- Freedom. Freedom is my highest ideal. It’s my one thing. Living anywhere we want for as long (or short) as we want, working from the road, a park, a coffee shop, Target, or anywhere in between, is awesome.
- Quantity quality time with my family. There are no do overs. The thinking that says work hard, sacrifice family time so you can retire and make up for that lost time is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard. I see my son every day and get to spend real quality time with him. I’m with my wife almost all day. We get to share in the experiences of being married, having a home and raising a child together. Instead of giving them a tired burnt out version of myself at the end of the day, they get me at my best, and unfortunately still at my worst, too.
- Small space means less stuff. Don’t get me wrong, we like stuff, but what I like more is having the right stuff. Giving ourselves the tight restrictions of around 200 sq ft means we have to be very choosy about what stays and what goes. This forced simplification means there’s less to steal our focus, time, money, will power, and decision making fuel.
- Adventure. Every inconvenience is an adventure wrongly perceived. There’s the adventures we plan like hiking through the Grand Canyon and the adventures unplanned, like tire blow outs that lead to lessons on how to change a tire and, more importantly, how to roll with the punches.
- Mo Money, mo money. One of our stated goals when we started planning this whole thing was to buy and renovate the RV with cash. While we can’t exactly look at our RV as a real estate investment, we can say, “Hey, we own this thing and everything in it, out right. We owe nothing on it.” This frees up cash to have more experiences and stay on the road. It also means that when business is lean, whether intentionally or unintentionally, we don’t have to keep as much cash coming in — our bare essentials are more bare than ever.
Cons are far outweighed by the pros but, for the sake of being realistic and honest, my 5 cons are:
- The space gets dirty really, really fast. I think most people track in as much dirty and outside stuff as we do, they just have way more house to spread it around so it doesn’t look as bad or collect as quickly. As fast as it gets dirty though, it gets clean, too.
- Toilet dumping. Trading in the traditional homestead for a house on wheels has its comprises… the toilet tops the list. It’s a dirty job. We spent the first month with the standard issue RV toilet. It drained into the black tank, it filled up fast, it leaked, when it was full- it smelled everywhere. We went to the dump station a handful of times and dumped, only to fill it right back up again within a day or two (we’re kind of full of shit. August and I are. Sarah is full of sugar.) We had a clog. Suck. I bought two different augers (pipe snakes) and a plunger. The plunger did the trick BTW. Try that first. Finally, we bought a composting toilet. It was pricey (about $1000), and it took a little time to build out the floor in our bathroom to support it, but we love it. It works by separating #1 and #2. #1 goes into a 2.5 gallon jug. #2 goes into a bin that has peat moss in it. Instead of flushing, you turn a handle and agitate it for composting. #1 is dumped every 2-3 days, #2, every 2-3 weeks. We still have to dump… no pun intended there, but now we’re just dumping gray water.
- Power Juggling. When we’re plugged into a lower amp outlet, we have to juggle what’s on. For instance, we can’t run the AC and the microwave at the same time. Chris, over at Technomadia, gave me a tip on a boosting inverter that will make this a non-issue. Still need to research this and make that purchase.
- Pantry Space. Our pantry is small. Almost non-existant. We can basically store the contents of a single grocery bag. The fridge can store more, so we keep some items in the fridge that don’t necessarily need to be refrigerated. We also use the microwave and the oven for storage when not in use. The up-side to this is we have far less waste. We used to find things in our pantry from months or years back that we bought and never touched. Now, we don’t have the space for waste. We have to buy fresh ingredients for everything, and use them right away, because we simply can’t store it. This does mean more trips to the grocery store but it gives us another reason to get out of the rig and explore a town for a while.
- Letting Sullivan, our dog, go. It sucked and we miss him. Plenty of people RV with dogs — so yeah, we could have taken him with us. This was one of those “What’s best for Sullivan?” situations. When we got really honest with ourselves, the decision was painfully clear.