Like I previously discussed, living in an RV is an outrageous idea. So how is it that a sensible woman like myself is living in an RV? Here are four events that changed my mind about the whole idea.

1. Having a Baby

Chelsea at 3 months
All the effort to put an actual outfit on and she has to pose like this?!

Everyone knows that having a baby changes your life, mostly because it’s all anyone wants to tell you when you’re pregnant, thinking about pregnancy, watching a movie that has a baby in the background, etc. What they don’t tell you is that it changes your life because it is stressful as all get out! The literal “having” the baby is hard, but the more literal “having the baby at home with you” is harder!

People fail to mention the more-popular-than-we-think Post-Partum Depression, or the way your body forgets how it feels to be normal, and (oh!) how it is nearly impossible to balance getting the right amount of help versus the right amount of bonding time with this new little creature.
To sum it up, having a baby was not fun for me. I got hit with a huge dose of PPD, propelling me in a thousand different directions to distract myself. I was lost as a parent, and I knew something drastic had to occur in order to find purpose in my life as a mother.

This is the number one reason why I decided to go all in with RV living. I wanted that romantic feeling of motherhood and I knew my current lifestyle was not cutting it.

 

2.Husband’s Twelve Month Deployment

 

Daddy’s last night, let’s swim I guess

During our first year of marriage, I was filled with this incredible sense of guilt. I had come into the marriage with $22k worth of student debt. To ease the guilt, I worked a job below my skill set for the easy money while I finished up school. 27 days after Chelsea was born, I trudged out into the snow and returned to that job, little seven pound baby in tow.

My husband was training on and off for the next few months, which meant he was not where I was. I suppose we got used to being apart, falling back into our pre-marriage long-distance thing, so when the opportunity to deploy came up, he snatched it. He knew I wanted to pay off debt as quickly as possible and he saw this as the perfect opportunity. I did too, and coupled with the depression I was unknowingly facing, I didn’t put up much of an argument when he came to me with the idea.

He left for Afghanistan the day after Chelsea turned 6 months old. By the time he returned, his daughter was 3x older and no longer a baby. I hated that he had missed out on so much because our number one priority was paying off debt instead of being together.

Transitioning back to normal family life was difficult, and when times were tough, I would hide from him. I would leave the room, close the door, or make an excuse about having to clean the bathroom, whatever it took to walk away. Doing this stunted our growth. I wanted my relationship back and I knew he wanted to be husband and Daddy again. This is why the RV lifestyle became more appealing to me. A smaller space would force us to confront our emotions and work through our issues. There was nowhere to hide!

 

3.Living With the In-Laws

my house before living in an rv
Welcome to your new home, Liz!

 

When Ed deployed, we girls moved in with his dad and stepmother. I had a large bedroom (with a half wall separating the room) that was my sole responsibility. That was it. It was probably about a quarter the size I was used to, and very easy to keep neat and clean. Of course, I tried my hardest to help with the rest of the house, but I suppose because it wasn’t mine, it was less stressful to clean up, kinda like when you’re a kid and have fun at your best friend’s cleaning and helping, but when you’re at home you start World War Three if anyone suggests you make your bed. Strange how the brain works, huh?

While I was there, I really embraced a minimalist way of thinking. I have always been a person of little stuff, but when having a baby people want to bombard you with any and every piece of baby invention known to man. Having so much crap (there, I said it!) was making me on edge, so I purged constantly. I was a frequenter to the Salvation Army donate box, and I made it clear to others my thoughts on “stuff.” I joined a local minimalist group and even attended a meeting! (You’re right, unbelievable!)

I took Chelsea on many trips because I had no husband waiting for dinner, because I was lonely, and because I love to see new places.

We went on a 2500 mile road trip together in that first month without Ed. Then we went to Florida twice. In the winter, we visited family in Kansas City. Chelsea hit her first birthday already having seen New York, Chicago, Boston, Detroit, and Canada.

I fell in love with travel through this little girl’s eyes, and although I was still struggling to find my niche as a mother, I knew I wanted Chelsea to have a life full of wonder and adventure. I didn’t want her first year to be her most exciting. Keeping this in mind, I knew the RV life could make this a reality.

 

4.Failed Attempts at House Buying

 

Ed and Liz in dismay about contract fall-throughs
You won’t believe this couple’s epic real estate fails!

 

A few months before Ed came home, I went house shopping. I found a house and put an offer on it. It was accepted and the process started. What a hassle! I do not recommend being a first-time home buyer, purchasing 1000 miles from where your current location. Oh, and don’t complicate it with things like Power of Attorney and banks without physical locations, okay? Ya know what? Don’t buy a house at all, but more on that later.

Was I excited? Sure. Was I in love with the whole thing? No. In my mind, we had just gone through a year of being apart to pay off debt, and now we were tripling it. But house buying is what you do, right? RIGHT?  It would be saving us money right? RIGHT?

Ed came home and we ended up having to pull out of the deal due to location. This time, he flew down alone as the buyer. Didn’t I mind him being the sole decision maker on our home? Not at all.

My only request was less than 1200 square feet, please. I even told him to pay more money for less space! What kind of cheap woman does that? One who is coming very close to the realization that stuff and space does not mean success, and it definitely doesn’t equate to happiness! In fact, those things may be contributing to her awful bad case of low down blues! Anyway, we put in a second –accepted offer only to have the deal fall through days before our big move. What were we going to do?

 

This is when Ed made the joke about living in an RV again.

This time I hesitated. After all, RVs were small and couldn’t hold a lot of stuff. I was secretly in on the idea.

 

Have you ever thought about living in an RV? Or just making the move to simpler living? I’d love to hear your story!

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12 thoughts on “Living in an RV: 4 Events that Changed My Mind

  1. You are a smart lady! Good for you for seeing what’s important, and your kiddo is one lucky little girl. She will have so many adventures to remember for her whole life. I’d love to do what you are doing, but I went and had a pile of kids and I would probably go crazy without a room of my own to lock the door and get away from them sometimes. Sad but true! Good luck to you.

    1. Thanks Millie. As far as locking yourself up, I’m jealous! Even the dog has figured out how to open my bedroom door.

  2. I’ve been reading your posts for awhile and wondered what prompted you to live in an RV. I enjoyed reading this post and finding out the reasons why. They are very practical and make a lot of sense.

  3. We have both a house and an RV and I would sell the house tomorrow and live in the camper. So would our animals and 13 year old. The plan is to get our blog to allow us to travel full time. Hopefully before our daughter is grown. If nothing else it’s our retirement plan. I think minimal living is the best and it brings the family closer. Your daughter is a lucky girl.

    1. That is awesome Cheryl! I hope your blog takes off and you are able to LIVE YOUR DREAM! Let me know if I can help with any of that. I’m always looking for ways to collaborate within the blogosphere!

  4. I love the idea of tiny living and being free from the debts and hassles of modern home living! I think RV living could be an amazing experience– thank you for sharing your stories!

  5. I am loving reading your story. I love the idea that less is more. I could do with some serious minimalizing in my own life. Thank you for the inspiration. xoxo

  6. It sounds so interesting that you live in an RV. I would love to do that especially during summer and to travel around, but doing that during winter in Norway would be too cold I think. I would hate to buy a house and be in debt for so long as I already have student loan as well 🙁

    1. Thanks for commenting!
      Yes we live in a pretty warm climate. It has gotten cold here, but only for a few days and we survived.
      As far as buying a house goes, I am so glad we didn’t end up buying one. It seriously makes me nervous thinking about how close we were to putting ourselves in 100k worth of debt, and for what? I’d much rather take away a few of my “luxuries” and live in the RV for cheap!

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