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RVer’s anxiety: Worrying is just a part of the lifestyle

In no area of life does Murphy’s Law apply more succinctly than with RVing. As the saying goes, “Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” While RVing is often associated with a carefree, wanderlust life, the actual day-to-day of it all can be starkly different.

Don’t get me wrong—I wouldn’t trade RVing for any other lifestyle. The ability to roam as you please and live simply are huge reasons why I gravitated towards full-time nomadic life. However, RVing—whether you’re a full-timer or weekend warrior—requires constant forethought, attention to detail, and planning. It’s an ongoing story of “Did I check that?”, “What was that noise?” and “Can I make this turn?”

Being what it is, RVer’s anxiety is here to stay for all of us. But, is it really that bad? Here are some of the main causes and why obsessive worry can actually be a good thing on the road.

The main causes of RVer’s anxiety

1. Things break—a lot

Every RV is manufactured with one major concern in mind: weight. To keep the numbers as low as possible, companies are forced to use lightweight products that are not known for their durability. While this allows you to tow an entire tiny home down the road, it means that components are incredibly fragile. Most things are made of plastic, and build quality is lacking. It’s a never-ending saga of cracked A/C shrouds, loose propane fittings, and torn awnings.

2. Leaks and water damage

Water damage is enemy number one in the RVing world. Left unchecked, a small leak can wreak havoc on an otherwise perfect rig. No matter how diligently one recaulks their camper’s seals, they’ll always be on the lookout for leaks. Every torrential rainstorm and slight dripping noise evokes feelings of uneasiness. This is a concern that most of the non-RVing population never has to worry about.

3. Your home is on wheels

In conjunction with things breaking a lot, the fact that your entire home is bouncing down the road is enough to lose sleep over. From tire blowouts to low-hanging tree branches, it seems like the potential for damage is always high. Not to mention, breakdowns! If stationary, none of this would be a concern. But if you want to see the world, the worry is something that must be dealt with.

4. Driving is a whole different beast

No matter what type of rig you own, your driving style will be much different from a normal vehicle. Driving a large motorhome in rush hour traffic can get stressful, and pulling a big fifth wheel through a gas station requires 100% focus. The constant attention to maneuvering doesn’t exactly create the most Zen-like driving experience.

Is RV anxiety really such a bad thing?

Normally, excessive worry is not seen as healthy. When applied to RVing, though, I think it’s a beneficial mindset to have. Being constantly aware of the various potential dangers to your RV can help prevent problems before they occur.

For example, if you weren’t worried about resealing your roof every year or two, you’re bound to suffer leaks. If you don’t obsessively monitor your tire tread, you’ll probably have a blowout. If you roll into a tight RV park with your 35-foot trailer and aren’t at least a little concerned about backing up, clipping something is inevitable.

In my opinion, compulsively keeping up on maintenance is good and the fear of totaling your very pricey rig is a great way to make sure that it doesn’t happen. Call me crazy, but I’ll take that anxiety over an expensive mishap any day of the week. It makes it that much more relaxing when you finally settle into your camp spot with everything in perfect order.

How about you?

Do you experience RVer’s anxiety as well? Or are you always cool as a cucumber behind the steering wheel?

##RVT1087

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Paula M. Hubbard
12 days ago

I’m mindful, not anxious, I keep a milage log for my trailer and always do maintenance before there is a problem. I have a tire monitor that keeps track of tire pressure and temperature. Stuff breaks and my RV maintenance guys check everything, and when in doubt, fix it. I’ve had a 22ft trailer for 12 years now. I replaced the original with the same model 3 years ago. I’m comfortable traveling alone, stay at Harvest Hosts, visit friends, and love life on the road.

Mark W
13 days ago

Remember that RVs are like little “rolling earthquakes”… things are constantly jostled around no matter how careful you are.

In the world of RVs, I follow this rule;

It’s either broken, about to break or you just fixed it.

Troy B
14 days ago

The roof failed on our previous coach but not until after years of use and yes, we attempted to maintain. This time around, after our friends paid big $$$ just to repair damage from a small leak that was badly repaired, we opted to have the roof sealed. Price was comparable, work performed was excellent and now I don’t even think about the roof other than to admire how well it is holding up. For us, the only choice to make.

captain gort
14 days ago

We’ve had 3 new rigs in the past 11 years. Traveled all over the USA. Not full-timers. Rigs have been pretty good, so far. Lots of little stuff that needs fixing every trip. But nothing major. We never travel ad hoc…always plan and book ahead and read reviews first. Hundreds of RV parks visited, most all good. Only jerk was a park on a hillside in Bodega Bay, Ca. Now 73, stuff like rooftop work and hoisting batteries concerns me. I’m a DIY guy but I may have to trust some “technician” to do these things. And cross country trips may not happen anymore….probably stay west of the Rockies from now on. 300 mile days max. More local trips. May even quit towing at some point and get a smallish motorized rig (but NOT one of those skinny, cramped and vastly overpriced vans!). And, yes…more car trips staying at hotels is likely as the years roll by.

Paul S Goldberg
15 days ago

I don’t think I get anxious about RVing. We live in our MH on our site in SoCal so departure on a trip is just slightly more complicated than any departure. Have to make sure the loose stuff is stored and secured, We both drive and after over 250,000 miles and 20 years we adapt quickly to the road. My biggest anxiety is what I call Hitch Itch, once my departure is set I really want to roll.
WE will not always be so calm since we recently passed our 80th birthdays and time marches on.

Last edited 15 days ago by Paul S Goldberg
Mike Horowitz
15 days ago

I call it mindful concern and situational awareness. Not anxiety. What’s the fun if you’re worried all the time.

chris
15 days ago
Reply to  Mike Horowitz

It isn’t as fun as it used to be. After 21 years I may stop the snowbirding, but I’ll still camp closer to home should a disaster occur.

Jesse Crouse
15 days ago
Reply to  Mike Horowitz

Me too!

chris
15 days ago

In my late 50s and 60s I never had the kind of anxiety I do now at 74. My rig is aging, my truck is aging, and obviously so am I. Rving is a lot of work, lifting, bending, crawling .. a lot of things that get much harder as we age. So yeah, anxiety and worry are starting to take the joy out of snowbirding. I’m fortunate to not fret over fuel prices.

Mark W
13 days ago
Reply to  chris

Chris, read your post and you’re right, the physical labor of bending, crawling and lifting is very difficult as we age. I used to have a trailer and found that to be very demanding. Now, I have a Class B motorhome and it’s much easier.

There’s still some stuff I have to deal with, but, for the most part, I just pull into a campground, take out a few chairs, put up the awning and that’s it.

RVing and having fun is a lot of work.

I do what I can, and we’ve traveled across the USA twice, but, RVs don’t save money…I know people will disagree, but, with all the expenses keeping them maintained and everything…. I’ve found that staying in hotels is actually cheaper.

A friend of mine actually hurt his back getting an extra freshwater tank out of his truck… you can never overestimate your abilities for any task.

Stay safe in your travels.

Sheryl Hendrix
15 days ago

No use in worrying about something till it happens!

Steve Minor
15 days ago
Reply to  Sheryl Hendrix

Yep Sheryl, My thoughts exactly!!!

MattD
15 days ago
Reply to  Sheryl Hendrix

yes, BUT! do everything in your power to prevent something from happening FIRST. Then you won’t have to worry. Until it happens… 😛

Last edited 15 days ago by MattD
chris
15 days ago
Reply to  MattD

Prevention is the key to lessening worry. Carry spare everything.

SteveAustin
15 days ago

My wife does not get anxious about our RV or any aspect of using it, so I have the anxiety for both of us. I hope that means we’re better prepared when ‘stuff’ happens, because it will. My anxiety starts building days before we use it and doesn’t subside until it’s safely back in its storage lot. On our last trip, our 5er’s battery was dead, so we took longer than expected just get it hitched to my truck. Then bouncing around on bad roads knocked the bedroom door of the rolling hanger pins and caused a sewage hose to come out if it’s cheap plastic carrier. (Both problems should not happen again due to upgrades I made.)

My wife doesn’t have to deal with the troubleshooting or repairs, so she is minimally impacted. I, on the other hand, have to try to be prepared with sufficient tools and spare parts, often have to try to fix something I’ve never seen before (thanks Internet in my pocket), and can’t really relax until I’ve resolved it. I think of our RV as a cheaply-built second home.

Julia
15 days ago

Not mentioned here: RV park planning anxiety. Did I do my planning soon enough? Will I be able to get into the park I want? Will the park I booked be as good as the one I almost booked down the road? Did I rely too much on glowing reviews and miss the fact that the sites are too close together, not level, or too close to a busy road? LOL This is not something I lose sleep over, but some slight anxiety is real!

wanderer
15 days ago
Reply to  Julia

And when you get there, will they close at 3 p.m., or hand you a 3 page list of rules, including ‘showers closed whatever 2 hours of the day you need them’, or other craziness. One county campground offered dozens of full hook ups, but had no trash facility; flagged down a ranger who said ‘pack it out’ is our rule. As he drove up the hill to his office/barn, which had 2 dumpsters ‘for authorized personnel only’. LOL. Ya never know what you’re going to get!

Bob p
15 days ago

The only time I get anxious is when there are other drivers on the road! I know my capabilities, it’s the other drivers I worry about, especially going through Atlanta, or driving anywhere in FL. I know now why insurance is so high in FL. The state is covered with drivers who have outlived their driving capabilities, and I’m 79. I do make mistakes but only involve me in doing so. Yesterday I witnessed an elderly lady make a right turn on red without stopping in front of 4 cars and a truck making legal left turns on the green arrow on 2 left turn lanes. All 5 vehicles had to hit the brakes as she took both lanes to turn into. There should be a law requiring mandatory retesting for drivers after a certain age, but politicians don’t want their name associated with a law like that.

Uncle Swags
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob p

Ditto for me. Replace FL with NJ and our diverse and unskilled driving population but the feelings the same. I95 north of Richmond, VA should be avoided whenever possible as well as every other urban area and state capital. Stress kills, don’t let yourself be a victim.

Dana D.
15 days ago
Reply to  Uncle Swags

Problem with mandatory retesting is the people giving the test are less skilled than I am!

Tom H.
15 days ago

I’d say I’m very anxious. Not worried but anxious. I feel like having a healthy level of anxiousness is an important trait for anyone who takes up RVing. Those who aren’t will get into trouble (IMHO).

Nanci
15 days ago

My anxiety is always pressing the button to let out or in the rear slides. On sixth motor and although by now we know how to get the slides in when the motors quit, it is a major hassle and expense. Not too hot being the passenger in a construction zone with the concrete barriers just inches from the motorhome either.

Billinois
15 days ago
Reply to  Nanci

Yeah, it’s always a roll of the dice with the slide. I cross my fingers and promise I’ll be a good boy if only the slide will come in.

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