Tag Archives: RV

Camper life musings

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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.

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squishing through the river mud

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Small town museum.

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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….

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Full timing before I knew it was a “thing”.

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Full timing before I knew it was a “thing”.

Almost looks like the beginnings of the tiny house movement.

I’ve been fairly secretive about the fact that we live in an RV. Everyday; all year round. There is no sticks and bricks for us to regroup at. This isn’t our summer home. This is a full time venture. A full time commitment to living this lifestyle.  Usually “full-timing” means people are traveling from one place to another in an orderly fashion in a vacation type of quest. Staying in one campground for a short period of time or the local Walmart parking lot for a night here and there. Staying somewhere, briefly, for free is referred to as boon docking. Making your way across the country seeing the sights and keeping costs down as much as possible is the usual goal. Full timers often make there income by working on-line or workamping: traveling to a job designed to facilitate the RV lifestyle by providing camping accommodation. So there are a lot of options in enjoying this lifestyle.  We chose to work regular jobs while living in year round campgrounds.  Since we were in an oilfield area; finding this as an option was easy. But year round campgrounds simply don’t exist in most areas.  

Not pretty. But that’s how you stay warm in a camper in winter. This was our first winter and actually a very mild year. There were worse! And there are prettier ways to wrap a camper. Learn as you go.

Yesterday my husband made the comment ” what if we had u tubed our whole journey over the years? ”  I admit my first thought was ” you aren’t ashamed of how we live? ” We are very quiet people who keep to ourselves and cherish our privacy. But suddenly I thought why not Share?! In my next thought I was wondering what my true feelings were. Was I embarrassed? I remembered all the feelings that go along with such a situation. At first it was an adventure. We had only planned to stay in a camper for one year. (If we made it that long!) I didn’t even know how to flush the toilet! I was waiting for child services to show up. Seriously. Not one person we knew had ever done this. We moved to a place where it was actually quite normal but all the full timers we met were very old couples or working oil patch guys. (Turns out we were in the wrong campground! Families do this all the time in that area and often homeschool to be with the father near his job) We got through the year learning a lot about having grace and patience. When someone feels the need to pace… sit your butt down and for goodness sake,tuck you feet in! lol  We learned about spending more time outside and with each other. About going on adventures! 

Quad trails and picnics high above the river.

After taking a journey across the country and reassessing our life at the one year mark; it was still a good fit for our family so we upgraded to a brand new camper. I was proud to have showed my kids that there is a different way to live and it’s okay! In fact; it’s wonderful! I didn’t want them only seeing how the Jones’ lived. Only meeting “the Jones'”. They now know that every area of their country has a different way of doing things.  A different normal. And very different ideas about what the best local swimming spot is.! 😀  We’ve had a lot fun along way. It’s not for everybody as it sure can put a different spin on things. I suppose it’s all in how you look at it and how willing you are to adapt. There’s no room for a treadmill or 50 pairs of shoes. It comes down to basics. I still have my favorite knick knacks and one plant. I had to tweak the way I cook and I figured out how to can inside with just 2 burners going. Adapt. Go with flow.  Enjoy the ride. Live with grace and understanding. It’s all very doable. Exactly how long have we been doing this you ask? Sigh… its been over 4 years! I had hoped for a property and the makings of a house ages ago. But we couldn’t decide where to live. There are so many beautiful places but you have to consider logistics as well.  We did recently get a property but are still living in in the RV. We’ve set up a yard homestead style. It was a raw wooded lot. We’ll start building a house in spring. 🙂

Hey so does this make me somewhat of an expert then?  I might have to do some posts about how things run around here. Stay tuned!

What makes a homestead? Who made the rules?

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Whoever said you needed a farm to be homesteader kinda messed me up! I fell into that trap and got hurt.

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When we sold our house, there were bigger dreams involved. After years of “practicing” (complete with goats) on our large lot on the edge of town, it was time to move on in hopes of saving for a bigger venture in a new community. We sold everything and set out in an RV. It wasn’t a year later and we bought an 18 acre piece of land. Just one problem… it was on the other end of the country. If you are following my blog you may have read about that trip. I deleted that post. We didn’t stay out there long, before realizing it was just too far away from friends and family. That was a very unnerving feeling for us. It would have been a daunting task trying to create a yard and build a home from scratch in a place with no jobs to speak of. We moved back to get jobs and continue our search.

 

 

I deleted that post… Perhaps out of embarrassment and a bruised ego. Maybe because I thought I would never have a homestead and it was all starting to feel like a lie. How could I consider myself a homesteader without any land. How could I continue cooking and preserving foods they way I had been, while living in a camper. We were so ready to jump in but terrified of failing. I suppose we chose to eat, so to speak. There were after all, kids to feed. So…

We settled into a four season campground, put the kids on the school bus and both worked. I no longer had the time or energy to bake cookies or bread. And there was no more bulk produce that needed canning. It felt like failure and the death of dream. I remember mourning that death. I was a fraud for blogging about things I used to do and sharing about a dream that would never come to be.

So, fast forward a few years… We are on our third camper and I am following some homesteading pages on Facebook. There is still hope. Everyone is in a different place in their journey. Some people are in apartments doing what they can for now and preparing for their next step toward further self sufficiency. This makes me feel all that more confident in who I am and in the steps I am able to take at this point in the journey, even if it is in a camper.

We have made some changes recently in the right direction. We moved, closer to family, and bought a property this summer. Once again its on the edge of a village. The same size as our old piece but very close to a lake. There are plenty of walking trails through the woods and to the lake. I have been canning more than ever before! This is huge. I’ve been given many boxes of apples, plums, raspberries, squash, tomatoes, and much much more. This community is so inviting and giving.  We’ve certainly been blessed.


We took a leap of faith moving here. We truly didn’t even know if we’d like being in the country but living in town was a strange idea. So we came with open minds and stumbled upon this wooded lot that they almost didn’t even show us. So far… no neighbors! And those trails…right down the street 2 lots over. Mr. Evolving and I have spent some time clearing an old overgrown path and there are more to uncover.  I can hear the boats on the lake from my yard and the kids rode their bikes down for swimming lessons.   I’d say it has worked out wonderfully, so far. I am back on track with the homesteading ways and couldn’t be happier. It’s been a ton of work as this was an untouched lot. Overgrown with trees and uneven ground, we’ve cleared a spot for our camper and gotten in the power(included in the lot fee), internet and septic. We still have to drill a well but hauling water hasn’t been too bad. We brought in some beautiful elk manure/soil and made raised garden beds; mostly in old tires. We worked hard as a family and watched many projects come together.  We even have the opportunity to home school after wanting to for so long. Best thing we’ve ever done, btw!

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Life can certainly take over at times and make you feel like there’s no way of changing things. I was upset with myself for giving up on the person I knew myself to be. I think the biggest struggle of all is agreeing, as a couple, on… well, everything! How many sacrifices and which ones? There are so many levels of this way of life. I’ve seen couples seperate because of the city vs country life debate. I suppose this unserviced wooded lot is our compromise. There are many things to consider when putting yourself in the middle of nowhere with no neighbors or services or having a true feeling of safety. We feel better informed and more mature when it comes to our decision making now. haha For now, I have resigned myself to the fact that there may never be another goat in my life. Time will tell though. A chunk of land may very well  be in our future. But for now this is Perfect!

We’ve been plotting our secret plans already… I hear Quail are quite interesting to watch!  And eggs would just be an edible byproduct;  right? !  lol For now I will wait while my sauerkraut ferments and the oats soak for morning poridge. I will crochet a new pattern by the wood stove and dream of house plans. I will continue to be grateful for where we are. And learn to appreciate the journey… however long it may have seemed and take pleasure in knowing it isn’t over.