I was on the phone a couple days ago with my friend Hayden. After hearing about my plan to continue up to San Francisco, he predicted that within a year I would be living "somewhere posh". I doubt it. I really just love living in this RV, and can't imagine circumstances that would make me move out (famous last words). There are certainly upgrades I'd like to do (more solar, more batteries, more water capacity), but for now I have no inclination to move out.
Why do I love it so much? What makes me so willing to give up things like adequate floor space for a trash can? Here are six of my favorite things about living in an RV.
Moving becomes easy. As I skateboarded over to my favorite Ethiopian restaurant (Rahel on Fairfax), I realized that I am basically a Los Angeles resident. Not for tax purposes, of course, but I feel the same as when I lived here a few years ago. Visiting somewhere, complete with sightseeing, hotels, and rental cars, feels different than living somewhere. I may only plan on being here for a few weeks, but I feel like a resident.
To take it one step further, I moved to LA without really thinking about it. Normally moving is a huge, annoying, and expensive process. In fact, the main reason I became a minimalist was because I had to move twice in a year. In an RV it can happen on a whim. I had dinner at a friend's house in Austin, got in the RV, and two days later was hanging out with my LA friends. The whole thing cost me $249.75 in gas, including a stop in Vegas.
I plan on moving to San Francisco in a couple weeks. That will be another $60 in gas.
Stuff becomes a heavy anchor. May as well put it on wheels.
I always have my stuff with me. This is a bigger deal for me than most people, because a lot of my stuff is healthy food. It's great to be driving around, realize I'm hungry, and pull over and make dinner. On the way to Vegas I timed myself: from pulling in to a rest stop to leaving with a belly full of home made pasta took 27 minutes.
But even having all of my clothes (the few I have), my computer stuff, and my own private bathroom and shower everywhere is pretty great. In some ways moving into an RV is paring down, but in other ways it allows me to do more than I could with a normal house and car.
Forced minimalism. Minimalism is a great thing, but even for someone as hardcore about it as I am, it's easy to let down your guard and want to buy more stuff. When you're in an RV, that temptation is easier to resist. There's just not room for anything.
I have one pot and a tea kettle. Four shirts. One pair of pants. One towel. When I see something I like but don't need, the decision not to buy it is an easy one.
Besides that, it's easy to keep the place clean. My old house used to always be a wreck because I had so much junk and so much floor space to strew it across. Now it takes me ten minutes to wash my one pot, tidy everything up, and go over the carpet with my amazing carpet sweeper (the Rotaro). I spend more time actually living life, and less time dealing with hassles.
It's fun. I don't know how else to put this, but living in an RV is really fun. Do you remember being in summer camp? Real life that doesn't quite feel real? That's what it feels like living in an RV. You become removed from the grind of rent, bills, home repairs, annoying neighbors, and cleaning. It feels like pure freedom because it is pure freedom. It's this weird loophole in the system that lets me live anywhere I want and pay nothing for the privilege.
The RV is cozy, like a tree fort. It's so small that I can set it up just how I like it. Even cooking in it is inexplicably fun.
I have no living expenses. I haven't paid rent or a mortgage for two years, other than for a month here and there while traveling. I haven't paid a utility bill in just as long. My water and sewage costs me $5-10 every 7-10 days. I get electricity for lights, computer, and even my electric skateboard, from the sun for free.
This means that I can spend my money on stuff I actually care about, rather than pseudo-obligations. Instead of begrudgingly forking over a thousand bucks for rent (the absolute lowest you could pay for a studio where I'm currently parked), I happily spend money on quality food and gas to bring me to my next location.
If I was in a financial crunch, as is pretty common these days, I could eat cheaply in the RV, stay in one spot, and spend almost no money at all, while still retaining all of my time to enjoy or work.
are you still writing? I just found your blog...I'm a 41 y.o. Veterinary technician and minimalist and seriously considering moving into an rv. You have been very helpful in my research. Plus I'm just enjoying the read!
Tynan, I just wanted to say you are way ahead of your years!! I just "happened" upon your spot over my morning coffee while looking at Class B Motorhomes. I am an laided-off, empty-nester mom with a house that I am really getting tired of maintaining. For years I've toyed with the idea of living in a motorhome and seeing the country. Your website answered a lot of the questions I didn't have answers for. However, I do have a question; what type of jobs would you suggest that could be done out of an RV? I am a CAD drafter by trade.
@Tom You can get brown rice pasta or whole wheat pasta. My favorite is a brand called Racconto.
In your post, you mentioned that you ate home made pasta. I recall that you don't eat foods made of flour, so what is this pasta of yours like? How is it made, and can it also be bought? I like your ideas, but really love some spaghetti with pesto, and am looking for some alternatives to the unhealthy white flour pasta.
Enjoyed this article a great deal. I am a big fan of this style of living. I would be extremely interested to see a "Six things I hate about living in an RV" post, or "Six things I least like..." if you prefer that vocabulary for whatever reason.
Thought I would also mention that since the change to the new domain name, I feel the overall general quality of your posts has improved. (Even if all are not to my taste/interest, they do certainly seem to be of a high quality). Keep it up!
When I first bought an RV to live in last year a lot of people thought that it was a phase I would quickly snap out of. Part of me thought the same thing. Would a move from a 2000 square foot condo to a 100 square foot RV be bearable?
As it turned out, it was more than bearable. I loved it. When I left the country to travel, I sold everything including the RV I loved so much. Seven months later, back in Austin and faced with the proposition of finding somewhere to live, the decision was simple.
I wanted another RV, and it had to be even smaller.
As previously mentioned in my blog one of the reasons I bought my one way ticket to Asia was to help me prioritise what was important in my life and what isn’t. Then the plan was pretty simple, do more of the important stuff and eliminate the rest. Life’s too short etc etc This philosophy has lead me to do some incredibly exciting things over a short space of time. I have sung on stage with a Thai rock band over New Year, been the first westerner to spend ‘Tet’ (Vietnamese New Year) in a Zen Buddhist Monastery in Vietnam, sat and enjoyed a beer on a small island shared by Laos and Cambodia, Kayaked with a speedo wearing Ukrainian and died on a mountain road in Laos (and it only cost me $40 to come back to life). Currently I am renting a villa in Bali spending my days learning yoga and exploring the Island. I like to think everyone thinks I am cool, young and mysterious a bit like Lara Croft and not a sad old Julia Roberts from Eat, Pray, Love. I was here several years ago with my Mum on what was an amazing holiday. Although I am staying somewhere different – I am constantly revisiting old memories through the sights, smells and friendliness unchanged from my last visit (more on that later) which started making me miss my Mum. A lot. It therefore seemed rather apt that I chose to book a ticket back to the UK while I was here (Quantas, no more Air Asia for me) and start planning for my next move. So I have booked to leave Bali on April Fools day (rather apt for someone who said they would be away indefinitely) and will arrive back to enjoy the English summer! My next challenge to myself is to write my bucket list* put it up on my blog and through a serious of misadventures, trial and error and knowing me more hospital trips get as much of it completed as possible. In an attempt to make them SMART** I have to complete them before I am 30. Which I have worked out using several mathematical equations that you wouldn’t understand OFFICIALLY GROWN UP. Hopefully by that point I’ll be having so much fun that I can create a new one to keep me going till I’m really old. Or Dead (eek). I’m only two months away till I hit the big 2-8 and within these parameters also have to find a way to earn a living – no small feat eh. That will be up online in the next few days. I encourage you to do the same. A small list maybe of things you want to get achieved in the next few years (plenty of time) and have a think about how you can do them. I have been reading a great book which is helping me put these ideas into action and my next post will outline some of the tools I am using to put my list into action! Please share my blog on twitter and facebook using the links at the end of this post. Thankyou! And to keep you going till then…. Here are some funny videos I found on one of my usual pointless internet jaunts.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wppg_F_1tA4&w=560&h=315] [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsToINy3QNM&w=420&h=315]
*For those of you not familiar with the term – a list of stuff to do before I die. ** I know – I did a business degree and hated having to make SMART Objectives. (It means Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time)