What it's really like to live in an RV » The Daily Remote

What it’s really like to live in an RV

6 min read

RV myths and misconceptions

There are a lot of misconceptions about RVing or living in an RV. I know because I was the person who had all these misconceptions before I ever considered living in one:

  • RV and trailer parks are dangerous
  • Most RVers are retired
  • Very limited storage space
  • Expensive to own and use

In this article, I want to debunk these myths that you might have about RVing or living in an RV.

Before we purchased our RV, I had not even stepped foot in one before. All I knew about RVs in the past was that you had to dump your own #1 and #2 and that was enough for me to potentially avoid it altogether.

Gypsy at heart

But a lot changes over the years when you live in an apartment or a house. For me, I started to long for travel and to be completely unhinged from the costs that were keeping me stationary.

Even when I was a kid, I would often write poems about far away places. I’ve always been somewhat of a gypsy at heart. When my parents and I would travel, I would unpack all our clothes into the drawers they provide in hotels so we felt more at home wherever we were.

When my partner and I decided to live in an RV, the idea became much more of a possibility than a distant idea once we started to research what it was actually like.

We read blogs, searched through Pinterest, and quickly discovered just how many working-class people live in an RV and have for years and never looked back.

Things you have to wrap your mind around

#1 Yes, you have to dump your own excrement 💩–but it’s not as disgusting as people make it out to be.

There are several preparations and processes to take to ensure that it is hygienic and that you are doing everything to ensure the cleanliness and maintenance of your tanks.

  • Use gloves specifically for dealing with sewer
  • Use a sewer hose container or bag for storage
  • Wash your hands with soap thoroughly after dumping
  • Use a separate hose for your drinking water and one for rinsing the tank and sewer hose

We have only had to dump our “black tank” (#2) every 1-2 weeks. We dump our “grey tank” (kitchen, shower, and sinks) a lot more often–every 3-5 days.

#2 You might have to figure it out 🤷‍♀️ yourself.

The instruction manuals and walkthroughs provided by the dealer where you bought your RV are likely going to be lacking in the information you actually need to get started.

Our walkthrough was a helicopter view of how the RV actually worked and the instruction manual they provided us was outdated from the manufacturer.

They told us to Google something if we weren’t sure but even that was a shot in the dark at best because your make and model of RV and appliances will differ from others that have posted “solutions” to problems.

The best thing to do to troubleshoot issues is to look at the manufacturer’s website for up-to-date instruction manuals or a phone number to call them. We also solved a lot of problems ourselves by just testing out things.

Be careful doing this though! If you are troubleshooting potentially hazard things like your stove or water heater, please do the research before you damage the appliance or potentially cause harm to yourself.

#3 Downsize, downsize, downsize.

You really don’t need as many possessions as you think you do. When we started the process of downsizing, we quickly realized that we had accumulated stuff over the years that we hadn’t touched since it was bought. Let it go!

Read more: How to downsize your life to live a digital nomad lifestyle

If you are claustrophobic, click away. This lifestyle isn’t for you. For everyone else, yes, you will be living in a smaller space. But it also depends on the RV you choose.

There are travel trailers (like ours; hitched to the truck bumper), fifth-wheels (hitched in the truck bed), and a variety of motor coaches. We looked at some fifth-wheels that had full-sized refrigerators, ceiling fans, and dens with 65″ television screens!

We chose the size, weight, and class that we could not only tow, but that was a comfortable enough space for us to live full-time. Both our families have been surprised at just how much space we actually had.

Choosing the right RV for you depends on how you to travel and camp.

What you may have to sacrifice

When my partner and I talk to people about living the tiny life, their responses usually end in “you guys are living the dream life.”

It is our dream life, but it is by no means the dream life for everyone.

We had to make some sacrifices along the road such as:

  • No baths (showers only)
  • No washer/dryer or laundry room
  • A yard for the dogs
  • A workshop/garage
  • An office space

Granted, there are some RVs on the market that include some of these amenities. But for the rig we currently live in, those are some things we were okay with giving up.

Everyone is different and will be willing to compromise on different things. Ultimately, you have to decide what compromises are deal breakers for you and what aren’t.

For us, the freedom to always be home no matter where our “backyard” is was worth giving up a lot of conveniences.

What you gain by living in an RV

Which leads me into the reasons people choose to live in an RV if they’re able:

  • Location independence: You get to choose where you live and for how long. Don’t like an area? Guess what? You’re house is on wheels. You can pack up and pick a new spot.
  • Travel more: Life is short and there are so many beautiful places in Creation to discover and appreciate. I’m a firm believer that travel makes us better humans because we experience new people, cultures, and places. Go see them!
  • Intentionality: Living this lifestyle requires some planning ahead. We have to account for things like weather, Internet coverage, nearby airports, and more. This trains you to prepare and plan but also balances for the spontaneity of exploring new places.
  • Focus on what matters: When you reduce your dependency on things, you stop desiring the need to acquire them. We had to downsize before we moved into the trailer, but we continue to downsize every quarter. This tiny life forces you to be mindful of your load and whether you are focusing on things or experiences and people. Stop trying to keep up with the Jones’!
  • Health in nature: Did you know that it’s scientifically proven that being in nature is good for you? According to the University of East Anglia, “exposure to greenspace reduces the risk of type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, premature death, preterm birth, stress, and high blood pressure.”

Now I want to hear from you: do you think you could live in an RV full-time? If you currently live in an RV, what do you like and dislike?

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