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Living in an RV : Day 10

I've lived in my RV for 10 days now. I have only gone back to the condo to get clothes, and to sleep one night (basically I picked a loud parking spot that was 10 feet from the condo and it was 5am so I just went inside instead of driving to a quiet spot). A lot of things have panned out as expected, but there have also been some big surprises.

I could go on and on, but you probably get the idea. I totally love living in this RV. It's a great feeling to drive over to my mom's house and have her say "Oh, you didn't happen to bring those tickets, did you?" and to just be able to walk into my house and get them.

My parents are really into the RV thing, which is funny. They're always a bit skeptical about my schemes. My dad helped me take out the CRT TV and the Microwave which I replaced with a flat panel and a flash bake oven. My mom made me nice curtains. I'm trying hard to resist the urge to totally trick out the RV. The carpet smells a bit musty so I might put in granite tile or bamboo floors. I think that would be neat.

Saving Energy

On Happy Human

Energy costs are high and rising - an increase of around 9% expected in prices in the UK pushing the average annual bill to £1,450 ($2,350; €1,705). It's a political hot potato and both the British Prime Minister, David Cameron and Energy company Centrica boss have recently been criticised for being out of touch and crass for suggesting people wear a sweater or even two to keep bills down.

But they could have a point. It's easy to blame the energy companies and the government and expect them to fix it so we can continue as before. Energy is something we take for granted. Central heating, insulated walls, double-glazing - for many we've never had it so warm or comfortable. We sleep scantily clad if at all, get up in a pre-set, temperature-controlled house, have long hot showers, get into warm cars, or heated trains to go to warm offices. In the Netherlands, where I'm currently living, it's still possible to wear a shirt to the office and not feel cold. This seems wasteful and wrong, especially considering the impact on the environment and the ever increasing demand for energy leading to controversial new sources of energy such as shale gas.

Are we as consumers really doing enough to save energy and reduce our consumption and our bills? If we all did a bit more we could collectively reduce demand and our environmental impact and save some money too.

To be clear, I'm not talking about the poor elderly person on a state pension sitting in front of a one-bar gas fire, wrapped in blankets too cold to make a cup of tea to warm up. When you're that poor, out of sheer necessity or desperation you already do what you can to save money.

As a consumer, I know I can still do more both to save energy and money. Our monthly fuel bill in the Netherlands is an eye-watering €270 (£230; $375) per month. The average here is €150 per month. We, a family of four with two teenage boys living in a 130 sqm (1,400 sqft) house, set ourselves a challenge to reduce our monthly bill by €100. It's the latest stage of our conscious effort to live more simply and reduce our impact on the environment.

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