HOW DO WE SURVIVE 24/7 TOGETHER, IN A CAMPER TRAILER?
One of the questions we get asked the most is, 'But don't you get sick of each other?!'. And the short answer is generally no. But of course sometimes yes (it's been over two years after all 😉)
Here are some of the things we do to keep ourselves sane, get our own space, and generally ensure that we don't end up divorced:
- Take it in turns to have time out. This means one of us adults takes the kid, and the other one gets some minutes, hours, or even a full day to themselves. And the kid gets to have some one on one time with that particular parent. We also take it in turns to get up with the kid so the other adult gets a sleep in. And Ryan often retreats to the tent to play on his own for a bit & have a break from us.
- Have a (generally) strict bed time. Our child is in bed by 7.30/8pm every night (except on special occasions). He may not be asleep at 7.30 every night, but he is in bed. If he's not ready to sleep, then he can 'read' some books to himself. This means Mum & Dad get to relax, have a glass of (excellent cask) wine, some adult conversation, and some much needed 'alone time'.
- Don't be in a rush. We rarely have somewhere we need to be in a hurry. So we don't have to get up early & pack up the tent, don't have to spend hours together in the car at a time, and we're not constantly exhausted from long days of travel. This helps keep everyone happy, and less likely to get on each others nerves. Accept you can't see it all, and take your time.
- Stop to work occasionally. Yes, this one actually helps us to like each other! Stopping to work allows us to have a (temporary) life outside of just the 3 of us. Ryan gets to go to daycare (which he loves), and Mum & Dad get to use their brains, have adult conversations, and meet new people. Plus it gives us a bit of 'normal life' for a bit, after which we are normally more than happy to get back on the road again, and generally more appreciative of the fantastic nomadic life we have.
- Get outside! Our inside living space may be comparatively small, but our outdoor living space is HUGE! When we're travelling we spend 90% of our waking hours outdoors, meaning we've really got plenty of space and we're not constantly in each others faces. And if one of us needs some alone time, they can always retreat to the tent.
- Seek out other travelling families. They will understand where you are coming from, you & your kids will be instant friends, and it will give you a chance to talk to some other people who get exactly what you're going through!
- Be kind to one another. It sounds corny, but it's true. It's very easy to get on each others nerves when you're with each other 24/7. So we recognise this, and if one of us is grumpy, or a bit snappy, we understand why and don't take it personal. And we're always quick to apologise (Ryan included, although sometimes with some extra encouragement!) It also helps if you do actually like each other in the first place ;)
- Understand that this is a huge, scary, exciting, life changing thing that you are doing. It won't always be easy, and you won't always like each other, but I promise, you will end up loving each other more, and it will bring your family closer together. We've had two amazing years together as a family while our child is still young enough to actually want to spend time with us, and that makes all those not so great days well & truly worthwhile.