I have loved the idea of alternative living situations or lifestyles for a long time. I’m not sure just how long. Even as a kid I loved the idea of living outdoors more than in a traditional house. Alternative living lifestyles are nothing really that new yet they are seeming to become all the new rage these days and sometimes even bursting at the seams in the FI community.
This brings up a good question of what is a normal living situation? I think this can be broken down in many ways based on your culture and where you live. To me, it’s living in a house or apartment with yourself or your family. Nothing fancy or hard to explain to someone.
Alternative living lifestyles to me is somewhat of a scale. From a small scale of I have roommates to I must be Bat Shit Crazy for living in a Van! Then there is everything in between of course. As you can see there is a variety of flavors when it comes to alternative living lifestyles. So what makes people want to try and keep doing these alternative lifestyles? I see this question come up a lot in person and in the FI community.
While I can’t speak on everyone’s behalf and can only speak on mine. I have seen people with answers like “to save money, speed up my journey to FI, have more of a community feel, freedom, nomadic lifestyle just to name a few. You see recently I pulled the trigger and moved in full-time to an RV so I’m now a part of this community.
As I type this I have been living this lifestyle for about three weeks. A few reasons I wanted to try this out were Simplicity, Focus, Flexibility, Financial, and Freedom.
As I have grown older I value simplicity in my life. Less is the new more to me. It just puts me more at ease in my life. There was way less to clean in my luxury apartment vs a house, yet now there is insanely less to clean in the RV. Less stuff to own because there is less space. By nature, this means less stuff to maintain. So you see this frees up a lot of time and keeps things well “Simple”.
This lifestyle allows me to focus more on what I value. Because I don’t have a huge place I spend more of my time on things I enjoy. I’ll admit because this lifestyle is so new there are little projects and the whole settling phase that comes with any move into a new living space. But as time goes on I plan to focus a lot more on writing, reading, outdoors, learning Spanish and French, and maybe playing guitar. When I think of focus I think being more “Intentional”.
Flexibility or as we like to say in the Marine Corps “adapt and overcome” is a skill I have not only used but believe I have sharpened over the years. I thought living in my apartment gave me really great flexibility as I could leave once my lease was up fairly easily without being tied down to the place. The RV lifestyle is so much more flexible than I could have ever imagined. I can leave my site at any time I want. There are tons of sites near me I could stay at and even free places like parks you can “boondock” as they call it in the RV community. Within a few hours, we can pack up everything outside the RV hook it up to the truck and move it to a new location.
It’s not all about the numbers, yet the numbers are a great side effect of this lifestyle. Now let me say that this lifestyle can cost more than my luxury apartment did and even more than houses cost where I lived in MS. I have seen some people setups that cost around $150K. Yes, that is right some people live in $150K RVs. As crazy as I think that is more power to them. It goes to show that consumerism still runs deep even in alternative lifestyle communities. As a side note just look at how much some of those Vans in Van life communities costs. I was taken back by the costs and could not get my head around it. But back to my numbers and reasons. I’m not going to get knee-deep in spreadsheets here or numbers. I’ll do this in a new monthly writeup I’m planning to publish which will go over my RV monthly costs compared to Apartment here in San Diego. I will say that I am easily saving $800 a month in living expenses. This is $800 more a month I can invest and once the truck and RV are paid off it’s another $300 a month. That is a good chunk of change to accelerate my wealth building. Plus then I will own the RV and keep expenses low.
I think freedom is the core of everything I want. Simplicity, Focus, Flexibility, and Finances are my four pillars to Freedom. My journey has always been about seeking the means to freedom. The freedom to spend my time how I see fit vs spending it to earn money. The RV lifestyle has intrigued me as part of my FIRE journey. The ideal that I can pack up in an hour or so and move my place to another entirely different state without much hassle is great. To me, this is what I call “living my best life”. Part of my plan here is to live in two different communities. One of which is in a multimillion-dollar community and that will only cost me $1,200 a month. I’ll write more about this in a future post.
What can I say I am “Crazy”. I believe that my passions and things I value like time, nature, being active, exploring, and having meaningful relationships are more important than that new “luxury SUV” or that “dream house”. Instead, I have found out how to have everything that is important to me for incredibly cheap and invest the rest. The RV lifestyle has been a unique addition to this journey. Even now we are planning a trip in January with the RV for about 10 days to three different locations as our first mini-exploration trip. What’s great about this is we pay no rent with the RV lifestyle when we do this except for any future sites. When I lived in my apartment I paid rent if I was there or not. In the RV when I go on adventures in it I’m not getting double tapped on rent.
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