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.