Our RV Rule: Live like you are at home

The secret to living life on the road in our motorhome is simple: Live like you are at home.

In a sense, of course, our motorhome IS our home.

But just as living in our sticks and bricks house follows a routine, so we have discovered should our traveling life. And that routine should be patterned as much as possible after our sticks and bricks lifestyle.

Even in our Type B motorhome – smaller, to be sure, than many RVs out there but flexible, functional and more readily available for spontaneous fun.

Jennifer calls our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL our “Adventure-mobile.” And maybe because of that attitude, I’ve tended to live more in the moment a bit more often than I should. As soon as I got in the motorhome and we took off, I let my responsibility guard down and went into vacation mode.

Not a good idea for prolonged periods of tie.

I learned this the hard way.

For one thing, it's easy to gain weight traveling. There's a tendency to treat each day as if it was a free day, a day that to could let go, chill out, over indulge, stay up late, sleep in if you felt like it and eat out at every interesting restaurant we found.

On a real vacation – a short holiday or getaway – you can get away with that kind of lifestyle. For a few days. Maybe even a week or two.

But we travel about two to three weeks out of every month year-round, with several trips of five to six weeks.

The older you get, the easier it is to gain weight and the harder to is to loose weight. Others we have met on the road have shared their similar struggles and battle of the bulge. I spent half of 2015 losing that weight and did another diet early in 2016 but the real key in keeping it off is to carry a scale in the RV. We do and we both weigh ourself every morning. If we are up, we cut back that day. Vigilance works.

I’ve heard from other RVes about another variation of the problem: The reoccurring Happy Hour that lasts lots longer than an hour.

Most of our travel is by ourselves. We do a lot of boondocking. But when we are at campgrounds I’ve seen it myself. A lot of people in RVs spend a lot of hours being happy. Every day.

I don’t want to preach or be on a soapbox. But that’s not a habit that should be every day, either. Not good. Not healthy.

We also  do serious exercise when we travel, just as we do when we’re home.

And by serious I mean at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise six days a week. Add to that two days of strength training.

That’s my top daily priority. A book that greatly influenced me in this new exercise everyday philosophy is Younger Next Year: Live Strong, Fit, and Sexy – Until You're 80 and Beyond by Chris Crowley and Henry S. Lodge.

Read it. It will change your life. Follow its advice and you’ll be able to enjoy the motorhoming lifestyle a lot longer than you think.

Jennifer already has been living that way. She’s a fitness instructor by profession and, truly, in almost 100,000 miles of travel over the past three years, the only conflict our motorhoming life has caused is when I didn’t get her to a gym.

I’m now agreed with her on that priority and the way we have solved it is by joining a national health club chain called Anytime Fitness. We now plan each trip so that wherever we end up overnighting, we can find an Anytime Fitness. Our membership gets us in every one, they are open 24 hours a day and have pretty much the same equipment.

There will be times when we will have to miss but on those days, we will ether do some hard core biking with the bicycles we strap on the back of our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL or hiking.

We’ve also pretty much made eating out a rare occurrence. The truth is, most restaurant food is overly processed, lathered in butter, cooked in sugar and not very healthy. So we seek out fresh food, organic markets and places like Whole Foods where we can get our own food, which we prepare in the motorhome.

When we do eat out, it’s usually at a place that specializes in regional cooking, or fresh seafood or has a reputation for being truly special.

And I use an app called LoseIt for my smartphone to write down every bite I take in, charting calories and nutrition. Just as I chart the mileage I drive, keep track of fuel and maintenance needs for my motorhome, I monitor what I eat and put into my body and, through that exercise, what I burn each day.

And you know what? As the pounds came off, I find I have more energy every day. As I’ve purged sugar and salt and processed food out of my body, I can really taste food. I’ve come to actually the prefer fresh fruit and vegetables we find in roadside markets in our travels over the packaged sweet and salty junk food snacks that I used to crave.

If you travel with pets, they need the same kind of healthy, routine, too. That also means exercise.

So now in our travels, we search out communities on our route that have dog parks, places where pooches can run and play with other dogs off the leash.

Just as we search towns to overnight based on Jennifer and I finding a gym, we also look for towns that have dog parks.

There are several websites that list dog parks around the country. The one we use the most is GoPetFriendly.com. I interviewed the owner of that site on the Podcast about RV travel with pets and was very impressed at the helpful information they have on just about any place you will travel. You might want to listen.

We try and take Bo for at least two walks each day while traveling. Walking a dog is a great way to explore new areas and meet the locals. People just seem more friendly and welcoming when there’s a dog involved.

These things – cooking our own food, working out every day and getting Bo adequate exercise and doggie socializing – are what we do when we’re at our Michigan home.

On the road, we’ve found they greatly enhance the motorhome lifestyle precisely because they are so familiar.

There’s a great comfort in routine.