There was a desire to travel early in my 20’s combined with a love for driving anything and everything. So much so that by age 33, I’ve driven approx 1+ million commercial miles. It seemed a perfect marriage of desire, and love. The missing component oddly enough was security. When I say security, it doesn’t mean financial. There is plenty of money to be made driving over the road. Safety? Depends, on your mental toughness and street smarts. Over the course of a decade in and out of the five boroughs of NY, and other major cities up and down the east coast both were found.
The security in question was having a home to go to. It was in most instances waking up in my own bed. Something hard to accomplish when your sitting at Loves Truck stop in Youngstown OH while your bed waits alone, over 800 miles away. The security was having home with me. Feeling like I was home. A shower, couch and even a stove. The comforts of home perhaps. While most over the road trucks now a days offer comfort a billion times more impressive then when they first become used in the early 1900’s, it is nothing to your own place. What are you to do if you want to travel, live small and have home the comforts of home where ever you are?
Couple years ago, a nightly YouTube binge brought me across a video where a guy built a 120 sq foot home and lived in it full time. It was a stick built ( similar to a house ), paid for and offered many financial advantages over a typical “Mc’Mansion” Lower heat and electric bills. Less space to buy useless things that end up unseen for years on a back room shelf. The main advantage that was appealing was a unique and different level of independence. You were free from the race of out doingsociety buying larger, and bigger things. Needing a larger and bigger place to store and eventually heat/cool it all. The ability find work that suits you. Full fills you, and brings true happiness to your life vs slaving away at your 9-5 gig. Don’t get me wrong, for some if not most people that works for them. For others, there are options.
For the next 2 years after watching that video my virtual OCD kicked in and research began immediately. How much, how soon, where would I live. Would people think I’m crazy? Two years of web research, thousands of YouTube videos and plans found on-line a few ideas about what it would look like began to shape. The vision was coming into focus. Two years. For the vision of what it might look like. Beginning to see the issue here?
While YouTube binging, a video suggestion caught my eye. Full time camper living. Campers are small. Already built, I watched. One, then five and before you know it I knew the difference between a black and gray water tank. What boon-docking was, where and how to do it and even found some places around me to do it. The idea was so simple yet exciting it’s a wonder why it never occurred to me prior. A already assembled, road ready structure. Electric, plumbing, shower, pooper, fridge and a way to cook.
While dating a woman her parents had a camper sitting in their yard. By this point the notion of living small had already been described in great detail. A deal was made and the camper purchased. Time was spent by us both getting the newly acquired 1984 ( yes, it’s a 30 year old camper!) 28′ SunLine camper ready. It’s previous owners had let it go a bit but cleaned up well. Testing all the systems was fun, and a lesson in frustration all the same. All 12 volt systems worked. Lights. Water pump. Roof appeared to be leak free ( more on the “appeared” part later ) The fridge is a gas/electric combo. The concept of cooling food with the same gas you’d cook it with was already known to me. Yet putting it into real life practice felt like a child tearing into their first Christmas gift of the morning.
The plumbing worked, sort of. After chasing down many cracked lines and pipes water began to flow. The old propane water heater was replaced at some point in it’s life for a new electric one. The first shower was a cold one, only because the knobs weren’t labeled correctly. In short, after some minor repairs here and there ( in detail in a future blog ) the SunLine was alive! Sadly, during the process the relationship had ended with the woman I was seeing. Which leads me to the present. Sitting at my kitchen table. Typing away on a laptop that is plugged into a 30 year old wall socket. While my dogs snore, fart and whimper in their sleep on the floor.
So why full time RV living? It has become very obvious to me why this change of pace works for someone like me. Having lived in 3 different states. Traveled 38 of the lower 48 as a truck driver, and the desire to be on the move. Disliking large utility bills ( why would you pay hundreds of dollars a month to heat what amounts a storage shed for all your belongings? ) and the ability to have the comforts of home where ever life takes me. The freedom of owning my dwelling debt free as well as having more control over my life, vs my dwelling controlling me. So far it’s been approx 1.5-2 months in and my decision only feels better. It isn’t for everyone. But by sharing my experiences I’m hopping to shed light on the good, bad and ugly that will help someone else down the line make the same choice, or decide it isn’t for them. Next blog I’ll detail my four legged security system, and document visually the humble abode. In the future I’ll try to keep these a little shorter 😉