This is my first real post and I will admit, I’ve been obsessing. From the inception of the idea, to deciding if it was a good idea, to deciding on the type of RV, to deciding on a budget, a layout, color schemes… yes, a lot has happened in a few days. And even with the challenges this lifestyle change will bring, I believe I am ready to take them on.
To be fair, I had thought of this idea before. Several years ago, my boyfriend and I broke up and therefore I decided my living situation was to change. I ultimately decided to buy a house instead, and never thought about the idea again. Until last week.
I was with a friend near his house, and while we were driving past the neighborhood grocery, he commented on the old rusty RV for sale parked on the corner lot. He had said something about renovating it, and essentially flipping and selling it. A light bulb had went off in my head. “I don’t use half of the space in my apartment. I hardly ever sit in my living room nor do I watch TV. I almost never cook… “ and the idea was born.
For me, the rationale was obvious: I’m single, I love being outdoors, I miss being a homeowner and being able to modify my own space as I see fit, I love to travel, I don’t need much in the way of “stuff” to be happy, and I am in some debt (I don’t need stuff, but I like having stuff). It was about my future. I wanted to be able to someday afford my own land, and to be able to build my own house, and this may be a good solution to saving the money I needed. It was about my happiness. Do you ever feel stuck, like you’re boring, like you need a change? Maybe this is the type of change that I need. Something to occupy my time, something to get me out of my comfort zone.
A mountain of questions swelled up. But what about my stuff?! How do I get mail? Where can I park it on a long term basis? What about dumping? Towing? Will my pets be comfortable? Will my parents accept this idea? How will I pay for the RV? and the questions go on…
For my particular situation, most of the answers were very clear to me. I’m single – the only obligation I have is to myself, my dog, and my cat. I don’t have any children or husbands to worry about. I grew up in a family that went RVing often in the summertime for “camping”, and I had always looked forward to our vacations. We even used to bring our cats, so I knew having a cat would not be an issue. I love the outdoors, and RVing definitely brings you closer to nature. I complain often about my debt and spending habits — Living in an RV is cheaper than a house, or even an apartment. I also complain about not having a yard, or enough windows (I live in a luxury apartment). RVs have tons of windows, and some parks provide small yard areas. I miss being able to paint my hallway, change fixtures, install landscape lighting, or have a fire. I can do any of those things with an RV. I may not know how to install new cabinetry, but I have learned a valuable lesson already:
So, I’m obviously a great candidate for full-time RV living. But before I could commit, there were criteria that needed to be met, and questions to be answered. Some of these questions were as follows:
Where would I park it? I’m not sure about other parts of the country, but Montgomery County, Texas has an impressive number of RV parks that offer monthly lot rentals. After some extensive research, an average lot rent is about $500 for a basic grassy lot, sometimes with concrete pads but sometimes not. These RV parks have full hookups (meaning city water and sewer – so no dumping or filling required! Yay!), and many have amenities such as pools, high speed internet, free cable, free mailboxes (yes, you get your mail with a real address!) gyms, laundry rooms, showers, dog play areas, fishing, boat launch access, and some even allow you to build decks with approval. The only thing you have to pay when you arrive is your rent, and an electric deposit which is typically under $200.
There are advantages to being mobile but in an RV park. For instance, you don’t need to give much notice if you decide to leave, you can switch lots easily if you don’t like your neighbors, and you can even get a waterfront site right on Lake Conroe and tie up a boat. That is some premium real estate there, folks. There are million dollar houses on the shores of Lake Conroe.
What will you do with all your stuff? I decided that for now, I am just going to put what I cannot take with me, into storage. I want to be sure that if I absolutely hate the lifestyle, that I can go back to apartment fixed-location-style living fairly easily. If I learn that I like RV living, I can always sell my things.
What about the black and gray water? Isn’t that going to be difficult or disgusting? I read on several forums and heard from a few friends that dumping is really very simple. Fortunately I won’t have to do any dumping at an RV park. But when the time comes, I will read the manual on how to do it, and maybe practice before the dumping is necessary.
How do you plan on towing it? As far as towing goes, I plan to eventually get a truck of my own. For now, I have asked the help of a friend who tows RVs regularly as a side job. If for whatever reason that should fall through, there are several local companies that will tow an RV for a cost.
Where will I put it before my lease is over? There are RV storage places, just like if you were to store a boat. Some are 24 hours, and some even let you work on your trailer at the storage facility. So, if I find the right RV, the sooner would be better so that I can renovate while not living in it. That type of pressure is not fun, folks. People tell you that you shouldn’t rush, and you shouldn’t. But in a few short months, an RV is going to be the only place I am able to live, and so I have to be as decisive and confident as possible.
You have a cat. Where does his litter box go? Most RVs have basement storage, so I will simply make a pet door leading to one of the compartments. That way, the stink is contained and cleaning it from outside is easy.
How will you renovate a trailer if you don’t know how? Fortunately, I am very lucky in that I have many intelligent and hard-working friends across the world, who are willing to share their talents. I am very lucky. One of my friends is an electrician. One , another is a cabinet maker, and another is a plumber. I even have a friend across the country who works at an RV dealership. You get my drift. Being resourceful is key.
Do other people do this? Actually, way more people than you think! Some of these people are my friends , friends of friends, friends’ moms, friends’ grandmas, local neighbors, and random internet strangers. And not a single one of these people have told me they regret it. I’ve mainly heard positive things!
What do your loved ones think? They think its a good idea too! I have their support 100%. They want to see me succeed and be happy. I was a little nervous about my parents, but they are with me every step of the way.
So many of you have offered your help, offered advice, given me virtual high fives and “hell yeah!”s. Let me just say, that kind of support is really VERY important in life. It makes one feel encouraged, uplifted, and confident, and is sometimes the extra push that is needed. It is definitely something I needed, so thank you!!!
Upcoming: How I decided on a budget, how I secured funds, how I decided on what my perfect RV would be, and what I have found during the beginning stages of my search!