What does it feel like to live year-round in an RV?: originally appeared on Quora: The best answer to any question. Ask a question, get a great answer. Learn from experts and get insider knowledge. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.
I am a solo female living full-time in her (very) small RV for the past 4 months. Let me tell you what it feels like for me today, because my feelings on my decision varies greatly from day-to-day, and location-to-location. Some days, I feel like I'm one of the most clever of individuals. Like I have discovered a secret, choosing a lifestyle most people only dream about, and that provides me with so much freedom. Other days, I fantasize about my (now rented) apartment with tons of space, walk-in closet and in-unit washer/dryer, and flat screen TV, I plot my return home and estimate how much gas it would cost to turn my boat around.
It is important that you know what type of vehicle I have. It's a class B, which is essentially a van with a RV kit installed. Google "Airstream 190." I think owning a small RV (lacking a lot of amenities, space and comfort) is much easier for a solo RVer to operate, and more efficient on gas for the long hauls, but terrible as a daily driver.
Pros: I can park almost anywhere. My home is truly where I park it. My vehicle fits into a standard parking space, which is 20' long. This give me incredible flexibility when driving it around town, because I can legally park anywhere, and allows me to do urban boondocking should I choose. Right now, I've been parking at night on the street in a safe area of San Francisco. The cheapest RV parks in the area offer few amenities, and cost a minimum of $65 a night. They are not a good value. But I'm not paying a cent 4-5 days a week (It's technically illegal to live in a vehicle, but its very difficult to prove that I do, someone would need to put me under surveillance.)
I love the freedom of being able to change locations on a whim. I never have to unload, or unpack my car, and if I want a nap/change clothes in the middle of the day, those things are never far away.
I'm less distracted by TV, cleaning, laundry, and other mundane daily chores. I have more free time.
I can travel with my dog. It's hard to find hotels and airbnb hosts that are pet friendly and affordable... and don't smell like a kennel.
There is a certain amount of social currency that comes from being a nomad. When brought up, the topic often dominates the conversation, and people want to ask you tons of questions. You get very used to sharing your "how's and why's", and most people generally leave you feeling admired.
Cons: My entire life in in the vehicle, including my dog and security is a big concern. Car theft and car break-ins are very high in SF due to the high homeless population and the the poverty in the east bay area. My computer and devices are my bread and butter, and if they were stolen, it would be a huge loss for me both personally and professionally. I often feel the need to take my important stuff with me when I leave the vehicle, you know... just in case...which means that I'm carting around a heavy backpack full of computer gear all day.
A young woman stepping out of an RV is an odd thing to see, unless you are in the natural habitat of RVs (RV parks, campgrounds, tourist destinations, rest areas etc.). When I step out of my van sometimes I notice a strange look in the eyes of the people that witness me taking out the trash or walking the dog... I'm assuming they think I'm homeless, or that I live in my van because I'm poor, or wonder where's my "old man." I find that sometimes, I withhold mentioning that I'm living in my RV, because of the stigma that it has in some locations... like SFO.
Gas is $$$$$$. I get about 10MPG in the city. All the stop-n-go is just murder on the MPG. I calculate my cost per mile for everything. A trip to the grocery store, beach, or to the dog park at 15 miles round trip is $6-8. Those trips add up quickly, and mileage can dictate whether I go see that off-the-beaten path tourist destination.
I'm constantly bumping my head.
I max out the data connection on my phone and iPads very quickly, because, unless I'm parked at an RV park and hooked up to electricity, I don't have TV. I miss TV sometimes. And finding uncongested free wifi is always a challenge. I spend way too much time at Starbucks with an overcaffienated sense of disappointment.