10 Insightful Questions To Ask If RV Living Is Your Dream Life

10 Insightful Questions To Ask If RV Living Is Your Dream Life

 

Are you contemplating RV Life, either full-time or part-time?

 

Before you make the jump, consider these ten insightful questions to ask yourself if RVing living is your dream life.  Let’s go!

The Illusion

 

The Instagram moments sure make RV life look appealing to many people that are contemplating, “Is RV Life for me?”.  From the thrill of the open road to eating smores by a campfire, we can quickly agree that RV life has some amazing qualities.

Over the last few years, full-time RV life has entered the mainstream for a lot of people of all ages.  Remote working, homeschooling, and downsizing are the new trends.  RVing seems like a natural progression as it is conducive to all of these factors.

Unfortunately, many people jump on the RV wagon only to find themselves disappointed and frustrated with their experience.  Some experience burn-out, disillusionment, and regret for making their decision.

Crunching The Numbers

 

While it may be easy to crunch the numbers to evaluate if RVing is possible, there are more important questions to ask yourself first. Use these ten insightful questions to ask if RV living is your dream life.  After taking time to ponder these questions, you will have a better idea if RVing is right for you.

Being honest and open with yourself and your RV crew members when going through the questions will give you a strong foundation in knowing why you want to RV.  This solid base will help when the fun and excitement of RVing gets a little bumpy as it does sometimes. Knowing your WHY will help you stay grounded and focused and on the road, living your dream lifestyle.

Your answers will help you determine the RV life, or not, that is right for you!  The more you dive in before you make the decision, the better your RV experience will be.  You might find that RV life is a perfect fit!

These are 10 insightful questions to ask yourself if RV living is your dream life!  We asked ourselves and you should too!

  • Why are we considering RV Life?
  • How long do we expect to live in our RV?
  • What are our RV expectations?
  • Will we travel or live stationary?
  • How often do we want to travel?
  • How long do we want to stay in certain locations?
  • What part of the country do we want to live or visit?
  • Who is RVing with us?
  • What type of rig fits my lifestyle?
  • Am I ready to give up many of my worldly possessions?

Finding Your Why

 

When you finish this exercise, you will have a clear picture of what RV life looks like for you and your family.  Everyone has a different why.  Some believe that RVing is more cost-effective than traditional housing.  Others believe that RV life is romantic and carefree.

I’m not sure that either of these statements is entirely true.   However, I do know that for us full-time RV life is enjoyable and rewarding.  We don’t plan to quit anytime soon.

 

Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

Maureen & Robb, aka The Stromads

 

Read More: What’s it cost to outfit your RV?

Start with these 3 Items.

You Are Going To Need These Three Items In Your RV

You Are Going To Need These Three Items In Your RV

.****As an Amazon affiliate, we may make a small commission from your purchase at NO extra cost to you

You may have heard us say before, buying the RV is just the beginning. There are lots of great gadgets on the market today. Some are for safety and some for comfort.  Before you buy anything,  you are going to need these three items in your RV.  With these three super upgrades, you are on your way to a safer more peaceful, and comfortable RV experience.

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

Tire failure is one of the most common RV and towing issues I see that can really be minimized by investing in a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.  They don’t prevent everything.  If you run over something large at speed and it causes a blowout the TPMS won’t catch that.  However, if you pick up a nail, your valve stem is leaking, or your brakes are heating up, or your bearings are going bad the TPMS will alert you that your tire pressure is too low or it is heating up which is a sure sign of an impending blowout.

Blowouts and flats are no fun anytime, especially on an interstate. 

A TPMS although a pricey investment is so worth it to me for the peace of mind and added safety as its alerts have saved us several times from disaster. Rather than panicking and swerving with a blown tire, we have been able to pull over and get out of the traffic lanes to change the tire. 

 

RV Electrical Management Surge Protector

Preventive measures can oftentimes save your RV from electrical disaster. Electric issues are not uncommon in the RV world.

Progressive Industries 50 Amp Portable RV Electrical Management System Surge Protector, EMS-PT50X, since our coach is 50 Amp.  If you have a 30 AMP system this is the one for you Portable RV Surge Protector Portable EMS-PT30X RV Surge Protector.

Progressive has great tech support and customer service.    They are quick and efficient and very responsive.

 

On-The-Go Water Softener System

Just like at home, hard water is not your friend in an RV either.  The water softness changes considerably as you travel. 

With an on-the-go water softener, you can maintain consistent soft water and experience all the benefits of soft water.

They are super easy to set up and maintain and very cost-effective as well with just a little bit of iodized salt to regenerate them.

 

Although these items are fairly expensive, they are necessary for safety and comfort.  Making the investment now may save you a lot of time, money, and worry down the road.  Command hooks and matching placemats can wait.   Before you hit the open road,   you are going to need these three items in your RV.

Four Tips for Pot-Luck Dinners

Four Tips for Pot-Luck Dinners

Four Tips for Pot-Luck Dinners

 

How do you get a tremendous selection of tasty treats at your next get-together?  It can be difficult, but following a few basic strategies will help.  This article will help inspire you with four tips for pot-luck dinners.

Are you like me and suffer from Bring-a-dish phobia?   While some of my friends are magicians in the kitchen, I do not possess that talent.  With their help, I put together these tricks to help make your feasts an event to remember.

Next to the guest list, your menu can make or break your party.  In general, people remember two things about a party: good conversation and good food.  We want you to have BOTH!

1. The Basics:

  • Determine an underlying theme for your party.  By doing this simple tip, your guests will have an idea of what food they should bring.  Whether it is ethnic food, holiday-inspired, or bringing your best side dish, your guests can start to comb their files for a fitting contribution.
  • Be specific.  Tell your guests what you are serving and supplying.  It is acceptable for you, the host, to say: I am looking for certain accouterments.  Who can help?
  • Be selective:  You have been to a lot of food functions with your friends, right?  You know whether their dishes were hit or miss.  Recruit them early in the menu planning.  Ask them to bring something specific.

2. The setup:

  • One of the most overlooked areas is the seating area.  Where and how will your guests feast on the delicacies provided?  Will they stand and snack, or is there enough room for everyone at the table?  Designing a menu based on these scenarios can be tricky.
  • Hosts should refrain from serving certain foods unless there is ample room for everyone at the picnic table: Crabs, other shellfish, steak, and chicken are among these offerings.  Nobody wants to cut into a steak while balancing their drink on their lap.

3. Generally speaking:

  • When the majority of your guests are without a table seat, finger foods work best.
  • When the majority of guests will be seated at the same time, more elaborate meals are acceptable.
  • Make your menu easy and fuss-free.
  • Monitor the menu to be sure that you have plenty of variety

4. Not sure what to bring?  Try these favorites:

  • Watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, or honeydew:  Cut it in wedges for easy pickup and eat.
  • Fresh Strawberries, shortbread, and whipped cream
  • Cookies, cupcakes, bars, and sheet cake.
  • M&M’s:  Empty bags into several small dishes around the buffet.
  • Salty assorted SHELLED nuts in small dishes around the buffet
  • Mini meatballs and sauce with small slider rolls.  The dinner roll size is much easier to maneuver when sitting or standing.
  • Chips & Salsa
  • Potato Chips
  • Pretzels
  • Charcuterie board with assorted meats, cheeses, mustard, and pickles.
  • Naked wings: on side buffalo sauce, ranch, and blue cheese dressing
  • Veggie tray
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip and Tortilla Chips
  • Crab dip with Chips
  • Spinach & Artichoke Dip
  • Tricolored tortellini, mozzarella balls, and grape tomatoes tossed in pesto

One final note:

On a final note, next time you attend a function, take special notice of what side dishes went first and what’s left over.  The food that has been gobbled up is the food that your guests want!  Make a mental note.   The proof is in the pudding (as they say).

Whether you are a Master Chef or Queen of Takeout, bring-a-dish events can flow with ease and balance.  Backyard bbq and pot-luck dinners should be fun.  When all else fails, you can always call out

Better Workdays With Your Spouse are Achievable By Using These Ten Tips.

Better Workdays With Your Spouse are Achievable By Using These Ten Tips.

Better Workdays With Your Spouse are Achievable By Using These Ten Tips.

 

People ask us all the time, how do you live in such a small area, travel and work together.  After 20 years of traveling together and running a business from the road, we have learned some lessons.  Most of our wisdom has come through trial and error, silent treatments, or grumbling.  Sound familiar?  If so, these ten tips will help you have better workdays with your spouse.

Schedule and plan out your week: set regular work hours, yet be flexible.

The world tells us that we have to work for 8 hours a day, 9-5.  As an entrepreneur, you can set your work schedule to fit your lifestyle.  Maybe you want to go on a sunrise hike.  Work the weekend while the crowds overtake Sunrise point.  Be free to enjoy a mid-week sunrise in solitude.

Recognize each other’s strengths.

You both excel in different areas.  While one of you may be more creative and the other may be more operational.   Divide up the workload, ensuring that each one does the jobs they are good at doing.  Evaluate the remainder and make a plan to either hire those tasks out or include training on those items.

Clear your workspace at the end of the day.

Being organized is especially important when living in a tiny space.  For a lot of us, our kitchen table doubles as our desk.  Put your paperwork away, clear the table and hopefully clear your mind.  Don’t bring work to bed.

Allow your spouse some space.

Living in close quarters can easily trigger some claustrophobia.  Sometimes one of you might need some extra space.  Sitting outside, going for a short walk, or even driving up to the store for a bottle of wine can help to clear one’s mind.  There are times that this quick little reset will do wonders for you.

Establish your morning routine.

Do you wake early, and your husband likes to sleep longer.  That’s ok.  Take advantage of those times with a little extra reading or yoga.  Remember, though, to give each other some space when you wake up.  Nobody likes to start their day with problems or issues.  Ease into your morning workload.

Stop micromanaging each other.

In other words, stop nagging.  Set weekly or daily meeting times with your spouse.  Create an agenda and stick to it.  It is healthy to check in with each other about a project’s status or even overcome some challenges you might be having.  The problem comes when we start asking, “did you do this” or “why isn’t this done yet.”  You have to be accountable to each other, and blowing off responsibilities is not helpful.  Set some timelines and stick to them.

Be mindfully grateful.

It might sound corny, yet it works wonders.  At the end of the day and even during your “staff meeting,” express gratitude to your partner.  You are in it to win it.  Face it; there are going to be challenging times.  If you are like most of us, you will experience disputes and uncomfortable confrontations.  Remember why you are in business together, why you chose this life of adventure, and why this project you are working on together means something.  Take a moment at the end of the day and express gratitude.

Promise to NEVER quit on the same day.

Commit and support your spouse during their meltdown.  Hear them out, listen, and respond.  We all have a bad day once in a while.  When we jump in the muck with our spouse and start making emotional decisions, nothing productive comes from it.  We will bicker, use ugly words, and slowly kill our dream of freedom.  When you promise that one of you will hold the fort down while the other melts down, you have the assurance that the company will still be viable after your pity party is over.

Permit yourself to knock off work for a nooner.

You know, a little afternoon delight!  You and your spouse make the rules now.   Once in a while, stay in bed a few minutes longer or take a few hours in the afternoon.  A little spontaneity goes a long way in easing tension in couples’ working relationships.

Openly communicate about your finances, both personal and business.

Finances are one of the top disagreements couples have.  The financial deficit, distrust, and lack of self-control contribute to money woes.  It is super important to review your budget together regularly.  Be on the same page regarding your money matters.  Come to a set of agreements on how you will manage your budget, future purchases, debt service, and entertainment.  Open communication about your financial picture is so important.  Also, be sure to be diligent in keeping your business and personal finances separate.

There are many references, blogs, and self-proclaimed authorities on the subject of relationships.  If you are experiencing difficulty in your working relationship, you owe it to each other to communicate and resolve them.   Information is readily available.

Not every day is a blissful experience in the office.  However, we have overcome so many hurdles.  We are confident that Better workdays with your spouse are achievable by using these ten tips.  Incorporating these nuggets into your daily routine will bring more joy into your workplace

Thank you for reading, and let me hear from you.  What did you try, how did it work, and what would you add to this list?  Drop us a comment or an email to let us know.  Be mindful, inspire conversation and remember to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.

Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

Maureen 

Two of my go-to books: 4 Agreements and 5 Languages of Love, are excellent references.  As a couple, Robb and I studied these books.  When there is a conflict, we often refer back to them for answers and resolve.  Maybe they will help you!

Heading to Orlando?  Read this article first!: Here are 14 Orlando area Attractions that we enjoyed beyond the Mouse.  

 

Seven Tips For Having Better Conversations

Seven Tips For Having Better Conversations

Seven Tips for Having a Better Conversation

Regardless of our intention, sometimes discussions flop either in midsentence or even at the onset.  Why is this?  Well, there are many answers.  Join me, will you, as we discover seven EASY tips for having a better conversation.

Do you ever hear people often say; “I’m shy; I don’t know how to have conversations,” or “Nobody talks to me?”

I do, often, and guess what?  I call bullshit.  Anyone can learn the basics of practical communication and have better dialogue if they desire to do so.  There are so many techniques and tutorials on the free market.  Just Google search “how to have better conversations” and there are over a billion commentaries to reference.

Don’t be this guy

For this analysis, though, we are going to approach the art of conversation differently.  As you read through this article, you will quickly identify these common killers of conversation and hopefully avoid doing them!  Your confidence will grow with and as you continue to converse with others, your engagement will become more dynamic and appealing.

Honestly, it is very frustrating talking to somebody who won’t engage.  What’s even worse than the quiet type are the people who often use one or more of these common ways to halt the talk.  People want to dialogue and connect with others.  So let’s identify seven easy ways to kill a conversation, so we can bring awareness, and create a more meaningful connection.

Lack of Eye Contact

Nothing says, “I am not interested” louder than someone who will not make eye contact with me.  While meeting each other eye to eye can sometimes be difficult, eye contact is essential to connection.

Imagine, you are standing in a room face to face with another person talking about something.  Meanwhile, the other person is scanning the room for something to catch their eye.  To me, that speaks, “I am preoccupied with something else and I am not nearly as interested in what you are saying.”  Killer, right?

Fidgeting, scanning the room, and fixating on someone’s wardrobe are all ways to circumvent eye contact.  For instance, I approach you to tell you about my new job promotion.  I am excited and as I begin to share, you reach up and fix my necklace.  This small gesture or interruption can negate our entire conversation thus leaving me to feel less important than my necklace hook.    Avoiding distractions such as these are key to maintaining better eye contact.

True, it can be very uncomfortable staring eye to eye with somebody, and you will, at some time, need to break the gaze.  Knowing when to glance away can be tricky.  As a general rule, make eye contact while the other person is talking to you.  Look away briefly as you speak, and then reconnect with your eyes.

Your Mobile Device

Today, it seems as though more people glue themselves to their screens.   I find it frustrating to chat with someone while they are continually looking at their phone.   Would you agree?  Our mobile devices are quickly becoming our go-to friends and the topic of conversation.

Admittedly, when situations become uncomfortable or awkward, I reach for the comfort of social media.  Unfortunately, our gadgets are a disruptive force in our communication.

What I am talking about are irritating ring tones, buzzers, and sounds.  I know sometimes they help you identify your caller as to whether you are going to take a call or disregard it.  However, when engaged in a chat between two or more people, it begins to sound like a child asking for a new toy.  These interruptions quickly become annoying and frustrating.  For me, it tells me that whatever we are talking about is less significant than the incoming call.

Sometimes an incoming call or message is urgent, and you must attend to it.  Perhaps, though, avoiding this common conversation killer is as easy as stating right up front that you are waiting on a call from somebody, and you might have to cut this conversation short.  Maybe you could even say something like; I have an urgent message that could come through any minute.  So thank you for allowing me to monitor my texts and calls while we are speaking.

Talking Shop

Effective communication is a two-way street.  Unless you are teaching someone something specific, it is better to leave the “shop” terms out of the conversation.  People are not impressed with your in-depth knowledge of widget making unless, of course, you are directly talking about widgets.

To keep the flow going, try sticking to the broader aspects of the subject.  Being extremely detailed in the topic can lead your friends to Bordomsville, especially when they have no idea what all your acronyms mean.

Interruption

Interrupting, by far, is the quickest way to kill a conversation.  Although there may be times that it is necessary to interject, err on the side of caution.  Intentionally disrupting the flow of the dialogue is very frustrating to everyone.  The interruption can come across as impolite or even rude.

Allow the other person to finish their statements, and perhaps as they do, they will answer your question before you have to ask.  Hang in there, and you will have ample time to respond.

Dropping the Volley

Have you ever played volleyball?  Team 1 serves the ball, Team 2 volleys the ball back across the net, Team 1 sets it up and hits it back over the net.  They continue this play until one of the teams misses the shot.

At times, my conversations sometimes sound like interrogations, especially if the other person doesn’t understand the fundamentals of basic communication.  I serve the question or statement; the other person responds without sending something back to me.

For instance:

Me: Hey SusieQ, How’s the new job?

SusieQ: It’s fine

Me: So, what’s your day like now that you are back to work?

Susie: Get up, go to work, come home, sleep.

Me: (Kill me now)

OR

Me: Hey SusieQ, How’s the new job?

SusieQ: It’s pretty good.  There is a lot of new information and I am a little overwhelmed.  I have been out of the workforce for 15 years, so I hope I can catch up.  Have you ever thought about going back to work?

Me: Sure, actually a lot.  And I am sure I would feel the same way.  It can be scary and intimidating for sure.  Tell me about your coworkers?

A continuous chatter back and forth is how a conversation should work.  Learn to volley.   Person 1 makes a leading statement or question.  Person 2 responds with another prominent comment or perhaps a matter of their own.  Volley back and forth.  They ask, and you answer, you ask, and they respond.  See how nice that sounds?

Shuffled out

Have you found yourself in a pleasant conversation with someone and one of their friends or colleagues approaches?  Was it a cohesive conversation that incorporated the new person or did someone get “shuffled out??    Hopefully, these scenarios will better explain the term.

Scene 1:

Liza and Susie-Q are talking.  You walk up to the in-progress chat because you want to say hi to your friend, Susie-Q   Now, as you stand there patiently waiting for Liza to STFU, she doesn’t.  She doesn’t even pause for a breath.  Liza just rambles on without acknowledging you.  Do you feel uncomfortable and want to excuse yourself even though you haven’t even been recognized.  Congratulations!  You are “shuffled out.”

Scene 2:

Susie-Q and I are talking.  Liza walks up, smiles, and WAITS for us to finish our sentence quickly.  I hesitate, allowing SusieQ to introduce Liza to me.  I now have the opportunity to bring Liza into the conversation by presenting some backstory OR starting a new line of dialogue that would include ALL 3 of you.

What more likely happens is Liza interrupts the flow, SusieQ does not make an introduction, and then Liza and  SusieQ enter into some dialogue that is unfamiliar (Shoptalk) to me.  Hence, I am “shuffled out.”

It is polite to recognize others as they approach your group.  Making people feel welcomed and at ease is all part of being a good conversationalist.  If you can’t remember or don’t know if people know each other don’t be afraid to ask, “Hey, have you two been introduced.”  Don’t just assume everyone knows each other especially if you are the host.   Most of all, be inviting and inclusive with the conversation when others approach your group.

 Being a One Upper

Have you ever had a chat with someone that has to one-up you every time?  It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is or what the scenario is; that person has a more extreme account of their experience.

Wait! What?  You are that person, and you didn’t even realize it?  Maybe it is just time to let other people have their glory day.  It’s ok.  You can support your high-achieving friends without feeling like you have to compete with them.  Let them brag, congratulate them even.

Now that you are aware of how to kill a conversation seven easy ways, begin to notice your dialogue.  Allow yourself to be more attentive, inclusive, and engaging in your conversations. Practice your new techniques and give these tips a try.  Be sure to let us know how they helped.

We put together a FREE DOWNLOAD with some of these conversation tips.  Conversation can be tricky for all of us.  Tuck these handy hints away, because you never know when you might need them.  

Until next time…Be Mindful, Inspire conversation, and Encourage each other!  Be sure to visit us on Facebook!

Keep talking, Travel Safe, and Adventure Often,

Maureen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Four Tips For Connecting Virtually

Four Tips For Connecting Virtually

Four Tips For Connecting Virtually

 

Are you missing your people?

As more of us transition to working from home and forgoing the usual happy hour meets, we miss our friends, family, and those interactions.  In this article, I will present you with four tips for connecting virtually with an intentional conversation.

As nomads, we have been socially distancing for years.  It is not unusual for Robb and me to go months without meeting up in person with family and friends.  Our tours often take us to rural America, and we spend countless days, weeks, months, and years living out of hotel rooms or in our RV.  Social distancing was our usual way of life, long before COVID-19.

Sure, I feel lonely, isolated, and disconnected too!

 

Needless to say, we found it complicated, to maintain relationships, and even more difficult to develop new ones.  Lapses in spending time together, coupled with the physical distance we experienced, caused our family connections to become strained and awkward. In retrospect, it seemed that the more time and distance we put between each other, the easier it was to stay apart.

 

The feelings of disconnection, isolation, and loneliness would often fill my days.  I was caught in between two different worlds and did not know how to connect them.  Wanderlust called me away, and belonging pulled me back home.

 

How do we bring our people together?

 

Now, more than ever, somebody has to bridge the gap and bring our friends and family together.  If you are reading this article, then chances are it is you.  There is a universal calling to gather your people and create a new way of connecting.

 

How do we do it?

 

It is relatively easy to communicate these days.  We all have cell phones, FaceTime, Messenger, and video capabilities.  One of our favorite ways to bring family, friends, business marketing groups, and clients together is through Zoom.

 

Zoom is an online platform specifically designed for holding video meetings and webinars.  What I like about using this software is that we can switch control of the meeting to one of the other hosts if we want to.  Unlike some of the other video calling software, Zoom allows you to mute guests, share your screen with the group, and even record the call.

 

How about these 4 Tips for Connecting Virtually?

 

1. Family Night:

 

Pre Arrange a video conferencing call with your family.  If it is the first time you are attempting it, you might feel awkward.  We urge you to stay with it.

Our first family call was bizarre.  It seemed we all engaged in small talk waiting for the “meeting” to start.  Weird, right?  Our adult children, spouses, and we had nothing to talk about except the weather.  How could this be?  We have known each other for 25 years or more.

 

The following week, I did something a little different and we use this practice each week.  Now, one of us is responsible for an “ice-breaker” question.  The answers are hilarious, thought-provoking, and allow us to get to know each other in a different light.

 

 

Everyone in the family looks forward to our Wednesday night call.  Honestly, I am not sure why we didn’t do this years ago.  The point is, we make a standing appointment to come together as a family and have meaningful
conversations.

 

 

2. Host a talk show:

 

Pull together some of your friends and interview each other.  Each week, you and your friends take turns as the host and ask your guests an interesting question about their life. Open-ended questions are best for these interviews.  Ask a leading question, something that you want to know about a friend.

 

 

If you are like me, and I bet you are, we want to know stuff.  What makes our friends tick.  This format is a fantastic time to ask your friends, “What do you think about … ?”

 

 

The Conversation Community hosts a weekly show, “Off The Cuff.”  Our guests come together and engage in meaningful conversation.  The topics we explore range from practicing mindfulness to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic.  Everyone is welcome to join, and we have outlined specific rules of engagement so that each person has a chance to participate.

 

 

3. Virtual Trivia

Virtual Trivia is a great way to engage in a night of virtual fun.  Pick a host and develop a list of 20 questions.  The host can ask the questions.  Participants write their answers on paper.  After all of the items have been read, reread the questions and let the group answer—Award 1 point for each right answer.  In the end, add up the points and crown the winner.

 

Our group awards a $5 Amazon gift card to our winners.  On our last trivia night, we had 17 participants and a whole lot of fun!

 

 

 

4. Virtual Bingo

That’s right!  What could be more fun than a friendly game of Virtual Bingo?   The Conversation Community has put together an easy-to-implement Virtual Bingo Game for you and your friends.  Play Picture Bingo, Alphabet Bingo, Never Have I Ever Bingo, and even Adult Dirty Bingo.

The point is, to bring your family and friends together.  There is no better time than today.  Act now.  Be creative.  Inspire, motivate, educate, and connect with the ones you love.  Build a community through intentional conversation.  I hope that you will use my four tips to connect virtually.

 

 

As you connect today,

Be Mindful, Inspire Conversation, and Encourage Each Other.

 

 

Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

 

 

Maureen