Be Happy. Live Mobile : Virtual Work from the Road (2 of 3)
Living in a 14 foot by 6 foot living space can be challenging. There are now many books and courses available about downsizing, living the “tiny house” way, and the minimalist lifestyle in what has become a very active movement of people interested in tiny house living. It’s a movement of very creative people and I’ve learned so much from RVers as well as tiny house proponents.
I started my full time RV living adventure about 10 months ago, and I am hooked. Since I have a mobile lifestyle (working online and I’m not tied to an office) making the leap to little was pretty easy.
Even though my living area is small, my life isn’t small. I spend more time outside than I used to when I lived in a house. But now I can be outside more because I spend more time in warm places. (No. I don’t ski.) The view from my “sunroom” (the passenger seat in the cab of my RV) changes frequently, and I get to travel to interesting places just about whenever I want to go.
The freedom of this mobile lifestyle requires some planning, though. I have to carry all of the water I want to use (and I have to know where to get rid of the “used” water as well)! What people ask me most about, though is reducing owning physical things, and increasing positive experiences. Here are some of the nuts and bolts of my daily life. (Even people who live in big houses have told me they’d benefit from these ideas).
I don’t buy physical books anymore (except for rare occasions).These days I measure my book collection in digital bits instead of feet of bookshelf space. I have just a few essential books in one box in my van, and the rest of my huge book collection is in my Kindle reading app on my computer and phone. (Here are some more app tips). I’m a daily reader, so digital book storage wasn’t optional for me. Do I miss holding a book in my hands and turning real pages? Sometimes I do, yes. But I can now also scribble notes and dog ear pages to my heart’s delight, knowing that I’m not destroying a book!
Other tricks for downsizing from living in a house to living in a small RV have included…
I eat really well. My refrigerator holds about 3 days worth of healthy fruits and veggies. In colder months (and colder regions) I started cooking rice, beans and greens on my hot plate, but all of my cooking or food prep is simple, healthy, and easy. When it comes to food, think healthy and simple. I’ve had only one sick day (stuck in bed) since living in my RV; I credit good nutrition.
What does food have to do with downsizing? It actually makes a lot of sense. I use good-tasting and simple ingredients. Most of my meals only use a few different foods (think high-taste but low-space). Since I rarely use meat or dairy products, I don’t worry about the bacteria associated with these. Meal prep is easy, and so is clean up. This type of food plan isn’t for everyone. It’s just one way I’ve simplified that suited me. Your mileage may vary.
Space so I can think while I work.
If I don’t make my bed in the morning, if I drop one sock on the floor, or if there is a single coffee cup in the sink, my living space feels cluttered. Two items not put away and the whole place looks like a bomb went off. Living in a small space demands frequent tidying sessions, but these are short. I can tidy my van in about 10 minutes if things are moderately disorganized. I can deep clean in about 30 to 45 minutes. I put away dishes, clothes and food items after I use them and voila — I have a peaceful space to work, to write, and to think.
Intentional use of “stuff”.
When I moved into my RV, I set a rule: nothing comes into the truck that only has one use. My one concession is my 12V coffee maker. I guess you could say even that appliance has two uses: it makes coffee and it wakes me up in the morning. 🙂 OK, that’s a stretch, but I’m sticking with it.
Everything else in the van serves multiple uses.
- My salad bowl is a steel mixing bowl and has a tight fitting lid. Good for prep and storage.
- Assorted sizes of Mason jars are drinking glasses, food storage, salad dressing mixing containers, and whatever else I can think of. Same with my dishes — they all double as food storage and have lids.
- The table in my living area is my desk, my dining table, and even serves as a small shelf when it’s collapsed out of the way.
- The step ladder used to get up to the platform bed is also the chair to sit at the table.
The main point of using fewer things (in addition to taking up less space) is that my daily focus is on having good experiences. I like to live in beautiful areas. It’s important to me to do good work. I also like to be exposed to new sights, sounds and flavors. My simple life lets me live fully in these ways.
Ready to ditch your house, work online, and live on the road? 🙂
In my next (and last) installment in this mobile lifestyle series, I’ll talk about the ins, outs and how-tos of balancing travel and virtual work.
Ready to start your own virtual lifestyle and live the life you’ve imagined? Get started with SBI! today!
Articles in this series:
- A Day in the Life: Virtual Work from the Road (1 of 3)
- Be Happy. Live Mobile : Virtual Work from the Road (2 of 3) (You are here)
- Your Virtual Work Plan (Are You Ready to Start?): Virtual Work from the Road (3 of 3)