I read a lot of forums and blogs related to living in RV's of all sizes both full and part time. One question that always comes up weather directed at us or another couple in a B is "How do you make it work?", usually followed by the comment "You better be a very close couple!". Well, I will do my best to answer that now for those who are wondering.
First thought is yes, you do need to be pretty fond of each other to live that closely without getting on each other's last nerve. That doesn't mean though that you have to be exactly the same type of people. Heidi and I are a lot alike in the things we want to do, the things we want to have and our basic goals. We are different in many ways as well. We often handle things differently, choose to do different things at different times and even have a little different belief system.
To make it work we rely on some very basic principles. First: We love each other and both agree that true love always means considering your partner's needs ahead of your own. That being said, we usually do a pretty good job of this. We are not perfect and have our days of course, but they are rare. The next principal comes into action at that point. Choose your battles carefully. There are enough things in the world to rage against that are a much better choice than to escalate an annoyance into a war between you and the one you love. Part of being in love we believe is allowing the other person to be who they are. I loved Heidi before I married her so trying to change her is just something I am not interested in doing. Having that kind of respect for each other goes a long way to making it work.
Now when it comes to just hanging out in the van, we kind of have our own separate areas we prefer. Once parked, we always turn the passenger seat towards the back which is where I prefer to be for much of the things I do. It is the perfect place to play my guitar, use the computer, read, work on jewelry(I have some tricks for doing this up there I will share in a future post) or even watch TV if we are both in the mood for that. Heidi prefers to hang out in back on the bed for her reading or computer or knitting etc. If there is something she would rather be in the front for, we switch. Of course we always try to spend time together reading or watching TV on the bed or any other various thing. Even sleep on occasion!
We also have our own jobs so to speak when it comes to taking care of "Taj". I handle the mechanical duties, she does most of the cooking, she prefers to handle the cleaning and I am quite okay with that! I just keep my stuff in order as much as possible and assist her if she wants. When we break camp, I shut off the LP valve, secure all the hatches, disconnect the electric if needed and do a once around checking tires and lugs etc. (usually just visual other than at fuel stops where I use a gauge). While I am doing my mental checklist, she is closing the roof vents, switching the fridge to 12V, securing anything that could fly around in transit, shutting off the water pump and putting the chair back forward.
For storing our stuff, we keep most of it in what we consider common areas, then each have our own cabinet we can choose to keep more individual hobby kind of stuff in. These are the cabinets over the bed on either side of the air conditioner. I have mine mostly full of jewelry making stuff and supplies, my netbook, and a few other things. Heidi keeps our knitting stuff, a rather large printer, and other various things in hers.
While going down the road, I am at the wheel and she has her netbook close at hand so she can check out the various neat things about each town we are coming into. Everything from restaurants, sites to see, places we might boondock or camp etc. Navigating from now on will be more likely handled by the GPS.
I will go more into to detail about how everything fits with pictures and clever packing methods in a future post. The main goal of this post has really been covered. The last few things I want to share is that this lifestyle allows us to get out into some amazing areas of the country and meet great people, sample a wide range of cultural scenes etc. Don't spend all your time in the van!
Finally, make sure to have fun and act like a kid once in a while! Like our sock monkey jammies? Sorry, the rest of this picture is classified!