and no longer have a “home base” or “sticks & bricks” to come home to.
As of 2021, I will be a full timer. Yet in 2018, I was a part timer
Part timers are people who live in their RV’s for several months at a time but have a “home base” or “sticks & bricks”.
Weekend warriors are people who camp or RV for short periods of time. It may be a weekend, a week or a couple weeks but it is camping/ Rv’ing vacation and not a lifestyle.
Sticks & bricks refers to a home base, a persons primary residence. that is not mobile.
Some people own homes, rent apartments or condo’s or share living quarters. Whatever the configuration, this is their primary residence to which they return after an RV expedition.
Not unlike compassion fatigue, traveler burnout or travel fatigue is about travelling too much for too long. It is not exclusive to RV’er but can affect any one travelling using any mode of travel.
It is that feeling of coming home from vacation and needed a vacation from your vacation!
It generally affects newer travelers that have jammed their schedule too full of activities that they did not plan rest or sufficient rest. More experienced travelers recognize the benefits of slower or well paced travel.
Slow travel is not just about RV’ing, but applies to all forms of travel. It is about slowing down, and either seeing/ doing less or staying longer. The purpose of slow travel is to appreciate where you are and maintain a more “regular” pace of life.
For me, RV’ing and house & pet sitting allows me to slow travel and spend time in a place to get a feeling of how life happens in a different part of the world.