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Camper failure

November 12th, 2017 at 01:20 pm

After all the work and the money spent, I hate to admit this, but my idea for living in my car has failed.

I am simply enjoying too much the convenience of having a private toilet and shower I can use anytime I want. Going mobile, this aspect has been just too difficult for me to try to accommodate, especially with how cold the weather has gotten lately.

But again, the vehicle still works perfectly fine as any other commuter car, and it still works supremely well as a short term, temporary camper whenever I am on the road. Way better option than paying for any roach motels, thanks. In fact, it is so super convenient that way, I've decided to just leave everything as is.

But as a permanent living arrangement... sadly that will not work for me. Sad because if it could work, that would have saved me so much money, it wouldn't even be funny.

This also has other implications, because it also made me realize that tiny houses would not work for me either... or rather, it would if I could get plumbing done for water and sewer like a conventional stick house. Unfortunately, when you do that, it no longer qualifies as a "camper" and is then subject to city building codes, which would make them illegal dwellings.

Long story short, I need to stay put for now, living in the house I am currently in, and try to figure out what my next move should be, if any.

To be honest, I am not sure what to do next, or at least what I want to do next. I suppose I will wait and see how things pan out, but for right now, I am going to go into sort of a financial hibernation mode, and bleed as little money as possible.

16 Responses to “Camper failure”

  1. Carol Says:

    You gave it a good try! Don't apologize for liking a private toilet and shower! Indoor plumbing and electricity are great gifts as though without them due to the storms know only too well.
    You will figure it all out,I am sure.

  2. snafu Says:

    Smart to accept that this very challenging and interesting project met most but not all the outcomes desired. I wonder if you'd consider doing CADs for a small, utility van to add comfort and find solutions to the deal breakers. As experienced RV travellers, I saw many 'wins' in your project. I hope you had fun.

  3. PatientSaver Says:

    I don't think you should consider it a failure at all. You learned so much during thsi entire process, and even your conclusions shared with us here could only have been gained through having the actual experience.

    Yes, you did spent a lot of time thinking about this, planning it out, adjusting for things as you went along and a whole lot of trial and error. So many people would idly wonder if something like this were possible but probably give up without trying it out at all.

    Einstein didn't invent the light bulb by just thinking about it. He tinkered, just like you. I think you did a fabulous job of it and everything you've learned from the experience is invaluable. What a fascinating story to tell people in your life 30 30 or 40 years from now!

  4. PatientSaver Says:

    Simply being able to say yes, I truly appreciate a toilet and shower, is something most people might say, but don't really experience in their gut. You do! Because you've lived without for quite a while.

    We all take so much for granted in our civilized lives.

  5. PatientSaver Says:

    What you've done is not so very different from Thoreau, who lived alone in the woods for several years. He sought a simplicity in life that was lacking even in the 1800s.

    I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.

    I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. — Henry David Thoreau, "Where I Lived, and What I Lived For"

  6. ceejay74 Says:

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained! You knew that regular house living didn't speak to you and seemed excessive, so you conducted a real life experiment to see what you could and couldn't live without. Now that you know what's truly important to you, it'll help you make other decisions in a much more informed way, for instance now you already know a tiny home isn't the answer for you. Congratulations on really going for it in a way that most people would be afraid to!

  7. Tabs Says:

    Wow that's for all the supportive and encouraging words. I don't feel so bad about it now.

    Thoreau's words and ideals definitely rings true for me, but alas, I also need to be honest with myself. I hate admitting defeat, but these words are honestly what I am thinking right now.

  8. scfr Says:

    If you ever need to bug out due to a natural disaster, you are ready to roll!
    I wonder if you will start to do more short camping trips now that you have a perfect temporary camper?

  9. Tabs Says:

    Ooh, nice catch. Yes, the car would still function extremely well as a bug out vehicle (BOV).

    And yes, although some would consider it cheating, it is still an extremely effective hard top camping tent on wheels.

    I am certainly open to traveling more, but am staying put for right now. As affordable as road tripping is, even that is a money bleed. Again, will see how things pan out.

  10. Amber Says:

    I think it's great that you at least tried, you'd never know if you would have liked it or not.
    Rather than a tiny house, have you considered just downsizing in home size?

  11. Out of the Dark Says:

    I am so impressed with your sticktuitiveness! You attempted something very few people would even consider! Kudos to you!

    I will say, however, you should rethink your tiny house concept. There are many versions built on trailer beds with compost toilet systems or temporary water/shower/toilet connections no different than your travel trailer or fifth wheel camper setups.

    I have an Aunt and Uncle who after their two boys and daughter left home remained as my Aunts mother lived in the "mother in law" apartment. When she passed away, they were truly "empty nesters". Their next move was nothing short of brilliant:

    1. They sold everything they owned except one small car (Ford Focus I believe), some seasonal clothing, eating and cooking "tools" for two and some heirlooms.

    2. They retained a 1/2 acre of land in the town they lived in all their lives. They poured a 10x30' concrete pad, hooked into public water and sewer and installed a gravel driveway (about 30' long). The cost was about $20k.

    3. They then purchased 1/2 ton pickup truck and a 27' travel trailer. It had a roll out awning, master bedroom, slide out living room/kitchen and a set of bunks in the rear. It also had a bathroom with toilet, sink and shower. The kitchen was complete with stove, sink, fridge/freezer, oven, microwave, table, padded seats and it even had an outdoor shower.

    4. Because a trailer does not constitute developed property, their taxes were in the low hundreds each year and they never went over the basic allotted water/sewer fees. They did have to take their laundry to the laundromat but as it was only the two of them, that was minimal.

    What happened was amazing. They lost weight by not sitting around eating and snacking. They kept the truck hooked up to the trailer and towed the focus which served as their efficient car whenever they needed to go anywhere. They traveled to each of their kids homes, hooked up to their water hose, kept their gray and black water tanks empty and maintained the entire camper/truck and car regularly.

    They saved thousands on taxes, insurance, utilities, etc.

    Just a thought or something to consider...and again, revisit the tiny house concept. Lot's of similarities.

  12. Tabs Says:

    Very interesting! Ok, I will look into it some more as an option. I love tiny houses anyway.

    Amber, yes, I would very much like to downsize somewhere, if nothing else. For now though, it's still probably a few years away at least, until the kids are fully grown, and my parents have at least transitioned fully into retirement and are doing fine. So, there are also other personal reasons why I am staying put where I am, but eventually, it would really be nice to be able to move on and downsize to something I would like better.

  13. rob62521 Says:

    You tried it and it didn't work. You are far braver than I am because I wouldn't have even tried it. Maybe it was a good exercise to make you appreciate what you have. As I grow older, I'm all about comfort!

  14. CB in the City Says:

    I couldn't do it, either; I love my bathroom and my kitchen too much. Not to mention my bed! But you certainly gave it the old college try!

  15. VS_ozgirl Says:

    Sorry to hear it didn't work as well as what you thought it would - I really loved reading your blog posts while you were testing the waters! We know people who use a minivan for going away in - it has a bed and stove in it - definitely worth keeping the car as a holiday accommodation option for you Smile. Looking forward to seeing what your next housing decision will be!

  16. LivingAlmostLarge Says:

    Trust me the adventure alone was worth it. I think it an awesome hobby and trial run. Maybe you could do small living?

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