Of all the things that I have decided to do with my life, my choice to downsize and live simply has been met with more confusion than perhaps even the choice to go RVing itself. Most people assume that when you have big dreams and ambitions that you want more, and that more is always better.
Even among RVers who all understand the need to downsize, when I brought up that I wanted nothing larger than a ½ ton truck, and then asked what size trailer would be safe to tow with that, many responses that I got when I posted to the Escapees forum in July were to look for a larger tow vehicle.
In answer to the question above, yes, I do want more. More freedom, more fun, and more adventure. And downsizing and having a small RV is going to allow me to live a larger, fuller, happier life. Let me explain how.
The obvious answer is cost. A smaller RV and tow vehicle are going to cost less money to purchase up front. This is very true and certainly a factor that influenced my decision, but it runs much deeper than that. A smaller RV is also less expensive to own in that if I had bought a larger one at the same price as the Casita, it would have been older and/or less well built, meaning that the costs of maintenance along the way would be higher. Either in money to take it to a shop somewhere to get the issues addressed, or in time to fix them myself. If you love fixing things and that brings you satisfaction and joy this is a viable route, but I do not.
So with fixer-uppers out of the picture, a larger rig of a higher quality would have required a loan, or more time spent saving up money. Going small means I don’t need to have debt of any kind in my life, which decreases stress and means I’m beholden to no one else. It’s incredibly freeing to know that I don’t owe anybody anything right now. I don’t need to worry about monthly payments, or not having enough to meet the minimum balance, and that is a huge load off my mind.
It also means that I won’t have to wait years and years to live my dream, like if I had decided to stay at my job longer to save up for a bigger rig. That’s more time spent living the life I want right now and less time delaying my goals to a point in the future that could change based on circumstances outside of my control.
And I think it goes without saying that a smaller rig will mean cheaper fuel prices, which is great because I’m going to be living in an RV to see the country, not sit in one spot indefinitely to save on gas.
The smaller my home, the less I can own. Again, I find this a liberating feeling and a positive instead of a negative. Everything that I have in that RV is going to be extremely useful. The less possessions I have, the less I’ll have to worry about where to keep them, and what would happen if I were to lose them in some way or another. And again, it’ll cut down on costs.
By now you have probably noticed a theme: cutting costs. Why is this so important to me? First of all it’ll leave more money to spend on experiences and life goals, which matter more to me than the number of shoes in my closet.
Secondly, spending less money also means I won’t have to make as much money. In the beginning, this means I won’t have to be taking odd jobs as much and can spend more time traveling in my RV. This benefit will carry over to when I transition from more traditional work to location independent work. I can then spend more of my time doing things I love to do, like learning, hiking, singing, and whatever projects or hobbies I take up while on the road.
Besides the money issues, there are some other advantages to a smaller RV. I’ll have a better selection of parking spots that fit the size of my rig. Older RV parks and campgrounds were made for smaller rigs, particularly state parks. Less worrying about where I’ll fit is a good thing.
Smaller RVs are also easier to maneuver, easier to get around with in cities, and easier to boondock with. In a city setting, many people who own Class B’s engage in stealth camping, which is camping where it’s normally not allowed. They can do this because there RV looks enough like a van where the authorities don’t realize that there is someone actually living in it.
Away from the cities, a smaller RV is going to have an easier time going down rough roads and reaching out of the way places for boondocking than a larger rig will. Although if you go this route with boondocking you still want to be very careful off-roading.
While it wasn’t a factor for me personally, other people start with a small RV because they aren’t really sure what they want until they’ve had a chance to live in one, and this makes sense too. Better to buy something smaller and cheaper as a test run while you work out the kinks and get a feel for what will really end up working for you in the long run.
I know of several bloggers who have written about simple and small living, and they’re all probably better at explaining the pros and cons than I am. If you have any interest in the topic at all, here are some good places to look for more in-depth information:
Chris and Cherie at Technomadia spent a several years living in small travel trailers, first a 16′ T@B tear drop, then a 17′ Oliver fiberglass trailer. Clicking on the links will take you directly to the category page for posts related to their experiences in small TTs.
Sue over at RVSue and her canine crew is a solo full-timer who travels in a Casita with her two dogs, and is a particularly good resource for anyone who is curious about how well dogs travel in a small RV.
Glenn at To Simplify is also a solo full-timer. He travels in a Class B RV with his cat and earns his living as a composer and musician.
And for something just a little different, Tammy over at RowdyKittens lives with her husband in a tiny house on wheels – it’s less portable than a RV but sturdier built.
My future Casita is going to be 17′ in length. If you’re on the road now, or have been in the past, what is/was the size of your RV? If you haven’t made your escape yet, what’s the smallest RV that you think you could live comfortably in?
Image courtesy of .Larry Page
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