It all started with a dream for a simpler life. My family and I spent an unknowingly amount of time thinking about the most ideal life we could come up with. Things were good as they were, but our minds kept wandering. We knew there was more out there, things to see, options to explore. We lived in a beautiful town, with access to anything you could think of. The people were kind, the schools were impressive.
But something kept pulling us, like a strong magnet nagging our thoughts in a different direction. No matter how much we reminded ourselves how good it was where we were, we just knew we had to keep our minds open. So we did. We kept our eyes open to new opportunities, not knowing what the expect. Sure enough, as soon as we decided change was good, and the opportunity came knocking. And we answered.
As everything started falling into place, our actual living space was still unknown. We decided while we were on this open mind train, we might as well stick with it. Next thing we knew, we had sold, donated and handed out about 90% of our belongings. It felt a little crazy, mostly freeing and extremely awesome. We packed up what would fit in our cars and headed off to our new destination. Oddly enough, this specific destination had one living option available at the time. An RV. Am immobile one at that. Since we had continued on with this opportunity and no longer had furniture, it actually seemed like the perfect fit. So we did it.
Then it began, our life in an RV. Our kids looked at it like it was their own spaceship, and we kept in mind that it’s a great way to get a feel for small living. And we certainly learned a lot along the way. The good, the bad, and the things we’ll never take for granted again.
For example, clutter loves small spaces. If you thought smaller square footage would be less of a headache, it’s the total opposite. One human body seems to take up of the living space. I could touch the ceiling, floor, two walls and counter all in a single reach. Imagine 3 additional people and some everyday essentials in the mix.
Hygiene isn’t a fun factor either. If you had to choose between washing your body, your hair or shaving your legs, what would you choose? Yeah, unfortunately, this was a common question with a tiny water heater on the brisk of winter. I can’t say you really get used to it, but you learn how to adapt. I’m pretty sure my kids were occasionally the stinky kids at school. And I wasn’t too far off either.
On the flip side, there were some great things I learned as well.
Kids can still be easily entertained with a good sunset and a deck of cards. When times got extra crowded, being outdoors was the answer, and it never seemed to fail. Someone’s soon-to-be property will have a nice child-made garden waiting for them. And it’s a real beauty.
The snuggle sessions are strong. When you’re in tight quarters, the tension can ride its own crazy wave. But there’s no stomping it off or taking a break in the other room. You have to get all Oprah Winfrey and say, You get a hug. She gets a hug. He gets a hug. The dog gets a hug. Everyone gets a hug! Whether you like it or not. However, it does help you get past certain things quicker. When you’re sharing a tiny space, added tension is the last thing you want, so it really helps filter what is and isn’t a big deal.
I always imagined what it would be like to live in an RV. Of course, my ideal image of it was always more picturesque. Complete with rolling wheels, and continually parked at new destinations. Like a little adventure machine. But the beautiful thing was, it provided us to continue on with a little unknown dream that turned into reality.
It taught me that even when my kids say they’re bored, it’s not entirely true. If they can find entertainment in a tiny space, they can certainly find it elsewhere. It was interesting to see how quickly certain stressors melted off my shoulders and helped me focus on what was important. I saw that in my kiddos as well. I also learned how seriously important and special your own space is. Space bubbles are real.
Although I’m glad we had that experience, I’m happy we checked that box and can move onto the next phase. Maybe I’m a little coo-coo from being cooped up the past few months, but my family and I have gained a whole new appreciation for the things we once overlooked. Actual warm water that runs for more than 2 minutes, room to breathe and a washing machine of all things, make my heart sing. I seriously never thought I’d get so excited over a storage closet in my life. Or the fact we can all reach out arms our and not poke each other in the eye.
We learned a lot along the way, both little and small. But most of all, I’m glad it taught us how to learn, adapt and grow. And I must say, I’m pretty thrilled we listened to the nagging dream, as I hope it teaches my kids to do the same.