7 Things I Love About Living in an RV

Friday, August 26th, 2011

New York City 229

Living in an RV was never the dream. The towable home was merely a means to an end, a necessary adjustment for a family of four that wanted to travel although they didn’t have a hefty savings with which to do it. The RV was going to be cheaper than staying in hotels and provide the kids with a little mobile security amidst of life filled with daily changes. After living in an RV for an entire summer, I’ve realized that it’s not necessarily cheaper than living in inexpensive motels, but there are some unexpected benefits to living in a 24 by 8 foot home.

7 Things I Love About Living in an RV

1. I never fight with the kids about cleaning their rooms.

Emma loved Canal Street They do still leave socks on the floor and papers on the table, but a mess can only be as large as the space in which it’s contained. The kids don’t have rooms, they have bunks and a bin each to hold their prized possessions. Parenthood can so often seem like a constant lesson in choosing battles; it’s nice to have one that’s no longer relevant.

2. I get to watch my kids play together.

siblings

As I type this, I’m watching my 11 and 6-year old sit beside each other at the table, coloring and sharing tips for improving artistic technique. They’re talking to each other like people, a sight any mother who has had to dole out punishment for sibling in-fighting can appreciate. I had seen my children play before, certainly, but I also more told them regularly to “Go play” in an effort to get something done. They went into rooms and behind closed doors, a respite I swore I needed. And yet somehow I survive with them in my sight more often than not, and I get to bear witness to the relationship the two of them share.

3. I don’t have to dust.

2011-06-08 002

Or vacuum. Or mop, or wash windows, or do any number of household chores that took up a good chunk of my weekend hours when I had thousands of square footage to maintain. The RV does have to be cleaned up, but it requires little more than 15 minutes with a rag and a broom to get everything shining from top to bottom. As I’ve said before, the less you own, the less you have to clean.

4. My entertainment options are limited.

Lorenzos-5

I have books, my camera, my computer, and journals. We also have a television and a Wii and a deck of cards. This may sound like a bad thing, but it actually makes it easier to decide what we’ll do with our free time. I haven’t once found myself flipping through the channels bemoaning a lack of anything to watch. That being said, I still haven’t kept up with the trip scrapbooking.

5. If we don’t like the neighborhood, we move.

Lofton We’ve been fairly happy with most of the campgrounds we’ve stayed in, but it’s nice to know we have the freedom to choose our surroundings on an almost daily basis. When we’ve really liked a spot, we’ve been able to extend our stay. Traveling with an RV doesn’t afford quite the flexibility of traveling with just a backpack, but we’re certainly more agile than we were with a house.

6. We don’t spend much time in the RV.

DC Monument Day 035

Living in a small space forces you to get out into the world. It wasn’t uncommon for me to go several days without leaving the house when I was working from home back in Central Florida. While that was possible, it definitely wasn’t good for me physically, mentally, or spiritually. I need to get out and blow the stink off, soak up the sunshine, and engage with the world around me. I always wanted to live a life of being out and about, but that only became a reality when my home became too small to sustain hermit living.

7. I’m more closely connected with nature.

Skidaway Island State Park 15

This is a combination of having to get out of the RV and the RV being made of fairly thin material. I can hear the rain better than I ever could in a house, and I have only to take two steps out of my bed to feel the weather outside. Trying to achieve “room temperature” in the RV is a challenge, but the trade off is a more intimate connection to nature than I’ve ever experienced. I’m surprisingly pleased with this connection.

Am I suggesting you move into an RV? Absolutely not. Not at all. But you might be surprised at the benefits of living in a small space or having less stuff. Mostly, I’m surprised by the things I consider benefits today that I never even thought to long for before. I think that’s a testament to the availability of blessings in any location.

What blessings can be found in your home?

7 Daily Happiness Affirmations

Start your day with 30 seconds of positive intention, free when you join the In Pursuit of Happiness Newsletter.

  1. I love that you get to spend more time with your kids. I believe in the “living on less” is a great factor that free’s up time. Not to vacuum, clean, organize, and such and our quality time with family increases. I might now be motivated to tell or share my story living on less which I was in a hotel for three months and three weeks.

  2. #2 really got to me. The times when I see my children actually communicating with each other in a positive way makes me all teary-eyed. My mother always used to say the only thing that was important to her was that her children got along (we didn’t) and now I totally understand how much that means to a mother… to have her kids love each other and work together.

  3. Since we are going on 8 years of living in an RV I can say most of those items will still be true down the road. I love hearing birds on my roof. I like figuring out how to do without something or make something fill the need for several things. I enjoy the changing views and people. I love how making the bed counts as cleaning the whole place.
    I don’t love eating at truck stops. I don’t like neighbors who collect wind chimes. I wouldn’t mind having a dishwasher again. But really that’s it. Life is good. ;-)

  4. Headless Mom says:

    I’m getting more jealous by the day!

  5. Kara Nutt says:

    You are living my dream. We currently own a house in central New York. Our plan is to have it ready to sell by next summer and then get an RV and start traveling. Right now we only have one 4-year-old boy, I would then homeschool him. The more I follow your adventures, the more anxious I am to get started.

    Kara

  6. Nicole says:

    When we packed up our life and move to Hawai’i, we thought we still needed to have the big space we had on the mainland. Space here is ridiculously expensive. We were so smitten with space that we even agreed to share a home with my husband’s parents so we could afford it. We now live with just the four of us in a 900 sq ft., two bedroom condo, and have discovered the joy of less. We purged everything that wasn’t necessary or something we didn’t love (like my husband’s fishing gear, our surfboards, etc.) and use. We’re on our way to being more free! I love not having a big space anymore!

  7. I would love to try living in an RV with my family – though I still live with my parents and my Mom would probably freak out without her dishwasher. Seeing new places all the time, being free and going wherever you want to, it’s the kind of experience everyone should have for a year or two at least. I really envy you guys … in a good way. :)

  8. Camping is a great way to be outdoors and meet other people. Going across country with just a tent was very reassuring meeting people and enjoying nature.

  9. Sarah says:

    I love hearing about your new life. It really makes me think more critically about my own – in a very good way! Thank you so much for sharing your adventure.

  10. Robin says:

    Part of me would love to do this with my husband (and the 2 cats, can’t leave them behind) but then also I get very claustrophobic being around anyone too much. Every day I even need 1 hour to myself after work or I go nuts.

  11. KDrausin says:

    When my kids were little I dreamed of taking them out of school and traveling around the country. I never followed through so its lots of fun to read about your adventures.

    Several years ago we took a three week trip to Europe. I watched my kids play together, laugh together and rarely argue. I understand what you are saying about living in close quarters and how it helps with bonding.

  12. Lisa says:

    I’m really enjoying our RV too and last weekend I kept thinking of you and what it would be like to live in it full-time. I think I could do it. Heck I’m tempted to sleep in it full-time as it is because the bed is way more comfortable than mine!

    What do I love about my home? It’s small size means it’s also easier to clean. It’s just the two of us now and we don’t need a lot of space, so the size is perfect and yet we have an acre of land that gives us a buffer from our neighbors. I love that.

  13. Britt,the kids will never forget the experience.They can read 100 + books,but the traveling they do with you and your husband will last a life time.
    Where did you stay with your RV in New York ?

  14. Britt,the kids will never forget the experience.They can read 100 + books,but the traveling they do with you and your husband will last a life time.
    Where did you stay with your RV in New York ?

  15. i’m thrilled that this is turning out so well for you, jared and the kids. wishing you continued peace, love, happiness and safety!

  16. Megan says:

    Love that picture of you and the camera.

    What do I love about my home? That’s it’s not the bigger one we could have afforded but that I new we didn’t need. That it’s apparently the cheapest house in the neighborhood to air condition. That it has east-west exposure.

    I do wish we could move it around though… :)

  17. martymankins says:

    There is something to be said for smaller living quarters, which comes with an automatic “less clutter” value.

    And being able to experience so much outside of the RV makes for some memorable times with your family.

  18. Nanna says:

    When you first started planning this trip, I knew that you would get that the RV was kind of your bedroom, and the rest of the world outside was your living room, den, whatever. How neat that it moves around – like your own magic carpet!

    That being said, I am worried for all of you right now with the storm and all of its accoutrements. Please stay on touch, OK?

  19. Penbleth says:

    This is fantastic. The closest we have come to this as a family is on the rare occasion when there is a power cut in the evening and we sit round by candle light, talk to each other and share stories. I always have a moment when the power comes back of feeling it is a shame. We still and look at each other for a moment and then everyone goes back to their usual activity and the time is over.

    I hope you all continue to bloom and benefit from your adventure.

  20. jude says:

    yep, been there done that. Raised 6 kids, had to draw water from the spring. AND after 6 years when electric came in, seems like the distant sound of a generator became bothersome. We eventually sold our 40 acres and our RV that sat on it. Kids grew up and moved to a new place of their own. However, None would take for what we experienced those years.

  21. Kristin says:

    Not screaming about cleaning their rooms…gee, that alone makes me want to ditch this joint and do what you’re doing.

    You may not be “scrapbooking” your trip the way you wanted to but I really have been enjoying your musings about the pluses and minuses.

  22. Peggy says:

    MAKING MEMORIES is far more important than scrapbooking any day !! I’m jealous of the whole trip……..but my kids are grown with little ones themselves. Maybe they will try it !

  23. Jendi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your adventures. I’ve been following along since the first day of your trip. It’s something that half of me would love to do and the other half is really leery of. I’m sure it has its up and downs. I do agree that “less is more.”
    Best wishes!

  24. the muskrat says:

    Having a bunch of crap still in boxes after 2mos has convinced me we should get rid of it, but the Mrs disagrees. The idea of more time outside and less time surrounded by things made in China that need dusting (not that I dust, but I have to pay a nice Brazilian couple to dust) is very appealing.

  25. It sounds like this is working out really well for you guys. Homeschooling has definitely allowed my own children to become better “friends” instead of just siblings. It’ll change your entire life.

  26. Rhea says:

    I love this. I’m so glad you are out having fun. I would LOVE to do something like this but my hubby is not nearly as adventurous as I am. I wish I could convince him to consider something like this. I bet it’s amazing!

« « Inspired by a New York City Street Musician to Live from the Heart | Happiness Highlights: Running from Irene » »