I lost my house a couple of years ago and managed to buy a 25-foot camper. I’ve lived in smaller campers before and it was really cramped. I could essentially stand up, sit or lie down. This one is old and has its problems but, by comparison, is a mansion. I can actually walk around a bit in it. Still, it has its down side. I’m pretty content for the time being. I have a safe place for me and my two dogs to live while I try to figure out what to do with the rest of my life.
The Good and the Bad About Camper Living
There are folks who love living in an RV or camper. I can’t say I’m totally in love with it. There are good and bad things about it.
On the Road
Many people love to travel. They have comfortable campers and like to hit the road. They can stay in parks and enjoy the natural beauty of the country. They can visit places that they could never afford to see if they had to pay for lodging. They can visit friends and relatives without needing a place to stay. They can go wherever they like whenever they like.
Small and Cheap
Others like the smallness of it. They love the idea of paring back to the essentials and traveling light. It is liberating to get down to just what you need instead of trying to maintain too many toys. You won’t need a riding lawn mower, or a houseful of furniture or two cars and a garage full of stuff. There is a movement now to promote living in tiny houses. A camper certainly qualifies
Living costs can be significantly cheaper. There is no mortgage if the camper is paid for like mine is. The only thing you might have to pay for is a camping site. I pay by the month and it is extremely cheap. I do pay for my own electricity but it has never even reached $50 a month. And I have to provide my own propane for cooking, but a tank last for several months.
Of course if you’re traveling, you can boondock - that is staying somewhere for free but usually without hookups or any amenities. While I was moving, I spent most nights in a WalMart parking lot. It was free and felt pretty safe but it wasn’t the most scenic place to stay. I was going from one part of the country to another and wasn’t traveling for pleasure. There are other places that are well off the beaten path where you can park for a night or for a period of time. The trade off with traveling is that you would be spending money on gas.
The downside is the smallness of it. While it is liberating to get rid of stuff, I’m a weaver, teacher and craft person. I have no room to set up my looms and work and teach. I don’t want to get rid of my tools so I store them or cram them in the corners where I can. There's no room to actually use any of it.
Home Sweet Home
I don’t really like to travel all that much. I would rather be at home with my dogs and work in the yard. I can’t put up a fence here so the dogs don’t have a yard. I have to walk them down the street to find a place where I can throw toys for them until they’re tired out. Otherwise, they have to be tied out or in the camper.
Home is Where the Food Is
I love to garden. I can’t plant anything in the ground here. I can put things in pots and set them outside. Still, there’s a limit to what you can grow in a pot in a small space. I’m doing the best that I can.
I really would love to have a self-sufficient homestead. That was my goal when I did have my own house. I had chickens for eggs and meat. I had a large garden and was learning how to store food.
I had goats for fleece and milk and cheese and sheep for wool for weaving and knitting. I can’t do any of that here. I don't even have enough room to store more than a week's worth of food at one time.
Too Close for Comfort
I’m an introvert and prefer solitude. I don’t mind having people around a bit. I like having neighbors I can visit and talk to once in a while, but I get uncomfortable if I go to bed and I can hear someone next door coughing.
For the Time Being
I have to remind myself that this lifestyle isn’t forever. I am trying my best to earn some money so I can someday buy a little bit of land or even rent a little cottage. While this isn’t the best place I’ve ever lived, it’s not the worst either. In the meantime, I can work on being more self sufficient. I would like to get some solar panels and see how much I can reduce the electric bill. I can grow more in pots. I still have to walk the dogs, but that isn’t so bad for me either.