If you’re reading this, you’re probably at least a little familiar with my husband and me from my Facebook or Instagram. If you’re not familiar, let me introduce us. I am cardiovascular intensive care unit RN (CVICU RN)/knitter and my husband is a composer/tech support technician/uber driver. We live in a city for 3 months at a time, then move on, all the while living in our 36 foot class A motorhome. And finally, after almost 10 months, we are LOVING IT, getting the hang of it, and finally have an outlet to talk about it to everyone that wants to hear!
First and foremost: the whole “living in an RV” idea was completely mine, and my husband was gracious enough to entertain the idea. I have a tendency to be super annoying when I come up with, what I think, would be a GREAT idea. I had seen tiny houses in Portland, OR when I was visiting some family in 2014, but it wasn’t until I saw the page GraceandSalt on Instagram that I was shown the world of remodeled RV living! They had painted all the walls white, gotten rid of the horrific RV furniture and window treatments, and made it a home. Since I saw that, I was scrolling every day on Instagram, Pintetest, and Facebook for renovated RV ideas. At this same time, I was doing a travel nurse contract in Tulsa, OK (where my grandparents live). My husband and I had just gotten married in October of 2017, and I started my contract 2 hours away 2 months later. My grandpa had been diagnosed with cancer I think a year or so prior, and I felt like I just needed to be there. Plus I got to see them a ton more than I ever had in my adult life. Lots of good bonding. Anyway, my intuition ended up weirdly being spot on (that’s a whole post for another day: nurses intuition), and he ended becoming terminally ill while I was staying with them. He died on February 4th, and we bought our RV on February 9th. It felt like I was tipping my hat to him. He loved camping, from pop-up campers to big ‘ole 5th wheels. Losing him affected me way more than I anticipated, and I knew right away that it was a decision point in my life….we had a lease coming to and end, and no idea what we were doing next, so within 5 days of him passing, we bought our home for less than $30k, and decided to leave Oklahoma to go see stuff. Any stuff. Different stuff.
So now, why tiny living?
For the most part, you are taught to live your life in a certain order. Go to highschool, go to college, meet your soulmate, spend an exorbitant amount on a wedding, buy a house that you really can’t afford, and start procreating as fast as humanly possible. God forbid you actually enjoy spending time with your new husband/wife…no. Go have some kids. Raise them, send them to the best schools, retire, then that’s it. I mean honestly, that’s a crude way to put that, and I realize that. However, that’s the gist of how I felt the world was pushing toward us. In a society where young people are already crippled with educational debt alone, we couldn’t even fathom adding on another 100-150k on top of that. I also feel like I should add, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with the above-mentioned life-plan. It is a perfectly fine plan, with stability and security. There is an inherent sense of security when you do things the same as the folks around you. We as humans find peace in sameness. Michael and I just knew that we wanted something a little different, and we wanted a practical way to be able to tackle our debt, while also having our own home.
We also knew that we wanted to travel. Michael has wanted to go to Colorado for years now, and I’ve been wanting to go to Portland. Having a mobile career like travel nursing is perfect for spontaneity. Even just the other night at work, I was looking at travel nurse contracts in Hawaii! Like what?! Basically a 3 month vacation paid for in exchange for me working 3 days a week. Sounds like a deal. Really though, we are both spontaneous in nature, and having a healthy outlet to express that is so important to us right now, especially since we don’t have kiddos yet. We have just purchased a National Park Passport, and we can’t wait to fill it up. Our goal while we are in Albuquerque, NM is to visit all of the National Parks in New Mexico before we go on our next adventure.
Next on the list is having a stable home. I had lived in 6 rental properties in the last 5 years. Moving once, or sometimes twice, a year is something I don’t think I could ever experience again. I was always living out of a box, dreaming about my perfect home. Our RV is the first stable home I’ve had really since undergrad (I lived in a house for about 3 years, the yearly change-outs). We made it exactly how we wanted it, and every nook and cranny matches our needs. Plus, it isn’t that expensive to do some basic renovations on an RV.
- Ripping off the window treatments and throwing them in the garbage- free
- Installing new roll-down shades for the whole front: about $120 (thanks Levolor at Lowes!)
- Replacing the floors–around $200. $200 to replace the floors in our ENTIRE HOUSE. You just can’t beat that considering doing that in a sticks-and-bricks home will cost you thousands of dollars.
- Painting the entire thing white (or whatever color you want)–lets say $300. It probably wasn’t that much, but it definitely wasn’t more than that. $30 for each can of primer x2, $50 for each can of paint x3, brushes, etc.
Just doing those 4 things right there has your RV looking 1,000x better. You don’t have to replace the sink/faucet/furniture. Just paint the darn thing and take off the window treatments. I’m certain that major RV manufacturers will come along to this idea eventually.
Finally, living in a tiny space makes us acutely aware of the things we own. Even moving year-to-year from rental house to rental house, I was purging at least once a year. Now in our tiny home, we are constantly evaluating what we need and what we don’t need. We have a running GoodWill pile in the trunk of our care that we just throw stuff in, and once the pile fills the trunk, we drive it away. Being consistently aware of your possessions, I believe, is fundamentally important to our happiness. A cluttered space is a cluttered mind.
Do you guys have any questions? If so feel free to reach out on the “say hello!” tab! We would love to hear from you!