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.
- Overnight parking is SIMPLE to find if you know the city. I expected this to be WAY harder than it is. I can park in any one place for 72 hours without problems. I’ve parked in front of my favorite restaurant (the only place I used to drive to), and I’m almost always there. It’s fantastic to just be able to walk out my front (actually it’s on the back of the RV) door and eat my lunch and dinner every day. On weekends I’m thinking about parking right on 5th street (which is the center of downtown, right where the condo is) for the weekend. Metered spots are free on the weekend.
- Regular parking is also simple! With the bus we had to really consider where we parked (although it was actually easier than expected). With my little guy I park anywhere. I even parked in a compact spot a couple times. One of those times I had to argue with a security guard, assistant manager, and manager. None of them could point out a good reason why I couldn’t park there, so they let me.
- Gas mileage is awful. I get 11mpg if I’m lucky. There are some really cool RVs that are slightly thinner but get 22mpg, so I may upgrade if I keep living in an RV.
- You don’t really need more space than this. Everything in the RV is laid out so cleverly that I never wish I had more room. I’ve had friends come over and hang out for hours – it’s totally comfortable. I was even thinking I could make due without the couch. I was idly considering getting a bigger one with a bedroom in back, and then I realized that I actually prefer not having a bedroom. This way my bed gets made (put away) every morning, so I start off with a nice clean RV. Speaking of which…
- This thing is REALLY easy to clean. It might take 10 minutes at most. I used to agonize about cleaning – now it’s a reflex to tidy everything up because it takes so little time.
- Power is an issue. Air conditioning will be. Right now I don’t have a good way to power my laptop all day. This is a problem (and part of the reason I haven’t posted this past week). I’m probably going to get a solar solution, but these are pretty expensive. So far I’ve been sleeping without air conditioning, but in the summer I won’t be able to do this anymore. Doug has volunteered to let me buy some power from him to run the AC at night, and he lives close to downtown, so that will be pretty cool.
- I don’t use a lot of resources. When you’re filling and dumping your own tanks, you get to find out how much you use. In a week I go through about 42 gallons of water (I think I can cut that down now that I understand how my hot water heater works), and I fill up about 60 gallons of waste (most of that is shower water – I’m not that… prolific). I actually like my short efficient showers now. I washed my hands at the condo when I was over there getting some stuff and it seemed crazy to have the faucet on full blast. Disclaimer : I don’t really care about the environment. I just like being efficient.
- This is a REALLY cheap way to live WELL Austin has some crazy price fixing scheme or something because dumping waste here runs $15. Usually it’s $0-5, so I don’t know what’s going on. I have to do that 4 times a month. Wireless internet is running me about $40. Gas to run the generator once in a while might be $50-100 a month. Propane seriously NEVER runs out so I have no idea how much I’m using. I’ve been using it full tilt for a week and it still says full. Let’s say $20/mo just to have a number. Insurance is $95 a month (but that’s also my auto insurance, so it’s not really fair to count it). That’s under $300 a month for ALL living expenses besides food. In my opinion, the RV is WAY cooler than any crappy apartment. I really can’t understand why more people don’t do this. Students especially.
- When I buy something for my car, I have it in my house too. Want satellite radio? Get one and have it in your house and car. I can use one charger for my phone. Insurance covers my house and my car since they’re the same thing. Cleaning my car cleans my house.
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.