That’s my standard answer when people ask how we can possibly fulltime in a Roadtrek Class B campervan for three years, going on four now – I tell them it’s only possible because we really, REALLY love each other. Now that’s a true statement, and Sharon is a treasure beyond price, but there are also practical steps you can take to maximize comfort and personal space, just in case love has occasional difficulty conquering all.
Our main rule, which helps the most, is that only one person can move at a time. The other has to remain seated or in bed or wherever they are to allow the moving person to get around easily. Our aisle width is enough for people to squeeze by each other if needed, but it’s just a whole lot easier to give one of us at a time the benefit of unobstructed access to all cabinets and appliances, so that they can get done whatever it is they’re doing. We aren’t in a big hurry – we’re retired.
The second rule is earphones. Unless we’re both watching or listening to the same program, we use earphones for single-interest TV, satellite radio, and internet audio. This allows the other person to concentrate on whatever they’re doing, whether it’s my fascinating baseball games or Sharon’s frivolous house hunters TV programs. How does this work, you may wonder, without creating a huge tangle of wires? That’s one of the problems I worked on during the extensive modifications I made to our Roadtrek before we hit the road.
I engineered a fancy multi-media sound system which has earphone jacks in various locations so you can select one of six inputs (TV, front or back docks for the internet radio, regular radio, Blu-Ray player, or either laptop) and have the sound come out either of two sets of speakers, or out one of the three earphone jacks. I can sit up front and listen to the TV in the back on my headphones, while Sharon’s in the back with hers listening to the satellite radio, which is physically up front with me. The trick is to be able to have the sound come out anywhere you want it to. My Roadtrek is an older pre-surround sound model, so I could design this from scratch. The woofer is in that unusable space down at the end of the side cabinet, beside the air conditioner.
We have a 190 Popular with an armoire, so there are only two seating positions up front. When we’re both inside, I’m usually in the spun-around passenger seat up front facing the rear of the vehicle and playing on my computer, and Sharon’s in the permanent fullsize bed in back, reading, watching TV, or listening to the satellite radio. Sometimes we swap positions when I’m watching a ballgame, or sometimes I just swing the TV around and watch from up front. The sound system makes it easy.
A Roadtrek’s not like a house or Class A, anyway. You don’t drive somewhere and sit in your unit day and night. We use our Roadtrek more like tent campers who sleep in their tent and spend their waking time outdoors. We have a hammock, table and chairs for outdoor furniture, and set up an outside area when we alight for a multi-day stay. Fiona the Fearless Kitty also has a strong preference for the outdoors, so one of us is frequently outside, attending to her needs. Usually it’s me. Fiona and I explore the area, look for birds and rodents, sniff everything in sight, and aggravate any nearby dogs. It’s what we do Sharon likes beach walks and strolls along any trails in the area. Each of us meander off as it pleases us (except Fiona, who needs supervision and occasional backup for fights she starts), which helps to pass the time.
A final way to avoid getting in each others’ way is to have one person do all the cooking and dish washing – there’s just not enough space in the galley area to have two people trying to operate there. Sharon helpfully suggested that if I performed these tasks myself, then she wouldn’t be cluttering up the area with her presence, but instead could remain on the bed or front chair and assist in such chores as food sampling while the meal preparation was ongoing, providing essential quality control for the cooking process. She also handles the onerous burden of menu planning duties. As I said, she’s a treasure beyond price – where would I find another woman who could come up with such brilliant solutions to our space utilization challenges? I’m a lucky man.