Camper life musings


I came across this post I wrote over 3 years ago. We had committed to living in an RV for one year. Our plan was to be debt free and explore other parts of the country on our own terms. By that, I mean NOT renting a house or having utility bills! So, how did it go? … let’s find out…

Our one year commitment
(written June 2013)

Last June (2012) we sold our house and decided to give living in a travel trailer a go for a year.
Of course, one year includes a winter! How would one accomplish the survival of this??!! With advice from a couple who have lived in their fifth wheel since 1998 and just trying what we thought might work. That’s How!

Insulated tarps, solid Styrofoam and electric heaters underneath, covered windows and slides. (ugly and alarmingly orange, but cheap and effective!) We had absolutely no problems! Broom the snow off the roof, make sure you always have power to your heat tape which is wrapped around the water hose going in and the gray water/black water coming out. We did have that pipe freeze up once, but with some brainstorming the boy and I came up with a plan and executed it beautifully. Someone was so impressed with us that he brought home pizza after work.
Things went better than expected. Five of us in a 31 ft. camper just required a little grace. When daddy is using the kitchen, it’s best to just sit off to the side out of the way. When the boy seems to be spending far too much time in his bed reading; you have to realize that there really isn’t anywhere else for him to sit or anything much to do right now. (should have taught him to knit sooner than March)
But each new move brings new people to meet and share stories with and new playgrounds to try out. We visit every new library and museum we come across. Learning the areas history and meeting some locals is all part of the experience. Living this way has certainly brought us closer as a family! That was probably the most surprising and pleasing development. Because we don’t have a ton of housework, home improvements, and yard maintenance taking up all of our time we were able to explore the communities and what they had to offer. Also; we were within 20 minutes of most things at most places we stayed. Unlike our hour drive into the city from our house and no interesting nature places to explore.


squishing through the river mud


Small town museum.


Well, that was a year in a nutshell. We learned how very different two cities can be. Living in an oilfield city is great for making money, living in a camper is great for saving money and watching how others spend theirs was interesting. Owning brand new jacked up trucks is how the young guys show off their riches. The older business men seem to show theirs by owning horses and getting involved in chuck wagon racing. I suppose this is just our opinion and observations, please do not take offense! Such a contrast to what we see only one province over.

As emotional and stressful as downsizing and selling most of what you own can be, it is very freeing! People hold on to things and acquire more things all the time. I have learned to purge what we don’t use, need or love. Making that choice at the store and saying no to things you really like can be hard at first. And wanting to bring home something because it’s just so darn cute, doesn’t usually fly when you live in a camper. Unless of course you plan on purging each season and before any trip you take, due to weight restrictions. I tend to get rid of the old when something new comes in. So I don’t like the thought of investing in something brand new that I know I will have to get rid of sooner than later. I always have a bag for donations in my truck but lately my daughter and I have been cutting up old clothes to braid into a rug.

It’s been quite an experience! One that we may continue….


About Rita

Welcome! I'm glad to share some of what I've learned over the years with you. I try to learn new things often. Being mostly self taught usually means making a lot of mistakes first. In the kitchen this includes, baking with yeast, canning, fermenting, soaking, drying foods, grinding my own flour, making most things homemade, altering recipes to make them healthier, etc. I started sewing more complicated things, learned to knit and then taught the kids. Next was crocheting and then homeschooling. More adventures ahead...

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