When you tell people you’re living in an RV fulltime*, the first question you get is, “Don’t you work?”
We do. Both my husband and I have full time jobs. He is an actuary, and I am an online business consultant who helps other people get their own businesses online. I teach tech.
This is the last in a three-part series on how we decided since we both work at home, we might as well work on the road. The first post is about why we decided to do it now.
The second blog post is about how we sold all of our things.
And today I’ll take you behind the scenes of our RV and explain why we bought what we did, and how we make it all work. But I couldn’t fit everything into the video, so this week there’s also a bit more to read than normal.
How we found the perfect rv for fulltime living
I’ll start by saying that we’d been looking at RVs for years. Motorhomes, 5th wheel trailers, and everything in between to find one that would allow us enough space to actually live, and not just camp for the weekend, and one that would give us enough separation to be able to work separately when necessary. We both tend to do a lot of calls and webinars and we needed to be able to do that when the weather meant we were both inside.
We also knew that we’d occasionally have the kids with us during school breaks or on vacations and we have two standard poodles. So we did a lot of research. One thing you need to know about Bret and I, it’s that we research things to the nth degree. It’s sort of a hobby we have. Over the course of 5 years, we toured hundreds of RVs. Knowing that often RV brand popularity is regional, we even traveled to other cities to make sure we saw every brand, make, model and design we could. Because here’s the thing about RVs. You have to see them. You have to get in them and open the cabinets and feel that they’re solid. You have to stand in the shower and make sure it’s comfortable for every day use. You have to open and close doors and see if they take up unnecessary space. For example. One of my pet peeves was master bedrooms that had a walk thru bath. In 400 square feet of space the last thing I need was TWO doors in my bathroom. What a waste of space!
After touring more RVs than we could count. We made the decision that, although a motorhome allows the convenience of easier set up and being able to move around while driving, a 5th wheel trailer was the best option for us. If you’re not familiar, a 5th wheel is a trailer pulled behind a pick up truck. The front part of the trailer fits over the bed of the truck (that’s actually the bedroom when you’re inside) and then the rest of the trailer follows behind. We actually have a 40’ Jayco 377BH and pull it with a Ford F350 short bed pick up truck. For some of you who are thinking of living on the road that will mean something. For the rest of you, we’re moving on.
We had a few very strong criteria that any RV we seriously considered had to meet. It had to have a separate office space for Bret. I love working outside and have a more casual working environment than he does, so I didn’t feel like I needed my own office.
It needed a full kitchen. Remember, this wasn’t a weekend brats and hot dogs type of camper, this is where we would be living, so the stove, oven and fridge, as well as the way the kitchen laid out was very important to me. It also needed to have a large enough bathroom and shower to be comfortable, without wasting a bunch of space. Surprisingly enough, many RV bathrooms are huge. That wasn’t a priority to us. There’s only so much space you can have, so we wanted to make sure it was allocated properly.
Because RVs aren’t commonly equipped with offices, what we were looking for in RV speak was a bunkhouse or second bedroom. The terms can be used interchangeably. In our case, the bunkhouse was set up in the middle of the trailer off of the kitchen and was equipped with a small, child-size bunk, and a pull out loveseat that converted into a double bed. We removed the loveseat, and dropped the bunk down to counter height and removed the mattress. That bunk is now a large shelf that holds our printer/scanner, large coffee pot, and other office items. Also in the room is Bret’s desk and his computers. Under the bunk/shelf, we added a large cabinet for my bigger appliances and one large dog kennel. We travel with two standard poodles and there’s almost always one hanging out here in the kennel taking a nap.
I’m typically outside when I work, but when the weather is bad, I’ll sit at the dining room table. This is my office. But here’s the really neat thing. I have storage all over the place that you wouldn’t notice at first glance. The table lifts up to hold things like my keyboard and mouse. The chair seats lift up to hold notebooks or paperwork, and if I need more space, the table even gets bigger.
Now, you may be looking at this and wondering were everything else is stored. Where do we put it all? Well, if you don’t see it, we likely don’t have it. And lest you think we were minimalists before, I can assure you we were not. We had desks piled high with paper and I have always loved a good set of office supplies, file folders, and notebooks. But we changed our habits. Important papers get scanned. I mark up pdfs rather than printing them out now. Although I will admit, I’m a junky for printed paper, especially if it’s a checklist. I’ve gotten around that by retiring my six year old iPad and getting a new one just last week that I can write on and take notes.
But when you’re living in a small space, there’s no room for clutter. Things get put away because they have to. If we want to sit at the table and eat, I need to call it quits for the day and put away my office. Sure, sometimes we’ll eat outside if it’s really nice or if I want to keep working into the evening, but ultimately if I leave my office stuff out, the whole place looks messy, so 9 times out of 10 and the end of the day it all gets cleaned up.
And here’s the other kind of cool thing. When you live in a tiny space like this, you never lose anything because there’s no where for it to go. I literally cannot put my office paraphernalia anywhere else at the end of the day because those spaces are used for something else.
So, there you have it! How two of us manage to live and work in the same 400 square feet. I guess I didn’t show you too much of the living part. Just the main room. We’ll save that for another day if you’re interested.
If you have any questions about how this all works out, be sure to pop them in below.
By the way! If you’re interested in creating a business you love that you can take with you wherever you go, but aren’t sure where to start, I’d love to chat!
*For the purpose of this article, when I refer to how we live, fulltime is one word. Because people who do what we do are “fulltimers” — fun fact for today!