Our family of 7 has been living out of our RV for the past 3 years. For the most part, we try to free camp on forest service roads and travel quickly from crag to trail. For a few months of the year we sit still in an RV park and enjoy the comforts of running water and electricity, but even then, we’ve learned to be as minimalistic as possible and are always looking for ways to save resources and protect the planet. Here are 10 things we do that are totally weird and out of the norm. But hey, if you too love the dirbag lifestyle, share with us in the comments the weird things you do!
Never Ever Leave the Faucet Running
Being a dirtbag and constantly living out of a recreational vehicle ingrains a deep subconscious reaction to the wasting of water (It’s like nails on a chalkboard). When your entire supply of water for who-knows-how-many days is only 50 gallons, you really start to monitor how much water everyone is using. I’ve even caught my family glaring across the RV at the person washing dishes clearly thinking to themselves, you’re using way too much water. This then leads to the few moments where we’re noticeably different than most families. We’ll arrive in people’s houses and anytime we notice someone take a shower, wash dishes, clean with unnecessary amounts of water, and pour leftovers glasses of water down the sink, everything inside of us is screaming, “Ahhhhhhhh! You’re going to run out of water!” And when it’s our turn to do the dishes, you shouldn’t be surprised to see us running the water at a drizzle.
Dishwashers- One of Modern Society’s Many Evils
On a similar note, as we live in a small simple vehicle, we do not use a dishwasher nor own a dishwasher. We actually don’t mind. Hand washing dishes is just how it is. We’ve learned a system based on if we’re doing them in a campground, on the side of the road, or even while driving (although we don’t recommend this). It’s actually pretty easy. Somehow, this shocks a lot of people though, “What do you mean you hand wash dishes for seven people?” Anytime we receive similar comments we all think, Oh, they have no idea. We love to cook and we make huge meals so for seven of us, who seem to constantly be needing food— it means constantly doing dishes (with incredibly small quantities of water, by the way). Lots. Of. Dishes.
Are You Done With Your Bowl?
Continuing on the previous habit, we have also conformed to a conservative habit that would disgust many. To save time, water, and space, we only own three bowls to eat out of which means we have to, wait for it . . . share bowls. And when we’re really desperate, we share utensils too *gasp*. Our logic is this: when living in such a confined space, we’re bound to share everyone’s germs anyway so might as well spare time, water, and space. For some people, this is actually pretty standard and if you are that person, you rock! Others might be condescending us a hundred different ways, but you’re still going to finish reading this blog because you still want to know how many more “weird normal” things the species of dirtbag does.
How Dare You Shower EVERY Day 😉
Through our road trip travels, we alternate between staying at campgrounds and free camping. All our days are spent on the trail, crag, mountains, and sea. By the end of these fantastically fun adventures, we’re all pretty sweaty and literally covered in dirt. Not a problem when we’re at campgrounds, as it’s an incredible luxury to be able to take a three-minute shower after a long, fun day in the incredible outdoors. But most of the time when we are on the road, we “vagabond” (AKA boondocking, free camping, or sleeping-on-the-side-of-the-road) often. Most RV’s do have showers and if we’re really desperate, can all take military showers, but 90% of the time, vagabonding means no shower. The best example of our lack of showers would be when we were in crossing Switzerland toward Croatia. Switzerland is incredibly beautiful but expensive (read more here) so we couldn’t afford to stay at campgrounds. This period of time became the record for most amount of days we went without showering—I won’t even tell you how long because you’d be too grossed out. So we’ve consequently grown to require fewer showers than most. We’ve been doing this for so long, we joke that it’s actually become a symbol of pride, how dirty we are. Even when we go stay with family and friends for a few days, we can’t bring ourselves to shower every day. What a waste of water! Who needs to be that clean!. Sure, we might smell a little more, but, come on, “a little dirt never hurt”.
Propane Ovens Are Our Necessity
We have always been avid cooks and bakers so we definitely took appliances into account when we moved into an RV. How will we bake? Cook pies? Make cookies? A roast? Luckily, we bought an RV with a good propane stove and oven allowing us to make baked goods and meats. Now, we‘ve lived in our RV for more than three years and propane appliances like the oven and heater are second-nature. In fact, until staying in family and friends’ houses, we completely forgot about the “other” way appliances are run. We felt spoiled to be able to cook and bake all day long without running out of propane.
Choosing the Bare Necessities
Buying a one-way ticket to Europe really makes you question your most prized possessions. Each of the seven people in my family carried a backpacking backpack and that’s it . . . and we hauled along surfboards and climbing gear but the point remains the same. Take only what you need. Since our trip revolved around hiking, climbing, surfing, exploring, and the occasional city visit, our belonging were reduced to two pairs of pants, shorts, a few shirts, a warm jacket, a rain jacket, undergarments, and a swimsuit. Well, you can’t hike mountains in skinny jeans. So every day for six months we saw each other wearing the same three outfits. We got back from Europe, unpacked our bags and discovered all the clothes we left behind and thought, Why did I even keep this? I was perfectly fine without for 6 months . . . That, and truth be told, those few clothing articles would always remind us of the mountains we climbed.
Sitting in a Cafe for 8 Hours
Any blogger can probably relate to this one. You need wifi to work on your website so you scour the internet, Google maps, Trip Advisor, and Facebook looking for the best cafe with internet. After all, it wouldn’t be the same without good coffee to enjoy with your work. But when we’ve been traveling for a week or two, there is a lot for us to catch up on. As the day goes on, the waiters/baristas start looking at you like, “You’re still here?” Yup.
Nothing tells you more about a place than the Laundromat
As we tried to avoid campgrounds while in expensive countries in Europe, we were also unintentionally avoiding the washing machines that came with them. At these times we were forced to pass through cities in order to find a laundromat. I don’t think we were being that sensitive to be asking to wash our three outfits after wearing them for two weeks straight. Sometimes it was convenient because it allowed us to explore nice cities while we did the laundry, at others, we ended up in sketchy parts of town, those in which, we rushed our laundry, pulling it out of the dryer still damp. Either way, it leaves an ultimate cultural experience of the world.
Our Favorite Apps Are Adventure Based
Checking Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner for cheap flights is part of our daily ritual. We scour mountain project the way normal people do the Black Friday sales, looking for any opportunities to climb new areas that may be on our path. We regularly check Surfline and Magic Seaweed throughout the day, hoping a swell is coming to us or scheming where we want to be “this time next year” so we know what to search for on Skyscanner. And we are always scrolling through The Outbound to make sure there isn’t an epic adventure that we may miss on one of our trips. What can we say, our movement defines us.
Walls Make us Claustrophobic
Since the day we moved into our RV, we have become one with the outdoors. On days when we have to stay indoors all day in the RV, we make comments that we haven’t been outside all day. But the crazy thing is, even the days we say we spend all day indoors, we are still going outside way more than we would if we were living in a house. When you’re living in an RV, the area outside becomes and extension of your home. It’s the patio, the living room, the kitchen, and the backyard. In and out of the RV is how “a day indoors” is spent. Even inside, the windows are always open, the temperature mirrors that of outside, no rain goes unnoticed, and you wake and sleep with the sun rise and set. We breathe a constant stream of fresh air, move and exercise where there’s warm weather, and flow with what’s happening around us. Suddenly when we experience house life again and everything feels weirdly wrong. A day without the sun shining on my skin?! A day without exercise?! People probably find us as overreacting when we’re staying with them, but it’s just not what we’re used to.
Our normal is just different.
What’s normal to you that isn’t so normal to most?