Living Full-time In An RV During A Pandemic

Four years ago, when we weighed the pros and cons of selling our home without wheels to travel full-time with our dogs in a house on wheels, the issue of being caught in the middle of a pandemic never occurred to us.

Obviously, life full-time on the road is not for everyone, and it does come with much uncertainty. But as with any way of life, you have to weigh the costs compared with the benefits. And for us, full-time travel has made us appreciate the little things, time with our dogs, and we never doubted our decision. Until the last few weeks. I’ve questioned a lot. Are we really as free as we thought?

As state and county ran campgrounds started to close due to the virus, it became clear that full-time campers were in a challenging situation. With less campsites at state and county parks, private campgrounds began to fill up. Then, dependent upon location and campground preferences, the private campgrounds also became less probable to find a space at to hunker down. Many were told to leave with literally nowhere to go.

Many are not aware that all campgrounds usually limit a stay’s duration to no more than two weeks. Unless it’s a private campground, staying a month is not possible. And even private campgrounds can impose stay durations as well, unless you have a lease. What’s happening to many full-time campers now during this crisis?

We aren’t sure if we can travel across state lines to find a place to park. We aren’t sure if we should. Even if we find a campground with space, facilities such as restrooms and showers are probably closed. And not all of us have those facilities in our RV’s.

Just this last week, we met two families at camp who were in transition with children and pets, and they literally had nowhere to go. Law enforcement stated because they could not be self contained as in an RV, they could not stay in a tent due to lockdown. A mother cried as she explained she didn’t understand why staying in a hotel would be safer. Or if they could afford it.

Yes, many may think of traveling for unnecessary reasons right now. And that is not acceptable. But for those who have no permanent address, you may see them traveling to get to another spot. Or you may see them traveling to get to better weather. When you are a full-time traveler, weather dictates much of your daily life. Air conditioners or heaters generally aren’t as efficient as in a home, and getting to a more comfortable place for your pets or family may be stressing you out. That’s the situation our little family is in now.

We did not plan to stay in Florida for as long as we have due to the hot weather coming up. Digby is highly sensitive to heat, and being a senior dog, this could mean his life. Do we stay and perhaps make adjustments such as getting a pool to cool him down or changing our walk routines? Or do we chance driving for a cooler place? Is that kind on our part? Yes. We have a lot to decide.

Even as others stockpile goods, those of us in an RV do not have much storage. We use what we have as we need to. And hope that we can get more.

As we all try to navigate thru this time, remember that each of us have our own challenges to face. Would I still recommend full-time travel? I would. It’s made us live more simply, and I feel like it prepared us in a way for this struggle. But it also is stressful not knowing when or if or if we can leave an area. It’s something we will do our best at, with our dogs and others first in mind. When you drive your house, you have to be prepared for breakdowns. But will we be able to get assistance if we do breakdown?

And how long can we afford the campsites that we do find when they are more than a mortgage payment? There is no financial assistance for camping.

We will get thru this, but only with kindness. We can’t and won’t understand what each of us may be going thru individually. In fact, we may not be practicing kindness to ourselves. None of us had any idea our lives would be turned upside down. I thought I knew everything that full-time travel could throw at you. But I had no idea.

The days of wandering and not knowing where we were headed to seems like a dream. Because of all of our adventures and memories, yes, I would do it all again.

Because I’m not really sure we will be able to in the same way again. Our RV needs repairs. It has served us well to visit 48 states and 48 animal rescues. But just days before we were to get a sponsored RV, a business deal was cancelled due to the pandemic. Now, we weigh the costs again. Can we keep doing this full-time? Travel will always be a part of us. But now, perhaps a smaller part.

Everyone be kind. Be safe. Be well. And love your dogs. If you are fortunate to have a place to call home, appreciate it. Some don’t have that luxury. We certainly appreciate ours, even though we are faced with challenges we never expected.

Rachael Johnson

Founder of 2 Traveling Dogs

Catch our dog blog every weekday as told thru the words of rescue dogs Peanut Butter Brickle and Digby Pancake.

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