We are sort of learning one of the primary differences between RV living and Brick & Mortar living. It has nothing to do with mobility. It has everything to do with personal exposure. While we are sitting here in La Crosse having some maintenance work done on Journey I thought I’d touch on this difference and how it’s affecting us.
I have lived in Wisconsin most of my life; so I’m plenty familiar with changes in season, changes in temperature, even momentary changes in weather. Wisconsin is full of them.
But living in brick & mortar you are somewhat isolated from the variations. The inside of your house doesn’t heat up as fast as it does outside nor does it cool off as fast as it does outside. During summers Peg and I weren’t outside all that much of the time; she worked in an A/C’d office, I was in and out of a/c all day long, but more time inside than out. During the warm months we often kept the windows open from May until October except for the days when we turned on the air — which weren’t all that often while we lived in Cudahy — being so close to Lake Michigan.
Living in an RV changes that immensely. You are never all that far from outside! And RV heating and cooling systems — while they work really well — aren’t necessarily turned on all the time. When we leave the RV for a drive we routinely turn the system off not wanting to have it running when we aren’t present. Getting caught up to the heating or cooling need of the moment might take a while then. Or the interior can get heated enough that it never quite gets the interior temps back to where you might want them.
On our evening walk the other night we were discussing how this difference is affecting us. You see, when we closed on the house there was this initial spurt of desire to spend every moment outside. We’d been stuck in the house for long enough. We wanted to be OUTSIDE! What we were forgetting is that being outside is not going to be a rare opportunity to be experienced as it’s rationed out to us by the seasons. Instead, it will be part of our normal life. And acclimating to various temperatures doesn’t happen instantly. Our bodies take some time (how long we haven’t discovered yet) to adjust to warmer and then cooler climates.
Last summer and this summer we’ve been out in 90 degree temps more than we probably ever have. I’ve sweated more in the last two summers than I have in a long while — and I’m happy about it. The COLD of Wisconsin had reached my bones and I’m ready and eager for a good long spate of warmth. However, one’s body takes longer to get happy about changes s than one’s brain.
I’ve met people who have taken several years to get accustomed to living in warmer climes; I’ve met a couple (make that a few) who never seemed able to make the adjustment and chose to return to where they’d come from rather than wait out the acclimatization period. I think Peg and I are managing quite well. We’ve had ups and downs in temps — a week or two of high heat this year, and then a respite. After a good week of 90-ish temps we are looking at a week or so of lower 80’s during the days and 60’s at night — delightful temps to be sure. When we head South beginning in September we’ll see where we end up for the winter. And we’ll also see how we adapt to something closer to continual summer.
We have our screen room, and our large awning along the curbside of the coach to keep the sun off our pate. We have chairs to make sitting outside comfortable. And we have the time to enjoy the transition from city dwellers to retirees of leisure. We’re doing just that.
My reason for commenting relates to those who look with envy at full timers. In the same way that there is no “right” way to RV, so also there are some things about RV’ing that go with the territory and you have to accept them as part of the lifestyle. One of them is living with exposure: it can be temperatures, it can be wind, it can be hail or tornados — but there is no getting around the fact that RV’ers are much more exposed than Brick & Mortar dwellers.
We are enjoying the change — but then we also enjoyed camping in tents!
Would you enjoy exposure?