FULLTIME RV TRAVEL BURNOUT?
Is it possible to have too many adventures? Is Fulltime Travel Burnout really a thing? Our longest travel journey began in mid-March and now we’re just over halfway through. We’re feeling the exhaustion and we’re feeling the stress of being always on the go. Is there a way we can eliminate some of these feelings of burnout?
We’ve seen about eight national parks and we’ve been to museums, a gold panning adventure. We’ve seen deserts and mountains and canyons and hills and beaches. We’ve seen stars that are so bright amongst the different points in the sky. Gorgeous sunsets. We’ve grilled out and made campfire desserts like S’mores and Blueberry Crisp on the open fire. We’ve had deep discussions about life and we’ve enjoyed a lot of time together as a family. We’ve made a number of new friends.
As idyllic as it has been, there is another side to fulltime travel. Fulltiming involves living our lives while travelling. We are not on vacation. Life has to occur within the boundaries of 250 square feet of living space. School has to happen. Tom’s work has to happen. We have to get our side gigs and businesses off the ground and running which takes a lot of time and planning and hustling.
All of this occurs while also creating YouTube videos for the world to see. Often our travel conversations are full of ideas of things we want to discuss on our videos. Creating the life we want to live is exhausting. It’s exhilarating. It’s freeing. It’s amazingly fun and amazingly hard!
And then there are the behavior issues that have come to a head amongst our two angelic, sweet children. In close quarters, there’s rarely a place to hide. Ethan’s pretty good about finding a ninja spot under the table and Rachel has found a spot in my passenger seat at the front of our motorhome, but because it’s often just the two of them, they are getting on each other’s nerves. They are best friends and worst enemies. And, I’m the one who hears the whining and fussing and fighting and having to quickly intervene so it’s quiet enough for Tom to get his work done.
They’re getting National Park burn out. They’re getting driving day burn out and they’re getting just plain tired. We often stay up late with our adventures because we have only the weekends due to Tom’s work schedule. So, it’s up till late and sleeping late. They are having fun most of the time and when I ask they are enjoying the adventures we’ve chosen. But, it’s a lot and it’s a bit of overload.
For instance, it’s been awhile since we’ve been shopping. We’ve gotten a few basics here and there. But, we had to travel over an hour to get to a Wal Mart here in Montana and because it was a workday, I had to bring the kids. We went and the trip was about two hours in total and the kids were getting bored, despite the fact I had informed them that we would be buying a couple of toys of their choice to add to their incentive bin for homeschool that they could earn. They chose the items and I added a couple of other items. We proceeded to finish the shopping trip and I had to stop at least 10 times to address behavior issues. I warned them and gave them the 3 chances. I purchased the items even though they’d already burned through their 3 chances, and then while checking out they were in full crazy mode. It was a level 4 silly and wild crazy party where they were feeding off of each other and they ran into and bothered other customers. So, I had to march straight from the checkout area to customer service and return all of the incentive toys and fun items to show I meant business.
Rachel cried almost all the way home. Ethan sat grumpy with folded arms the entire way home. But, I had to be consistent and do what I said I was going to do. My kids are good kids for the most part, but as with all kids, they are learning. And they needed to learn this lesson right then and right there.
And sweet Ethan, has become more and more antagonistic every time we go out. He decided to have a full out meltdown in Yellowstone when we went to visit Old Faithful. He was asking "What's the big deal with a silly geyser?" and "Why do we have to go see all of these National Parks?" and my favorite "Why do we have to do the Jr. Ranger program everywhere we go?" This was such a challenging day, we decided to pick our battles and did not finish our Jr. Ranger at Yellowstone. They'll be fine. They have the books and we can actually send them in later to get their badge, but this was just not our day.
So then comes the question. Is this lifestyle too much? Should we just pack up the motorhome and come home and go back to gymnastics and ballet and chasing suburbia again? Should we just give up on our dream of touring the United States in the course of two years and then heading off to Europe or Australia? Should I forget my entrepreneurial dreams of building a location independent and a time independent lifestyle that could help us to get ahead?
These thoughts creep in just like the mouse that infiltrated our RV earlier this week. They come and bring their friends Insecurity and Frustration along for the pity party. Is there a way to tell these buggers to get out of my head so I can keep moving forward?
We have a plan. That plan has worked. We both feel like this is where we are supposed to be for the time being. We don’t feel like going “home” is going to magically change these thoughts and behaviors from our children. They are experiencing normal kid stuff, it’s just on the road. So, we need to adapt and change our plan. Here are a few strategies we plan to implement to help us to bust through our burnout and move forward with our plan.
Here are 5 strategies we’ve decided to implement to repair fulltime burnout and to prevent it from further infiltration.
1. Plan More Downtime- Because we travel and adventure on the weekends due to Tom’s work schedule, we’ve determined to add some downtime to our travel schedule. This simply means that we will either plan only one day of adventure per week instead of two or three and it means that we’ll have more time for campfires and family time at home.
2. Plan More Homelike Activities- National Parks and Museums and Large-Scale Adventures are wonderful but there can be too much of a good thing. Instead of always go-go-going, we’re going to have a few family game nights, movie nights and maybe a trampoline park, a city park and a even bowling.
3. Create A Separate Space for Each Person- Everyone needs their own space and by setting aside a specific place for each person to retreat will help with everyone’s attitude. Our bedroom needs to be an oasis for mom and dad to retreat, to talk and to be adults in our own home. The kids’ beds and creative spaces will give the kids a safe place of retreat when they need a break from each other. Enforcing this will be a challenge since we have not in the past. But it’s time and we need to for our own sanity.
4. Allow everyone the opportunity to discuss their frustrations and feelings. Set aside a time during the day to talk with each child about what’s going well and what’s not going well and find strategies to cope when things are not going so well.
5.Work towards an earlier bedtime and nighttime routine- We’ve allowed our traditional routines to go out the window in the name of adventure. Realizing that we are in a travelling home means we need to realize that there are some important routines we need to get back to. Tom and I have our morning coffee routine, and we used to have a bedtime routine that included reading a story, applying our sleepy oils and snuggles before bed. Those are routines we will be bringing back along with a slightly more realistic bed time for the kids that allows them to settle down and allows us as parents to enjoy some kid-free time at night.
Again, we can do this! We love this lifestyle and each new place we travel to affirms the reasons we decided to ditch our suburban life for something different. We can still be different but we need to set some boundaries, some routines and create a place where we can openly discuss the things that get to us and learn to cope.