RVing Kids- RV Life from Kids’ Perspective

Transitioning from a sticks and bricks house to a rolling home can be tough, especially for kids. We’re thankful a couple of RVing kids took the time to share their perspective on this unique lifestyle!
Blake family with RVing kids

Our family has been traveling full-time in an RV since August of 2019. It’s just our mom, Holly, our two labradors, Molly and Katie, and the two of us, Joshua and Adam.

As a family, when we were researching going full-time, we saw that there were a lot of articles from an adult’s perspective but not many from kids like us. We wanted to share our perspective. Here is a glimpse into some of what we have experienced over the last 19 months as kids living full-time in a rolling home.

Adam’s Perspective: A Fun Experience More Should Try

On my 10th birthday, we moved into an RV for one year to visit the entire US. We had moved from our apartment and were staying in an AirBnB while waiting for our RV to finished getting fixed. We had to move a lot of things and I felt miserable because we kept having to move our stuff until we could move into the RV. 

We went to a city park near the beach in Jacksonville, Florida, and had to unpack all of our things and get the RV set up. I really hated that, too. We stayed there about a week, but there was a hurricane coming so we had to leave early.

We then went and boondocked at a place in Georgia that my mom found on Boondocker’s Welcome. It was in the middle of a field. We played baseball in the field and the stars were so bright and visible at night. We had a great time talking to the hosts. They even gave my brother, Joshua, and me each a rare coin because they said we behaved so well.

Our next spot was in a driveway in historic downtown Columbus, Georgia. Our first night there we had to call the fire department because our carbon monoxide detector went off. Carbon monoxide was getting in because we were running our generator. My brother Josh and I, and the dogs, had to go sit in the Jeep while waiting for the fire department to come. Joshua said, “Hey, look! The Woo-woo’s!”, when the fire trucks were coming down the street and I laughed a lot. I was really worried when we went back in and my stomach felt weird. Joshua talked to me and I felt better.

Since then, we have a lot of little breakdowns and repairs that sometimes we have to fix. I really do not like stuff breaking. But we have also gained knowledge and wisdom on what to do and not to do. We have learned not to leave the generator on at night after we go to bed, and not to leave the slides unlocked while moving. One of the things I get to help with is the oil changes on the RV. We’ve even removed and replaced some of the furniture and installed a dishwasher. Josh and I really like the dishwasher. But my mom and Josh do most of the repair work and I usually have to hand them tools.

RVing Kids- RV Life from Kids' Perspective 1

When we first started out, we hopped from place to place, only staying 2-5 days. Joshua really hated it and I didn’t realize I didn’t like it because I thought it was normal at the time. But now, we try to stay at least a week and I realize I really don’t like moving fast.  I like moving slower because we don’t have to do the setup and pack up as frequently (it’s a lot of work), and we get to rest longer, but we also get to visit more places in the area. It’s exhausting when we move too fast.

I have been homeschooled since kindergarten, so I didn’t have to adjust to that.  We do mostly online schooling right now, but we also do worksheets, field trips, game-schooling, and learn from real-life experiences. My mom can make just about anything into something educational, even driving to the grocery store.

Some of the things I dislike about RVing are having to set up the leveling and jack blocks, setting up the water and sewer, and then having to set up all our stuff outside plus the inside. Joshua and I both have to help with all of these things because our family is what my mom calls “ All Hands on Deck” meaning we all have to help. Joshua usually does the water and I have to help set up the sewer. I also go in and out while we are getting the RV up on blocks to check the levels to make sure we are as level as possible. I also have to help Joshua move our leveling blocks when we are trying to do this. Once we are done with that, I help move our stuff inside, like our dining and coffee table back in place, put things back on the counters where we like them, put our plants back, etc.  These are my least favorite things to do. I also dislike not being able to run in the RV without getting yelled at, not having a lot of space, and when we don’t have great WiFi.

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Covid has made it a bit harder to make new friends and do some of the things we want to do. We have a Covid bubble family that we often travel and social distance with, so I have had a friend to play with for about 6 months now.  

It’s now been a year and a half of RVing full-time and we are back in Joshua Tree boondocking. I still like traveling, most of the time. It’s a fun experience and you should try it, too!

RVing Kids- RV Life from Kids' Perspective 3

Joshua’s Perspective: Ups and Downs of RV Life

In 2016, my mom and I watched a show about living in a tiny home. We said we wanted to buy a tiny house on wheels or an RV and travel the country. Since we were already being homeschooled, this wasn’t an issue. And then we completely forgot about it.

Then, in 2019, my mom’s interest really grew when she couldn’t get approved for a home loan for way less than what she was paying in rent. She wanted to see the US, not just the East Coast where we had lived most of the time.

We started with looking for an RV that we wanted to call our house on wheels. The class C’s were interesting but they were pretty small compared to what we wanted. Class A’s had space but unlike the C’s, they were much, much bigger and much less maneuverable because of that.

We visited a LOT of RV dealerships before we ended up settling on a 40-foot Class A. I liked that it had a big enough kitchen compared to some other models and we could access most of the areas when the slides were in which would be helpful for boondocking. I also liked the front because it was big enough to have a projector screen, which we still don’t have, and that the cockpit chairs rotated. It also had enough storage to make sure we could have our video game consoles set up.

We spent months purging and purging lots of stuff we simply didn’t need. It was a tedious and annoying process. We got rid of a lot of toys that we no longer played with, a lot of books that we just couldn’t take or didn’t read, sports equipment we no longer would use, extra clothing we thought we didn’t need, and a lot of decorative stuff that we didn’t have space for. Looking back on the process, I realized that we had a lot of stuff we never really used or did anything with. We still purge frequently because we find we still aren’t using things that we brought or bought that we thought we would use.

My mom gave each of us a shelf in our RV and we could take whatever books we could fit in that space. I kept my hardback Harry Potter books that are really heavy, which didn’t exactly make my mom happy, but she said I could fill the shelf. We also kept things that had sentimental value and we either store them in the RV or we sent them to our dad’s house. I kept my minor league baseball cards from when my mom worked at Dodd Stadium in Connecticut. I have some autographed items from Spencer Turnbull who now plays for the Detroit Tigers. I am hoping they will be worth something. And of course, we kept our video game systems.

The RV was at the dealership for months after my mom bought it but it wasn’t ready in time for when we moved out of our apartment,  so we had to stay in an AirBnB. That meant we had to move all of our stuff twice, much to everyone’s dismay.

We finally moved into the RV on my birthday, which also happens to be Adam’s birthday. It was really stressful because my mom had only driven the RV twice up until that point and she was stressed and a little panicked about driving by herself. I had to keep reminding her to breathe while also helping her by being the spotter, making sure she didn’t hit anything. It was definitely not a fun day.

It was a steep learning curve for everyone to figure out the RV, what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. I thought hooking up the RV was going to be much more of a hassle than it really was. And now that we have lived in it for just about 19 months, every place we visit seems huge compared to what we are used to.

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Because I am older, I have to help a lot more. Some of the things I do are: help with navigation, although I need to improve on this, reminding my mom to breathe, helping her get into RV parking spots, figuring out what is rattling and driving her nuts, or what has fallen, helping her navigate into and out of gas stations, walking gas stations on Google Maps to see if we can fit because she always forgets to, and saying “Yes, the mountains are pretty” or “Uh, huh” when she says for the millionth time, “Look at the pretty mountains”!

One of the things I dislike the most about RVing is moving too quickly; only staying one or two days and then moving and doing it again. It makes me irritable. I really dislike the amount of time it sometimes takes to get level; having to position and reposition leveling stacks under the wheels, as well as having to break down camp and wake up early on travel days.

It’s also been a little harder to make new friends but that’s because I am a bit of a recluse and an introvert. But we did get to go see our friends that had moved from Florida on our travels, so that part was good.

What I like about this lifestyle is being able to travel to places that I may not have ever been able to see if we weren’t RVing. I’ve gotten to have experiences I may not have ever had and learn new things, too; like plumbing when there was a leak, surfing, rock climbing, going off-roading in our Jeep, seeing some amazing waterfalls, and getting to see the Redwoods.

We are still learning new things about our RV, even though it’s been a year and a half. Nevertheless, it’s a very enjoyable experience but like everything, there are the ups and downs.

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Joshua and Adam, authors of RVing from Kids Perspective

Authors

Adam & Joshua Blake

Adam, 11, and Joshua, 16, have been traveling full-time in a 40 foot Class A RV with their mom and two labradors since August 2019 when they left Jacksonville, Florida. They have been homeschooled for about 7 years. Both boys love climbing, video games, and pizza. Their mom chronicles the family’s adventures on their Facebook page “There and Back Again with the Blake Clan”.

5 Responses to “RVing Kids- RV Life from Kids’ Perspective

  • Holly Blake
    Tiffany Johnsrud
    2 months ago

    Hi Adam and Jake!

    Thank you so much for writing this, you guys did a great job! We are a family of 5 living in a large home with 2 big dogs and a cat. We are thinking of doing exactly what you guys did- selling all of our things, buying an RV and traveling the world. We have a lot of fears about the adjustment for the kids and there hasn’t been a lot of information from a kids perspective. This was exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thank you for sharing your experience and how it has effected you! Do you think you’ve been able to experience things you wouldn’t have been able to living in a home? If so, does that make it all worth it to you?

    • Hi Tiffany.

      Holly says: Thank you so much for your feedback. I am definitely trying to make sure their voices are heard because the child’s perspective isn’t out there as much as the adult’s is.

      Joshua says: “I absolutely think we have been able to experience things that we wouldn’t have been able to living in a home. And I do think that it pays of even though there is all the hard work you have to put into it. It can easily frustrate you at times but I think that comes with most things you have to work for.”

      Adam says: “Yes, we 100% get to see and experience things that most people can’t living in a home. It makes it so we can spend more time in one place getting to see more things. I get to meet new friends, see cool things, do things like climb, sit in a hot spring, paddleboard across a crater lake in a caldera of a volcano, and experience different climates and biomes around the US. We were recently in winter, then summer, then spring, then summer, then winter all within a few months just by where we traveled to. You should try RV’ing. Some people like it and some people don’t.”

  • Hi Tiffany.

    Holly says: Thank you so much for your feedback. I am definitely trying to make sure their voices are heard because the child’s perspective isn’t out there as much as the adult’s is.

    Joshua says: “I absolutely think we have been able to experience things that we wouldn’t have been able to living in a home. And I do think that it pays of even though there is all the hard work you have to put into it. It can easily frustrate you at times but I think that comes with most things you have to work for.”

    Adam says: “Yes, we 100% get to see and experience things that most people can’t living in a home. It makes it so we can spend more time in one place getting to see more things. I get to meet new friends, see cool things, do things like climb, sit in a hot spring, paddleboard across a crater lake in a caldera of a volcano, and experience different climates and biomes around the US. We were recently in winter, then summer, then spring, then summer, then winter all within a few months just by where we traveled to. You should try RV’ing. Some people like it and some people don’t.”

    • Hi Carmen!

      The boys think that it’s good for them to get to see more things than just where we lived at, which was an apartment and concrete with very little grass.

      Their behavior seems improved towards other dogs and people. They seem to be mostly used to it now but occasionally, on travel days, they do get stressed. They like to travel under Joshua’s feet in the cockpit. The smaller dog (55 lbs) often ends up under his chair.

      They just recently got to go out to eat with us on an outdoor patio at a restaurant in Oregon and they did so well! It’s a huge improvement. We’ve been trying to take them on more Jeep rides with the tops off and explore more with them. They also got to meet another dog, while on leash, and were not reactive as they used to be, so we think they are finally settling in.

      Before we left, the dogs were very reactive to humans and other dogs. Now they have calmed way down. Except when you’re trying to enter the RV. They still protect their domain, which is something that benefits us.

  • Please tell me what you kids think your dogs’ perspectives are on these adventures. How do they like it? Do they ever get stressed out? What makes them happy? What makes them stressed? Thanks

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