This is part five of 'How to choose a mobile home'.
Being away from home gives you the opportunity to do things differently, but there are still basic routines like eating and sleeping that will affect your choice of vehicle regardless.
The more people the greater the need.
Some of the questions for you this week are:
- Are those on board early risers or night owls?
- Are the lights where you need them? Fixed or positionable? Incandescent? LED? Fluorescent?
- Are there any activities like taking a shower, reading a book, or boiling the jug that would unduly disturb another?
- Do you have to convert seats into a bed? Is this convenient? Does everyone need to go to bed at the same time because there are no spare spaces to function in?
- Are the beds comfortable and big enough? Can you sit up and read in them? [Never under-estimate the benefits of a good nights sleep!]
- Bunks? Luton? French? Island? Double? Queen? King or larger? Inner-sprung? Foam? Rubber? Inflatable? East-west or North-South orientation? Linen or sleeping bags?
- If bunks, then do they have individual black-out curtains? Reading lights? A power socket?
- Somewhere for Fido (dog), Fluffy (cat) or your pretty boy (the bird!) to hang out & sleep?
- Is there a baby or toddler traveling with you? Space for a Portacot or just a bubble cot? Do you need a high-chair?
- Are the curtains / blinds dark enough? Do the ceiling vents have blinds?
- Can any areas be sectioned off for privacy or quiet time?
- Is there a sitting/dining area that can accommodate all of you for a meal?
- Partial or full kitchen?
- Is there a hob and oven of the right size for our occupancy & dishes; a hob and microwave; just a hob?
- Sink? Dishwasher? Water filter?
- Large enough accessible spaces for your plates, cups, food preparation equipment and storage?
- Enough bench space to make a meal? Can appliances stay out or do they need to be put away immediately after use?
Think about the routine, issues & challenges that you already have at home and ask yourself how can these be managed in a smaller space? Walk yourself through them physically or mentally and see how that would work in the mobile home. Everything will either 'flow' or else it will feel as if you are in a maze and constantly running into brick walls. Go with the flow!
Please be realistic and understand that changing your accommodation is no instant panacea for family dynamics. No, your child isn't going to magically go to bed on time. Your spouse isn't going to park his laptop in favour of deep and meaningful pre-bedtime wind-down conversation under the stars every night so that you drift off in blissful contentment. What a change of scene often does though is offer an opportunity to re-evaluate what is important if you let it. It won't happen overnight, but it could happen.
While it may be satisfactory to ignore a person's preferences for a weekend away, when the term is longer you will thank yourself that you put the time in to reasonably consider how to meet each individuals needs.
What are the eating and sleeping needs of our stellar family?
In case you hadn't guessed, we have both the challenges above, getting Castor and Pollux to go to sleep is harder than playing bop the gopher, and Atlas' mistress and his job is his laptop.
What we really need out of our perfect moving home is a separated sleeping area for the children, which could take a number of forms. All 5 together; a girls space and a boys space; the four eldest together and Kita elsewhere (somewhere that he can have his afternoon naps); or even the four youngest together and a convertible living area sofa for Vega (although she is the one who keeps on talking about having a permanent bed to call her own so that she has her own space, I think she might be swayed by being allowed up later). Atlas and I need to have the ability to work at night and the freedom to use the lounge/kitchen/bathroom.
The hope is also that being on the road and being physically active exploring will also mean that Castor and Pollux are more 'tuckered out' by the end of the day, every day! We are in the process of moving Kita in with the boys to test the idea that they may curb their night-time antics at the risk of waking the baby. I am not too hopeful but it's better to try now and come up with a plan 'b' than have bought a mobile home that isn't going to work for us.
We also know to look out for a good-sized oven and cook-top. While I have a feeling we will focus on one-pot or one-dish meals, the elements still need to be big enough to use with our family-portioned pots and pans. We really really want a UV water filtration system, or a reverse osmosis system so we can focus on our body health moreso during this adventure.
Being together as a family is a huge part of the reason we are doing this, so having a u-shaped lounge area where we can all sit, relax, play games, learn and eat is important too.