Last Sunday I moved into the motorhome full-time, though I didn’t actually realise it at the time. I had come back from an overnight stay with a friend and when I went back to my Mum’s I just didn’t want to stay there.
I love my Mum obviously, but as an adult who’s been living independently for 25 years, moving back in with a very elderly parent who is incredibly rigid with her routines and ways of doing things has been… ‘challenging’. I just needed some alone time; my own space.
The motorhome is parked on the driveway of a family member on a very busy road. There is heavy traffic during the day and it doesn’t slow down much at night. I decided to try and sleep on it overnight but feared the noise would keep me from sleeping. Amazingly, it didn’t!
At my uncle’s place I have access to electricity and fresh water and so knowing that I could also sleep fine through the traffic I decided to just move in to the motorhome properly. So over the next few days I picked up the last few things from my Mums house and I have been living on it exclusively with one minor exception – I have had showers at my Mum’s place 🙂
The challenges of a small space
I knew it was going to be a massive adjustment living in such a small space as I am somewhat claustrophobic and have always liked to have lots of space. But the challenges have not really been what I expected them to be.
I thought I would be bothered by sleeping in the bed that goes over the cab with just a few inches of head room. There’s 16 inches of space between the top of the mattress and the ceiling so when I am in it, you can imagine just how close my face is to the ceiling!
I imagined waking up in a panic. Oddly, this hasn’t bothered me at all! I like it up there, especially after adding an extra 2 inches of memory foam under the mattress for extra support. It’s comfortable and cozy 🙂
I’ve now ordered a small piece of memory foam to put on one of the seats that I use as my office area as that is really not comfortable for extended computer work.
During the night I do bump my elbows a bit when I roll over and sometimes I’ll bump my head if I forget where I am and try to sit up! But I’ll get used to that. It’s not very easy to get down the ladder but I’m getting used to that too. Though this afternoon I cracked my head really hard on the metal pole that the bed ladder attaches to. Ouch! Hopefully I won’t do that too often.
One thing I find annoying is lack of surfaces. For example, if I am cooking in the oven, I have to remove all the things I have inside it. But where do I put them? In a house, you’d just place them on a counter top but I only have 1 small area of counter top and I’d be using that for food prep. So this means, items need to go on the couch which is kinda weird.
Another minor annoyance is that because I have basically played Tetris with every single cupboard in order to maximise the space I have, it means that sometimes when I need to get something out of a cupboard I’ll have to pull out about 5 things to get to the item I want. But over this week I have been re-arranging things so that my most used items are always the most accessible. I guess I will continue to optimise this as time goes on.
Imagine lying in bed hearing the gentle sounds of the ran tapping away on your roof. Sounds quite soothing doesn’t it? However, the reality is that when it rains heavily it actually sounds like somebody hitting 500 golf balls a minute at your van! When it’s raining hard it’s incredibly loud to the point that it’s very stressful for me! I like the quiet!
My eyesight may be failing but my hearing most definitely is not! I can hear a phone ringing inside somebody’s house when I’m inside my motorhome, so you can maybe imagine just how loud external noises are!
These last few weeks we’ve had so much rain that on at least two occasions I found myself going a bit crazy and feeling like I needed to escape from it. A couple of days ago I woke up to the sound of thunderous rain and just couldn’t take it. I decided to try ear plugs… ahh bliss!
Luckily a simple solution to an unexpected problem 🙂
Lack of privacy
I’ve never liked being overlooked. When I have my blinds open and I’m sitting at my desk by the window, anyone can just see in and on a busy road with people walking past all the time, that is actually quite disconcerting!
Of course I won’t always be parked on a busy road and sometimes I’m sure I’ll manage to find nice secluded spots but I am not naive and I’m sure that there will be many times that I am parked in motorhome areas just a few feet away from other vehicles.
It’s fine in the evening as I can just shut my blinds and then I’m shut away from the world but it’s during the day time when it bothers me. I’m going to look into getting some kind of reflective covering for the windows so I don’t keep freaking out!
Getting used to the little routines
When you live on a vehicle there are extra chores to do that you don’t have in a house. Like emptying your toilet cassette! That takes a while as you not only need to take it to the dump point, but also rinse it out thoroughly, clean everything and then put fresh chemicals in.
Another chore is getting fresh water on a regular basis. I’ve done this in two ways. One was with a hose through the external point on the van but I didn’t like that as there was no way for me to know when it was full. Usually people would travel as a couple so you could have one person inside watching the water level and the other person outside at the tap but alas there is only me…
So, instead I prefer to go to a water point with a water carrier, fill it up then manually tip it into the tank. This usually requires several trips. I have estimated that I go through around 15 litres per day with drinking and washing / washing up and that is without having showers. So this is a little chore that takes about half an hour each time I do it depending on how far away the water point is.
Then I also have a little morning and night routine as during the day I use the bed area for storage and all that stuff has to be taken down to go to sleep and put back up when I get up in the morning. Luckily this only takes a minute. This is why I wanted a vehicle with a fixed bed. It would have annoyed me if I’d got something where I had to made up the bed each night and dismantle it every morning.
These are fairly minor things but it’s still stuff I have to get used to. Plus when I travel a new chore will be laundry. I won’t be able to do that at my Mum’s! And lastly, changing my gas bottle. I haven’t had to do it yet, and I am starting to worry that I’ll run out of gas at an awkward moment as there is no way to tell how much gas is left in the bottle.
Living and working
Right now, living on the motorhome hasn’t been a true reflection of what my life will be like when I travel and that’s simply because I am not travelling. I’m just sitting in one place spending most of my day working.
When I start traveling I’ll be moving around and this will change things dramatically as I’ll have a lot less time. It takes around half an hour to put everything away and get the vehicle ready for travel and it also takes a few minutes to setup when I arrive somewhere. Plus of course the driving time in between.
I imagine I’ll get quicker at the packing up and setting up but if I move every day I think it will be quite exhausting.
However, I’ll have the fun of actually doing things, going places, seeing cool stuff etc! I really can’t wait to get started properly 🙂