There’s a lot to do on travel days when you live in an RV. Typically, if you’re traveling with another human, you both have certain jobs you gravitate towards (or sometimes you just draw the short straw, like emptying the black tank.)
One thing we were adamant about when we started this lifestyle is that we would both have our separate jobs on travel days, but we would know how to do each other’s jobs. For instance, we both drive the rig, we both back it into sites, we both know how to hook the trailer up, we both know what needs to happen to pack the inside for a damage-free ride.
The majority of the time, we stay in our own lanes and do the same jobs for a travel day, but occasionally we mix it up just to make sure we’re staying sharp when it comes to cross-training.
There have been several times our cross-training has paid off just in the short time we’ve been on the road.
The time I went down for the count
8 months into our new lifestyle, we were at a cute little campsite on a lake in Georgia having a morning fire when I bent over to move our fire pit. Like a movie, I began to tip over in slow motion and drop to my knees right there next to the fireside. My lower back was spasming.
I dropped to my knees and then laid face down in the dirt.
After 10 mins of laying on the ground waiting for the spasm to pass, Beth asked if I wanted help getting up. Yes, she didn’t want to leave me laying face down on the ground next to our fire pit, but also people may be confused as to why I was laying on the ground with giant fire gloves and a Savannah hat on 🤷♀️
While I’d hoped for a quick recovery, the next morning I felt even worse.
And unfortunately, the next day was a travel day.
Beth had to pack up EVERYTHING, plus hook the truck to the trailer, and haul us out of there on her own. While it gave me some anxiety that I couldn’t do anything (literally – I had to lay in the back seat of the truck), I had confidence that we had enough experience with each other’s roles that she would do just fine.
6 reasons to be cross-trained in full-time RV responsibilities
1. In case someone gets hurt or injured
For the obvious reasons stated above, if your partner gets sick or injured, you’ll need to know how to do the necessities of the lifestyle on your own.
2. Cross-check each other’s work for extra safety
You can’t be too safe in checking your connections and tires and other safety aspects when you’re about to haul 6,500 pounds up or down a mountain going 65 mph. It’s always good to have someone who can check your work before you pull away. Our number one goal is always safety on travel days.
3. Learning new skills keeps your brain sharp
“The act of experiencing something new — or even doing something that’s typical for you, but in a different way — can all generate these new brain cells,” says Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a practicing neurosurgeon and associate professor of medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. “We want to constantly be using new paths and trails and roads within our brain. So why not double the sharpness? Knowledge inspires action, action inspires confidence.
The more you know how to do with your rig, the more you can practice; the more you practice, the more confident you become. The more confident you become, the safer you can feel in your hook-up and tear-down process. We know it’s scary learning to drive and park your rig, but you’ll feel like such a baddie once you master it.
4. Reduces Anxiety
For those who are terrified to learn how to drive/haul your rig, you may be wondering, “how would learning to haul REDUCE anxiety? It would increase it!” But the truth is, while you may still prefer that your partner drives, at least you know that you CAN do it if you need to. In the beginning, I didn’t always like driving because I hated figuring out if we were going to fit somewhere or having to figure out our turn radius or where to turn around, but the more I practiced, the more confident I got, and now I actually love hauling our rig!
5. Helping others
Being knowledgeable about RV responsibilities also allows you to help fellow RVers! As you build your RV community you’ll learn how nice it is to lean on one another for advice and support. Why not sharpen your brain and help your friends?