“All five of you live in that small space together? With all your stuff? For months at a time? I could never do that.”
This is usually one of the many variations of comments I get when one learns of our unique lifestyle. I always tell people that its not for everyone. You will have to pick which two pairs of shoes you want to wear for the next three months. Yes, you will be eating off the same plate and using the same fork and stirring your coffee with the same spoon everyday for the duration. Life on the road gives new meaning to your favorite jeans or comfy pajamas because room comes at a premium and chances are they are your favorite because they are the only ones you have.
Ok, I might be exaggerating a tad. But in”Buttercup”, which she is affectionately called, and the 450 square feet that she boasts, there are definitely some serious choices that have to be made. I don’t mention all of this to indicate that I am deprived or need any sort of sympathy. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. I actually love it! When we first started traveling almost two years ago, I really had no idea how all of this was going to work. We are all so used to having all of our “things” surrounding us, telling us who and what we should be. Making the hard choices to leave most of it behind almost felt like leaving a chunk of myself behind. I was also afraid the kids would have a mental and emotional breakdown if they couldn’t bring all of their toys that they were used to playing with in our sticks and bricks home. Well, fast forward two years and that just isn’t the case.
The kids do love their toys, don’t get me wrong. But we’ve taken all of the clutter out of their lives and they are left with the few things that really matter to them. They have these few special items and the great outdoors. They don’t need as much to entertain them inside because they are always doing so much outside. State and national parks become their playground and the oceans and lakes we visit replace their neighborhood pool.
Because we live in such a pint-sized place, ordinary household tasks become so much more efficient. We have an on board washer/dryer unit called a Splendid. I am here to tell you this IS the best invention on the planet! I throw in a load of laundry then go on a hike or make and eat dinner and Viola, clothes are washed and dried and ready to go. I take them out and sort and put them away for each family member in their respective drawers with a 360 degree pivot of my body. I don’t even move my feet. In our sticks and bricks home this task replaces that 30 minute Jillian Michaels workout DVD. Gathering laundry, lugging it downstairs, washing/drying, folding and lugging it back upstairs isn’t for the weak.
Mopping the entire floor of the coach can be done with my (or Hubby’s) hands. It takes all of about five minutes. At home this chore would take half the day and by the time it was done it would be dirty again!
Now there are definitely some things I could totally get used to having on board our old girl. There is no dishwasher. I AM the dishwasher. Every utensil, pot, plate and bowl must be washed. After. Every. Meal. Talk about a drain! No pun intended. As you can tell by my sarcasm, this is not my favorite household pastime. There are coaches that have them, but Buttercup isn’t one of them.
A dedicated sleeping space for the kids would also be a fabulous bonus. As it is now, our little offspring pepper the living room with their tiny snoozing bodies. They never complain. In fact, I think they think they are at the slumber party that never ends. Every night they have a dance party before bed. Maybe it IS the never ending slumber party. Anyways, it would be great to not have to spend so much time uncovering the living room floor with stuffed animals, pillows and blankets every morning so that we can start our day.
But even as I sit here writing this post, I’m having a difficult time coming up with items that I would change about where or how we live our lifestyle while traveling. Minimalism is the buzzword of the day and there is a reason for that. It’s a liberating feeling when your mind is occupied with the people places and experiences that matter and not all the “stuff” that can so often suffocate. We really have everything we NEED and nothing we don’t in our paradise on wheels called Buttercup.