Living in an RV probably doesn’t sound like the ideal lifestyle for most people. For me, it’s home, and I have grown to love and appreciate it. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case.
Moving from a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, 1110 sq. ft. condo in Southern California into a 30’ long, 8’ wide trailer in Colorado with my husband and dog was the adventure of my life (so far). Two weeks after my husband found a job in Northern Colorado, we sold/gave away 90% of our “stuff” in Southern California and headed east to our new life. We had very little money and no idea where or how we were going to live. My Grandparents always lived in an RV, but I never dreamed that too could be my reality. We completely trusted that this was God’s will and went for it.
This living arrangement was only supposed to last for one to two years at the most Then we planned on settling down somewhere and then buy a home. That was our plan, God had a different plan for us.
We learned a lot that first year. We quickly found out about freezing temperatures and the damage that ice can do to an RV if you’re not prepared. For the first three months in Colorado, we had no running water and electricity was available, but not in abundance. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t happy about the RV lifestyle at first. I really wanted running water, a washing machine, a bigger sink, a dishwasher and a couch or chair to sit in that wasn’t broken. I missed having a closet and a dresser to put our clothes in. Life had so many luxuries up until then, and I didn’t appreciate any of them until they were no longer available to me. Now, I appreciate not having them more than missing them. You might be confused by now but I’ll explain.
We upgraded to a larger 40’long, 12’ wide RV after one year. By then we had dealt with a cracked water heater that had to be replaced, a clogged black water holding tank (the bad one) due to someone flushing a wet wipe down the toilet and survived a serious mouse infestation. I finally had running water at this point and it felt like a luxury. I will never take it for granted ever again.
We went through so many trials that first year and we thought that with the newer, larger RV, living on wheels would be easier. Again, we were wrong.
It seemed like every time we thought we were getting ahead and had some savings, something else would break or need to be replaced. I know most people deal with this as well. It was at this point, I finally took Dave Ramsey’s advice and started saving for our $1000 emergency fund. Having that emergency fund helped us more than I can ever explain to you. Now, when we needed to buy that $500 water heater (we’ve replaced two of them), or a $400 power inverter because our trailer got hit by lightning (for real), we had the money to replace them and we weren’t broke for the next two months because of it. We also didn’t have to put those parts and repairs on a credit card.
Because the new RV was larger, there were so many more things that could go wrong with it. It took more time, effort and was more expensive to maintain. That being said, it is still more budget friendly than maintaining a permanent dwelling which by the way, we still aren’t ready for.
Some really amazing things about living on wheels is that we can pack up and move pretty much anywhere we want/need to with only about 30 minutes notice. When we have a thunderstorm, it snows or there are double rainbows, we see it all up close and personal. The rain tip toes across our roof and the hail is so loud, we can’t hear each other talking. The wind makes our RV sway back and forth and the snow falling outside our windows makes it feel like we are being covered and tucked in by a snow blanket.
The whole world is our backyard and when we look out our front door, we have a view as far as the eye can see. The sunsets are spectacular. We see stars and listen to bull frogs at night without the sound of cars and people drowning their music out. Our space may be small, but it makes for less to clean. We can tidy up quickly and we spend more time together.
Speaking of small spaces, we get along VERY well because there is no “other room” or garage for one of us to retreat to. We live in extremely close proximity and that makes getting along a priority. We choose not to have cable TV, so we spend more time looking at each other in the eyes, walking, talking and spending quiet nights together.
The best thing about living on wheels is that since we have very limited space, we aren’t tempted to have material possessions. When I go shopping and I look at things, I appreciate them, but no longer feel the desire to buy anything because I simply don’t have any room for it. We spend as little as money as possible and we are so much happier than we were when we made more money and had nicer things. In fact, the more things I get rid of, the happier I seem to be.
Don’t get me wrong, of course we want to live in a house or cabin (or Yeti) someday but for now, this is our happy place. I am confident that this is exactly where God wants us and we wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I never thought I would say those words in my lifetime, especially not about living in an RV, but I say it in truth.
We have lived on four wheels for almost four years now. In the beginning I thought that I would miss the city, my job, our STUFF… but I don’t miss any of that. I miss our family and friends. I don’t regret any part of our choice to live on wheels even though there were times, I thought we would never get through it. God kept his promise and never left our side.
You find out very quickly who your true friends are after living in an RV. You figure out who really cares about you for who you are versus people who care as long as you are living the way they expect you to live. You know who is genuine and who is false. It all becomes very transparent when you live so close to the earth. You become grounded.
I know this is a recurring theme in my blog, but I believe that life is so much more than cars, clothes, money… it’s about God, people, relationships and love. It’s about finding the rainbow after the storm, having hope when you think you can’t go on one more day, loving each other even with our faults and forgiving each other, after being hurt over and over.
My life on wheels helped me see this. I’m thankful for that.
Enjoy what you have rather than desiring what you don’t have. Just dreaming about nice things is meaningless—like chasing the wind.
Ecclesiastes 6:9 (NLT)