What do you do when life is not going the way you planned and you realize you can’t make it go the way you want?
Do you pitch a fit? Keep trying to make life fit your plan? Curl up in a ball and give up? Find another path to take?
We reevaluated our entire situation, and chose a completely new path and lifestyle for our family.
Our dream included our nearly 2,000 square foot home on 8.5 quiet acres with lots of animals, while my husband worked a local fire department and we grew roots in a nice community. My husband was laid off from the job. Things weren’t as dreamy here as we’d hoped, for many reasons. Our finances would never improve with the way things were. We needed a change, but didn’t know what to do. After much prayer and brainstorming, we came up with a solution that seemed workable.
We found a family friendly campground, bought a camper, put our house up for sale and became an unintentional part of the RV and tiny house community!
We lived in a 26 foot camper with a queen bed at one end and triple bunks at the other for two months to start off. Let me tell you, that was a huge challenge with three children (ages 6, 4 and baby)!! I thought I was going to go crazy! It was a nice little camper, and would’ve been wonderful for camping trips. For even close to full time living, it was not all that functional.
We did learn and grow a lot through that experience with no separate spaces for living, so I can’t completely regret it. However, I would advise anyone with children to just start off with something more like what we traded in for last week- a fifth wheel with a bunkroom! After living in a 26X7 foot camper with one pop out, a 33X8 foot fifth wheel with three pop outs seems quite spacious! It is laid out very well, and even has an extra half bath.
If you are looking at spending a lot of time in a tiny home on wheels with kids, here are some of our personal must haves after a couple of months experience of RV living with kids…
A bunk room is an absolute necessity!
We love spending time with our kids, but we need somewhere to send them. They need their own individual space (bunks personally decorated with organization for their special treasures), as well as space for their kids stuff without everyone having to walk over it. Trust me- get the bunk house!
An extra half bath!
This may not be a necessity for everyone, but it was a big deal for us. Risking TMI, but if you have a large family or small children, this feature is a lifesaver. I was literally going at least 3-4 days before being able to…umm….relieve myself, because someone was always shouting they needed to go or bashing in to wash their hands. It was already taking a toll on my health. You can also count on the kids fighting over the bathroom or needing to pee the moment you get in the shower.Get it if you can!
Efficient use of space.
When your space is as a premium, you want every inch to be well utilized in the design of your camper. Think about what you truly need and where you can store it. Storage space under benches, sofas, beds, etc. is your friend!
A stove with an oven.
Not all campers have ovens, and I want to be able to cook just the same as if I were in a full size stationary home.
As a side note, don’t forget to figure in what you are towing with and the weight limits for it. We bought an ultra light model, because it was half ton towable. My husband drives a half ton truck, and an upgrade was not in our budget. Be sure to check the limits for your vehicle before you shop, and consider that it will weigh more fully loaded.
I never thought that I would be living in a camper, and I never thought I could be happy in such a small home with children.
We are learning a whole different way of life and a completely new perspective. I won’t pretend that it is easy. I will say that we are growing through this process. We are more adaptable than we realized, and our children are happy as long as they feel safe and loved wherever they are. Sometimes what you dream of isn’t what is best. Sometimes what is best is something you’d never considered before. I don’t know where this new path will take us, but I am confident that we will get stronger and learn more as we travel along.
Has your life ever taken a completely unexpected turn along a path you never thought to take? How did it turn out?
I will write more later about our experiences, some ways to get organized and make life easier and better in a small space, and lots of other goodies. For now, check out Seven Things You Will Miss When Living In a Camper for things I miss and Traveling With Little Riders for some handy hints!