In June of 2010, I wrote about my thoughts on the transition from a traditional home to an RV, but I didn’t get to share my experience of transitioning from an RV back into a traditional house.
I lived in my RV until I went to Africa for fertility treatment. (I plan to write about my solo trek to Africa soon — it was an amazing journey!)
When I arrived home I was pregnant, so I moved into a tiny apartment near my school.
These were my impressions of the differences:
The biggest thing I liked in getting my apartment was the regular access to unlimited hot water and sewer – eg., hot baths! Hot baths were an indulgent luxury as I ballooned during my pregnancy.
I frequently watched DVD movies in the evening in my RV, but the lack of access to broadcast television seems to have broken my addiction. Tuning in recently, I was even more aware of (and shocked by) how intense the constant negative /fear-based/ consumption/ materialistic feed is.
Now I make a real effort to LIMIT my exposure. For me, tuning into a daily news show feels like taking 20 minutes to mediate on trauma, fear, materialism, and negativity. It is something I think I need to avoid for my good mental health.
Maintaining my RV did start to wear me down. It seemed like there was always something broken that needed to be fixed. Having trouble with AC during 110 degree days was NOT fun! I think the problem was made worse by my purchase of of a Gulf Stream. Though my RV was very similar to the Winnebabo and Itasca versions, Gulf Stream was a completely useless resource for support and/or parts information. The lack of documentation for wiring and plumbing as well as the issues related to poor construction made repairs more frustrating.
Lesson learned: Only buy from a great manufacturer!
BUT…. after I had my baby I moved into the bedroom I now rent in a big house.
Wow. You want to talk about maintenance and expenses! I am so grateful I am not in charge of this big home. I won’t outline the costs of their maintenance and upkeep, but I’d say my biggest lesson is this: Everything I own needs to be maintained (including an RV), so the less I own, the less of that stress I will have.
There is no real escape from maintenance, though. The un-fun issue is present in both living situations.
But even if I had a billion dollars, I could not live in a conventional home. It is not just the money, equipment, and management it requires to maintain a yard, pool, HOA, etc., but the TIME it takes to deal with all of this stuff.
The more you separate yourself from it, the crazier this whole cycle looks.
Eating out is no longer a financial option, but (especially with a baby in tow), having a local routine of parks and places is convenient. That said, my boy loves to be outside, so I am anxious to travel with him to national and state parks.
I developed a deeper feeling of safety after being on the road. I started to stealth camp with greater frequency after a while. Having a child does change the issue just a bit, though. I can’t take the risks that I would take on my own.
Ironically (or not), I feel like I still had TOO MUCH stuff in my RV. Letting go of things seems to be an ongoing process of shedding for me. (The only thing I struggle with is my desire to hang on to printed books. I love books and hate e-readers.)
People and Connection?
I am no longer the isolated recluse that I used to be. I am almost never alone and have become quite attached to being with the people I love in my community.
This has been a lovely change – one that keeps me grounded.
My inspiration: This guy lives on $7,000 a year. He retired at age 30 after working five years: http://earlyretirementextreme.com/