Our preparations to begin the Coddiwomple meant getting rid of a lot of things. Some days it felt like we were getting rid of everything, and some days it was overwhelming or emotional for me. Now, four months into our travels, I could probably go through the RV and find another dozen things that we could live without. Our sense of fulfillment is no longer based around owning things, but is more focused on the quality of our time.
However, there are things that absolutely lend themselves to improving the quality of our time. This post is about the items that are completely necessary to our day-to-day comfort and happiness. I am not talking about required items, those items we truly could not function without, but those things that wouldn’t break us by not having them, that keep our morale up through the days.
I’m going to start with the one item that I hate using the most, but it is the biggest headache/money saver – Fluke Digital Multimeter. I’ve used it countless times; in fact I just used it yesterday. We plugged into shore power and immediately tripped the breaker; and the meter helped me find that the wiring in our AC unit had jiggled loose and a wire was shorting to ground. Luckily, I went through an electronics apprenticeship in my time at the Shipyard, and know how to use the multimeter. You can easily find videos on YouTube that give some basics on its use. Without the meter, I have no idea how long it would have taken to figure out the issue.
The next item that absolutely makes a difference is my Close-Toed Slip-On Shoes, lovingly dubbed my “old lady shoes.” Honestly, I would prefer to wear my Rainbow Flip-Flops at all times, but terrain at RV parks and boondocking spots (dry-camping, i.e.. no hookups) varies so widely, flip-flops are not usually appropriate. Take where we are staying now, Rock Cut State Park, which had a downpour two nights ago. The grass is soggy, and my toes would be cold, wet, and possibly covered in mud in my flip-flops. The close-toed shoes get used to take the dog for a walk, take out trash, empty the tanks, or climb up on the roof of Odessa for any troubleshooting (see above).
The next items are not nearly as essential as the previous, but still absolutely make life better. The first is Facial Cleansing Cloths. We use Say Yes To brand, based on personal preference (coconut is my current favorite, probably because they smell delicious). When we are boondocking, water is a precious resource. I cannot go to bed at night without washing my face, and these cloths ensure I can clean my face without wasting water (and filling the tanks unnecessarily). Bonus, they are made of compostable natural cloth!
Now is an item some people would argue is absolutely not necessary, but I assure you, it is- our Aeropress. I don’t think I need to explain this any further, because coffee, but the Aeropress is similar to a French press. It allows us to make one cup of coffee at a time and takes up very little space, a huge plus!
For me, a good book is absolutely necessary. We don’t have a TV, and more often than not, we don’t have internet. We have a lot of “down” time, and there is not much better comfort than a good book. I began our trip reading Blue Highways, which I highly recommend to anyone choosing to take a long road trip (big thanks to Steve Sussman for gifting us the book!) Prior to this coddiwomple, I would not have called Ian a reader, but we are now currently reading Harry Potter together, and I have found my love for HP the same as it was when I first read the series 15(!!) years ago. A great complement to a good book is a hammock, perfect for enjoying the sunshine and your current must-read.
One last item for today- a good podcast or two. This is essential on driving days. Long drives can turn a person into a zombie, and after a while, just listening to music becomes monotonous. We like to listen to a gripping story (This American Life, S-Town, Serial) or our favorite, the Men’s Room Daily Podcast, which reminds us of home and constantly makes us laugh. We are always taking recommendations for new podcasts (especially if you have a good history or storytelling podcast in mind) so please share!
We have learned we do not need as much stuff, but there are some things we love to have, which contribute to a positive Coddiwomple experience. These items vary from person-to-person, and soon Ian will be sharing his essential items. What items would you feel necessary to have for a full-time RV lifestyle?